The Richness Of Life Is People, Not Wealth
In this episode of Elements of Community Podcast, Lucas Root interviews Penny Power – an entrepreneur and community builder who has been in the technology sector since 1983. From her book Business is Personal to her current community project Business Is Personal 100, Penny shares invaluable insights into community building, social capital, and creating meaningful
Penny Power is an entrepreneur and community builder who has been working in the tech sector since 1983. She believes that technology has disconnected us from our human needs, leading to increased loneliness and mental health issues. For this reason, she has dedicated her life to community building and authoring books on the subject – including Business is Personal – which was published in 1998.
In this episode of Elements of Community Podcast, I interview Penny Power about community building and social media. Penny believes that the term “community” is often misused to describe groups that aren’t actually communities; community building takes servant leadership and it can be difficult for companies to create a real community if they are only doing it for their own gain. Penny believes that it’s everyone’s responsibility to make other people feel seen, noticed, and connected in order to build a successful community.
Penny’s own community project – Business Is Personal 100 – works on creating meaningful connections between members of the community. The project encourages members to take initiative by setting goals for each other as well as offering support through monthly 90-minute drop-in Masterminds. This type of community growth allows individuals within the group to rise together, rather than focusing solely on one person’s success at the expense of others.
Penny recognizes that not all businesses succeed when it comes to community building, but she emphasizes the importance of social capital over financial capital in order for businesses to thrive; connecting with real people is key! Above all else, Penny advises people that despite any adversity that may come their way, taking control of your life and focusing on what matters most will bring you happiness in the end.
Listeners interested in learning more about community building should tune into this episode of Elements Of Community Podcast featuring Penny Power: an entrepreneur who believes that business should be personal! Learn how Penny has found success through adversity when facing extreme challenges, as well as her tips for connecting with real people while developing long-lasting relationships and fostering growth within a community.
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- How she and her husband built the world’s first social network.
- How they went from being multi-millionaires to having to start over.
- What servant leadership really is and how it helps build community and social capital.
- How it’s society’s responsibility to make every member feel connected and noticed.
- And much more.
If you want to know more about Penny Power, you may reach out to her at:
[00:00:00] Lucas Root: Penny Power joins me to talk about how powerful community can be in the process of building up a business and the way that she has learned to incorporate and really understand and bring about create engaging communities because of the power that community has brought to her in her life and what she’s doing now, how she’s learned from it what her vision of the future and how community is gonna continue to grow through and for her.
[00:00:31] Penny brings a couple of really powerful. Insights from her extraordinary experience working with the business of community. And one of her most powerful insights comes from her book, “Business is Personal” which I personally have, I have read, I have enjoyed, I consider “Business Is personal” as a book to be a powerful tool to understand the way that Bringing yourself into your business instead of trying to separate them can help you grow. So join, don’t miss a minute of me and Penny power talking about the power of community and business and using the power of community for business. If you love this, like comment, share, you know, do the things.
[00:01:18] Penny, thank you so much for joining me. I’m, I’m so excited to have gotten to take you around the Pokemon offices where I’m sitting and show you around a little bit. And to have you on the show with me, would you like to tell the guests a little bit about who you are?
[00:01:35] Penny Power: Yeah, well it’s, I’ve been really excited about this. To be interviewed by someone that’s as passionate about community as I is is really exciting for me. I’m wonder, I’m just thinking, what direction is this gonna go in together? So, so so Penny Power. Penny Power is my name. It’s not a made up name. I married Thomas Power in 1990.
[00:01:59] And so personally I am a mom of three adult children now and we live in the south of England. And since 1998, I have formally dedicated myself to the concept of community. Which started with building what is reputed to be the first social network in the world which I’m very proud of.
[00:02:20] Started in 1998 called Academy. So that was, and a timeline. That was four years before LinkedIn and six four years before LinkedIn, six years before Facebook. And
[00:02:32] I’m sure we’ll this subject, but this is very much was just led by a not commercial concept. It was just led by the fact that in 98, having been in the tech sector since I was 19 I, and that was in 1983, I joined it, I really could see that
[00:02:52] Lucas Root: You do not look like you were 19 in 1983.
