I attended Omnicom’s Omniwomen event on Thursday – the first time it has ever been held in the UK. It was a seriously inspiring session, full of speakers – men and women – who had the courage to share not just what had made them successful, but the setbacks they’d battled along the way. In a group break out, one of the delegates shared a mantra she’d come to live by, “A set-back is a set-up for a come-back,” and as trite as it sounds, I’ve found myself replaying it in my mind ever since.
Speaking to my best friend on Saturday as she debated a career-dilemma, I was amazed at the advice that tripped off my tongue, all courtesy of Omniwomen:
Done is better than perfect – we can tie ourselves up in so many knots trying to do the right thing, when’s it’s always better just to get it done and then learn from how it went.
Embrace the s**t – Dame Dianne Thompson talked about this particularly in relation to her time at Camelot when they challenged the regulator’s ruling to award the license to Virgin at the High Court and won. If she knew that was going to be the job at the start, she’d have run a mile, but in the end it was the making of her.
Ask for specific help – When you’re so focussed on keeping afloat with graceful ablomb it can be hard for others to recognise that you’re drowning. Consider your to-do list as if you have to delegate it to another person in 10 minutes – not only does it aid prioritisation but it helps to clarify exactly what you could package comfortably for someone else to help with.
Believe – Karen Dacre has had an incredible life. Paralysed in her early twenties, she has gone on to scale mountains, cross glaciers and win Paralympics medals. Her one word mantra – Believe – which even stretched to spiritual surgery in the Amazon rainforest – has sustained her through every challenge. It’s an over-used term, but its amazing where a positive mental attitude can get you.
Talking to my friend however, and relaying these insights, a broader idea came to mind, and one that the whole Omniwomen programme represents: sharing. The quote, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” from Madeleine Albright was cited more than once and it’s so true. However, in our busy days and careers, it’s all too easy to neglect the time to reflect, joke together, cry together, discuss together, and that’s why initiatives like Omniwomen are so valuable. Whether it’s the big, organised events, or the small one-on-one chats, it’s the act of sharing our experiences that is the most useful in our careers and our lives.