It was when I got invited to speak at the Inspiring Women event, that I started, somewhat nervously I might add, to think about what I could say. What pearls of wisdom could I impart to the women in the audience?
So I started to work through my 48-year career and reflect on what I had learnt, what mistakes I had made, and what lessons I could share that would help others to avoid some of the potholes I fell into and to celebrate the successes we achieve along the way.
- Ask for what you want. In the early days of my career I applied for a position that looked way out of my realm, but I went for it … and got it. I had nothing to lose.
- Take risks. My husband and I emigrated to Canada in our early twenties without jobs. Yes, we started off with rather limiting jobs, but not for long. Sometimes you have to feel the pain to gain.
- Know your special strengths. Often we take for granted the skills that what come easily to us, but where others struggle. Ask your friends and colleagues what they have observed you are good at.
- Your skills are transferrable. My skill in writing has been a constant throughout my career from writing articles, books, funding proposals, government briefing notes and lengthy reports (that no one read).
- When I reflect on my career path, most of my jobs came my way because of my volunteering. It’s not why I got involved, but the outcome was sure rewarding.
- Mentor. Following on from the volunteering theme – supporting and mentoring other women can be such an enriching experience for all involved. You learn as much as you teach.
- Focus on YOUR business, not the competition. If you spend your time watching your competition and what they are doing, then you can drop the ball on your own and lose out. Determine what you do best and do it.
- A sense of humour can get you through the tough stuff. Life happens and curveballs can come your way. Staying positive and tapping into your sense of humour can lighten the load.
- Failure. Look on it as lessons you had to learn. Make note, recognize them and move on.
- Know your values. Sometimes something just doesn’t feel right or ring true. Listen to your inner voice. It may mean you have to end a relationship, but you want to surround yourself with people who get you, not those with a hidden agenda.
- Be appreciative. Say thank you. In the busy lives we lead, we can forget to say thank you to those who are there for us, or who have helped us get ahead.
- Celebrate. Over the years I have been fortunate to receive several awards and sometimes that recognition has been just what I needed at the time to feel validated and assured that I was on the right path.
There’s much more and it makes me realize I do have another book in me… so stay tuned.
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.