Star Trek, Whoopie Goldberg and Coworking

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.

Ah, What The Heck, I Might As Well Give It A Shot…

 As you can see from my subject line, I can waffle a bit when making a decision. But then I think, ah what the heck, it doesn’t hurt to try. Every time I take a risk and reach out to people, it usually pays off in some way.

It is time to set intentions for the New Year. One method of setting your intention is to focus on one word. I imagine it as choosing a word that will act like your guiding star. If you follow this word you will always travel in the right direction.

While I love the idea, I am leaning towards a phrase for the year, “Ah, what the heck, I might as well give it a shot.”

Too many times I have set unnecessary limits on myself. For those of you who don’t know, I went on a world tour teaching storytelling and social media 6 months ago. That was no easy feat to pull off. I have ran my own business for 3 years. It has been an amazing ride, but no adventure is complete without some major bumps in the road. Ultimately I have done all of these things because I just decided to do it. Now when I start talking myself out of an idea that seems too big and too impossible, I am going to remember, “Ah Heck”.

Honestly, no one knows why any one says yes or no. But you will never find out if you don’t put yourself out there.

So next year, I am going to say, “Oh heck, a heck of a lot more!

Have an amazing holiday break! And on New Year’s Eve don’t make a resolution, commit to a revolution. In what way are you going revolutionise your life?

On a personal note this year has been a wonderful, but in many ways a hard year. I learned so much and next year I am going to start putting it all into practice. From many of the conversations I have had, I know a lot of you have had an intense, hard year full of learning.

Never fear, next year all of that learning is going to be put to good use. Do I know this for sure, no, I don’t. What I do know is that hard work does lead you to where you need to be.

So watch out everyone, next year is going to be about reaping the rewards!

Stay well and see you in 2016.

London, Stop Two On My Entrepreneurial World Tour!

Twitterversity Workshop London

The red of the double decker buses contrasted against the blue British summer sky. Piccadilly Circus buzzed with laughter as people enjoyed the pleasure of a warm afternoon. I located the coworking space I was looking for, Impact Hub Westminster, located in the New Zealand Embassy on Haymarket Street. I am in London, the second stop on my workshop world tour.

I meet with the Community Enabler, Floree who helped make my Twitterversity workshop a sold out success.

Floree’s official title is Community Enabler. When she took part in my Twitterversity workshop on June 30th and we agreed that her alternative title could be “Matchmaker”. She matches up people, ideas and events to make beautiful things happen.

There were a few differences between running a workshop in London versus New York. There are also a few similarities. The similarities are the enthusiasm that people have for sharing their passion and ideas. The differences came in the way people responded to sharing. In London people had a very polite way of interacting. I had to ask people to share their thoughts or questions with the room. In New York people needed no invitation, they felt comfortable jumping in with ideas as soon as they had them. Once the groups started sharing, it was contagious, regardless of what side of the pond they where from.

I discussed this experience with a friend Farid, the founder of business accelerator Ignitr in London. He explained that London is a wonderfully balanced mix of polite consideration and enthusiasm for ideas and innovation.

This international experience has reinforced how important it is to be aware of how small the world is. Before my trip I saw myself as just one person on a vast blue planet. Now I see myself as a person who is part of a global community. Through this journey of presenting international workshops, I understand how ideas, innovation and passion are a unifying force in the world.

Having an international outlook has opened my eyes to how unique each and every one of us is. I have met a variety of people who have created niche ways to interact with the world. They have created businesses that I never would have dreamed of. This has been an important lesson for me. Never stop learning and dreaming. Those dreams could become the answer to someone else’s problem or the inspiration for the foundation of a new business.

I am writing this from a workspace in tree house in Hoxton Square, London. Some very wonderful people at Groundwork.org.uk have built a space that people can rent to work in as well as bring awareness to underfunded parks. This tree house began as someone’s dream and now I am sitting in it!

At my last workshop I met entrepreneurs who wanted to open coworkings spaces, sustainability coaches and super food advocates. The more people I meet the more inspired I become. I see the value in others and that in turn helps me to recognize what is valuable in me. We all have something to offer. Often the trick is finding the best way to express ourselves and share it.

With amazing experiences in New York and London under my belt, I now have the last leg of my trip to look forward to, Berlin. So far the event at Impact Hub Berlin is filling up, with only 1 space left. I am also looking forward to running my solo Twitterversity workshop with Betahaus.

