‘Do well by doing good’ that’s the InspirEngage message. It’s such a pleasure when we can work with young people to train them to do exactly that. This year marked the 4 year of our involvement and partnership with Mosaic and the National Enterprise Challenge. Once again, we brought all the finalists of the challenge together and delivered a tailored InspirEngage Social Enterprise Bootcamp – helping the 13-15 year-olds to develop their aspirations of future careers, deepen their life skills as well as learn how they can take their social enterprise ideas to the next level.

A quote from a teacher at the Bootcamp

Here’s the summary from the Mosaic article (see original source here)

Some of the finalists from May’s Grand Final of Mosaic’s Enterprise Challenge recently took part in an Enterprise Bootcamp run by businesswoman and trainer Melody Hossaini of InspirEngage.

Throughout the day, Melody built on the impressive skills that the young people had already demonstrated in the Enterprise Challenge competition and led workshops for them designed to hone and extend their business acumen and further raise their confidence. The feedback from the pupils at the end of the busy was very positive. Nathan Gage from Rivers Academy in Hounslow said: “I enjoyed today very much and I learnt a lot of valuable skills about communication in business.”

Kajal Parekh from Dixons Kings Academy in Yorkshire, said: “This was hugely beneficial for me, not just in terms of business but I’ve also learnt a lot of skills that will helpful in everyday life.”

Hamzah Khan, Head of Year 9 at Dixons Kings Academy, said: “Today’s Enterprise Bootcamp has been fantastic. Melody engaged the students in a really fun and interactive way whilst also helping them to understand some important business concepts and develop the skills needed to be a successful social entrepreneur. The students have had a great day and I’m sure it will give them the confidence and know-how to be able to achieve great things in business in the future.”

Jack, a student from Rivers Academy added: “Today has really helped in terms of bring able to use new skills in daily life. We have leant how to understand how people can notice how you feel based on how you act through body language.”

Abusafian from Dixons Kings added: “Today has helped with our confidence and has taught us what to do and what not to do when presenting. I have enjoyed looking at feedback and learning about evaluations.”

Mosaic’s West Midlands Regional Manager, Becky Mitchell said: “The Bootcamp was a really inspiring and interesting day where the students gain many skills that will not only aid them in the future careers but day to day lives as well. The students went on a journey throughout the day which was fascinating to watch and you could clearly see, in the space of a few hours, the confidence and learning that they had gained. An excellent day and thoroughly recommended! Thank you!”

——–

Further statements on how students and teachers found the Bootcamp:

“It’s been very interesting and very useful. In our lives we will be able to use what we have learnt, as well as in business.” Zulkarnain, Dixons Kings.

“Today had been a very interesting experience. We have leant new skills and will be able to develop our future careers. Introducing us to proma development will really help us in our futures.” Abdurrahim, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage Bootcamp was wonderful experience and opportunity for the students. A fun and exciting day that encouraged, not pushed, them out of their comfort zones with brilliant results.” – Winchester Wilmot, Business Teacher at Rivers Academy West London.

“I think that the InspirEngage workshop was very beneficial for me as I have learnt skills that I can use n everyday life as well business skills. For example communication and meeting new people and working with them.” – Kajal Parekh, Dixons Kings

“The InspirEngage  workshop was a great experience and I learnt lots of useful skills that will help me in the future” Ruqayyah, 15, Dixons Kings

“It was very ‘inspiring’ and ‘Engaging’, but there was nothing fishy but the sandwiches.” – Nathan Patel, Dixons Kings Academy

“I learned loads of communication skills that will help me in life” Jack Shircore, 14, Rivers Academy

‘I enjoyed today very much as I learnt valuable skills about communication and roles in a business’ Nathan Gage, Rivers Academy

“I have a had a great and positive experience, met new people and learnt more about business” Darren Clarke, Rivers Academy

 

Ever asked yourself what you really work for. I mean I know we all have to earn a living to afford a roof over our heads and food in our belly- but away from the bare necessity- what are you working for?

What if tomorrow, someone put enough money to cover necessary costs comfortably for the next 10 years. Would you sit at home on the couch watching daytime TV in peace and do things you enjoy? Or would you (after a couple of weeks of fun!) get out and get active and do some form of work anyway? In that case- ask yourself then, are you working for something other than money.

Too often, amidst the busy flow of life, we find ourselves on autopilot. We work because that’s what we’re told we have to do. That’s just what we do. But how often do we stop and ask ourselves what the driving factor actually is behind it.

I recently read that ‘Time is free but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” Time, truly is, our most valuable asset. For most people, work is the number one thing, occupying their time during their usual weeks. So what are we exchanging our most valuable asset for and is it worth it?

The answers to these questions are obviously different for different people. For example, someone who genuinely enjoys their work would look at this very differently to someone who is only doing something to earn enough to live. Personally, I did what I now do for a living, for free voluntarily for 10 years before making it a career by launching InspirEngage International in 2009. So the answer is, I would do it anyway. For social entrepreneurs, their driving factor is their cause.

