In 2015, I wrote a blog on Linkedin about finding my purpose. Fast forward to June 21st 2022 and that intangible, abstract purpose was officially (re)purposed as Arcobaleno, an LGBTQ+ destination bar/café/restaurant.
I am a firm believer in the transformative power of connections, storytelling, kindness, and compassion. Arcobaleno (www.myarcobaleno.com), the physical embodiment of Across Rainbows (www.acrossrainbows.com) represents everything that I stand for.
It prioritises intersectionality, openness, and nonconformity — an intergenerational hub designed to bridge the gaps and foster a genuine sense of community.
The idea at the heart of it was to create a magical space where everyone can feel at home.
What I’ve learnt, so far, in 107 days of running Arcobaleno
They are so so important.Take the time to understand: what values mean to you and why, to craft them with love and compassion, and to realise how central they are to your purpose.
Keep reassessing and editing until the values you choose mean everything to who you are.
While it may sound good to have aspirational and ambitious values for a business plan, in the real world they need to be clear, simple and easy to incorporate and adapt into any situation – humanity, financial, HR, support, marketing, strategy, Customer experience, etc.
Arcobaleno’s values dictate our behaviour, and how we communicate and keep us securely aligned to the purpose and vision that brought us to this point.
More importantly, I believe that values are the very precious breadcrumbs that guide us when we are scrambling to make things work.
PURPOSE NEEDS FUEL
While passion and determination are the fundamentals of living your purpose, fuel (money) is necessary to keep it all going. Sometimes, the purpose experts forget to mention or talk
about the fuel you will need to keep the purpose alive. But with purpose, there are many times you have to take a leap of faith.
ometimes you have to go in search of fuel, and sometimes the fuel finds you.
I have learnt to pivot. Pivoting is not spinning around aimlessly. It is believing in myself. In my capabilities and skills. It’s important to be flexible and not panic when something is not working. Because of that, I can now (many times) make decisions in minutes, rather than overthinking everything.
BE TRUE TO YOU
One day you are imagining how to make the purpose and the vision the reality and the next you’re living it. Suddenly you are responsible for a team of staff, you have financial responsibility, and you are making decisions on stuff you know nothing about. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and to lose sight of why you are doing this.
For me, it's knowing that Arcobaleno is the something that changes everything.
Every morning, on every one of those 107 days, when I open the door to Arcobaleno, I say “ thank you, thank you, thank you”. I remember when Arcobaleno seemed more like a fantasy than a purpose. I remember the long hours I spent writing and rewriting the business plan, the endless networking, and the frustration, the stress when it seemed that nothing was working.
I am so grateful. Sincerely: I feel very blessed.
I try to do everything myself. That has resulted in exhaustion, a bit of resentment and a couple of meltdowns. I know I need to delegate, and I’m getting better but it’s a process.
ASKING FOR HELP
It's not the same as delegating. This is for those jobs you have no idea how to do or are not good at. You’d be surprised how helpful most people are and I have found they’re very generous with their time.
NOT EVERYONE WISHES YOU WELL
I will just leave that there.
IT'S HARD WORK
I was not prepared for the endless, sometimes gruelling hours it takes to make Arcobaleno work. Thankfully, I have a very understanding partner who is super supportive and understands the insane drive and hours that goes into making this work. Meantime, I am working on a more work/life balance.
I do enjoy every minute of it. So it doesn’t even really feel like work.
In the last 107 days we have:
Created a safe space that celebrates creativity, inclusivity and authenticity
Curated 32 performances - drag acts, live music, burlesque. with a particular focus on platforming Brighton’s local Queer and wonderful performers and creatives.
Created our own shows - Pride, Arcobaleno Family Values, Playbill
Hosted 2 birthday parties and 2 fundraisers
Created a menu that is inspired by Maltese cuisine
Created our very own themed cocktails based on Wizard of Oz and Mean Girls
Launched an amazing Sunday Roast
Initiated sharing tables
Reached over 1200 followers on Instagram
Had new and young musicians, artists and drag queens perform on our sparkly stage
Became a meet-up place for university societies and charities
Launched AWD (After Work Drinks) and WFA (Work from Arcobaleno) initiatives
Every day we continue to work to make a difference through our people, the cocktails we serve, the welcoming atmosphere, the magical stage, the inclusivity, and our food menu.
Watch this space.
*Photo credit - Ayla Reeves - Peanut the Drag Queen as Debbie