When Whoopi Goldberg was a little girl she loved watching Star Trek. The following is a story she tells about her relationship with that show. She remembers seeing the character Uhura for the first time and being absolutely floored. She had never seen a black woman on TV as anything other than a maid or in a service role.
Apparently the young Whoopi sat up and said, “Momma! There’s a black lady on TV and she ain’t no maid!”
In that moment she realised she could be anything that she wanted to be. She realised then that the future was open to her and anything was possible.
Whoopi Goldberg has a long career in stand up, film, hosting talk shows and advocating for human rights, women’s included. No doubt about it, Whoopi is kind of a big deal and it all started with seeing a black woman in a position of respect and power.
This week I attended the opening of One Roof Coworking. Yes, another coworking space has opened in Melbourne, not usual in the scheme of things. What is unusual is that it is a female focused coworking space, the intention is to attract female entrepreneurs, cofounders and CEOs in the start up and business community.
I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing, “How is separating women into their own space a solution to some of the problems currently happening in society?”
I used to agree until I heard the story about Whoopi Goldberg. I understood that sometimes it is important to put yourself in a place where you will be seen. So that someone who identifies with you, will see you and understand what is possible.
I think this is important. Not so women can be separated or secluded or sequestered, but so we can easily be found. If there is someone thinking can I do that, is that path open to me? I want to be there to help, to be found and be seen.
Lean start up methodology urges us to fail fast and often. Design thinking asks you to prototype and ideate. Workplace cultures are striving to become less structured so we can have the space to play and discover. Are these new ideas? I would argue no, ever heard the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”
This idea is as old as the hills. It is rare that anything ever works out perfectly the first time. Life is a process. So what do we do when we don’t know where to go or how to fix our ideas to make them viable?
The answer lies in other people. Get out there and collaborate, mix your ideas with other people’s and see what happens. Don’t try to predict or make things happens. Keep it open and loose. Just listen, suggest and be flexible. Life is an amazing experiment and things happen if you get out there and start throwing a few ideas around. It is almost magical!
Remember to be patient with you ideas or vision. Sometimes it just takes a while for it to catch on. The world is a simultaneously big and small place. It is possible to find the people like you, where ever in the world they are and see what happens. Share and try and try again!
And then it happened…
I used to think that the most magical phrase in storytelling was, ‘What happened next?’
But now I understand that we need the release from the next and the new of each chapter. We need to pause for a moment in a place and rest before the next twist and turn.
“I decided to stop trying and focus on me, and then it just happened…”
“I realized that I had been asleep for years, and then I just woke up…”
“The eagle turned as it flew, tipping it’s body slightly and then it happened…
I have heard all of these phrases in the past week. I realised that some of the most memorable moments we have is not the ‘thing’ that happened. It is the moment just before the event.
In a few days I will be on a plane. I am at a moment of rest before a huge adventure. I am at the point in my own life story where I am about to say, “And then it happened…”
But what I wonder will ‘it’ be. I don’t know, but I bet it will be one hell of a ride.
Letting go to let come. Letting go of something that you have created and love can be hard. Remember, letting go doesn’t mean gone. Letting go is making room. We only have so much time and attention in our lives. And sometimes the best thing to do is to set something free so someone else can look after it. This letting go allows more come into your life. Take for example, writing a song. If this song is never performed it means that no one will ever be able to give it back to you. If you perform it, other people will hear it and absorb parts of it as their own. They in turn may sing it and give something of themselves to it. This interpretation of your work transforms it into something you could never imagine. It also creates a connection that wasn’t there before.
That doesn’t mean you should give everything you have away. Certainly protect what must stay with you. We all have to own things. Just be mindful to never hold anything so close that it can never change. Let it get out there, experience and experiment and come back to you a little bit older and wiser! Layers of meaning come from a variety of sources, and creates a deeper, richer maturity. Let your creations explore and find a life you never could have dream of.
Life is good when you know when to let go. Holding on to too many things is a huge responsibility. It is ok to let other people carry some of the load. You never know when things are going to come back your way and often when you least expect it in the least likely places. If you want to improve your vision make sure to focus on the things that aren’t right in front of you. Remember the things on the periphery are just as important.
When you let go, learn let it come back. Give something to your community so they can give it back to you. This shared experience brings us all together and we can create something new. This is how a community is built.
