Being inspirational as a business owner is a fundamental key to success. So what does it take to inspire others?
My journey to understanding the importance of being inspired to become inspirational happened in my garden. As I slowly removed the headphones from my ears, I sat staring out across the garden. I could feel the energy starting to build inside of my chest, a familiar feeling that I have experienced many times over the last 10 years. A feeling often preceded by a long period of learning or reflection and one that was almost always followed by the most incredible burst of inspiration.
Learning, i.e. the absorption of knowledge in the traditional sense, is something I discovered quite late in life. Early education had been a disaster for me and for many years I labelled myself as a hands-on learner, so as to avoid ever being expected to read or study again. I did not truly embrace the joy and passion that comes from seeking personal growth through the pursuit of knowledge, until I was about to hit my 40’s.
Since then I have been addicted to the buzz of learning and recently this has come in the form of audiobooks and podcasts. On this particular day I had just finished listening to a quite incredible book The Book Of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.
Stories of Challenge and Inspiration
The Book Of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton is a great book for motivation, inspiration perspective and confidence. I am an audiobook junkie and listening to these amazing inspirational stories of bravery and absolute determination was like having confidence pumped directly into my brain. Stories of so many women you may or may not have heard of throughout history.
Women taking a stand, sticking up for what they believe in and making a difference, often to their own detriment. A powerful insight into their incredible journeys. If you are ever sat thinking “I can’t do this” “what if I fail” “It’s too hard” “I don’t know how” …. I can recommend a few chapters of this book will put that negative self-doubt right in its place.
The book tells the story of 100 gutsy women throughout history and honestly gutsy does not even come close to describing the courage, bravery, and determination these women showed in often the most oppressive and horrific of circumstances. Each woman is unique, living their values and beliefs every single day to overcome insurmountable odds and accomplish their goals. All with one thing in common. They each faced challenges, negativity, interference, and difficulties from outside of themselves. Endless triggers that could easily have prevented them from pushing through. Had these women given in to the voices of self-doubt, fear, and uncertainty that they experienced; the world would be a vastly different place. Civil rights, racial equality, feminism,, medicine, politics, sports, entertainment all would be quite different right now, if it were not for the determination of these magnificent women and the 1000’s more whose story’s may never be told.
As it stands, women in business are often seen as inspirational, mostly because of the prejudice and adversity they have had to overcome to get there.
What was apparent to me and what I believe resonated so deeply was what each of these women had in common, what drove them forward; passion, purpose and creativity. The belief that by pushing themselves to succeed, others would win.
Finding Myself Inspired
As I wrapped my headphones carefully around my phone after finishing the audiobook, I felt this was an inspirational moment.
My work as a coach has been transformed since I switched my focus to working with other female business owners. It was, at the time, not a deliberate move to work with women over 40 it just kind of worked out that way. However, it became clear to me that by focussing my attention on the clients in their 40’s and 50’s my passion and inspiration were increased. I could see myself in them. The parts of my journey I had hidden from for so long suddenly became my marketing tools and the very glue that kept me together.
Women choosing to start a business in their 40’s will inevitably have a story to tell. Their ‘Why’ like mine will be weaved into all aspects of their business and it is this ‘Why’ that drives them. For me, the inspiration comes from hearing not only what they have overcome but from what they chose to do because of it. Many of the Female Business owners of today have famously overcome all manner of obstacles from personal illnesses, grief, loss, divorce, abuse and discrimination to build their empires. Driven by their passion and purpose to enrich the lives of others. Whilst they may have done well out of it financially, it is their personal experience that has dictated the path.
Success comes when we fulfil our ‘Why’ and for me the most inspirational part of my job is working with women who are doing just this. In our 40’s and 50’s we have the benefit of wisdom and we care a lot less about what other people think. We are far less risk averse and passion and purpose are powerful motivators.
I admire Oprah and Brene for their commitment and contribution to the world and I am in total awe of the incredible skills and determination shown by the many women who have taken a simple idea and turned it into a global empire. Though my true inspiration comes from the clients that I work with. Mums, wives, sisters, daughters, bravely following their path. Pushing themselves each day to learn and grow. At a time in their life when the pressure is meant to be off and expectations are minimal. I am inspired every day by the passion and vulnerability these women demonstrate.
There is a real kind of knowing that comes over us once when we start to see the back end of our 40’s. And it is from this place of calm that we can offer so much more value to ourselves and to those around us.
