This is our second installment of our blog series called, “Your Purpose is the Solution” from the recap of our latest #makeBREAD Startup Classroom featuring Lisa Nicole Bell.
At BREAD we see ourselves creating a space of like-minded purpose driven or purpose seeking individuals who believe in the philosophical concept of meliorism, which is the belief that the world can be made better by human effort. Where others might ask if we see the glass as half full or half empty, those who are oriented around meliorism are asking, how can we get more in the glass?
We are highlighting local entrepreneurs who shared their dream and purpose with us during our “Dream Cypher”. At BREAD we view each person’s purpose as the solution to challenges that face our communities.
We are incredibly grateful for our BREAD attendees, as their energy and engagement with our guests is what makes these events so special.
I had the opportunity to interview Veronica Chapman, who is one of our BREAD regulars. She has been there since our first event and has not missed one yet! If you see her at a BREAD event you’ll see her with a huge smile on her face, connecting with other audience members. Veronica holds an M.B.A. from Babson College. Even as someone who has an advanced degree and extensive knowledge of business she said BREAD is something special and unique. During our conversation she spoke about the value she gets from BREAD events. While at business school she learned a lot of textbook knowledge, where at BREAD events guests are sharing what can’t be found in books, real life experiences of entrepreneurs. She said that the stories that guests share, which include their challenges and their triumphs, inspire others to act on their vision.
“We can’t afford to sleep on our visions because we don’t know what impact we can have. You do a disservice to yourself and others if you don’t take advantage of that while you’re alive.” -Veronica Chapman
Our BREAD audience got to first hear about Veronica’s personal vision during our Dream Cypher at our October event featuring Julian Mitchell. She shared with the audience that her first children’s book was just about to be published, called “I Know I Can”. Then, eight months later, at during the Dream Cypher at Lisa Nicole Bell’s event, she got up again and reported to us, holding a copy of her book in hand, that her vision had come full circle. Her book was published!
Veronica’s vision had taken years of hard work to actualize. Her concept for the book, and her main character Faith, had first come to her the same week she was about to graduate from Spelman College in 2003. She wrote the first two pages and then put it aside while tackling other projects. She remained committed to seeing her idea through in its entirety. As she told me, if she has a vision she feels a sense of responsibility to ensure it manifests. She recounted the obstacles she faced during the long process such as a failed Kickstarter campaign, yet, she wasn’t deterred from finishing not only what she started, but why she set forth to begin with.
Veronica’s purpose in life is to do whatever is in her power to make sure that no dream is deferred. She has dedicated her life to inspiring young people to live to their fullest potential. She described that the way she works, by default, is that she doesn’t worry about things that are out of her control. Instead she directs her energy towards a solution that she can control. She explained that she saw an opportunity to contribute to the lack of representation of black girls in children’s literature. She saw a lot about books about loving your hair, which are important, but wanted to focus on other issues such as global awareness and civil rights.
As demonstrated through Faith, in “I Know I Can!”, Veronica thinks that the earlier we can get young people to expand their view and understanding of the world then the earlier they can establish their identity and who they are in the world and claim their right to carry out their purpose.
She believes that there is value to be had for young people if they claim their purpose early, as it will equip them to manage and maneuver through obstacles they will inevitably face with a sense of intention and direction.
Her own philosophy reflects that of a growth mindset, a theory developed and researched by psychologist Carol Dweck Ph.D. Our potential can thrive depending on if we believe that our qualities, such as intelligence and personality can be developed, rather just fixed traits. Individuals who possess a growth mindset believe that, not only can they make changes in their own life through the effort they set forth, but they are able to bounce back from rejection and setbacks by reflecting on what they can control and make adjustments accordingly.
Veronica demonstrates a growth mindset in her own life, as she is always looking for a solution and what she can contribute, rather than getting caught up in a fixed mindset that things are just the way they are and that they are not going to change. Her perseverance and commitment to offering solutions is inspiring. Although it took 14 years for Veronica to get the story of Faith to come alive she never gave up and because of that other children will get to proclaim “I Know I Can!”
If you would like to purchase “I Know I Can!” to inspire yourself of someone you love to live their fullest potential, it is available for purchase on Amazon.
What do you need and what can you offer? At BREAD we believe that our communities our sufficient and that they is an abundance of resources right here, but we need to be more intentional cultivating spaces for connection. BREAD hopes to be one of the many curators of connection in our community in order to facilitate greater impact.
Veronica needs help with:
Connecting with elementary school educators to consider hosting “I Know I Can!” events with school aged children.
Veronica can offer help with:
Visually mapping out an entrepreneur’s business model canvas taking someone through it piece by piece. This is a step by step process for their dream, in a way that feels accessible, rather than intimidating.
You can reach Veronica @drivenjones on Twitter and email@example.com