“You’re all mad,” the headline speaker and inspirational author told us. “OK,” I thought, “it’s not the first time someone’s said that about me.”
I was lucky enough to be invited across to the North East to the Entrepreneur Forum’s Autumn Conference. Set amidst stunning parkland in a country house marquee on a crisp, sunny autumn day, the setting couldn’t have been more perfect.
The theme of the conference was “Fortune Favours the Brave”, and it does. No matter what your circumstances taking that bold step into the unknown has to be one of the bravest things you can do.
It was Paul McGee, author of SUMO who uttered the words “You’re all mad”. His best-selling book “Shut Up Move On” was the number 1 business book for 24 weeks, and is well worth a read. The on-stage Paul was both inspirational and funny. He charmed the audience of 200+ entrepreneurs with his wise words and humour. It was one of his finishing lines that has stuck with me since. “You’re all mad”. Poignant pause. “Making a difference” he said. “Aaaah now I get it”. How simple. How meaningful.
Because as entrepreneurs we do forget about the difference we’re all making. Making a difference with products or services, making a difference to the economy, making a difference to people’s lives, making a difference to other businesses. We’re making a difference because we’ve been brave enough to take that step and create something from nothing.
I do like to share my musings from these events, so here’s three things that got me thinking ….
– Where do opportunities really lie?
Inside or outside of your comfort zone? It’s outside all the way for me. So much of what we do in our business lives can be done without thinking about it, on automatic pilot. I always find it so refreshing to push outside of my comfort zones. Far too often we get stuck on the treadmill, constantly going around the circuit with our heads down. Still achieving but not popping our head out to see what else. They say that magic happens outside the comfort zone. I agree. After all, how do you know what you’re capable of until you stretch yourself?
– The smallest team can do the most incredible things.
It was George Clarke from Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces that brought this one home. Speaking of one his early creations as an architect – a hugely impressive airport in Hong Kong. To be inspired we just need to look at the creativity and innovation shown in the projects George is involved with. Making a bath out of a feeding trough, a toilet seat out of barbed wire. I love how innovation and creative thinking can make a real difference. And I love how it doesn’t take an army of people to make great things happen. Imagination is all you need. You can do something amazing with a common vision and a true desire.
– Apply your own oxygen mask first.
This is a common theme at the Academy for Chief Executives too. Inspire yourself so that you may inspire others. In the aeroplane analogy, this means taking care of yourself by applying your oxygen mask first before helping others. As leaders we can get so wrapped up in helping others that we forget about ourselves. All great athletes need recovery time; and the same is true of business leaders and all high performers. After big performances there should be time to recover, to recharge, to reinspire. If we are to inspire those around us, then first of all we should find the time and inspiration for ourselves.
Finding the time to attend events like these with like-minded people is always time well spent for me. I find them inspirational. Even as I was sat there listening to the speakers, tiny gems of ideas and inspiration came popping through. It felt like my brain was being allowed to rest from the normal day to day, and it was rewarding me with the gems it knows I love. Just a little spark for me to nourish and grow into who knows what.
In the spirit of the season, this Christmas we are donating to our local community. By donating gifts to the Give A Little campaign, we’re helping local children have a happier Christmas. Each member of our team has donated a Christmas present or two to this worthwhile cause.
That the Happies would donate gifts without question, and with such genuine warmth and care, confirmed for me that we are actually making a difference. Or as some may say .. MAD.
All the best.
Karen Lambert is a creative thinker, an experienced strategic marketer and founder and Managing Director of Happy Creative, a strategic marketing and branding agency based in Lancashire, North West England. To learn more please contact Karen at www.happy-creative.co.uk
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