Top Takeaways From The Congregation Of Inspiration
The Congregation of Inspiration 2019: Key takeaways
In September 2019 I was delighted to attend Holly & Co’s Congregation of inspiration. There were so many amazing takeaways, it’s hard to know where to start in sharing words of wisdom. In this post I’m going to try to round up a couple of the key takeaways that really resonated with me.
I didn’t know what to expect from the event, but I was utterly blown away by the intensity of communal good vibes, optimism and inspiration. Holly Tucker MBE was an incredible host and there were TONNES of excellent speakers sharing their authentic, motivational and inspirational journeys, a live podcast, a plethora of awesome artists selling their wares, food, drink and hundreds of enormously brilliant like-minded people. The venue was beautifully decorated, with inspirational words and artwork adorning every possible surface. What a total triumph!
Overall, it was just ✨THE BEST✨ to be in a room full of people who all want the same things out of life, to:
Do what they love.
Live the good life.
Here are my top takeaways:
Key takeaway number 1: The importance of your brand
Be a story teller
One key theme was the importance of your brand. Holly Tucker encouraged us all to be storytellers, explaining that the best brands are built on good stories.
Given that my previous career was in documentary making, I’ve always loved a good story. Holly explained that customers are always much more attentive and responsive to stories than they are to facts. We buy into – and because of – stories, far more than because of facts or logic.
Infuse everything to do with your brand with your story
We can infuse every aspect of our businesses intentionally, with our brand story. From the colour of our logo, through to how we show up at work, we can bring our ‘why’ into every element of our business. She pointed out that smaller brands can reach and warm our customers’ hearts, using ‘emotional commerce’, in a way that big businesses can’t.
Why our brains love a good story
I did a bit of research into the neurobiology of storytelling and it’s compelling. Research reveals that when we watch character-driven stories with emotional content, our brain creates the neurochemical oxytocin. Oxytocin makes us feel empathy and motivated to cooperate. We share the journey of the protagonist and feel inclined to support them.
The human brain also stays more engaged when there is tension in the story. That’s why we love stories where there is a narrative arc, with tension, jeopardy and a happy ending.
So whether we’re revealing the ups and downs of our journey as an entrepreneur on Instagram, sharing the founding story of our company or explaining how our ‘trascendent’ purpose (our “why”) is going to make the world a better place – we need to use compelling, human-scale stories.
Keeping it real
We also need to be REAL. To tell intentional, authentic, REAL stories. Reality, in its complexity, is far more engaging than a filtered version. A strong brand message built on a great story will engage the brain and the heart.
Key takeaway Number 2: Fear of failure is essential for success
‘Part of being an entrepreneur is how you face down fear.’
I love this quotation from Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, Founder of ‘The Black Farmer’. Fear of failure is one of the biggest challenges of being an entrepreneur. It’s most definitely a regular personal challenge for me.
In his talk Wilfred reframed fear as an essential part of your journey, something that has to be faced and overcome.
He explained that there will be many sleepless nights when you’ll be worrying about work and finances but, he assured us, remind yourself, ‘It always gets lighter after midnight.’
Jeopardy is also essential for success.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you failed? If you can’t think of any mistakes then you’re not pushing and stretching yourself enough.
‘If you don’t have the courage to dream it, you will never have the courage to achieve it.’
You need both a dream and courage to succeed. One thing that is certain is that everything is uncertain. How you adapt to that determines your success.
It’s all about passion and purpose
He concluded, it’s all about your passion … Your passion will keep you going when the going gets tough.
‘It is worth it. When it gets tough, HOLD ON.’
And finally, it’s all about your ‘WHY’ – your purpose, cause or belief that drives your work.
‘People buy your ‘WHY’. Once they’re sold on your why, then you can sell anything.’
Key takeaway Number 3:
Just DO IT
This is an awesome screenprint created by Dave Buonaguidi which I feel privileged to have been able to purchase from the event.
It also sums up key messages from the event:
✨ Life is short, life it with intention.
✨ You have 29,000 days – so do what you love.
✨ Build a business doing what you love.
✨ Follow passion and purpose.
✨ Happiness is the new rich.
Whatever you do, follow passion and purpose
Nearly every speaker underlined that you should allow yourself to follow your passion and purpose. These will attract like-minded people to you. They will also keep you going (and anyone who works for you) when the going gets tough. Which it will.
Your passion and your purpose are your ‘WHY’ and the golden thread that weaves through whatever work you do.
The papercut artist Rob Ryan who did a live podcast with Holly summed it up beautifully when he said,
✨ ‘Your work is who you are, who you want to be and what you want the world to be like.’
Wilfred Emmannuel–Jones advised us,
✨’Don’t keep your dreams to yourself, go out and tell people about it and things will come your way.’
✨’You are the pathfinder taking the risks that ordinary people are afraid of taking.’
✨’Allow yourself to think differently – it is those who see things differently that challenge conventions and create the new.’
You are supposed to sing and dance
At the end of the event Holly shared with us the powerful words of Alan Watts:
“We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.
But we missed the point the whole way along.
It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.”
Don’t waste your one life doing what you think you ‘should’ be doing.
There is no ‘right way’.
Do what you love and love what you do. You’ve only got one life. So just DO IT.
My passion and purpose
Being amongst 400 like-minded people, and then going to the pub with a few of them afterwards, TOTALLY reminded me why I am working on AMotherBrand.
I’m working to create a community of like-minded mothers all driven by the same passions, to be free to be their whole selves. To be the mothers they want to be and to do work they absolutely love, that works for them.
I hope these key takeways have proved as inspirational for you, as they have for me.
Which are your favourite words of wisdom?