Before I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2014 I can honestly say I struggled with relationships with other women. Wow that feels really vulnerable to share, but it’s true. I had a few very special and close friends but didn’t feel I belonged in a women’s world. The idea of even talking about celebrating International Friendship Day would have been an anathema to me!
I’d spent the previous twelve years in a corporate environment where I very definitely ‘wasn’t one of the girls’. I worked extremely long hours, which set me apart from my peers – I found it hard to switch off and socialize.
As a member of the management team I felt I needed to keep a certain distance from colleagues, particularly as the only woman in a senior role. Interestingly the senior male managers were very sociable with the staff and managed this juggling act. So guess how much of this was self-perception!
The decade before that I’d run my own business. Again as the ‘boss’ I felt I needed that demarcation with my staff. I was also working from dawn to dusk, couldn’t switch off and so apart from my very strong friendships, acquaintances dwindled away.
The long hours meant I didn’t make the time to socialize outside work. My social life, such as it was, revolved around the gym and studio classes, i.e. not that social.
Notice the pattern to my behaviour! The truth of it was that I wasn’t confident.
Part of that was down to my eating disorder (at least until around 2006) but it was also that I was living a lie. I didn’t really know who I was and I didn’t feel authentic – I simply wasn’t ‘me’.
I felt that I spent my time trying to live up to very high expectations imposed by others and by myself. Others have helped me to see that this is the result of conditioning throughout my life.
So What Changed?
I did, by letting go. It wasn’t a massive epiphany – I didn’t set out on a journey of self-development. To be honest I wasn’t even quite sure what that meant and was wary about finding out!
Leaving the corporate world the second time around in 2014 was the best thing that I had done for years! It allowed me to rediscover who I was. To reflect on what would make me happy.
There were rabbit warrens, false starts and expensive mistakes as I navigated my way through the winding waterways. But the consistent thing throughout my journey since 2014 has been the presence of other women in my life.
Women Empowering Women
Women I’ve met, with whom I’ve built strong relationships and deep bonds. Women I know will be there for me and I’ll be there for them too. To cheer each other on and be each others’ trumpet players! Be there for each other, with shoulders to cry on, mugs of coffee and glasses of wine as needed. Providing each other with a safe space to talk and offer support, hold each other accountable. But most importantly to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate each other.
International Friendship Day
On International Friendship Day I want to reach out and say a huge thank you to each and every one of the awesome women, who has been part of my journey so far. Thank you for being there and for allowing me to be part of your lives.
If you’d like to keep on celebrating being awesome why not join us on Facebook? I run Awesome Women as we’d love to welcome you to our tribe!