Very interesting viewpoints from some of you, that I wanted to share with all of you.
''It's a process of trial and error and it never stops… but without focus you will flounder. Meanwhile, there are so many time wasters and dreamers out there that will never amount to a "hill of beans". So the most important skill to learn as an entreprenuer is a sixth sense or how to identify the "real" people and opportunities. There is also a good contribution from being in the right place at the right time… but successful people make their own luck, I hear you say.''
I had lunch today.
Not surprising, you’ll say… Indeed!
But I had lunch with a very promising young man, soon to become a very talented entrepreneur.
He has worked hard for the last nine years, nine long years, learning from both struggling cities in the north of England and the fast moving and economically booming Far East. He has been working endlessly, with only one objective in mind: building the skillset he needs to fulfill his dream.
His dream: to join the family business, a tax and finance advisory firm in the east of England, and take it national.
He admitted willingly that every career decision, every assignment he decided to take, always had the same motive: to get him one step closer to him feeling ready to jump to - and excuse the emphasis - his awakening.
I forgot to mention, this young man just turned thirty two weeks ago.
The inner strength, the focus, the drive he shows, even in the simple settings of an impromptu lunch at a local sushi place, are impressive and a sign of an inherent maturity.
There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that he will be hugely successful in his future endeavors…and quite frankly in any direction he should ever choose in the future!
Why? Because such focus, paired with such an ability to strategize and execute, seems almost miraculous. I’ve now been left wondering: is it all about focus?
I recently interviewed heavy weight entrepreneurs in both France and the UK, discussing success and potential. Over the course of the last 18 months, I have also interviewed very prominent women who made it to the C-Suite, following their own dream. What came out of all discussions was the importance of passion, luck serendipitous encounters and observation. What was, also, at the forefront was risk-taking, trial and error, persistence and knowing what you want. But never have I seen the paramount importance of focus so clearly articulated.
And here I am, having my own moment of being enlightened, from a thirty something.
It is all about focus, paired with self-confidence in your own ability to succeed.
It is about focus, underpinned by a certain humility of knowing what your shortcomings are, and valuing the experience of the elders.
It’s a great lesson that I have learnt today…
So what are you focusing on?
First of all, let me thank you all for your comments on the Manifesto, for sharing your thoughts and showing both passion and strong convictions.
The Manifesto clearly resonated with a lot of you as either a call for change – or a call to talk some sense back into me!
It struck the eternal dilemma of conforming versus expressing your difference.
I am very aware that yes, indeed, we people need heuristics to make sense of the world, to feel somewhat in control of our environment and be accepted. Some would even argue that this pattern creation is rooted in our brain’s very operating mode.
I am aware of all of this…but I cannot help but wonder if we are not taking this to extremes nowadays by increasingly relying on stereotypes.
I cannot help but wonder what happened to the myth of the Renaissance man, a mix of scientist, philosopher, artist and businessman – the well-rounded individual open to diversity. How would he or she be perceived today?
I also question our current ability to foster a new Pascal or a new Da Vinci, multifaceted individuals who had such an important impact on these extraordinary beings were highly instrumental to the Enlightenment, in pursuit of a new and better world.
Let’s face it, if we do not allow for and/or catering to difference, if we systematically close the door to diversity and undermine an individual’s courage to be different, how can we adequately solve problems and innovate?
Let’s push the argument: if we are constraining innovative or creative impulses, how will we even be able to survive in the long term?
Organizations and society alike need a certain number of free spirits able to claim and embrace a different way, able to inspire and push innovation, able to create a path. We all can be that special one in our own way, gently revealing our uniqueness for the greater good.
A very talented lady once told me that innovating and conforming are a difficult balancing act that one needs to master if one want to have an impact. Think in terms of fashion to master the skills, she recommended. Wear a bright red but classically cut Chanel outfit or a super trendy Vivienne Westwood suit – in black. Mix a conformist element with an innovative one and you will create change in a non-threatening way.
To conclude with a more down to earth analogy – dedicated to you Londoners – imagine your life as the escalator at either say Bank or Green Park Tube stations (my favourites). Consider the few people walking on the left hand side of the escalator. They move faster and higher; they choose not to conform, because they are pursuing a different purpose. From time to time, choose to join them.
‘’Great achievements, holistic approach, true globe-trotter are the first thoughts coming to my mind when I browse your site. However, there are so many faces, former corporate high-flyer, new entrepreneur, finance executive, woman executive and this to quote just a few. You have so many interests that I am finally a bit confused’’ commented one of my business partners when he gave me feedback on the website concept.
It made me angry – not at him – at the world !
This need to classify and structured truly and positively infuriated me. This need to label things and people is a constant constraint. This urge to create boxes and patterns is a threat to one self-confidence.
It endangers courage to act, to embrace and drive change. It jeopardises creativity and innovation, rooted, in my opinion, in a deep ability to observe, relate and feed from different terms of reference….or simply DIFFERENCE
I am calling for, no, I am claiming the right to be multiple, to be undefined and unclassifiable. I am claiming the right to be unconstrained and the power to break others' mental rules, patterns or expectations.
This week, I morphed from advisor, to public speaker Monday and Tuesday. I was a board member Wednesday in the morning, a writer in the afternoon and a friend at night. I played at strategist and fund raiser on Thursday, at talent hunter and journalist on Friday, and ended the week as a…woman.
How many boxes could have ticked? Thousands
How many patterns and stereotypes did I break ? To some a lot, to me personally…none.
How was your week ? Let’s start thinking about ourselves as precious stones, as diamonds, with a thousand cuts, and let the light, the context, reveals blue or yellow, green or purple, depending on what matters or what is needed.
Let’s embrace difference and fight conformism.
Let’s start looking for possibilities and free ourselves from old mental models. Let’s let our freedom and our potential rule.
Live, Breathe, Shine.
Join the evolution, innovate yourself.
DIFFERENCE / EVolution / Perspective
About her company, Lead the Future: