OLD WAYS WON’T OPEN NEW DOORS
Two Smart Women Week speakers on switching things up
An unspoken truth among almost all women is that we will reach a tricky crossroads at some point in our careers, when we feel a need to reassess. It can feel incredibly painful at the time. But old ways will not deliver any of us to new career dawns. Phanella has arrived at two distinct career junctions in her time. She drove change after becoming a frustrated corporate lawyer and then, when the rigidity of a career as a high-flying fund manager became at odds with her values and her children, she reached a crossroads again. Alice’s story is different. She was a blissfully happy journalist; creatively fulfilled, intellectually stimulated and with plenty of big plans in her back pocket. But then disaster struck with a personal tragedy, and her career needed to reflect the journey she had been on.
The Step Up Club – and our working partnership – is proof that we can all stop, take stock and reinvigorate our careers. We learnt to become agile in how we thought about our careers and approached our work, and it’s led us somewhere brilliant. Change is necessary, not least because we are living at a time when a job for life is a redundant notion. For the record, it wasn’t easy to move from our old ways. It took courage and confidence (both of which we were lacking) to start over, but we are passionate about what we do now, have financial independence and fluidity in how we approach work and life (in other words, we can attend those mid-afternoon school plays). We know women struggle with taking risks, but risks are inextricably linked to change and success, and that’s the crux of this conundrum. We can’t achieve our goals or fulfil our potential if we are paralysed by a fear of failure. At Step Up, we build women’s confidence by discussing the concept of failing first. Everyone suffers failures at work and we all make mistakes. But without failures how can we learn?
Our newest venture, the Step Up School (an in-person and online course), is proof that even when you arrive at the right career, there are still boundaries to push, and new ventures to explore. Step Up is a labour of love, and one that we’re very proud of. Through our work with other women, we’re constantly learning about what we want – and how to get there, too. There are no bigger champions of opening new doors in your career than us. Positive change is at the core of everything we do.