The Secret Formula to Finding Your Passion | Scott Harrison on Impact Theory

Last updated: Jun 1, 2023

The video is an interview with Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of charity: water, discussing his journey from a nightclub promoter to a philanthropist and the importance of redemption in starting over.

The video is an interview with Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of charity: water, a non-profit organization that provides clean water to people in need. Harrison shares his personal story of redemption, from his decade of debauchery as a nightclub promoter to his decision to sell everything and join a mercy ship to Liberia. He talks about the importance of asking for help and pushing through rejection, and how anyone can start over and make a positive impact on the world. Harrison's organization has raised over $300 million and built wells in 30,000 villages, serving over 8.4 million people.

  • Scott Harrison is the founder and CEO of charity: water.
  • He went from being a nightclub promoter to a philanthropist.
  • He believes in the importance of redemption in starting over.
  • Charity: water has impacted over 8.5 million lives.
  • The organization has raised over $300 million and built wells in roughly 30,000 villages.
  • Scott's journey to redemption involved a moment of realization and a commitment to a life of service to others.
  • Scott believes in the power of curiosity and exploration to find your passion.
  • He emphasizes the importance of empathy and storytelling in philanthropy.
  • Philanthropy is not just about giving money, but also about giving time, talent, and resources.

The Secret Formula to Finding Your Passion | Scott Harrison on Impact Theory - YouTube

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Introduction

  • Scott Harrison is the founder and CEO of charity: water.
  • He went from being a nightclub promoter to a philanthropist.
  • He believes in the importance of redemption in starting over.
  • Charity: water has impacted over 8.5 million lives.
  • The organization has raised over $300 million and built wells in roughly 30,000 villages.
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Scott's Journey

  • Scott started his decade of debauchery as an act of rebellion.
  • He took on the vices of nightlife one by one.
  • He realized that his selfish pursuit had left him deeply unhappy.
  • Redemption was a clean slate that allowed him to redeem the past.
  • He went on a hospital ship to West Africa and communicated a different story to his email list of influential people.
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Redemption

  • Redemption was a nostalgia for the virtue, morality, and spirituality that Scott had rejected.
  • It was a clean slate that allowed him to redeem the past.
  • Scott believes that anyone can start over.
  • Many people believe that their past defines them, but Scott's story shows that it doesn't have to.
  • Scott's book, Thirst, is a personal and honest account of his journey.
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The Secret Formula to Finding Your Passion | Scott Harrison on Impact Theory - YouTube

Impact

  • Charity: water has impacted over 8.5 million lives.
  • The organization has raised over $300 million and built wells in roughly 30,000 villages.
  • In 2017 alone, the organization raised $50 million and brought clean water to an average of 3,561 people a day.
  • Scott's philanthropic accomplishments have seen him named to Fortune magazine's 40 under 40 list and Forbes Impact 30 list.
  • Charity: water's impact has been staggering, with one person receiving clean water every 24 seconds.
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Scott's Journey to Redemption

  • Scott's life was unrecognizable at 28 years old, with drug and alcohol addiction.
  • He had a moment of realization when he saw normal people on their lunch break while he was coked out of his mind.
  • He made a commitment to walk away completely from his vices and give it all up.
  • Scott believes anyone can change and use the darkness in their past to redeem themselves.
  • It took a decade for Scott to have a cathartic moment and realize that there would never be enough success to make him happy.
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The Moment of Redemption

  • Scott had been trying to give up drugs and alcohol to mixed results.
  • He had a moment of realization on an opulent vacation in South America that there would never be enough success to make him happy.
  • Scott asked himself what the exact opposite of his life would look like, and it was a life of virtue and service to others.
  • He floundered for months before the Mercy Ship accepted him, and he walked up the gangway to sail away into his new life.
  • Scott went cold turkey and walked away from his vices, including porn, cigarettes, coke, and gambling.
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Letting Go of Traditional Trappings of Success

  • Scott realized that there would never be enough success to make him happy.
  • He committed to a life of service to others and giving away a significant portion of his money.
  • Scott views the world neurochemically and believes in the power of giving to make him feel good.
  • He believes that giving away money is a way to create a legacy and make a difference in the world.
  • Scott's commitment to service and giving has allowed him to let go of traditional trappings of success.
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The Importance of Redemption in Starting Over

