“From a very early age, I made my decisions based on careers that I admire. The one thing that all the actresses I love have in common is that they have diversity in their careers.”
— Olivia Wilde
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.”
— Malcolm Forbes
There has been a steady migration to the entrepreneurship arena lately, which includes women from all walks of life; for which I am truly grateful. Founders are no longer tethered to the innovation of Silicon Valley, something Vivek Wadwa also recently wrote about here. While this is great news, especially for women, there is a growing realization of the toll startup entrepreneurship can take; financially, personally, and communally.
Today’s startup culture is fiercely competitive; a show of both financial and psychological warfare. Added to the mix is the increasing need for technologically savvy, multidirectional marketing, using social media. The danger in that is that people can get caught up in the Hunger Games mentality of startup life. We need to be mindful of running the risks of:
• Losing our authentic inner voice and opportunity to provide much needed thought leadership and virtual/physical mentorship
• Losing our ability to better balance humanity and technology by shying away from collaborating together and proving that indeed the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
The road to success in entrepreneurship hinges on several factors; some of which I have written about in my current series here on WordPress. I’d like to wrap up this series by raising these 3 points. It’s something that is usually said about education, the other space I occupy. But I think it needs to be said more about entrepreneurship, no matter the variations on the theme; intrapreneurship, solo-preneurship, and mom-preneurship etc.
It takes all kinds of minds. It takes a village. It takes diversification.
NICE Initiative Takeaways:
1. Actively seek out varied learning, career, and life experiences in real time and online, to enhance your ability to intellectually pivot ideas as needed.
Repeated exposure to diverse learning experiences and cultures foster Theory of Mind (perspective and empathy) and social communication skills needed for collective problem solving, the cornerstone of civilized behavior. Successful entrepreneurship needs different outlooks and mindsets to provide disruptive innovation which impacts our collective actions and service/product. Reverse mentorship and networking outside your industry can make for more well rounded and heterogenous “teachable moments” which linger. See this insightful video of Dr. Temple Grandin’s famous TED Talk about different minds, which hits this home.
2. Actively seek out thought leadership and mentorship from a diverse group of people, including outside your industry, when networking and curating content. Save (I use Zite, Evernote, and Pocket the most frequently) comment, share, thank, and attempt to personally communicate with those (I try to post/DM on Twitter and/or connect on LinkedIn) whose teachings, whose words, whose works, resonate with you emotionally.
If you diversify your activities and mentorship, you get to expand your horizons and exposure to seemingly random patterns of behavior in others, that can be helpful to your plan of action when you “connect the dots” re: the service/product you want to provide. Experiencing different outlooks will help you better curate content and enhance your emotional attunement with others, which is needed for the entrepreneurial process-why? Because the outcome is partially determined by the successful pitches to build a client base, successful marketing to maintain it, and successful civic engagement you engage in, making it about purpose as well as profit. See this powerful video which hits this home. Thanks to my fellow speech therapists Lauren Enders and Lois Jean Brady for sharing it on Facebook this week!
3. Actively seek out opportunities to occupy a space in the entrepreneurial arena from different entry points.
Get to know your strengths and challenges, the multiple intelligences and learning styles you bring “to the table”, enabling you to create multiple revenue streams and solutions to problems. Get to know “the politics of the playground” and what biological/environmental triggers can contribute to your plan to provide disruptive innovation to diverse niche markets and diversification of your actions and assets; physical and mental. This is especially important for women entrepreneurs to consider, since they are the ones whose work/life balance is constantly shifting, requiring flexibility, multi-tasking (sometimes to their detriment), and proactively problem solvingas a way to harness time and foster productivity. See this inspiring video which really hits this home.
The road to success in entrepreneurship can be as twisted as a curly fry. It’s frequently fraught with detours, self-doubt, setbacks, obstacles, and even missed opportunities. The trick is to diversify, in both thought and deed, so that you seek counsel and synthesizes it with your own ideas. So you impact the lives of others and crafts a meaningful, self-sustaining legacy. So you stay flexible and resilient; all of which contribute to the collective human drive for self-actualization and personal growth.
Isn’t that the whole point of living?