In a recent TEDx talk ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95f8RV_YdKY, I speak about the danger of living on autopilot- the importance of doing things with purpose, as opposed to allowing the ‘flow’ to direct our actions. This is another way in which you can prevent this. What is your driving factor for work?

Tweet me your thoughts @Melody_Hossaini

 

Read recent blog:

‘My top 10 Tips for Securing Your First Job’ > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/10/top-10-tips-for-firstjobs-dwp-campaign/

‘Speaking to Female Social Entrepreneurs’ (video of my speech at Govt launch of ‘Women in Enterprise’ > http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2014/10/video-melody-hossaini-speaking-to-aspiring-female-entrepreneurs/

What was your first job? The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a brand new campaign sharing #FirstJob stories, in the hope to inspire young people seeking their first job. I’m pleased to be supporting it, and this is my first job story video.

Melody’s #FirstJob Story: 

Also see ‘Top 10 Tips for finding your #FirstJob’: http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2013/11/how-to-have-the-perfect-job-interview-my-top-tips/

 

Join the conversation with hashtag #FirstJob and tweet us @Melody_Hossaini / @DWPgovuk

Melody Hossaini’s Top Tips for first job.

Top 10 tips for those looking for their first job by social entrepreneur and skills expert Melody Hossaini- as part of the Department for Work and Pensions #FirstJob campaign inspiring and supporting those entering the job market. (See in both Youtube Video and Text below).

 



1. Be Strategic
Think about what you enjoy, are good at and ultimately want to do. A job that is as close to your ultimate goal is ideal because it can act as a stepping-stone to future opportunities.

2. Find ways to reach the employer!
InspirEngage speak to a lot of employers who ask us why people have stopped showing up to places introducing themselves with their CVs. Do it! This is a great way to get your face known by prospective employers. Also, if any of your friends have a job that you’re interested in, get introduced to the employer and hand in your CV for future opportunities.-

3. Make yourself stand out from the crowd!
What makes you unique? Show employers a taste of your personality and avoid the generic adjectives like punctual and team player – you’d be surprised just how many people claim to have these traits. You can achieve this by discussing your passions, telling a relevant story, showing your character and sharing something you find interesting.

4. Do your Research!
I’ve interviewed people who were asked whether they knew what InspirEngage does and they looked at me blankly! You can learn more about companies by visiting their website, following them on social media network and speaking to current employees.

5. Do yourself justice in the interview
Everyone gets nervous going into an interview. A little bit of nerves are endearing so don’t worry, just make sure you do yourself justice. Leave that interview room knowing they’ll remember you for a positive reason.

6. Show you actually want the job
Success is driven by passion and employers want to see this. Too many people have sat opposite me at the table and not shown enough hunger or interest!

7. Make each application unique!
No employer wants to feel like you’ve copied and pasted your answers or sent in a generic cover letter. There’s no harm in re-using strong responses just make sure they’re relevant and formatted correctly.

8. Follow up & get feedback
If you don’t hear back from an employer, don’t lose motivation and don’t be afraid to follow up. It shows you actually care about the job and have taken initiative. It’s also a great way to obtain some feedback for future applications and interviews.

9. Questions!
The questions you ask are just as important as your answers. When asked if you have a question – ask one! Not just when you’re likely to hear back, but something about the future of the organisation that shows your interest and reflects your ambition.

10. Social media – clean up!
Anyone can write a pretty CV using a template- but your social media says something about you that your CV can’t- make sure it’s professional and reflective of how you wish to be perceived- anything from you twitter, fb profile pic and whatsapp (you can take numbers from the CV and check!)

Hope you’ve found these a useful! For more application form and interview tips check out my videos at http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2013/11/how-to-have-the-perfect-job-interview-my-top-tips/ Best of luck!

Join the campaign by using hashtag #FirstJob. You can tweet Melody on @Melody_Hossaini and @DWPgovuk
For all enquiries relating to InspirEngage Bootcamps, Career Clinics or how we’re supporting people into employment, email: info@inspirEngage.com

Are women better in business than men? What challenges do women face? This and many other questions in a recent interview with Melody Hossaini with Ultrapreneur Magazine.

1. Describe your business or current project

We are a social enterprise delivering innovative programmes that support young people and women to be successful by giving back. We work with educational institutions and businesses delivering shock-tactic skills Bootcamps.

2. What made you want to be an entrepreneur?

I’m an accidental social entrepreneur! Since the age of 13, I had been volunteering and being part of building engagement frameworks for young people’s participation in their community, and after my law degree, I made it my career. Just thought to myself- how can I continue doing what I love but earn a living out of it, that’s how InspirEngage was born.

3. What do you think are the biggest challenges’ that women face today as female entrepreneurs?

It’s different for different women and each sector has its own traits, however, here are the most common I’ve seen:

  • Not being taken seriously if you’re a feminine woman- you don’t have to be alpha-female to be strong in business ladies!
  • If a man is a go-getter he’s ambitious, if a woman is a fiery go-getter she’s often branded as aggressive.
  • Women with children (I’m pregnant right now and really thinking a lot about this) have barriers relating to their priorities at home and work. Something has to give and it’s not easy.

