What I learnt as a speed mentor at the Wow Festival

What can happen in 15 minutes?

….and no I’m not talking about that ; ), the washing-up, paying the bills, the supermarket dash, getting that meeting agenda together or even cooking dinner (anyone else reading Lean in 15 by the Body Coach?) – all of course whilst simultaneously checking Facebook.
As women we can move mountains in 15 minutes, shift mindsets, change perceptions and take action. And earlier this year I saw it all happen before my eyes.

The WOW London event at The Southbank Centre is now in it’s 5th year, it is a fantastic event whose ‘mission is to champion gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential’.

I have always wanted to go but circumstances wouldn’t allow it, namely having a baby hanging onto my boobs and then the following year she’d moved down to my ankle but alas still not detached enough for me to make it.

The energy at the event was electric, like an actual tangible thing, buzzing in and around the Southbank; infectious, inspiring and really freaking awesome.

Feminine power at its best.

I was there as a mentor. 1 hour + 4 women gracing the seat in front of me and 15 minutes intense chat with each of them.

Aside from being the fastest hour ever, it showed me yet again that we are all the same. The details might be dressed in different robes yet the themes are reoccurring, to different levels and varying degrees, yes, but essentially all the same.

 

Here are my 5 key takeaways:

1. FEAR.

Everyone feels it.

My favourite way to view fear is heavily influenced by the likes of Liz Gilbert and Brene Brown. Thanking fear for turning up and trying to protect me and then letting it know I am going to carry on regardless. Not easy and most definitely an evolving picture.

Fear isn’t going anywhere but let’s not allow it to stop us from doing what we want to do.

2. WORRYING ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.

And it gets more complex than this. Often we are actually building a narrative in our minds of what those thoughts are.
But ultimately it is impossible to control what others think of us, nor should we waste time making up a story of what we think others are thinking.

Most of the time we probably have it all wrong and besides what a person thinks about us is all wrapped up in ‘their stuff’, what is going on in their lives, how they feel about themselves. It could even come down to how stressed they are with work or how much sleep the baby allowed them to have that night.

The main point is…it’s not about you.

3. CELEBRATE SUCCESSES.

One of the mentees had lost confidence following a negative experience in a previous job.
We talked about a few different things related to this and then spent the last 5 minutes of the session celebrating her successes. I asked her to name 10 things she has done that she is proud of.

She responded with a ‘are you serious?’ look, followed by an embarrassed giggle and after a tentative start she was well into her stride and named a full 10!

Cue big smiles and high fives all round.

Writing down the stuff you are proud of becomes a powerful reminder of how amazing you are. Try it!

4. PERMISSION.

Permission to go for it.
Permission to be yourself.
Permission to focus on one thing (especially when you have a million ideas).
Permission to let your light shine.

5. CONFIDENCE.

You are good enough. Really you are.

What I found really interesting about the day was that these ladies really just wanted someone to talk to.
A 15 minutes devoted entirely to them. Very rarely do any of us have that kind of space and attention. And that is exactly what I want to create with A Life More Inspired.

So what can happen in 15 minutes?

A real genuine connection, sharing of ideas, mutual appreciation and inspired action.

 Magic!

Learning as much from these lovely ladies as I shared.

Privileged they allowed me to be in their space and for them volunteering their thoughts and feelings so freely.

I wish I could do it every week…

Or maybe I can? This is a format, I believe works. I’d love to replicate it in some shape or form. If this is something you’d be interested in, let me know!