A Chat With…Val Racheeva of wefound.org

A wise friend of mine once said, “I think everybody lives in their insecurities.” It’s a sentiment I felt important enough to save in a “Quotes” file on my computer and soon forgot all context around. Now, as I sit down to introduce my next interviewee,  it triggers something in me. It triggers something because it’s these insecurities that I hope to chip away at through my writing and that I hope can be forgotten, if even for a moment, through the ideas of others. It’s for this reason that I am constantly seeking inspiration and solace through interviews with my favorite authors, entrepreneurs and artists. It’s why I prefer reading books with a somewhat philosophical quality, the ones that touch on universal truths and add another delicate layer to my lens of the world. And it’s for these reasons that I’m always asking people if I can send them my questions, if they can sound off on their fears, insecurities and strengths. Sometimes I think it’s the easiest, if not laziest, way to make sense of your life problems.

When others clue you in on the finer details of their life that, from the outside, may seem “all together” or devoid of dilemmas, you feel more at ease as you realize that they struggle with the same things as you. The simple act of looking closer makes all the difference. It is just one method we can use to fill ourselves up so full that the doubts have no room to sneak in. If we do it right, it’s not a swelling that inflates our egos, but a fullness of vitality that sustains our energy and enables us to be present in our current shape and space.

I am excited to tell you about Val Racheeva because that is exactly what she is doing with her platform, wefound.org. Wefound.org is an organization for female entrepreneurs. It provides inspiration and tools through workshops, speaker series, webinars, co-working days and an encouraging online community. Her mission resonates with me particularly because it emphasizes personal development as the path to success.

Just look at the wefound.org “About Us” page and you’ll see what I mean. Emblazoned loud and clear at the top of the page, it states; “We believe, that the true empowerment can only happen from within.”

This is a powerful message when you think about it. Sure, there are plenty of personal development resources abounding on the internet and this field is only gaining in popularity, but it is a relatively new concept to emphasize the importance of personal development in terms of the success of your business. We like to think that business is cold and logical, rational and clear. Our emotions, feelings and inner desires should not be considered the main drivers for our accomplishments. They should only be thought of as helpful assets, in the form of charisma or charm, working to win us clients or drive sales. The thought of filling yourself up first and guiding your business from that center space is a concept that is still budding. But I’m certain that, thanks to Val and others like her, it is a voice that will only become louder in the coming years.

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I first met Val in Berlin at a bloggers meetup. I was immediately struck by her composure and drive. She is one of those girls who can come off as intimidating if you don’t take the time to ask a question or strike up a conversation. That’s when the warmth comes through and your catty thoughts dissolve away. She explained how she was launching a platform for female entrepreneurs. She was doing it by herself and it was clear that she was determined to make it work, to reach other women entrepreneurs with a collective message. This focus was attractive and magnetic. Although my story led me away from Berlin, I have been an avid follower of wefound.org and Val ever since.

When she agreed to answer a few questions for me, I was thrilled to be able to share her perspective with you. Even during our correspondence about the interview questions, Val’s refreshing approach to business and work came through. Val explained how it was taking longer than expected because she was making a concerted effort to put her personal well-being first. She was prioritizing herself by making time to take care of her body and have a life outside of work. With this admirable approach, of course I didn’t mind waiting. It only served to validate her mission further.

Read on for Val’s thoughtful answers that are sure to give you something to think about and to perhaps make you consider a different approach.

How do you typically start your day?

Between breakfast and getting down to work, I usually take one or two hours for myself. For example, I do meditation, which helps me stay balanced, positive and focused for the rest of the day. Recently, I started practicing yoga combining it with qigong. For those who are not familiar with qigong, it is an ancient Chinese health-care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intention. Sometimes I read books after exercises. This morning time for myself is very important. I noticed that if I do not follow this routine and I jump directly to my computer, everything kind of turns tense, the energy doesn’t flow and I get distracted by doubts and indecisiveness.

Do you have any mantras or mottos?

