Wisdom, Spirituality, Social Entrepreneurs, and Self-Sustaining Practices: What Can We Learn from Difference Makers?

  • Sandra Waddock
  • Erica Steckler


We find that a set of pioneering social entrepreneurs, 23 difference makers, are guided by a distinct sense of hope and purpose to implement change and leave the world a better place. This hopeful, difference-making purpose that created meaning in their work and sustained their efforts is characteristic of “spirituality” as encompassed by both secular and non-secular traditions. We suggest that moral imagination, systems understanding, and aesthetic sensibility undergird the spirituality of these difference makers. Further, we elaborate on the specific practices that these difference makers engaged in to create the “spiritual spaces,” or retreats, in which personal sustenance, meaning, and connection were generated, hurdles were overcome, and where inspiration and wisdom emerged. The experience of these social entrepreneurs provides an actionable model for all of us to innovate and solve problems in our everyday lives and for the benefit of humanity by carving out personal retreats that enable us to access and leverage our own spiritual resources.


Corporate Responsibility Social Entrepreneurship Mindfulness Practice Social Entrepreneur Moral Imagination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston College, Carroll School of ManagementChestnut HillUSA

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