3 Important Lessons for Change-Makers


Earlier this year I entered the #AusSaysThanks Competition through Young Opportunities Australia, by writing a blog post on what I was thankful for, and somehow I won! A few short months later and I was flown to Melbourne to meet the creators and busy people of Young Opportunities, as well as the passionate team at Thankyou.

This day really was eye-opening. I think that sometimes being young can make you feel like you have to reach a certain point or age in your life to be able to chase after your dreams, but after meeting both Young Opportunities and Thankyou, I can say that I left with a completely different mindset.

Over the course of the day I learned 3 things that I wanted to pass on to other young people like me, they are:

1) The importance of working together

If you’re passionate about making a difference, then you are probably surrounded by a group of friends who are too. Often, it can feel like you’re all competing for the same opportunities, even when you all want the same outcome. Walking into Thankyou’s fresh and lively office just proved this point. Their walls are beautifully covered in photographs from their overseas projects and inspirational quotes, my favourite being: “we rise by lifting others.”

Meeting Beth, Thankyou’s Community Engagement Manager, solidified Thankyou’s passion to lift people up, and also showed me just how important it is for individuals to work together. Beth said, “We want to empower other people to be game-changers too.” She left me feeling super encouraged to spread this message, because we have strength together, not alone.

2) It’s okay to fail (but try again)

I love Thankyou, not just because their products (which are amazing and delicious) are funding development projects overseas, but I also love their history. Thankyou began in 2008 when three passionate teenagers decided they wanted to make a difference, by creating a water bottle company to fund clean water projects overseas. It definitely wasn’t ‘smooth sailing’ for them. Thankyou probably failed a million times before it was successful, but these teenagers had a dream, and they kept trying over and over again until that dream became a reality.

This story was told to me by Pete Yao, Chief Impact Officer at Thankyou, who has been working there since the early days. He talked about the reason why Thankyou kept pursing their dream was because they had a purpose. Pete shared, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Pete talked about how it’s okay to fail, but if you know why you’re doing this, that gives you purpose, and that purpose can get you through any failure. It reminds me that there will always be things that go wrong, but even when everyone gives up on you, never give up on your purpose and yourself.

3) It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it

Whilst in Melbourne I spent the day with Margaret Quixley, the founder of Young Opportunities Australia. Margaret has an incredible history of opportunities, including some interning in the U.S and helping out in The Philippines, but was drawn to creating Young Opportunities after graduating from University, applying for hundreds of jobs, and realising how difficult it is for young people to begin their careers.

Margaret shared with me how her career has not been easy, but all the hard work is totally worth it. This was evident when she expressed that she worked 4 days a week, as well as running Young Opportunities (which is pretty insane), she said that it’s not unusual to have an 80-hour working week. But Margaret clarified that it was totally worth it. I think what I learned from having long chats with her is that if your dreams scare you, if they  have the possibility of going wrong, then when you achieve your dreams – it’ll be a bigger and better success than you could have ever dreamed of. Margaret inspired me to go out into the world, spread the message of love and chase after my passions.

Claudia Bailey is the winner of our Australia says thanks campaign. She is a World Vision Youth Ambassador for 2015 and is passionate about global human rights, particularly around the issue of food security. Claudia is returning back to Timor-Leste in November to work on a nutrition program with mothers and children in rural communities. Claudia is an avid writer and blogger, and will spend her weekends in Timor-Leste capturing stories and sharing them on her website.

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