Quick Bite on Social Entrepreneurship #2: The strength of being vulnerable

We all believe in the old cliché of “Start with why”. When Simon Sinek started this, I bet he didn’t expect it would be somehow glorified in the path of finding your purpose, destiny, yadda yadda yadda. Having said that, I still follow him as he decodes, and helps people unlearn about leadership.

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

If you’re better in articulating the million dollar “why”, you will be able to connect to a larger group of audience, in a more profound way. It works too when you attempt to lead outside the context of business - in school, focusing on mastery of a craft etc. The key is you intend to communicate and make communication effective and worthwhile.

But to dig deeper and ask yourself “why”, requires you to take that extra effort to tell the real story and do it courageously. Your story or trauma might be painful to relive, and your openness to share might not reach your audience, whom you can’t be sure if they are ready. For some people it’s a lifelong process to be out there and talking about it.

That’s why I was just astonished and impressed by some of the first-time (Social Enterprise) “pitchers”, who were brave enough to reveal their “why”. When they shared their stories, I found myself holding my breath while listening at the back of the hall. Definitely, “Who am I?”, “What do I do?” and “What’s in it for me?” were the crowd favourite, regardless of being coaches or coachees. At one point I got extremely emotional when hearing someone speak up for the first time in the class. It was the fifth day of the bootcamp, and the voice and clarity broke down my last line of emotional defence.

Perhaps social enterprise is indeed the “emotional” business. Being a INFP who quietly suppresses all the feelings inside and remains lukewarm on the outside, I wasn’t able to go and give a pat at the back for everybody. It was kept with me like those sugar cube notes. Those that moved me include a daughter’s affirmation on empowering women in the same battle as her mom, a kampung boy’s narrative that connects going to kenduri and living in poverty, a vividly real account of living with differences since she was 5 years old, what completing a robotic modules meant to overcome the abused childhood memory, on dignifying the deaf when they are marginalised in a silent world.

Awang is the founder of Siasitok (meaning “here and there”). The pictures seems like saying “present and past”.

Being observer to what Awang is creating, I am assured that my personal battle in dignifying a community close to my heart, is not totally done and dusted. How I have stumbled, failed and went missing for two years in my journey, that probably needs another post, a lengthy one. The lapse of time has become a part of me, a lesson learned the hard way. It broke me a few times and made me vulnerable facing the future I have yet to create. Nevertheless, I found it comforting that there are people out there who share the same message on dignity:

No matter how different or underprivileged a community is, they are worthy of respect and living life just like everyone else.

The world is gonna change, because despite your vulnerability, you have the strength to forge ahead.

Note: The quote about vulnerability was taken from the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

Pardon me on usage of post-it notes. They are a big part of my life. If you know of any alternatives that feel and look the same, let me know! (meetyongyee@gmail.com)

Quick Bite on Social Entrepreneurship #1: Ownership or empowerment? is here.




I am a sport scholar who writes about personal stories and intersectional identity.

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Yong Yee Chong

Yong Yee Chong

I am a sport scholar who writes about personal stories and intersectional identity.

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