By Inès L. WITH MUCH LOVE
February 5, 2018
We could not live without people around. Sartre said
hell is other people
. Can be sometimes true! But people can be your paradise as well...
That is why I would like first to say
. Thank you for the paradise some of you have been and still are to me. It gives me hope, directions and inspiration. Thank's for those who did act like hell and keep going on. It teaches me to be lively, strong and resilient.
And above all, thank you for letting me be hell sometimes.
That gives me a honest will to be a better version of myself —
at times only
— and try to be sometimes a paradise for people I love...
As time goes by, I try to make my world less manichaean and add everyday more colors, more shades to my way of thinking and to process the concept of
I do not think there is
on one side and
on the other one.
As it turns out day and night are one and only, they are not
. They are so similar, both essential.
They just have a different point of you, a different way to show up to the world.
This also applies to Black and White. Don't you think?
To me, they are more starting points than reality
Somehow, "Who I am"
which is the title of this first letter I address to you — is kind of related with the fact of thanking
Who we become is inherently linked to people around.
I spent the last three years running projects - some successfully, some others... well, everything is relative, right ? But above all, I learnt, read and travelled a lot.
I've made a lot of stopovers. In New York first, then Rabat, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Ubud. I think I was looking for parts of myself over there. And I don't intend to change anything this year about my routine.
Sometimes you go on a trip and at times, the trip goes on you.
Recently, I started a quite deep reflection and I've made myself aware of some things. I realized
I became a
for people I meet every day and the worst is I had no idea I was.
Since I've founded Women Inspiring Talks, I receive on a regular basis messages from people proposing a meeting over a coffee, most of the time looking for advice, listening, directions and share about their pursue of meaning in their job and life.
I realize many people look for encounters IRL and genuine feedbacks about others' experiences.
on Instagram work so well.
People need backstages to get inspired. Not bowdlerized and filtered realities we present to the world.
The more I saw these messages pile up on my inbox, the more I felt guilty, wondering if I was for real the "network woman" I thought I was. I am supposed to meet women — men too — , listen to them and above all, share with them.
Everyday, it is a little bit more frustrating when I cannot deliver what I would like to.
Then this question came to my mind:
"Did everything I do and say become total bullshit?"
When such a question faces you with insistance and show up in every corner of your mind, it is really harsh. You can't avoid it.
Nonetheless, you can face it or simply deny it.
My opinion is the first option can be violent (it can be but maybe not), the second one is simply dangerous.
This came up after two years of great success with
a clandestine brunch in my apartment in Paris where people from all around the world
came and eat at my table.
This was one of the most intense experiences in my life so far
Opening your door to perfect strangers, cooking for them a healthy organic and home-made brunch from6am every Sunday, being welcoming, respectful and giving the best of you is very rich in terms of
acknowledgement about yourself
Sunday is something in both French culture and Christian tradition. I grew up in the Normandie countryside in a family house with the idea thatSunday is the day you do nothing but enjoying friends and family.
It means a lot to me.
It turns out when I am alone on Sunday, wherever I am, I feel empty
. Like if something was missing.
Somehow, launching this unexpected food experience in my home enabled me to get rid of this kind of
Having strangers at your wood table, sitting in your kitchen and living-room, using your bathroom,
chilling on the sofa, taking their time and enjoying the books from the bookcase
while listening to the cosy background music with their beloved family, friends is somehow surrealistic.
You cook for and in front of them. In your own kitchen. In these moments of sharing, you cannot lie neither pretend. Y
ou just have to be yourself
I met there some of my dearest friends
, interesting women and men as well, students, artists, lovers in holiday... I don't have any bad experience in mind when it comes to BrunchByInes. Paradise was definitely other people at that time.
At this period of my life, I had the feeling to have so much time.
It is crazy when
I remember all the
moments I enjoyed.
Today, the more I would like to give and share, the less I've got time.
According to my agenda, I am always late ; daily life requires me to go like a work clock — which I still don't manage — and exclude any kind of
My friends and family hit me with the fact that there is no way I could be everywhere at the same time. That I cannot make everything and have to make choices.
