A thought for April

They call them April showers and my goodness there are plenty of them this year. The councils are fighting losing battles with the pot holes in the roads and car drivers are performing all sorts of antics to avoid them. On the plus side the trees are budding and look very promising; the daffodils, tulips and hyacinths are fabulous, and my grass is growing apace. When the sun shines it is a lovely time to be out and about.

Last month I wrote about The Higgins Museum mounting the Celebrating Women of Bedfordshire exhibition and since then I have had some wonderful conversations about it. Mostly these have been about inspiration.

People have told me who inspired them and why. As they have done so I have watched them get excited again as they relive the moment.

There have been many inspirational teachers mentioned, always by name and with fondness. People who saw something in someone that no one else had spotted and then talked about how it could be developed. There is the wonderful story of Trevor Huddleston, buying the first trumpet for Hugh Masekela, as a 14-year-old who became world famous as a musician and a huge force in the anti-apartheid movement.

There have been inspirational parents either because they did something special or because they recognised something in their children and encouraged them to become something which was not viewed as a real job. I think of so many of the parents of successful sports people. They got up in the middle of the night year after year to get that young person to the ice rink, onto the river or to the gym before school. As the youngster got better they had to be ferried further afield. Family holidays were based around sporting events! And often the epitome of the career is the Olympics or World Championships and they were not able to go. However, it is rare to speak with someone who makes the podium without them thanking those devoted and loving parents.

There were many people in the work place who spotted a talent and then opened doors to allow the person to develop it. How often can we spot our own talents and abilities? We need someone else to identify it and see where it fits in and how it can be developed.

As a mentor I love all this. Someone who believes in you, encourages you and introduces you to people who can help is pure gold. To watch people, remembering when that happened to them is magical. However long ago it might have been, just talking about the memory lights up the person with all the feelings of the moment.

It got me thinking – why not encourage more people to tap into this and rekindle the inspiration and encouragement?

So, I am in the process of developing The Inspire Initiative, which is a competition for women who live or work in Bedfordshire and is designed to help the development of 21st Century business women, whatever their working lives may be. As soon as the website goes live (www.theinspireinitiative.co.uk) I will drop you an email. Please spread the news throughout your network.

The competition is based on an entry describing who inspired you and why. The format can be:

  • A three-minute video
  • A 1000-word blog
  • A PowerPoint presentation of no more than 10 slides

The competition is open to any woman of any age who lives in or works in Bedfordshire, and is not in full time education. It opens as soon as the website is running and closes on Monday 2 July, at 6pm. There is no age limit. It is all about reconnecting women with their influencers and reminding them of that special feeling.

There are two ways to win:

  1. The judges will decide on a shortlist of finalists and then pick the winner who will receive two years of free mentoring with me.
  2. All names of all entrants will go into a draw and the winner will receive one year of free mentoring with me.

However, I hope that everyone will win by reviving that original enthusiasm and that confidence engendered by a special person in their lives.

It is my passion to pass on what I know and offer the support I have had; if you are female and want some of this then apply for the Inspire Initiative. Please share this with all the women in your network.

If you are male I am sorry I will not be able to do this work for free but please speak to me about working with a mentor. A mentor will inspire, guide, teach and share. Eleanor Roosevelt got it right when she said “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself”. Let’s chat about what you want to achieve; whether it is improvement in your business skills; development of management skills or personal skills to make you more effective, and I will explain my processes – if you decide they are robust and will take you forward then you can decide whether to buy me to help or I will suggest other people who might be appropriate.

If this has been interesting, please share it.