Entrepreneur Interview: The Optimists’ Voices!

I did a brief interview with the founder of The Optimists Voices. After reading the interview, you can find the founder,
Victor Perton, on twitter at @OptimistsVoices.

What is your business opportunity?

Asking people “What makes you optimistic?”

How did it start?

I came back to Australia after working across North and South America as a Trade Commissioner and then working as Senior Adviser to the Australian G20 presidency. Everywhere I had travelled and worked, there was a rightful admiration for Australian leadership, innovation, “get up and go” and humour. However, in Australia, I found bleak conversations about Australian leadership. It made no sense to me. I founded The Australian Leadership Project and have asked over 1200 Australians about what makes a good Australian leader. It became clear: there are millions of Australians leading in Australia and globally with the three key Australian leadership traits of (1) “egalitarian leadership”, (2) “self effacing humour”, and (3) “no bullshit plain speaking.” So why the disconnect? My Eureka moment was the Global Integrity Summit 2017 where I keynoted on a panel I had proposed the Board, “The Case for Optimism.” The reaction was incredible. It was clear people wanted stories and messages of hope and optimism. Optimism breeds action while pessimism paralyses.

What is the most important trait of a successful entrepreneur, and can it be developed over time?

Realistic Optimism. Generally, entrepreneurs are natural optimists but it’s important that they generate optimism in their team, their friends, family and beyond. Demonstrating gratitude is hugely important from a thank you to the waiter, the bus driver and the street cleaner to the leaders in their ecosystem.

What is the largest source of stress from operating your venture?

I don’t get stressed in work and business. I look for the joy and happiness. I recently delivered a workshop in prison and was asked by the prisoners to return. On the return, a notorious convicted criminal returned for a second workshop and told the other prisoners to listen to me: he said optimism was crucial to survival in prison but even more important in the outside world to succeed and not to return to prison. To be a recidivist was to be a [expletive] he told them. What joy I got from hearing his interpretation of my work with his fellow inmates.

Has entrepreneurship developed a sense of purpose in your life? If so, can you describe how?

No. My sense of purpose is derived from helping other people to become more optimistic and happier. My entrepreneurial venture was derived from that purpose. My nickname at the G20 was “Captain Happy.”

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