‘The purpose of life is a life of purpose. Connect the ‘dots’ and change the trajectory of your life.”
— Penina Rybak, CEO Socially Speaking LLC
“Learn to ask questions. You can learn so much from others.”
— Alan Starost, Partner At Zip Creative
As my readers know, I like to post in thematic units, and often do a series on specific topics on my mind (remember my series on creativity and entrepreneurship earlier this summer?) and on my ‘trep radar. The fact that I do this is not stylistic in nature, nor is it a digital marketing ploy. The fact that I cite others in my blogposts is not just showcasing my content curation skills, my branding strategy, or even showing my nice personality (although I hope I do display it 🙂
I do these things because I believe that everyone including myself, is both a student and a teacher of life; something I discussed in the recent podcast I did with Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, The Positivity Strategist. She interviewed me about my book* , The NICE Reboot and asked me about this.
Here was my response:
“What I learned about living life: due to social media and the spirit of transparency, from child to grandparent, we are all leaders in the making, and that changes everything! That changes behavior, mindset, outlook, the way we do things. Because if you walk around meeting people, interacting with people, and thinking what teachable moments am I contributing right now, to this conversation, this moment in time, this interaction, then it will shape your thoughts and actions in unexpected and beautiful ways. This knowledge is hard earned and hard learned but I appreciate life more deeply now. Life is more interesting. Life is richer. Life is more meaningful. I am more at peace with the journey, the journey of connecting all the dots, which is what really counts!”
It led to other questions and answers, some of which I’ve shared as I write this current series, which started last week, when I asked this question:
Is social good the new frontier?
Today I’d like to ask another question on my mind and share some more insights on leadership through the lens of entrepreneurship in the iEra:
What would you do now if you could?
As I wrote in my latest Tumblr post:
“Change is in the air, and I’m not just writing this because it’s the last month of the “Year of the Entrepreneur”, 2014. The business landscape is rapidly changing, and we need to keep up. Business has gone global, and there are many innovative ways for a woman entrepreneur to become an agent of change.”
That’s why in my latest article for my column in The Huffington Post, I suggested these four things to consider now. To ponder when forecasting about the state of women entrepreneurship for 2015. Julie Holloway recently wrote this excellent post in YFS Magazine where she pondered what she wishes she would have known three years ago about the state of entrepreneurial competence she needed to achieve.
But I believe there is real value in taking stock of what one knows and does in the present. I believe that it’s counterproductive to keep looking back to our individual accomplishments as a Me, not living in the present moment, not enjoying the process of acting on the Now.
The result is that we miss out on learning experiences and real time relationships where we can have the opportunity to actually hone our We.
To hone our confidence in our leadership ability, and our overall collaborative skills. These are two of the most important things to cultivate in our ever changing, increasingly complex, and increasingly globally connected workplace. Because as Brian Eno writes, “in culture, confidence is the currency of value.” One where works of art, whether they be tangible or intangible, become seen as “triggers for experiences”.
We live in a culture where one’s work and the artistry with which it is done, delivered, and displayed, is designed by a combination of intent and circumstance. We live in a culture of shortcuts and instant gratification, where “fake it ’til you make it” is par for the course.
But this hampers our ability to fully live in the Now and engage authentically with others in this space. The result is a crisis in leadership, not to mention an identity crisis compounded by perfectionism; the enemy of innovation. Confusion about who we are and what we stand for; in real time and online, especially since the lines between our selves and our digital selves/digital avatars are increasingly blurred.
As Tom Andrews so eloquently wrote in this intelligent LinkedIn post:
“I believe we all need to become more mindful of the Now. It’s what we live in, and where we actually make things—decisions, ideas, solutions, questions. Leaders are rightly preoccupied with planning for the future. But we get a little trapped by that notion, and we get stuck in our heads intellectualizing all the things that can be done perfectly in the future. Leadership is something you do now, in the present. It is kinetic, generative, productive. And it is often improvised and far from perfect.”
There are 2 quotes on my NICE website that I posted because they really resonate with me. Why? Because I’m someone who tries hard to live in the Now, and actively transition from being a Me to a We; personally, professionally, psychologically, and even spiritually. The 2 quotes are:
• What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
• What would you do with more time?
Robyn Stratton-Berkessel understands the power of these questions, and of questions in general, especially those re: playful inquiry. It’s the topic of this wonderfully enlightened TED Talk she gave last year. She touched on these questions again in our podcast when she provided these 5 lessons she got from reading my book:
1. Go for the diversity of experience and choose to interact with diverse activities/people
2. Actively seek out some virtual mentors to help you grow personally or professionally
3. Say “yes” to some new openings and don’t look back
4. Reflect on some of the patterns that might show up in your life, and what might be the trajectory, if you were to make sense of them
5. Gain clarity around the legacy that you wish to leave and act on that
She ended our podcast with this insight about the 5 lessons she took with her:
Any of these will serve to create more positive moments in your life, thereby helping you hardwire your brain for good, and feel a greater ability to be at peace with yourself and the world, whatever life may present in the future.
I would like to end today’s post with 3 lessons I shared with Robyn about what I value about myself as an empowered woman entrepreneur. What I’ve learned from living in the Now and from actively bringing transformational change into my life. Here are the 3 takeaways I discussed in our podcast, 3 skills that I believe we all need to hone in the here and now:
• Courage: It’s a verb, not just an adjective. Embrace fear and then embrace change. I look at failure differently since my own near death experience and watching my friend and mentor lose to cancer. Courage CAN be honed, often by trial by fire.
• Conviction: We live in an age of reinvention where people can reinvent themselves but the core values get reinvented as well. I’ve always believed I had a higher purpose; to help serve others, to make life better for children, to make a difference, to learn from others and spread the words of others, so we can all leave the world a better place. This belief has helped me stay true to myself, my mission, and align my digital footprint with my brand. It’s also helped me bring a unique perspective to others and drives me to collaborate with others.
• Collaboration: Seek out people to collaborate with who also believe they have a higher purpose, and work with them
In my case, I am working on honing these 3 skills to enable me to better live a life of purpose. I am also working on developing an ecosystem to launch and sustain my two core missions; my raison d’être for becoming an entrepreneur:
1. The Socially Speaking™ Autism Initiative
2. The NICE Initiative for Women Entrepreneurship
How about joining my journey for change?
To be continued….