“Intuition is a great way to challenge yourself”

Intuition, flow, energy. Those three words pass by often when talking with Simon Hodges from the Words that Change in Amsterdam.

Words that Change is a collective of writers and storytellers. They help small businesses and large enterprises to develop their core story and put it into words across online and offline platforms.

How did you end up to the storytelling business?

I already was becoming a storyteller when I came into business and knew this was a way that expressed my talents – of communication, of sensing, of finding the core of a story. My background to that point was in corporate communications so this was a good way to evolve what I could do into a more fun and fruitful way of working. Storytelling is such a holistic way of working – it incorporates self-investigation, communication, empathy as well as a quality of execution in writing, designing or film-making. The fun has been working out what makes business sense and what clients actually need.

Words That Change that change is an evolving idea that language has impact: there is an opportunity to make this honest, vibrant and authentic in a way that really speaks to people’s deeper selves. I see the writing and storytelling that I do as having a humanising influence over bland, superficial or manipulative marketing approaches, and encouraging people in the workshops to have the courage to speak their own wisdom in any situation.

Words that Change just celebrated its first birthday a couple of months ago. What were the three most important lessons you learned during the first year as an entrepreneur?

Just getting out there – Talking to people, following up, being energetic and driven. You have no idea of what the market wants until you launch, so you need to make intelligent guesses and adapt quickly as new information comes in. There will be a settling at some point, a crystallising of ideas and then you need to move quickly in that direction.

Playfulness – Having fun while you work is a magnetic quality that draws others to you. You are also more likely to be doing a good job, be flexible and responsive in this ‘mode’. Mastering play is probably one of the most exciting things about being an entrepreneur.

Co-operation – Finding the right people to work with is a delight and can be a challenge. I’ve learned more about when to work with others and when to go it alone, and to better understand my boundaries so I can work with others better. But really seeing the workplace as a field of co-operation rather than competition is a wonderful attitude that more business could do with as it moves forward – it is also a lot more rewarding and fun.

You talk a lot about intuition. How do you learn to trust your intuition, if it doesn´t come naturally?

Intuition is a sense or idea that something might be the case, but it is not rational. For that reason we often dismiss it because it doesn’t fit into our current way of thinking.  But intuition can be a great way to challenge yourself, to see if you really know the way the world works, or there might (likely will be) things you haven’t thought of yet. It is something that can be refined.

Part of trusting is openness – that your idea or feeling is not right or wrong but is suggesting a direction that can expand you. You can then refine your intuition based on what actually happens. Be playful about it. It is all just a very big game. The great thing about being an entrepreneur is you get to make up more rules than anyone else.

What would be your three tips to a new start-up entrepreneur?

Support yourself – make sure you have a way to support yourself financially while you are getting going. It is likely to be a while until your model starts generating income so make sure you have a part-time job while things get going.

Relax – always!

Balance – find a mix of activities that will inspire you and make you money. One feeds the other until gradually, if you’re true to yourself, the inspiration takes over.

Simon Hodges ran his storytelling workshop in HUB Helsinki in September. He is planning to come back next spring. Keep updated about his plans join the mailing list at http://wordsthatchange.nl/.

 Maria Ruuska


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