Having said all that, the times are changing and this is the best time to be a female (social) entrepreneur.

4. What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?

The freedom to innovate.

5. Do you think that the entrepreneurship sector is too male dominated and that more doors need to be open for women?

In the world of social enterprise, the male/female ratio is now at 50% with women changing the dynamics of business. Buckle up ladies- this is our time!

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Been running InspirEngage International for over 5 years now having achieved some awesome things like launching the UK’s first hands-on social enterprise programme embedded into the curriculum of schools, colleges and Unis (http://inspirengage.com/wp-content/uploads/SocEnt-Revolution-Flyer1.pdf) and contributing to international platforms such as Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (which featured on the Queen’s speech)- but most important, supporting young people who never believed they could, and adult women who had lost confidence, to launch their own successful social enterprises that not only make money but give back. I want to continue this- a lot more to do.

7. What would you say to other women out there both young and older that want to break out there as entrepreneurs but don’t know how or where to start from?

There’s a lot to say! I often blog about it – see http://www.melodyhossaini.com/blog/. But in short:

  1. What do you ultimately want? Don’t set up a business for the sake of it- tap into what you’re passionate about, your strengths and where you want to go and find a path that fits.
  2. Make a 1 pager and run it by some people in that sector
  3. Make a start! So many times, people build things up so much that it overwhelms them and they never begin. Take the first step and watch it snowball.

8. One of the main things that female entrepreneurs get most cross about is that they are treated differently, that they don’t get the same chances and opportunities as men. What is your perspective on that view?

Perhaps that’s true for some- but I actually think that the greatest barrier to women’s success is other women unfortunately. I recently recorded a Vlog (a video blog on my youtube channel) about this and how we can become ‘women lovers!’ > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdJ6hA4pFBs&list=UUlGNevYoZDDNarSIeCHf4ng&index=2 Tweet me and let me know what you guys think!

9. As a female entrepreneur, do you feel that you have had to work harder, or change your way of working, in order to make a success of what you do?

I’m a feminine woman in business, an ex-asylum seeker/ immigrant who started in my sector when I was just 13. You could say I was ‘disadvantaged’ but I resent that label. I think mindset is everything. See no obstacle and that will be your reality. That’s not naive- that’s proactive.

10. It has been said that women do make better entrepreneurs than men? Would you agree?

No- not necessarily. Women, men, young people – I don’t care what you are, but I care about what you can bring to the table and what difference you can make. Ultimately your work should speak for itself.

See Melody’s youtube video on how women can support other women to prosper!

 

Follow Melody on twitter + ig: @Melody_Hossaini and @InspirEngage

InspirEngage Bootcamp for students

“Everybody is a genius- but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree- it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid” Einstein. This is ethos behind the InspirEngage Skills Bootcamps- each young person needs to find their path to success. In order to do that, we support participants to explore their personal identity, strengths and long-term goals, coupled with practical life skills to achieve their goals. We use unique shock-tactics and extremely (!) interactive methods to push participants out of their comfort growth, resulting in growth.

In June 2014, we were invited by Mosaic to support their Enterprise Challenge for the 2nd year running. As one of the prizes, students came together from across 5 schools to receive a unique Bootcamp- and here’s what happened…..

(Piece below from Mosaic article)

MELODY HOSSAINI TAKES APAX-MOSAIC ENTERPRISE CHALLENGE 2014 FINALISTS TO BOOTCAMP!

Melody Hossaini with Enterprise Challenge students

Melody Hossaini, former contestant on BBC’s The Apprentice, took this year’s Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge finalists to a special Enterprise Bootcamp organised by her company InspirEngage International.

Part of a series of follow up prizes to the competition, the enterprise-focussed workshop gave the 23 students from the five schools that finalised in the competition – St Bede’s Catholic Grammar School in Bradford, Harborne Academy in Birmingham, Langley Academy in Slough, Ladybridge High School in Bolton and Brondesbury College for Boys in London – a day to remember.

The students heard from Melody at first-hand about her experience in setting up her company and were given an opportunity to develop their own knowledge and skills across a range of areas linked to setting up and running a social enterprise.“Was really impressed with the students’ progress – not only in their engagement but also their personal growth and consideration for each other.”

Commenting on the Bootcamp, Melody Hossaini, founder and CEO of InspirEngage International said:

“Really pleased to have worked with the Mosaic Enterprise Challenge Finalists for a second year in delivering a taster InspirEngage Bootcamp! The Bootcamp covered life skills modules as well as a strong theme of social enterprise. This forms part of our work with schools on embedding social enterprise into the curriculum- a programme called ‘Social Enterprise Revolution!’

“Was really impressed with the students’ progress – not only in their engagement but also their personal growth and consideration for each other. Look forward to InspirEngage International and Mosaic working together again in future.”

Here’s what some of the students had to say about their day:

“Memorable, exhilarating and definitely a lot better than I thought.” – Abdulhamid, Harborne Academy.

