Why we do what we do: Lessons from the first 6 months

Instead of the usual Monday morning ‘Go Go Go – get your ass in gear’ war cry, I wanted to stop and reflect a little, to look back at our six month journey since our first event for DrivenWoman. In May we gathered in a beautiful location next to Hyde Park. The room was full of women who all shared one thing in common, they all wanted more from life; a better financial situation, better relationships, more exciting career or to build a business of their own. All dreams and aspirations were passionately delivered and we all got really excited of life’s possibilities.

What drove us to organise that evening was our frustration on the society and its lack of support for women and the emotional barriers that still exist within ourselves (as women) that stop us from pushing forward and succeeding.

And when there is a problem that should be fixed, the person to fix that problem is likely to be you. So we got to work. We announced that we want to build a world where all women believe in their own abilities to be wildly successful! (How everyone wants to define define ‘success‘ is up to them. Every dream is created equal!) We thought long and hard about our values and principles, the things we believe in, and wrote them down in our Manifesto.

We set up groups and meetings, talks and clinics. We build a website (with our own little hands, I’d like to add). And we’ve been extremely busy on social media hoping to get people connected in our purpose. But as we know, hope is not a strategy, we haven’t even taken baby steps in building our community. Is it because we are not expressing ourselves clear enough (?) – or because we haven’t bought any Facebook ads yet!

On that note, please go and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

We are as enthusiastic about our mission as we were for those first days after we discovered that we, too, had the power to change the world. I remember the days following this personal discovery – I could hardly sleep! I was both excited and scared. I was exhilarated and exhausted about our vision. And at the best of times I was a pain to be with because all I could talk about was DrivenWoman! (We probably still suffer from that syndrome…)

The journey so far has been fantastic. No, we haven’t taken over the world just yet, but we have learned a ton about ourselves. We have gotten a bunch of great new friends and made connections we didn’t even dream of having. And most importantly we have created something that has helped a number of women to move forward.

We are now going through a difficult patch. After the ‘Wau, we have come up with this great idea‘ -fumes evaporated and the adrenalin of the ‘start-up’ wore out, we are now realising how bloody difficult it is to spread the word and get people to commit. Women know this would be good for them but they are afraid to take the necessary step.

What we have created works. Everyone who have become a member can testify to that. Some women have moved forward massively on their road to success, some have just turned the corner. The energy and inspiration that women get from each other once a month is amazing. And it is also that energy and feedback that keeps us going, even on those evenings when only three potential new members show up in an Entry group despite the whole group being sold out (free trial) on Eventbrite! (We learned to stop waisting our time and get in people who are ready to commit and pay some money for the trial. Sorry guys, the free trial is closed!)

What makes us most frustrated, however, is when we see women who refuse to do what they know they should be doing. They simply refuse to tackle the issues that are standing in their way to become more successful. They have so much to give, so much potential, but they refuse to start changing their own daily environment to facilitate change. This pains us more than anything else and we hope that in the future we can pull more of those ‘so close but so far away’ types into the groups.

I wanted to share some of the key learnings from the DrivenWoman journey so far.

– We find strength in our mission and the problem we are trying to solve, ie how to change women’s attitudes towards their own abilities to become wildly successful, regardless of their circumstances, . The solution we offer is a forum where women can commit to the action points that will take them there, and get support from others. This deep understanding of our purpose gives us inner peace to focus on what is important. Knowing we wouldn’t be doing anything else prevents us from procrastinating or spending our energy thinking of the possible outcomes. We simply are what we do.

– Nothing will ever go as fast as you would like it to go. It simply takes the universe a long time to bend to anyone’s wishes, no matter how smart they are (and we are definitely not the smartest). That’s why we were emotionally well prepared. We read dozens of ‘How I Did It’ interviews and listened to people (meetings, on TED, on blogs etc) and we read a ton of books. We have the right kind of expectations and we know it’s not going to be easy.

– Your product is never going to be what you think it is be before you started. So it’s just best to get on with your project, learn and change things as you go along. This doesn’t mean that we are building this without any vision, quite the contrary. The big picture is there but the details are going to be determined through customer feedback.

– You have to make most of what you’ve got. We have made very little financial investment but enormous time investment into DrivenWoman so far. We have been pushing this project forward daily, in the late evenings and weekends. We have taken care of our own bodies in terms of exercise and nutrition to keep our energy levels high to do all this. And we have believed in our own abilities and trusted the people around us to help us.

– We are nothing without our members. We have allowed the product (the membership) to grow into what it is today with the help of our initial members. It has always been important for us to listen very carefully what women want out of this and where they see the biggest benefit. We recreate ourselves from the feedback we get. (So please don’t be shy to share, comment and give feedback also on this blog!!!) And we know it’s not about us, it’s about the incredible life journeys DrivenWoman groups can facilitate!

– We have grand visions and an extensive ‘Ask’ list. We’ve drawn up a 50 name  list of women (and men) we will be contacting to help us bring our vision to life. These are not people we know or who are easily accessible, these are people who we want to get to know, women who can feed our mission. And hopefully we can also give something back. (I think it’s always important to think you will give something when you get something even if the giver and the receiver are not the same person.) We don’t care (oh yes we do) if they agree to give us a hand or not, but for sure at least some will say ‘yes’. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince/princess.

And please please, our dear readers, if you know someone who could help a forum that aims to change women’s perception of their own possibilities to succeed, a forum that is based on proactivity and taking action (rather than just talk), please point them – fast- to this direction! (We are looking for brains and connections, not money.)

– Nobody is perfect. We are happy to admit our own vulnerability as we believe that it’s the only way to learn and to create a better version of ourselves. We are eagerly looking forward and are super curious what our journey brings in front of us next!

