International Woman’s Day is such a wonderful annual milestone that reminds us always to create and make the most of opportunity for ourselves and others.
Throughout my life and career so far, opportunity has always been available. For me there has always been opportunity to get involved with projects, teams and experiences and these have been wonderful ‘top line’ items. Most importantly though, there has been the opportunity to learn, to change, to grow.
On IWD, I pledge to always to create opportunity for others but also to continue to appreciate the opportunities that I see on my path and always to be discerning enough to know which opportunities are right and which ones I can let go.
There are of course those opportunities that we don’t see as gifts straight away! The events, circumstances and people that we see as more of a challenge than an opportunity. You know what I am talking about!
Over the years in my corporate roles, there was always a challenge or two to be faced. Difficult people (bosses), ingrained beliefs, biases, actions and attitudes that I didn’t agree with, intentions that didn’t sit well with me.
It would be easy to have a ‘whinge-fest’ about it all but seeing as I am not yet interesting enough to be interviewed by Oprah, then that isn’t going to happen! So, what to do?
I have learned that it is very important to tell the story of your life in the way you want it to be heard. Not making it up but seeing the best in it all. I have learned that knowing what we don’t want creates the opportunity to know what we do. I didn’t know that at the time of course, and so, in my early career I spent a fair amount of time railing against circumstances, moaning and complaining that things ‘just shouldn’t be this way’.
Nevertheless, I still got on. I knew that I wanted to be successful, I knew that I wanted to be part of a great team. I knew that I wanted to help people, I knew I wanted to be part of something good. I wanted to be well qualified and I wanted to keep learning. All of that has been possible for me and I am deeply appreciative.
What did I take to the party?
The saying goes ‘it takes two to tango’. It’s safe for me to reflect now on what I took to the party which resulted in the experiences that I had. I wanted to be seen as a smart successful woman, I wanted to be acknowledged and approved of, considered and promoted. I also wanted to discover meaning and purpose and how to be creative and at the heart of everything, to be satisfied, happy, appreciative. I wanted to set a good example. I mostly did that. Was I good corporate employee? Mostly!
Knowing what we don’t want and knowing what we do is key. Equally though, it’s critical for women to know that we have the power to choose. We can choose to dwell on the negative or the positive. We can choose to focus on what has gone well or what has gone right. We can choose to change our thoughts; no-one can do this for us. We can choose to change our mind; we can choose to reset and look for different opportunities. We can choose what we want to be, do and have every day.
The only limitation is in our mind. When we know that we have the power to think what we want, then the sun comes out and the birds start singing. We are so powerful. In the week of celebrations and reflections around IWD, let’s acknowledge the opportunities that we have in our lives.