“InspirEngage International is a valuable enterprise for young people like us, Melody is a fantastic ambassador for social enterprises.” – Abrar, Ladybridge High School

“This was a very different working environment I enjoyed it as well.” – Justin, Ladybridge High School

“It was Amazing!” – Francis, St Bede’s

“I’ve never done anything like it. It was unique.” – Dhanseet, Harborne Academy

“It was an amazing and unique experience, I need to do this again!” – Chabir, Ladybridge High School

Jonathan Freeman, National Director of Mosaic, said:

“This was a unique opportunity for the students and provided them with really exciting way to develop their knowledge and skills from somebody who has a very successful story to tell. We are very grateful to Melody Hossaini and InspirEngage International for their time and support for the Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge and to all of our sponsors.”

Photo Credit: Romana Love Photography

There’s absolutely no hinderance for women to succeed, if they work hard and kick ass! Or is there…? I’m a 37 week-pregnant entrepreneur running InspirEngage International and for the first time, I am feeling the difference in men and women as I prepare to juggle motherhood and a busy career. Here’s my latest pregnancy blog.

On 7th January, we found out I was 2-3 weeks pregnant and it’s been a beautiful blur since, made up of baby nurseries, travel systems (yes that’s what a pram, car seat and whole thing is called!) and baby Ralph Lauren all-in-ones! I’m now 37 weeks pregnant with a little boy and due to give birth anytime in the next 3 weeks.

I’m also the Founder and CEO of social enterprise InspirEngage International- an organisation focused on developing skills of young people and vulnerable women in order for them to be successful by giving back. Have been working in this sector since the age of 13, taken InspirEngage into 100 countries in the world and supported thousands into work that also supports the community. It’s an important part of my life- not just a job. One could say InspirEngage is my baby.

So what happens when a real baby is about to enter the picture? Well, needless to say, the answer is different depending on the circumstances and choices of that particular parent and the needs of that particular baby. But that’s the key word- choices. You have to, as a female career-driven mother, make choices. The age old question of- ‘can women have it all’, I’ve always felt is, yes! However, with that, comes a level of sacrifice.

My pregnancy has been a pleasure and pretty hassle-free (not counting the unbearable itching in this last growth spurt!). This has meant that I’ve been able to balance pregnancy and work very well. Going into the office, travelling -even out of the country delivering a tour of InspirEngage programmes for students and teachers in Jordan, and managing a team have been doable. But that’s just the beginning- have been asking myself, what happens, when the baby arrives?

Well, firstly, I see this is a beautiful journey and feel extremely blessed- I can’t wait to see what’s in store! However, reality remains that there will probably be a lot to juggle. How long do you take off to dedicate to the baby? How long should you breastfeed and be available to the baby? Is it ok to want to get back to work? All questions women may ask themselves at this stage.

I tweeted about this earlier and @Michelle_BID responded: “that’s just the start of it, then nursery costs / juggling career and then school holidays all to come”. Yep that’s true- and it’s all a pleasure and what life is about, I am looking forward to it all- but it has impact. An impact which I think men feel a lot less- career wise. For the first time, I am really feeling the difference between men and women in business.

Having said that, women don’t have to let having babies be the end of their career- that’s not what I am saying at all and every mother is different! However, you do have to give birth, you may have to take time out and do things differently for a little while at least.

During my time of working and training incredible women as part of ‘Startup and Stilettos’, I have also seen inspirational stories of numerous women who reassessed what they wanted to do following having children and changed their career for the better- perhaps due to the added motivation gained by having their baby – many female entrepreneurs are born this way, in fact! They naturally find a way to balance their growing priorities better.

Startup and Stilettos ladies and I. 27 weeks pregnant

So what’s the role of men in this – I read the above to my husband and this is what he had to say: “The role of men is to be the pillar and rock. I’m already used to you being independent and career-driven, balanced with marriage, and this is just another step. The role of a man (or my role, at least) is to create a stable platform for you to pursue your ambitions.”

I’m just at the beginning of this journey- so much yet to experience and learn once the baby arrives and no idea what the answers to the above questions are, but know that it’s never been a better time to be a female entrepreneur, I know that it’s important to have a strong support network, I know that it’s vital to have a strong mindset. I look forward to the challenges and pleasures ahead!

Tweet me your thoughts- how did you find it? @Melody_Hossaini

 


Aug 142014

Did you (or someone you know) open that special envelope today to get your A-level results? Was it what you expected or disappointed with your results? I cried my eyes out when I opened mine- didn’t go to plan, and here’s my story and what I did next.

At A-levels I took German, French, English Lit and Psychology. I wanted to study Law at University and my first choice was University of Birmingham which, I think, was 4th or 5th in the country for law at the time. I needed AAB to get in.

Having grown up in Sweden (came to England when I was 13) and English being my 3rd language, meant that I always had to work harder than everyone else academically in order to achieve. I worked hard for the A-levels and thought I’d done well.

I remember the morning of the results so well! I woke up really early despite the results not being out til 10.30am at our school. I made my mum go with me early and I was literally the first one there! As I opened my envelope, I was full of hope, but that soon came crashing down as I read my results. I got BBCC…. at that moment, I felt like my world fell apart. I burst into tears and kept staring at the paper hoping that the letters would change.

