Saturday, January 21, 2012


I am fortunate enough to be inspired by the many things I come across in my daily life. The fact that I am surrounded by many inspirational people is most likely a contributing factor, I rarely have to put any effort into being inspired. 

This week I came across three exceptional women. Two of the women I have known for many years and the third was an absolute stranger who I invited for coffee. As they might be reading this right now, I'll change their names to avoid any embarrassment. 

We'll call them Lucy, Kate and Celie. 

Lucy reported to me many years ago and I considered her to be one of the most positive people I knew. She was born with a disability which resulted in a life spent in a wheelchair. When you look at Lucy, you don't see the chair, you see a friendly intelligent woman who has a passion for life. To make her really amazing, she is also a para-olympian with more than one medal! To be any kind of sports person, you have to have strength, dedication, discipline, courage and will, to be a para-olympian you need to have something else. Sheer determination. She has always had that. 

Living in Sydney is expensive and difficult enough, for Lucy to buy a house and get around - her options were extremely limited. But she seized them anyway and made the best of her situation, and is now living in a lovely suburb on the harbour and paying off her mortgage. That's pretty impressive in itself. Bumps have happened along the way which she fought with gusto for a positive resolution; an example is when her ground floor unit had a sloping floor which she was then required to replace soon after buying the place - she took the corporate body to court and successfully managed to have everyone in her block of units contribute to the cost of a new floor. Sheer determination! 

For over a year, Lucy had been unhappy in her work situation. She wasn't being recognised for her skills and was constantly being "managed" rather than coached. When positions were advertised internally for roles she could easily do, she was overlooked without any plan in place for career progression. She felt it was time to become more independent, so she started learning new skills. I'm not privy to the strategy used in coming to her chosen field, however I do know that the course she eventually chose suited her personality brilliantly. She is an easy person to talk to, approachable and non judgemental. She decided to do a course in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Processing). I received an email from her this week telling me that she had finally graduated from her course and was setting up shop on her own, and invited me to lunch in her new office in Bondi. To say I was so proud of her would be condescending, but I can say that I am in complete awe of her and her ability to rise above any issue thrown at her. I cant wait to visit this swanky office and share a glass of bubbles with her to celebrate. 

Kate has been a dear friend for many years after moving to Australia by herself while waiting for her husband to join her. She adopted me as a pseudo mother figure, and we welcomed her into the home as part of our family. She is one of the kindest people I know, as well as another intelligent, funny, insightful and beautiful woman. Due to her husbands work situation, Kate moved to Singapore a few years ago and established herself within the same organisation I worked for. She was knowledgable and well respected and was living the amazing life of an expat in a wonderful city. Kate was extremely good at her job, but considered there must be more than just paying lip-service to work life balance. With a friend in Singapore, she set up a business women's network who meet every month and have a guided agenda on how to be a strong female leader/business women in todays world. Kate and her friend have done an amazing job and each monthly meeting is swamped with people wanting an invitation, myself included, however I am not in a financial position right now to go to Singapore to attend a session. Instead I read the minutes and newsletters and review their Facebook page on a regular basis. I get their sessions by osmosis! 

After some planning, Kate resigned from her job to start up her own business in Singapore. Its a scary thought to resign and start something new, financially and emotionally. Kate has gone into this with a brilliant attitude and I know she will be another success story. I'm now looking into flight options so I can make it to her opening launch in February.  

My executive coach gave me a list of people to contact and practice my networking skills on, so I sent off an email last week to Celie asking if she'd like to meet up and chat about her experiences and perhaps get some advice or guidance on my own job search. 

Celie had returned to Australia over a year ago after living the life in New York in a senior position for a financial institution. Living in New York is a dream of mine, I absolutely love the city and have fantasies about living in a grand apartment overlooking central park, drinking divine cocktails in underground jazz clubs. But I digress. Celie had that life and was made redundant after a couple of years. Her options were to continue to look for a job in NY so she could continue the high life, go to the UK where she had a house or she could return to Australia for the laid back life of an Aussie. Due to the global economic crisis, she decided to return to Australia where she thought it would be easier to secure a position and buy a house. Unfortunately with multiple margin calls, the savings and redundancy was fast becoming extinct.

When she became 'down' about her situation, she would jump in the car with the music up high and drive. One day she found herself in Adelaide. Thats a 20 hour drive! She considered the towns she'd driven through, the people she met and realised that she was one of the lucky ones. Intelligent and with a means to get herself out of her jobless situation. So she drove back again to Sydney to start all over again.

Those people or situations in her life that brought her down, she avoided. She did not want to have a negative influence in her life that would bring her down.

Celie went through many months of job searching utilising every resource available to her, and she eventually landed the perfect job after 12months. Her bank balance was crying and she was almost at the point of moving into her friends spare bedroom. She'd even started to pack her belongings.

She had complete confidence in herself and never let her attitude spiral into depression. 

Celie's job search and attitude mirrored my own, and she was able to give me some fantastic and practical tips on accepting, moving on and how to keep going. Like me, her motto is "never give up".

What I enjoyed most about meeting Celie was her enthusiasm for life - she has an infectious positive energy and the message she left me with was to remain positive with an energetic attitude and have faith that something will happen. 

Every day there will be someone I come across who has the capacity to inspire me. I'm keeping my eyes and heart open.

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