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Impact

9 lessons in getting from inspiration to action

9 lessons in getting from inspiration to action

"Stories are the fire we carry to each other.  Stories possess a spark ... it is through the act of telling and hearing stories that we become inspired"                                    
Bobette Buster - DO/Story*

And that in essence is what happened last Wednesday.

Alongside Dr Janine Swail of the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, we hosted an evening where a group of women shared their stories of purpose, ambition and fears for creating their own businesses.

 The evening fuelled my belief that we need to create more opportunities, both nationally** and locally for these stories to be shared so that more sparks of inspiration can be created.

 And then I think we need to go beyond this. Because it’s relatively easy to say ‘that was inspiring’ but it’s much harder to convert that sense of inspiration into action and in this case into developing a business idea further. I remember hearing Etienne Stott speak about his London 2012 Olympic success and someone saying to him afterwards “that was so inspiring”. His response said with energy and enthusiasm has always stuck with me “that’s great news … what are you going to do”.

 So here are some insights that came from the stories that were shared and listened to on Wednesday night that might help you to take the next step - be you male or female; one who is preparing to leap into entrepreneurship or one who has already leapt

1) Waste no time in figuring out:

- your purpose – why you want to create a business.

- the impact you want to have – how is the world going to be better (in a big or a small way) because of what you’re going to offer

- your passion – what gets you out of bed in the morning, what’s your soapbox subject, what do you really care about?

- your strengths – what are you great at (spoiler: it’s probably something you really enjoy)

 You probably won’t crack this overnight. And that’s ok.

 2) Avoid comparing your start point with someone else’s mid-point. Those at their mid-point will of achieved more than you because of where they’re at. Use their mid-point instead as a spark of inspiration

 3) Be aware of what your competition is doing but play the game your way. That’s what makes your offer unique.

 4) Your first idea will most probably not be ‘the’ idea. Ideas work best when they change shape as you learn more about them.

 5) Be brave with your ideas – share them, play with them, prototype and experiment with them. Ideas like that kind of thing.

 6) Don’t feel isolated – there are lots of us out there to learn from and with

 7) Time is limited. Fact. This isn’t going to change. Do something with the time you have – think big, start small but do start.

 8) Ask for help. You’re not wonder-woman / super-man and that’s ok.

 9) Whatever you do, don’t get stuck.


An unexpected impact

An unexpected impact

I founded We Are Unstuck 2.5 years ago.

 It was my way of acknowledging that I wanted to grab hold of my career and do something which both scared and excited me in equal measure. That would put me in the driving seat of the level of impact I was able to have on the world, which would enable me to liberate my own creative potential and which would allow me to bring a sense of balance to my desire to be a great Mum and to have a successful career.

 I’ve always felt really clear on why I founded We Are Unstuck and this purpose grounds, informs and inspires every decision I make about the business.

 But it also has another impact – one that I hadn’t predicted in any way.

 I’ve had more and more conversations with smart, inspiring, professional women with oodles of knowledge, experience and expertise whom having had a career break to become Mums find themselves re-evaluating what they want from their careers. Some of these women haven’t considered entrepreneurship as a possible path or have considered it but dismissed it as something they couldn’t do – either through lack of knowledge, confidence or a ‘viable’ idea. Others have started a business but in some way feel that they are not “proper entrepreneurs” because their role also as a Mum diminishes this somehow.

 And this is where my purpose kicks in. My knowledge that it is possible for a woman to be both an entrepreneur and a Mum is established. My awareness that there are more and more women out there who are proving this to be true is growing. My conviction that these women have an important role to play in fueling the British economy and of having a positive social impact is strong.

 And then there’s a but. Because alongside all of this good stuff, my sense and experience suggest that there are limited resources to nurture this belief and conviction in other women. And that’s a big deal. It goes beyond the impact of the lost potential of those individual women and impacts the economy, society, the self-belief of girls and young women who are imagining what their future careers may hold.

 The reality is that women and men considering entrepreneurship and those who make the leap face many of the same challenges and opportunities. But I believe there is a difference in the way we approach these challenges and opportunities. And this difference creates opportunity. It creates the opportunity to learn from and with each other. It also creates the opportunity to spend time in conversation with women finding out where they’re at and what they may need.

 And that’s what I’m doing tonight. Alongside Janine Swail (Assistant Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Nottingham University Business School) we’re spending the evening with 40 women who have the potential to define what having a successful business means for them and their families; who have the potential to generate compelling business ideas and to convert these ideas into successful businesses.

 I’m not sure what we’ll find out and what will happen next but I’m hoping that the women who join us feel a bit more nurtured as a result of the time we spend together.