So what do you do if the results aren’t what you were hoping for? There’s no right or wrong answer in a way- depends who you are, how badly you wanted ‘the plan’ and what you want to do. I immediately phoned Uni of Birmingham and told them of my grades and they confirmed that they had filled their places with AAA students and some AAB- so there was no chance I would be accepted (another spurt of tears!).

My second option was Oxford Brookes University- which, at the time, was 7th in the country for Law. I really didn’t want to move away and am the kind of person who focuses in on a goal so I hadn’t even entertained the thought of going to my second choice. I had to make the decision of whether I wanted to go through clearing or go to my second choice. I chose Oxford Brookes Univerity.

The day I had to go see the city of Oxford and the uni was my first time there altogether! I cried the whole day (I’m not a big crier by the way, but my education and University plans were so set in stone in my mind and it was a shock).

September came and I moved to Oxford to begin my course. Thinking back now, Uni years were some of the best years in my life. I absolutely loved living in Oxford, loved the Uni and the course. The Uni supported one of my projects for the community and funded £4,000 for me to get it off the ground (for which, I later won an award from the Home Office). I also did really well in my degree achieving a high 2:1.

Not only that, but it was at Oxford Brookes that I met my husband. I was in the canteen having lunch with a friend, when my friend recognised one of his friends. She was sat with my (now) husband and they introduced us!

Whether you got the grades you wanted or not- this is just the beginning. I tweeted earlier saying young people have more opportunities than ever for creative career paths- whether it’s Uni, business, social enterprise or employment and apprenticeships. Stay focused, apply yourself to whatever you choose to go with and don’t rush – make an informed decision that’s right for you.

I ask people why they do what they do and too many shrug their shoulders and can’t remember the reason. Don’t live your life on auto-pilot. “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” InspirEngage Bootcamps support young people to develop the skills and support to consider their passion and create viable career plans backed by the core skills- so we see time and time again the difference that mindset can make.

My warmest wishes to all those entering the next chapter of their lives. As always, tweet us your thoughts and questions on @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

For those going into the job market- see the below video for my top tips in an interview!

 

Putting other people down to make yourself look big is one of the most cowardly things one can do. Ever thought about why bullies behave the way they do? Felt angered and just put them down to a lost cause? We speak to a lot of young people who are victims of bullying and we explain that those who attack and generally feel the need to belittle someone, are very troubled individuals themselves.

If you think about it, no one who is confident, stable and happy would feel the need to put someone down. Nothing is gained. However, unfortunately, it’s a very common coping mechanism for others. What we do and say is a reflection on us, not on the person it’s said about.

In 2011, I took part in BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ – and a competitive show like that does push you to your limits. Although it was a little cringe at times when watching back me justifying why I was the worthy winner, it did make me proud to know that I don’t put other people down to make myself look big. Focus on what you can bring to the table and what you can do, rather than relying on why other people can’t, because otherwise, when that component is removed, you’re not left with anything.

You can disarm people with kindness. Sometimes that shocks people more than being mean. I spoke about this in a previous video which can be seen below. Ultimately, that gives you a good kind of power. That’s what’s important and that’s what will make you big- by helping someone else. Blowing out someone’s candle, won’t make yours shine any brighter.

So here’s the challenge we’re setting you- next time, you come to say something negative about someone, don’t and replace it with expressing kindness or a compliment. This will help them and you.

Tweet us your thoughts and experiences on this @InspirEngage/ @Melody_Hossaini

Watch the video explaining how you can disarm people with kindness!

Earlier today, I read an instagram post from one of the entrepreneurs I follow (Manny Khoshbin) that stated: ‘What goes on on my head: A constant hustle, Gratitude and yes Disappointment that there is so much more I can do.”

It was the last sentiment that grabbed my attention. I found it a very honest reflection and one I can truly relate to. In the course of building a business, and experiencing a level of success, as well as feeling inspired and grateful, you also develop a ‘nagging friend’ who sits on your shoulder saying you could do so much more. There is a positive correlation between success and the volume of the ‘nagging voice’. This is because the more you achieve, the more you become aware that you have an ability to make things happen, and the more aware you are of this, the more you feel disappointed in yourself for not doing more.

This is something which you have to find a fine balance to and manage. But here’s the thing. Funnily enough it is exactly that mindset of a self-critical attitude which allows you to motivate yourself to achieve more, so accept that sense of ‘disappointment’- stop being too hard on yourself but at the same time be grateful that you have that feeling which is keeping you on track.

Keen to hear your thoughts- do you ever experience this feeling of disappointment that follows from a achievement? Do you find it’s productive and motivating? Tweet me your views @Melody_Hossaini.

For more on mindset and why ‘Personal Responsibility is Vital to Success’, read my previous blog.

Melody

Q: Are you Person A: Believes that the main reason for your successes and failures were due to external factors out of your control? OR Person B: Accredit your failures and successes to factors you controlled? It is 99% more likely that Person B is much more successful than Person A. Read on to understand why.

I always say that your perception is your reality. How you view something and your mindset relating to that, determines your outcome. You are in charge of your perception. This knowledge, scares some people- “whoah, not ready to accept that I can influence all that- surely not?!”

