“What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today? Build connections and relationships with people in a positive way by paying attention to the very first question asked.”
— Robyn Stratton Berkessel’s TED Talk, 2014
“May you forever thrive at that frontier’s edge. Where the known confronts the unknown.”
— Victor Hwang’s Speech, 2014
• What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
• What would you do with more time?
I also shared takeaways from my book, The NICE Reboot, which I discussed with Robyn, from a shared perspective of positivity and transformative change. Two mindsets needed to shape our our actions, and ultimately, our legacy as human beings, not just women. As I said to Robyn:
“Leaving a legacy behind is more than just your children. It’s also the kindness, praise, teachings, stories, and encouragement you provide.”
That’s why I named my book The NICE Reboot. On purpose. It’s an acronym, a play on words, by someone who’s a Mac Girl, a “techie” since childhood. Someone who is constantly rebooting as both a learner and as a work in progress (which I hope to remain!). A person who was constantly being told to be nice; growing up in an American era pre-Internet and machine learning, where etiquette was at the forefront of a girl’s education, instead of STEM. As I said to Robyn:
NICE stands for:
Nice (social good embedded into our missions)
Informed (best practices for balancing humanity and technology)
Competent (best practices for launching a service/product and publicizing it)
Entrepreneurial (growth mindset)
“The word NICE has been part of our female vocabulary for generations. It’s a real play on words. Women have more challenges in business arena than men, given our innate soft skills, and the fact that we are biologically hardwired to care about the impact our service/product has on the greater good and community at large, not just bottom line/bottom dollar.”
“Given the glass ceiling many of us still face in business, it’s easy to often put the Me before We. So I took the word NICE, which is something we expect girls to be whereas the boys are told to be smart, and created an acronym that states that real entrepreneurship solves problems that make the world better.”
“That’s why I believe in embedding social entrepreneurship in the DNA of every entrepreneur mission, and in promoting one’s mission in an effective, collaborative, and purposeful way. ”
“Being an entrepreneur is as much about mindset and attitude as it is about solving a problem. It means thinking globally about your service/product and its impact, large scale. It means redefining success in an age where we tend to nickel and dime.”
“It’s important to understand that doing good creates opportunities that will lead to wellbeing in the world at large; psychologically , physically, economically, and politically.”
I ponder all this on a regular basis but particularly at this time of year. A time where the holidays can spur our altruism and creativity. A time period that gives a nudge to transition from a Me to a We mindset.
The Digital Age has changed the way we communicate, resulting in more people adopting an attitude of We. But adopting a mindset of We is actually more important. Why?
It’s something I learned from my own experiences as a startup founder in the iEra, and something I discussed with Robyn:
“I came to the entrepreneurial arena with personal experience as both a mentee and mentor. It allowed me to enter the arena with a team player attitude and positive outlook on collaboration.”
“I didn’t have the book I wrote in 2009 when I started my company, and wish I did. I made many mistakes and lost both money and time not understanding some of the core realities of the startup arena; psychological and practical aspects of competent entrepreneurship. In my book, you learn how to be a more competent entrepreneur, not just a publicized one, by changing your:
• Mindset & Theory of Mind; reading specific posts/books and seeking out specific mentorship/virtual mentorship and social media connections
• Patterns & Actions; engaging in exercises and with specific people to develop new habits and new ecosystems”
When Robyn asked me about entrepreneurial trends shaping the startup arena, here was my response:
“There are more people in venture capital now who understand that it makes good karma and good financial sense to partner up with projects/people who will have the social entrepreneurship piece embedded within. That creating and sustaining this kind of ecosystem and social legacy is important.”
“There are hours and hours of virtual mentorship to be found online by the way people post, the words they use, and the rich thought leadership their blogs provide. So it’s easier than ever to find mentorship, to join ecosystems. But you have to have the questions prepared, and understand what you want to know more about.”
I’m reminded of what I told Robyn when I read about this eloquent speech given recently by venture capitalist and innovative thinker Victor Hwang. He’s the author of The Rainforest Blueprint: How to Design Your Own Silicon Valley | Unleash an Ecosystem of Innovation in Your Company, Organization, or Hometown and Executive Director of the Global Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley. Both are on my NICE entrepreneur radar, and both highlight the power of collaboration as a catalyst for change, and for crafting one’s legacy!
Collaboration is essential to creating a legacy which will be self sustaining, and as Tanveer Naseer writes in this thought provoking post, “will create an environment that doesn’t simply manage change, but creates change that can help us to move closer to achieving our shared goals.”
That’s one of the reasons I try to be so active on various social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn. That’s also one of the reasons I advocate for people, especially entrepreneurs, to carefully craft a cross-pollinating and collaborative digital avatar/digital footprint which transcends cultural barriers, displays effective personal and emotional branding, gains positive attention, and adds value.
As Robyn summed up in our podcast:
“We no longer have a choice. We have to consider the needs of the people and the planet. It ties into our need to create a life of flourishing and appreciative inquiry. We are becoming more empowered and democratizing thought, which is spurred by social media.”
There are many tools at our disposal now to help us connect the “dots” so that we can better collaborate and better create our legacy; especially our digital one. I told this to Robyn but it bears repeating. I have gained clarity of purpose and comprehension of the “dots” through diversified experiences and interactions with diverse groups of people. I traveled a lot and learned that diversified experiences will drive one’s trajectory in life and help one understand the politics of the playground. The most important one?
A mission driven mindset is a winning mindset. A mission driven business will always win.
* This post appears simultaneously on LinkedIn as well.