  • Scott believes that redemption is crucial in starting over.
  • He believes that anyone can change and use their past to redeem themselves.
  • Scott's journey to redemption involved a moment of realization and a commitment to a life of service to others.
  • He walked away from his vices and traditional trappings of success to create a new story for his life.
  • Scott's commitment to service and giving has allowed him to make a difference in the world and create a legacy.
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Scott's Journey from Nightclub Promoter to Philanthropist

  • Scott started in nightlife, producing the biggest R&B open mic night in New York City at the time.
  • He had a knack for putting together the band and creating an environment where artists wanted to come and try out their material.
  • He eventually moved into fashion and worked at 30 fashion-type clubs over the last year.
  • Scott is tenacious and persistent, leaving 30 voicemail messages until the club owner called him back.
  • Scott grew up wanting to be a doctor and convinced a local pathologist to let him watch an autopsy.
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The Importance of Redemption in Starting Over

  • Scott hit rock bottom after years of partying and realized that money would not make him happy.
  • He found redemption in giving money away and raising money to give it away.
  • Scott's greatest ambition personally around money is to write a million-dollar check to a charity.
  • Someone wrote a million-dollar check for Scott's charity, charity: water, and completely changed the game.
  • Scott believes in the power of redemption and starting over, and that it's never too late to make a change.
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The Secret Formula to Finding Your Passion

  • Scott's secret formula to finding your passion is to try a lot of things and see what sticks.
  • He believes in the power of curiosity and exploration, and that you never know what you might be good at until you try it.
  • Scott recommends finding a mentor or someone who can guide you in your journey.
  • He also believes in the power of community and surrounding yourself with like-minded people who can support and encourage you.
  • Scott emphasizes the importance of taking action and not being afraid to fail.
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The Power of Empathy in Philanthropy

  • Scott believes in the power of empathy and using technology to deliver empathetic content to people.
  • Charity: water embraced virtual reality as a technology to deliver empathy and shot their first film with eight GoPros on a stick.
  • Scott believes that intravenously delivering empathy can get people's full attention for a few minutes while their phone is off and they're in your world.
  • He emphasizes the importance of storytelling and using it as a tool to connect with people and inspire them to take action.
  • Scott believes that philanthropy is not just about giving money, but also about giving time, talent, and resources.
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Scott's Vision and Persistence

  • Scott had a vision of serving a film at their gala in synchronous viewing to 400 people at the same time.
  • The gala was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the temple of danger.
  • 400 people would be coming in black tie and after dinner, hundreds of volunteers would walk out strap headsets on everyone and then at the same time press play and take them all to Ethiopia.
  • Scott found it hard to get the VR devices, but he wouldn't take no for an answer.
  • He found his way to the Verizon CMO and eventually convinced him to loan them 400 of the new phones and then leverage that to then work his way all the way up the Samsung chain and finally got a VP who because Verizon did the phone said okay I'll send over pallets of the things and they got him and they wound up getting it all for free.
  • They raised 2.7 million dollars after people came back to give 270 villages clean water.
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Scott's Vision for Clean Water

  • Scott can see the day on earth when everybody has clean water.
  • He can see that drop the mic moment where no human being simply because of where they're born is going to die of bad water.
  • There may be a long way between now and that moment but they're working a little closer to it this year.
  • Almost 4,000 people are getting clean water every day.
  • Hopefully, next year it's 5,000 people a day or 7,000 people a day.
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Scott's Culture of Asking

  • Scott teaches his staff how to ask and that they need to ask.
  • They have a culture of asking and it's not for them.
  • Having a business model where a hundred percent of the money is going directly to provide clean water makes it easier to ask.
  • It's excitement, asking, and invitation.
  • Scott has learned that you just have to ask and then you have to push through the nose.
  • Enough people have said yes now to impact eight and a half million lives.
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Scott's Grateful Ask