Those people, are not ready to exercise that level of personal power over their lives. However, whether they like it or not, they hold that power.

Heard anyone lately who was moaning that they are not achieving what they want in life? They would perhaps mention things like;

  • Economy
  • Background
  • Family
  • Education
  • The system
  • Geographical location

And there’s many more!….

Did you notice the common thread in that? They are all external factors. Reasons why they feel it’s out of their control. Some are so caught up in saying why things aren’t happening that even when you ask them what it is exactly that they want, they look taken back and shrug their shoulders saying they don’t  know!

On the contrary, ever noticed how someone successful speaks or someone with a high level of personal control and responsibility? They will attribute successes and failures to factors within their control. The difference is ownership. A sense of personal responsibility.

The point here is not to ignore people’s circumstances- but here’s the flash news: your circumstances do NOT define you. If you render control of what happens to external factors, it means you are not operating with the right mindset and exercising your power in creating the situation you want.

You become your own worst enemy. Your peaks come from something you did and something you said, and same with when things are not going well, they come from your own actions- even if they were a small level of external factors at play, take responsibility- this will help you solve it- instead of waiting for the system, the weather, the economy to change!

It’s much easier to sit back and blame the economy for why you can’t achieve something- but the only thing that does is that it lifts the responsibility off you to act. And when you do not feel responsible to act, you won’t fix it.

Change your mindset. Take personal responsibility and ownership and watch how your ‘luck’ changes. Don’t let your dreams be subject to probability.

My Tip: Take a blank piece of A4 paper and a marker and in capitals, write exactly what you want. Be specific and be bold. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself what you can do to make it happen. Turn the page and write a specific plan of action. Then put this paper up somewhere you will see it. A Harvard Study found that something is 80% more likely to happen if you just write it down. Not because it’s by magic, but because you decided what it is you exactly want. That’s often the most difficult thing. The next step is adopting the mindset that it is within YOUR control to make it happen. This power shouldn’t frighten you, but motivate you! Just think of the things you could do!

Let me know what you think by tweeting me as always: @Melody_Hossaini – Best wishes!

 

For all enquiries or to book Melody Hossaini as speaker, email: info@inspirEngage.com

How do we create 1 billion jobs for young people?

Melody Hossaini answers at the Youth Job Creation Summit. In a nutshell: Through Social Enterprise!

 

 

Youth unemployment crisis

The youth unemployment crisis is an issue that has been ongoing for a while. Whilst it is easy to say the youth unemployment crisis needs to be solved, the question is does it need to be solved? Problems need to be solved however the youth unemployment crisis is NOT a problem. Despite the figures, stats, and constant negative perception about this issue, there are lots of opportunities to be taken here. If the youth crisis is looked at with a positive view, this perception will have a domino effect that will be passed through to the younger generations.

If one was to suggest the Youth crisis was in fact a problem, one could say a huge solution is required. The economy and the business world required change anyway, regardless of the youth unemployment crisis. It was heading towards destruction and needed to be directed onto the right path. The youth unemployment crisis triggered change and change is what was needed to head back onto the right path. Radical changes can only come from huge problems as huge challenges. The business world can only get better so the youth unemployment crisis is NOT a problem and definitely should not be perceived as one.

How to create a billion jobs for young people- through social enterprise

To be very clear and practical, there are many ways this can be done. One clear way this can be done is through social enterprise. This idea has already been talked about in the past how if businesses are doing well and creating employment opportunities for the youth of today they can create jobs for themselves.  However a business that has the potential to improve communities is surely much better. InspirEngage is very passionate about this, a social enterprise themselves wanting to create further social enterprises and naturally social entrepreneurs.

3 driving factors that explain why the world is heading towards social enterprise

1)    The first factor that explains why social enterprises are becoming more popular is the world is moving away from competitive models into collaborative models. At one time, every business was competing with each other however increasingly there is a shift for people/groups/businesses to work together.  Women and young people are in tune with these collaborative models and that is why they are leading social enterprise. In the UK social enterprise is the number 1 job creator for young people. This is a great opportunity that has come out of the youth unemployment crisis. If it wasn’t for the young people seeking new exciting opportunities, social enterprise wouldn’t be on the boom it is currently on.

2) The second thing is the ‘Passion Phenomenon’ as it is described by InspireEngage. Previously, it is fair to say that people were generally embarrassed to say what they were passionate about. Now, everyone is talking proudly of what they are passionate about and additionally, how they can turn their passion into a career. If one’s passion is to help others, younger people or communities- this is social enterprise and when this kind of passion is turned into a career this is how social enterprise is trending.

3) When the chips are down, social enterprises are born! This is the final factor that explains why social enterprise is on the up; if everything was good in the business world previously, would the younger generations have been as keen and energetic to look for new opportunities? It takes a trigger like the ongoing youth unemployment crisis to arrive at exciting opportunities such as social enterprises. What’s on the other side is a better world. We were getting too greedy.

Solution-How to create the jobs?