I want to be wrong. I want to become flexible, learn and grow. If you are always right then there is never a new point of view to consider or a new way of doing things. Being wrong is the place to be. It means you have new options to consider and new lessons to learn. It is ok to be wrong sometimes. It means that we should be aware of the possibility of something that we didn’t know existed. It is ok to get lost and to explore. Being wrong means being flexible and understanding that in order to grow one must bend to new ideas. Growth often comes from a place of pressure and pressure creates flow. Flow is like yoga. Yoga stops us from becoming brittle or unable to bend. It is not always necessary to fight and try to hold a position, try understanding and learning how you may or may not be able to support a position. Growth comes as we find our feet in a new situation or place. Learn to support your story, but don’t forget to bend and grow. Learn by listening. If your community isn’t responding to your posts ask yourself why? Is it because I am not clear in explaining why it is of value, is my community’s needs changing or am I changing. Keep tabs on this by checking in with yourself and your community. Life is a process of trial and error, it is ok to be wrong as long as you try to make it right!
I would like to thank Tania from Feeling Purpose for an amazing evening of networking, that didn’t feel like networking. Feeling Purpose is a community dedicated to helping woman transition into new careers or business ventures.
Last night I gathered with a large group of woman and a few men to speed network. At no point did I feel like I was networking in the traditional sense. I was having wonderful conversations with interesting people, who are doing interesting things. This is resonates with me because the process of running my own business is a process of personal development. I am interested in buildings strong relationships as a core part of my work. Last night was a wonderful way to explore and deepen this process. To everyone who attended, it was lovely to meet you!
And thank you again Tania for knowing how to throw a party!
Everyone and their brother has been talking about connecting the dots ever since Steve Jobs said –
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
I love this idea, but I have a different take on it. I believe the dots are connecting to you, instead of you connecting them. If you think of a dot as a person, event or idea, out there bumping around into other dots, they will eventually connect in a meaningful way. The trick is to let them. If you have a great idea, put it out there. Show it to the world, don’t keep it to yourself. If you see a great person, go over and start up a conversation. If you want to join a group of people who share your values at an event or other happening make it a priority to go.
It is a law of physics. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What you put out there can only make other things happen. You never know where they will come from, but as long as you keep throwing your dots around, more dots will connect to you.
You always have a chance if you live to fight another day. If you wake up in the morning to fight again, you are one of the lucky ones. – Howard Davis (My Dad)
You can jump off a cliff without knowing what is on the other side. We love stories about people who take risks. We love them because we admire bravery. The best stories are of triumph in the face of adversity.
The end of the year is creeping up. A time of a reflection. We look back and see what we can do better or what we want to change moving forward. Evaluation works most of the time, except when it doesn’t. Sometimes the best thing to do is to stop. Some situations are not worth making changes. Accept when something has run it’s course and walk away.
The best beginning is often the end of something else. When a job, relationship or situation has no value for you any more walk away. It isn’t quitting, it is looking after what is best for you and only you know that.
Life has ups and downs. It is just the way it is. Things are good for a while, they get bad for a while. We are not always able to control what happens to us. What we can do is control our reaction to situations.
Jumping off a cliff is good for you. It means that you have faith in your abilities to make the best decisions possible in any given situation.
What does this have to do with social media? The other side of removing things from your life means you have room for something new. Where do you find this? Explore! Read blogs, find interesting people to talk to on Twitter, join groups. Find, friend and then facilitate change through conversations.
We need help from the people in our lives to make sure we can get to where we want to go. If it is worth doing, it is done with the help of many hands.
Go out and find help or give it where it is needed!
Having choices is something we all strive for. How is it that having too many choices can lead to a feeling of being paralysed? The feeling of paralysis can be scary and overwhelming.
Focus is the cure. When you feel like you can’t move, concentrate on moving just one toe, or finger. Focus on one small goal for the day. Goals are what keep us on the right track. When you are on the correct path you get lots of new followers on your Twitter account or great feedback on a presentation for your business, but where do you go from there?
Focus on your goals. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t let yourself get sidetracked. You know what is best for you and your business, no one else!
Share what authentically resonates with you and it will strike a cord with your audience. Pursue what is important to you and you cannot go wrong. Each blink and flex is working against inertia. One post at a time, one tweet at a time! Used correctly social media moves you towards the people and goals you want to connect with!