A Social Entrepreneur’s Tips For Taking On The Impossible
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Lisa Curtis is a serious social entrepreneur. Since she started her career as a Peace Corps volunteer, she has been all about doing good. Her company, Kuli Kuli, which sells products with miringa (don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it; most people haven’t) sourced in West Africa. It takes optimism to face all of the challenges associated with selling a new food; she shares three secrets to her success.
Curtis tells the story of how she started eating moringa as a way to supplement her diet after her Peace Corp stint left her malnourished. Later, she would launch Kuli Kuli to provide others with the health benefits and to support and grow the economy of West Africa where she sources the moringa.
Kuli Kuli’s products are carried in more than 800 retail outlets, including Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts and Kroger, according to Curtis. Owler estimates Kuli Kuli 2015 revenues at approximately $1 million.
Curtis says, the company’s moringa is sourced from women-owned cooperatives in Ghana, where they have already planted over 100,000 moringa trees. In Haiti, working with Whole Foods and the Clinton Foundation, Kuli Kuli is working to create a Moringa enterprise that will help to reforest the nearly completely deforested country. The Haitian moringa is used in the newly launched energy shots marketed by the company.
The partnerships with Whole Foods and the Clinton Foundation are helping to create a business model that socially and environmentally sustainable, Curtis says.
She has been recognized as a StargingBloc Fellow, a Wild Gift Better World Entrepreneur, an Ashoka Emerging Innovator and a Udall Scholar.
Lisa Curtis, courtesy of Kuli Kuli
Curtis says that her optimism and “mild delusion” provide a “recipe for taking on the impossible.” She offers three specific points for doing what others say you can’t:
First, she says, “Write down something that you’re grateful for everyday.” This habit can help social entrepreneurs who face seemingly insurmountable struggles to balance their perceptions of challenges against what has already been accomplished.
Second, Curtis says, “Imagine what it would feel like to have your goal accomplished.” Visualization is considered a key to success in areas from golf to marketing. Seeing is believing, many say. A quick internet search for “vision board” will give a sense of how the industry of people helping you to visualize your achievements has grown.
Third, “Take one small step towards your impossible goal everyday, even if it’s just sending an email,” she says. Actions have consequences and these consequences can build momentum that ultimately change your goal from impossible to inevitable.
On Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 2:00 Eastern, Curtis will join me for a live discussion about her three point plan for taking on the impossible and about her latest progress with Kuli Kuli. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
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