A few weeks ago I did something I hadn’t done for a long time. I stepped out of my professional comfort zone.
I received an email inviting me to speak on a panel (won’t bore you with the topic details). My first instinct was to pass it on to my line manager. He couldn’t make it, neither could anyone else more senior to me. Bugger.
Just as I’m about to hit ‘send’ on an email to decline, I stopped. I realised I didn’t have a good reason not to take part, only fear. I had been recommended for the event, I’m not sure by whom, but clearly someone out there thinks I’m pretty good at my job.
Rewind a few years and I would have jumped at the chance to talk in front of a room of people. I’ve always been the friendly, chatty one. People love having me at events because I tick a few boxes (female, black. done!). But without realising , my confidence had faded and I had been turning away from opportunities.
I had become the person that said ‘why’ rather than ‘why not’. I was slowly slipping into a habit of just doing what was in my remit, rather than pushing myself. Not the ‘me’ that many people would describe. The impact of motherhood or wifelyhood (yes, its a word!), I don’t know, but I need to change it.
So I reminded myself of my commitment to say yes more often and accepted the invitation. And guess what, the event went well and I had loads of positive feedback. Result!
Then last week I was asked to do an interview with the local paper about ‘successful women handling careers and motherhood’ with the help of family-friendly workplaces. I laughed out loud about the successful bit, but was honoured to be asked. I guess I’m doing a good job of juggling everything.
That’s two yeses in a few weeks. Has my life been transformed? No. But I’ve reminded myself of a few things:
- Taking on a challenge every now and then is good for the soul
- If someone else says you are good at something, they are probably telling the truth, even if you don’t believe them
- The more opportunities you invite into your life, the more that will be opened to you. It’s down to you to accept them or not
Feeling good after a few positive experiences, I think I’m slowly starting to find ‘me’ again.