When you wake up in the morning, how do you know to be you? Unless you’re wearing a pair of pajamas with your name neatly inscribed on the top pocket, how do you know?
In those first few seconds of waking perhaps you reach for your phone, or tap into some memories, look at yourself in the mirror as you make your way to the bathroom or make a mental note of the tasks ahead for the day. It’s as if for a few seconds, you have the opportunity to be anyone you choose! Instead, you probably lock yourself back into being the person you believe yourself to be with all the memories from your past that allow you to slide back into your particular identity.
When you lock into your specific identity, it also locks you into certain patterns, and it’s our patterns in thinking and behaviour that create our response to circumstances and not the circumstances themselves.
Are you running patterns in thinking and behavior that are helping you or hindering you?
You have a pattern for being you. Your patterns in thinking literally become embedded in the network of brain cells and each time you repeat a particular thought the connection between those cells becomes stronger and stronger. All good and well if you are running a pattern of positive thinking, but if you are continually side-tracked by poor habits and pessimistic thoughts then you get stuck in a loop. That explains why some people find it so difficult to change. The more the negative thought loops run, the stronger the neural pathways become, and the more difficult it becomes to stop them!
Just for a moment, consider that If you change clothes, cars, where you live, your job, your hair style, your relationships and friends then surely it would make sense that you also need to change or update the programs and patterns stored at the unconscious level.
So the good news is that you have the ability to change the software in your brain; to literally change the way you think.
Mind your thoughts
Your thoughts create your reality and direct your outer world. Whatever you perceive outside of yourself, in people, in events, in situations, in circumstances are all actually projections from inside of you, like a reflection in a mirror. This means there is never a problem with another person, event or situation, it is simply a problem with how you are choosing to perceive that person, event or situation.
The key to solve the problem lies inside yourself. Look for the best in people, in events and in situations. When you change how you observe your world the outside world changes too!
Mind your language
Your thoughts are expressed though your language and the Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words. It’s unlikely that you are using a million different words each day, in fact, research indicates that the average woman uses up to about 20,000 words a day. What is more, you will also be using the same 100 words on a regular basis to describe your experiences. Pay attention to your language. You have the power to inspire and lift others through the language you use. What is more, the language you use to yourself has a huge impact on how you feel and your energy levels.
Your world literally comes into being by what you create with your thoughts and mind and when you begin to unlearn and let go of patterns that no longer serve you there are endless possibilities.
We're here. We're queer. Now that it's pride month, it feels like every store and corporation is flooding us with their best rainbow merchandise, capitalizing on a $917 billion dollar consumer market.
The rainbow flags are out. The mannequins are sporting pride tees. And corporate newsletters are full of interviews showcasing all their queer employees ("Look, we have a gay person here! We GET you!").
To me, this is blatant evidence that the future is queer.
These corporations follow the money, and with 20% of millennials and 31% of Gen Z openly identifying as queer, these businesses have to capitalize on the growing purchasing power of LGBTQIA+ consumers. With a recorded market size of $917 billion dollars in 2016, and a growing interest in socially conscious brands among young consumers, this is clearly a market opportunity that corporations cannot afford to ignore.
However, I'm always surprised by how little attention investors and the entrepreneurial community devotes to this undeniable trend, despite being constantly inundated with overwhelming statistics proving the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018, less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, and only about 1% of venture-backed companies have a black founder or Latinx founder. These statistics are over-quoted but underacted upon.
This gender and diversity inequality significantly hinders economic growth, since 85% of all consumer purchases are controlled by women, and startups with higher ethnic diversity tend to produce financial returns above their industry norm.
The data is clearly leading to one direction: investing in women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, veterans, immigrants, and other minority groups in entrepreneurship leads to higher revenue and better business results.
As data-driven and forward-thinking as this industry claims to be, we haven't caught up to the queer founders, particularly queer women, who are rethinking the future. These founders understand and speak to a generation of increasing numbers of LGBTQIA+ people whose market share will only continue to grow exponentially. VCs and investors are already behind the curve.
SoGal Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship, is helping bridge this divide between queer women founders and investors with the launch of applications for the second annual Global Pitch Competition for diverse entrepreneurs. Hosted in 25+ cities across five continents, and culminating in a final global pitch competition and 3-day immersive educational bootcamp in Silicon Valley, this is the first and only globally-focused pitch opportunity for diverse entrepreneurs.
Startups that are pre-Series A (raised less than $3M) with at least one woman or diverse founder, apply here to pitch! The top teams selected from each regional round will join SoGal's final global pitch competition and bootcamp in Silicon Valley for guaranteed face time with dozens of top Silicon Valley investors, curated educational programming, unparalleled 1:1 mentorship, press exposure, and a chance to win investment capital.
Women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ founders: what's the best way to kick off pride? Apply to pitch!
Regional pitch rounds will be held August-November 2019; final pitch competition in Silicon Valley in February 2020. Details and additional cities to be announced.
SoGal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the largest global platform for diverse founders and funders in 40+ chapters across 5 continents; our mission is to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship. SoGal Foundation's global startup competition represents the first and largest opportunity for women and diverse entrepreneurs and investors to connect worldwide. Join the SoGal community & follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.