11 Nov 2014

Before I Die I want to help you to achieve your wildest ambitions

By Jessica

This is a guest blog from Olivia Comberti, Founder and CEO of Before I Die Network (pictured far right at a Before I Die Network Social). 

There’s a bit in Do Disrupt by Mark Shayler that neatly summarises the reasoning behind the Before I Die Network. It goes like this:

  • Take a 1m tape measure [one of the free ones from Ikea will do];
  • Cut it at your age now;
  • And again at your likely death age (family history will help you here);
  • And again at when you expect to retire;
  • That’s what you’ve got left;
  • And you’ll spend 1/3 of that asleep.
  • Better crack on then.

Life is much shorter than we realise. And yet:

  • Careers support focuses on getting people into the first job that comes along – rarely on passion.
  • Graduates’ first impression of work is often of unpaid internships, 0 hours contracts, and the underlying message “If you want to succeed, aim lower”. That’s a dangerous mantra for someone to start their working life believing.
  • Recruitment increasingly treats people as cogs in a machine – expecting them to arrive ready to turn, with minimal training.
  • We talk about what we want to achieve with our lives, but then we sit at home trawling job sites and trying to figure out whether that goal fits best under administration, business consultancy or marketing.

We desperately need a way for people to pursue their goals in a way that meets the excitement and inspiration that task should have.

The Before I Die Network is a community space where young people taking their first steps into employment can stop and reflect on the sorts of questions we don’t consider enough. What do you want to achieve with your life? What does success mean to you? What do you care passionately enough about to fight for? Attendees leave our workshops with an action plan and support network to help them achieve that.

After our workshops, people stop dreaming and start doing. One participant signed up to a Swahili course the following morning, taking her one small step closer to her goal of campaigning for women’s rights in East Africa. Another who dreamed of working as an art psychotherapist in post conflict countries signed up to an art psychotherapy course that week, and started drawing again with passion for the first time in years. Over 50% of participants take actions towards what were previously their partially formed “pipedreams” in the week following the workshop.

The online platform we’re developing builds on that momentum. It’s a place to manage your goal, prioritise the next week’s tasks, and most importantly to build a community where members can get human advice and support on the challenges and fears that we all face towards our ambitions, but don’t always have someone to reach out to for an answer.

The Before I Die Network supports graduates to develop the skills they need to find meaningful employment. But more than that, it empowers them, their employers and the world as a whole to reconnect with the fact that life is short – and it’s about time we spent it pursuing a career and a future worth believing in.

If you agree that the world needs a place where people can connect on what their ambitions for their lives are – drop us an email to see how you can get involved.

And if you have dreams that you want to pursue but keep pushing to the side – come along to our next Social, and start making it a reality.

The next Before I Die Network Socials are:

Find Fellow CollaboratorsWednesday 12th November at 18.30, Ziferblat, E1 6JE

Mastering Your CraftMonday 17th November at 18.30, Makerversity, WC2R 1LA