And so after a year of awesome new customers, new projects with trusted customers and all the roller coaster that comes with a baby scale-up, looking back my reflection on heartfelt inspiration.
In my mind nothing comes close to the next 3 individuals, in no particular order:
- Maggie Doyne www.blinknow.org : although born and raised in an educated American family, she decided to leave her soft American bed but more so her potential perspective of university and a great job, to start a community for the poorest in a remote region in Nepal. She touches your soul not just by feeding orphans but:
- With her commitment by starting up but also finishing what she built with her bare hands, by ensuring that the school, women’s center and orphanage are fully operational, never ceasing to step up to each challenge. She is self-taught, had no university education, no background in charity and persevered, ultimately getting world attention.
- By reinventing herself from a backpacker, a stranger in Nepal, to a ‘local’ who has taught herself how to survive with minimal financing and manage a team of locals against all odds, consider cultural worlds apart, language gap and lack of local education. I cannot imagine a steeper uphill climb demanding one’s creativity and positivity each day.
- Iris Hond www.musicforshelter.com : a Dutch girl who was abused as a young student by the host of her guesthouse while going to music school. She fled the house and, too scared to tell her parents, slept in the streets with the homeless of The Hague at night. Early each morning for 4 years, she would sneak into the music school where she finally graduated Summa Cum Laude. Now a world-renowned pianist, ao worked with Leonard Cohen, she inspires not only with her amazing musical talent but:
- Discipline in piano playing mileage but also to not break down but transform her trauma into a positive message for the world to hear as she shares her music and message to never give up.
- Giving back as she manages to not just ‘be famous’ but also fill the hearts of the homeless and fatally ill, making time amidst busy concert schedules, to play for them always through her foundation.
- Alex Honnold www.honnoldfoundation.org : a death defying young climber who has overcome what is considered the ultimate challenge: free climbing El Capitan in Yosemite. His feat has been filmed. Although not for the faint hearted, a ‘must see’ and prize winning thriller where Alex stands out in:
- Fearlessness as he faces a world of people telling him it is impossible, has not been done before, has a big death risk, up to his close friends in doubt whether to film him.
- Preparation in so many ways: several dry run climbs with rope to memorize each step, breaking his foot along the way, bailing from social media to focus and a first attempt that he bails from as he literally ‘misses a step’ which takes him ‘out of the zone’.
These are timeless traits not taught at business school but in real life. Business schools are great places to learn skills. But skills can be downloaded nowadays. Entrepreneurship is born in the street, is your ultimate personality test, tests your deepest desire to survive and thrive by throwing you challenges each day. I wish everyone an awesome 2019. Be inspired. Test yourself. Whatever your dream is, do it.
Author: Frits Willem Bakker