The power of interacting with inspiring people
By Elisabete Miranda
Increasing one’s network of contacts and being exposed to good ideas can help us change the world! Have you stopped to think about the impact that those with whom we interact have on our life? I had the pleasure of participating in the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event held in Istanbul, Turkey in June. There, I was among approximately 200 female entrepreneurs from all over the globe. The theme of this year’s event was “Pay it Forward.” The idea being to promote and record acts that cause positive outcomes. The goal is for us to reach one million people by 2015. Isn’t that wonderful? This is a concept that has the power to change the world.Being exposed to so much wonderful energy and so many incredible ideas caused me to return home with a renewed sense of inspiration and a tremendous desire to do a million different things myself. I wanted to list a few of those ideas here, in hopes that the readers may also be inspired: A young entrepreneurial woman had the idea to move to Istanbul and make Italian gelato ice-cream. Just one minor detail: she had no experience in the area; not much money; and she didn’t even speak Turkish. Despite all these obstacles, in just a short time, the company became quite successful. The gelato is delicious and she has even been able to learn to speak the language.
- After participating in last year’s DWEN in India, and getting an up-close look at poverty she had never seen before, a young Canadian woman decided to change businesses. She opened up a factory making educational toys. She now directs a portion of her profit to help low-income children in India.
- After participating in two DWEN events, a Dell employee decided to let her inspiration be her guide. She founded a consulting company to help organizations with global governmental projects.
- And finally, the nine-year-old daughter of an Ernst & Young Winning Women participant decided to create a videogame. She posted the idea on a funding website for angel investors and raised over $25,000 in one day to finance the project.
These are just a few of the fascinating stories I encountered. There are many, many more. This kind of event promotes an amazing experience to share and exchange of ideas; make new contacts; learn new life-lessons — and of course build friendships.
Increasingly, I am coming to believe that we acquire many characteristics of the people with whom we most interact. It is crucial that we create opportunities to be with people who contribute toward our positive development in some way. What I mean is that the more we spend our time with people who add something, the more we can learn and contribute toward a better world.
One important lesson I learned from DWEN was that people quickly forget what you say, but always remember how you made them feel. I find this concept useful not only for preparing to give a presentation or participate in some networking event, but also for life in general. Many times we concentrate on what we say, but how we will make the person feel is really the key factor for building a lasting relationship.
Something else that caught my attention was the impact that authenticity has on people. I was part of a panel that addressed the benefits of participating in successful entrepreneur groups (I’m part of the Ernst & Young Winning Women list). I commented that I had only applied for the contest so as not to disappoint the person who invited me. I did not have any expectation at all of winning — since I didn’t think I was good enough. I was impressed with the number of people who also told me they felt this way and that, after hearing me, they were motivated to take the risk and apply to similar “lists”. It is not only the glorious stories that give rise to inspiration. And, with so many incredible people in my personal and professional network, there will be no lack of inspiration and opportunities to ‘pay it forward’.