Recently I got invited to talk at a panel event to discuss the meaning of female entrepreneurship by sharing experiences, challenges and stories while transitioning from a corporate career to an entrepreneurial journey.
In the process of organizing my ideas and what I could convey, recommend or pass along in a 5 min talk, from my experience of life, I wrote down a few short notes and thoughts.
In case you’re wondering what was it that I talked about, here they are. Organized and with a bit more context, of course.
Hopefully my walked path and learned lessons will inspire someone, same way I got inspired by many women that walked the Walk and did the Talk.
“What makes me a female entrepreneur?
It started because I had to. Now I can’t stop being one.
I believe women are the result of their walked path of life.
Women are collectors of imprinted emotions, memories and experiences… and some of those are real treasures. Therefore we should embrace it and take advantage of all those collected items and fully bring them to our life and decision making.
In my case, if I look in the past to a time way back, I see that at age 17 I was already being an “entrepreneur” as it is known and defined nowadays. In reality it was just, and all, about finding new and clever ways to survive on my own by making some extra money and by finding creative solutions for the challenges life was putting in my path. Back then it was about financial survival and about moving forward. That period in my life was when I had to learn how to master the art of ACCEPTANCE. Accepting that the life I was in, the “cards” I was handed and my chances in no way were aligned with my personal and professional dreams for the future… My future would be the best I could do. I had to accept and believe that I was in charge of my life and that through resilience and focus I would get where I needed and wanted.
My 20’s went by so fast… Focused on working, on LEARNING all and as much I could and on building the base of my own Maslow pyramid of life. The people that inspired me the most at that age were super important. From them I learned about life, work and about myself as well.
By my 30’s I had achieved corporate career success, I had built a family and was already a full focused sharp tool, able to set a goal, define a path and get where I needed. All of this while being driven and resilient as usual but fortunately not being selfish since my family was as important as my career and as my contributions for society and community. That was when I moved to San Francisco in the USA and became a freelancer doing new things, meeting amazing people and places, starting new businesses and living a new and unique life. Oddly enough, this turned out to be the period where I achieved the highest BALANCE between family, work, self and others… learning and evolving out of comfort zones while being crazy busy and productive.
It was also when I fully understood that fear never leaves us. May it be fear for the harm of our kids, fear of the unknown, fear of not being enough or having enough strength, conditions or abilities. Regardless of all and every previous conquer, we never let go of fear. At least I never do… Fear always visits me at night keeping me awake when I’m facing a new big challenge in life. But as any dear wise Granny would say: “One needs to first feel fear in order to find the courage to overcome it. COURAGE only exists where there’s fear”.
Now, a bit over 40, back to my roots in Portugal, with my own company, I find myself being highly creative, being professionally happy and independent, with goals and expectations to achieve success for myself and for others around me. I find myself in a state of EQUILIBRIUM. But imagine equilibrium in a stance pose, like when you’re ready and about to start running! Not equilibrium like in a frozen statue. In stance pose because I feel ready for the future…
I believe I am halfway my path and I feel the serenity of knowing that I want to live out my life with just enough abundance to keep living with this equilibrium and in the PARETO OF LIFE that I learned to build along my path.
80% of what I do is for survival and for myself (meaning 80% of my work is paid for financial reasons that allows me to pay bills, support my kids, go on vacation, it pays high quality of chocolate and of wine, etc etc. ) and 20% of my life is donating my time and my resources to others, may it be pro-bono work, volunteering, putting a friend in need as a TOP priority in my agenda, etc. In truth, my PURPOSE in life at this point is that one day I can invert this pareto… so that 20% of my work pays so well that allows me to dedicate 80% to helping others and to impactful projects.
As a conclusion and to recap,
I truly believe that being a Woman Entrepreneur is about accepting who and what we are and have. It’s about finding the balance we may need in life while we keep learning by listening to others. Finally by overcoming our fears and focusing in our true purpose we will find the Equilibrium, to get real, impactful and amazing S#!t done!
Talk on Women in Business & Entrepreneurship, Nov. 2017.