Updated: May 7
In my line of work as a Career & Business Coach, it’s common to hear people talking about the lack of opportunities around or the obstacles stopping them from progressing in their lives, with their career or with their business idea. Then they surround themselves with people that confirm these beliefs; a mentality that says ‘oh sure there’s no point’ or ‘things will never improve around here’.
Obviously, it’s my job to question any limiting beliefs, negative patterns of thinking or assumptions that are holding back my clients, about themselves, their abilities or identity or a given industry/market/location. For some people adopting a growth mindset and a more optimistic lens is very difficult, for others, it comes naturally and once those people meet like-minded individuals – that sense of possibility grows and expands beyond their, already optimistic expectations.
Such is the power of a supportive network of people sharing an experience – through shared vision and shared challenges; mutual understanding and support – it is incredible how the perceived obstacles of location or glass ceilings or limitations dissolve away.
On Tuesday (Oct 1st 2019), I had the pleasure of attending the 20th anniversary of the Donegal Women in Business Network Conference – a gathering of 200+ women (and a few men) discussing and celebrating business, career, mindset, obstacles, supports and successes. The Looking Back, Moving Forward theme allowed for reflection on long-standing established businesses as well as current trends in business and current societal challenges and a vision for the future.
The shared respect and support and boundless optimism in the room was palpable.
The word confidence came up several times in discussion - it was mentioned that in general, men will go for a job they feel they are 60% qualified for, whereas women are waiting to be 100% ready, qualified and confident. This may be a fact that has become common knowledge, but yesterday was a testament to its redundancy. Women are becoming braver and standing taller in business, action is what drives equality.
Rosy Temple from Magees pointed out, and I fully agree with her, that we should not be focused on gender at all – we are businesspeople and it is the quality of contribution that any one person brings to the table that counts. Rosy spoke with great energy and enthusiasm - she felt a calling to return to Ireland and grab a hold of the opportunities that were right in front of her and encouraged us all to recognise the opportunities we have on our doorstep. She remains true to the family values of the iconic brand; sustainability and work-life balance while leveraging the digital age. Rosy was not the only person to praise the merit of social media but added a cautionary note to switch it off too – there is more to life than work!
The wisdom in this collective of creative, dynamic professionals is invaluable – these women grab every opportunity that comes their way, on a daily basis.
According to Michael Tunney from the Local Enterprise Office, the people coming forward to participate in the programmes run by the LEO are 50% female and 50% male but only 20% of those seeking grant aid for their business ventures are women…so why is this? Is it harder as woman to pursue our vision and career goals and dream businesses? Or do we just expect to get shot down before our vision has a chance to breathe?
Niamh Walsh (panelist) from Cushman & Wakefield approached her employer regarding moving her work from Dublin to Donegal and was advocating the merits of just asking. She also pointed out that with young kids its OK to ask for a 3 or 4 day week, that it’s important to do what’s right for you as an individual and for your family.
Does remote working and a shorter working week affect your chances of promotion and climbing the career ladder asked MC Ciara Doherty... Niamh’s honest answer was ‘Yes, without a doubt, that’s how it is…but, I’m working on it’
Lean into Your Genius!
Having confidence, believing in yourself and just going for it are all easier said than done of course– it’s a journey and a process - it’s about building the confidence you need and working on your mindset around your own identity, your brand, your business and your values. How you think and approach your work will give you a strong foundation which keeps you grounded and from there, self-belief will take root as you nurture what you love and what you believe in. Then, you will exude confidence when you communicate to the world what it is you and your company have to offer.
Brenda Donagher spoke passionately about the supports and resources available through the programmes and training Rural Enterprise Skillnet have on offer as did Louise Brogan from the Donegal Local Development CLG.
Sally Murphy from Murphy Communications inspired us all to express our authentic selves, sit comfortably in our story and communicate it with truth and heart.
Rosaleen Hegarty from Crana Handknits told her story with such confidence and grace. In business over 40 years, she has dealt with life’s adversities with strength and resolve and her humility is remarkable. With 'authenticity' a buzz word in today’s global economy, we can all learn a thing or two from Rosaleen, rubbing shoulders with huge designers and brands but never losing her sense of humour!
Nicola Griffin from Seclusion Spa brought her vision to life for us. I love the idea that this spa embraces the environment it is nestled in.
We got a glimpse of all kinds of different businesses and services, all kinds of people leaning into their genius, expressing themselves through their passion and vision and talent and sheer determination regardless of the obstacles in their way. From facing failure (essential to success as we all know), to leaps of faith to world travel and most certainly thinking-outside-the-box.
My own world view and philosophy behind my work was confirmed – follow your heart and your dreams and that idea in the back of your head that you play around with – breathe life into it! As tenacious, driven Laura Bonner from The Muff Liquor Company said (yes, home grown vodka and gin) - one open door leads to another.
All manner of business professional come together in this network – from established business owners to visionaries to corporate representatives to remote workers to designers to cheer leaders to budding entrepreneurs.
So, for all you budding entrepreneurs out there...
Reach out for support, join a network of like-minded visionaries and surround yourself with people who are as brave and as passionate as you are.
My passion in life is coaching and supporting the vision of others. I help creative and innovative ideas people breathe life into their vision and map out a path to get them off the ground, to get their ideas launched into the world.
Don’t wait for the right time, it will never arrive – it does not exist. Starting out can be daunting and confusing but those first few steps will lead you onto a path that will light you up – full of job satisfaction and fulfilment, full expression of who you are, creative expression of your vision, your service/product and the freedom that goes with it all.
What opportunities are right there for the taking in your life today?
If the answer is ‘nothing, I’m stuck’, look again with fresh eyes and go out and seek inspiring people to change your view on the world and open up possibility.
Don't hesitate to contact me - we can have a chat,
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