Last week I spent four days at Social Venture Institute, the amazing conference for 100 or so entrepreneurs and social enterprise leaders who are using business to change the world. The conference is held at Hollyhock www.hollyhock.ca, a serene retreat on an island north of Vancouver nestled between mountain ranges on a pristine bay. The paths wind through coastal rain forest with towering Douglass fir and waist-high ferns. The large organic garden contributes to gourmet vegetarian meals and to flower arrangements filled with orange, pink and fuchsia dahlias, as wide as your face.
The commitment from each participant is deep confidentiality. We are there to share our business issues that frequently involve life issues. It’s critical that people feel safe to do that, and they do.
The people who show up for SVI are indeed doers who dream. They have found a YIPPEE for changing situations that need to be changed, using business as the driver. It may be the young woman who has worked with school systems to develop school gardens. The restaurateur who has a “sandwich window” that provides low cost sandwiches ($1.85) to the down and out in his inner city neighborhood. The chocolatier who works with over 3500 growers world wide to create Fair trade organic (and delicious) chocolate bars.
Even though I have been to the conference as part of the faculty close to a dozen times, I am still wowed and inspired by the people I meet. When I was first invited to go, I wanted to make a good impression, show how “good, smart, experienced etc. I was. You fill in the blank. Have you ever had that feeling? Especially being the “newbie”. By the end of that first conference I was exhausted. I had accepted every request for a one on one consultation, been to every session and served as faculty on two case studies. I was pooped!!! I was so busy “helping and impressing others” that I didn’t allow myself to be nurtured by the experience or by the other people there.
The conference has gotten better every year. Why? I relaxed. I did less, but got more out of it. I asked for help, ideas, and opinions. I was more “available” to myself and to others. I was more authentic and approachable, yes vulnerable.
Sometimes we make up that people won’t like “the real us”. Or that we have to “impress” in order to be liked, respected and so on. What I found is that the more I was just ME, the more I attracted the people I wanted to talk to.
The real you is what people want to see. Your Yippee lives in the real you. Let loose and be who you are, then see who shows up.
See you next Tuesday. YIPPEE!