Who’s Will Samson?
Everyone needs a legend, a key to help you make sense of your life and the decisions you face. Here’s mine: My goal in life is to deconstruct the myth of the self-made man or woman.
Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps is a story we love to tell and imagine is true of ourselves. It’s the American Dream, the tale of Rags-to-riches.
The only problem is that it’s just not true. No one has ever succeeded alone. Peel back the onion on any success story and you find people and resources that, combined with tremendous personal effort, allowed that person to succeed. My goal is to spend my time convincing people to be that difference in the lives of others.
It’s the reason I earned a PhD in Sociology. It’s the reason I became a Board Certified Life Coach. It’s the reason I help guide the efforts of Common Change, a group experimenting with alternative models of philanthropy. For the same reason, I serve on the Board of Directors of the Center for Environmental Leadership, a global organization promoting religious responses to our environmental crises. It’s the reason I’m involved in community gardening efforts in my adopted hometown of Lexington, KY and why I love to grow and serve good food to people.
If you need to read a resume, go to my LinkedIn profile. You’ll find that I have served as the Executive Director of a global non-profit, the CEO of a dot-com company and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Georgetown College. I started my professional life in electoral politics, working on over thirty campaigns throughout the American Southeast. I wrote some books and book chapters on social justice, and Oxford published my dissertation research on the changing face of American Evangelicalism.
But, aside from being remembered as a loving husband, father, friend and community member, the only line I want on my gravestone is this: “He helped people help people.”