In many ways, this time last year feels like it was just an eye blink ago.
In September 2015, I attended the first session in the six-month mentoring programme run by the team by DevelopHer and reading back over my notes from that session, I can literally feel the excitement running off the page.
We were each given a gift at the first session. A beautifully wrapped, perfectly analogue gift in our technology-centric worlds. Smythson had kindly donated a small, blue notepad for each of us and the wonderful team had handwritten a personalised note in each of them.
Written on a card inside my sky blue notebook was the quote from Confucius: ‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart.’
For me, this set the tone for the six month programme that followed and has continued to influence me in my life and MY business today. To do things with your whole heart, you have to own the decisions that you make, believe in them wholeheartedly and most importantly, be proud of them and of yourself. (Yes, it’s squishy but sometimes you need an emotional reality check – and that was one for me.)
I’ve never felt like someone who lacked confidence. HOWEVER I believe that there can be something inherent about us as women that stops us from just ‘leaping’. We think about things deeply in a way that perhaps men don’t, and sometimes this can hold us back. Yes, make measured, smart decisions in the main – but sometimes you just have to leap with your heart and believe you can do it.
Meeting other women (and men, too!) who live, work and leap with their whole hearts has cemented in me the belief that a network, support system, group, community – whatever you want to call it – is an invaluable part of fostering this inherent belief within ourselves and other young women that whatever they want to achieve is possible. NOT only is it possible, they can be the ones to do it. This is where the next chapter of the DevelopHer community comes in, empowering and elevating women.
Some of the people I met through the program have gone on to be important mentors. THEY make key introductions or to challenge me personally and professionally in ways that have helped to move things forwards. I made friends and peers, people who I can turn to when something feels difficult or overwhelming – sometimes all you need is your tribe to tell you something is possible. I’ve met role models and inspirations, people who I’ve looked up to and realised that they are amazing, but also human beings just like me.
It was a wonderful programme to be a part of and I benefited more in six months that I could even have imagined. So as we enter 2017 I look forward to using what I learnt from the mentoring programme to confront and overcome what the new year will bring me.
To find out more of the top 10 things I learnt from the programme check out next month’s blog!