I read an interview this week with Australian Actor Elizabeth Debicki about her experience in Kosovo last year. She met with women who have lived through war and trauma, and learned how they're empowering themselves by building social and economic skills.
Debicki said it was a life-altering moment, "what I learnt from these women about life in general is that it's not about me, that we need to get out of our own way and listen and be available and present and empathetic. That's how you want to live your life, isnt it?"
They're such wise words for a young person. They're words that I feel we, entrepreneurs, can learn from; how we listen to our customers and what they need, and how we put our own beliefs aside to build a product people want. How we listen to our team members and their concerns and worries, and what action we take so they feel valued and setup to do their best work.
The process sounds easy, but it's not for many of us - we're so close to our products and businesses, that it's sometimes hard to step back and see the situation from another perspective. Though, it's a necessary skill to develop if we want to build strong teams and successful businesses.
In a time when women are speaking up about sexual abuse and gender inequality, climate change threatens the environment around the world, and the refugee crisis worsens, I believe we need to think deeply about our role as entrepreneurs. We need to think about how what we work on every day contributes to our communities and societies in a meaningful way.
This month I'm inspired by people who help us consider others, and by tools we can use to get out of our own way. These articles and videos have shown me how to keep an open mind, how to feel heard without being selfish, and one of my favourites, how to be an explorer without having to be the "expert":
The Key To Good Luck Is An Open Mind via Nautilus
When we were kids, we discovered that people have good luck or bad luck, but that we don't really control which outcome we experience. Is that true, though? What if achieving luck is actually an ability? That's the key to this article. Luck is learned, according to research from California; there are ways that adults and kids can increase their luck by being open to new experiences, learning to relax, maintaining social connections, and talking to strangers.
After you read this article, look at your network and identify the people who seem to get lucky. What personality traits do they have in common? Is there something about their personality that might show you why they seem to attract luck? Are they open-minded and optimistic about new opportunities? See what you can learn from these people to create your own luck.
How To Stop Obsessing Over What People Think via Mel Robbins
There's a statement I like to share with people when they worry too much about what people think of them: "it's none of your business what people think of you." When we recognize this reality, it's easier to clear our minds and re-focus our attention.
In this two-minute clip, Mel Robbins asks us to stop giving a sh*t, and to start being our authentic selves. She said, "people want to feel a connection, and the only way they'll feel a connection with you is if you remove the veneer and the barriers you put between you and other people. Everyone gives too much of a sh*t of what other people think. Everyone's always judging everyone else, that's why you can't worry about it."
She believes the only way to stop caring what people think is to take action. "Through action you prove to yourself, even though you care what other people think, you're going to do it anyway."
Why Being An Explorer Beats Being An Expert via Psychology Today
Everyone wants to be an expert, as if it's a status symbol in the business world. What you know isn't important, if you aren't contributing value. That's why I like this article about being an explorer, rather than being an expert. The idea takes the focus off appearing smart and directs our attention to what we can learn and share.
Think about it this way: to be an explorer is to admit you don't know something but that you're eager to learn. To utter the words "I don't know," can be hard to do since corporations create environments where people are expected to know everything.
In this article, entrepreneur Jonah Sachs points to the problem of pretending you know something: "the problem of overconfidence and closed-mindedness in areas we believe we have expertise is all the more troubling because we so generally tend to credit ourselves with having more expertise than we do."
Instead, consider this idea to tame the urges that keep you from exploring: by spending time doing things that make you a beginner again. We've asked some of our District Venture entrepreneurs to open up about this topic on YouInc. Look for their stories soon.
Career Change, The Entrepreneurs via Monocle 24
I've started listening to The Entrepreneurs podcast from Monocle, where the team profiles innovative businesses and inspiring startups. One of the most recent episodes profiles four people, who left long-time careers in the corporate world to do something they love. I like these stories because they focus on how life changes when you start following your life's passion instead of a more secure path.
For Peter Milne, he believed it was more important to create something he was proud of instead of wanting more possessions and more money. Milne worked in finance for 25 years and in 2015 quit to start a garden center with his husband. As Milne has learned, when we put our efforts into what we love, we take the focus off ourselves to contribute something meaningful to others--much like the companies I decide to invest in, I like to keep a pulse on why people decide to become entrepreneurs.
I'm a big follower of Brene Brown. Her work shows us how to navigate difficult situations and conversations with courage. She recently shared an excerpt from her book, Rising Strong, that's a great example of how to lead by keeping the interests of your team at heart.
Brown shares a story from Andrew, a senior leader at an advertising firm. He's known around his office as "a listener, a thinker, an expert in strategy, and the keeper of culture." Andrew faces the decision of whether to take on a big new business pitch, despite the client having a bad reputation. Andrew's gut reaction is that the team is overworked and doesn't have time for the pitch; he goes against his instinct and takes on the project. Brown shows us, through Andrew's situation, how to make decisions that consider what's best for a team, versus what's best for the agency to make money.