A Weekend of Celebrating Inspirational Women #InternationalWomen’sDay2018
Women Lighting the Way
by Charlie Mitchell
I first met Lisa at a networking event about 7 or 8 years ago. I remember the moment vividly even though it was such a long time ago and I have been to hundreds of events and met many hundreds of people. Yet, Lisa stood out straight away.
She stood tall, smiled broadly and was so welcoming. She was immaculately dressed, something I struggled with before I had children, and put me at ease, in a very male dominated environment.
I went on to take part in a couple of open workshops she ran and even did a couple of fire walks that she hosted. They were incredible, and helped me to let go of what no longer served me and step into an empowered place of fearlessly focusing on my own priorities.
When Jason died, I ended up questioning so much in my life. My self-esteem took a serious battering. I lost belief in a lot of things and for a while, that included belief in myself. It was difficult to take care of the kids and for a short time I put myself at the back of the queue.
I quickly realised this wasn’t going to work as a long-term strategy; if I was not ok then no one else in the house was going to be ok. I started putting things in place to take of me first and my self-esteem increased. I have been building and building myself back up over the last 9 months and when Lisa mentioned at the start of 2018 that she was starting her new 21 day programme I leapt at the chance. Her work is always so inspirational so I knew I wanted to give it a go. To be honest she could have been doing a 21 day programme on the care of giraffes and I would probably have gone for it!
The 21 days were amazing and helped me to connect with parts of myself that I had almost forgotten about for a long time. There was one day in particular that I want to share with you.
We were exploring qualities we admired in other people in quite a lot of detail. I explored the qualities I love about Lisa as she has always inspired me, along side people I have admired from afar.
I have always loved Oprah Winfrey. She has an incredible level of determination, and has faced many challenges in her own career. I loved hearing in one of her YouTube videos about her experience as young TV presenter, going into a room filled with white, middle class men and needing to be able to hold her own. She described how she would imagine before she entered the room that she had the support of her 5000 ancestors with her. They were alongside her so she was not entering that room as the only black young woman.
That perspective of accessing strength of those who have gone before has been very powerful for me. I adapted this to one of my creative projects and have been knitting with my ancestors, bringing their spirit and positivity into my life with every stitch.
Other qualities I thought about in relation to Oprah were her passion and her commitment to progression for everyone, regardless of gender or race.
Another woman Lisa’s activity reminded me of was Pema Chodron. She is a Tibetan Buddhist nun who has written a number of books including When Things Fall Apart which I have found incredibly helpful. Her description of groundlessness was very powerful at a time when I felt overwhelmed by my feelings in a way I had not experienced before. She brings a genuine, real peace to her work. She is calm and yet a very influential leader.
I enjoyed reflecting on the qualities of the leaders I admire and just doing that gave me a warm glow. Lisa asked further questions and for one answer I picked taking part in the London Marathon. I can’t say that I ran it, as it was a combination of running and walking, and yet I did make it all the way round before sunset and I am incredibly proud of that achievement!
We then explored embodying qualities and the penny dropped for me! I had actually been embodying many of the qualities that I saw in others myself without really thinking about it. It was fascinating to me that I have been a coach and leadership development professional for a number of years and yet I had lost touch with recognising those qualities within myself.
Lisa’s support has been invaluable in helping me to reconnect with those aspects of myself that I had forgotten about. In the past I have set up a social enterprise, and now I am in the process of writing a book. Sometimes we take ourselves for granted and there is so much benefit in taking a step back and looking at our lives from the outside.
Take 5 minutes today to sit with yourself, to connect deeply with the wholeness of you. Notice what arises and remember to take care of your precious self! We have access to everything we need and often it is right in front of our noses.
I am eternally grateful for the strong women in my life, that I am closely connected with and those I admire from afar, as they are torchbearers, lighting the way and reminding me that I can.
Due to the birth of her third child and untimely death of her partner, she has taken time out to grieve, heal and learn new ways of living. She is currently writing a book about surviving crisis and living bravely. She has a private Facebook group where she shares she skills and experience to help others use challenges as a catalyst for positive growth. She does live videos and webinars as part of the process.
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