[00:02:57] Penny Power: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:02:58] Lucas Root: Pardon me for saying you do not look like that.
[00:03:03] Penny Power: Yeah, so everybody’s now trying to do the math there. So I’m 58.
[00:03:06] Lucas Root: are.
[00:03:09] Penny Power: I’m born in 64,
[00:03:10] so and I think it was led by the fact that technology’s really exciting. I’ve always loved technology. I’ve been involved in technology from a sales and marketing aspect of it since I was 19. But it was really clear that the technology with the internet was gonna start to disconnect us, as well as connect us.
[00:03:30] So my fear was that we would get disconnected. Around our human needs and more connected around our needs for productivity and efficiency. And the technology would start to drive growth. But what about the, the human needs? And so we created this social network for business owners, which went across the world.
[00:03:49] We were very proud of it, that we had 5,000 offline events a year, but it was very, very vibrant online social network with some very strong values around Friendship First, Commerce Second. and and so that was my real formal step into community, which has been my life since. But I think it stems from the values I have around family.
[00:04:14] Around friends and also my own experience of loneliness and a sense of disconnect that I had probably growing up. And the environment that I grew up in. And I just like people to know they matter. Like people to be heard and like people to be noticed. And community to me is a great way to bond and create that attachment for people.
[00:04:37] Lucas Root: That’s lovely. I would say in hindsight, it turned out to be true. The technology has done amazing things for our productivity and we have yet to get good at using it to connect to our human needs. Doesn’t mean that it won’t help. I I think that the conversation you and I are having right now is proof that it can help and, and we have yet to get good at it.
[00:05:01] Penny Power: Yeah. I think it’s. I think it’s the, the, the, the C word, the covid, the pandemic experience did encourage a lot of people to go online with a different mindset, which is really powerful in terms of a shift. But at the same time, it’s also created a lot of lonely remote workers. So when we started the academy in 98, it was aimed at business owners who were gonna be working out of their dining room or their bedroom, and were gonna, by their very nature of starting a business and running a business using that methodology of running a business, being remote.
[00:05:38] But now we’ve obviously seen it spread massively into organizations and we see an epidemic of, you know, mental health issues regarding loneliness and lack of attachment, and companies complaining of, you know, really disengaged, almost disruptive staff. And I, I think that community is a, a wellbeing strategy for a company in itself because one of our greatest human needs is to have a sense of belonging and to be able to contribute to others and, so it’s quite an exciting time for you and I in this world of loving community because I think it can be misused. I think people call networks, communities, some people, you know, peop the word is being, starting to be stretched too much. And I, I’m quite a purist on, on what I believe community stands for and, and what it should feel like when you’re in a community.
[00:06:31] Lucas Root: Yeah. I, I’ve, I’ve said this before you know, I, the, the apartment complex I lived in, in San Diego, a thousand different apartments in the complex, and I loved living there. I was there for, for almost five years. And it called itself a community and I knew not one, not a single, one of my neighbors.
[00:06:52] And it just struck me one day while I was developing the approach that I’ve had for this podcast. This is not a community and, and how dare they, how dare they call it a community. And we see the same thing on Facebook. Facebook groups that are calling ourselves a, a community and there are 30, 40, 50,000 members in them.
[00:07:13] And, and good for them for attracting 50,000 people to be somewhat engaged in there. But that, but they’re not, they are not a community.
[00:07:23] Penny Power: You can’t have community unless there’s love. And we know when we are loved, you know? And when we have that sense of love, when we feel an attachment, that is more, that’s an emotional attachment. And I think the word community to me has an emotional reaction for me, a sense of belonging and Yeah, I mean I see this spring up a lot in the UK where we see here big housing property construction projects going on, and it says, you know, housing community.
