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

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

Lifestyle | Posted by - December 15, 2017 at 12:30 am

In December I like to reflect on the year past and celebrate what my team, fellow business owners, friends, and family have accomplished together. I also take the time to contemplate where I want to be next year, and that starts with the people, places, and things that inspire me to be a better person, think big, and work towards my goals: 



Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time by Steve and Jenkins and Derek Walter 

I recently had the joy of visiting Esther the Wonder Pig; in 2012 she weighed a mere four pounds, and it was assumed that she’d stay small. That’s when Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter adopted Esther and to their surprise she grew to be more than 500 pounds. As a result, the two were inspired to start a sanctuary designed to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and abused farmed animals. I’m touched by the kindness of this duo to commit to the livelihood to not only Esther, but other animals, as well.



The New Calgary via National Geographic 

Calgary will always be my home and one of my favourite cities. So, I was thrilled to see National Geographic recently publish a photo essay featuring a new and growing culture of dining, art, and play in the city. The story introduced a culture that is growing around healthy lifestyles, and that’s exactly what we believe in at District Ventures--I’m proud of the entrepreneurs who recently pitched their ideas at our demo day to build business in food and health. There’s a lot to be excited about in Calgary, and I hope more Canadians will visit to see the innovation and creativity of our fellow entrepreneurs first-hand. 


A Story of Courage: Interview with WW2 Woman Spitfire Pilot Joy Lofthouse via BBC Archive

The idea of courage has been on my mind this month. Recently, nearly 500 people bared their souls and shared their most courageous life moments with me on Twitter. WW2 Spitfire Pilot Joy Lofthouse recently died at 94, and her story is nothing short of courageous--it’s a lesson in leaping towards what feels good, even if you’re scared and have no idea what you’re doing. During the war, she was one of 168 female pilots, who ferried planes across the country. She didn’t even drive a car when she had to learn to fly an airplane; talk about guts. Lofthouse’s story shows us what can happen when we take on opportunities, dream big, and embrace uncertainty. She said she never knew from one day to the next where they needed her to fly. We, entrepreneurs, sometimes have no idea where each day may take us, so it’s up to us to make every moment worthwhile. 


Transparency via TED Radio Hour 

 This TED Radio Hour with David Burkus is a nice listen over a morning coffee. Burkus writes about business and leadership, and over the past few years his research has focused on being transparent about salaries. He’s posed questions like, “is secrecy the reason for strife? And, can transparency create more collaboration?” He learned that salary transparency does in fact make for a better workplace for both employees and the company, and uses startups like Buffer as an example. I’m a fan of honesty in life and business, and this podcast has certainty challenged my thinking about how to be more open, even if it’s not salary-specific. 



How to Show Yourself Self Compassion via The School of Life

The holidays can be so stressful, but if we go into the next few weeks with the right mindset, they don't have to be. This short and helpful video from School of Life is a great reminder to be kind to yourself when the pressure can mount to make deadlines, buy the perfect present, and fulfill social obligations. Don’t expect yourself to do everything and be everything all the time--that’s not human or possible. Rather, I encourage you to watch this video, and then create a list of everything you’ve accomplished this year. It’s the time to celebrate you. 

What’s inspiring you, as we turn the chapter on another year? 

Tags: arlene dickinson, confidence, diversity, dragons den, immigrants, inspiration, leadership, lisa lisson, 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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