Wife, mother, sister, daughter, auntie, cousin, friend, coach, mentor…. I am many things to many people but it is only in this past year that I have truly discovered who I am.
I was recently asked to state what the best moment of 2012 had been for me by a magazine that I write for. This got me reflecting on the past year and I could not come up with one single situation.
The whole of the past year has been a complete transformational journey for me in terms of who I am.
Just over a year ago, I took voluntary redundancy from an organisation I had worked for since the age of 16, a total of just under 28 years. Many thought I was crazy to give up a well paid, relatively secure job, but what was the alternative?
The organisation was restructuring and my position would no longer exist. I could have waited and be placed in a post that I did not necessarily want, or I could have stuck things out and waited to see if I would be made compulsorily redundant. I decided that I wanted to be in control of what it was that I did and that I wanted to pursue my passion, doing something that was authentic to who I am.
Initially it was not easy to define who I was and when people asked me what I did for a living, it was hard not to define myself in terms of my previous role. I had worked for the organisation my entire working life and had become ingrained in its culture. At first it was like I did not know who I was anymore. Although I knew I had made the right decision and was not missing the job, I still felt a sense of loss regarding losing the person I thought I was.
Not only was I now having to define who I was, I was also learning how to run my own business. Suddenly I had become CEO, Finance Manager, Marketing Director, Sales Director, IT Manager, in other words, I was now ‘chief cook and bottle washer’.
I had little experience in marketing and sales but I positioned myself to quickly learn, learning from others, books, networking, workshops and seminars.
One of the biggest things that has helped me on my journey is getting to know who I am, accepting myself as I am and being true to who I am. Stepping away from a very demanding role that left me little time for reflection, over the past year, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my values, who I am and what I want and do not want.
Many people offered me advice as to what they thought I needed to be doing with my business and whilst I took some of the advice on board, there were others that I disregarded because it did not align with my authentic self. If I have to do something that is not authentic to me in order to get on in business, then I would rather not do it.
I have not got my head in the clouds and do look at situations realistically but I am at a stage in my life where I want to be my true self and my true self I will be.
I had previously considered myself to be shy and low in confidence. By being true to who I am and accepting who I am, my confidence levels have soared.
I believe that when we are not true to who we really are, do not accept who we are and are not aligned with our values, we can feel unfulfilled, frustrated and unhappy, even lacking in confidence and motivation.
What is my authentic self? It is the combination of my skills, talents and wisdom. It is doing all the things that are uniquely me and expressing these, rather than being what I believe I am supposed to be and do as defined by others.
For many years I thought I knew who I was. I thought that I had done a lot on my personal development over the years but this past year has been an amazing journey of self-discovery and now I can truly say that I know who I am.
I am a strong, calm, quiet and confident woman!
Who are you?
Join me and other women who strive to be their best selves for Values, Networking & Afternoon Tea, for a discussion about the importance of values followed by networking over afternoon tea. This is a women only event and takes place on 26th August 2014 at a central London venue further details can be found here
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