Borrow My Mentors this International Women's Day

Borrow My Mentors this International Women's Day

March 8, 2024

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Borrow My Mentors this International Women's Day

March 8, 2024

Borrow My Mentors this International Women's Day
Melitta Campbell, Business Coach for Women - LinkedInMelitta Campbell, Business Coach for Women - Pinterest

Show Notes

This year’s theme for international women’s day is ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’.

 

While I think this is a brilliant and much needed theme, I also think it could feel overwhelming for individuals wanting to play their part.

 

So today,I’d love to share with you some of the ways men have invested in me in smaller ways, which have accelerated my growth – and led me to help accelerate the growth of other women too.

 

Last Friday it was St. David's Day in Wales. According to legend, St. David's dying words were: “Do the little things”. This became a well known phrase in Wales, and I thank the men I'm about to tell you about for taking the time to do the little things that matter - these have made a big difference in my life.

Prefer to listen? Here is my special International Women's Day minisode on this topic on the Art of Value Whispering podcast:

 

Mentor #1: My Dad

As a child, I loved going to my father’s office. He was head of IT for one of theUK’s largest financial organisations. It was always fun to see the giant computers!

 

When I was eight, I visited his office and in the entrance, we met a really tall grey-haired man. He greeted my father, then bent down on one knee so he could speak to me eye-to-eye. When we got to my dad’s office, he sat me down and told me he had something important to share with me:

“I don’t know why, but when you grow up and start work you will come across men who will tell you that you can’t do things because you are a girl. I want you to know that is not true. When they say that to you, I want you to remember today. And the fact that the man who signs the bank notes got on his knees to talk to you!”.

 

Thanks to my dad’s encouragement, when I have worked with such men (sadly, there have been many), I did indeed remember that one of the most powerful men in the country spoke to me like a human, eye-to-eye, and that  I should only ever accept the views of people who show me proper respect.

 

I also remember my dad and how disappointed he was at the behaviour of such small-minded men. It reminds me that they are not the people I should allow to influence my own self-belief or thinking.

“I don’t know why, but at work you will come across men who will tell you that you can’t do things because you are a girl. I want you to know that is not true!" Anthony Hughes (my Dad!)

 

 

Mentor #2: My FirstBoss

After university I started working for a small interior design company that furnished rental homes and large buy-to-let projects. I worked within the sales office, but my role was focused mostly on marketing and branding.

 

I was young and full of ideas. And my boss, the CEO, was always happy to hear them. He challenged my ideas to ensure I’d considered all angles and then either agreed that I should proceed or sometimes we both saw that it wasn’t the right thing to pursue.

 

However, sometimes we didn’t agree. I was convinced something would work well. And he thought it would never work. In those situations, he invariably told me to go and prove him wrong.

 

He taught me that my ideas were valuable and worth being properly heard. And if others didn’t agree with my vision (even if they were older, more experienced or male), it didn’t mean that I was wrong. He also showed me that often the only way to really know if something will work, is to try.

 

I’m forever grateful for the mindset he helped me to cultivate. Over the years it has enabled me bring my unique brand of value into the world in many different ways.

You're ideas and opinions are valuable. They deserve to be heard and considered. Keep speaking up and ignore negativity from those who don't see your vision.

 

 

Mentor #3: My Second Boss

Some years later, it was time to test and grow my skills in a new environment. I started work as head of marketing and branding for a marine consultancy. This was a male dominated environment, and many of the company’s senior managers were ex-captains. Old-school type men who were used to running their own ship(literally) and never having their commands questioned.

 

On my first Friday, I was just about to go home when one such Captain came into my office and asked me to type a fax for him. I informed him that that wasn’t my role and he’d probably be quicker typing it himself. He went straight into the CEO’s office, very confused as to why he had hired a woman who can’t type! The CEO called my extension and asked me into his office. I was convinced I was about to be fired!

 

“Capt.Lloyd tells me you wouldn’t type his fax, is that correct?” Yes, I replied, I didn’t think that was my job.

 

“I see.Come closer.” I walked up to his desk. And he smiled and shook my hand as he told me: “Quite right. And never make the coffee either!”.

 

The lesson was clear: live up to your own expectations.

 

As women we often feel duty-bound to help everyone, even if what we are being asked to do doesn’t match our skills, priorities or interests. But we CAN say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t serve us.

 

Over my career and life, I have enjoyed saying ‘no’ to lots of things. When people ask me how I get so much done, my answer is always “I don’t! I just don’t waste time on things that are irrelevant to my vision or goals”. You have my full permission to do the same.

Know your value, play to your strengths and never make the coffee if it's not your role to do so!

 

Mentor #4: My Last Boss

My last boss was perhaps the most inspiring of all. He encouraged me daily. Supported my ideas and welcomed my thoughts, even when they were opposed to his own. He also shared my love of personal development and shared amazing tools, insights and books with me.

 

But there were two perspectives he shared with me that I share most often with others, as I don’t think these are things that women are told often enough, if ever!

 

When we were discussing why women don’t put themselves forward for a role they aren’t100% perfect for, he said:

 

“Why would you accept a job you know you can do? There is no growth in that! You’re best off going for a job that interests you, and then grow into the perfect person for that role over time.”

 

And when I left the company to focus on my family, he told me this:

 

“I want you to know that being a parent is the biggest leadership lesson you’ll ever learn. When you return to the office, keep this in mind. You haven’t taken big step backwards. In fact, you’ll come back with so many more amazing skills. We, or any boss, would be lucky to have you.”

 

Since becoming a Mum, I have shared that wisdom with so many other mothers who have started to feel like they have lost their skills or value. You haven’t. You’ve become more badass than ever ; )

 

Being a parent is the biggest leadership lesson you’ll ever learn. It will teach you many skills that will make you more valuable. Mum's remember, you are a badass!

Now, it's over to you!

I have had countless other amazing male and female bosses, coaches and mentors over the years, but the lessons above are the ones that have given me (and others) the most courage to be myself, trust my own instincts and grow.

 

Ladies, I hope these lessons will help you speak up and be boldly you too. If they do, be sure to pass them on to the other women in your network.

 

Men, I hope my insights have shown you just how powerful a force you can be when you take the time to inspire and encourage the women around you. Please keep doing so!

 

And I’m curious - who has inspired your courage and growth over the years? What did they share and how did that impact you?

Let me know in the comments or better still, come and join the discussion in my free community: the Dream Clients Club, here.

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Borrow My Mentors this International Women's Day

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