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

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

Lifestyle | Posted by - March 16, 2018 at 12:30 am

We don't grow as people until we know who we are: we need to know our values in life and stay true to them. That's why we require role models--people who encourage us to live up to who we are--whether we have 30 years of experience in the C-suite or we've become new entrepreneurs. This month I've been inspired by stories that guide us to find the courage and confidence to be ourselves. At YouInc, we've been lucky to have leading experts share their invaluable advice with our community. Designer Ayse Birsel shared how to start doing what you want in life; Ryerson's Dr. Ivan Joseph showed us the power of believing in ourselves to achieve our goals, and soon CNN's Mel Robbins will give us techniques to gain confidence in our lives. For now, here's what's inspiring me this month: 


Remembering Suzanne West, A Force For Change In The Oilpatch via Canadian Business 

When people close to us die, we reflect on how they influenced our lives and what we learned from them. Suzanne West passed away this week following a brief battle with cancer, and I'm feeling the loss. She left a huge mark on my world in so many good ways--she was a kind human being, who cared deeply and believed there was a better way for the energy patch to work and help the environment. Even if you didn't know Suzanne West, there's so much you can learn from her way of being. In her 2017 interview with Canadian Business, Suzanne discusses how she learned to be more present and explains how "more being" creates "more doing." She said "creating is one of the coolest things in the world." It's an important conversation, as many of us struggle to be present and mindful in our lives. 

The Art of Being Yourself with Caroline McHugh a 2013 TEDxMiltonKeynesWomen Talk 


Caroline McHugh, founder and CEO of Idology helps people and organizations find their original selves. In her talk, she says: "when you look in the mirror, you look for reassurance. You look for reassurance that you're beautiful, or you're young, or you're tidy, or your bum doesn't look big in that." When you look into what she calls a "true mirror" you don't look at yourself, you look for yourself. "You look for revelation, not for reassurance." Her talk speaks to what it is to be a remarkable individual. She says they're people who have managed to figure out the unique gift that the universe gave them, and then put that at the service of their goals." Suzanne West is an example of someone who was always looking for herself, and always striving to be a better human being. 


Your First Thought Is Rarely Your Best Thought: Lessons On Thinking via Farnam Street 

To be yourself, you need to be able to think critically about the information you consume and how it aligns with your beliefs and values. This Farnam Street blog builds on that notion. Founder and Writer Shane Parrish says the best advice he's received is from a CEO with a 30-year track record who said to him, "Shane, most people don't actually think. They just take their first thought and go." Parrish says people are losing the ability to think through a problem. To get people back to thinking he says we need to schedule time to think. Why is this important? Because your first thought is rarely your best thought. He shows us how to make better decisions and avoid more problems. 


J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech via Harvard University  


We can learn a lot about life from J.K. Rowling, and this speech is a great starting point. In 2008, she addressed Harvard graduates about the "fringe benefits of failure, and the importance of imagination." What she feared most at 21-years-old wasn't poverty, despite growing up poor. She shares the fears she had in life before her Harry Potter books, and introduces imagination as the "power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared." Rowling had one big ask of graduates as she closed her speech, and it applies to many of us: to recognize how our status and influence can help those who have no voice, so we can influence the lives of thousands of people. 


Joy & The Gift: In Conversation with Brene Brown via Pod Save The People

Brene Brown is an expert to turn to when you need to have a hard conversation. In this recent podcast, Brene, with Host Deray, discusses joy, privilege, and discomfort with Pastor Amy from the Riverside Church in New York City. I enjoyed this podcast because it lends tangible experiences to Brown's perspective on how to learn from our hardships. 

In our everyday interactions it's important to speak up and encourage great people. Share when it feels right--don't hold back, because you don't need to wait for award ceremonies to recognize great work in your industry.  Great work is great work and applauding others doesn't diminish your efforts in any way. Instead it makes everyone strive for better.

Tags: arlene dickinson, confidence, diversity, dragons den, inspiration, leadership, mental health, online reading, reading, self-confidence, small business, stress, ted talks, women, jk rowling, suzanne west

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. 

Joe Wasylyk
March 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm
Thanks Arlene for a great post! After listening to the 2 videos in this article,The Art Of Being Yourself with Caroline McHugh and J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech I think about the many Seniors 50+ that don't have a voice and where many are going through job loss, anxiety & depression. But by staying true to yourself irrespective of ageism, racism and ethnic background obstacles we can still enjoy the retirement years as the best years of our lives.
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