My second interview from The Pause Fest Conference was with the delightful Chiquita Searle, who is the former General Manager of The League Of Extraordinary Women, and now runs her own social media agency called Social Junkies.
Chiquita intrigued me after I watched her TedX talk about how she changed her life and some of the key concepts she learnt from entrepreneurship. She has a Dalai Lama kind of female wisdom that I found captivating, and she shares some real gems around what you can do to change your life.
After interviewing Chiquita, I found that the idea she has grasped the best is to understand what happiness is and how to find it. This is her number one priority and something that she believes should rule your life.
Finding your true happiness is a real cliché right now, but Chiquita goes much deeper into what it means and describes in detail the feelings that come from true happiness. As she described what happiness was, I finally started to see other sides to my own happiness that I hadn’t seen before.
What she then does after explaining happiness is tie it back to entrepreneurship and how many people don’t see the link, but that they should.
Check out my interview with Chiquita on YouTube below.
Below are my five key takeaways from the interview.
1. Happiness and purpose are joined at the hip
Never allow yourself to be unhappy, and always believe that something will come your way that will make you feel happy, and believe that you are resourceful. Pick a purpose that makes your soul sing and is something that gives you a feeling that you can’t get from anything else.
To find your purpose you need to think about what you do in your spare time, that makes you happy. You then need to ask yourself, “why is it that I don’t believe I can’t transform this passion into a source of income?”
A lot of people don’t know where they are headed, and they don’t take action. People are on a treadmill, and they follow the same pattern day to day. The challenge with society is that we put our happiness in the arms of somebody else.
We wrongly look for happiness in things like shopping, addictions, etc. We are responsible for our own happiness, and we have everything inside ourselves to be happy.
Social media shows us everyone else’s highlight reel, and we are natural comparers as humans. These highlight reels make us think that this is the life others are living when they are actually not. We dull our senses with TV and social media but what we should be doing is feeding our brains.
“You don’t need to pay for information anymore, and you barely need a university degree”
Your happiness is attached to what you do and your purpose. You spend more time at work or on your business than you do in any other area of your life, so you need to make sure what you are doing is important.
2. Entrepreneurship sprouts from your happiness
To be the best version of yourself you need to be happy with your work, and that most likely means being an entrepreneur. Interrupting your current pattern of thinking towards your work takes courage, is difficult, can be scary, and takes real belief in yourself.
Your thinking can be even more difficult to change if you have no experience in the field you want to go into, or if you don’t know anyone in your niche.
One way to overcome these challenges is to ease into entrepreneurship slowly. Try negotiating a four-day workweek with your current employer and then spend the other three days on your passion. Doing this will require you to make sacrifices like having less money and limiting your social life.
As you move into entrepreneurial activities Chiquita says expect sleepless nights and worries about money to arise – these are both reasons for you not to pursue your passion which is why most people don’t.
“You have time; there is always time. It’s just about how you prioritise”
Once you find your passion, you will feel different. When you are doing a job you don’t enjoy you drag yourself to work, surf the internet heaps, take longer lunch breaks, etc. – you’re not inspired and not passionate.
When Chiquita had her first business, which was a clothing label, and she was still working a normal job, she would wake up at 5 am, work for two hours on her label, get ready at 7 am, and then be at work by 8:30 am.
After coming home from work, she would then do it all again. She explained in our interview that when you’re on purpose and following your passion, you will feel different and probably excited all the time. It’s this excitement that fuels you to work these longer hours on your dream.
3. Try to uncover successful people’s deepest, darkest secrets
Chiquita shared with me that one of the reasons that The League Of Extraordinary Women succeeded over similar communities, was the entrepreneurs they got to speak at their events didn’t just tell their typical startup story.
The speakers were told before an event that they could only take part if they agreed to share their deepest, darkest secrets and be real. They were encouraged to share things like whether they mortgaged their house, took their kids out of private schools and sold their products out of the boot of their car.
When the attendees heard about someone else having to overcome significant challenges, this is what would inspire them with their own entrepreneurial endeavours. Similar communities were concentrating on the overnight success stories, but they would never have people speak that failed badly, or that would present the really hard part of their successful journey.
The reasons these hard times and dark secrets are avoided within entrepreneurial circles is that it’s scary to talk about, and people are afraid of what others might think. The reason The League Of Extraordinary Women is so successful and began by word of mouth alone, Chiquita explains, it that the hard times are some of the best learning you can do, and there is just nothing else like it.
“When you hang around other entrepreneurs you start to think to yourself, if they can overcome all of that then I can too”
4. Disruption is everywhere
One of the benefits of people starting to find their passion and discovering entrepreneurship is that lot’s of people like Chiquita are leaving jobs they hate to follow their passion. The reason Chiquita says this is happening is partly due to the face that corporations are stuck in the “this is how we do it, and this is how it’s always been done” mentality rather than embracing innovation.
New startups that come onto the scene and are innovating end up stealing the market away from the corporations. Monopoly industries are being disrupted by the likes of Uber because they provide a far superior, more reliable, cost effective service, and they use technology in a clever way to do it.
“Entrepreneurs are forward thinking. Without them, we would still be in the dark ages”
5. Dealing with writers block
A core component of entrepreneurship is creativity. Sometimes when you have to work on your art form (your business), you may be having a day where you are not feeling inspired. A lot of the time Chiquita says that we try to push through it, and that’s not always the best way.
What Chiquita recommends is to walk away or take a moment so you can think about something totally different. It’s when you’re not thinking your creative endeavours that you will come up with something that works or become reinspired. This is a great lesson for entrepreneurs but also very useful to me when I am blogging.
Books Chiquita Recommends
Ask and it is given – Abraham Hicks
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
The E-myth – Michael Gerber