To answer this question simply, EDUCATION. The idea of embedding social enterprise into the curriculum could create many, many jobs. It is embedded into the curriculum, not in the traditional way where it is taught in a lecture/seminar but across the curriculum in all subjects. Imagine 3 things, firstly young people developing life skills where it is encouraged within the curriculum. Confidence, interpersonal skills and teamwork are a few examples of the skills that young people should develop whilst at school. Previously, these kind of skills were not taught in schools and many establishments encourage younger generations to seek work experience, extra curricular activities to gain these skills. It was never in the curriculum before though.

Secondly, imagine a curriculum that allows you to develop a job whilst still at school/ college/uni and finally imagine if that job also benefits your community.

This would mean that not only are younger generations gaining an education that will allow them to pursue a career in there chosen field, they are also gaining the skills that will allow them to go out and get that career. This is what InspireEnagage have allowed with there brilliant, innovative programme called Social Enterprise Revolution. It has been launched nationally and no doubt will be a roaring success.

All that remains to be said is the revolution is happening, when are you going to join?

 

 

 

 

 

Passion. It’s one of those funny words, that if you google it naughty pictures come up! So the last thing you would do is associate it with your career right? Wrong. InspirEngage International has termed the change in the way we view careers and what drives us, as ‘The Passion Phenomenon’. Doing something you love and feel passionately about is now fast becoming the top factor in career satisfaction. And so it should be!

Social Enterprise is one of the most appealing ways in which you can make passion your career. Listen to my latest Vlog on why ‘The Passion Phenomenon’ should be something you’re very familiar with indeed!

 

Let us know what you think by tweeting @Melody_Hossaini / @inspirEngage and use hashtag: #PassionPhenomenon


Ballerina? World-leader? Cowboy? Inventor? What did you want to be when you were little? This blog explains why going back to your childhood dreams, could make your career more fulfilling today.

Remember when you used to say the sentence ‘When I grow up I want to be a…’ and it was so easy to commit to an ambitious dream. Not because it seemed unrealistic or so far away but because as children our thoughts are bolder and free of complexities that also create barriers. Those early dreams are more important than you think. Here’s why.

When I was 8 years old, I was obsessed with being a clothes designer (I couldn’t even spell the word ‘designer’!). I remember walking to my local library, sitting there for hours with old books about clothes and fashion through the centuries and sketch in my little sketch book until the library closed. That same local library became something I kept connecting to my ambitions. A couple of years later aged 10, I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up. An inherent sense of wanting to make a difference through knowledge. A passion for social justice.

Aged 13, upon moving to England, I became a co-founder of a national democratic youth organisation working in the community (including with libraries!) to help improve the lives of children and young people. We lobbied, changed policies and even laws. Years later, I went to University and studied for a qualifying law degree. But upon graduating, I decided to ask Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (where I had a place to complete my LPC) to hold my place for the year, while I explored my passion in the sector I’d held since childhood. I never looked back.

I realised I was the child who needed to be out in the community, I was the child who couldn’t be bound by rigid lines- but a creative child who liked to innovate (drawing new designs), and fight for what’s right (lawyer). So I created a brand new thing. A social enterprise called InspirEngage International.

The dreams you held when you were a child, are some of the most daring dreams you’ll ever hold. It wasn’t because you wanted to hit your financial targets, it wasn’t because people forced you and you were caught in the flow of the system to be something, and it wasn’t out of fear, therefore settling. Those dreams reflected the purest part of you.

So what should you do now?

Research released by Foosle.

The point isn’t about going and pursuing whatever you wanted to be when you were 5! But sit down and reflect on why perhaps you were drawn to those things at that age- the notions behind it. When your mind allowed you to be daring and bold without limits- what did it choose? Then see whether you have incorporated those elements into your life in your career now… or are you 1 million miles away? Going back to my personal example, I feel that although I am not a clothes designer, nor a lawyer, I have incorporated the reasons I was drawn to them, into my career now.

According to research released today by job site Foosle, people don’t just measure job satisfaction against a salary. People want to enjoy the work every day (40%), have a feel-good factor (37%) and have passion for the role (34%). See picture.

So when it comes to entering a career you truly enjoy- think back to those things you enjoyed for the sake of enjoyment when you were young, and passions you held without reason and ask yourself whether there is room for this in your career now. Seems our childhood dreams- weren’t just dreams, but perhaps even a forecast of a side of us more reflective than our current reality.

And before you go- here’s something to make you chuckle!

This is a genuine picture drawn by a little girl depicting what she wants to be when she grows up! Followed by a very uncomfortable explanation by her mummy the next day!


Melody Hossaini. CEO, InspirEngage International.

We want to know what you wanted to be when you were little! Tweet us using #WhenIGrowUp @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

 

 

 

Sep 032013
Job Vs Career – what’s the difference and why is it important.

We start another academic year and for InspirEngage International, it marks the launch of 2 of our programmes; Social Enterprise Revolution; aimed at schools, colleges and Universities, building social enterprise into the curriculum, allowing students to use their skills to help their community whilst making money- and secondly we’re launching Primary Revolution; social enterprise for primary schools.

