Monday, February 29, 2016

UNEXPECTED ROLE MODELS

Dear gorgeous person, you!


That morning when you wake up feeling like 'Jack of all trades...' combined with having so much to do but literally not knowing where to start, to the point where it overwhelms the hell out of you and cripples you to the knees - sound familiar? Yes, that's exactly how I felt just over a week ago. I had gone to the gym to train with Antoinette, my personal trainer and despite not complaining at all, she realised how much I was hurting. Antoinette is beyond amazing. She's my rock, my shoulder to cry on, my second mum and my friend but she does not suffer fools gladly - she is one hell of a straight talking woman who accepts no excuses but is still intuitive enough to know when something serious is wrong and will always offer a listening ear.

She asked what was going on and I literally just burst into tears in the middle of the gym floor.  I didn't even realise I was feeling that emotional. Without going into much detail, she suggested I spoke with a lady called Diahanne Rhiney who oversees her golfer niece's career. Although she had never met Diahanne in person, she had liaised with her a few times and felt our attitudes to life and work are very similar. Also, because of Diahanne's experience and wealth of knowledge of the industry, she felt she would most likely have a lot of advice for me. As soon as I was home, I looked Diahanne up and gosh I was beyond impressed. I checked out her Huff Post, website, LinkedIn and a few videos including this one below, with 'Success Talks' called 'Sending the ladder down'. 


My first impression was how confidently she presented herself without being at all intimidating. She seemed quite soft spoken, yet very sure of herself - a woman who not only knows what she wants but is ballsy enough to work for it and somehow still manages to maintain a very high level of humility. Thankfully, she has a very strong social media presence and the more I looked her up, the more I realised how much of an impact she could have on me. She has been undoubtedly successful in her careers however one thing that really struck me was how strong a brand she actually has become. She is a publicist, a psychologist, a counsellor for women and young people who might be going through domestic violence and other forms of vulnerability. She seems to be pretty open about battling her own demons, including being a survivor of rape and the rather sudden loss of her mother and shortly after, her grandmother. She clearly appreciates the struggles of navigating through life and all the challenges that come with it. Consequently, now that she has become a successful woman, she's throwing the ladder out to others below her, which in my opinion, is beyond admirable. I was really looking forward to speaking with her.


Antoinette had passed on my details and luckily for me, Diahanne was interested in speaking with me. We set up a phone call and it really was like speaking with a mentor I had known for ages. She was full of advice and positivity. She understood exactly where I was coming from. She had looked up my work, seen my blogs and youtube videos hence she was quite specific with her thoughts and feedback. I was very grateful for her time and from the onset of our conversation, was eager to set up a date to meet. She invited me to one of her events that was happening in a few days time - Be and Beyond | Dine to Climb - an intimate private dinner purposely set up to bring women together, to share experiences and simply support each other. The guest speaker was the amazing Heather Melville.


Now this is the point where I regret not taking enough pictures of such a wonderful evening because I purposely wanted to be part of the evening rather than attending with my blogger hat on. The event was held at Hoxton Grill in a private dining area decorated so tastefully, in a very warm and welcoming setting. We had our own waitresses and the table had been set to perfection. I was welcomed by the lovely Ischel - Diahanne's PA and Sarah - who works as a project co-ordinator for SWIM, Diahanne's charity.  Heather was quick to loosen everyone up by asking us to give embarrassing stories of ourselves, the only one I could think of being my dress ripping just before I was about to chair the panel at The Girl's Network. You can read all about that, see all the pics and even watch the video here


Later in the evening we were served some fantastic food and Heather gave a succinct but extremely useful talk about whether we could be 'Superwomen'. It was an amazing talk that I felt I needed to hear. All the ladies sat around the table were either starting up businesses, owned their businesses or already quite high up in their given professions. Women naturally want to be successful at work, be a mum, wife, daughter, friend, sister, everything....but can we be though? I can tell you for sure, the conversations were interesting. Very helpful learning from other women's personal and professional experiences. Going to an event like this was a first but it seems I have now been welcomed into the Be and Beyond family so really looking forward to future events as well as having Diahanne in my life. In addition to having someone like Antoinette, I now have Diahanne, Heather and other inspirational women to look up to and turn to as a support network.


Isn't it amazing how something as simple as going to the gym and letting your emotions pour out, rather than being the 'strong independent woman who doesn't cry' can lead to something so unexpected like finding new role models you never even heard about? You may call it a coincidence but Diahanne tweeted me this 'Joy, nothing is by chance. We were connected for a reason. Love your energy and focus. Keep pushing forward. D x' - I definitely agree.




Have you ever met anyone unexpectedly who then became a role model to you? Do you feel like 'superwoman' sometimes and it crumbles you? Do you always feel the need to be strong and not share your emotions? Or perhaps you have found a 'sisterhood' - a close knit group of women who have become your network and safety net? Do you think women support other women enough? Do you think women are secretly competitive with each other? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.

Lots of love,
J
xo xo

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