From our Winter 2015/2016 issue. Be the first to read the next issue of Positive Life in print – Subscribe.
By Elva Carri
In October, I took a trip to San Francisco to look my (current) dreams in the eye. Along with some other amazing ladies, I run an online and offline community called GirlCrew that operates as a really easy way for women to make and sustain new friendships. We have 20,000 members in cities all over the world, and they flew us to California to find out more about what it takes to build a really successful, really big community.
Everything in Silicon Valley feels huge. Investments and valuations are greater than in Ireland, numbers of users of apps created by ‘little’ start-ups are huge, even the buildings and portion sizes are massive. I found myself face to face with some of the most amazing realities of what is possible when tech and humans meet, and at the same time, face to face with the challenges and difficulties that come in merging the two at that scale. It was like flying into the future and seeing parts of your dreams realised by other people. One piece of advice we received, was to “Make new mistakes”, reminding us that no one gets it perfectly right, but we can learn from where others have struggled or failed.
I’d recommend anyone with a big dream, a big goal or a big idea, to search out a place where plans like your’s take shape and to go there. Find people to talk to, find things to visit, immerse yourself in it. But one small word of warning – it might be scary! These are some of the things I wish I’d thought to do before I went or while I was there.
1. Remind yourself of your individual, unique strengths. Your skills, life experience and knowledge might be similar to other people, you might even feel there areas where you’re lacking, but your combination is unique to you. No one could do what you’re doing exactly like you. And if there are areas you need to strengthen or things you need to delegate or learn more about – you’re perfectly capable of that. If your fact-finding mission highlights these things, all you have to do is jot down a note and take action on it.
2. Remind yourself of what you have. Looking at what others have done – be it opening an amazing restaurant, writing a book or building an app can be intimidating. It’s great to learn from others, but don’t let it wipe your memory of what you have created. See what they’re doing brilliantly and what you admire about them, jot down a note, and take action on it. Look at their weaknesses too, and pat yourself on the back how you’re doing in comparison.
3. Come home. That doesn’t have to mean flying home from another country, it might just be finding a spot or an activity that makes you feel at home, or at ease. Take a break or a breath, and then start working your magic the way only you know how, all over again.
One day multi-million dollar decisions might feel like a breeze, but you can only take one step at a time. After visiting your dreams, you’ll at least know which direction you’re headed.