Bulding a social enterprise is fraught with obstacles and challenging moments. Where does one go when the traditional support networks of family, funders, and partners are not enough? The resounding answer from the Skoll World Forum delegate-led session “Inspired by Faith: Wrestling with Your Calling” is, “Look inward.”

Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe. – Saint Augustine

At the session, author David Bornstein provided a mandate for those attendees still looking how to channel their energy into the overwhelming social demands of the world. Beginning with the oft-quoted phrase about finding one’s vocation, Bornstein said, “If your calling is where your deepest yearning meets the world’s deepest need, then you have to know what that deepest yearning is.” Delegates from a variety of faith traditions shared the various ways they used meditation, prayer, physiokinetic centering, and other practices to find that internal drive within themselves.Vera Cordeiro of Associação Saúde Criança called this alignment of one’s hopes and dreams with the needs of a social venture “synchronicity.” Session moderator Alex Hoffman summarized maintenance of this internal struggles as developing one’s “personal ministry” and encouraged a healthy does of questioning and doubting in order to clarify where one’s “deep well” (Bornstein’s phrase) of inspiration was leading them.

Many of the delegates also shared deeply personal stories about periods – often years – of their lives where their inspiration was not obvious and they were left with an emotional and spiritual void. Two delegates noted that through spiritual re-centering and various meditation practices they found themselves “attacked by happiness,” which ultimately enabled them to redirect their energies into the world-changing organizations they now run.


Alex Hoffman, Founder, DAC Digital Media and Changents.com (Moderator)

Susan Collin Marks, Co-founder, Search for Common Ground

Bart Weetjens, Founder, APOPO

Matt Flannery, C0-founder and CEO, Kiva

Taddy Blecher, Founder, Community and Individual Development Association

David Bornstein, Author