[00:07:58] And I think, wow, it’s gonna be interesting to see how cohesive they make that and how real that is as a community. But you know, I think
[00:08:07] Lucas Root: It could be done.
[00:08:08] Penny Power: Cannot invest, underestimate how hard it is to create community.
[00:08:12] Lucas Root: it is hard.
[00:08:13] Penny Power: It re really requires. A very special form of leadership and a lot of commitment and a, and a culture.
[00:08:22] And, you know, some, a lot of people don’t have that skill and they don’t have that inclination. And that’s something like most things to be good at, you have to learn it and practice it. And you know, how many 24 years in, I’m still learning because I’m learning from citizens all the time, citizens of the community.
[00:08:41] So yeah.
[00:08:44] Lucas Root: Yeah. My it could be done, I mean, we, it, it is actually possible for, for us to build a, you know, a, an actual. Apartment complex, that is community. It could be done. My, my high school girlfriend , many, many years ago, my high school girlfriend grew up in a very truly, I don’t say this tongue in cheek, but a hippie commune
[00:09:08] and And I, you know, I would go and visit and it was o it was the, it was the weirdest feeling to me.
[00:09:15] And I had good community when I grew up, but it was still weird, you know, open door policies, people would wander in and out really deeply love each other. The support that that was there was something that I have over time, grown to understand as really important, really valuable.
[00:09:35] Penny Power: Yeah. Yeah. I had similar experience actually because I grew up in a village and my parents were Middle class, but in the village the village was very divided between some people in social housing in an estate, and then some of the bigger houses. And the bigger houses were all isolated and down tracks and everything.
[00:09:58] And I found it really lonely and, I used to watch the kids running around on the bikes and being able to hang out by the lake and the the river. And my parents wouldn’t let me do that because I wasn’t allowed to mix. It was just awful. And then as I got a little bit older, I would just go into these friends’ houses that I made.
[00:10:19] My parents would never know it, and I, you know, I used to feel so, Envious of this family that was so bonded and was sitting around together and the open door, as you said, that people, neighbors would come in and out. And I think that’s the life I want. It’s the richness of life is people not, not wealth.
[00:10:40] In the way that my parents lived their life, I felt like their life was such a prison . And so it’s you know, I think I’ve, I’ve yearned for it. But that, that lonely little girl sits inside me even at 58 because when you are, it’s just sort big breaths. Then when you are, when you grow up feeling lonely and disconnected it never leaves you, it that emotion never leaves you, which is why I track it so much with others, because you can feel lonely.
[00:11:12] In so many different ways. It was interesting, I had a keynote speech about community last week, but I followed a guy who’s used to be a war correspondent for the BBC and Sky, and he was talk, his son committed suicide last year at 31, and you could see the burden of this man. I mean, it was still so raw.
[00:11:34] It wasn’t even a year. But he has created this charity called Baton of Hope, and then he’s gonna have this gold baton that’s been created by a goldsmith taken from city to city around the country because suicide is just on the rise so much, especially in young people. And when I went on to talk, I, my speech, I first, I, I kicked my speech off saying that you, we could all feel his burden, but actually the burden is society.
[00:12:00] It’s not the parents because loneliness, you can have loving parents, you can have fantastic siblings, you can be in a beautiful marriage, but your sense of attachment to others and knowing that you matter. Whether as you walk into an office, whether I, when I walk into Starbucks, when I buy my food from the exactly the same shop, week on week in, I wanna know, not because I’m an egotist, but I wanna know that I’m noticed, and society needs to stop us feeling lonely.
[00:12:31] There needs to be this community mindset rather than this individualistic mindset. It’s all of our responsibilities to look after the mental health of other humans all the time and make feel worthy of existence, you know? So it really drives me so deeply, and of course I’ve dedicated it to the business world where I am seeing that become more and, you know, even though it wasn’t as.
