Just because it didn't work, it didn't mean you failed.
A lot of us often think, “What if I started a business..." or "What if I quit my job..." At our fourth town hall, we listened to women who shared their stories of turning those "What if's" to “I’m doing it” and learned what it truly means to take the plunge. Shout out to CVLT Productions for hosting us in their sleek loft, Runa for the tea, and Chipotle for the chips, guac, salsa and endless burritos.
For this event we focused on the days leading up to leaving your job, and the challenges of those early days of being on your own. The women who shared their stories first included:
- Mara Binudin, Radseed
- Felicity Conrad, Paladin
- Francesca "Franny" Hogi, Matchmaker (and two-time contestant on Survivor!)
- Alexandria Lee, The Anew School
- Claire Mazur, Of a Kind
- Heidi Hackemer, Wolf & Wilhelmine
- Eva Goicochea, Tinker Watches and Maude
LGP founder, Claire Wasserman, opened the evening with a voicemail from her grandmother, who called to congratulate her on the LGP feature in the Wall Street Journal. It was touching moment of how far we, as women, have come, but a reminder of all the work that lies ahead.
For a few of the women on our panel, their defining "plunge" moment was cutting the golden handcuffs and "taking seriously the fact I could be a powerful force for good in this world." All the women admitted that money was not the hardest part about leaving their job. Leaving behind their name brand companies stripped them of their identity; Without that fancy client, who were they? It was no longer easy to answer the question of "What do you do?" and creating something from nothing meant they had to question - and redefine - what success meant. Yet, all unanimously agreed that the absence of identity allowed them to rebuild who they are, what they wanted, and how they would contribute to this world. All on their terms.
1. Just because it didn't work, it doesn't mean you failed. Try everything because each experience is a stepping stone for the next one.
2. Don't look so hard for an answer. Headspace is key. Which means you need to take time doing, well, maybe nothing. Look for the unexpected, and don't feel pressured to find a passion or business idea. The right thing will come at the right time.
3. Asking for help is strength, not weakness. No one starting their own business knows how to do everything that is required. You will find people to help you, and not only is that totally acceptable, but it's also necessary.
4. Keep perspective. The ability to explore creative careers and start businesses is a luxury. We often get wrapped up in a big city bubble, and forget that many people around the world don't have the opportunities we do. Cherish our freedom within the creative space.
5. See success in small doses. It's imperative to step back, and appreciate the small wins along the way. As entrepreneurs if you don't recognize the small successes then you have to wonder if you'll ever reach the big "ah-ha" moment.
And lastly, an exercise derived from At the Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion - a book that was suggested during the evening: Write your eulogy. Maybe it’s morbid, but it’s also proven to be a useful reflection tool. What are you proud of? What do you need to change?
Depressing, huh? We promise it was a fun evening (hey, we had rose!) and had a blast meeting 100 women who came out. We have the photos to prove it :)