You don’t usually go to a conference expecting to hear about accidental almost-drownings, how to deal with nuclear attack or congratulatory messages from Jeremy Corbyn. You also don’t expect to meet a group of such friendly, encouraging and accomplished women together in one room either.
This year was the second year that the Women In Leadership Conference has run and after last year my expectations and hopes were high. The people organizing it this year delivered on those expectations and more. There was an impressive array of speakers from an Olympic bronze medalist to local politicians to women’s charities. There were even free notebooks and pens which is always a win!
The talks themselves were informative and engaging and a general theme of ‘you can do it’ was interwoven throughout all of them.
For those who couldn’t make it, here are the key lessons and takeaways of the day:
- Be loud and proud of your achievements.
We tend to see the good in others but overlook the good in ourselves. Instead of shying away from our various accomplishments or playing them off as “just doing your job”, own them. You deserve the praise and recognition for stuff that you do no matter how small or insignificant you think it is.
- Try your best at everything.
Even if you don’t come first in that race, or make as much money as you were hoping to or whatever else it might be, you’ll have that personal satisfaction with knowing that you tried your hardest. You won’t be left wondering what if?
- When it comes to our bodies, we have what we have. Make the most of it instead wasting energy hating it.
I think this one speaks for itself. Our bodies are amazing and do some really interesting and useful things for us day in and day out. Sometimes the thing you dislike about how you look can really be an advantage, like having longer arms when swimming competitively.
- Try to do one thing to improve yourself every day.
It doesn’t have to be much but if something you want seems unattainable then do one thing a day to help yourself reach that goal.
- Imposter syndrome can be hard to deal with at times but keep going. You DO deserve to be there.
Everyone gets imposter syndrome, from successful businesswomen to politicians to teachers to medical professionals to artists. Having a supportive network of people around you helps. Some women swear by having a list of all your achievements to look at when you’re struggling, but mostly it’s important to just keep going and keep doing what you’re doing.
- Be OK with being imperfect.
It’s been said a lot but perfect is a myth. That perfect person just doesn’t exist. Everyone has flaws and imperfections and bad days, it is part of what makes us human. Don’t expend energy into trying to be perfect because you’ll risk burning yourself out and that energy could be put towards much better uses.
This is an event that I look forward to every year and I feel grateful to have been a part of it so far. Many thanks to this year’s speakers: Laura Butler, Cassandra Patten, Joani Stansell, Charlotte Holloway, Dr Emily Beaumont, Sarah Stevenson, Dr Sarah Preedy, Lucy Findlay, Ruby Nation and Mick Davies. Extra thanks and congratulations to Laura, it’s not easy to balance studying for a postgraduate degree with Student Union responsibilities like organizing an amazing conference but you’ve done amazingly.
Here’s to many more years of the Women in Leadership Conference at Marjon.
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