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What Can We Learn From a 10-Year-Old About Making a Stand?

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Brenda Carson/Shutterstock.com

The adorable 10-year-old girl in the picture with my wife, Diane, and me is Vivienne Harr. We met her at a party at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Valentine’s Day evening. Earlier that afternoon she spoke to 2,000 people about how her lemonade business has raised over $1 million to help free 18 million children around the world from slavery.

Yes, you read that right. Vivienne, with the help of her parents, has raised over $1 million -- in one year -- to end child slavery. It started when her parents shared with her a photo book of child slaves in Nepal and it made her “really sad.”

She decided to open a stand to sell enough lemonade to make a big enough donation to an organization that could end child slavery for 500 kids. That would take $100,000. She raised the money in 170 days. Selling lemonade. Here’s how she did it.

As she said to the crowd at Wisdom last week, she quickly realized it was going to take a  ong time -- “like a million years” -- to raise the money at $1 a cup. So she started asking people to pay what they felt in their heart. As she told us, some gave $1 and some gave $100. Since then, she’s partnered with Twitter (her dad is a social media expert) to spread the word, and that’s played a big role in raising the million dollars.

Vivienne told Wisdom 2.0 founder and host Soren Gordhamer that her company, Make A Stand, is not a business, it’s a give-ness. When he asked her to explain the difference, she replied, “A business takes. A give-ness gives. We give people our lemonade. They give what’s in their hearts. We give kids freedom.”

Two years after starting her lemonade stand, Vivienne and her dad have started Make A Stand to sell donation-based organic, fair trade lemonade with the intent to give 5 percent of all revenues before profit (there is no profit yet) to five organizations that work to end child slavery.

There’s a lot we can learn from 10-year-old Vivienne. Some of things that come to mind include: Listen to your heart. Ask other people to listen to theirs. Work on things that touch your heart. Share what’s on your heart and ask others to help if they feel moved to do so.

It’s interesting to think about what the world would look like if there were more give-nesses, isn’t it?

(Image via Brenda Carson/Shutterstock.com)

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

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