My Mother often tells me (even today) that I was a “very strong-willed child”, what she is not saying is that I was hard work at times and that I was determined to do things my way. Strong willed also means impossible, but oh so lovable.
There is a class photo of me in nursery school that depicts my “strong willed nature”, all of the kids in my class are dressed in typical clothing you’d expect from nursery school kids, but not me, I am wearing a pink T-shirt and a white tutu (#freespirited) and what I absolutely love about this photo and what it shows about who I am. All of the 19 kids in the class are facing forward and I am sitting front and centre and am turned to the side laughing hysterically at the kid next to me. Whenever I see this photo I wonder what the other kids in my class must have thought of this wild child who couldn’t or wouldn’t face the front like the rest of them, tisk tisk.
Well… she is doing ok.
She is doing very well actually.
I have been working for 12 years and I have had a very interesting career path.
Within my first year of working I changed jobs four times, every three months I had a new job. My poor Mother’s nerves were shattered, as once again her “strong-willed” child was determined to do things her own way and would not settle into a job that did not tick all her boxes.
My second year of work was a bit like the first except I had four part-time jobs and was determined to find my niche and not to settle for what everyone else was doing, mostly that was finding a job out of varsity, getting settled and staying there for at least two years to build their CV, I had other plans. I would move around as much as a I needed to find something to do for work that I was passionate about, a job that would mean more to me than just paying the bills.
I was a flight risk.
I knew it, the recruiters knew it, the companies interviewing me knew it.
I recall being asked in one of many interviews, “How do we know you won’t move again after three months as your track record is not very stable?” I responded, “You don’t.” I knew that I would leave and move onto something new if my interests weren’t ignited in a role.
Looking back now as a Leader of a Team, as someone who has build myself from the ground up in an industry I knew nothing about, I would not do anything differently.
I carved out my space in the working world and did it my way.
A few years ago during a conversations with a Woman leader who inspires me, I asked, “How do you keep motivated to do this work, what is your Why?” she said, “I want to win, that’s why.”
This has stayed with me as it resonated with my strong-willed nature and determination and I realised that I too am motivated by the need to win.
Over the years I’ve engaged with a lot of Women that inspire me to understand how they got to where they are today, desperately hoping and searching for any pearls of wisdom to help me replicate their steps to achieve the same levels of success.
What I’ve come to realise is that we will all have different steps along our journey of success, some intentional, some right time right place, but ultimately what makes us successful is a truly deep understanding of who we are and where our strengths lie. It’s about learning how to leverage your superpowers to get you where you want to be.
Break the mould.