“Passion alone is not enough, really, because you have to combine passion with discipline and usually those two words don’t really go together.” These are the words of Daniela Barone Soares, the chief executive of The Impetus Trust, a venture philanthropy organisation. Daniela, originally from Brazil, was speaking last night at a social leadership awards ceremony in London hosted by Ogunte, a company that works to empower women-led social ventures around the world. Daniela’s words really spoke to me and seemed very timely. As I struggle to find a way of making a living from work I’m really passionate about, I’m discovering that self-discipline is, indeed, essential. Unfortunately, it’s not something that comes naturally to me and I’m realising I’m going to need some help. Daniela went on to say that passion and discipline can actually go together, especially if discipline is defined as “remembering what you want”. I like that definition, although I think it’s going to take more than just remembering what I want to get me where I want to go. So as Daniela said, we need to think big and believe in ourselves but also be aware that “passion and process go hand-in-hand” and we need to embed ourselves in a structure that helps us deliver on our dreams. Sound advice.
Fortunately, plenty of women around the world have managed to do that already and I came across some of them at last night’s awards and networking event – starting with Servane Mouazan, the founder of Ogunte. Ogunte is one of those organisations that helps give entrepreneurial and passionate women that structure and discipline they sometimes need to move forward with their ideas. You can read all about the awards, the winners, the finalists and judges on Ogunte’s site and I hope to feature some of the organisations on this blog or in freelance stories in the future. I particularly liked the brilliantly named whomadeyourpants?, a women’s workers’ cooperative in Southampton that employs marginalised women to make “gorgeous, not guilty, ethical pants”. You get to know exactly who made you knickers, where and when!
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to go into all the other great women I met or heard about so, in the meantime, I’ll let Servane explain a little more about Ogunte’s work, the women and organisations it works with and last night’s awards:
All the women featured last night have managed to turn their passion into reality, no doubt with a healthy dose of self-discipline and, by the sounds of it, a fair amount of struggle. I suppose one comforting thing about discipline is it seems many of us lack it. If we didn’t, there wouldn’t be so many books out there on the topic or so many life and business coaches helping people put structures and routines in place to enable them to achieve more of whatever they’re looking for: contentment, freedom, work/life balance, wealth, success. Since I turned freelance, so many people have commented that they wouldn’t have the discipline to work for themselves. I think I do – but I definitely haven’t mastered the art of it yet.
Before I wrap up, I’ll share a couple of links I really like. Check out these happiness posters, designed by Action for Happiness, a movement that’s all about creating a happier society for everyone. The messages on the posters include ‘If you want to feel good, do good’, ‘If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it’ and ‘See life as it is, but focus on the good bits’. I also enjoyed this post by Chris Guillebeau on his site, ‘The Art of Non-Conformity’. It was particularly relevant to me – I have a bit of a habit of asking too many people for advice, getting confused by too many opinions and forgetting to listen to my instinct or gut. I came across these two links thanks to Sinead Mac Manus on Twitter feed (@sineadmacmanus). Sinead is a social entrepreneur, business consultant and founder of 8fold, a social business that “helps busy people work better”. She also writes the From Apps to Zen blog.
Right now I’m feeling like a pretty busy person who needs some help to work better! I have my finger in lots of pies and most of those pies aren’t paying me any money. I look forward to putting some of the top tips I’ve been hearing about recently into action – rather than just blogging about them. I’m realising that writing about challenging one’s fears or moving outside the comfort zone is so much easier than actually doing it!