Defining Success: How Not Winning Does Not Equate to Losing
If you'd like to learn more about the annual Social xChange hosted by Ryerson University's SVZ, go to their website here.
A lot has occurred in the past few days.
Marches recognizing women’s rights worldwide, our neighbour to the south placing controversial bans on immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries, the Ringling Bros. shutdown, to name a few.
Oh, and Social xChange, a two-day long event (Jan. 28-29) best described as a hybrid between a pitch competition and a hackathon for aspiring social innovators. Long story short, I — and Global Figure, by extension — didn’t walk away with a monetary prize or a winning title.
Melodramatics aside, I’m going to be completely honest. School was more or less on hiatus; I had finished writing my final exam for semester one on the 27th, so my hopes were high going in.
For context, I had just received a hefty grant from a notable Toronto-based organization, so I was determined to keep the stream of funds flowing. What’s more, I was no stranger to Ryerson University’s Launch Zone, where Social xChange was hosted, having participated in their Basecamp program offered to entrepreneurial high school students this past summer.
Equipped with plenty of knowledge in the space, and a desire to come back stronger (my Basecamp experience culminated in a subpar pitch I threw together just hours before for the final showcase), the ambivalence I felt at the beginning of the event quickly turned to (over)confidence.
The only challenge? Brevity. Evidently, it was, and is still not, my forté.
Ask me to perform a lengthy monologue, and I will gladly accept. But condensing Global Figure’s sustainable financing strategy into 5 minutes? You would be hard-pressed not to find me in a state of panic, spewing buzzwords left and right.
I thank my ineptitude to manage my time well.
I have now come to recognize my flaws. I didn’t allocate sufficient work time toward rehearsing my pitch fully, instead I obsessed excessively over the design of my powerpoint slides. And, in a frantic rush against the time-limit, I struggled to coherently verbalize my plan to the judges.
Nobody is to blame but myself.
That isn’t to say that I didn’t gain from the event, however, a considerable amount of experience to apply, connections to follow-up on, future opportunities to explore, and of course, lbs from the abundant amounts of food, seemingly ever-present no matter the time of day.
Ultimately, I lost nothing.
To be fair, it is also at moments like these I begin to wonder why I bother to dedicate an entire blog post to a happening so recent, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
In a time of such widespread uncertainty in the world, my so-called personal “problems” pale in comparison. I hesitated for a long time on whether I should put pen to paper — or quivering fingers to keyboard, rather — and compose my thoughts for the online community to dissect.
In the end, I decided to stop overanalyzing and simply write. This is not a rant to complain about the past, highlighting its negative aspects. Nor is it a reflection; it is not that complex.
You see, I firmly believe that things will eventually fall into place. Yesterday, while far from ideal, was merely a fork in the road. I could continue to dwell on the smallest of details, or I could simply acknowledge them and incorporate that mental note when facing similar situations in the future. I choose the latter.
This a public affirmation of that choice.
Take it as you will, but this post’s intention is to document, to share, to put into perspective the journey undertaken by Global Figure — and many other social ventures just starting out.
After all, I figure there is little to lose.
- A L I C E C H E N G -
I'm a 15 year old Osaka-born Chinese IB student who calls Toronto home. Native to Shenyang, an old industrial city in Northeastern China, I didn't grow up with the most eco-friendly household/circle of friends.