Motivation Monday: Have you mastered your passion?

When we bring our passion to life and go into business so that we can ‘live the thing’ that we’re passionate about, we sometimes forget the level of skill that’s required to fulfil our ambitions. The new credo is ‘it doesn’t have to be perfect – just get it shipped’ but sometimes we just need a little push to take us to the next level, where we find that we’re capable of more mastery than we ever imagined.

Sit back, take a break and ‘watch Japanese yo-yo world champion BLACK tell the inspiring story of finding his life’s passion, as he gives an awesome performance that will make you want to pull your yo-yo back out of the closet…’ and just maybe take your own passion to the next level.

A look back at the women who pioneered the female ‘start-up’

Sometimes we need to look back to look forward. In this TED Talk, Dame Stephanie Shirley gives us insight into a time when being a successful woman in business went against the grain, and how things have changed dramatically for women wanting to start their own enterprise. So if you think you’re up against it, and are looking for inspiration, listen in to the kinds of challenges she faced when starting out.

‘Dame Stephanie Shirley – the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of. In the 1960s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion, making millionaires of 70 of her team members. In this frank and often hilarious talk, she explains why she went by “Steve,” how she upended the expectations of the time, and shares some sure-fire ways to identify ambitious women …’

The rise of the micro-entrepreneur

Hi everyone, this morning I wanted to share this TEDx talk about the rise of the micro-entrepreneur, that Julie did at UCL back in 2013. It’s a testament to how much work Julie does behind the scenes of Women Unlimited, whether it’s speaking, judging awards, mentoring micro-business owners or spreading her message of ‘you can do it too!’

I love this talk, because it shows not only Julie’s journey, but it gives us ‘real world’ examples of people who have built a successful business by simply taking an idea (in their own small corner of the world) and running with it.

She inspires us to stop looking at the problem of either not having a job, or having a job you don’t want, and embrace the benefits of micro-entrepreneurism; and to take full advantage of the rewards and freedoms it offers. She also sensibly talks about balancing the two, until you reach the tipping point of being able to become a full-time micro-entrepreneur. So grab a cuppa and take a few minutes to think about what you can achieve in your own small corner


Dare to Disagree: Your business can’t grow in an echo chamber

How many people tell you what you want to hear, not what you ‘need’ to hear, when you ask them for an honest opinion about your business or idea? In this TedTalk Margaret Heffernan tells us why it’s so important to challenge ourselves and each other, in order to grow.

‘Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.’

The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray.

Why you should listen

How do organizations think? In her book Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious — with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Heffernan began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association IPPA. In the US, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business. She now blogs for the Huffington Post and; her latest book, Beyond Measure, is due from TED Books in 2015.

The future of business is the “mesh”: Inspiring Ted Talks

This is a really interesting Ted Talk by Lisa Gansky – Entrepreneur. Lisa gives us her insights into the future of business and technology from the point of view that ‘sharing trumps ownership’, as a way for customers to consume services and products.

Worth a listen (even if you’re not a tech head!)…and could well be a conversation starter if you’re brainstorming ideas for a new business or enterprise.

Lisa Gansky, author of “The Mesh,” talks about a future of business that’s about sharing all kinds of stuff, either via smart and tech-enabled rental or, more boldly, peer-to-peer. Examples across industries — from music to cars — show how close we are to this meshy future.

Lisa Gansky Entrepreneur

A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.
Lisa Gansky is the author of “The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing,” and the instigator behind the Mesh Directory ( Full bio
Photo credit:

Is your business based on a ‘sharing’ model? Let us know in the comments below!

Book Love: ‘So we leaned in…now what?’

You may remember Julie’s great review last year of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Now, further down the track, we have Sheryl back on the TEDWomen stage, being interviewed by Pat Mitchell about what she has learned since her Ted Talk and the book’s publication. If the book has had an impact on you and your life please share in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

Sheryl Sandberg admits she was terrified to step onto the TED stage in 2010 — because she was going to talk, for the first time, about the lonely experience of being a woman in the top tiers of business. Millions of views (and a best-selling book) later, the Facebook COO talks with the woman who pushed her to give that first talk, Pat Mitchell. Sandberg opens up about the reaction to her idea, and explores the ways that women still struggle with success.

Why you should never ever give up on your dreams…

Last night I watched this incredibly inspiring video from last year’s TED Women conference. I hadn’t heard of Diana Nyad before but wow, what an amazing lady she is.  Non apologetic, bold, brave, fierce, resilient, persistent … I could keep going but think you should discover it for yourself 🙂

There have been many times in my business journey where I have thought about giving up… where it has all seemed too hard… If you ever feel like that, please watch this as she shares the importance of enjoying the journey and why we should never let go of our dreams or give up.  I hope you enjoy it


[ted id=1896]

Your Stories: Joanna Tall from

Last year at Thrive 2012 (have you checked out Thrive 2013 yet?!) we decided to do something a bit different. Rather than running a conference where all the speakers had made millions and squillions of dollars, I wanted to inspire the audience with some of YOUR stories. Women from our own commmunity who had started up their own businesses and had come along to our workshops and events. Women who had made the leap of faith and jumped into their new venture with anticipation, fear, excitement and hope. We had 4 amazing women, each with unique perspectives and learnings along the way.

As it turned out, sharing these stories was one of the most successful parts of the conference as women laughed and cried along with the speakers as they shared their experiences. Joanna founded in 2010 as a place where women business owners could come to receive good advice at a reasonable price. She also offers legal advice to Dell and other large corporates so brings a wealth of legal experience to the table.

Known as the legal Mary Poppins, she has helped me out a few legal situations and always offers great advice.

I hope you enjoy the video and watch out for more in the coming weeks.

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life: Jane McGonigal

This TED Talk is one of the most inspiring speeches I have seen in a long time (massive thanks to Leanne Dal Santo from @Smartbags for sharing it with me).  Jane McGonigal shares how she turned herself around while in the depths of depression and found the secret to creating more happiness and extending your life.

If you are experiencing any personal challenges in your life, watch this video – it will make a big difference.