Inspiration works when we start to see ourselves in the story. When we can truly empathise with the journey and relate to the ‘Why’. Modelling has long been a recommended practice to inspire entrepreneurs. It is noticing how others have succeeded and replicating their behaviours and strategies.
Thankfully there are far more successful and prominent women in the spotlight these days. It is not hard to find inspiration, so as a woman in my late 40’s starting a business, it was easy to find role models that I could relate to. My inspiration comes from the women that I work with. The everyday mums who put themselves out there day after day to provide for their families and follow their dream. Role models for the next generation and a perfect example of the magic of possibility. One essential aspect of starting a business is a growth mindset. We have to believe it is at least possible to achieve our goal, even when that journey becomes difficult and exhausting.
What does it take to be an inspirational Female Business Owner in your 40’s & 50’s?
For me it means having the strength to be vulnerable. The courage to follow your path. The humility to allow your values to drive you. The passion to be consistent. And the wisdom to know that whatever happens, however hard it gets, passion will always win.
Here are just a few of the amazing women I have met along the way sharing tips for success in their own words.
Sami Turner – Sparkle with Sami – Beauty consultant
Hi, I’m Sami, mother of 4 children, one having extra support needs. I’m a fully qualified beauty therapist, something I had wanted to be since leaving school.
My biggest tip is learn learn learn and learn some more, find what interests you and research it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either; if you don’t know the answer someone else will. I wish I had known from the start what I know now, that mindset and focus is everything. So too are your goals and dreams. It hasn’t been easy, but everything has been worth it as I’ve learnt so much and I’m looking forward to learning more. Good luck and enjoy every day with an abundant heart.
Vicki Hudson – Vicki Hudson Reflexology
Taking responsibility for your change and development rather than leaving it to fate will empower and motivate you. Being grateful really does work, you will see the good and kindness in everything and everyone. Be brave and get out there! One of my favourite quotes has always been. ‘If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always got!’
Tracey Blake – Aloe Energetix Health and Wellness
Finding the right business coach has been the key to me finding my place. Someone who is able to make me see what I have already achieved and how I can move forward. But you have to find the right coach. I haven’t been told anything that I didn’t know, during my coaching sessions. I just had to hear it in a way that I connected with. One of the most important hurdles to overcome, for me anyway, has been a poor mindset. The saying “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you are right” is so true. If you believe you can’t do a thing, you will convince yourself it can’t be done. So, believe in yourself and aim for the moon. At least if you fail you will have reached the stars.
Kari Ann Roberts – Emotional Strength Coach
Ask yourself what you would do if there were no rules, no restrictions, who you would be and how you would turn up. The answers may surprise you. Don’t dilute yourself, be yourself, as that is who your clients will resonate with. Hire a Coach. Invest in yourself and your company.
Jess Walton – Fresh Air Learning
I wish I’d known from the start that there are so many supportive people out there who want to listen to ideas and are happy to be soundboards, contributing and commenting positively on my thoughts and ideas. A gentle nudge here or a link to a new idea there has made all the difference to my mindset and ability to believe I can achieve my long-term goals. Having support from the people you value in your life makes all the difference. Think of a mantra and live with it. Think it, say it, write it every day. Paint it on your wall, make a keyring with it, choose one for yourself and believe it. Afterall, if you don’t ever try, you won’t know if you will succeed.
For any woman starting her own business I would say: don’t expect your business to grow overnight, it takes time, maybe even years, I don’t believe “get rich quick” exists.
Do not look at others who are successful and assume they did it easily; it’s hard work but tenacity pays off. My final bit of advice: Keep going, even on the days you really don’t feel like it; Just keep going.
Emma Hanney – Stamped with Love
My best advice from my first 5 years is to find a tribe Find a group of like-minded women (and whilst I don’t mean to be sexist; but men and women do look at business in a very different way) Learn from them, let them inspire and teach you what they know. If you have an opportunity to get a mentor or business coach and you can afford it (even if it’s only just) then go for it. One of the hardest things to do is to stay positive but tomorrow is always a new day. You don’t have to be ‘on it’ every day. Give yourself time off, take a morning off, go for a walk, take time to reassess. Some things you’ll try won’t work. Chalk it up to experience, scrap it and move on – you can always try it again at a later date. Having a tribe that you can use as a sounding board will help you so much with this. Run ideas past them and see what they think; commiserate the failures and celebrate the successes and do it together. Opportunities will arise and it will be scary making that decision to go for it, but you just never know what it might lead to.