End of an era and the start of something new….

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Well this week has been an interesting one to say the least. Not only is it the end of another year approaching, for me, it is the end of an era. It has been a time, that I never thought would come, but then I never thought I would ever get to work for the company of my dreams, doing a job that I love.

Thursday saw me spending the last day in my office, as I prepared to finish my current role before moving onto pastures new in January. Decisions made purely on the basis of career wants and needs. My new step will take me into bigger and tougher challenges. I will be drawn into more complex and demanding situations but I will be pushed to become better than I ever thought possible.

At times over the last month, I have questioned if I am ready for the role? If I can do the role? and if this is right? Part of that comes from my earlier statement but also leaving a monumental company with a world renowned reputation and brand. I think the real challenge for me, was did I want to leave my ideal company? or did I want to push my career another few steps further forward?

Naturally my innate ambition won out – why because I am naturally competitive, I want to be the best. I love to be challenged and this new role will certainly be that. Moving back from a global company to a more local and European perspective will be only one of the many challenges I am facing. Nonetheless, like everything else in my life I will stare down the barrel, look over the edge and blindly step into the unknown, and hope my skills, wit, sense of humour, integrity, professionalism and tenacity to succeed will hold me in good stead.

So for me it is out with the past, in with the new. And all I can think to say is “hello future”, what do you have in store for me today?

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You are an inspiration

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Over the last few years, I have had several people tell me that they find me inspirational; look up to me and admire me. To me I find this quite incredulous. Why because I am nothing special. In fact if you ask me to describe myself I would probably tell you, that I am selfish, self-centred, socially inept, a loud and proud Geek bordering on Nerdom at times (husband would probably say quite frequently). I am a loner and I struggle to make friends. Over the last 10 years I have lost more friends than I care to think of. Some just disappeared off the planet, others told me I was a bad friend and they wanted nothing more to do with me because they asked me a question and they did not like my answer, as I flagged my concerns about the rationale behind specific decisions. I am intensely private and find small talk uncomfortable, trying and most often than not unnecessary. I am a classic introvert. Shy, quiet, bookish and prefer my own company to that of others.

Yesterday when we we met up with friends and she said to me you know I find you inspirational and I really admire you. I was like what is wrong with you girl, I am no one to be admired or look up to. My friends response surprised me. Her answer was you are always so positive even when things can seem the bleakest. You always wear a smile and you are there for others regardless of your own difficulties. You are brutally honest without being unkind, even if the words, can sometimes be hard to swallow but they are always said with the best of intentions and to challenge and make sure the reasons behind doing something are the right ones. You are not afraid of to do things and you live life to the full.

Naturally overwhelmed by this response, I felt somewhat flattered that people could see me this way. I felt uncomfortable as if I was being some guiding light, person on a pedestal to all. After all if you are on a pedestal there is only place to go and that it is downwards. For me, I am none of these things. I made hard decisions early on in my life about how I wanted to be and what I was prepared to do to be me
regardless of societies rules and limitations. One of those was to always wear a smile. I have always felt a simple smile can lighten anyone’s day without the need of kind words . Showing respect to everyone and having time and patience to talk to people as if they are people regardless of walks of life, past, present or future. Wearing a smile when all you want to do is cry or curl in a ball and die or never get up, can be tough. I had decided I would not be swallowed up by the grief and anxiety and injustice of some of my life events. I wanted them to be learning activities. I needed to be in control of what I did and what I choose to do. I would be solely responsible for my actions and the direction of my life.

People find this fascinating. I know in my previous role when people told me they hated their job an I would say then leave, don’t stay they would look at me as if that was the most ridiculous idea ever. For me the situations was simple, if you hated your job that much and it made you unhappy , find something else. If on the other hand, you just wanted something to moan about be more specific, because as a manager I might have the power to change that. It is that simple philosophy, I cant help you if you are not prepared to help yourself a little. I still carry this with me today. My current company has been going through some major re-structures and lots of job insecurity issues have arisen. Not wanting to leave, as this was a company I had always wanted to work for and despite everything I loved my job. However, as stated above, I am not a person to leave my fate in the hands of others. So I updated my linked in profile, and re-activated some job search pages, more to see what possibilities existed rather than to move and there it happened. An agent called with an amazing opportunity for me. I had several conversations with the company and was offered a new role. Has stated although I was not actively looking the new role is a great opportunity and was too good to pass up. As such I have chosen to move my career forwards then wait to see if I have a role in the new environment or not. Most people find this odd, others have looked on in awe, as I walk away from a job I love, I company I have always wanted to work for, to pastures new and new challenges. I am sure the new role will have its own struggles but it is a path I have chosen and a path I will walk until it is time to find something new. It is as Sheryl Sandberg says in ‘Lean In’ it is a Jungle Gym out there. Gone are the days of career ladders, unless you are prepared to forge your own path, you may well become stale and mouldy like old cheese.

Does this make feel like I am worthy to be looked up to, admired and be an inspiration to others. Not really. But if people can learn something and understand that their future is in their hands and they are responsible for their own decisions. If I can teach people, young women that the world is yours for the taking and take every opportunity that comes your way. Life is hard, but hard work, dedication & focus can make a lot of things happen. Never be afraid to step into the unknown despite how scary it may seem. To conquer those fears and to remember keep that small child alive to help keep you dreaming to become bigger, better and be the best you can be. Then I think we will start to see a better world, a brighter world. A happier world not only for today but for the future generations to come.

facing my fears and surviVing to tell the tale

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As anyone who knows me will tell you.  Over the last 38 years I have numerous fears over time and become comfortable or conquered most of them to not have them play an issue in my life.  The only one remaining free that can still have my paralysed is my fear of heights.  I can get incessant vertigo in a cinema and come out in sweats  depending on the camera shot.  For my achievements in this area has been able to ride roller coasters that do loops, inverted helix’s heart rate lines etc… without breaking a sweat.  This has resulted in numerous of hours of fun at places like Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Chessington, where I have ridden things like, Saw, Nemesis, Smiler, Rattlesnake, Swarm etc… to name but a few.

This also meant that when I met up with my oldest friend a few months back I was able to climb up onto her roof top in Notting Hill, and although it gave me the sweats I managed to do it without too many problems.

Today however, I faced my biggest challenge Stealth.  For a vertigo freak going some  62M in the air was not a height that filled me with pleasure and although the tallest Roller Coaster is currently 139M at Six Flags Great Adventure with their Kingda Ka, for me this was a do or die day.  Seeing the queue length begin a paltry 50 minutes we choose just to go for it.  As we neared the tension rose as the ride broke down several times and a test run was done when we were 2 from the front of the line.  But as I climbed aboard the seats, I knew the G-Force would not be so terrifying having ridden RITA at Alton Towers.  Stealth itself is considerable shorter in ride length and in G-Force.  So all I kept telling myself is that the total ride is 6 seconds.  Yes that is right 6 seconds.

After being catapulted to  80 MPH in 2 seconds and climbing to the top of the 60M and commencing the vertical drop into the descent I managed to let out a whoop realising not only had I managed to face my fear but actually quite enjoyed it and sadistically wanted to ride it again, but at the front of the queue line …. oh dear what will come next will surely be a story for another time.