In December 2019, I was getting cold feet about an entrepreneurship course at university, which I had just dicovered was full time, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm with 4 weeks holiday time, which needed to be agreed in advance.
This was daunting as this only came up at the interview stage, so I was wondering whether to accept a place if I was offered it or not.
I had applied to this course, because during 2019, I had started to think about app ideas, which I was inspired by the idea of developing. What this involved was a mystery to me. I had a vague idea that I would need to present my idea to investors, like on Dragon’s Den.
It had begun to occur to me that there might be a gender bias in who got funding and who didn’t, seeing women being turned away despite a good idea and presenting solid figures, while male candidates with arrogant confidence got offers, despite signs of being difficult to work with.
My feet were cold but the stipend of £16,000 was attractive, as a means to allow me to focus on the course without other distractions.
The first six weeks were pretty lonely. I was older than 90% of others. Some of the younger guys acted as if I didn’t exist. The challenges we were set were interesting, however I was put in a team with two guys, who were very keen to put their ideas forward and not consider mine. As an ideas person who works well in a team, I was in an environment where I couldn’t work on my own ideas, I had no idea where any goalposts were, I was ignored, not spoken to and no one had any interest in me. My brother said that would be the normal attitude of a young man towards any middle aged woman.
There are many examples of where I have done something and had no control over the outcome and it has all worked out the best for me.
One year ago today, our government announced we were going into a ‘lockdown’ to protect us and our ailing health system from the ravages of a coronavirus. COVID-19 means Coronavirus Disease 2019 and it is also known as SARS Coronavirus 2.
Therefore, from 16th March 2020, I no longer needed to go into the university. I had also been permitted to do my own product, which made my lot a damned site easier, without having to pass work through other people.
As the COVID-19 pandemic swooped up again in September, as anyone it seems, except our government could or said they had predicted, I could work through the seven hand-ins from July 7th through to 21st August, while Eating Out To Help Out in Falmouth, where outdoor space made this relatively harmless for us. An outdoor social space was created in the Church Street Car Park.
This same better-than-imagined outcome has ocurred for me time and again, since I have learned to 1. gather what information I can to make choosing easier. 2. Doing what I think is best 3. Accepting the outcome.
The books I have been inspired by include:
The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle – Tolle is a living example of his ideas. He recommends living in the now and not trying to predict the future. He shows how the future may be predicted through repetition of the past without deeper analysis to work out whether the past has anything to tell us about the future.
Here, you could argue that we need to learn lessons from the past to stop repeating the same mistakes. That needs a closer look. However, if you line up the facts in the present and make an informed choice of action based on what you think, all things considered, would be the best plan, that doesn’t mean it is the best. Even when you have resolved mistakes after something has not worked and drawn conclusions, we might not always draw the right conclusions anyway.
None of that matters. This is why we cannot control the outcome as we do not really know what went wrong, whether it was a matter of the roll of dice, circumstances or performance or combination of these factors. This brings me to the next book:
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – this writer and vulnerability specialist reveals how we might numb ourselves from reality or be clouded in shame, which means we do not shine light on our darkest corners. This can leave us feeling alone and depressed, unsure where to start talking to other people or who to choose to talk to.
By daring greatly, Brown recommends conversation and communication to swap notes and experiences with others to guide us. To dare to tell people about things we want to talk about. If you think of the word ‘confidence’ it reveals a truth: If you confide in people you appear stronger. This is why we have ‘confidence tricksters’ who use revealing restricted information or secrets to manipulate people. People who tell the truth about things and themselves appear more confident than those who try to hide things or stop discussion.
Lastly, the one mentioned in my previous blog:
Men’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl – Frankl lived through the horrors of Nazi concentration camps by keeping a purpose bigger than himself in his sites. He knew he had to survive as a service to others, justice and the community he represented. As a result of aiming for this ultimate purpose, his actions in the present took him step by step closer to his goal. The same works for having a vision for the future.
My vision for 2030.
This worked for where I am now, which is close to a drawing I did in 2005, showing a tall house, a garden, social space, the sea in the background and a plane flying overhead pulling a banner, which says TRAVEL.
This indulgent vision did not mean I as going to single-mindedly work to own a house by the sea and go on lots of holidays and achieve nothing else. It just inspired me. The hardest thing for me was to let myself think what it was I wanted by 2020. I was filled with doubt, shame and fear. I am not tidy and found it hard to get a regular job. My flat was far off being ready to rent or sell. In 2005 I could not see how I would ever be able to move.
However, slowly, step by step the path ahead began to emerge. When a friend suggested renting a rooom out and living in the living room I felt uselessly unable to even think about it, but think about it I did. In the end, I was clearing my way one action at a time to be able to choose the next crucial step in 2010 and move to Cornwall in 2011. In 2015, this vision became real.
Therefore, I am a little more confident now to create a new vision for 2030. Here it is:
I will be living in a big house in the country with a garden, cat, dog and outdoor swimming pool. I will have space for guests and friends to stay over, lots of social gatherings and maybe small music festivals.
In the present, that inspires me to keep working, researching, weighing up the options and doing what I think is best in the present.