“Choice, not chance, determines your future” ~ Layne Beachley
Hearing these words from Layne Beachley stopped the thoughts swirling in my head and forced me to really think about what they meant. I agree that we are the creators of our paths; indeed one of my favourite sayings is, “I am the mistress of my own destiny” (I often sign it for those who buy copies of Business & Baby on Board). But for some reason I needed to hear them again, and it was at exactly the right time.
2014 has heralded a huge change for me. After working for myself since 2006 this year I started studying for a PhD, which meant Strawberry Communications no longer had my full-time attention.
Instead of pouring my focus into what I needed to do for my clients or to market Strawberry Communications every day, I have been juggling those commitments with completing ethics applications and literature reviews. To say my life has changed is an understatement!
Then, at the end of July, disaster struck. My foot was injured very badly and three months later I’m still recovering. I couldn’t walk or drive and was a prisoner in our home (the one we moved into the day after my accident), relegated to sitting on the lounge with my foot elevated as it healed. My study has suffered; my work has suffered; my confidence has suffered.
This is where my mindset was at when I answered the phone to a number I didn’t recognise one morning two weeks ago. The caller was Grace from Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus program, who wanted to invite me to the Tasmanian Telstra Business Women’s Awards as their VIP guest that Friday night. I’m not usually free on Friday nights as my partner works but, as luck would have it, he had that Friday off. I was excited; I was going to Hobart to be inspired!
As I drove down the Bass Highway that Friday morning, singing along to my favourite tunes from Coldplay, Daft Punk, Prince and Madonna, I thought about the night ahead, who I was likely to meet and what that meant to me. Bathed in the pinky purple glow inside the Grand Chancellor Hotel’s ballroom, I introduced myself to those sitting on my table, including my host from Commonweath Bank, very new Tasmanian Marco Artini (who graciously accepted a copy of my book as a thank you), and sat back to listen to Layne’s story.
The seven-time world surfing champion had far more to share than where the best waves are; she spoke about how, on the precipice of her sixth championship win, she battled her head to overcome negativity and exhaustion when she really just wanted to give up. I know that feeling; I’ve been living it for the past few months. I keep pushing myself to return to that positive mindset I’m known for and get back on track to achieving my goals. I’ve been slowly clawing my way out of the hole I was in, but when Layne said, “The greatest growth happens when challenge and support meet,” I knew she was speaking my language.
This year has been a challenge for me, but I am surrounded by support in my husband and sons, great friends, university supervisor, my wider online networks and inspiring women like Layne Beachley, Rebecca Owens (Young Business Woman winner), Dixie Emmerton (Business Owner winner), Allison Clark (Private and Corporate Sector winner), Donna Adams (Community and Government winner, Business Innovation winner and Tasmania’s Telstra Business Woman of the Year).
And if you’re a hard-working female aged over 12 years and you’ve got a big dream, Layne Beachley’s Aim for the Stars Foundation is taking applications for scholarships right now. You’ve got until November 14 to apply, so head to www.aimforthestars.com.au to find out more.
Thank you Women in Focus for the invitation to attend the Telstra Business Women’s Awards as your guest, and the reminder that #womencan. And thank you for those words I needed to hear Layne.