Driving and Pitching: What do the two have in common? To get good at both you have to keep practising and you’ll never ever get to a point of being the best. There will always be areas you can improve.
I’ve been learning to drive for a VERY long time. A lot of false starts, a theory test that expired, lots of money spent and now three failed tests under my belt. The second time I took my test and failed I didn’t feel bad, I knew I was pretty ready and I’ll pass the next time but after failing my third time because of that reverse around the corner maneuver, I was actually pretty devastated. In-fact my driving instructor had to get in contact with me to book more lessons and I only now I’ve booked my test in again. Learning to drive is a life skill and I believe it truly is one of the biggest acts of resilience. Resilience/Mettle is one of the things we teach through the Discoverables platform. Learning to pick yourself up and getting through tough times is not easy but to push yourself and succeed you need to build that resilient muscle.
The challenges I faced in 2013 led me to look at life from very different view points but the biggest thing I developed was resilience. Now learning to pitch especially in a tech accelerator where you have peer pitch practice nearly every week leading up to a preview/demo day requires a lot of that. My first pitch practice session I turned up with nothing but the random thoughts in my head about what we are trying to do, the second session I ordered those thoughts but this time around I got ripped apart that I was rambling on too much as I didn’t know it off by heart. I was gutted and annoyed, I love public speaking, I enjoy it but why wasn’t I shining like I normally do? That week, I worked SO hard. I wrote a script (and I hate scripts) re-wrote it, changed things around , learned it and went into the final pitch practice session and delivered to a point where I was later told by something that 2 weeks ago they thought I wasn’t the right person to represent and pitch the business but my pitch that day proved them wrong. And on preview day, I thought I did well and yes maybe I might have over practiced a bit but my determination to prove them all wrong made me work so hard. The feedback I got was a mixture from I bought energy and passion to others thinking I just faked it and “performed” it seems either way the opinions would differ and it’s more important for me to just believe in myself and stay self assured.
The other feedback we got was the fact we haven’t communicated to people well what we have really been up to at Discoverables HQ. We’ve done a super great job at building credibility around developing soft skills in young people but we have pivoted and it’s time I told you why.
Over the last couple of years we’ve done a lot of work enabling young people to show the world what they’re made of. We’ve worked mostly with millennials who are building their skills, while they’re still in education or actively job-seeking. But it’s only been in the last few months that we’ve been working with young people who are in their first job. Through Wayra UnLtd and Big Issue Invest, we’ve looked at various options for turning the Discoverables platform into a profitable business one of them being recruitment and that is not where our expertise or passions are. We are passionate about building and developing soft skills in young people and instead when the time comes rebuild the Discoverables platform back into Spark+Mettle.
We want to help young people at every stage of their employment journey. When a young person is in their first job we want to help them grow, be productive and feel motivated. We’d like to introduce to you what we’ve been busy working on over the last few months: a skills development and feedback tool called Up that has revenue and social impact built in it’s DNA.
I’m super excited about Up, it’s a simple tool that can used in a variety of ways, not only can we help businesses support young people better but we can help youth organisations track their soft skills development in young people and also help structure university buddy/mentor schemes.
One thing I love about my job is that I get to be involved in every part and although I was quite nervous about making my first sales I’m starting to now get the bug for it! In the next blog post I will reveal our first paying customers so stay tuned!