On Wednesday the 26th June 2019 Facebook London signed the Armed Forces Covenant.
I wasn’t going to miss this. We are currently based up a RAF Shawbury so
I packed my bags on Tuesday evening and waited for my husband to get back from dive club before driving the two hours to collapse into bed at midnight in my mums house. Up again at 6am I showered and got ready to catch the train from Kingham to London, a great opportunity to catch up on some social media. I navigated my way through the warm wafting heat of the underground from Paddington to Westminster and into the Park Plaza Hotel. There was a fantastic energy in the air. Within moments of walking through the door people I had only ever met online before were coming up to say Hi with hugs like they were my long lost friends, it felt so good to be amongst such positive, dynamic and forward thinking people.
Business owners from the military community were invited to a fantastic day of networking, inspirational speakers, panel discussions and live master classes on the many ways Facebook and Instagram can help boost your business #fbveteransboost. At this point I want to say a massive thank you to Facebook London for putting on such a great event and feeding us so well too and an equally huge thank you to the Heropreneur network who do such great work supporting military business start ups through their mentoring programme.
The theme of the day was community, and what a community the British Military is, warm and fiercely supportive with a healthy dose of humour. For me this was a fantastic opportunity to meet up with some people I had only met through the power of the internet before, as well as meeting lots of new and inspirational business owners. I love meeting people in the flesh, building rapport and cementing the bonds with common interests.
The words of Simon Harmer really shone for me that day, he confidently walked onto the stage on his prosthetic legs and delivered a funny and heart warming account of his story. I was lucky enough to interview Simon for The BeGlad Movement in 2018. He was a combat medic serving on a tour of Afghanistan when he had his legs blown off. This man is so inspirational, when a nurse in the recovery hospital suggested he should look for three positives for every negative Simon decided he needed to look for five. My favourite quote from Simon that day though, ‘I live every day as a thank you.’ Find out more about Simon here
I can’t write this post without mentioning how disappointed I was not to see Michael Coates from the Declassified podcast. He runs a business called Combat Pest Control, again I was lucky enough to interview him too and was so inspired by the way he set up his business. Not only does he champion the employment of veterans and spouses but also giving a proportion of profits towards the education of children in war torn countries and towards the training of African pouch rats. Unfortunately he couldn’t be there on the day as his mum fell ill and family should always come first. Thankfully the amazing Woody, Brian Wood MC stepped in at the last minute to lead a panel discussion on Michael's behalf. That is the power of a great community with strong relationships, being there for each other in times of need. Hear more about Woody and his incredible story here
It’s important not to underestimate the power of community. Even if you are not as lucky as I am to be part of the military family you can still curate a tribe of supporters around you. Looking for people who share your values and lift you up is imperative as a self employed small business owner but it’s also equally important that you distance yourself from negative people too. Although you may not feel it too much in any one instance a steady drip of negative talk can be a secret assassin. Like Simon was told, you need to look for AT LEAST three positives for every negative because evolution has wired our brains with a negative bias.
With this in mind it’s important to acknowledge our minds and our mental health especially as business owners. Naturally we are go getters, used to being self disciplined to get where we want to go but we are bombarded with a heck of a lot of information daily which is tiring to sift through; if we’re not careful it can send us into thought loops that go round and round. Taking the time to share your thoughts with your community or even better having the undivided attention of a coach or mentor for an hour really does help unpack all the ideas, clear the wood from the trees, and sets you free to move forward more quickly and effectively.