When I lived in Thailand, I participated in yi peng, the tradition of creating and sending up these homemade balloons (khom loy). People often have contests–they write their addresses on it and when people find the remains, hopefully someone will contact them. A successfully balloon goes high and far until the flame snuffs itself out, and the balloon falls to the ground. It’s about hope and it’s about industry, and also a bit about fate. You build it to the best of your abilities, you light the flame, you launch it by a river or body of water — and delight in the sight of all the lights, reflected. Or just the spectacle of all the lights floating by. It’s like life. It’s like your dreams. Do your best, launch your best self, and enjoy the community of everyone’s efforts. It’s making something, putting something out there. It’s a bit about the courage to let your light shine.
Patience as an Aspect of Success –But not too much
Female founders of all ages are remarkable people.
They We think for them ourselves. They We may be patient people, but as a group, they we are done with patience as our defining attitude. As an innovation lead, I have worked with dozens of women-owned businesses–and hundreds of small businesses and startups. Success is an attitude. Leadership is a skill.
To develop this skill–and to cultivate the attitude of success –we have to work collaboratively with patience, as if it were a part of the team–but we can’t let patience lead us for any large part of time. Patience can be best friends with anxiety and self-doubt, attitudes that we can’t let onto the team. We can’t have that patience.
The patience we need is the partner of cunning and watchfulness. We have to give patience the job of studying and exploring what is going on around us. Patience is a quality in a forward scout or even a sniper. We have to be prepared to act. We have to watch for our shot.
If you haven’t yet heard Lin-Manuel’s parody of his own song on SNL, I have to say that parody just speaks to me. He walks through the audience, through the hallways, talks to Lorne Michaels, and generally embodies the attitude of new founders in innovation everywhere, with that song is his head, in his heart–excitement, worry, possibility and confidence.
We have to get moving. We have to stay moving.
We have to balance preparation with action so that our light can shine the brightest, and our dreams reach their potential height and distance.
Women often struggle with the concept of ourselves as leaders. We must make friends.
For women in the twentysomethings and early thirties, they have the energy of youth and the invigorating lack of experience that can propel them forward into the lion’s den. They have many more age-peers in the startup community. For them, this is one of many shots. They have so many futures ahead of them. For those of us forty or better, we have increasingly fewer shots at building our viable businesses and creating our own futures. If we don’t know other women in business, especially women in business our age, we have no idea where to begin or how we’d manage.
The WordPress community is a big help there. There are WordPress “camps” and events that get posted on the “black WP” administration dashboard. I checked them out, explored them and yes, I went to an event! I met women! My own age! Creating their own businesses and figuring out their own ways forwards. Some had side-gigs. Some were web developers. Lots of people with different ideas and experience! I was so energized.
Patience helps us to prepare — Experience helps us to Act
I had been considering creating my own WordPress-oriented meetup group–but this one existed and was nearby. I was hesitant, shy I guess. I think I was afraid I’d be the oldest person there (as I often am. It wears on me. I have to explain myself to new people all the time.) When I investigated a Wordcamp, wondering if I’d enjoy that or get something out of it, I noticed that one of the speakers was (a) female; (b) in my age range; and (c) the leader of the local WordPress group I had been putting off attending.
It was great. And it was awkward as hell, meeting new people! 😀 Whether you’re four, fourteen or forty, well, wherever you go, there you are.
I met several women my own age in various stages of building businesses–this was so invigorating! I have so much to learn and re-learn in web development and technical skills. But then, I have so much to offer, too. Becoming part of a group helps us to appreciate our own value.
Oh, there is so much I don’t know about blogging and business and web-design! Everything changed while I was raising my kids and juggling this new career and fighting all the demons and dragons. I’m learning more every day. It’s hard to be patient with myself and keep my eye on the future. The present also has to be taken care of– and there is so much that needs to get done now. It’s easy to get discouraged and depressed! So I have to create my tribe, find my community, and grow.
Patience. It’s hard when the future is coming at you at gale force. We have to focus and make our shot count.
More soon ~ Lola.
(Oh, and this post was inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt: Patience. )