On Saturday night I was SO FAR OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE that I wanted to retreat way back inside. Oh yes. Even though I encourage my clients to stretch beyond the comfort zone, this was one b-i-i-i-i-i-g-g-g stretch.
What on earth were you doing Sherry?
I went to a wedding. Huh? Yes, a wedding. Not just any old wedding. A rock ‘n’ roll wedding. As you learned last week, I LOVE dance. Especially Northern Soul. When we turned up, the party was in full swing. And oh my goodness, they ALL looked like professionals. The moves. The rhythm. The clothes. The confidence.
I felt intimidated.
How was I going to pass off the hops and skips I know so well in Northern Soul and not get laughed off the danced floor?
What are you waiting for Sherry?
I watched mesmerised. I’m normally first up on the dance floor and the last one off. I love dancing. This was different. This was intimidating. Then I remembered what Sue [Revell] had asked me in the Find Your Flow Challenge.
“How do you KNOW when it is time to move to centre stage? How is the centre stage space created when you make your move?
For Northern Soul, I ‘just know’ when the time is right to move to centre stage on the dance floor. Sometimes it’s a couple of minutes, sometimes longer but more significantly ….
Centre stage is always there. Just waiting for me. It’s up to me to go there.
It’s within my control.”
As I stood at the sidelines, swaying in time to the music, I kept repeating to myself “Come on Sherry, what’s it going to take for you to be centre stage?”
You never stop learning
As a coach myself, it’s amazing how much you continue to grow and develop when you work with a good coach, such as Sue. It’s been a real privilege and an honour to be part of her Find Your Flow Challenge. I know I’ve gone on and on about it, but that’s because it really is amazing, and I have learned so much about myself. AGAIN.
On the last day, Sue asks us to share ONE word that describes our experience. Instinctively, the word that popped into my head: RESPONSIBILITY.
By that I mean I feel I have a responsibility to go out into the world and inspire more women to be more confident, to be bigger and better leaders. That I can’t not do it because that would be doing all those women a disservice.
Yes it is TIME FOR ME TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE. It’s waiting for me. And I’m ready.
Who else am I serving
This comes back to Day 7 of the challenge when Sue asked us “who else are you serving when you are in flow?”
For me, it’s women all over the world. The women; their partners; their children. I’m serving the world by making it a better place because if more women feel confidence and are fully able to use and express their skills, talents and qualities, to be the best version of themselves that they can be, they are in a better place to bring up their children to be happy, confident and fulfil their own ambitious. It’s self perpetuating.
The more we have gender equality and gender ‘acceptance’, the more the world benefits from the diversity, the talents and the skills.
That’s not to say that we can all do and be everything but that when we have the power and the space to use all our natural talents to the full, the world will be a happier place. For everybody.
What’s in it for me
When I’m in flow, I’m in a happier space, more relaxed, more fun, and more fulfilled. I have the time and energy to be a ‘good’ mother (whatever your definition of a ‘good’ mother), to lead by example, to encourage and role model action taking and standing up for what you believe in. I’m holding the space, giving others the opportunity, the encouragement and support that they need. Showing others it’s ok to have fun while you work. Work doesn’t have to be hard or dull. Laughter is good for the soul.
When you ask for help, people respond
What I learned on Saturday is that when you ask for help, people respond generously and compassionately. This then is where I ask for your help.
How can you help me take my powerful work to help women develop their career and leadership confidence to a bigger stage? How can you help me get on that centre stage? Because I’m ready. I really am.
I’ve been dancing on the sidelines and now I’m ready to take centre stage.
Could you put me in touch with the HR Director in your firm? Or the Head of L&D? Or Talent Retention? Can you connect me to potential speaking opportunities? Who do you know who could give me that helping hand, the next step up onto the centre stage?