[00:12:58] In 1998, I’m just seeing the relevance grow more and more. And I find it very interesting and I’d love to have a discussion about this. There’s a, a big technology firm that I know that’s got 75 communities. and, and this is very typical of a lot of companies. They’re building what they call communities, but they’re getting no engagement.
[00:13:23] But the community’s been built for the company to gain, not for the citizens. And I think this is a thing we have to think about. How do we serve the citizens of a community? Not how does the citizens serve us because we wanted to create a
[00:13:37] Lucas Root: Mm-hmm. ….I agree.
[00:13:42] What a, what a powerful statement. You, you, you kicked off that, that beautiful that beautiful little monologue with the richness of life is people. I mean that, that hit me right square in the chest. You’re so right. The richness of life is people wow. And then you move forward and, and shared that as a citizen of humanity, it is our responsibility to make other people feel connected.
[00:14:17] Penny Power: Yeah.
[00:14:18] Lucas Root: Yes. Thank you. Yes,
[00:14:22] Penny Power: Yeah. And we can do it. It’s so fascinating. We can do it. Every single interaction. You know, from, from the delivery drivers, I’m gonna put a big, you know, I’m gonna put a note outside and put a big tub of chocolates out there for Christmas to thank them and say, help yourself to handfuls of chocolate when you come and deliver.
[00:14:40] And you can do it supermarket. You can make every single person realize that they’re noticed. And You know, in the street, in a queue you can tell someone they look beautiful. You can, you can, and I’m not saying that is community, but it is a community mindset. It is a citizenship attitude. And I, that’s the thing that I think whilst we can create a close community, like I have created this close community of business owners, BIP100, and and, but we can have that attitude of being a citizen of the world in everything that we do, every interaction.
[00:15:15] And stop pointing fingers and blaming people,
[00:15:20] for, for lack of joy around us or whatever.
[00:15:24] Lucas Root: So hug someone. really just that simple.
[00:15:29] Penny Power: Well, it’s interesting you say that because it’s tj, actually, my son who does this mental wellbeing stuff, he said that Yale University did a study and that, that they discovered that we all need seven hugs a day.
[00:15:42] And so he gave me permission to use this in my keynote last week. And basically she explained that after I talked about the importance of love and business and community. And then I just got, it was the di it was a dinner keynote. And I said to everybody, stand, stand up. So they were, and I said, right, I want you to hug three people.
[00:16:00] And then throughout the night, you need to find another four hug, four people to hug. And it went mad in the room.
[00:16:07] And you could see that people weren’t just going like, you know, a quick hug. You could see they were burying themselves in one another.
[00:16:13] Lucas Root: Yeah.
[00:16:14] Penny Power: They were, it was like beautiful. And we were starved at that for years, obviously through covid and, but its, yeah, hug someone and just show them that they matter. It’s just, it’s pretty basic, isn’t it? And that your girlfriend, having that environment and the environment I stepped into when I was young, it was just love. It was just love, and that’s what we need.
[00:16:38] Lucas Root: Yeah.
[00:16:41] Penny Power: You know, the importance of just noticing others and giving some love, energy and, and what I love is that this is not fluffy stuff. There’s science in this. There is absolute science. And if we look at our wellbeing, and this is what TJ talks about, and you know, there are neuroscience, our brain, chemical chemicals we need love. Oxytocin is the hormone
[00:17:03] Lucas Root: it’s almost like the Beatles knew a thing or two.
[00:17:08] Penny Power: how should we sing? We need it. And to me, community is the manifestation of being able to deliver that in an organization or in, in anywhere. And family to me is what you can model it on. You know, when you have a great family, all have diverse interests, diverse personalities, diverse goals, diverse lives, you can be still bonded through so many things as a family grows up and, yeah, so I, I think my family values, I, I modeled so much when I, I was on, on that sort of brotherhood of people and that feeling of being in family. So yeah, yeah. We were start, we started actually mentioning about you, you said, you know, people are calling Facebook groups
[00:17:56] Lucas Root: community.
