We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
It isn’t every day in Manhattan that both tabloids and newspapers cover a story about an Ebola scare. But that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday this week. I’m someone who has lived in New York City where everyone puts on a game face that goes beyond surface fashion, especially when riding the subway, especially when riding the N train. The train which reportedly had a bed bug problem this week too. That game face is sometimes a self-defense mechanism, needed to counteract the constant sensory bombardment online and in real time, which contributes to a disquieting uncertainty about the future. That game face is also sometime a reaction of ennui, in our “been there done that” culture where the term “flavor of the month” is now “flavor of the hour”.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the game face one puts on in entrepreneurship, especially as a woman, and especially when there are setbacks. When there’s pressure to have a lean startup business model and pivot. I thought I had made some real headway this summer in my attempts to scale The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, but alas, it was just spin. A mirage on the horizon. Back to the drawing board…..
It goes to show you a lot can really happen in a New York minute. It also goes to show that what was once deemed newsworthy and/or breaking news on the national level, like this post about American airstrikes in Iraq may no longer resonate with the masses. The media is creating a voracious beast, hungry for inane stories and celebrity gossip 24/7. Social media is further changing the face of journalism as we know it, as seen from the migration of many veteran journalists to cover tech startups; a fragment of the vast entrepreneurship arena out there.
While they bring a unique perspective and fresh voice like the venerable Dan Lyons, (a Hubspot fellow who wrote this interesting post on Simon Sinek), many also miss the point. Isolationist leadership and consumption is out, and collaborative synergy is in. Collaboration is the new currency in today’s entrepreneurship space in the Digital Age. While networking and storytelling for marketing etc. are still a constant, the fact remains that the faces of business, and the face of business in general is changing.
That’s why people in the blogosphere (do a search and see what I mean!) are so enamored of Creativity Inc. (which I finished reading and plan to write about by the end of the summer). That’s why the debate about “how much collaboration is too much” rages on.
Entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs need to sit up and take note. And take names.
We women in entrpreneurship need to work together more to put on a collective game face that empowers and unites, not divides. We need to acknowledge and own our individual flavor of feminism, where “having it all” is not just a mantra about old fashioned notions of success. We need to use the media, especially social media, to forge real collaboration and real friendships with other women, so that we drive our purpose home, and truly change the world. It’s something I wrote about in my book, The NICE Reboot, and is a running theme in many of my blog posts for The Huffington Post and Tumblr.
It’s something to think about when we scan the horizon, looking for the next Big Idea, honing our game face when it doesn’t happen.
I believe that there comes a time when we need to stop looking at the game faces of others and look inward, rediscovering our own inner child and that face from yesteryear. It’s time to dispel the mystique of the mask and embrace our own vulnerability. It’s time to marvel at the wonder of the moment, and the unexpected learning opportunity that is now. It’s time to discard the game face and embrace the mess. It’s time to reboot our attitude and our actions. Who’s in?