What inspired you today?

Last night I attended a local networking group Cam Creative to pay tribute to the memory of Bonnie Cotier who died in a tragic accident on April 23rd. In honour of Bonnie’s memory people were asked to tell the group about something amazing they had done recently or something that inspired them. Bonnie was highly regarded by the people in the various networking groups that she was member of and she was heavily involved in Cam Creative. I hadn’t yet got to know Bonnie really well but I had spoken to her often enough to realise she was a person that stood out because of her personality and her approach to life, business and people. She was a dynamic person who had a hand in many different projects some of which we heard about last night and clearly had an abundance of energy and enthusiasm to participate and contribute 100% to the projects she was involved in.

So those who wanted to, could stand up and say a few words about what had inspired them. Personally, I struggled with this, after some reflection I didn’t feel I could stand up and tell people about something obvious or spectacular that inspired me. I’ve worked very hard to achieve whatever amount of success I’ve had in life. But again I suspect that’s a common story for a lot of people, I’m just an ordinary person doing ordinary things.

However things have changed in the last 12 months or so and thinking back over that time I realised I stumbled across a source of inspiration I never expected to find. Its not loud and explosive, or in your face. Its rather quiet and subtle but it is insistent and nurturing. It played a big part in my decision to start a business 6 months ago. The business an online store selling plus size clothes to larger women. It’s very early days and it’s a risk, there’s no real telling at this point whether it will succeed or not. The point is, I had the idea to set up this business more than 12 years ago. I did nothing, instead I pursued a career in a discipline in a corporate environment which has gone well for me over the years. Despite being difficult it was still a “safe” option.

The question is why did I start my venture now and not 12 years ago? The answer is of course complex and like a lot of people I can easily come up with a list of why I didn’t start it years ago. Coming up with the list of reason why I started it now is less easy. One of the influencing factors is that I got involved in a local networking group, initially to learn more about social media but pretty soon my thoughts turned to my dormant business idea and I decided to give it a go. I was inspired by simply talking to the people around me at these groups. They are from all walks of life and are running all manner of businesses and I found their energy and positive vibe (often in the face of difficult trading conditions) very inspiring and it helped me get up and do something about my idea. Every time I go to one of these events I make some new contacts and I always come away with something new to apply to my fledgling business.

A number of people I’ve met in the networking group have helped me set up and their efforts are woven into the fabric of my venture and I’m grateful for their contribution. While I wasn’t lucky enough to work with Bonnie she certainly is an exemplar of the type of person I’m referring too and I know she provided inspiration to plenty of others as they sought to develop their business or idea. In fact if you want see how Bonnie inspired and helped someone else then please read the previous post on this blog about an exhibition that Bonnie was instrumental in organising in Cambridge starting on June 7th.

So if you are an entrepreneur starting up or are already well established take a good look around the people at the next networking event you attend. Seek out the ones that like Bonnie, might inspire you and help you do something amazing. They are out there and they will help. In return you may find you can also provide some inspiration to others.

Please add a comment telling us about people that have inspired you, or if you have a story about how Bonnie inspired you please feel free to share it here, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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