Scott Harrison’s Magic Ingredient
Have you ever gotten the chance to sit front row at your favorite concert? It’s amazing, right? Last Friday I had the chance to hear one of my role models speak about his journey of success and guess where I got to sit? Yep — you got it! Front row!
I ran to be the first one in the audience so I could take a seat in the front, because I wanted to be fully focused. I was actually sweating from running so fast and not wanting to miss a second. Everyone around me seemed to be moseying on at an average pace, like they didn’t even know who was speaking. This was Scott Harrison!
If you’re not a huge fangirl like I am, you might wonder — what’s the big deal with Scott Harrison? Sure, he is a founder of a successful non-profit, but there are many of those! Well, here is why I am in awe of Scott Harrison. He follows my life goal with this one equation: What you love to do + What the world needs = Purpose. You see, Scott Harrison was the ultimate party boy. A huge club promoter in NYC, he decided to take a journey to find what the world needed from him. He discovered that the world needed clean water. He then began his career of throwing huge parties where guests would raise money for water, instead of accepting gifts. He took his love of parties and his observation of a need in the world and created purpose. Scott Harrison ignited a fire with the resources he had and that flame caught on fast.
After many other NYU speakers, the Key Note Speaker himself finally stepped onto the stage. Never in my life have I sat up so straight with such good posture. As soon as he began to speak, my eyes were glued to him. For one of the few times in my life, I was able to pay 100% attention without any distractions! (Okay. You’re right. 95% — but I was pretty damn close.)
In the first few minutes of his talk, Scott asked the audience, “Who here has a social impact start up or wants to go into that?” I raised my hand super high to be noticed, and then looked around and realized that, in a whole room of people, I was one of four with their hands up. Now I understood why people weren’t running as fast as I was to get their seats.
Throughout Scott Harrison’s talk, I literally wanted to jump up and down and scream “HOW?!” It was like seeing the top of Mt. Everest, being able to catch a glimpse of what non-profit success could look like, but feeling so far away — and wondering how I could make it there too.
During Scott’s speech, I heard his stories; I heard his NO’s; I heard his journey. But most importantly — I heard his magic. When the moderator asked if he is proud of his success and how far he’s come, Scott said “No! It’s been ten years and we’ve only gotten clean water to 6 million people! We have another 600 million to go!”
And there was my magic. Despite all his success, and getting clean water to a whole 1% of the world’s population that goes without clean water, he was upset with how little he has accomplished. It was clear how much more he wants to do and how much bigger he wants Charity:Water to grow. His frustration was palpable, and ironically, it was then that I felt: Yes. I recognize this feeling. I have collected 100,000 pairs of socks, obtained a 501c3, created numerous dinners bringing together corporate America and those who are homeless to eat side-by-side, yet still I find myself appalled with how little I have accomplished.
FINALLY. A piece I can really relate to. This was the moment that I realized Scott and I weren’t so far away after all. Our scales might be different sizes, but our frustration and desire to make a bigger impact were the same. It was for that brief moment that I realized that I can do it too. And I am never going to feel like I have done enough or accomplished enough. But that’s the game I am playing. And if Scott Harrison still uses that frustration to drive him to his successes, the magic of never enough, then I am ready to fill up my car with that same gas and enjoy the ride.