[00:17:57] It, it irks me every single time I see it. I’m like
[00:18:03] Penny Power: I know. I know. So what is it that you see about that? What is it that you see that’s so
[00:18:08] wrong about.
[00:18:09] Lucas Root: it’s, it’s not the yearning or the reaching that bothers me. What I recognize is that people are reaching, they’re, they’re yearning for community, and so they’re trying to, they’re trying to find it anywhere they can, and I get that. I’m a hundred percent on board with that. What bothers me is that when you go and name a thing that is not community.
[00:18:29] If you name it community and you start treating it like it’s community, I’m, look, maybe, maybe you start treating it like it’s community and it happens and actual real community emerges and that’s beautiful, but when it doesn’t, when actual real community does not emerge, then what we’re left with is this, this feeling of of dissatisfaction and it’s attached to the word. And I don’t want people to go around with this, this underlying feeling of dissatisfaction attached to the word community. And they will, cuz that’s what we’re training them to do with Facebook groups and, and apartment communities that are not community.
[00:19:10] Every single time they enroll into a community and don’t get what they need, they’re gonna attach a feeling of dissatisfaction to that. It’s gonna make it that much harder for us to be truly human.
[00:19:24] Penny Power: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s really good. It’s really good to hear you say that because it is something that drives me crazy and I, I think when we look at, I mean, since 1998 when we started the academy, Thomas and I have obviously tracked the culture of the online world massively. And when we started it, we started with the pure values of community and of, of everybody feeling an attention attachment.
[00:19:52] And they would use the words like, I belong to the academy. And then, then LinkedIn came on and I started hearing people say, I use linked. and I was saying I belong to academy, but I use LinkedIn
[00:20:04] Lucas Root: Oh, fascinating.
[00:20:06] Penny Power: one is a, yeah, one is, one is a utility. I use it, one is a sense of belonging. I belong to it. And I think then as you track through the history of that I think people, people obviously have, we’ve moved from social networking into social media, the world of broadcast, the world, you know, shouting out, and then the whole, I dunno, fear-driven, ego-driven, a scarcity to be driven world of people shouting about how brilliant they are, where wherever they’re coming from. Online and then they’ve started to create groups where they’re just getting made it’s fan-based groups.
[00:20:51] You know, join my group and I’ll teach you how to be like me. And if they call that a community, that drives me mad because they’re not even interested in the citizens. They’re only interested in their voice to be heard. They’re not interested in the individuality of the citizens. And the citizens don’t have a voice.
[00:21:12] Citizens aren’t being encouraged to rise up. And my belief is that when you create community, I rise. You rise, we all rise. But a lot of these groups, it’s about the leader rising. It’s not about, and and, and this takes me onto my first experience of being told I was a servant leader. And I don’t know how many people have heard about c servant leadership.
[00:21:38] I would, I can flag the book to read. I’m getting up from my desk here. Sorry. And you’re
[00:21:46] Lucas Root: The, the beautiful thing about this conversation is, is it, it goes where it goes, and you, you couldn’t have been prepared for that.
[00:21:53] Penny Power: Friday. Servant leadership is, yeah, lucky I had trousers on servant leadership.
[00:22:01] Lucas Root: Yep.
[00:22:02] Penny Power: direction. Robert Green Leaf wrote about this in the fifties. My first experience of that was when I was 19, I went into an IT company to to, to do telesales and sell computers to computer dealers and there were about 5,000 computer dealers around the country selling IBM and Microsoft and Lotus and a huge lot raft of hardware and software.
[00:22:29] And I got promoted quite quickly. About six months in and promoted above a team of six that were there before me
[00:22:38] and my. My first action was to sit with each of them slightly intimidated, huge imposter syndrome, terrified of how angry they might be. But I, I asked each one of them, what can I do to help you?
