Guest Speaker - My Springboard 360

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My Springboard journey started in 2012, now it’s gone full circle and I’m one of the alumni sharing *my* stories to support others.

Back in 2012 I started my business, DigiEnable and you would have thought me crazy to also start a CPD (Continued Professional Development) programme at the same time. (You’d kinda be right!) The commitment was a bit full on - 5 full days with a 200 mile round trip each day and reading and planning and activities in-between. It was tough both to time manage while trying to get the business off the ground, and in the in-depth way it was digging into the root of things – good and bad, past and future.

However, 5 years on and I’m *still* going on about it and telling anyone who’s remotely interested in continuing their learning professionally, to go on it!

The Springboard programme is for women, at any level of their career or life, who want to move, grow or change in some way. There’s also a Navigator programme for the guys with a similar style. The way these stood out for me, it wasn’t JUST about business or career, it was a holistic 360 approach. You know people are now coming around to the idea that “success” means different things to different people? Well that’s the idea here. My group ranged from business owners, freelancers, full time long term employed workers and stay-at home mums wondering what next. The programme works for all, and as a group we carried on meeting regularly for another year, before it inevitably teetered out as people got busier and commitments changed. But I’m lucky enough to have regular meetups with one lady from the group and she’s such a support – being able to share the experience and understand the tools we both learned and now (mostly) use to help us along in our lives. I feel more skilled up, and much more able to handle life than I used to, I wish I had started my Springboard adventure many years earlier. I’d recommend it from university level and above. I was at a transition point in my life, and this programme helped me glide through it, much more than I think I would have done previously!

So it was an absolute honour to be invited to speak to the current group in Nottingham, currently on their 3rd session of 4. It’s weird how I can stand in front of hundreds of people quite happily and talk tech, but when it’s time to talk about me the nerves kick in! The photo is of my original trainers Liz and Vanessa, who were back together again to deliver yet another fabulous programme, it was SO great to see them again! The sun was shining over the Nottingham Fire Station for the day, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

I gave the group a brief overview of my life to date, linking in with the themes they were working on around resilience. Well I’ve had to learn to have bags of that! I shared stories about my career transitions and the struggles that came with them – alongside a nod for the skills I’d learnt in Springboard to help start my business! I shared openly and honestly about my problems with image, dealing with online negativity and overcoming the fear of saying NO.

I shared with the ladies how important volunteering is - be it to help get into the career you want, a step on a ladder, or once you’re happy in your career how to give-back. I shared some stories from my volunteering with charities and on boards – both positive and not-so, I felt I needed to make sure these ladies were ready to be resilient, so that even if while offering your help and expertise for free, some people won’t like or get on with you – for whatever reason, that that’s OK. If you build your resilience when you don’t need it at it’s max, you can learn to harness it, and learn about yourself!

I then had to mention alongside the work and volunteering, the work-life balance, because that’s the fab thing about Springboard it gets you to regularly (if you keep it up and use your book as a resource tool) assess where you are, and where you want to be – both personal and professional. For me, Work Life Balance is one of my top priorities – it’s also the UK’s now too – [Hays UK salary and recruiting trends 2017 report]. I gave the group some of my top productivity tips to make the work days count, and how to switch off when it’s the life time.

I was asked to share my top 3 tips for the ladies in the room, but also thought it would be worth sharing with you too, as it might help someone else.

  1. Work smarter not harder – use your time productively – if you’re having an off day, take the day off and restart a fresh in the morning if that’s possible, it’ll be more productive in the long run, rather than struggling through a day doing not much.
  2. Don’t presume others will remember your expertise, authority, resource control or interpersonal skills – I’ve learnt this the hard way, and now I care a little less about telling people I have awards and listings.
  3. Only you can set your own goals, so set them and if you can, find someone else to help you make sure you achieve them. Make sure one of your goals is to share with and support others where you can too.

It was so great to get asked to be the guest speaker at the Springboard programme, when I cast my mind back to our guest speakers they were awesome, inspiring and just the motivation needed at the right time for me. If I’ve shared even a portion of that which I received, I’ll be happy. Try and give back, always.