Angela Hirst – Flourishing In Uncertainty

True inspiration.  Where does it come from?  Is it something that we can conjure at will from the end of a pencil onto a willing notebook?  Can we design our inspiration to serve us and care for us and nurture our needs?  Surely it is easy to reverse engineer such that our hopes and dreams are fulfilled and we can have everything we ever wanted.

Perhaps it is not that easy.  More likely real inspiration lives in uncertainty and risk.  Angela Hirst is well familiar with this harsh reality having lived it throughout the birth of her fantastically conceived business – Wandering Cooks.  Great concept or not, pushing the boundaries of societal dogma requires belief, grit and a few tears.

Ange started her education in Architecture and moved through an array of fields around the world gaining experience and clarity from each.  She completed a PhD on ethical food and worked in restaurants in the UK and Europe.  On eventually settling back to Brisbane she saw an opportunity to foster an incubation project for food start-ups.  To provide facilities and support for small businesses producing products for markets, stalls or food vans.  This concept became Wandering Cooks.

But the waters have not all made for smooth sailing.  Throughout her journey Ange has had to struggle and fight her way through doubt and uncertainty.  She describes polarisation of people around her into detractors, worriers and thinkers.  Quick to jettison the two former, she focused on those who could help her move forward and take “positive” steps.  With great care and much sacrifice she has nurtured this project into glorious reality.

Wandering Cooks is an example of the resurgence in community values and consciousness around food and where it comes from.  This project is about supporting small business, farmers and those without a voice.  Most of all this is about making a difference, a ground up difference.

I met with Ange at Wandering Cooks in Brisbane, Australia.  IN the background you can hear the goings on of the vibrant community.  Out conversation moves freely through a variety of topics and gives some insight into the trials and tribulations of an entrepreneur.

If I was to take a major theme away from this conversation it is that of vulnerability and uncertainty as necessary aspects of the creative process.  True inspiration does not live in certainty or in comfort.  It is necessarily uncomfortable and revealing.  Why?  Because true inspiration lives within the shadow of potential failure.

Ange has gone deep it those shadows and has emerged with true gold.  It was a pleasure to speak with her about some of the journey.

Summary of topics covered:

  • Starting a business born from passion
  • Taking risks without knowing the risk
  • The “key man” risk
  • How and when to delegate responsibility for your business
  • Being comfortable in uncertainty
  • The joy of conversation
  • Generating inspiration in creativity and writing
  • The trap of consistent mediocrity
  • Facing resistance to novel ideas
  • Eliminating negative ideas
  • Recognising and accepting adversity
  • Challenging your acceptance
  • Growth in the struggle
  • The normality of negative thinking and guilt
  • Resilience
  • Avoidance of violence and hostility
  • The finite bank of emotional energy
  • Know your limitations
  • Seeking help at your limits
  • Books as a source of guidance
  • Fearless expression of your vulnerability
  • The dangers of trying to be like others
  • Suspending disbelief in yourself
  • Gardening as therapy
  • Ethical food
  • Money vs Ethics
  • Making a difference in food and food production
  • Making Good Art

Question: Where are your emotional limits?  Are you able to fearlessly express your vulnerability?

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Until next time.

Stay positive,





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Connect With Guest:

Instagram :

Facebook :


Ange’s Blog:


The Wandering Cooks Charter:

We might be small players in the food world,
but we are huge when we work together.

We commit to improving our sourcing, waste and employment practices –
buying our ingredients from local farmers,
closing the loop between soil and food,
and building opportunities for people who deserve more.

We may not be perfect, but our hearts are aligned
and we promise to work with collaborative creativity every day.

And one day, we will be both big and small at once –
thousands of beautiful businesses transforming our food culture together.


Background, Context & Reference:

Wandering cooks :


Behind it all:


Snubbing the Supermarket:


Harriet Lerner – The Dance of Anger


Seth Godin :


Make Good Art :


The war of Art :


Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:

All website, production & sound design this week by me again.


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