By Kamal Seth:
Before founding Human Circle, I worked as a recruiter for large organisations like Nestle, Philips, Mindvalley, AIESEC etc and ended up doing over 2000 interviews in 8-10 years. Interacting with people across different age groups, I found a very disturbing pattern – I realised that they were doing something that they didn’t love. In many cases, they were unproductive, unhappy and not content with their career and life in general. In 2014, we founded Human Circle to ‘connect enlightened minds’ and drive the #DoWhatYouLove movement.
In 2014, when we opened applications for the first Young India Challenge at IIT Delhi, we surprisingly got over 700 applications within two months for just 100 delegate positions. We were curious to know what made so many people apply. When we asked them the same during the interviews, they told us that YIC’s theme of #DoWhatYouLove connected with them on a deeper level. They wanted to experience something that no other event was offering in Delhi at that point of time.
The biggest challenge we faced during the event was that the room which we had booked to start the first session was occupied by a Professor who had apparently not been informed about YIC. We gathered the 100 delegates of the first ever YIC in the lawns and started the first workshop ‘Turn Your Passion into a Career’ there itself. Three hours later, we finally got another room to continue the event. This experience made us even more determined to never give up. But the support from the delegates was amazing. They did not complain at all and fully participated in the session, even though it was done without any projectors, mikes etc. Since then we have never looked back.
So far, close to 1500 people have attended the eight YICs that we have organised – seven in Delhi and one in Mumbai. We are self-funded and therefore have limited resources to invest in building a sophisticated online system to connect people. It is a challenge to keep a track of the experience of each and every attendant but many of them stay connected through our online group on Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as physical meet-ups that we have started organising recently.
The YIC alumni often share with us how YIC was the kind of push they needed to finally find what they truly love doing. Many have started new college societies, start-ups, clubs, and projects, or have gone back to a passion area that they had left behind due to academic, parental, or other pressures. Many alumni also continue to get guidance from our mentors and life coaches. Many pursue careers in the organisations of our mentors, speakers and eco-system partners. We offer recommendation letters to the most deserving candidates, and this helps them in receiving admissions and/or scholarships to pursue higher studies/jobs. More than 150 individuals have also gone through the ‘Happiness Team’ program of Human Circle, where they work as interns and volunteers for the #DoWhatYouLove movement.
It is true that we don’t focus on big brands and names for our programs and events. We believe that people should engage with the #DoWhatYouLove movement not because some big shot is telling them, but because they connect with the idea on a personal level. We want the YIC experience to be unique for every individual. Everyone has their own needs and expectations. We believe that not everyone is ready to follow their passion for different reasons. Our target audience comprises of people who are action-oriented, early adopters of new ideas who are willing to take risks at an early stage of life. Very often we see that if big sponsors are involved with an event, they inevitably influence the focus of the agenda and it becomes highly commercialised in a wrong way. It’s not that we have a policy to not work with big brands – we are just selective in our choice. For example, in the past, we have invited speakers and mentors from companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Hindustan Unilever, KPMG, Techstars etc. but they came in their individual capacities. YIC is a not-for-profit, self-sustainable initiative and we want to keep it this way, to stay focused on our mission of engaging the youth of India. Delegates pay a basic fee which helps us to keep it going. Any surplus that we make gets invested in building our organisational capacity and investing in new cities where YIC should be organised.
Human Circle is a community of people driving the #DoWhatYouLove movement – a community of students, artists, freelancers, entrepreneurs, young professionals, authors, speakers, trainers, coaches, mentors and everybody else who believes that the only way to be truly successful, rich and happy in life is by doing what we love. This simple wisdom is translated by our ‘happiness team’ into experiential physical/virtual platforms and programs like hangouts, seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, masterminds and festivals. By the end of 2017, we will have connected at least 2 million people with the #DoWhatYouLove movement.