Originally posted April 25th on Medium

Happening now on the campus of Santa Clara University is the annual Iron Bronco challenge. This event is a full Iron-Man distance triathlon run from April 17th through May 1st. If you are not familiar with it, the Iron-Man is 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking, and a full marathon, 26.2 miles running — all in one day. It is one of the ultimate expressions of human endurance and physical achievement. I signed up and committed to take the Iron Bronco challenge; this is a fantastic goal for me and with two weeks to complete it, I was undaunted.

Then I did the math.

As it turns out, this challenge requires an average daily achievement of approximately 300 yards swimming, 2 miles running, and 8 miles biking. This is like running a sprint distance triathlon every day for 2 weeks! I have actually competed in sprint triathlons and had to train up for them. Never would I have considered running 2 in the same weekend, much less 14 in 2 weeks.

I certainly would never have attempted this goal if I had done the math in advance. 

But with the commitment driving me, and ibuprofen my training partner, I am still pushing to hit my goal. Will I make it? Check back at 11:59pm May 1st to find out.

Commit, then do the math.

So it is with entrepreneurs, who spurred on by visions of a better world, accept great challenges long before they ever figure out how to make it happen. This is even more the case for social entrepreneurs who face far greater challenges operating in markets without established infrastructure and relatively nascent financial investment ecosystems while fighting against social and behavioral norms. These are the hardworking, fearless, sometimes crazy people that Miller Center has committed to help.

In fact, we have set a goal to help social entrepreneurs benefit the lives of 1 billion people by 2020. This is our audacious goal, put forth without the math but to inspire new ways of thinking and working. Since then, and even still, we are doing the math, finding ways to achieve this audacious goal. We are improving our programs, establishing new ones, forging new partnerships, finding new ways to reach further to help more social entrepreneurs help more people.

Unlike my Iron Bronco goal, our Miller Center goal is one that we cannot achieve alone. We cherish the help of our donors and partners to achieve this goal together. Will we make it? Check back 11:59pm December 31st 2020 to find out. Or better yet, jump in to find out how you can help too!