Apr
08
2011

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Fellows Friday is a weekly series on the TED Blog that profiles one TED Fellow each week. We have asked the Fellows to answer our question below to share their knowledge and advice with other social entrepreneurs, innovators, and changemakers who are coming up with big ideas that can change the world.

Sarah Jane Pell is making preparations to live in the ocean. That’s right, under the sea –- but not until after a jaunt to the Arctic. Never one to be satisfied with the ordinary, Sarah Jane founded the Aquabatics Research Team Initiative to explore water choreography, technology, and human behavior as works of live art. Her future projects will offer insights into our current world, and potential worlds to come.

Sokunthea: There are many aspiring social entrepreneurs out there who are trying to take their passion and ideas to the next level. What is one piece of advice you would give to them based on your own experiences and successes?

Sarah: I think I’d have to say make sure that you are organized and focused enough to make sure that it’s sustaining. That you’re able to create projects and follow your passion in a way that has a life of its own, that has longevity as well. And that you are able to maintain a certain momentum, so that you can keep your energy high through the good times and the tough times. And you’re able to see it through.

So set yourself up with the tools – whether it be emotional or administrative – really spend time cultivating your little toolkit to empower yourself to be able to maintain that energy and that vigor and that rigor that comes with following through on a dream.

I say this because I have to remember it, too. I find myself in situations for months and months on end where I don’t have the resources to be able to do what I’d like to do. And I have to pare everything back and work it step by step by step and just do the best I can with what I have. And at the same time, make sure I have enough energy at all times to keep sight of the big picture and not be daunted.

I don’t necessarily have a pathway that’s laid out for me. I make it up as I go along. I’m treading new territories and making things happen. And it is genuinely important that I don’t just propose things but that I follow through and do them. If I could do anything differently it would be probably making sure that I had an income while I did that. Or that I could support myself better through that.

The ways that I’m successful in that is I try to create a bit of a balance. I make sure that I’m in the environment everyday, to clear my head, to change my thinking, to connect again. I try to make time for the physical, spiritual, intellectual and other aspects of my personality.

For example, I love, love dancing. I find time for it. I love everything from tango to salsa to contemporary dance … you put the music on and I will dance. In fact, I think we should be dancing underwater to remind us how precious the ocean is, and how fragile our life support is. Aquabatics celebrates and champions this awareness.

Read the rest of Sarah's Fellows Friday interview here.

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