... I'll talk about this on another letter.
Then, a personal letter
This year, Women Inspiring Talks will be more about you. You will be the speakers and the inspiration.
At my first WIT talk,
I started by saying that we always try to be interesting and often forget to be interested
These last weeks I enjoyed listening to the women and men I met.
I enjoyed not talking
. Does not mean I had nothing left to say — I always do — it just means sometimes you need to rest of yourself to appreciate the beauty around and come back to yourself with serenity and objectivity.
Do you feel the same sometimes?
Writing is my first love
I appreciate the exercice of laying on a web blank page my feelings, my fears, my sources of empowerment and inspiration, my turnarounds and my success and best practices but also my everyday failings, my wounds and what everything I learn from it.
Sometimes you need to live a whole life to become the person you were where you were a kid. When I was kid, I used to give other kids absolutely everything I owned.
My mother still reproaches me for that.
I also wrote letters for hobos I wrapped with ribbon and put them down on the street where I had the habit to see homeless sleeping and begging during the walks with my parents. In these letters, I wished them to be brave and hopeful, that things will eventually be better for them.
ecological at all, I know!
I realized sharing was in my DNA.
This personal letter is like a book I'd write
, following the daily life on an serendipitical and empirical way.
Here, you'll find everything I could say, think, tell you if we'd meet and have a deep conversation.
I really to talk about
things that matter
relation to people
, human craziness but also our relation to
and of course,
About people around me, their fights to be who they tend to be, my fight about
spirituality, self-esteem, generosity,
men and women equity,
meaning of being entrepreneur
or why not about
the concept of being a good person
instead of trying to be a good man or a good woman like if it was different.
I hope you will appreciate it
This letter is real : it means you feel free to
, give me your point of view,
suggest the next topic
and ask me questions.
I will answer the most I can and respect as much as possible your wishes.
Who I am
Ralph Ellison wrote in the marvelous
that to be free, we have to discover who we truly are. Oscar Wilde exposed another theory about identity:
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their life a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
But according to Gandhi, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. I think this is my favorite one. At the end of the day,
we only live for others
(our friends, our kids, our partner, our parents...) and
what we become
is impacted by what we want to give them.
actions are noting but a constant answer to the society's dynamic.
I'm Inès, by the way.
I am 30 years old and I live in Paris.
I am a French young woman born in Normandie. I'm half Christian and half Muslim.
(I'll talk about it on another letter)
Among others things like speaking or writing, I am entrepreneure, currently developing Digital For The Planet,
an Earth digital project which aims to promote digital sustainability
. I am supported by a fabulous team, we started from scratch actually, and now things are moving forward.
I also do ethical lobbying and crisis communication for brands and industrial companies and work with business schools and universities as a visiting professor.
But don't make mistakes
, not so long ago, I had no idea I would have done that and that I was skilled for!
We are so many things we don't tell ourselves...
I deeply believe in serendipity, multi-potentiality, self-trust and self-compassion. It urges me to tend to excellence, not perfection. It works, it really does.
I'll talk about that in another letter too.
You see, what I am turns a little bit too much around what I do
but I guess our actions determine who we are
Identity is a moving target anyway...
I have beloved persons in my life ; I love them more than anything. It is not everyday a picnic to deal with my feelings, their presence in my life and my presence in theirs. Balance is somewhere between presence and absence, patience and hurry, gratitude and mercy, calm and agitation...
I am currently trying to work on this.
(Speaking of balance, I am a Libra.)
To end, as you already know I founded
Women Inspiring Talks
last year, which didn't tell all its secrets for this coming year. This is actually due to the fact we want something consistent, different and memorable. Moreover, we are about to extend our network to
in the coming months and still working on a
wonderful social innovation project
Stay tuned :)
Well, I think that's it...
In the following letter, I will write about something I still ignore, honestly.
But it gonna be real. It will be an open-hearted, fun, not perfect and consistent letter.
And I'll do my best to make it
Thanks a lot for having read this
first Personal Letter
I would be glad to read from you actually who
are, your comments and questions if you have some.
Talk to you soon!