Influencers Unite - WHERE INFLUENCE IS REWARDED - connects influencers with their local audience, thus giving back to the community. Globally, 4 billion people are estimated to live outside the protection of the law. Exponential thinking and strategy can reduce this gap. Entrepreneurial at heart, Tessa Manuello founded multiple startups to assist with this challenge. Last year, she founded Legal Creatives, and worked so hard with her team that their first appearance was at Web Summit, the biggest tech event in the world. Today, Tessa Manuello also teaches and strategizes in organizations, universities and law associations worldwide about the method she developed, she calls: Thinking Design. Thinking Exponential.
Here's the transcript of the inspirational speech Tessa delivered yesterday, at Club Le Cinq, in Montreal Canada.
"One year ago, I was in the middle of a huge turn. I didn’t know which direction to take. My business partner and I were no longer on the same page, I was studying to take the bar exam and finishing my research at the same time on creativity and innovation to address the access to justice gap. It seemed that from doing so much at the same time, all my efforts were in vain.
In life, sometimes you don’t know which direction to take. So you take multiple directions. I decided to take a new approach and take the south, with a bus ticket to New York. Caus why not? Breaking the routine always brings a fresh outlook. Plus, it’s nice to see things from a new perspective. So here I go to the station and jump on a night bus.
Arriving in Manhattan, I meet with Stéphane Grynwajc, a very resourceful lawyer that has always been so supportive of my journey, who took me to the American Bar Association annual event where heads of law associations of the world meet every year. With his help, I managed to attend the private roundtables to take part in the discussions about the future of the legal industry. I was curious to hear their direction into leading the changes expected in the legal profession. There I meet with the head of Korean Bar Association, the head of the German Bar association, and of course the head of the American Bar Association, only to realize that they knew about little about the direction to take to address the challenges and opportunities of the legal industry.
I had just started a new brand, called Legal Creatives. The truth is, at the time, I had just a one-page website, and it was not even finished. I had a couple of ideas as to how to deal with those changes, so I started sharing about my new ideas in creativity and innovation. They were interested. Some very interested. They told me to keep going and to keep them posted. I still remember to this day, completing the website in between meetings on Time Square, the only place I found wifi, and at night at my Airbnb down in Brooklyn.
Ladies and gentlemen, the entrepreneurial journey gets you to do some crazy things at times, when it’s for a good cause, you are unstoppable, don’t you think? When in doubt, start with something. Which is what I did. At that time, I didn’t know what I was doing. So I just did something. What I didn’t suspect is that I was about to create something that would transform my situation quite exponentially. Now, do you want to know the story? Do you want to learn from my journey? Then I’ll share with you my entrepreneurial journey from local to global, plus I will share 3 lessons, so you can also learn from me. Deal? Deal.
First lesson: Don’t aim to be the best, be different, be you
Last year in January, I was studying for the bar exam. I was at a crossroads, torn between a traditional legal career and an innovative legal career. I had invested a lot of time and energy into pursuing both tracks: The traditional track and the innovative track. I have to admit I was exhausted from building two careers paths simultaneously. I had too much on my plate. I was overwhelmed. And I felt almost schizophrenic maintaining the traditional thinking and building the innovative thinking alike.
I needed some clarity. Some decision making. After spending 3 years learning Canadian and Quebec laws - as a French national I needed to start almost everything again to learn the law in Canada - it made sense to pass the bar exam. On the other hand, I had invested at least as much efforts into researching innovative ways to better serve people and compagnies seeking justice, and this innovative way of thinking seemed to suit me better.
Most people were quite surprised by my decision. And to date, many still don’t understand why after investing 3 years of studies I decided to ... drop the bar school. Instead, I decided to pursue my innovation career exclusively and to focus on that, to get even better at it. So here I go to the bus station again, this time in direction of Toronto and then of Buffalo in the USA to train myself in creativity and innovation at the longest running creative conference in the world, the place where research on creativity started 70 years ago.
You can never influence the world by trying to be like it. So be yourself.
Second lesson: Stop spending on material things, start investing in yourself
Last year, when I had my business breakup, I decided to focus on what mattered the most to me. Whatever you put your focus on, it grows more. So better be mindful of your attention. Hence I decided to become a minimalist. A minimalist is someone that has minimum material things, just what’s necessary. By having less, your attention is focusing less on trivial things and more on important things.
I became a hardcore minimalist right from the start, with just a few things. In fact, I even dropped my apartment. I became that much of a minimalist, that I didn't even have an apartment. What I didn’t say is that I used to live with my business partner, so when we had our business breakup, we needed to move out. My priority at this point was to work on my vision and on my brand, to continue building my knowledge, and to finish my research on creativity and innovation.
By focusing on things that mattered to me, my brand, my brand started to grow. By focusing on things that mattered to me, my knowledge, my knowledge started to grow. Because of maintaining attention and focus, I was extended an invitation to be featured at the largest Tech conference in the world. Only 5% of applicants are selected every year. And Legal Creatives was selected for its incredible potential for growth and impact. I was also extended an invitation to share my knowledge at university and to design my own course on Creativity at a Law faculty, which is the first of its kind in the world.
No one can take away your knowledge. No one can take away your experience. Invest in yourself. You are your best asset. It makes you even more unique and different.
Third lesson: Dream so big that they call you crazy
Do you want to have an impact? Do you want to make a difference? Do you have a transformative mission statement? All big companies with an impact have a massive transformative statement. Facebook is connecting the world. Google organize world’s information. And I aim to transform the Legal Industry to serve one billion people access to the law, the courts and mediation.
What is your mission statement? It needs to be inspirational. So it sparks curiosity. It needs to be massive. So it attracts billions of people. And it needs to be aspirational. So it motivates you to reach it. Get a transformative mission statement to show others the direction you’re going. But mostly to start thinking big and planning accordingly.
As soon as I built my massive transformative statement, I started aligning my actions with it. Since then, I see an exponential change happening. Today I teach and strategize worldwide about Thinking Design and Thinking Exponential for the legal industry. This fall I will be travelling exponentially to Mexico, Sweden, Germany, Florida, and also to Asia too to teach my methodology. To share the tools I developed. And to help others help even more people access justice.
And you, what is your mission? What is your dream life? If you don’t put some work into it, nobody will do it for you. “It always seems impossible until it’s done”, Nelson Mandela said. If you don’t know where to start, start somewhere. I started last year with a bus ticket to New York and a one-page website. Now you, when will you start?"
Get in touch to discuss opportunities and how we can create a memorable experience together. Please contact Tessa at [email protected]
Congrats to Ferdinand for winning a 45 minutes exponential session with Tessa!
"I really enjoyed your speech Tessa. You are very inspiring." - Ferdinand
"I loved your speech!" - Kevin
"I found your speech very inspirational! Thank you :)" - Brenda
"Your talk was super great and it’s really amazing what you are doing!" - Bobbi
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