There is a similarity amongst the four of us on the Girls With Ideas Team. We are people who have a clear vision for what we want the future to look like, and then we find a way to make it reality. Our vision is not only about the impact we want to have through our products; it is also about the company we want to build. We believe that we can do work that matters and that we can make money doing it. We believe that “commitment” and “passion” are not measured solely by hours logged and work produced.
This week, an article in the Wall Street Journal captured our experiences perfectly. In Millennial Women Face Familiar Obstacles at Work, Dahlia Bazzaz shares how Millennial women are about as likely as older generations to report that gender has cost them at work and, tired of waiting for workplaces to catch up are instead choosing non-traditional employment to advance their careers.
That hit home for the Girls With Ideas team. We are all high achievers, so we like knowing the rules of the game and the expectations at play so that we can blow past them. That’s just how we are wired. At the same time, we are always weighing if it’s a game worth playing. In our own work experiences, which have spanned corporate, k-12 education, higher education and nonprofit worlds – and we’ve all determined it’s not worth it. Like many of the women in the article, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve given more than our peers only to receive a fraction of the credit, recognition or compensation. We determined waiting for things to get better in these environments is way too big a trade-off to make. So, we are making a home in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The startup world has its own set of accepted norms for how things work and what is needed to be successful. There is a very distinct culture around what “commitment” looks like and what it means to be a “real entrepreneur.” And yet, 90% of startups fail. So how do we know this is the way it should be done?
We are new to this, so that is a question we can’t answer, but it is something we are curious about. We find both a little anxiety and a lot of comfort knowing that there isn’t necessarily a proven way to do things. This week we had some incredibly affirming conversations with mentors who reminded us that we get to set the terms for how we build our business.
With that we end week 9 with these reflections:
1. It feels good to be surrounded by people who ask questions, see opportunities and solve problems. There’s no better feeling in the world than to feel someone “gets” you, and it’s been nice to find a tribe of fellow problem-solvers trying to make things better.
2. We are thankful for the people and resources that are helping us to build our business. Girls With Ideas is benefitting from the different perspectives and approaches that we see every day and we are going to continue learning from the collective wisdom that is so generously shared in this community.
3. We are going to trust our instincts when they tell us to forge our own way, and design the future we envision, just as we’ve always done. After all, that is exactly what has worked for us so far.