International Women’s Day fell on 8th March, and by coincidence the same week marked my two-year anniversary of leading Women In Business Network (WIBN) meetings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I felt a strong need to mark both occasions in a positive and uplifting way!
In addition to the one minute each meeting member receives to tell the group more about their business, I asked each member to stand and talk for a further two minutes about somebody who personally inspires them. There were no restrictions; members could talk about a famous person they had never met, a close friend or a treasured business mentor of either sex.
Throughout the meeting, we heard some wonderful stories about grandmothers and grandfathers, brothers and sisters, colleagues, best friends, and inspirational public figures including Oprah Winfrey, Marie Curie and the late Professor Stephen Hawking, amongst many others.
I chose to speak about my grandmother, who was light-years ahead of her time, and of whom I’m very proud. Born in 1912 (just a few days before the Titanic’s maiden voyage), this incredible woman taught herself to read in three different languages, lived in many countries and started a successful business as a dressmaker. Curious, lively and intelligent, she had many diverse interests and was a wonderful, nurturing mother until the day she died aged 95.
What really inspires me about my grandmother was that although she didn’t let anything or anyone stop her from achieving a fulfilled life, she did it all in a quiet and dignified way that makes me glow with pride. In short, she simply got on with it, just like a great deal of the other inspirational people we heard about throughout the meeting.
I think remembering the people who inspire us allow us to inspire others in turn. For me, this is all about creating pathways for the future, with footprints that others are able to follow. The overwhelming moral of the day was that if you want to think big in life, sometimes you just have to go for it, trust your instincts and not worry about what anybody else says or thinks.
For an instantly uplifting boost, I invite you to spend a few moments thinking about the people who have inspired you the most in your life and career. What footprints did they leave for you to follow?