Going after what you really love is the scariest thing to do in life. It’s so easy to chase the dreams we think we should have than to look at yourself in the mirror and say “what do I really want”, isn’t it. I want to share with you my story where I abandoned a ‘plan B’ and found the courage to follow my ‘plan A’ with my full heart.
I’ve always been ambitious and enjoyed career success. So, of course, when two years ago I had launched my first start-up idea, I was confused when things weren’t moving forward as I had hoped. I thought it might be a good idea to join a women’s network for support, since I was clueless what to do, and a corporate career wasn’t an appealing option.
I remember my first meeting at DrivenWoman where we had to do an exercise to discover what we wanted out of life, what our ‘bigger life’ would look like. I had not really taken time to look at myself like that before. I thought I simply wanted my business to be successful. That’s what we all want, to achieve more in our career.
I had never stopped to asses if my goals were the goals I wanted, and if they were growing from my true purpose.
Yes, I had done some brave moves before when it comes to career, but they were more of getting rid of the old positions rather than being driven by something I wanted to become. I had carried another business idea, a very big idea, inside of me secretly for eight years, but I thought that because it was so BIG I should forget it.
Succeeding with this idea, I would make a great difference to our society, but I felt scared in front of the challenges I knew lie ahead should I proceeding with it. My idea made me feel small.
After immersing myself with the DrivenWoman values I realised that I am not small. I am can to put myself out there with my controversial idea. Also, I was encouraged to simply test the idea, just to see if the idea was viable.
I was encouraged to take a small step rather than worry about the whole journey.
So I created a short video where I explained my idea, a digital platform that would bring together all charities, companies and their CSR efforts and people who were interested in contributing to charity with time, money and goods. I started sending my video to various people.
I started to get feedback and suddenly, my idea felt real. But this faced me with another problem. If I’d pursue this big idea, how would I fund my life?
When you are on a right path solutions present themselves if you just ask.
DrivenWoman was growing and they knew my situation, so they asked if I’d become a Group Leader for them. This would mean to to moderate a monthly members group. This was a fantastic opportunity!
I would get the personal growth work that we do in our groups for free — and — I’d get paid. I also got to moderate introduction events, where I met even more wonderful women and got real insight into what women struggle with and how they cope, solve obstacles, move on and flourish. This is how I found courage to follow my passion by stepping up and leading a women’s networking group.
Here are the most important benefits of leading a women’s group:
1) Additional income has been important for me to fund my project.
2) Deep learning through group exercise topics
At every members’ group we do an exercise aiming for personal discoveries, building our mindsets and creating ‘aha’ moments through topics such as stepping outside of your comfort zone, creating positive habits, learning to understand fear or better managing our time.
As a Group Leader I have had to immerse myself with the topics in order to facilitate the groups. DrivenWoman provides brilliant materials. I don’t think I would have done so much self development and growth if it was not for leading a women’s group.
3) Stepping up and building confidence
Leading the exercises and then hearing the stories of my members and learning from their experiences has definitely opened up my mindset and built confidence. Belonging to a global network of DrivenWoman Group Leaders who I know will support me and to whom I can always turn to has also been a major factor in my personal growth, feeling of belonging and self confidence.
4) Getting faster to my goals
Being a Group Leader has accelerated the speed I have been able to launch my big idea. Just in one and a half years (this is rather quick in tech start-up land), my venture WhatCharity.com was fully funded operating with a great team and we will be launching our service next spring.
My motivation to become a DrivenWoman member and subsequently a Group Leader were perhaps slightly shallow, looking to find success and income. I have got so much more out of this emotionally and spiritually and I will definitely keep developing myself as a Group Leader even though on the surface I have reached all my goals.
In life and in business, challenges are never over and I’m eager to keep growing and learning. Nothing makes me happier than to take this journey with a massively supportive tribe of fabulous women beside me.
DrivenWoman is now recruiting for new Group Leaders. It’s a great opportunity, find out more here.
Tiia Sammallahti is a DrivenWoman Group Leader in London and founder & CEO of WhatCharity.com.