[00:22:55] And they would sort of look at me confused. And there was a girl called Nicola who said well, I need a company car. And I said: “Right, How do we get you a company car?” And she said, I don’t know. So, and she was a bit strappy with me. So I went off to my boss and I said, how does Nicola get a company car? And he said, well, she has to be promoted to an external field sales role.
[00:23:17] She has to hit these targets, da, da, da. So I went back to Nicola and I said, Nicola, I’m gonna help you to achieve these targets and then if you do that, you’re gonna get a company car. And I went into serving served her. And that’s how I treated them. And I was always the same in my relationships with clients, in my relationships with staff.
[00:23:38] And I did escalate very fast through the IT sector into quite a huge role. When I was 24, I had 120 staff and it grew and grew. And it was always, So easy for me because it was only about serving the needs of the people in my team. And so community is exact same. You have to be a servant leader.
[00:24:00] Servant leadership is about how do you help the people in your community to achieve what they need to achieve in their life, whether it’s an emotional thing or a or a financial thing. How do you help them achieve? And once you cross the chasm of that in leadership, The community then becomes beautiful.
[00:24:20] The other thing you have to achieve is true citizenship. How do you teach citizenship to people? Which says, I empower you to make this community what you want it to be for you. And I use that. The metaphor I use for that is, If I move into a village and I’ve got my re, you know, removal vans outside my door and we’re offloading everything, somebody’s probably gonna be kind enough to pop in and pop around and say, you must be really busy.
[00:24:53] Here’s an apple pie. Or here’s a glass of wine. Right? They’re being a citizen by doing this. And then I might pop into the local pub in the village in England. I might, pop, I might use the village hall for nursery school for my kids, but I might notice that this has got a great patch of grass, but nobody plays cricket on it.
[00:25:17] And as a citizen, I might wanna contribute that and come up with an idea and say to people, can I run the local,
[00:25:23] um, Cricket club? And that’s when in a community, you have to enable citizens to say, can I run this? And so we see within BIP 100 things popping up where somebody says, can I run a monthly 90 minute drop in Mastermind for members to do?
[00:25:42] Yeah, of course you can. Can I run a a digital tools sharing group where we help each other understand the latest technology that’s gonna help us or will be better at what we do. And we can share that with each. Yeah, of course you can. So now our calendar of events are getting populated by the citizens and, and whereas these community groups that are being formed on Facebook and being renamed, the citizens aren’t getting the empowerment to say, I’d like to run this because that would threaten the.
[00:26:13] The lead would think that this is mine. I’m in control of this. And so it’s, it’s this whole reversing what sit, what community is. It’s gotta be led by the citizens where the leader purely facilitates and purely curates the nice culture and curates the right people to live in that village. And it’s there’s a, it’s a methodology, it’s a teaching, it’s a coaching tool to get people to understand that, because maybe that’s just a light bulb moment for people.
[00:26:43] Maybe they just didn’t ever realize that’s what it was, because we’ve grown up in a world of social media where it’s all about broadcast and let me just talk to you. So it’s, we can, we can campaign and trailblazer a different attitude through citizenship. And to me that’s, that’s the beauty of it.
[00:27:01] Lucas Root: I wonder if it’s a process of maturing turning broadcast into an opportunity for citizenship for me personally. when I first started engaging with social media, and the way you described it is really interesting, right? That it, it started out as social network, and it became social media, which is a broadcast tool, and it’s a hundred percent true.
[00:27:25] I had no interest in social networks, none at all. I, I was a physical world person until I had a thing that I, me personally, until I had a thing that I wanted to broadcast. And so I started using broadcast tools to do that. I used broadcast tools to broadcast and it, and it worked that way. You’re, you’re giving me language to, to talk about that experience.
[00:27:48] Once I was broadcasting and people started responding to my message, that’s when I started being interested in social networking, not just social media. People are responding to the message. They’re asking questions, they’re giving feedback. In a very real sense, I had, you know, I, I started out in the food world.
[00:28:08] I had people doing food research alongside me.