  • Scott doesn't want to be entitled ever so it's a really grateful ask.
  • He tells the story of what he's asking for and why he's asking for it.
  • If he's asking for a gift in kind which they do a lot, he tells the story of what he's asking for and why he's asking for it.
  • Scott had a landlord who had given them headquarters in New York for eight dollars a square foot in Soho.
  • This landlord then moved them into a new office in Tribeca as they grew it.
  • They have amazing stories of people encountering charity water and being radically generous.
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Building a Culture of Yes

  • Scott Harrison's office build-out cost 1.8 million dollars.
  • He got 1.3 million dollars donated because people wanted to be a part of it.
  • Samsung donated fifty thousand dollars of TVs for KPIs and dashboards all around the office.
  • The architect donated all of their fees back.
  • WeWork donated furniture from their warehouses.
  • The culture that they're trying to instill is getting enough yeses and grabbing onto that yes.
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Focusing on Craft and Excellence First

  • Charity: water focuses on craft and excellence first in the hiring process and not mission.
  • They want people who are leaving companies like Google, Adobe, or Apple saying that they didn't know that their skills could be used in a charitable context.
  • It's their job to get them excited about the mission once they come in.
  • They take their whole staff to the field every year to meet the people that they're indirectly serving.
  • They want everyone to see the human lives that are benefiting because of the work that they do.
  • They want people who want to be the very best at their craft.
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Innovating for Good

  • Charity: water innovates a lot with technology.
  • They use technology to advance their mission.
  • They use VR to take people across the world and deliver a meaningful experience to them.
  • They mounted GPS units to their drilling rigs and built web platforms where people could track them driving around Ethiopia in real-time.
  • They gave their drilling rigs Twitter accounts so they could tweet their actual location.
  • They focus on using technology for good and finding new ways to innovate every year.
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Pushing for Excellence

  • Charity: water pushes for excellence in everything they do.
  • They hold their employees to an exceedingly high standard.
  • They want people who are pouring their heart and soul into their work.
  • They want people who are leaving other companies to come work for them.
  • They want people who are the very best at their craft.
  • They want people who are excited about the mission and want to make a difference.
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The Importance of Optimism

  • Optimism is essential in any business that aims to change the world, involve people, and build a movement.
  • People are drawn to optimism and those with hope have the greatest influence.
  • Bill Gates has done a great job in promoting optimism through his notes at the end of the year.
  • Charity: water has made progress in providing clean water to people, but there is still much work to be done.
  • Optimism is necessary for fuel and motivation to achieve goals.
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Using Technology to Further Values

  • Charity: water uses new technology to tell stories and promote hyper transparency and connection.
  • They have a culture of thinking outside the box and encourage new ideas through hackathons.
  • Real products are built during hackathons that can be seen online.
  • They use technology to further their values and achieve their mission of providing clean water to everyone.
  • They are always looking for new ways to use technology to make a positive impact.
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The Impact of Charity: water

  • Charity: water aims to directly impact at least 100 million people's lives by providing clean water.
  • They have already helped 8.4 million people get access to clean water.
  • They hope that their story will inspire others to start their own charities and make a positive impact.
  • They want to sow seeds by telling stories and making speeches to encourage others to take action.
  • They believe that anyone can make a change, no matter what their past is like.
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The Importance of Redemption

  • Scott Harrison, the founder and CEO of charity: water, believes that no one is beyond redemption.
  • He gave away the whole advance and all the proceeds of his book to help more people get clean water.
  • He hopes that his story will encourage others to believe in redemption and make a positive impact.
  • He believes that everyone has the potential to change and make a difference in the world.
  • He wants to inspire others to take action and help those in need.
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Impact of a Speech

  • Scott Harrison was asked to speak in a church for four services, which he did for free.
  • He felt like he poured his guts out for no good reason as no one gave money.
  • Four years later, a $100,000 check arrived in the office from someone who heard him speak that night and changed his will.
  • The family got involved and has now given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization.
  • Scott believes that you never know how long it might take for a seed to grow, so it's important to hold on to moments like this.
  • He encourages people to find their purpose and plant as many seeds as possible to have a positive impact.

Watch the video on YouTube:
The Secret Formula to Finding Your Passion | Scott Harrison on Impact Theory - YouTube

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