Blog | Entrepreneurship

Understanding Social Capitalism

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Would you take advice from a marriage counselor who has been divorced three times or a personal trainer who is overweight?

If the answer is no, then why do we put our trust in teachers who are not committed to excellence or financial advisors who are broke? Instead, we should value people who offer more “social capitalism.”

But how do you put yourself in that mindset and join that tribe?

I’ll illustrate how with our model for Warriors Heart. As a reformed alcoholic, I recognized that standard treatment centers could not treat the depth of trauma or the flood of veterans returning from battlefields around the world and first responders working on our homeland streets.

Counselors who show up for the paycheck couldn’t adequately empathize or support these damaged souls. Putting them into treatment centers with ex-cons and other addicts would lead to uncomfortable situations and conversations. How would you recover if your lunch mate asked about the traumatic incidents that led you there?

Not well, I’m sure.

My wife Lisa, business partner Tom Spooner and I identified the problem, but more vitally, invested in creating the solution, as described in my book The Social Capitalist: Passion and Profits - an Entrepreneurial Journey.

For those who don’t know it, Warriors Heart is on a ranch outside San Antonio, Texas that serves a niche market. We built it from the end user’s point of view and walked through the front doors of a program.

We built a team of professionals that get it and they’re mission-driven. One of the major deciding factors in why we’re doing things better is because we’ve lived it. We can move faster, leaner and use technology for the treatment for PTSD and chemical dependencies in this holistic model.

What is our ‘why’?

We get it on a personal level -- the population we’re serving and the struggles they have.

Finding your purpose, your passion, or your tribe that's doing what you want to do and joining that team will be the fuel to keep you going.

First, set the goal to take a stand, create jobs and solve problems.

After I got past my addiction to alcohol, one of my mentors pointed out that I had become hooked on making money instead. I resolved to change and to identify what would motivate me instead.

You can ask yourself those same questions: What’s your purpose in life? What’s your mission in life? What’s your why?

My business, my passion became helping others get sober.

I want to create products and services that improve people’s lives. I want to take care of people when they’re down and they’re hurting.

It’s how we blend the two together that gives our businesses a higher calling than money.

For example, Peter O. Gray, a former professor at Boston College, advocates for a program called the Sudbury School. Teachers are hired on a one-year contract and are voted by students and parents before they can renew their contracts.

It creates a tribe with a dynamic of accountability that typically does not exist in the traditional school system.

You can use the same approach at home.

Lisa and I give our children chores but don’t pay them to do them. It’s simply their way to give back for getting food, fuel, electricity and being a member of the family.

Instead, we talk to our kids about their home being a safe place to re-energize. We expect them to acknowledge its role in life and treat it with respect.

Our family is also a social enterprise that we are passionate about and we want to improve the quality of or solve this social problem.

I would suggest following the example of a business leader by setting values, a mission, vision and purpose, then checking in with regular meetings.

This sets this compass as to how you behave. If you’re not getting certain results, it could be because of the environment.

It also forces you to be consistent. If you’re out of integrity in one area, it’s going to affect all areas.

Also, take time to look back into the past and learn from it.

All that crap I went through as a kid and drinking, maybe I went through that for a reason. It made me stronger and it gave me the right to teach it moving forward. That could be where you find your answers.

Original publish date: May 04, 2020

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