Partnerships and Growth at Makers Academy, Author of 'The Entrepreneur's Way'
I write about startups, gender equality and entrepreneurial career development. For over a decade, I have been helping startups to grow (namely Escape the City, Lexoo and now Makers Academy). I have also published several books on career transition available on Amazon and am currently writing "The Entrepreneur's Way: A Guide to the Invisible Side of Startup Life."
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We all experience feeling wounded. Yet women tend to verbalise and process pain much more efficiently, as women have each other to confide in. Women are also 'allowed' to feel emotion, whereas men are socialised to be 'tough' and to push away any pain, instead of acknowledging it.
Through Escape the City, I often met high-flying professionals who wanted to ditch their day-to-day routines in order to 'find more meaning' and 'change the world'. I must have talked to at least a thousand millennials who stated the same dream of owning a business that also improved society.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" These words from Mary Oliver never fail to inspire me. When I think of my favourite responses to that question, the stories behind the following entrepreneurs would top the list...
A friend attending COP-21 made the mammoth conference sound like a glorified science fair. "Each country has a pavilion showing what it does in terms of climate change," he described, adding that "the fact that it just looks like another trade show" didn't sit well in his psyche.
When a guy stops trying to sleep with you, he stops trying to impress you, and that's when you see who he truly is. I refuse to buy into the idea that because he's a man, my sole aim should be to get him to pledge romantic allegiance; he refuses to believe that because I'm a woman, his sole aim should be to beeline for bed.
I needed a wifi-free holiday. I was sick of feeling like an ambassador of myself! Facebook: so shallow and adolescent! Screw you, Zuckerberg! If I take a photo of this moment or a video of this concert, it means I'm not BEING HERE NOW.
The beauty of being single is that you have a lot of time to think. After a lot of thinking, I've noticed that I don't want to 'get married' - I want to fall in love and build a life with someone who feels the same way. If we happen to have a big party and a piece of paper to go with that, then great.
While I refuse to advocate running away to the beach, Goa, Thailand, or other places filled with long-term backpackers trying to delay growing up, I have seen that when you're trying to build a strategy for your life, it can be helpful to step out of your typical daily routine for a bit, without necessarily going all Eat Pray Love about it.
Think MacGyver, Superman, and Liam Neeson's character in Taken, whose entire (fictional, but still) lives are based on unusual, exciting, daring episodes. So many men physically crave challenging themselves and feeling heroic and resourceful but so few of them know where to begin on setting out on adventure.
In my own experience of talking to disillusioned lawyers, I found the greatest challenge was getting them to accept that there might be other professional paths available to them. It was like perfectionism was preventing them from admitting that they might have failed to pick the best career.
"I think we're taught in the system that failure is something that you should be ashamed of. Failure is for the dumb kids. You get an 'F'. You get a 'D'. You didn't comply. You didn't create the evidence of your worthiness," he says. Eckō probably didn't realize it, but he was indirectly referencing the work of mindfulness researchers.
It is also good to talk to your family and friends who will, I hope, give you an honest assessment of you as you are today. This is not always easy, but at the same time will show courage, humility and integrity. This may, in turn, be guided by what you have achieved in your schooling and early life.
If you're an entrepreneur, you're a hunter: you're looking to grow your resources to bring back to the cave and there's something fundamentally masculine about that. Meanwhile, females are socially conditioned to focus on nesting - on making the cave look pretty and taking care of the children.
10/07/2014 11:18 BST
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