If one could only skip from one mountain top of success to the next without having to travel through the valleys of self-doubt and frustration – life would be so easy. If that was so, I would say that you would learn very little about yourself and others. Success is really about how many times you get up after you have fallen. As my surfing instructor once told me “Surfing is not about catching the wave, it is about how many times you are willing to get back up on the board”. Success is about getting just a little bit clearer on what matters to you most every time you get up and continue. It’s your WHY that drives you forward.
And, eventually it is your WHY that calls you to stand up and be counted.
For women standing up for themselves or self-advocating can be a daunting experience. Much of the unease surely is about how women are still raised and socialised, the same way they pick up money blocks when they are young. Women are told they are not good with money and so they believe it, when in fact they are wired to be great at it. This also happens to be my message – contrary to popular belief – woman are terrific at money.
In her book, “Leaning In” Sherryl Sandberg (CEO of Facebook) notes that “everyone needs to get more comfortable with female leaders, including female leaders themselves.”
When people asked me who nominated me for the AFA Award in Female Excellent in Advice Award – I felt guilty, almost shameful to admit that I nominated myself. The voice in my head screaming loudly “damn right, I do great work”. So why was I so uncomfortable standing tall and leaning in? My upbringing. Women do not boast or purposely shine. Oh such chains of generational programming.
In Sherryl’s eyes “I was not comfortable being a female leader, who was at the top of her game”
The application process felt effortless. That happens when you are passionate about what you do, you can articulate your message clearly and you are willing to stand up for it. Before I had a chance to retract my application (yep – I had a moment of wobble), I got the call that the judges wanted to interview me. Really? 210 nominations and only 5 finalists. That meant I was considered to be in the top 2% of my peers even if I did not win.
I very much felt like the “accidental finalist”. Nothing I am doing seems so special to me, yet countless women call me the Money Mindset Magician. They say I have changed their life in just a few hours of attending my Money Smart Woman Master Class.
Things become effortless when you are in your expertise, element and flow. It’s chemistry.
Next came the “shark tank” style pitch for my place to get to the top. 5 judges and me alone in a room. No life lines. No excuses. Just you, being you. This is where you have to stand in the fire. Michelle K. says “Some women are lost in the fire. Some women are built from it”. I happen to love fire, it has a way of cutting to the chase.
The best sword blade are smithed in a blistering fire. It’s alchemy.
I survived the fire, but I did not win the top honour. My dear friend did which made me happy.
However, I won my own honour for having advocated for myself. I won because I stood up for my Why. I won because I stood up for the women before me who paved the way for me to be able to walk in their path. I won because I paved the way for other women to follow in my steps.
Ultimately the path to the top was a journey of personal development. Reconfirmation that what I do matters, even if only in a small way.