In this guest post, artist Jasmine Mansbridge shares her experience of attending the recent Big Hearted Business (un-)Conference. It’s full of inspiration for those of you who aspire to do what you love and the next best thing to having gone along yourself. Enjoy! Jen
Earlier this year, I won a scholarship to attend the Big Heart Business (un-)Conference by making this YouTube clip, answering the question; “how does my creativity contribute to the world?”. I attended earlier this month, and I am still taking stock of all that I learnt. There was a real buzz in the air over the two days, and the magic of Claire Bowditch and her line-up of wonderful speakers is still with me.
The conference was held in the beautiful Regal Ballroom in Northcote (Melbourne), an inviting and special venue. The theme was “courage, courage, nuts & bolts”. This was explained as follows; that with the courage to follow your passion (and more courage), and the nuts and bolts, (the practical knowledge), anyone could make a dream a reality and have a “big hearted” business.
I think that Jen (of Interiors Addict) is a perfect example of someone who has followed a passion and made it happen and I was excited to be able to share some of the highlights of the conference with her and her readers, most of whom I imagine would be creative at heart!
The biggest dilemma I have faced though, is narrowing down the content from my little book packed with juicy notes, without doing an eight-part blog series! (I have since decided I will do this on my own blog). So, I thought I would just give you a bit of a rundown from the speakers who resonated most with where I am at. So here goes…
First up was the fabulous Joost Bakker. His restaurant Silo, catered for the weekend and we were told beforehand to bring a reusable cup and a water bottle, as it was to be a waste free event. Joost spoke about his convictions and the actions he had taken to make real changes in the food industry. He was informative and if he ran for an election, he would have my vote. I thought I was going okay with my food choices, (I grow lots of veg and keep chooks), but I was convicted to start making even more conscious decisions regarding our food sources and waste management.
Then the wisdom of Fabian Dattner of Dattner Grant touched my heart, as she shared about losing her family fortune and then realising while she hugged her son that night, that she had everything that was important in life. She talked about the myth of success and the power of failure. That we need to find our true purpose and that will in turn give us meaningful lives.
Correne Wilkie (the manager of the Cat Empire), spoke about the serendipitous events that led to her working with the now iconic band at the very beginning of their career, when they were playing tiny shows in bars. She said that “luck is preparedness that meets opportunity”. She also said that creative people need to be out on a limb to find their direction and that taking risks was all part of the mix.
Next up, Jo Walker, the editor of frankie magazine. She spoke about ways to increase your chances of being featured in the media. She likened the press to monkeys and said that your pitches needed to be like mashed banana. They needed to be direct, informative, to the point and with attachments within the sent email. She said that lazy spelling and being too casual are instant turn-offs. With a little thought, your pitch, rather than being like a banana thrown at a monkey (hoping it will be caught), will be served up to be easily digested. What a great analogy and I guess that is why two years ago, I had “My Story” published in Frankie (wee brag, sorry), but, I was one-eyed about being in there. I read the magazine, I loved it, I was a subscriber, mine was just coincidently a heartfelt pitch and with great photos taken by my photographer friend. For once, my pitch was a success.
Pip Lincolne was wonderful and funny, someone you’d love to have a cup of tea with. What has stayed in my head most clearly from her presentation was her repeated reminder to “not be a tosser”, to not take yourself too seriously or rate yourself higher than anyone else. To be humble and relatable. She made me laugh. She also had some great advice about looking at ways to diversify your income, i.e with blogs, books etc. She talked about being useful and sharing your knowledge as much as possible.
It was no surprise that the next presenter was all over PowerPoint. Technology and social media is a passion for Kylie Lewis of of kin and she spoke about the power it has given us to connect and find our audience. She talked about the kind of storytelling it allows and its place in successful business. The current statistics are that 67 percent of people access social media daily on their smartphones and she talked about how this new platform has given the average business person a much better chance of finding their ideal customers and connecting with them.
Danielle Laporte travelled all the way from Canada to present a powerful message to the BHB audience. She divided life into five categories, these being: job/money/livelihood, body/wellness/health, relationships/family, spirituality/soul/God and stuff/materials/home. She then talked about how you wanted to feel in those areas of your life, your underlying desires. The feeling being what drives people. She then said that one example of something people want is success, because of the feeling they think they will get when they get there. Danielle then spoke about the failure of a previously very successful business venture and how that had made her feel. That she had actually felt relief when it ended as she had become a kind of prisoner to it. It’s very hard to summarise briefly what Danielle shared, as she had so much wisdom, but, she encouraged us to examine our reasons for doing what we do carefully and to not let the fact you are doing something now mean that has to define your journey forever.
Then Beci Orpin took the stage. She shared so honestly about her life and it was refreshing to learn about her organic route to success and her relaxed approach to all the work she does. Here were Beci’s top tips: be different, break rules, get involved, make mistakes, be flexible, go above and beyond, sort your business, compromise (missing sleep, coffee dates sometimes), reward yourself and share your ideas. See, how could you not go home inspired?
Lucky last is someone I was really excited about seeing, Missy Higgins. When it first came out, I played her Sound of White CD so much, I had to buy a second one. So, when she took the BHB stage, I was already a little undone. I watched her perform years ago in Tamworth, but, this was far more intimate. Missy spoke with great clarity about the challenges and blessings that come with being an artist of her profile and she gave us a list of things she felt to be key to success. I wrote them all down so I could remember them and share them and here they are in my own words; respect your body –fit body equals fit mind — figure out what makes YOU happy, get excited about your work, follow your bliss (here she referenced Joe Campbell), have structure and discipline, give yourself a goal, tell the truth, be vulnerable, and connect with people, people want to feel they are not alone. All wonderful advice.
So there you go. I can’t say enough good about Clare herself, who facilitated the weekend with kindness and warmth (and good humour) and there were so many special little things that happened, that added to that overwhelming feeling that anything is possible. I hope if you have enjoyed this summary you might put your name on her mailing list and attend in 2015. You will be rewarded with new friends, a full heart and some clarity about the possibilities in your future.
Jasmine’s exhibition, The Space Between, is currently on in Melbourne. More details.