I have had a pretty busy year so far.
I have been to lunches, dinners, events and conferences. I have held my own event in Brussels. But in all activities, I reconnected with established connections and met or listened to some new inspirational women.
All have wonderful stories to tell.
Eve Ensler author The Vagina Monologues, cancer survivor and activist for combatting violence against women, speaker at JUMP 2015.
Sarah Arrow founder of award-winning Birds on the Blog
Baking blogger, cake decorator and sugar craft tutor Britt Whyatt, whose love of baking brought her out of clinical depression.
Adding to that list Sharupa Shah, the intuitive business coach and soul agent mixing mindfulness with an MBA.
Fiona Catchpowle, the self -styled cyber gran who looks about 16.
Saskia Van Uffelen, CEO of Ericsson Benelux story teller extra ordinaire and mentor.
Rhonda Ocha mentor from MasterCard and sound bite queen.
Laure Waegemans P & G scientist and women’s advocate.
I have reconnected with wonderful women I already knew. Annabel Kaye, CEO of Irenicon, who combines business and comedy, Ali Meehan, Founder of Costa Women one of the top expat networks on Twitter, Jackie Groundsell – Founder of 1230 The Women’s Company and super networker, and Jenny Garrett, author and women’s coach of the year. Isabella Lenarduzzi who heads up Belgium’s top women’s network JUMP.
I could go on and I apologise for keeping the list short because I know I will not have mentioned some very notable women who make a great contribution.
6 things these women have in common.
- They have a vision and passion and are willing to share it
- They all say they have all taken some knocks and bounced, or even crawled back
- They have all learned from their mistakes
- They have all tapped into technology to advance their careers or businesses
- They are all business women: common themes from them are strategy, planning, time management and prioritising, not just soft touchy feely concepts of community and collaboration although they are important
- They all have a sense of humour and don’t drink their own kool aid
The single number 1 stand out lesson
But most of all they had done inner work and knew themselves. This is where it all starts. They know what they are good at and when they need help. They have goals and a plan. They have space to deal with the unexpected. The phrases “there are no short cuts” and “hard work” came up frequently.
In career coaching, I see attempts not just by individuals but by whole organisations to bypass this process and not realise it’s the foundation of everything we all do, whether for corporate employees or entrepreneurs. “Less is more, Dorothy” I have been told.
You can’t make a personal or a business plan unless you know what’s important to you, your strengths and values and then be able to articulate your message clearly and succinctly. This is hard. These ideas then need to be anchored somewhere, publicly is best for professional purposes, on a social media platform or a website. But a table mat will do. International golfer, Rory McIlroy, jots his annual goals on the back of his boarding pass.
Insight is key
As Aristotle said “Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom.” I would add to that and say get feedback.