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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

From The Edge Of Space, 5 Tips For Social Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Perspective comes from experience. Dan Clark, Hall of Fame Speaker and social entrepreneur, gained extraordinary perspective flying in an Air Force jet into space. (Disclosure: Clark and I collaborated on a book with 15 other authors but have no revenue or profit sharing arrangement.)

Retired Air Force four-star General Hal Hornberg met Clark when the General attended a Senior Leaders Conference at Langley Air Force Base thirteen years ago. “It was probably the greatest public presentation that I had seen,” he told me. Thereafter, he went on to hire Clark to speak to leadership teams on multiple occasions.

Social entrepreneur Rick Larsen, who now serves as the Marketing and Development Director at GIVE Salt Lake, said, “There are groups, from Credit Unions to Harley Dealers to the United States Air Force, who call on Dan again and again. This speaks volumes when you consider the variety of speakers and entertainers available to large organizations. Dan forms a connection when he speaks because, in my opinion, he cares. Just a couple of weeks ago Dan donated his time at my request, to fit in a speech to a group of troubled teens.”

Clark’s business, built around his speaking, isn’t limited to that. “We generate revenue through motivational keynote speeches, books, recorded programs, enrollment webinars, half day and full day seminar workshops, one- to three-day personal development courses, executive retreats, and a subscription based membership site,” he says.

He describes his process:

I continuously prepare myself to speak. The deeper my message, the higher the value and proportionate remuneration for services. I constantly research cutting edge results, interview revolutionary leaders whose thinking is disruptive and provocative, hang out with superstars who have “done it,” and then prove my research true through personal experiences. Amazing how easy and rewarding it is to monetize my findings through speaking engagements, selling my books and recorded programs, and enrolling organizational leaders, employees, and participant students who are also compelled to live a significant life into various experiential course curricula.

Dan Clark, Hall of Fame Speaker, courtesy of the Art of Significance Development Company

Dan Clark, Hall of Fame Speaker, courtesy of the Art of Significance Development Company

Clark’s fundamental message is to encourage his audiences to find purpose and meaning in their lives. He says he seeks “to educate and inspire the general populous on the difference between successfully getting what you want, and significantly wanting what you get, so you leave a legacy and don’t die with your music still in you!”

With that as an introduction, I’ll share Clark’s five lessons from his trip into space.

  1. Moving from success to significance: There is a dimension beyond achieving success. Successful people get what they want. Significant individuals want what they get. Pursuing success, which only creates popularity for the moment, is the cause of most of our ‘limiting beliefs’ and the dysfunction found and perpetuated in our families and organizations. The successful begin with the “end in mind,” focus on a destination that’s impressive, attempt to manage people and reward results. The significant, who are respected and admired for a lifetime, begin with the “why in mind,” focus on the journey that’s important, manage expectations and reward effort.
  2. Defining purpose: In Good To Great, Collins’s team looked at the companies that went from good to great and asked, “What do all these have in common?” But they never went back and asked, “Are there any companies that have these traits that did not make the leap from good to great?” Successful organizations share certain positive attributes, but when they also share the cancerous qualities and convoluted mindsets of unsuccessful organizations, they too, will eventually fall by the wayside. Bottom line? Great is not always good enough, and best is only relevant depending on what we compare it against.  As social entrepreneurs we must expose the flaws in current organizational purpose and motivation of employees and replace the old school mindset of giving bonuses to demand performance improvement, with new school “cause marketing,” which defines why the organization exists in the first place, and inspires employees to increase performance because of the reward they feel by being part of something larger than themselves.
  3. Knowing the laws of leadership: In my best selling book, The Art of Significance, I have replaced the twelve most common yet debatable principles of success, with the Twelve Highest Universal Laws of Life Changing Leadership, that are irrefutable and non-debatable. Only when we know the laws can we use them to help us achieve our goals and accomplish our life’s work of changing our communities and our world.
  4. Attracting the right people. This tip is based on the “Law of Attraction,” which means: we attract what we believe we deserve, wherein we will discuss “Law number 5: Know the Whole Truth Beyond Believing What You Think”; and “Law number 7: Do Right Beyond Being Best.” We will discuss the “Expectation Thermostat,” which is requisite to becoming a social entrepreneur and attracting the right people to our cause.
  5. Playing your role on the team: It’s difficult to be a social entrepreneur alone. However, it’s not all about team–teams lose. It’s about winning. There is no “I” in team, but there are two “Is” in winning. The first “I” represents Independent individual preparation, “Don’t let me be the weak link!” The second “I” represents Interdependent collective collaboration – “we win together and lose together.” So yes, it’s about team. But the team that wins has the greatest number of “I” players. There are Ten Commitments to becoming an “I” player. We become the first “I” player on a winning team by subscribing to the first six: Clarity, Character, Competence, Consistency, Competitiveness, and Cause. We become the second “I” player by subscribing to the final four commitments: Chemistry, Contribution, Cooperation, and Conclusion. This is the formula for transforming your idea and passion into action with a team of significant human beings who share your conviction to leave a legacy of love, service and leadership behind!

On Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, Clark will join me for a live discussion about his experience in space and his five tips for social entrepreneurs. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Clark is an award-winning athlete who fought back from a broken back that ended his football career, to become one of the most highly sought speakers in the world. He reports speaking to audiences in all 50 states and in 59 countries. He received the United States Distinguished Service Medal, the highest civilian award given by the Department of the Air Force.

Larsen said of Clark, “Dan owns a unique space in social impact because what he does through speaking, is show people how to believe: whether in themselves and their own potential, or the value of others in their lives–he taps into the best in each person in the room, and, with laughter, tears and insight, teaches them how to matter—how to be a significant person. When a group thus impacted walks out of the room, you can rest assured they treat others differently. It would be an amazing thing to quantify the number of people Dan has touched and inspired, and the multiplier effect of their improved kindness and humanity toward others. It is that “ripple effect” that we often hear about in allegory, that Dan so effectively practices.”

General Hornberg said, “Dan’s impact on individuals make the organization better, but in ways that are difficult to measure. He inspires people to put people first, to be more compassionate. This causes the organization to shift.”

“He’s got the whole package and a desire to give back,” Hornberg concludes.

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