[00:28:15] Penny Power: Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. Yeah, it’s interesting. So you entered it probably what, around 2004? 2005? 2010? Yeah. Oh, that is when it really started to explode. Yeah. No, it is really interesting. I mean, it’s Thomas talks about doing, becoming a university lecturer on the history of the internet because sometimes you have to know where we’ve come to it from to know where we’re going, and I think we’ve come.
[00:28:44] Well, I think the world, you know, out the world is just shifting because we have, we’ve just overused certain things and, and used them and misused them, and there is so much beauty in the internet if it’s used properly. There’s so much beauty. I mean, Its Tim Burners Lee that created the concept, the worldwide web, he did not want to create something that would create suicides and mental health and all the things and, and trolls and fake news and bullying. And he did not wanna create that world. And I think a friend of mine said to me years ago when I was talking to her about, And she said so if I, if I pull up a ruler, I dunno, can you see this ruler?
[00:29:39] Yeah. It’s not two c3. She says, you know, if, if the world, if this is balanced, if this is the balanced world and we go too far this way, it has to rebalance. And we go that. And then it starts off that way. And then it comes back because change, change doesn’t just go like that. Change goes like that. and then it comes back up.
[00:30:00] And I think we’re going through that now where we’ve got into the internet mass market got into it. Billions of people joined it. The technology giants wrote the algorithms to create a form of habit. And we all went from balance to this way, to that way. and and I think it, I think we can come back because we can evangelize and we can, we can know in ourselves what has become toxic around our lives, but we’ve just gotta be part of bringing it back in line to the beauty that the internet can be these conversations being, being in and creating communities that genuinely love and care for one another. We can rebalance all of this. We can it’s within all of our gift to do it because the technology can enable it.
[00:30:49] Lucas Root: Penny, you’re giving me hope.
[00:30:50] Penny Power: We just. We just have to be the people that create that change and, and believe that that change is also gonna be good financially. Because I’m not, I am, I’m a, an entrepreneur. I’m, I’m financially driven as well. I’ve got financial needs. We, we are not financially free. Thomas and I, we’ve been through Helen back with that, that part of our lives.
[00:31:15] And we are very much feet on the ground. But I can absolutely, absolutely, a hundred percent prove that when you build social capital rather than just financial capital. And when you’re in the right places, your business grows. Not by pushing, not by aggressive behaviors. It grows because people like you and they know you deeply and they love you.
[00:31:41] And that sense of love gives you confidence and self worth and yeah. I’m, I’m on my, I’m on my I’m on my soapbox here.
[00:31:52] Lucas Root: Your business grows because people love. Ooh.
[00:31:57] Penny Power: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Thomas and I have we have a better business model now than we’ve ever had through having bit 100 and through helping people grow under sad, grow community.
[00:32:09] And it’s not scale, and we don’t need 650,000 clients. It’s not about scale. We just need people who believe in what we believe in and want what we can deliver. And and I think the world wants love and world wants to connect deeper and connect with real people, not with humans. Exactly. The human. The human within the world.
[00:32:35] Yeah. So we need to bring that back and we can do it and companies can do it. They can give people ways to feel good about themselves.
[00:32:45] Lucas Root: Wow. Really powerful. Thank you. as we’re, as we’re, wrapping up, I have three questions. They are my favorite. Three questions, first
[00:32:57] Penny Power: I’m ready.
[00:32:58] Lucas Root: where can people find you?
[00:33:05] Penny Power: Where’s the best way to send them? So probably I’m on LinkedIn and so Penny Power there. I’ve got a website, PennyPower.co.uk. I I’m very easy to connect with. I’m, I’m not a closed off person. I don’t know. I’m on Twitter as Penny Power. I’m on Instagram as @PennyFPower with an F in
[00:33:31] Lucas Root: Mm. Nice. Next. This is when things get fun. What question would you like me to have asked you? But I haven’t.
[00:33:45] Penny Power: Mm. Well I think you could ask me what was the worst time in my life and how did it become the best?
