Misha had the idea for Greenpop after racking up 360 000 air miles while doing an advertising job. They wanted to offset their carbon footprint but couldn’t face just handing over money – they wanted to get their hands dirty. Misha gathered like-minded individuals and started a campaign which aimed to plant 1000 trees in one month and get as many people involved as possible.
The idea took off and after the initial month, it was evident that there was a huge need and his idea turned into something much bigger – Greenpop was founded.
Misha spent 6 months driving from Cape Town to London on the ‘Doing it for Africa’ project which profiled NGOs on the continent, was a producer for the fundraising event ‘Night of 1000 Drawings’ and has been called a ‘human doing’ by friends for his anything-is-possible approach to life.
My Definition Of Success | Success for me is the ability to have purpose in my work. Be respected for the work I do. And to live simply and comfortably in a way that does not negatively affect anyone or the environment.
I Am Driven By | The ideas of what could be, the imagination that fills me, the dreaming up of possibilities of living like Dr Seuss in my perfect world, where hard work has allowed for big things, where social change and innovation are my staple, and the challenges that will forever present themselves may become bigger, but will always feel manageable due to the resilience of the foundations built.
My Highlights | I would say that the certain milestones in my life that stand out would have to be the festival of action – Reforest Fest we hosted this year where we planted 10 000 trees with 600+ people. It was for me a real sense of achievement. That with mass action, measurable things can happen quickly. And that some many people are ready to take action if they have the right platforms to do so.
Additionally, we just returned from our 3rd Trees for Zambia where 152 volunteers came from 16 countries around the world to plant trees and celebrate.
The Difference Between Good And Great | The difference is passion. Delivering what you do time and time again with all the passion you have in the world no matter what the task. I was had a staff member who said, “We just plant trees, its not like we are running a 5 star hotel.” Well that was a major concern for me. In life it doesn’t matter what you do, you should always do it in the most professional way you can. Always deliver 100% and you’ll succeed. Deliver it with passion. If you lose that passion, if you think its ok to sometimes deliver 50%, well then you are asking to have a substandard business and career ahead of you.
A Key Talent | The one talent which is integral to making a start-up a successful enterprise would be resourcefulness. I’d say things can come in many forms. How far can you stretch yourself, how frugal can you be with your own finances to keep the business reinvested. The ability to canvas for support in all the principles of making business function. There are so many short-term and long-term needs that must be addressed in order to get the wheels turning. If you can’t make them work, then someone has to or the business will grow in all the wrong places. How can you be resourceful with creating value? Value for your stakeholders, your clients, your staff. All of them need value but making that value felt and unique to the needs of who is receiving it is critical. Being resourceful every day within all departments, giving colleagues the room to allow for them to make valuable plans to create opportunities or adapt to challenges.
The Characteristics Of Success | Design, people management and logistics. Systems thinking approach to setting up internal processes. Consumer Behaviour.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Staying positive is a major lesson for me. I have had some times where the whole risk of the ship sinking, the self-sacrifice that lead to nothing or potentially feeling humiliated amongst my peers due to failure has felt like the world is ending. This emotion can ruin you. It will get everyone you surround yourself with feeling demotivated. Sometimes you need to make big plans, drastic measures, survival techniques, cutting back. This is all about building an enterprise from the ground up without seed funding. Well if you try in every way to stay positive and give your people that in every form. Motivate them to come in the direction that will take the business from its precarious position to a place where its healthier and back on track, you need to just stay positive. Realistic, but positive.
Performing At My Peak | Finding some balance. Keep things fun. Bring strong culture into the office environment, which allows for everyone to feel part of something.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | Consuming books and other media from the best people in the industry is always a good way of keeping one motivated. I also devour TED videos as often as I can. I try surrounding myself with people from all walks of life that are walking a similar path, who gravitate toward positive social and environmental change as a major life focus. This keeps me constantly learning, understanding and pushing my limits.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I’d like to live in a tree house or an earth ship one day. Where all the food and products needed are all readily available from the land surrounding, where people come from far and wide to learn, live, grow and participate. I dream of hosting a social change festival in Sub-Saharan Africa where 1000’s of people participate and plant 100 of thousands of trees over a short period of time, through strategic organizing of the masses of people, followed by an abundance of world music.
Advice On Building Wealth | I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer this question, though I can tell you that I have a great deal of wealthy friends many of whom are in the midst of a purpose crises. You can spend your whole life chasing wealth and riches, but unless you have a healthy dose of purpose, real purpose in there, the happiness factor won’t be nearly as easy to achieve.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I’d like to leave a world that has a change in mindset. Where being responsible for ones community, home and environment is as important to an individual as food on the table or a new pair of sneakers. I would like to leave a world where all who I worked with or tried to inspire where motivated to take the sometimes less comfortable decision in the short-term, but by doing this gave weight to a thriving world in the long-term.
Useful Links |
*Photo credited to Sarah Isaacs