Inspiring Change

Saturday 8th March is International Women's Day, and this year the theme is Inspiring Change. There are lots of events taking place over the weekend to celebrate this day and I've been to a couple. The Inspiring Females event held by the NECC on Friday, and Durham Creatives Women's Enterprise Workshops, Pop-Up Market and Enterprise Cafe held in Durham Town Hall today.

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The speakers at the Inspiring Females event were Margaret Byrne, the CEO of Sunderland Football Club telling a remarkable story of moving from dealing with criminal legal matters to running a business that covers a number of different functions (football, hospitality and major events held at the Stadium of Light) and finding that she could be asked to do anything in the running of the club and not be thrown by it.

Jo Hand of Jo Hand Recruitment, a vibrant redhead wearing a hot pink top, spoke about doing things differently, of always wanting to do the best she can, and of being the Macaw in the room at networking events - a bright, vibrant character who was memorable because she stood out.

Interestingly, the host, Nicky Gott, spoke about not being a feminist, as did a lawyer I walked out into the carpark with, and I compared it with my own thoughts on the subject as I wouldn't say that I'm a feminist either, but I recognise that I am from things that I've read about in the feminist press.

I think that many women in business now have got so used to equality that we don't recognise how much has been achieved for women's causes in the last 100 years - in much the same way that people squander their vote in elections. We accept it as our right. I sometimes describe myself as being a "humanist", although I know that means something different to what I'm trying to convey. However, it is only when you compare the things that we take for granted against what happens in other countries that you realise how privileged women in the UK and the West really are, although in reality there is still inequality. I saw a picture that shows how much things have changed since International Women's Day was introduced in 1909 - she's not quite Miley Cirus now is she?

Gillian Lewis: Spectrum - Blog post "Inspiring Change' photo of Annette Kellerman on the first International Women's Day

Annette Kellerman promotes women’s right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit, 1907. She was arrested for indecency


Sometimes, even with the current state of "equality" that exists, it is our own self-limiting belief that holds us back however. We believe that we aren't good enough to try something, to do something, to achieve something, to win something. Sometimes it needs somebody else to say some words that create a lightbulb moment that makes you realise you can take that step. It might be somebody who you know is going to give you their full support, but other times it may be a chance conversation that inspires you to take action - or there might have been somebody in the room who has been inspired by the words of another.

Today, hopefully, I've contributed something to somebody to be brave and take a step into the unknown as they came out of a workshop, inspired but concerned about aspects of starting their own business. I asked some questions to explore the fears. I came home and found a Facebook message saying that the person appreciated the help. I hope I get to see the results in the near future.

I remember my "Inspiring Change" conversation. It took place in Bristol, in the Aztec Hotel, sitting on a sofa in front of the window that looks from the corridor into the swimming pool.

I was in Bristol for work and was staying overnight. I arrived at the hotel, tired and weary and checked in. As I was walking through the corridor, I bumped into Alex, a business analyst I had been working with recently (it was the hotel that lots of members of staff stayed in so you were virtually guaranteed to bump into somebody) and we sat down to chat. He commiserated about being away from home.

At the time, my marriage was imploding quite spectacularly and I said I was unhappy but being frightened about separating. His response was "You've got one life; don't do things that make you unhappy".

I booked an appointment at the solicitor within the week.

The thing is that this was a chance conversation, and I had very little contact with Alex subsequently, and I certainly never got the chance to thank him for helping me to make the decision that was right for me. But I've never forgotten.

So what would you need to inspire you to make the change that you know is within you?

If you think you would benefit from making a change, I have a limited number of sessions that I offer to help people discover their confidence.

I'd love to hear your comments on this post

Gillian Lewis
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Gillian Lewis

Self Image Coach at Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy based in Darlington, County Durham, UK
What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles.Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect.Sometimes it's serious.Sometimes it's just fun.Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience.If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you 😀
Gillian Lewis
FOLLOW ME
About Gillian Lewis

What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles. Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect. Sometimes it's serious. Sometimes it's just fun. Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience. If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you :-D

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