Last week I attended the Aspire M.A.D (Making a difference) Leaders conference in London. 2 days packed with inspiration, networking, tools and tips from brilliant female leaders from all walks of life. And I left so inspired and fired up for 2018, that I thought I’d share my lessons learned.
Lesson 1 – Confidence comes from competence
I spoke on a panel on day 1, and this was something we all agreed on. We were asked how we build and maintain confidence as leaders, even when the going gets tough. For all of us, confidence wasn’t about faking or empty bravado. Confidence comes from hard work – of knowing what you’re great at, honing your craft and trusting in yourself to deliver it consistently. At Brand by Me, we call this mastery.
Lesson 2 – It always starts with purpose
I was struck by how much purpose came up over the 2 days. And it’s something we write about on here a lot.
My favourite quote on purpose came from Brita Fernandez-Schmidt, Executive Director of Women for Women International
“Purpose is not a privilege”
We ALL have a purpose – the why that drives everything we do. It’s not about hierarchy, money or status. It’s about wanting to change the status quo and being so passionate, that you inspire others to join you in doing it.
Lesson 3 – Be brave
Leadership is about making brave choices. Many of the leaders talked about making tough choices and facing opposition. At the time, they didn’t necessarily see themselves as being brave, but all took the opportunity to move outside of their comfort zone, to go from safe to scary and take risks, often at a big personal cost.
As Sarah Kitakule, founder of the Kitakule Foundation said:
“If you don’t leave the boat, you’ll never walk on water”.
Lesson 4 – “Get up, get going and get on with it”
This is a direct quote from Dr Sam Collins, CEO and Founder of Aspire. It’s pretty self-explanatory – sometimes you just need to get on with it. Even when you don’t feel like it, you’re knackered and life gets in the way. (Or like me, you want to sit on the sofa and watch the Big Bang Theory instead of writing your blog posts).
Lesson 5 – It’s not about you
The final common theme was that all of the great leaders who inspired us had a cause and ambition that’s greater than themselves. They work for more than personal gain – as Beth Butterwick CEO of Karen Millen said:
“Only as a leader, can I make a difference and change the destiny of our business, our customers and our staff”