Joseph Joubert said, “To teach is to learn twice”. Every workshop I run leads me to think and connect with others in new ways. I never tire of the cycle of teaching, as well as learning what the participants can teach me.

Collaboration is what I live for and dream about as I continue on this path around the world.

Thank you Impact Hub Westminster, it was better than I ever could have imagined.

My Entrepreneurial Journey, Stop One New York!

Teaching-In-New-York-Spendlove-and-Lamb

The lack of street noise wakes me up. The city that doesn’t sleep does have its quiet moments and for the Lower East Side that appears to be 6 am. It is the morning of my first Twitterversity workshop on my world tour with Impact Hub coworking spaces. The first cab off the rank is New York.

Flash back to 6 months ago and I am sitting at my kitchen table in my home in Melbourne, Australia. I decided it was finally time to take a leap of faith and see what would happened if I undertook a journey of international coworking and presenting workshops. It was a calculated risk, but I knew the experience would unlock opportunities if I jumped.

In January this year I committed to making my dream of traveling the world while teaching storytelling and social media into a reality. I met with a friend of mine, Zahava Mandelbaum, from New York and asked for her recommendation on coworking spaces. She said anything at Impact Hub NYC would have her seal of approval. She explained the types of events hosted there were of a high quality and focus on positive social and environmental change.

I started my own research and discovered it would be the perfect space to support my plan. Impact Hub is an international network of awesomeness. “MissionHUB” owns and operates Impact Hub coworking campuses, in San FranciscoBerkeleyNew York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well as the Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP) for impact investing.

There are also an international community of coworking Hubs around the world. I chose the triumvirate of cool, New York, London (Westminster) and Berlin. Side note, a childhood dream of mine has been to play Broadway. Guess where Impact Hub NYC is located? Mom is so proud, I’m on Broadway!

Through the magic of networking on LinkedIn I discovered a kindred spirit in broadcaster and eclectic creative Megan Spencer. We connected via our love of storytelling and Berlin. We decided we were fated to facilitate a storytelling workshop together. Long story short, it is happening July 18 and 19th at Impact Hub Berlin. It will focus on storytelling, design thinking and deep listening with the end result being a podcast each participant can take away from the workshop and I cannot wait!

Megan Spencer packed up her life and permanently relocated to Berlin in April this year. As soon as her jet lag wore off she met with Vishal the Community Manager at Impact Hub Berlin and explained we would love to use their space for our event. He agreed learning the art of storytelling was a great opportunity for his community and accepted our proposal. Vishal connected me via email to his international team of community managers in New York and London Westminster.

I was welcomed by each of the spaces with a resounding yes, what an amazing journey, we love what you are doing and we want to support you. Floree the Community Enabler from Impact Hub Westminster even rearranged their schedule to accommodate my workshop as their monthly Hub event. I was humbled and honored by that act of support.

I was blown away by how quickly it all came together. When you find your flock, everything takes wing! I am officially hosting a Twitterversity workshop at all locations as well as a joint storytelling workshop with Megan Spencer in Berlin.

Being an entrepreneur means being comfortable with the three C’s – change, chance and challenge. By embracing the three C’s and seeing where it takes you, doors do open. And when they do, it is fascinating to see who steps through. Create change, be open to chance opportunities and do not be afraid of challenges. They always pay off!

This is why I teach social media and Twitter in particular. The lack of controlling algorithms allows people to connect through wondrous acts of serendipitous discovery. Reaching out and connecting with like-minded individuals leads to possibilities you never could have imagined.

As of this writing I have just completed my first workshop in New York. The participants had a blast as they refined their messages and stories while harnessing the power of Twitter. Check out the stream under my hashtag #Twitterversity to see what we did.

The people I have met through Impact Hub NYC have been invaluable. I would also like to thank Jeremy from Firebrand Group and Kevin from ManageFlitter for your networking support in New York. I am also looking forward to collaborating Sharon from Freelancers Union to co-create content for an event in September! I will be back New York, I have met wonderful people and want to stay in touch.

My experience of coworking out of the space has also lead to great experiences. For example today there was a shared ‘Sexy Salad’ lunch. It operates in the true spirit of collaboration, Eva the Community Manager worked with work trade host Vania to prepare the food, while coworking members Michele Iadarola, from Especially Puglia provided gorgeous olive oil for the dressing and Radicle Farm provided the living greens foundation for all the sexy fixings heaped on top.

Stay tuned this journey has just begun…next stop London!

Photos curtesy of Vania, Michele from Especially Puglia, Mission Hub and Zahava