“You have got to read stuff outside your comfort zone, as well as doing things you love. You can pick up a business article, get a creative angle on it and find the solution in creativity.”
At The Hatchery's recent 2013 Women Leaders Summit, attendees had an opportunity to hear from highly accomplished women leaders including author Christine Comaford, President and CEO of Leader to Leader Institute Frances Hesselbein, and author and motivational speaker Carole Hyatt.
In a panel moderated by the Wall Street Journal's Gabriella Stern, the women offered their collective knowledge on topics ranging from discrimination (Hyatt couldn’t take out an American Express card to start her first business in 1960), to work-life balance, to failure. Fast Company's Cecelia Bittner had a chance to attend. Here's what she heard:
- According to Hesselbein, facing and overcoming failure requires a sense of exuberance that young people today are bringing into the work force. She describes it as a positive attitude that allows one to view a challenge not as a burden but as ”an opportunity to do something remarkable.”
- Hyatt said it’s all about how one handles the disappointment, explaining that an individual can choose to focus their energy on moving past and growing from event.
- When asked for 15-minutes of wisdom, Comaford shared the secret to influencing anyone. Emotional intelligence. Comaford explained that all humans crave one of three things: safety, belonging, or mattering. If you can figure out which of those things an individual needs, you can make them do what you want. (Comaford made the entire audience promise to only use that power for good.)
[Image from The Hatchery]
Author Erik Wahl suggests the 4 things we need to do to remain progressive:
1. Step outside your bubble.
2. Live with some discomfort.
3. Ask forgiveness instead of permission.
4. Start small.
“For most people, the idea of chasing a personal passion or being entrepreneurial is simply something they don’t think of themselves doing. We’re so programmed to walk well-trodden paths. But, we live life only once. So, rather than avoiding the risk of trying, avoid the risk of not trying. Nothing is more haunting than thinking, ‘I wish I had…’.”
When Julie Smolyansky’s father the founder of Lifeway Foods had a sudden heart attack and passed away the running of his $12 million company fell to her…
What motivates the young CEO is the fact that Lifeway is driven by bringing the health benefits of kefir—a cultured dairy drink popular in Eastern Europe for many, many years—to the world.
These questions may help you find the passion that will power your business into Lifeway-level success:
1. What is your pre-existing commitment?
2. What community are you here to serve?
3. If you set aside market trends and opportunities, and instead committed to your passion, to something you are willing to persist through slammed doors for, what would that thing be?
“I decided to become a designer, but I had no design skills… So I taught myself—everyday I would do my day job in record time and rush home to learn design. Super talented people go to RISD for 4 years and learn design properly. I hacked together my piecemeal design education in 6 months—there was no way I was ready to become a designer. But I was so ready to leave Microsoft. So I started the job search and got rejected a few times. Then I got the job at Exec.”
Cheng’s after-hours side hustle is evidence of one of the principles of building an antifragile career: When you have a secure but unsatisfying day job, you can take an unbridled bent to your next calling by night.
Here’s more from Karen Cheng on how to become more unstoppable every day.
“You must stir it and stump it, and blow your own trumpet, or trust me, you haven’t a chance.”
Gilbert and Sullivan
Here are a few more inspiring quotes to boost your confidence this morning.
“Take big risks and take big challenges. The worst thing that can happen is that you learn.”
We asked Jason Sosa, founder of IMRSV, one of Time.com’s 10 startups to watch in 2013, what advice he’d give to people trying to get a startup off the ground.
IMRSV is the company behind Cara, a software that allows developers to turn any webcam into a real-time video analytics sensor. In a fast-food restaurant, it could track how many people are standing in line. In a house, it could help control the temperature based on who is home. It could even monitor a driver’s attention, alerting him if he falls asleep…
“Inspiration can hit you in the head at any time in any context. It could happen in a conversation. Talking to someone at a party, you can get an idea. But you’ve got to remember those inspirations.”
—Filmmaker James Cameron shares his methods of getting inspired and getting the work done
A recent Girls in Tech/Facebook meetup about learning from your career mistakes was full of actionable pieces of advice, particularly on finding and keeping good mentors. Here are some of the best quotes of the night:
On the importance of having mentors:
"Build a network of women. You don’t have to be on your own." -AT&T’s Amanda Stent
"Do your homework in approaching a mentor - don’t ask someone just based on reputation" -Tweeted by @AmyVernon
"If you don’t feel comfortable with your mentor, maybe that person isn’t the right mentor. " -Bloomberg’s Catherine Hui
On being mentored:
"If you go to therapy, you don’t lie to your shrink. Same philosophy applies to mentors. Be honest with them." - Nikki Stevens (@drnikki)
Who are your mentors? How did you find them? How important is it to you to have a mentor?
(Photos by M. Cecelia Bittner and Jessica Hullinger)
Here is David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech “This Is Water.”
You can see more inspirational graduation speeches here.
"Every morning I wake up and I tell myself I’m gonna do the very best job that I can today." —CTO of Shopbevel Nikki Stevens shared her personal morning pep-talk with us at a recent Girls In Tech meetup.
Good morning and Happy Friday!
For some inspiration listen to ’This Is Water’ by David Foster Wallace, while you make your coffee or do your morning push ups or even in the shower!
Workplace wisdom you can print! Create a motivational poster and hang it somewhere with NPR’s “Note To Self” project.
What sayings get you through the hard days?
Steal Like Picasso: How Outside Inspiration Can Fuel True Innovation
Picasso’s apocryphal line, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal,” can apply to any industry, not just art—and it can create real innovation, not just derivative knock-offs, if done correctly.