Sitting on Necker, Sir Richard Branson’s private island, sharing thoughts and ideas with such leaders as Marianne Williamson, Jean Oelwang, Emma Isaacs, Matt Mullenweg and Sir Richard himself, it crossed my mind more than once, “How did I get here?”.
When I heard about the trip I knew I wanted to attend. Intuition told me that this was going to be a once in a lifetime trip and I believe wholeheartedly in taking opportunities as they present themselves.
The trip was organised as part of the Business Chicks Virgin Unite trip and the people coming along included leading businesswomen and men, thought leaders and change makers. Amongst this group of people, it would have been a conscious choice to not be inspired, to not look to the future and the opportunities that it may present. I was also challenged to look inward at what I have done, how I can improve myself and my businesses. The thought struck me that it was possible to BE more everyday.
From each of the speakers there was a common theme – that they did what they felt was best and felt truest for them. They pushed themselves to be more, change the way they did things and as a consequence each saw something in the world that needed changing. The focus started with why, not with how or what.
Essentially they knew things had to change, they worked on setting about the change to improve the status quo, for the most amount of people. Their businesses were born from a need in the community.
Not one of them started with a focus of how much money they could or would make. The success they have all achieved was a product of their focus upon the WHY they wanted to create particular change.
It is a hard decision to make to push yourself for higher achievements in whatever endeavour you chose. You chose to improve yourself and that might mean changing the way you do things, a comparison of yourself and your business to competitors or even changing your thinking processes. All these are things no one, including me, find easy to do.
In fact the motivation to be better, by process can breed doubt and fear of your own capabilities and vision.
But leadership demands risk taking and sometimes you have to believe in yourself above everything else and just start.Focus on the why.
I believe that we all know that constant improvement is not beyond us, but many of us are too fearful to admit it and to do anything about it, to accept that failure may be part of that equation. This fear is the very thing that stops us doing our best and most valuable work throughout our life and in my opinion, experiencing our life as it should be.
If I could pick a highlight it would listening to and spending one on one time with Marianne Williamson. This time with Marianne was an invaluable experience for me, an experience that helped me turn a page in my life. For those that don’t know Marianne is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer, four of her eleven published books have become #1 New York Times best sellers you can read more about Marianne here.
These words are often attributed to Nelson Mandela but are actually from Marianne,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson
The common thread of the people speaking and attending the event was that they were not trying to be like anyone else, they had become comfortable with themselves. All of them however were constantly looking to improve how they operated and what they did. It was through this process that they all are contributing to the greater cause of improving others lives in the world.
On the plane home it struck me, even though sometimes challenging myself was difficult and confronting I had already started. I am now more focused on being more, being better, becoming more of a positive influence on and within the world.