I love TOMS Shoes. Love them. I love the company, I love their product, I love the One for One movement, I love what they’re doing in the world, and I love their founder and Chief Shoe Giver, Blake Mycoskie, in a super-fan way usually reserved for my favorite musicians.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the company, TOMS is a for-profit company with a One for One mentality: with every shoe purchase TOMS gives away a pair of shoes to a child in need. This summer they began the same thing with sunglasses – each eyewear purchase equals vision screening, glasses, etc. for someone in need. Even with Blake’s new book, Start Something That Matters, TOMS is partnering with Random House to send a new book to a child in need. They take this movement seriously, and for that reason, I am honored to be partnering with them today.
As a member of their Books for Bloggers program, I received two copies of Start Something That Matters, in the mail: one for me to read and keep, and one to send out to one of you lovely readers. I’m super stoked to share this with one of you. But more on that later…
Chances are if you read my blog, it’s because you may be at a place in your life that’s caused you to step off the “what I’m supposed to do” track and into a quest of vision and identity for your life. Our dead-end jobs aren’t cutting it and we’re looking to make a difference in the world. We’re afraid of waking up in 15 years to the same thing in the same cubicle having done nothing of importance in the world, having lived a life that doesn’t really matter. It sounds dramatic, but I know you know what I’m talking about:
“There is something different in the air these days…People are hungry for success – that’s nothing new. What’s changed is the definition of that success. Increasingly, the quest for success is not the same as the quest for status or money. The definition has broadened to include contributing something to the world and living and working on one’s own terms” (19).
Probably my favorite part of the book is a Pro/Con list from Blake’s journal from the days right before TOMS began. He’s trying to make a calculated decision, trying to figure out where he’d get the money. In the pros column is “shoes are really comfortable so if does not work, could give as christmas gifts to friends.” I love that. But also on the pros list is “I have never been so excited about ANYTHING!” I have blogged in the past about this ache of mattering – the desire to do something knowing that you’re going to make a difference, knowing that what you do is going to matter – that I believe each of us carries with us. I loved being able to see that moment in writing from Blake’s own history, and it invoked in me again that similar desire.
Blake broke this ability to do something that matters down into three steps that made sense to me: “If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger – something that matters” (36-37). So rather than worry about finding a job where I can do something that matters, first and foremost, I need to figure out what my passions are, let those things come into clear focus and build my life around that. For me, that means writing, reading, and building relationships. And right now, I’m working to continue my story by applying to grad school to work towards my MA in Counseling Psychology. On Monday I mailed my application away!
Blake tells his story with TOMS (a great story if you’ve never heard it before) as well as stories of other companies who began with the urge to make the world a better place. With emphases on simplicity, giving, connection with others, and the importance of story, he lays out practical ways to make your own similar dreams become reality. Blake writes from a genuine and modest place. The book is encouraging and inspiring and sprinkled with excerpts from his journal and photographs from the TOMS journey. At the close of this book, he shares this with us:
“People often ask me what I consider to be my goal at TOMS. The truth is that it’s changed over the years. When we first began, the goal was to create a for-profit company that could help relieve the pain and suffering felt by children around the world who do not have shoes. And that objective continues to be a powerful driver for me and everyone else at TOMS.
But recently my attitude has shifted. Today I would say that my goal is to influence other people to go out into the world and have a positive impact, to inspire others to start something that matters, whether it’s a for-profit business or a nonprofit organization. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to share everything we have learned at TOMS, so that as many others as possible can start something important…In fact, I get more joy from hearing those kinds of stories than from almost anything else” (182).
So, as I said before, I’m super stoked to give away a copy of Start Something That Matters. How can you get in on this? Simple! Leave a comment answering one of the below questions, and then share this post with your followers either on Twitter or Facebook (or both!). I’ll choose a winner this weekend and mail the book to you! Even if you’re not interested in the book yourself, I’m sure you know someone who would love this as a Christmas present… 🙂
What inspires you? What are you passionate about? How can you turn that into your story? What do you want to be known for as a person?