The Digest: Arlene's Sources Of Inspiration This Month, Volume 20

The Digest: Arlene's Sources Of Inspiration This Month, Volume 20

Lifestyle | Posted by - January 17, 2019 at 1:00 am

Happy New Year!

I’m settling back into work after a special holiday trip with my daughter in Europe (you may recognize her as ‘the girl in the pink scarf’ from my Instagram posts). There’s always a lightness of being somewhere different, whether a new city, country, or continent to create new experiences to help connect to ourselves and the world around us. I’ve returned home with a clear mind and fresh perspective on who I want to keep becoming and what matters most to me: to be a kind person, both to myself and others.

So, my mantra as we move further into January: go gentle and go easy. As we pursue our New Year’s resolutions, we need to move slow; we can’t expect achievements overnight, despite our entrepreneurial drive to move fast and work hard. 

Remember: no year is perfect. This year will be full of imperfect moments. That’s life. It’s messy. You’ll become stronger and more resilient for navigating through these situations. This month I’m inspired by tools and knowledge that will help us grow and keep moving forward: 


Mindset Reset With Mel Robbins 

Mel Robbins is an American entrepreneur building a digital business in life coaching. She’s recently released a free 35-day experience called Mindset Reset. Mel and I don’t know each other, but I follow her as someone who’s real and upfront about personal development. 

Her program kicked off on December 31st, and I’ve followed along with the first few days, which includes reflecting on 2018 and setting goals for 2019 in areas of body, work, money, love, friendship, and self-worth. She asks us to approach our goals with questions like, “if I could be a better friend, what would I be doing? If I could be taking care of my body more, what would I be doing? If I could be a better partner, what would I be doing?”  

Mel’s program is an important exercise for entrepreneurs, because it’s sometimes too easy for us to focus only on our business goals, while the other pillars of our lives get less priority. We need balance. 


10 Principles of Presence by Amy Cuddy 

Social psychologist and Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy recently tweeted a summary of points from her book, 10 Principles of Presence. You may be familiar with her TED Talk about power posing to increase confidence. 

With red ink she circled one principle in particular and said, “I believe this point is so relevant to the problematic concept of New Year’s Resolutions: 'We don’t master [anything] overnight. We get there by gently nudging ourselves — a bit further every time we face a big challenge.'"  She clarifies, “that doesn’t mean that we hold ourselves to lower personal standards; it means we set goals via paths that are achievable given our psychological makeup.” 

It’s so easy as entrepreneurs and new business owners to focus too much on what everyone else is doing and achieving. It’s not a race, it’s not a competition, and there’s no need to compare. Focus on the task at hand that serves your business best.


Confidence cards from the School of Life 

What is confidence? It’s easy to think confidence is only about how we speak up or show up, but this trait can take on many different meanings. I recently came across the School of Life’s confidence cards - prompts that remind us no one is perfect. As Mel Robbins said in a recent video, “confidence is a willingness to try.” 

The School of Life invites us to remember that “for the sake of confidence, not to think too well of others; to speak of ourselves in kinder tones; and to remember that the greatest thing we should fear isn’t messing up but dying without having given it a go.” These cards are a good pack to prompt not just yourself, but the people in our lives who need encouraging: friends, team members, partners, sons, daughters, strangers. 

I’m excited about a story we’re publishing on YouInc this month about confidence. We talked to women in four different careers, from the basketball court to speaking on stage, about what confidence looks like in their professions. Stay tuned. 


The Power of Small Wins via Harvard Business Review 

Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer are the authors of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work. For the past 15 years, they’ve studied the psychological experiences and the performance of people doing complex work inside organizations. In 2011, they studied the diary entries of workers to “discover the states of inner work life and the workday events that correlated with the highest levels of creative output.” The results are more relevant than ever today: progress on any given day is related to positive emotions. 

Through 12,000 diary entries, they realized that a key driver of creative, productive performance is the quality of a person’s inner work life—the mix of emotions, motivations, and perceptions over the course of a workday. Of all the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work.

Meaning can be as simple as making a useful and high-quality product for a customer or providing a genuine service for a community. It can be supporting a colleague or boosting an organization’s profits by reducing inefficiencies in a production process. 


How I Built This With Guy Raz - Whole Foods Market: John Mackey 

Everyone starts somewhere, and that’s why I continue to enjoy the podcast, How I Built This With Guy Raz via NPR. One of the latest conversations is with Whole Foods Market CEO and co-founder John Mackey. Whole Foods has been in business for 38 years and now has 479 locations with a market cap of $17 billion.

Mackey was 23-years-old when he led himself into the natural food world, which today, as many of you know is one of the most promising industries in Canada and around the world, and a category where many of our District Ventures Capital-funded companies operate. 

He scraped together $45,000 to open his first health food store within a house called Safer Way. “We didn’t know what we were doing, but we learned quickly,” said Mackey. 

In this podcast, he explains what he did after losing $23,000 in the first year of business, how reading business books helped him get to where he is today, and some of the mantras he follows in business, such as “if something doesn’t work, I stop doing it.” 

Tags: arlene dickinson, confidence, diversity, dragons den, entrepreneur, female 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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