#IamRemarkable - and so are you
Recently I ran a workshop for entrepreneurs at University. A loose connection of women, of different ages, backgrounds and nationalities, we could have been an advert for Dove. From the outside we looked confident, but I was there to lift the lid, and discover what holds us back from fulfilling our potential.
Statistics show that there are fewer women or people of colour in senior management and that women are less likely to get start-up funding for new business. Of course, many factors contribute to this, but it’s worth exploring our own views, to see if we hold ourselves back.
As part of my wish to help people achieve their potential, regardless of background, I host workshops for #IamRemarkable in my personal and professional networks. #IamRemarkable is an initiative aims to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments - at work and beyond - to break modesty norms & glass ceilings.
The workshops look at the prejudices we encounter *and* those we perpetuate ourselves.
It’s a truism that women are trained to observe and respect the opinions of others but, as with any training, once we’re aware of a tendency, we can choose how to use it. The workshop asks if fear of judgement stops us sharing our achievements: do we secretly hold men and women to different standards? Or do we not apply for a post because a voice once said, ‘Don’t show off’? Now, as an adult, we can ask if that comment was helpful or even true: do we want to place limits on ourselves and others, in a pinched, mean way?
The workshop can stir up people's emotions, perhaps we see how fear can restrict us: acknowledging our unspoken fears takes trust. Making changes takes practice. But we gain so much by opening to possibilities and allowing ourselves to flourish.
As we shared our victories, what shone out was the unique quality of each person. It’s not just that we have different histories and achieve different things: what we each value is personal to us. This makes comparison and competition irrelevant: no one can be somebody else – if you try to be something you’re not, you can come across as strained and odd. That doesn’t mean we can’t change, but we need to be true to ourselves and our unique gifts, including the way we respond to life.
Free to be ourselves
At workshops like these we learn to stand our ground, not aggressively but as a matter of fact: ‘I’ve earned this. I learned this’. Sometimes you can feel like a tree, sinking your roots deeper into the earth, becoming self-sustaining and flexible in the face of gales.
When you know and trust yourself, you can choose your direction – raise a family, learn the ukulele, knit your own kimchi – because that is an expression of who you are. Not who you think you should be.
If you’d like a little help with that, get in touch @kavacounselling To learn more about #IamRemarkable workshops, contact me or visit g.co/IamRemarkable