When life gives you lemons, taste them – and learn.

We can change our attitude any day of the year, not just in the New Year.

On this day, the beginning of 2017, I reflect on a mantra I use often:

“Everything happens for a reason”.  

While it is easy to say this when calm has been restored, it can be a real challenge to trust in this when we are in the eye of the storm.

People can often see entrepreneurs as a little “crazy”.

“Who do they think they are thinking they can change the world?”

“That’ll never work!”

“Why can’t they get a job like everyone else?”

“They’re not qualified to do that work!”

Just some of the statements I have heard over the years by the “non-believers”.

And again, when the going is good, it’s a fantastic way to show these people that entrepreneurs can change the world. But when it all starts going wrong, these statements can ring loud in one’s ears.

Entrepreneurs often endure many challenges on their journey to success. When the business starts thriving, everyone is excited and wanting to be part of the adventure. But when it all goes pear shaped, people can quickly walk away.

What these people can forget though is often, when things don’t go as planned, it is not down to the failures of the entrepreneur.

Other people, other powers, other agendas can impact on their world in a way they never thought could occur.

Financially, reputationally. And emotionally.

Other people’s silent words can impact an entrepreneur most.

Overcoming fears of what other people think of us can be the biggest challenge of all. We may hear the whispers, see the glances, witness the nudge of the elbow when we enter a room. Realise when people, who know not enough about us, or our idea, can make an instance judgement and choose not to engage.

And if they do choose to do so, do with false smiles.

Often, during my own challenging times, I felt like standing up and telling everyone in one glancing sweep – the truth.

I did not fail, I was failed.

But I knew this would not have helped the situation. People would still choose to believe what they wanted to believe. A combination of loyalty to their own agendas, loyalty to their own “people” and their blinkers to reality would have hindered the outcome I hoped for.

So I was often left with the greatest challenge of all.

To say nothing with words, but say everything just by getting back up.

Silence can often speak volumes.

Silence, however, can often be deemed as a failure in itself too.

Silence from those causing the pain, in my opinion, is not ethical, nor honest.

Not saying sorry; not trying to fix what went wrong; or speaking up when witnessing wrongdoings, to me, is failure. When others cause hurt to others, this is when the silence should be broken. And those causing the pain should be the ones to speak up first.

Entrepreneurial victims should not have to change who they are, simply to fight for what is the right thing to do.

People say it’s hard to accept the things we cannot change.

But the thing is, we can change. 

We can change the way we react.

We can change the way we listen to what others say, about others.

We can choose to put our blinkers on, or we can choose to open our eyes.

We can challenge the laws and rules that society has imposed on us. If we are brave enough to stand by our ethics and values, that is.

I am glad to say I do not have to change – anymore.

I have learned how to react and listen to what others say, about others – about me.

I have and am challenging the laws and rules imposed on me, and society as a whole. My eyes have been opened.

So, for 2017, I have put pen to paper to create a list of the learnings I have personally gained from the challenges I have witnessed from the last few years of being an entrepreneur.

This list may even be helpful for others – if not in their business, maybe even their personal life…

This is my promise to myself for 2017:

I am going to stay exactly who I am. I have already gone through a significant change process. Being a social entrepreneur has taught me life lessons no college degree ever would have covered.

I will not listen to those who talk negatively about me, but to those who talk positively of me.

I will stay true to myself; true to my values; true to my ethics and true to my vision.

I will cherish those that have stood by me, and I will stand by them – when they need it.

I will strive for proactive change and ignore negative “Can’t Do” attitudes.

I will listen to the undercurrents of what people say, and learn from it.

I will keep an open mind to others agendas, but not be swayed by egos.

I will learn from my mistakes and I will learn through others mistakes also.

I will say sorry if I do wrong.

I will stand up for what I believe in.

I will (always!) challenge the status quo.

I will have balance, and spend equal time with family, friends, hobbies and work.

I will make peace with those who hurt me on every level.

I will be myself: I will continue to smile, be bubbly, be creative – and be talkative (a trait I couldn’t give up even if I tried!).

I will accept the things I cannot change, but strive to find ways around it.

I will fight for what is right, especially when justice is not served.

I will stand up for others and not be a bystander.

I will not let people tell me I am not good enough.

I will not let people walk all over me or use me.

I will not let people tell me I failed, when I didn’t.

I will always help others, especially those who need it the most.

I will recognise when I need to stop working; when I need to breathe, and get space.

I will allow myself moments to be sad, to cry, to reflect.

I will value myself and my skill-sets, even if others don’t.

I will continue to increase my knowledge and skill-sets through education.

I will nurture my own and my family’s physical and mental health.

I will not be passive, nor will I be quieted, regardless of the powers who say I should.

I will have fun: I will dance like no one is watching & sing like no one is listening (hopefully for their sake, no one will be listening!).

I will remember why I do what I do, and not try to fit into what others want me to do.

I will continue to believe that all the things on my bucket list for life will happen at the right time.

This next year, I will be Olive.

Mum, wife, sister, daughter, friend – social entrepreneur and dreamer of dreams.

I will be a human being who feels like they deserve as much chances of success as the next person.

I will be grateful for when things don’t go right, and trust that everything does happen for a reason.

I will taste the lemons and think of all the good things that can come from sour experiences. I will sit back drinking lemonade, knowing that from all bad comes good – if I just add a few of the right ingredients made from a list full of hope and dreams.

Hoping you all have a wonderful New Year and your dreams come true too,

Kindest regards,

Olive x


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