Earlier today I was discussing career paths linked to our ‘Career Clinic’ day for students which sparked this blog. Many of you are considering your careers, what you want to do and what options you should pursue but have you ever considered whether you’re in a phase to look for a suitable job, or whether you’re in fact shaping a career? There is a difference between having a job and having a career.

Your 20s are for trying different things and finding out what is right for you. During this phase you will perhaps embark on different jobs which shape your choices – I personally don’t mind seeing this on the CVs of people in their 20s.

But at the same time, if you’re fortunate enough, your mid to late 20s should be for laying the foundation for what becomes a solid CAREER. Another difference in Job Vs Career is that a career is built over time. It may involve study, may involve volunteering etc. A career is a long term path. A job is a job. Of course, you can have a job as part of your career, but the difference is that it’s relevant- it’s all building for the same field.

You guys had interesting tweets on the subject:

“@SumaiyaYahmadi:  but in the Arab world, exploring different jobs makes many companies hesitant to recruit you” My response was: Every employer is different I guess and it depends which sector you’re in- but I’d rather have someone who is 100% sure they want to be there and has made a well-considered choice than someone who is there based on wrong reasons.

“@xopriyaox but then don’t you lose valuable time getting relevant experience in the career you want to go into?” My response: Well, if you know what career you want to go into, then don’t waste time & go for it. But the problem is that many don’t. That’s the difference between Job Vs Career.

“@leejackson I always tell them to try lots of stuff in holidays etc – young people need to see diverse options not the same old” My response: Yep- people feel pressured to lead auto-pilot lives instead of really thinking what’s right for them- that’s a career, not a job.

“@ProgressionPlus So you are saying consistent employment rather than relevant employment is always looked on more favourably?” My response: Similar to what I said above- differs depending on employer and the sector- of course relevant experience is ideal but above that is someone who’s 100% sure they want to be there- not just for their employer but also for that individual’s own benefit, where they can be sure they’re working int he right path.

Bottom line- a career is a long term path that can involve many phases but all building towards the same thing. A job is what you do whilst you find out what your career path is (or to fund your career path). It’s important to know the difference so that you’re focused about what you want to achieve and ensuring it’s what you really want.

Hope this has helped in shaping your thoughts and provoking thought on the difference of Job Vs Career. Feel free to tweet us your thoughts on @InspirEngage and @Melody_Hossaini and also share with those who may be interested!

“@tarankbassi reading this has made me feel so much better! Thanks ☺”  - Thanks Taran! :)

Melody Hossaini- Founder and CEO, InspirEngage International. Email: info@inspirEngage.com for all enquiries.

 

 

 

 

We want our cake and eat it too! (Afterall, what’s the point of having a cake, if you can’t eat it!)- but when it comes to entrepreneurial success, it’s all a juggling act. The key word: balance!

The life of an entrepreneur, from the outside looking in, can seem glam. Truth is, there are long hours and a high-level of sacrifice involved.

Writing this now, it’s a Sunday night and I’m in the office working. My mum, whom I’ve just spoken to on the phone, says I need to enjoy my life more- do more for fun while I’m young. Although, I do actually feel I am enjoying my life- I also understand that sometimes you can’t have it all.

You have to SACRIFICE. I’ve been working in the youth sector since I was 13. I sacrificed a lot of things, but gained a lot too- things like travelling the world, working with exceptional people like nobel laureates and achieving a degree of personal success at a young age. But where’s the healthy balance?

Do you work hard now so you can enjoy your life later? I also think it’s extra complicated when you’re a woman. You feel your biological clock ticking (I said it!) and as an entrepreneur, you want the business to be able to run without you. But that takes such hard work to set up- an extreme level of investment of time- so you go back to sacrificing social life again.

The life of a (female- and young) entrepreneur is not easy. It may look glitz and glam from outside- but its non-stop hard work and long hours.

I tweeted about this earlier and several of you shared your take!

“@JMcEntrepreneur: V. interesting conversation, something I’ve questioned many times with fellow young entrepreneurs I meet. A tough balance.”

“@dzg83: @Melody_Hossaini its not mutually exclusive. Time and place for everything. With good time management you can do both-work hard +play hard.”

“@PeterLeeHart: @Melody_Hossaini Work and play can be the same thing. If work isn’t fun then change.”

Peter’s point above brought something important to my attention. What if the work you do is so enjoyable, you would spend your spare time doing it? I volunteered for 10 years doing the work I call ‘my career’ now, for free. That’s the added thing for social entrepreneurs- it’s usually work we feel extremely passionately about, so the lines become even more blurred.

@CleverJames Social life is fun, but achieving long-term goals are rewarding in a different way.”

I tweeted back to @CleverJames saying: “But at what price? That’s the real question. Everything costs- and time is your most valuable asset.”

So this evening, I find myself pondering the choices we make in life. The priorities we set and the never-ending strive for a healthy balance.

I don’t have the answers to what’s right, ultimately it’s a personal decision we make, which requires a value set on the different priorities in your life.

As always, tweet me your thoughts on ‪@Melody_Hossaini! How do you manage the act of balancing your work with play?