Some of you may have seen on social media yesterday that I was lucky enough to speak at an International Women’s Day event at the Peterborough Cathedral.
It was lovely to see many Mumpreneurs at the event but I know many of you could not make it due to prior commitments, so I thought I would share with you my presentation with you all as many have asked me too.
When I was asked to do this talk there was so many things that I could of spoke about such as my business journey, or the lessons I have learnt on the way. But I thought instead I would talk about what I would want my two daughters to hear if they were fortuante enough to go to an event like this.
Number 1: There is no time line to life.
The more I speak to teenagers and women the more I am aware of the pressure they feel to have their ‘perfect’ life. They feel this pressure comes society and the people around them which then leads to pressure that they then put on themselves.
We grow up believing that there is a timeline of life that we should all follow, and if we don’t we have somewhat failed.
It starts with going to school at five, to knowing at 13, when we have to choose our gcse options, what we want to do for the rest of our lives. From there some people move onto college, some to university, and some get a job. From there we are supposed to find our life partner, get married, find the dream house, have children, and look forward to retiring at 65.
I believe that you do not have to follow that timeline if you do not want to and just because you don’t it doesn’t mean that you are doing anything wrong, your journey is just different, and you are living your life that way you feel is right at the time.
For example I dropped out of six form at 16 and then dropped out of college at 17. Worked full time in sales at 18 earning £2.5k a month. Then I enrolled in an apprenticeship at 21 in childcare seeing my wages go down to just £520 and started my degree at 24 when my first born was 3 months old and finished it two years later whilst pregnant with Lottie.
All of my friends were on different journeys, one had a child at 19, proceeded to work her way up the corporate ladder successfully and gave it all up to start her own business when pregnant with her second child two years ago.
Another one of my friends moved to London for work and travelled the world until her early 30’s. She moved back to Peterborough and has recently got married and had a child with someone she went to school with.
This confirms that none of our journeys were right or wrong, they were just right for each of us. None of us know what is round the corner but we are all happy where we are now, the journey we have been on even if we didn’t follow the expected life timeline.
This leads me onto my second point…
Number 2: Do not compare yourself to others.
It is so easy to look around at others, both in person and on social media and feel that everyone else has their stuff together, that they have their life sorted and are happier and better than you are.
It is hard to remember when you are feeling like that, that everyone puts on a front, and we all have to show the best side of our lives. From great relationships, to holidays and selfies with the filters on.
For example there have been many times where I or friends have been going through pretty rough times but if you were to look at our social media you would never know as we were trying to focus on the positive things that was going on in our lives.
So please remember you never know what others are going through behind closed doors, so comparing your life to the best versions of other people’s lives is not healthy so please do not waste your time or energy on it.
If you are not happy with your life then put you energy into changing it, but do this for you, not because of what anyone else is doing.
Number 3: Do not settle.
I think one of the reasons I have managed to achieve everything I have done over the years is because I try not to settle in life, and this doesn’t just mean at work.
This means in all aspects of my life, my businesses, relationships and friendships.
If there is something around me that is causing me sadness or negativity I try to make a conscious effort to address it and when possible move myself away from it.
This has led me to ending relationships where my partner didn’t appreciate and support me, to friends who were mood hoovers, we all have them don’t we? I believe that we cannot change the people around us, we can only change how we feel about their actions. We are in control of how we let people affect us, if you have a friend that doesn’t bring joy then limit the time you spend with them.
Use your time wisely, spend it with people who lift you up, and make you feel good about yourself, as time is something you will never get back, once it is gone it is gone.
Regarding work it is highly documented that women are often paid less than their male counterparts for doing the same job. This is something that I believe we can change, but we need to come together and be united.
We also have to have the courage and confidence to challenge this and not settle for what we know is wrong. Speak to the managers and directors in your business, bring this to their attention.
When you have your one to ones, make clear what you do for your employer and how you go above and beyond, ask for that payrise if you truly believe you are entitled to it. One of my motto’s in life is ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get.
And last of all, this is something I feel so strongly about and concentrate on more with my children and staff than anything else.
Number 4: Be kind to everyone.
Being kind is almost always something that is overlooked but something I truly believe is one of the reasons I have been as successful as I have been.
Because I have a natural interest in people, what makes them happy, and how I can help them, over the years I have been able to build genuine relationships with lots of people of the years.
Not a lot else makes me happy then making someone’s day by saying something nice to someone or helping them when they are in need.
Without realising it over the years this has had a positive return and has had many benefits for my businesses. It has ensured people trust me, trust what I have to say and what I have to offer, and by me always wanting to help people it has encouraged other people to help me when needed.
This was more evident than ever when I launched Serenity Loves on social media and everyone I knew helped it go viral around Peterborough. It also helped when we were shortlisted for awards that needed people to vote for us, which they were happy to do, this resulted in us winning many awards, locally and nationally.
So my point is being kind can lead to building genuine positive relationships, which can open many doors for you both personally and professionally.
I would love to know your thoughts on the points above,