“Empowerment is so important, but it is something we don’t do that often.”
#IAmRemarkable – A reflective blog by Sian Higgs – Supplier Relationship Manager at Stark Software International Limited
I’d like to start this blog with a bit of a personal thought…….
As with many of us, I have struggled with believing I am remarkable. It’s a battle I have in both my professional and personal life, even with the successes I have had. My friends and colleagues challenge me with these thoughts, whilst providing supporting commentary as to why this isn’t this case. During a management workshop recently, I put my fear of not being good enough as a key driver into what I feel slows me down and when I had to describe why I felt like this, I was told that this shouldn’t be a fear of mine as I am remarkable! Words used for my performance at work have been “stellar”, “outstanding”, and “impressive” – All amazing adjectives – why don’t I believe this??
I don’t believe this because my brain doesn’t accept praise or that I have done well……and I am not the only one to feel like this by the sounds of things.
And this is where #IAmRemarkable comes in…..and what an event this was. As I boarded the train in Exeter to head to the Big City for this workshop, I sat and pondered what I would get out of this and how will this help me moving forward? I thought about things I have done that makes me remarkable and once again, I start to challenge my positive thoughts on this. It’s like a little argument in your mind……..that little nagging voice. I’m going to name that voice………. that voice is now known as Susan!
I invited 3 of my lovely colleagues to join me at this workshop, so I was conscious that they also benefitted from this – Lots of pressure as I am a person that needs to please and make sure everything goes well. Again, Susan in the back of my mind reminding me of where things could go wrong! Cheers Susan!!
After meeting up with the ladies and discussing what we wanted from this workshop over some lovely Italian food, we make our way over to the Google offices near Victoria Train Station, navigating our way through London rush hour traffic. We enter the building, with a sense of unknown. It’s all a little scary meeting new people at times, but fortunately for me, I recognised a few faces that eased the anxiety a little.
Being welcomed so warmly by the lovely staff at Google soon calmed Susan and the anxiety and as we enter the workshop, we are welcomed with big smiles, openness, warm tea and juice and more important……goodies!
Once we got settled in and got ourselves a nice brew, we all sit down to learn how we can change behaviours to really promote self-worth and shout about how remarkable we are……and believe me, we were in a room full of remarkable women from all areas of the industry, but we were all women who, for some reason, couldn’t shout about how remarkable we are!! We discussed how we support others who have done well and offer praise back but when it came to shouting about our own work and success, there was a group feeling that it’s far more difficult to speak about our own personal and professional successes. Could this be down to being women and we have been taught socially that we shouldn’t do this? Is this because there is still a social and professional gap between men and women? Is it because women should be quieter? Is it because we can’t stick up for ourselves? Is it because we aren’t good enough? Who knows, but we were here to challenge these pre-conceived ideas…………as we are great, we are successful, we are women, and we are remarkable!! (God, I enjoyed writing that)
Empowerment is so important, but it is something we don’t do that often. I know that I personally rally my colleagues and offer my guidance, but I struggle to do this myself? I struggle asking for the pay rise as Susan is telling me I’m not good enough; I struggle going for the promotion, again as Susan is there telling me, “why, you won’t be able to do that” –
Well, following this workshop and discussing with the group why we feel we can’t talk about our success and being taught that self-promotion is like a muscle we need to work on and strengthen, I have started to consciously flex those confidence muscles by challenging those thoughts, because, I have got my job as I am really good at what I do. It’s a constant dialogue sometimes reminding myself that I am remarkable but I am. Here that Susan – I AM REMARKABLE!!
The main takeaway, apart from learning that empowerment and self-promotion is a muscle we need to work, is an exercise we did where we were challenged to write down WHY we are REMARKABLE and boy, this was a challenging but healthy exercise (I still have mine to remind myself) – As individuals we started to put pen to paper and write down our thoughts………and believe you me, the first few statements were hard to write, but as pandoras box was opened, I personally felt it getting easier to write down why I am remarkable, to the point that I just wanted to continue writing when the time given was up. These statements were truly personal so when we were asked if we wanted to share our thoughts, there was an obvious silence in the room………until one person spoke out and then, just like magic, we all opened up and I have to say, it was such a beautiful and emotional moment to share the honesty and humanity of everyone in the room. A very cathartic experience and I challenge everyone reading this to get a pen, put “Why am I remarkable” in a bubble and start writing your statements down. It’s soooooo good for you and it’s one thing I am going to push internally at work – Here’s mine 😊
Let’s all flex that muscle and let’s all realise that we are remarkable. Even if we feel like we’ve failed, we pick ourselves up and we learn!! We are humans, we are amazing, kind, strong and all this collectively means we are REMARKABLE!
A HUGE thank you to WUN for arranging this extraordinary workshop and Google for developing such an important session – I needed this……I really did!