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You don’t need a 'Big Idea' yet – just build off your interests

Alex WongAt our Social Impact Showcase, St. Paul’s GreenHouse purposefully focused on showing that GreenHouse really can be for anyone, no matter what part of your journey you’re at – from nothing but ambitions, to seeded ideas, to ventures running at full speed. 

We all entered at different stages and many are now leaving (cue tears) at different stages.

"I came in with nothing but castles in the sky and am leaving with a concrete social venture, funding, networks, and friends, and an amazing co-founder on board."

But… if I really think about it, I didn’t just have castles in the sky. If I look at my idea of CUE Parties (in a nutshell: sustainable, educational birthday parties using hands-on crafts and activities to spark and teach sustainable habits in youth), I really just built off my interests.

Picture of Alex's interests

CUE Parties is an amalgamation of a bunch of stuff I’ve long been interested in. I love sustainable fashion (but often can’t afford it new) and I used to document all my clothing and times worn to be able to assess cost per wear. I’ve always been aware of food, because you can’t grow up with severe allergies and not be aware of what you’re eating. Crafting and DIY run deep through my childhood and youth. I have an 11-year-old sister and I’ve grown up being that third parent – I know firsthand the trials and tribulations that come with raising a child as best we possibly can.

And I’m willing to bet that I’m not unusual. Varied interests and skills can come together in unexpected ways for everyone, if one so chooses to invest that time and effort. I found a note I made about myself over three years ago, and a lot of my interests from then have been incorporated into CUE:

To highlight some of those ongoing interests: Fashion and style, people and their passions, youth making a difference, social entrepreneurship, learning and education, spreading knowledge. And that was three years ago! 

So, my unsolicited advice for anyone: Start your own Interests list, add to it over time, and connect those dots of what you love and how you can make a difference. It takes time and self-awareness, sure, but it can lead to amazing and worthy payoffs. 

Not even sure where to begin? Start with what you like to do in your spare time, what you end up talking about with your family and friends. Look at who you follow on social media, what you Like on Facebook. I save and tag all the articles I read and find interesting, either through Evernote, Pocket, or Refind, and so I can actually quantify my interests as well.

Evernote picture of Alex's interests

And once you start investing time into your interests, like if you decide to join GreenHouse as I did, it can really snowball from there.

"An interest can become a passion can become an idea can become a business. Or multiple interests can become an innovation can become a social venture. Really, interests can lead to anything and yours will most definitely lead you on a different journey than mine."

And hallelujah to that!

(But shoutout to journeys that lead to Better Humans, Better Planet because I’m obviously biased.) 

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