[00:33:58] Lucas Root: Hmm. Wow. Whoa. Penny, tell me about the worst time in your life and how did it become the best?
[00:34:07] Penny Power: So Thomas and I went through a 10 year period of real challenge, real financial challenge from actually probably actually I’m gonna condense it down, six years from about 2012 to 2018 when academy came to a very sad end. We couldn’t battle the mindsets that were spread across the world of broadcast and people not feeling they had a time for one another.
[00:34:36] And so the academy came to an end and we were very strongly identified to that. But at the same time, there were a lot of other tragedies going on in our our world with my mom having dementia. My brother died suddenly. Pancreatic cancer, my sister’s daughter died of cancer, our beautiful daughter was abducted by three men and, and raped by one of them.
[00:34:57] And this was all going on during a really difficult time because we were having, we were paying down debt that was 22,000 pounds a month of interest to pay down the debt of when the business went down. So, and then Thomas, then Thomas got Pancrea then Thomas got cancer. In 2018, so we got six years where we just did not know which, which side of life was up anymore.
[00:35:25] However, through it all, we constantly kept loving and we constantly maintained some beautiful connections in the business world and I wrote my book, Businesses Is Personal, which was cause I went to see a psychologist because I decided now that all the people that I loved were sort of okay that my father was managing with my mom’s dementia.
[00:35:46] My mom had passed away, my sister was managing as much as you can. After her daughter died, my sister-in-law and her children were managing, with my brother dying. My daughter was on a very strong path of success and personal success and achievement. And we Dinner did a, did a TEDx talk about does adversity help you find happiness?
[00:36:07] And as a result of that, I went to psychologists and I wrote my book and I wrote my book from a real place of honesty around the mental challenges of being a business owner and how I manage that. how I didn’t manage it at the time and then how I learned to manage it, and that really gave birth to the happiest times in business that I’ve ever had, and it made me recreate and redesign.
[00:36:32] The life that I wanted, and that’s when we gave birth to a new business, Business Is Personal 100, which we are so proud, Lucas, that you are one of our, our members in it. And, and we took control of our life that had spiraled completely out of control. So the worst life created the best of my life.
[00:36:51] Lucas Root: That’s lovely. Wow,
[00:36:58] Penny Power: It was powerful time and I just, I suppose I wanna leave with the fact that I know so many of us are going through such challenges now, financial challenges that are just horrendous. And Thomas and I, you know, at one point were valued at 60 million, no, 60 million pounds. What would that be at the time?
[00:37:16] $120 million at the time. 120, a hundred million. We had a very rich life, but, you know, the, the life got so busy. The machine we were running was so hard. That actually what I said to you at the beginning where people are the richest part of my life. We had just didn’t have time for them and now we live a much more conservative life than we had then.
[00:37:40] But it is the happiest. We’re in control of it. We have time for people, and so if anybody’s losing money, worried about giving up their beautiful cars, the houses, the hope and the sun that will shine out of it is that you will really reconnect with yourself and the life you really want.
[00:37:56] Lucas Root: and
[00:37:56] the people
[00:37:56] who love you.
[00:37:59] Penny Power: And the people who love you.
[00:38:01] Lucas Root: Beautiful. Thank you Penny.
[00:38:05] Penny Power: you’re very welcome.
[00:38:06] Narrator: Thanks for joining us this week on Elements of Community.
[00:38:09] Make sure to visit our website, ElementsOfCommunity.us, where you can subscribe to the show in iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or via rss, so you’ll never miss a show. While you’re at it, if you found value in this show, we’d appreciate a rating on iTunes, or if you’d simply tell a friend about the show, that would help us out too.
[00:38:31] Be sure to tune in next week for our next episode.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
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Like what you hear on the podcast? We have more secret recordings from every guest. We keep the microphone rolling after the podcast is done and get our guest to spill the beans on the best tactics for growing their communities profitably. You don't wanna miss this.