You are currently reading Issue 26, March 2015

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Having persistent thoughts about persistence – Fiona Tatton, Womanthology Editor

Fiona Tatton - Womanthology Founder and Editor
Fiona Tatton

If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it…

I’ve been thinking a lot about persistence recently. You could say I’ve had persistent thoughts about persistence. I have several other places to go, people to see, but I’m sat here, persisting so the new edition of Womanthology can go out on time on Wednesday.

I’m persisting despite the bottle of wine in the fridge and despite the fact that I’ve got five and a half episodes of the new series of House of Cards to binge watch before somebody on Twitter spoils something for me. Being honest, the first half of the series hasn’t rocked my world as yet, but I know Frank and Claire won’t disappoint me before the series is out.

People often ask me when I take a break from Womanthology as I work all week in addition to producing it, but the simple response is that now more than ever as more people are starting to read it, it’s in my thoughts daily, even when I’m not working on it, so in theory at the moment I don’t have any true days off.

Hopefully one day in the not too distant future though, I’ll have an editorial team who put everything together for me and I’ll be able to supervise proceedings by phone from my sun lounger on Richard Branson’s Necker Island…

Double bluff Jedi mind trick

I read somewhere that you should never give up on something that you think about every day, no matter what. Is this entirely healthy or wise? I’m not sure. Sometimes when you try not to think about anything it becomes all you can think about. So there’s the psychological trick – if I say on pain of death don’t think about an elephant now, what is the first thing that comes into your head? Exactly.

So maybe the trick is to allow yourself the freedom to think about something whenever you want, without actually doing it. Haha – a kind of double bluff, Jedi mind trick on yourself.

Willing to be misunderstood for a long period of time

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon said, “Entrepreneurs must be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time,” and I totally agree with him. So you have your lightbulb moment where you decide you’ve come up with an idea that’s pretty incredible, but then you’ve got to carry yourself from that moment of inspiration itself to the point where you’re sat in your swanky office at the top a skyscraper with your company name emblazoned across the side.

The cape: Not a utilitarian purchase

I have fond memories of watching Joan Collins in Dynasty when I was a child. Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter ran the oil company ColbyCo from her own skyscraper in Denver, Colorado. I think this is perhaps where I got some of my ideas about kick-ass women, alongside growing up with Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, with the Queen on the throne and having Madonna as the Queen of Pop. (This was obviously long before she starting experimenting with capes: It’s never a utilitarian purchase a cape, is it?)

Joan Collins on the other hand was rocking the shoulder pad and big hair look, which is currently being celebrated, amongst other looks at the fantastic WOMEN FASHION POWER exhibition at the Design Museum in London (which is still on until 26th April so get yourself along there if you haven’t been already.) There is a also Madge pic, but in her Jean-Paul Gaultier pointy bra days, rather than her more recent and troubled cape wearing phase.

Anyway, I digress. Now obviously not everyone will make it to the skyscraper office stage. In fact many entrepreneurs set up in business precisely because they want to get away from having to sit in a glass box overlooking a city skyline that they increasingly feel less of a connection to, so perhaps it’s better not to quantify ‘success’ is terms of your corporate real estate portfolio.

Whatever parameters you set down for yourself about what you are hoping to achieve, it is still likely there will be a sizeable gap between the thunderbolt idea and the point where you have a viable business. So how do you keep yourself going in the meantime?

Nothing beats stamina

Something that Debbie Wosskow, founder of Love Home Swap said to me in an interview has really stayed with me because it’s true: “Nothing beats stamina.” I totally agree. It’s like that expression that says that a river can cut through stone not because of its power, but because of its persistence.

A quote from Pinterest that made me chuckle to myself was “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.” – Chinese proverb. Not really the Confucian vernacular is it, “quitting”? However, nit picking over the actually words used, the gist is accurate enough.

Eight days a week

One of the fantastic contributors for this edition who has totally blown me away with her tenacity and persistence is Lotta Andonian, chocolatier and founder of eat chic. When Lotta first set up her chocolate business, she was working over 120 hours a week. (To put this in context, there are only 168 hours in a week.) She went from her 9-6 day job to a commercial kitchen to make her chocolates, stayed there until about 1am, got in bed around 2.30am, and got up to go to work the next day at 7am. She was then selling at markets at the weekend. Not quite eight days a week, but not far off.

Or there’s the incredible Coxless Crew, a team of four super-human women who are making the final preparations for their trip to row unsupported across the Pacific. (They are setting out to become the first all female team to row the Pacific Ocean, so please give them your support.) They are so impressive that they have caught the attention of none other than Ms. Kylie Minogue, who has just been announced as their patron.

Women made of tough stuff

These women are made of tough stuff, so it might be physical stamina that seems important when you’re rowing the Pacific, but it’s also mental stamina. Likewise, when Lotta was working back to back jobs to get her chocolate business up and running, it was mental endurance that made her stay true to her dream.

So, the next time you set your heart on a goal, whether this is in work or life, and you’re running on empty, remember why you set out on the path in the first place. Remember too all the people who have been there along the way cheering you on.

Shout out at this point to Claire Young, Youth Advocate and Apprentice finalist, who also appears in this edition talking about her support for the #NorthernPowerWomen event taking place in Liverpool on Thursday 12th March and its accompanying campaign to promote gender equality in the North. Claire has also been an incredible advocate for Womanthology right from the start, which has meant a huge amount as she’s someone I’ve always had the greatest respect for.

Surround yourself with the right people who believe in you even when you aren’t sure you believe in yourself any longer

If you surround yourself with the right people who believe in you even when you aren’t sure you believe in yourself any longer, incredible things happen. This is also the case for Jo Amess of Lusso Styling, who appeared on the BBC Programme, The Fixer, alongside Alex Polizzi who mentored Jo through challenges with her old business, before it was rebranded and repositioned at the luxury end of the events market, and reborn as Lusso Styling.

Persistence: A team sport?

So perhaps then, persistence is a team sport? If you pick the best people to be on your team, who believe in you, even when you’ve stopped believing in yourself, how much further can you go? How much longer can you keep going? It doesn’t matter if it’s family, friends, colleagues, your mentor, your patron or whoever – if you steer off course slightly, these are the people who will set you straight. So if you can’t stop thinking about it, never stop working for it. Be true to yourself and your dreams and I promise you won’t be sorry that you did.

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