My mantras always change as I am changing myself and improving myself in different spheres of business and life. When it seems like I am able to overcome one challenge in my mindset, another one appears. I think, though, that the core of all our challenges are the subconscious beliefs about ourselves. I remember one of our speakers, Christine Hofmann, mentioned that our subconscious mind represents 90% of our being, which is really astonishing. The conscious mind takes up only 10% of our brain. So imagine if you can dig into your subconsciousness, it is like an unlimited storage of your personal potential. I think mantras which focus on loving and accepting yourself are the most powerful ones. For example, “I deeply love and accept myself, and I allow myself to embrace my potential.” I also realized recently that the word “allow” is almost as powerful as “love.” In Russian, the word “allow” is pronounced like this: “raz-reshat” (“раз-решать“), which basically means “to solve something at once.”

My mantras always change as I am changing myself and improving myself in different spheres of business and life.

What sparked your interest in creating a platform for female entrepreneurs?

On one side, it is deeply rooted in my personal story of self-development and my striving for making a positive impact in the world. I always ask myself big questions and I am a big-thinking person. I am very concerned about suffering and negative developments happening in our world, both on a social and environmental level. I deeply believe that by creating a strong female energy, supporting women in finding their potential, and creating projects and businesses initiated by women, we can significantly improve the situation in our world.  I started creating wefound.org, a global supportive female entrepreneurs community, as I realized that only self-change and an entrepreneurial mindset can help women start believing in their potential and become true entrepreneurs. I didn’t see this approach being strongly reflected neither in discourse and media, nor in other networks, so I decided to become a pioneer in this field. Furthermore, I think especially self-change can help direct technologies to good purposes. Technologies have changed and developed, though us people, not at all, at the core.

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Can you speak a bit about setbacks you’ve faced (whether external or internal) and how you overcame them?

Well, I have a whole huge bouquet of setbacks. I cannot differentiate whether these are external or internal, because I think this is all very interconnected. We create these setbacks ourselves, as we resonate with them at a certain point of our life. Besides smaller setbacks that I face on a regular basis as an entrepreneur, I can give examples of my bigger setbacks. These are: my first startup failed; my co-founder of my second and current startup left and I was struggling for a long time with fundraising and creating profit. I see two ways one can deal with setbacks – either you get in a self-destructive, negative, blaming-yourself-and-everything-around-you mood or you stay gentle and patient with yourself. The second option is the hardest one, that’s why many people get into dramas and give up too early. I prefer the second one. Without blaming myself or people, I simply analyze the situation and see it as an opportunity to improve myself and make things better. Otherwise, how can we grow? You have to learn everything through mistakes and failures, this is how the world works and it is not dramatic.

My formula for facing setbacks is:

no blame + see what went wrong + improve = positive results

Music you are lovin’ right now?

I very much love calm music, preferably without words, it could be any kind of classical or modern classical music.

Best words of wisdom you’ve heard recently?

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing him[her]self.” ― Leo Tolstoy

What was your favorite form of play as a child?

Well, in summer I used to spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s, this was my favorite time, just simply running and playing outside with other kids from morning until almost midnight. I cannot remember now a particular favorite activity: climbing trees, burying “treasures” and hiding a map, building a house from blankets and telling scary stories, having a war with other kids and throwing unripe fruits at each other, throwing tomato-sauce bombs in plastic bags from the balcony on passersby, sometimes even nasty things, it was all fun and exciting. When I was back from summer holidays though and had some free time from school, I used to play my favorite computer game a lot, it was called Civilization. It is a strategy game where you build cities and expand and develop societies.

Do you believe in fate?

No, I do not believe in fate. I believe that every person has the highest mission on this planet. By highest mission I mean embracing your biggest potential to create good for yourself and the world. Weather you achieve it or not depends on how brave or patient you are with yourself. You are the only one who makes decisions and creates your life, everything is a choice you have once made.

You are the only one who makes decisions and creates your life, everything is a choice you have once made.

What was the last piece of media (writing, music, video, talk) that inspired you or changed your perspective?

I find the TED Talk by Valerie Mason-John, “We are what we think,” very inspiring, and I recommend it to everyone who wants to change their lives.

 

I deeply believe that by creating a strong female energy, supporting women in finding their potential, and creating projects and businesses initiated by women, we can significantly improve the situation in our world.

A big thanks to Val for sharing herself with us! Please do go follow wefound.org on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, right now for more insights to help you build your business and life in a way that fits you. <3

Want more interviews? Check out previous profiles with inspiring humans and entrepreneurs.

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