The Digest: Arlene's Sources Of Inspiration This Month, Volume 14

The Digest: Arlene's Sources Of Inspiration This Month, Volume 14

Lifestyle | Posted by - June 15, 2018 at 12:30 am

How we live each day is a window into how well we're prepared for life's next moment. Preparation can be as obvious as rehearsing for a presentation in order to feel more confident, but it can also reside in the less obvious: the yoga we practice each week, or an insightful novel we read before bed.

I recently wrapped up 10 seasons of Dragons' Den and on Instagram I might make it look like the lead up to the show is about picking my favourite pair of stilettos, but that's far from reality. The success of my role depends on the energy and focus I have to recognize opportunities; morning workouts were one of the ways I prepared for season 13, where I came across an exciting investment in Healthy Pets, a digital veterinary care tool.

Emma Harris, founder of Healthy Pets, is a pet owner who recognized a need in the industry: a service she could access to determine whether she needed to see a vet when her dog Bo wasn't well. She went from having a job to becoming a business owner; two very different roles. In her passion and perseverance to get the best care for Bo, she prepared for the role of an entrepreneur. 

This month I'm inspired by stories from people like Emma and the moments they prepared for without ever really knowing:


Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wit and Wisdom of Maya Angelou 

Each of us are responsible for bringing up the generation of women and men behind us, and Maya Angelou's book is a striking example of the type of wisdom and knowledge we need to share: her stories cover love and relationships, childhood and parenthood, emotions and living, and womanhood, among other topics.

Angelou once said: "There's no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." It's not easy to figure out who you are; it takes time, patience, and a willingness to be by yourself. This book acts as a guide for self-realization: to follow what you stand for, speak up for yourself, and pursue what you want even when people try to tell you otherwise. So, I ask you: What's your story, your passion, your mission to be told? To be revealed to yourself and the world? 



Gurrumul, the story of Indigenous Australian Musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu 

Gurrumul was the most commercially successful Aboriginal Australian musician; he would sing stories of his people in his own Yolngu languages and in English. While he was a multi-talented musician, the clarity and beauty of his voice appealed to people from around the world. 

His story captivated me for his passion to continue the stories of his elders (their history stopped with him); his humility (he didn't like to be in the media, so he often declined interviews); his discipline to work on what he loved (many times he was caught off guard and had to improvise. For example, Sting asked him to collaborate and perform Every Breath You Take in Gurrumul's Indigenous language); Gurrumul made it happen. 

Gurrumul's story shows us the beautiful possibility of pursuing what you love despite your limitations in life. 


Three Chefs And A Meal via The Moth 

The Moth is a not-for-profit dedicated to storytelling about human experiences. This episode, Three Chefs And A Meal, shares four short stories from chefs about unexpected experiences in their careers: learning how to use chopsticks while at a Japanese dinner; figuring out what to do when the Obamas show up in your restaurant (this one made me laugh out loud several times); choking on a tomato on a date night (an evening meant to rekindle a relationship being broken apart by a chef's 100-hour work week); and discovering how to kill, cut, and cook a goat from the guy who washes dishes. 

These individuals show us that when we're open to people and experiences, we can grow in ways we wouldn't otherwise discover on our own. Their stories are funny and honest, and remind us that to be human is to find joy and humility in the most unlikely of situations. 


What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Japanese Writer Haruki Murakami spent most of the 1970s owning and operating a jazz bar in Tokyo. But in 1982, he sold his jazz bar to focus on writing, and he began running to keep fit. This book is a memoir about the effect running had on his health and his writing. The story covers his preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and shares unexpected moments like sharing the course with an Olympian in Tokyo's Jingu Gaien gardens, to running the Charles River in Boston among young women, who would outrun him. 

Murakami's journey from jazz bar owner to successful Japanese writer shows us how greatness begins with the diligence and disciple to honing your craft. 



Two Things Every Entrepreneur Needs To Hear via Speakers' Spotlight 

Michele Romanow is the youngest dragon on Dragons' Den and someone I've grown fond of for her honesty about being an entrepreneur. Many of us don't admit when we're stressed, lonely, or isolated, though Michele talks about it openly. Michele owns up to the importance of failure, having a good support network, and getting started. In this video she said, "get started, roll up your sleeves and get scrappy. Make it a goal to get your first pilot, first prospect. There's too much focus on planning and not enough on execution. Iteration is innovation - one single gem, one pop; there are no eureka moments in entrepreneurship." 

Michele shows us that preparation is execution. She's been preparing since university when she founded her first business. Michele will soon get personal on YouInc about her entrepreneurial journey. Look for our conversation with her shortly.

Tags: arlene dickinson, confidence, diversity, dragons den, entrepreneur, inspiration, leadership, mental health, online reading, reading, self-confidence, small business, stress, women

Arlene Dickinson

Arlene Dickinson is one of Canada’s most renowned independent marketing communications entrepreneurs. As CEO of Venture Communications, her creative and strategic approach has turned the company into a powerhouse with a blue chip client list.  She is also the CEO of, a company she founded in 2012 that is dedicated to serving and investing in entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial lifestyle. 

Dickinson is best known to Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series Dragons’ Den, The Big Decision and marketing expert on Recipe to Riches.  She is the author of two books, the number one bestselling book, Persuasion and her most recent best-selling release, All In. 

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