How to scale your business
The power of regeneration and following your North Star
1st May 2023
For anyone at a crossroads, I’m here to remind you there’s huge power in regeneration. Here’s why I believe we should all keep a growth mindset and continue evolving — and my advice on sticking to your true purpose.
Taking control of your future
For many founders, arriving at a crossroads of whether to close a business, get a job or try something new can be heart-wrenching. When I was first thinking about closing the Holly & Co shop, it’s fair to say there were tears (rather a lot in fact!). Even when your brain is telling you that it doesn’t make financial or practical sense to continue what you’re doing doesn’t always agree, and Oklahoma’s founder Nicola gave some great advice on this in the article Letting go with love: closing your business (and being ok with it).
For many of us small business owners thrown into turmoil during the pandemic, the buzzword was ‘pivot’. Grocers became mobile meal delivery experts. Cardmakers created letterbox kits. For some, this meant survival. Yet the difference between this and regeneration is that one generally only pivots when forced to. And it’s true isn’t it? Regeneration is all about mindset and choosing to take control of where you want to be in life — not just surviving but thriving — and not settling. It means getting back to what you most love doing and what you are most curious about.
“Every human has the capacity to regenerate, whatever your failures or obstacles are. You can regenerate because that’s your life force.”
Anna Lewis (AKA Sketchy Muma)
According to Collins Dictionary, the word ‘regenerate’ means ‘to develop and improve something to make it more active, successful or important, especially after a period when it has been getting worse’. Think about the human body. If it’s healthy, the tissue naturally regenerates over time. By default, new available cells replace the existing ones… and we should do the same with our life paths, because it’s natural to do so. So how on earth do we go about it?
- If you could do anything, what would that be? Forget the restrictions. In Bobbi Brown’s Conversations of Inspiration episode, she said her mum asked her if it was her birthday, what she’d most like to do and she said, “Play around with make-up” but she didn’t want to go to beauty school. So she trained at a college instead… and then built a global brand..
- What’s your North Star? What’s that one thing you always come back to? What are the values that drive you and have been with you for life? Go back to basics and write this down. Keep it at the heart of every career decision you make from now on because it’s likely to be what makes you happy.
- What’s holding you back and how can you remove it? Lose the blockers. Nothing is impossible. Work through them one by one and find a solution. Be resourceful. Be entrepreneurial. No one does this better than women. We are miracle machines!
Adopt a growth mindset (with stamina)
A growth mindset is essentially having the belief that with a little grit and hard work, some support from others, and a dedication to learning and evolving, you can develop and do whatever you put your mind to — and it works. Research shows people with this mindset achieve more. Here are some things you can try…
- Remember change is possible. Whether you want to regenerate the business you have, or close it and do something else completely, you can. Nothing is forever. You could get a job and develop a new side hustle too. Prick Ldn’s founder Gynelle Leon closed her shop and now operates online only. As well as launching London’s first cacti boutique, she’s been an award-winning photographer, forensic scientist and fraud prevention officer. She discovered her diamond by embracing change and evolving.
- Return to what you love. Sketchy Mama (AKA Anna Lewis) is a big believer in regeneration too. She rediscovered her love of illustration after dead end careers in teaching or advertising. She returned to Cornwall “deflated and demoralised in a pit of failure.”. At almost 30, Anna got a job in a graphics department, doing people’s photocopying but surrounded by paper and pens again, and she began to connect with the part of her that loved drawing. Then one day, hunched underneath the photocopier machine fixing a paper jam, she met her partner Ray and fell in love. Ray encouraged Anna to just pick up a pencil again because, “He saw the middle bit of me, the ageless bit, the magic bit” and finally, after having their daughter, she started making sketches around motherhood and rediscovered her true creative path. When a client sent a giant lizard from New York to her little shepherd’s hut in Cornwall, Anna asked what it meant. She said, “Rebirth and regeneration”. Apparently, lizards are often associated with this due to their ability to regrow their tails and shed their skins — and that’s what we must do. Shed our skins and become something new, because we can. This wonderful life is ours to shape. That’s the magic of it.
“Forget about your age as it will only become a cumbersome barrier of all the reasons you can’t do something and tramples over the quiet, honest voice inside you, that knows that you can.”
Anna Lewis (AKA Sketchy Muma).
- Focus on the outcome not the output. This means keeping your eye on the (real) prize — so not just the end result you’re hoping to achieve but the tangible difference this result will make to your life.
- Take well-considered risks and be brave. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll keep getting what you’ve got. You need to get out of the comfortable chair to achieve results (and you can hear Jake Humphrey explain this brilliantly in his Conversations of Inspiration episode).
- Be open to regeneration. ’Seek and ye shall find’ as they say. Who could help you get where you need to go? What do you need to learn? Open yourself up to new experiences and give it your all.
- Take action. Work hard to achieve your dreams. There’s no other way. You can make this happen, whatever your situation, age or experience.
Regeneration is about choosing the life you want to live and being in control of it — and you can absolutely do this. The main points to remember are:
- Regeneration can come in many forms. Be open and don’t restrict yourself by blockers. Just work through them one by one and you’ll succeed.
- Always remember your North Star. Think what you would love to do above all else and the values that you hold dear. Let that guide you to your happy place.
- Adopt a growth mindset. This means being open to change, imagining your future ‘you’, really focusing on this outcome you’d love to see, being brave, working hard and going for it. I believe in you. You just need to, too.
Regeneration artwork, by Anna Lewis (Sketchy Muma)
Grit necklace, by Jessica Lotz
Lizard, by Damson Cottage Sewing
North Star compass, by Vinegar & Brown Paper