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Startup 101: take a trip to Liberty Island

And get a startup mascot

· Entrepreneurship,Liberty Dog,Liberty Island

This article was originally posted on my blog Wantrepreneur on 1 September, 2016

At this point, I’m going to introduce you to the Liberty Dog. If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, I’m afraid this one won’t be like them. It’s a bit silly and a bit serious and you may think a bit less of me by the time you get to the end of the post, but I promise I won’t keep you long - it is short. The Liberty Dog has become a symbol of my escape and my new entrepreneurial life, and I want to share it with you. This is the story of how I the Liberty Dog and I met.

As you will know from my previous posts on this blog, my journey of escaping the corporate world started in April 2016, when I decided that enough was enough and I handed in my notice at my full-time job. Quite coincidentally, I had booked a trip to New York with three friends the week after I made this life-changing decision.

As I boarded the plane to New York, I was brimming with excitement and abject fear at the prospect of changing my life so dramatically, but I also had an incredible sense of relief. I had never been to New York before (I’m not one for cities, generally), and I was checking an item off my bucket list in visiting. The trip felt incredibly poignant.

Being in New York and exploring a city that I’d never visited before felt like a freedom trip. My friends had all visited New York multiple times before and were content to most of the touristy sites with me, but I felt drawn to the statue of liberty, and one afternoon took a trip there alone. I kept thinking of all the associations of New York with Liberty Island, of the passengers arriving on Ellis Island from Europe and the hopes and dreams associated with that place. In my mind, there were many parallels between the happenings in my life and the symbolism of aspiration, new beginnings, and hope of a better life that are linked to this place. (Please don't assume I didn't give a thought to all those who arrived on the island against their will, and for whom arrival in America was a symbol of despair and separation; that is also an important part of the history of arrivals to America.)

Walking around the island alone was amazing. I felt so free, independent and in genuinely in control of my life for the first time. It was quite spiritual, really. I felt like I wanted more than just a photo of that massively symbolic moment in my life, so I headed to the gift shop.

I knew as soon as I saw her that we were destined to be together and I couldn’t leave Liberty Island without her.

The moment the Liberty Dog and I met in the gift shop on Liberty Island.

The Liberty Dog has taught me many things:

  • Optimism She carries on being cheerful regardless of her situation. She’s endlessly cheerful. She can't control what happens to her, but she's happy anyway.
  • Care less what others think Look at her face! She’s happy just being her ridiculous self. And I love her for it. She doesn't care if you'd rather have a Liberty Island Barbie, she's safe in the knowledge that what she's doing is the right thing for her.
  • Be versatile The Liberty Dog is an excellent pillow. This isn’t her main vocation and she knows it’s temporary. She’ll do what it takes to get stuff done and keep customers happy.
  • Be joyful Be in the moment, forget the crappy shit that’s going on in the world, or the fact that you’re an obese fluffy bulldog with an outrageous tiara. She knows she’s fabulous. Just be fabulous.

My brilliant and merciless friends Fran, George and Kate, in NYC.

OK, I know this is silly. Thankfully, my friends did an excellent job of mocking me in my poor choice of mascot. But I’ll take whatever encouragement and motivation I need from the Liberty Dog, and I would recommend getting a comedy mascot of your own. When things get tough working on a startup, comedy relief can be very important.

Feel free to litter the comments section with abusive comments. Liberty Dog can take it; she will show you how strong she is.

If you like this post, you can see more of the stuff I usually write about right here on Wantrepreneur2entrepreneur. The articles here are considerably less silly and more interesting than this one and document my journey from corporate escapee to wannabe entrepreneur: all the highs, all the lows, and everything in between. It's a work in progress and I'd love to hear what you think, so drop me a line at clairedransom@gmail.com, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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