I often hear that one can do anything… as long as you set your mind to it. So, I shall ask: can one become anything? One thing I have tested is happiness, believe me: happiness is not something that happens to you, happiness is something you choose.
There are many theories and books about hapiness. It’s somewhat a fashionable thing to be happy… Worth a try, don’t you think? Always better than being miserable.
Take today. Lyon, France, outside temperature: 100 Farenheit degrees. Simply breathing is making me sweat. I just spent seven hours in a non-air-conditionned classroom listening to students presenting about the exact same case study. And most of them did not blow my mind. I feel sticky, my legs are twice their usual side and my make-up has not survived the 8 a.m. bus ride. Today I wish I was bald.
Would be easy to fall into that trap, wouldn’t it?
But instead, I choose to be happy. My boyfriend is in a different country so it doesn’t really matter that I don’t look my best, my students are not perfect, and it’s okay, they’re here to learn, and it’s hot as hell… ok, that sucks, but oh well, I’ll get through it, like I do every summer. Overall, I’m surrounded with friends, in a beautiful city where some of the public transportation is air-conditionned. I’m happy.
The mind is everything. What you think you become.
I think I’m free, successful and happy. What do you think?
A couple of weeks ago, I spent my Friday geeking out at Lyon’s first Wordcamp. Take all of Lyon has to offer in terms of WordPress fanatics, add some guests from Grenoble and Paris, spice up with visitors from Nice, Marseille, put all of them on a barge on the Rhône river, bring up the temperature and feed them with coffee and sweets… and you’ll have an idea of what went down that day. Among other very interesting conferences, I particularly enjoyed the plugins-related sessions which inspired this list of…
5 WordPress plugins that will change your site for the better
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is a complete e-commerce solution for selling digital products in a light, performant, and easy to use plugin. Rather that attempting to provide every feature under the sun, Easy Digital Downloads makes selling digital simple and complete by providing just the features you need.
Our favorite feature: the earnings and sales charts.
The ratings: 4.9 out of 5 stars
UpdraftPlus simplifies backups (and restoration). Backup into the cloud (Amazon S3 (or compatible), Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Microsoft OneDrive, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV, OpenStack Swift and email) and restore with a single click.
Our favorite feature: the automatic backup on a repeating schedule
The ratings: 4.9 out of 5 stars
All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack optimizes your WordPress blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Our favorite feature: the built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
The ratings: 4.4 out of 5 stars
BuddyPress is a suite of components that are common to a typical social network, and allows for great add-on features through WordPress’s extensive plugin system. Enable registered members to create profiles, have private conversations, make connections, create & interact in groups, and much more.
Our favorite feature: the ability to showcase your community members by creating an unlimited number of profile fields.
The ratings: 4.2 out of 5 stars
SumoMe will make it easy for your readers to join your email list, share your articles and optimize with analytics.
Our favorite feature: the simple email integration with MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor
The ratings: 4.1 out of 5 stars
Back in February I was introducing you to Five startups to follow. Young entrepreneurs I was lucky to work alongside of and coach a little closer for some. Around that time, I also was introduced to De Rigueur an innovative brand in high quality leather goods, that got selected to join the BoostInLyon program.
Although I had less time with Adrien and his team, I cannot say that any of them worked less than the other toward the ultimate goal: to launch and to succeed. And it has been a pleasure to spend time with “my boys”: Yannick & Louis-Rémi from Prototypo, Adrien from DeRigueur and Antoine & Thibault from Cy-Clope and see them and their project grow.
On March 28, I had the immense pride and pleasure to see all them be distinguished with a Young Entrepreneur of the Year prize. They ruled the pitching game, they convinced the various juries and they climbed on stage to receive their prize. Couldn’t be happier to see their efforts being crowned by the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Where are they now?
After winning the Lyon Startup Contest, Prototypo is being courted by several investors, business angels and venture capitalists. Negotiations are in progress and the new version of the SaaS is to be released in September.
DeRigueur just raised a few thousand euros on the French crowdfunding site KissKissBankBank, to increase the size of its product catalog and explore new territories.
And Cy-Clope signed their first client and the concept is becoming a media craze as the fight against cigarette buds is spreading like wildfire in major French cities.
As for me, I have mostly moved from the “coach” position to the “official cheerleader” one and while I will always support them and admire their successes, my job is done. Now, I’m looking forward to live many more exciting adventures with the new comers.
Every year, when I first meet a new class, I love to go around the room and ask the students where they come from, and what their passions are. My purpose: getting to know those I will be working with for at least a semester, but also, tailoring my teaching to what is really going to resonate with them.
Once, someone said to me “I don’t have any passion”. It made me sad. Not having any passions comes to feeling powerless in the world. No desire to change anything. No hunger for new discoveries. No drive. What can of a life can you be leading this way?
I cannot fathom the idea that someone has no passions. Turns out, after digging a little, one-on-one, with this student, we found what was rocking her world. She just didn’t think it was good enough to mention. In the end, she turned out to be one of them most passionate people about the project she was working on. She graduated with honors and is now settling down in her new career. Passion is power.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.
What is your passion? What is your power?
Following up on last week’s post, I thought it could only be right to recommend my favorite reads. Of course I could mention some of the most influential business books such as The Art of War, The Prince or The Wealth of Nations, but I’d rather pick in a more modern department to recommend ones that are as insightful as they are enjoyable to read.
Five books that every entrepreneur should read
Blue Ocean Strategy
“Winning by not competing”, the Blue Ocean Strategy concept could sound so unfamiliar to all the old-school marketing addicts. But this international best seller upends traditional thinking with principles and tools to make the competition irrelevant. Yes, you read correctly: tools. The book is a fantastic toolbox of methodologies that will help you organize your thoughts and concentrate on what really matters.
While first published in 2005, the book’s message is still relevant. Blue Ocean Strategy is worth the time of anyone seeking to increase their success through innovation, whether it’s at the business strategy, product launch or simply marketing strategy level.
Principles of Marketing
In a fast-changing, increasingly digital and social marketplace, it’s more vital than ever for marketers to develop meaningful connections with their customers. Principles of Marketing helps readers master today’s key marketing challenge: to create vibrant, interactive communities of consumers who make products and brands an integral part of their daily lives. To help understand how to create value and build customer relationships, Kotler and Armstrong present fundamental marketing information within an innovative customer-value framework.
Change by Design
Need to reinvigorate your business? Think like a designer. In his book, Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, Tim Brown shows how using the traditional skills that designers develop, can be used to identify problems and create solutions in collaboration with the people who will benefit from the results. In other words, finding a solution to any business challenges is a creative process that should involve customers. What is not to agree with here?
Business Model Generation
Business Model Generation features powerful strategic tools and ideas to change up a business’s model and plan for whatever tomorrow brings. Whenever an organization needs to adapt to a new market, a strategy that is different than anything before is key. Acting as handbook for leaders and visionaries, the book strives to put a new spin on outdated business models.
The Lean Startup
Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a practical approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
By setting-up an engine of growth, building an adaptive organisation and lastly allowing sandbox for new ideas, Eric Ries shows in this book how it is possible to solve the main 21st century organisation problem: the tension between operational excellence and innovation; building, along the way, the economy of tomorrow.