If you connect to our mission or find the above useful, please comment. Our dream is to create a forum where women can share their learning to help others!

And a final note for the week (in the usual fashion of our Monday morning go-go-go war cry)…

….keep pushing that boat, baby!

~ Miisa

24 thoughts on “Why we do what we do: Lessons from the first 6 months

  1. Well done Miisa
    A must read for all our followers. How life revolts is amazing we have to understand in depth what it is we want and not to be afraid to take the necessary steps. As you can see its slow and steady but definite.. Embrace it don’t be scared get excited and grow.

  2. I was also having a bit of a reminiesce re-reading all my previous Driven Woman tasks this morning and I realised I might be suffering with erratic amnesia. Over the last few months I’ve literally jumped from one random idea to the next and then totally forgot I’d had these amazing life changing concept! Pre DW this behaviour would have led to feelings of unworthiness/inadequacy/fear/I hate myself/etc… I would have probably given up on my ‘great idea’ and talked myself into something else (even more bizarre).
    But a strange thing happened this morning I looked at all this paperwork and it all made sense. I could see my journey, it wasn’t straight or zen like in fact it was a complete an utter mess, but I didn’t feel a failure (for the first time in my life, I could appreciate what I’d done). I had a good laugh at myself wow it felt good. OK I’m not the most focused/organised in the group but I’m hard working and brave…these are my positives and I’m grateful to have them. DW gave me the tools to get this far but it was me that had to do the hammering.
    So girls if you want to change your life for the better, get the tools and get building…lets build an amazing network of Driven Women together!

  3. Sooo good to here we all go up & down with emotions highs and lows, times where I’m going so slow its frustrating but if this was going to be easy then my heart wouldn’t be in it and it wouldn’t be worth fighting for this passion and the drive that this group gives me is what got me in action in the first place, months….years of day dreaming “one day” then to stepping towards that life I desire. Reading this has made me relies its 6 months of networking with these amazing driven women that has opened me up to different opportunities, surrounding myself with energy, passionate women that I probably would never come across in my life from all areas and backgrounds, and I am moving towards that goal and I sure have gone out of that comfort zone from the pure push and belief that I gained from our monthly meeting! Il be looking forward to seeing you all tonight 😉 michaela x

  4. I couldn’t agree more with Jane. Likewise where I am now is entirely different to where I had envisaged going when I started a year and a half ago, and similarly I’ve moments in the past where I’ve got stressed or disappointed that certain things didn’t work out how I might have liked. Being involved in the DW group though has given me some invaluable tools – namely the support of like-minded, fantastic women and focus with a variety of activities I would never have done by myself – which has kept me positive, optimistic and flexible about where I’m going, and my god is the current path better! I haven’t given up on anything, nor do I feel I’ve compromised on my dreams, I’ve just had the confidence to respond and adapt to changing circumstances in a way that has produced a far more incredible outcome than I could have originally thought possible. Through DW, I have learnt to see something ‘bad’ or not part of my ‘plan’ as an opportunity to learn something new, improve something that obviously wasn’t good enough or change it completely for the better. So you absolutely can have a grand vision, but it won’t go ‘to plan’ and you need a network such as DW around you to keep you going when it doesn’t – then when it is, you can give back to the DW group to those members that are now in the trough they helped pull you out of. You support each other, which is exactly what Jane and I have done, and that’s a pretty special thing.

  5. My thought pattern this morning was going to rely on an excuse: “I am in the midst of recovering cold virus and will be sending my apologies for attending”. At that moment my friend, who also attends DW group, called and asked if I am going to come. My response was “of course, without a shadow of a doubt!” and I did not even think about it twice. I will come whether it rains or shines (well, today it rains)! With such an awesome support, why wouldn’t I go?!

    Well, I don’t attend the monthly meetings, because I want to cry about my excuses of not doing all my tasks, but because I want to admit the ‘ugly truth’, make it real and then move on without dwelling in my misery and covering it up with more excuses… The excuses for not completing all my tasks this month were heavy (i.e. 3.5 week recovery from recent foot operation, cold and flu virus and other general crap that life brings), but they are just excuses. They are MY demons on MY boat that are trying to steer me out of the course towards calmer and more comfortable harbours (comfort zone, here we come!), but I don’t like my comfort harbours! If I did like them then I wouldn’t be so unhappy with the situation and wanting to change. So I must act now to vanish these demons (excuses), make them look small, insignificant and powerless so they will stay under the deck and let me be in charge.

    DW group helps me to do this and I feel glad that I can talk with like-minded women who support each other and have great ideas that can keep ‘my boat’ on the right track. I seem to be in constant flux and roller coaster, but at least I am moving forwards – small changes will have big effects in time.

    Well,it is time to “make smoke” tonight and perhaps I will be “in flames” by our next meeting. See you soon chicas!

  6. During the past six months it’s been great to get to know to you all amazing women! Discussions have been very inspiring and made me think about the possibilities that exist. The discussions have made me to question some things that I have taken for granted. I’m looking forward the next six months with DrivenWoman!

  7. Driven Women is developing nicely. Twitter is not so bad (thanks Miisa).
    Just having looked at my action plan I have moved forward on all my goals except one which was more of a hobby, without even looking or thinking about it.
    Pro activity comes more easily through the group work.

  8. Great inspiration ladies. Keep up the amazing work. It’s always easy to lose sight of goals after the initial excitement wears off but passion and enthusiasm will always win in the end.

    • Thank you Gemma. We had another members session tonight and it was so successful. The number of times I got goose bumps was amazing (from the comments and stories shared). The way women share and are open about their situation, and the praise and support they give to those who are going through a bad batch, as we all do sometimes! So yes, we know we are on the right path. It feels good :).

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