I met my husband as a teenager, fell madly in love and gave up all my career aspirations to follow him around the world chasing his dream job, followed by having children. There just wasn’t time for me to think about investing myself in a career oriented future. Don’t get me wrong, it was 100% my choice and I wouldn’t give up the life I have had for anything. But now, my husband’s career is self sufficient, my children are teenagers who think I’m an irrelevant and I’m often left with too much time to ponder. Particularly in today’s modern world, there is so much emphasis (and pressure) on women to be everything. Be the perfect mother, the Stepford wife, the master chef and as if that’s not enough, now we have to be entrepreneur career successes as well.
There definitely came a time where I was getting bored. I had to jump back in the saddle and work, not for money, luckily financially we are good, but this gave me the perfect opportunity to work for love. Go back to photography. Being the wife of a successful athlete, mediocre wasn’t in my vocabulary so I wanted to be the best. I researched, went to seminars, studied, and pretty much worked my butt off. I was the quintessential definition of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I spent forging my revived career was time wasted.
I listened to all the podcasts and read all the books from these inspirational successful mums who changed their lives and became a massive success. In fairness, none ever profess that it was over night. They all say it was hard work with a lot of knock backs and I admire the hell out of these ladies. They are doing it all and winning.
But I recently had an epiphany. Here I was trying to change the world, be someone successful, follow every piece of advice from every other successful woman I admired and still, I was getting nowhere. But then I realised, I don’t want to change the world, I don’t want to have a huge social media following or people know my name. I just want to do the job I love, do it well and make my small little stamp in my corner of the universe. Leave behind a few images that inspire others.
It’s okay to be alone. There have been times where I have been in a room full of people, but felt my loneliest. I can get more value out of a quiet corner and a great book, than having to be at every social function and coffee morning. Less is more. Surround yourself with fewer people but make them the right people. If someone doesn’t make you feel good about yourself or happy, if you feel like you are always trying to compete or live up to their expectations, firstly, this is your problem and they probably don’t care, but they’re not your tribe. You need to step back and focus on what and who it is you want to be.
The one thing I have discovered in my travels and research, there are lots of other ladies out there like me. Sure, I’m confident travelling, solo, with groups, men anyone really, any excuse. But I have found that there are women a bit older, financially stable, but not venturing out because they don’t have the confidence. They want to explore, get out of their comfort zone, stretch their boundaries, but how to do it? As a seasoned traveller, I came up with the bright idea of “Women’s only” luxury tours in conjunction with a National Travel Agency. Nothing huge. Our recent tours have been discovering Tasmania, and they’ve been incredible. A small group of women, road tripping – think Thelma and Louise meets Eat, Pray Love, and we’ve giving women the confidence to not rule the world, but just start to embrace their own corner of the world.
Sadly, in today’s overly politically correct society, there has been some backlash. On some recent advertising of the upcoming trips, there have been messages about “if men did this”, “it’s discrimination, why can’t men attend” etc. So I’m at a loss. How do we build confidence in women with responses like this? I only hope it encourages more women to take the leap and ignore the haters – after all, there’s always going to be a few.
What would happen to the world if, god forbid, Instagram shut down, or the internet shut down? Ok so based on probability, that’s never going to happen but these people that have built their life on their online world, what do they really have? Where do all those “fans” go if the platform goes away? Are we turning out back on our real life for this instant gratification? I know I have been guilty of it in the past. And that’s where I am trying to refocus my priorities.
I guess what I am really trying to say here is, we are on a planet of billions of people. There is room for all of us. If your goal is thousands of social media follows, Insta glory, then go for it. There’s a big business out there for you and it’s happening for loads of people. But for the rest of us, it’s okay too. There’s plenty of avenues to pursue and plenty of work. Think outside the square, but most importantly, whatever you do, do it with passion and honesty, at least that way, no matter what, you have always won!