SUCCESS AND THE SILICON VALLEY MINDSET

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A couple of weekends ago, my friend and I sat in my room and fuelled by mimosas at breakfast, we discussed some of the badass, amazing women we know and how we aspire to be this way ourselves. It is an intuitive feeling that we are here to do more.

We all know these women. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what makes them so powerful – it’s an invisible energy, a force of nature. As I lay amongst my Euro pillows it occurred to me what makes them so special.

They are unapologetic.

I don’t mean they don’t know how to admit when they are wrong. Far from it. Instead, they are unapologetic about who they are. They are unapologetic about taking good care of themselves. They are unapologetic about speaking up.

This is not a feminist conversation, but I can not speak for men as I am not one. However, I have noticed that us girls can sometimes struggle more than guys with speaking our mind. We fear looking opinionated or unintelligent. We often fear that our contributions are not good enough. I have not been immune from this in my time. People are always so baffled to hear that someone who seems so outspoken and confident could ever doubt herself. When the truth is, I doubt myself constantly. I speak up, or have strong opinions, but it brings up a resistance within me. What if I’m wrong? What if I sound stupid? What if I say a dumb thing?

A woman’s brain works differently to a man’s. Unfortunately, many of us are wired to doubt our every move. We are hard on ourselves and often see failure as something we can’t come back from. My fears around starting a business have always been the same. There will be mistakes and they may be public and I will confirm my inner belief that I’m not quite good enough in front of the world. Best I just sit the hell down.

The first time I noticed this female phenomenon was at a leadership summit I spoke at earlier in the year. As part of the day, the summit attendees (year 13 students) broke into smaller groups for robust discussion. I facilitated the discussion in one of the groups and once the session was over I required a group leader to come up on stage with me to relay our findings to everyone. As the day progressed I realised something. Not only was I the only female keynote speaker (and I was f***ing terrified) not a single group leader that stood up and volunteered, was a female. And this is not for lack of opinions. In the smaller group discussions, it was the girls who impressed me the most. For their age, they were open minded, made intelligent points and were incredibly articulate. They were far more impressive than I could have ever imagined. They brought up topics that I didn’t even understand. But when it came time to volunteer to come up on stage with me, they fell silent. In the end, one of the boys took the stage with me.

It occurred to me that in business and our careers, this is one of our biggest hurdles as girls. A belief that we are not good enough, not deserving enough and that we must not make mistakes. But if we can not make mistakes, how can we ever tolerate the risk required to run a company, or invest, or lead a start-up.

Recently, I read an article on the Silicon Valley mindset. What is it about this California region that breeds so much innovation and entrepreneurial spirit? Silicon Valley is a culture. The culture being “pay it forward” and “fail fast”. It is not unusual for entrepreneurs to fail six times before succeeding.

pay-it-forward

As one article writes “Silicon Valley recognizes, and even values, failure. To succeed one must try, to not try or not to learn from your mistakes is the true failure.”

For myself, I have realised that this is the first step to financial independence, career success and to starting a business. It’s also a step towards fulfilment. Developing and nurturing my Silicon Valley mindset involves embracing risk and failure. I can read all the finance books in the world and study the most amazing companies and entrepreneurs. But if I don’t change how I think, not only will I not reach my goal, I won’t even try.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Although I only post once a week on this blog, I have been much more active on my Facebook account. Feel free to follow along here – I read and view a crazy amount of content in a day – there is nothing I love more. Therefore, I am pretty good at sifting through what I consider the good and the not so good. I also have you guys emailing me really interesting resources, so I will share with you what gets shared with me. I love this little community we are building. I will be posting nearly every weekday on Facebook with an article or video I am loving. Or even a great recipe! Speaking of videos, I have had a lot of people asking me to start creating Youtube vids. Although I’m not quite there yet (time-consuming), I thought I would get up with the times and start to create a video diary once a week that I will post on this site. I’m excited as things progress in the future with my business ideas, to video my journey and share it with you. My biggest concern is that I tend to swear a lot when stressed – but I will figure out how to bleep that s**t out for you…

Next Post: On Success and Self-care.

Much love XX

Top Photo: My own

 

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Hi, I’m Katie. I am a kiwi neuroscientist with a love for consuming and creating content. This site is where I share my personal thoughts and the thoughts of incredible minds from around the world. PhD in Neuroscience, University of Otago.

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