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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Happy Women's Entrepreneurship Day! (Some great sound bites from Women who know)

Until today, I knew nothing about Virgin Start Up http://www.virginstartup.org/ 

To celebrate Women's Entrepreneurship Day, they held a Virgin Start Up Ignition day that I went along to.  It was just fabulous so I thought I'd share some of the key sound bites that I took away with me:

Annabel Karmel http://www.annabelkarmel.com the UK's leading child nutrition expert and best-selling author said that 'Failure leads to success' and suggested that instead of telling someone about your business ideas, try telling them what you are doing and ask them why they think it might fail?' 

When Helen Cammaack - founder of Buyometric and Interests.me was asked about investment in return for equity, she said that in their experience, they didn't need investment, they needed customers so why not think creatively some times about trading customers for equity?



Madeline McQueen founder of Narratively http://www.narratively.co.uk  said:

'Be Magnificent' (and she truly was). 
She said that women are great at building relationships but not so good at 'Asking for the business' 
She stressed the importance of charging your worth and making little closes all the way.  She doesn't teach selling so much anymore, she really teaches 'closing!'

Another inspiring speaker was Sharmadean Reid  http://sharmadeanreid.com  - Founder of WAH Nails.  Beyond all of her amazing successes at 30 years old, she most impressed me with her natural ease and positive attitude. 
She said that she always had the opinion that if her nail business didn’t work, she could ‘do anything’ like opening a hotel in the Caribbean.  Her advice was delightfully simple ‘Just get on with it!’ and how good women are at being able to do just that.  She talked about how at times she just naively just got on with it and didn’t know what she was doing at the time but she does now! 
She also said that she has always thought that if something is not good for her or is causing her tension, she cuts it out of her life. 
When someone asked about what to do when people in your life are saying ‘When are you going to get a real job’ or ‘When is this going to make money’ her simple answer was ‘Don’t listen to them!  Tell them that you believe in the potential of what you are doing and that you are either with me or not with me’
Jacqueline Gold Chief Executive of Ann Summers talked about leadership and focused on three key areas:
1. Courage - the need to step out of your comfort zone
2. Tenacity - how relentlessly focussed and driven you are born out of passion for what you believe in
3. Empowerment and how having the right people on board is critical for the success of the business. 
Check out Jacqueline's ‘WOW’ (Women on Wednesday) Twitter campaign http://www.jacquelinegold.com/profile/wow/ supporting women in business  
#WOW, takes place every Wednesday and is run through Jacqueline’s twitter page. Each week Jacqueline encourages female business owners to tweet her using the #WOW hash tag along with their business name and a short overview of what they do. Jacqueline then picks her three top entries for that week and re-tweets them to her followers (currently over 30,000).  Then the overall winners have lunch with her and receive some amazing mentoring time. 

Some key messages from all were:

Ø  The importance of your branding and how integral it is for a business - Find your story and tell that story!

Ø  Get really clear on who your customer is, the value of your product and remember that value means different things to different customers

Ø  Don’t be crippled by indecision… make decisions and then change them if they don’t work, just get going!

We still have a long way to go for worldwide equality for Women in business but in the UK Women can start up a business tomorrow and every new business that can create employment helps our economy get back on track so there has never been a better time to do it!


Monday, 10 November 2014

Because we all have to be a little brave sometimes...

Facing the truth that I had to say goodbye to my mum to cancer last year seemed to revert me back to a very scared five year old and I reluctantly had to call on a brave that I’ve never had to conjure up before.  My Mum had to be the bravest and truly was.  My dad also brought a whole new brave that I had never seen in him.  He hadn’t been there when we were born for fear of fainting so to see him nurse my mother and be such a rock right up until that tender moment when she died and he took the ring off her finger graduated him in my eyes to Super Hero status. 

Like every love, every loss is different and like every fear every brave is different and we all have to be brave sometimes whether we like it or not.  The definition of Brave is ‘Being ready to face and endure danger or pain, showing courage’.  I respect that my experience pales in comparison to others losses and that some may even disagree with the fact that one is ‘brave’ during such times because you have no choice but to just cope so when are you ever ‘ready’ to endure danger or pain?   I guess that my experience just made me question feeling Brave, having courage and how I can prepare myself and my children to be ready to face whatever life throws at us with love and grace.  

My kids who are 6 and 4 obviously had a lot of questions about death.  We had travelled from the UK to NZ to be with mum for her final 6 months and lived with my sister who had lost her husband to a brain tumour 9 years ago.  During our stay, a young boy in my daughter’s class also sadly died so death became a very real concept for them.  How could I best answer their questions?  This was perplexing to me but I eventually found my answer…

A very wise friend said that I needed to get my own story clear on death and dying and that when that story felt authentic to my heart, I would be ready to answer their questions.  So I spent time on this with myself and it was really refreshing for me to focus on what story I choose to believe and live by and the perspective that this has now brought to my life. 
I want to be open and honest with my kids and myself about death.  I want us to observe and accept the death and transformation that we see every day to prepare us for the inevitable change that life brings and to be at peace with the process of life.
Not many people seem comfortable talking about death and it’s hard to find good stories for kids about it so I am challenging myself to write one that is hopefully authentic, delightful and makes some sort of sense to the soul. 
Loosing mum was a wonderful rite of passage for me.  It has made me braver in following my heart and pursing my own dream launching ‘Feel Brave’  www.feelbrave.com 
I wanted to create characters and stories that help kids manage tough emotions and feel brave because we all have to be a little brave sometimes.  I wanted to create new opportunities for adults to really connect with kids because there is a special kind of magic when that happens.  I wanted to get kids excited about the potential for happiness and aware of their responsibility to find it themselves because the only thing we truly have control over is the lens that we chose to view our world through. 
My Mothers final lesson came silently to me as I sat looking at her with unlimited gratitude for what she had given me which was that when there is love in your heart, you’re as brave as can be!

What are your thoughts on talking to kids about death and dying?   Do you know of any great stories for kids that deal with this?  Would love to hear your views on this. 

Photo by Dominique Browning