Serendipitous good stuff.jpg

The 100 Women Project - unforeseeable good stuff.

When you work creatively and do new things the potential for 'unforeseeable good stuff' (official title) to happen increases.  

That's exactly what's happened with the #The100WomenProject.  I started the project because I wanted to do something creative.  I also wanted to share the stories of women who are designing a work life they love; because these stories (and therefore wisdom and inspiration) are lacking.  And then there was the third reason.  The serendipitous, unforeseeable good stuff which - when I started I couldn't have told you what it would be (I still can't) - but which I knew would happen.


I'm about to take a break for the Summer and having interviewed five of the one hundred women I'm going to talk to, I thought I'd pause and share with you some of the unforeseeable good stuff and some of my reflections and pondering's so far.


Serendipity is more likely to happen if you design for it.  

The Oxford Dictionary describes 'serendipity' as

The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
— oxford dictionary

Now that's all well and good but I know from over seven years worth of experience helping people in organisations like Red Bull, UK Sport, British Triathlon and Penguin Random House (with my 'other' business We Are Unstuck) that you can increase the likelihood for serendipity if you design (or plan) for it.  If you're curious to find out more, check out Matt Kingdon's (co-Founder of Innovation Agency What If!? and author of 'The Science of Serendipity') blog

By creating / designing / planning The 100 Women Project I increased the likelihood for serendipity to happen - and guess what?  New, creative, unforeseeable, good stuff is happening as a result:    

  • I'm designing an exciting collaboration with Catherine Edsell - Expedition Leader of The Matriarch Adventure (more details of that in a few weeks time!).  You can read Catherine's 100 Women Project interview here.
  • Following a conversation with Claire Dunn (founder of no faff), we're experimenting with a pop-up co-working space with local, female entrepreneurs because we discovered there's lots of us within a two mile radius of where we live! You can read Claire's 100 Women Project interview here.


Creative Confidence is a life-skill

I've felt strongly about this for a long time.  So far, the 100 Women Project validates that getting from A to B rarely happens in a straight line or on first attempt.  As humans we need to be agile, to be able to pivot and to create new paths for ourselves.    I believe you can only do that if you're creatively confident.  More coming on that after the Summer.  But if you'd like to get a head start - check out David Kelley's TED talk.


There's a whole heap of ways to over-come your Self-Limiting Beliefs

Which -  it turns out -  is a bloody good thing because self-limiting beliefs get in the way for all of us.  Here are some of the 100 Women's top tips:

  • Take action instead of overthinking.  Action creates momentum.  Overthinking creates self-doubt.  Claire Dunn - no faff.   
  • Create a mantra for yourself - Helen Fores - Spark Sensory - has a very personal reason for choosing 'onwards and upwards' as her mantra
  • Speak to friends - have people around you who will listen and who believe in you.  Michelle Bungay - Effortless Trading
  • Catherine Edsell - The Matriarch Adventure, recommends imagining the self-limiting belief is not your own belief but someone else's.  And then imagine what advice you'd give that person and then turn that advice on yourself (great mind trickery if every I've heard of it!)
I know that if I dwell on something it wont get done, so if it feels right, if initial findings point in the right direction then once I’m 80% there - I’ll go for it.
— Claire Dunn - no faff

That maybe you need to experience the low point to get to the high point

This thought for me is a work-in-progress but it seems so far (and this is certainly true of my own experience too) that everyone's leaping off point been when we've been feeling at a low point.  Words like frustrated, trapped, petrified were all used to describe the feeling before making the decision to create a change. Maybe we need to fuel our dissatisfaction with a situation to spark the energy or curiosity to do things differently?


The way out of those low points (so that you don't get stuck there) is reflection and connecting with yourself

Every one of the 100 Women interviewed so far have described connecting with something that they were passionate about or curious to learn about.  Something which has been there 'lurking in the background' but which previously hadn't felt like a valid or proper career path.  Laura Gray's pivot to follow her creative interests was twelve years in the making - she was only able to make her pivot once she'd connected with what she really wanted from work and life.


The courage to live a life 'by Design' comes from small steps

When you think about changing something about your work life (or life in general) we all have those 'holy shit' moments.  I know I certainly have done and I'm sure I will continue to!  Those moments where staying in our comfort zone feels, well - more comfortable.  Each of the women I've interviewed have talked about the first small steps they took.  And from what I know of them, those small steps have fuelled bigger steps.  And then sometimes we try something new and we go back to taking smaller steps.  The things is - small steps create momentum.  And momentum creates change.  The rest is obvious right?!


So that's it - my thoughts so far.  I'm so pleased I decided to do something for the creative hell of it.  I'm so pleased that these women are now part of my life (and yes - we have exchanged text messages and had meetings about everything from innovative collaborations to Lee Mack (read Helen's interview to find out more).


I'd love to hear if The 100 Women Project has inspired you or if it's provoked your thinking in some way - drop me a line to let me know.

And if you know someone you think I should interview - please let me know