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Reinvention is Badass

Reinvention is Badass

One of the reasons I’ve loved being a business development consultant for nearly 25 years is that my work is ever-changing. People come to me to help them start or grow their businesses. Since I don’t specialize in one kind of business, I’ve helped clients with companies in industries I’d never have imagined.

It’s an exciting stretch to learn about new industries and companies. I don’t get the chance to get bored because working with such a variety of focuses expands my view of the world of business. I’ve seen consultants with specific specialties get stuck offering the same solutions to every client they have since they started consulting. Pretty soon, they can’t “see the forest for the tree,” as the old proverb goes.

By staying open to lots of new information and focusing on the bigger picture view – the forest, we can see beyond the trees to form new connections and see solutions other people miss. This is the creative side of business that I love the most. Finding ways to do things that haven’t been tried before is risky. It takes courage – but so does being an entrepreneur.

In my business and personal life, I’ve discovered that reinvention is vital to longevity. Companies that want to continue to operate the same way no matter what happens eventually fall behind. People who aren’t willing to have some flexibility to change their minds forfeit the present moment's happiness. Living in the past keeps us from seeing the possibilities of right now.

In my college entrepreneurship classes, I learned about the business lifecycle. Those businesses only grow for so long, and then they hit “maturity.” Just like in life, the business cycle is all downhill from there. From maturity, the next part of the cycle is decline. Unless action is taken and innovation or change occurs, the next stage is death – or waiting to die, as happens to many companies. I think some people get caught in that loop too.

Taking small risks by trying what I call “experiments” is a way to ease into change. Put a toe in the water and see how it feels. If you don’t like it, you can back up. But if it feels good, it’s time to move a little deeper. Before you know it, you’re swimming with sharks in the deep end! Trying new things eases transitions and gives insights on how to navigate the waters and avoid undertows. It also breathes new life into stagnant situations.

The pandemic has shaken our snow globe hard. It’s turned so much of what we’ve taken for granted and turned it upside down. It shows us proof-positive that the idea that we can control what happens is an illusion. Right now, there are people stubbornly fighting to return to the status quo. I get it. Change is scary, and it’s hard. But, refusing to change when the world is changing all around us is a sure route from the cycle of maturity to death. Like it or not – change is inevitable.

If you’re a reader of my newsletter, you know I’ve been struggling with what to do with the Finishing School for Modern Women. It became apparent that continuing to offer live classes during a pandemic was not a sustainable business strategy. I’ve tried some experiments over the past year, some results I’ve liked better than others. But, I’m going to continue to try different things because I’m not happy with the alternative. I’m too stubborn and too driven by my mission to help women own their power to stop.

The biggest hurdle has been to decide what I want the Finishing School to become. What has always been important to me is bringing women together to collaborate and make us all stronger. I still can’t believe in 2021 how hard we still have to fight for our fundamental rights as humans and citizens of the world. We’ve got to come together, especially now, to fight for an equal playing field for all people.

I always have to be careful what I ask for because what I request usually comes true. Earlier this year, I thought about what organizations I could work with to reinvent the Finishing School. I put a toe in and approached a few people, but it wasn’t the right fit. Then, out of the blue, the PourHouse by Walnut River Brewing Company in Union Station Square contacted me. Jennifer Rutledge, the general manager, had an idea to start a women’s empowerment initiative on Monday evenings and thought I might be able to help. The result: the Badass Women of Wichita Initiative! Here’s an article that ran in the Eagle last week.

So, for the rest of the year, we’ve got the use of the Pourhouse’s spacious private meeting space and delicious food on Monday evenings. The room is up an easy flight of stairs and has comfortable seating for 50 people, bathrooms, and a full bar that features their Walnut River Brewing Company beers along with wines and spirits.

We’re inviting women of all ages to join our inclusive society for discussions and actions that build community, empower women, and develop our badassery. In addition, we’re inviting other women’s organizations and non-profits to get involved and work together to broaden our community of women helping women. Read more about our plan below!

I’ve started a group on Facebook to help get the word out. Please join us there and invite your friends along too! Click here for our group.

I hope you’ll join us for our Badass Kickoff Party on Monday, October 4th, from 6 to 8 PM. Learn more about our event here

Hope to see you soon!

Headmistress Jill

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