I love women with vision! And Jean Brittingham is a brilliant example of one. She and I agree that women-owned businesses are the key to our future economic growth. Jean is an expert in sustainable development, communication, leadership and culture, economic and cultural innovation, women’s equality, and the future of entrepreneurism.
Jean’s brilliance led to her to create The SmartGirls Way, a social-venture dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs to create significant economic breakthroughs for themselves, their communities and the next economy. SmartGirls Way believes a world with more women leaders in real positions of influence will be a better world. And entrepreneurship is the fastest, most direct and interesting path to that leadership position.
SmartGirls Way is uniting the women’s entrepreneurial movement by finding and celebrating existing and aspiring women-owned businesses, partnering with organizations that support and invest in women, and bringing them together through their initiatives and platforms. Isn’t that right up our alley? Here are Jean’s reflections:
Briefly, what are the highlights of your career story?
I have spent over 18 years in pursuit of a healthy and sustainable future—through triple-bottomline work with companies, governments and academia/research institutes. In the last few years it became apparent to me that the most important thing that we could do was to create a future much more strongly influenced by the feminine. That’s where my commitment to women entrepreneurs began.
As best as you currently understand it, what are you here to do? Who are you here to serve? What difference do you make for your clients?
I believe that I am here to help awaken the feminine in the business world. It’s been my deep commitment that we are here to do much more than make a living, or even have fun, since I was very young. I truly believe that if you have a life as a human it is an incredible, incredible gift from the Universe and you should honor it in EVERY way you can.
That means being present, loving, expressing compassion and living a radically honest way. It also means making a difference in the world in the way(s) that you know how and are most equipped to do. I have been given gifts that allow me to connect with people and set on a path that has given me a network—a constellation really—of amazing people. I am seeking to use this powerful network to support women entrepreneurs and better prepare us (women leaders) to lead into the next economy.
How do you define “success” for yourself?
Doing my best every day. Living to the fullest. Giving everything I do the best shot I can. Loving well. Forgiving fully.
What changes have you made or experienced in your life and business that have enabled you to experience more ease?
Probably the most important one is to understand that you have to accept that the Universe is working on your issues and aligning with you even when you can’t get to everything. There is not a point in running yourself into the ground for a worthy goal. If you are sick, or discouraged—one of which will always happen if you are working too hard—you cannot make anything good happen. Having a positive conversation with myself about living with no regrets means also having no regrets for how I treat myself. This has included a commitment to a real wellness regime and sleep. Something that has made a big difference for me.
What would you love your next breakthrough to be?
The right co-founder for the next big move we have planned at SmartGirls Way. Getting the right people on the bus is the most difficult problem there is. For women it is complicated by the fact that we often really do love each other and build a sense of community. When it doesn’t work out from a business perspective that can be rough on us. So I really want a breakthrough and am intentioning that breakthrough in the next 60 days.
What brings you joy?
Life, making a difference. Also love, my husband and the children in our lives. Living in the present for me means that everything I am doing RIGHT NOW brings me joy!
What support do you have on the journey of your Brilliance-Based career?
My husband is an amazing support of my best self. He is a great coach and can be truly hardcore in giving me feedback that no one else would give me. And even though it’s hard to hear sometimes, I know it is focused on me being my best self. I have a wonderful community of family—my children are amazingly supportive of my success. And I have a few close girlfriends.
As a successful Brilliance-Based Businesswoman, what’s your best advice for other aspiring and active Brilliance-Based Businesswomen?
Get very clear on what you really want and how it fits in your life. If you start down a path that doesn’t work, let it go, learn from it and design your next experience. Don’t feel guilty or regretful—every experience is building you to your very best self!
What’s the best way for others to learn more about what you do?
Check out SmartGirlsWay.com, follow me on twitter (@ecobritt and @smartgirlsway) and FB (SmartGirls Way). And if you are an entrepreneur, read our book, The SmartGirls Way—just released in December. It’s a wonderful approach to getting clear on your Vision Inspired Big Idea (we call it a VIBI®) and building yourself a GREAT business.
Is there anything special you’d like to share with our community?
There is a treasure trove of free material on and for entrepreneurial women at SmartGirlsWay.com – most especially over 100 videos featuring women entrepreneurs. Check it out and get inspired there. We can also offer a discount code for the book.