I heard Megan Quinn share her entrepreneurial journey at a City of Melbourne business lunch recently (raising money for SecondBite). The audience was deeply engaged with her story and felt really comfortable to ask questions.
The first question came from a woman who said:
“I have recovered from breast cancer and I find myself risk adverse – how do I find the courage to do what I really want to do?”
Megan firstly thanked the woman for the courage it took to ask the question. (Maybe that was her first step to courage.) Then Megan shared:
“Please don’t look at me, or any other leader and think we don’t have problems too. That we have everything sorted out. Any of us at any time could be having health issues, financial problems, family crisis’ etc… our lives are not perfect. And comparing yourself to us when the full story is not available is not really constructive… what might be constructive is knowing that we do not have the answers to everything – but we still took the first step on our journey, our calling, our destiny… we followed our passion and we did give it a crack.”
Emma Isaacs says something similar in this piece for B School… it is worth the 1 minute to have a look:
In Live What You Love this is one of the deepest issues I cover… discovering what really stops someone from [living, doing, being,] having what they really want for themselves.
As I shared with the students in Geelong this week, when you know your passion and have a deep sense of purpose, then work out what is stopping you. Is it fear? Is it ‘I don’t know how?’ Is it resources? Why do you get stopped?… Take the time to find out why… as Marie Curie famously said: “Nothing is to be feared just understood”.
If I had known all the ‘dramas’ and set backs I was going to have in my entrepreneurial career, I might never have taken the first step. So many times I felt that I was going backwards way faster than forwards. But then I would make one small step forward – and I was hooked again… unstoppable.
In this same context, I was also very lucky a few weeks back to be interviewed by Osher Gunsberg for his podcast “On aligning with Passion & Purpose, modern leadership, and life on Wall Street in the 80s.” We discussed many ups and downs of my journey from University, then over to IBM in New York where I learned valuable lessons about being ‘professional’ – for me, I learnt that being ‘professional’ meant simply that you fulfilled on your word. If you say you’re going to do something – just get it done. It was here at IBM where my Manager believed in me, encouraged me. Having powerful mentors and ‘champions’ on your career path will have a lasting impression on your entrepreneurial journey. Above all, one thing that was always very clear was there’s always been something that has called me – I was so passionate about whatever I did.
Ask yourself what is really stopping me… and address those things with fresh eyes. If you want it badly enough you will make it happen.
I love the journey, I enjoy it; I enjoy the people around me and I continue to learn from them – so I keep doing it. And I would encourage you to do the same.
Maybe that one first step for you is filling in this form… that is the form for the ‘casting’ auditions for innovators and start ups to appear in the next series of TEN’s Shark Tank Australia.