Actually two women’s lives.
Last night a group of 30 inspiring women around Australia gave two micro loans. These 30 women came from all walks of life – a mum from a farm in north west NSW, an artist from Melbourne, a mining consultant from central Queensland…
Over the last 6 weeks this powerful group of women completed the 6 Step Challenge, 10thousandgirl’s new ‘Michelle Bridges’ style online personal finance program. And they blitzed it!!
They documented their life plans, tracked their spending, worked out their net worth, negotiated rates on home loans, high interest savers and utility bills. They reviewed their insurance, consolidated super. They discussed investment principles and the behaviour of cash, property and shares. They opened super letters for the first time and made calls to their super fund to change their investment mix to fit with their age and stage. In week 4 they documented their personal investing plans, asking themselves:
- What are my #1 financial goals?
- How much money do I need for each goal?
- When do I need it? What’s my timeframe?
- What investment options suit that goal and timeframe?
- What are my next steps?
And last night they wrapped up by mapping out their personal and professional support networks. They discussed the different professional support roles, how to find trusted advisors and learnt good questions to ask when approaching and engaging an adviser.
Then they wrapped up with an INSPIRATION FEST. Discussing what inspires them, who do they inspire? How do they stay inspired?
Well, wonderful women. You certainly inspired me. Thank you for your Ripple Effect. May it be felt across your life, among your family and friends lives, in your work and community life and as part of your program fee, you each donated $10 into a pool and were able to donate two micro loans, one to Merelita Marama and one to Linita Ponitini.
So thank you for your globally felt Ripple Effect…
Merelita Marama, Nasautoka Fiji
Loan Use: Sewing
Term: 26 Week
Some people are born with a natural talent. Merelita Marama (47) is one of them. She loves sewing for the people in her village and is a skilled seamstress. Merelita has built a steady client base among her friends, neighbours, office workers and church members. With her loan, she intends to buy more sewing equipment to help expand her business. Merelita is certain she will make greater profits, which will improve the lives of her four children.
Linita Ponitini, Tonga
Loan Use: Farm produce
Term: 52 Week
Linita Ponitini has three children under twelve. Her goal is to build a house for her family. She and her husband grow a range of crops, which Linita sells in the local market. But their profits are insufficient to cover both family and business expenses. So Linita is seeking a loan to buy seeds and seedlings to increase the farm’s production and yield.
Want to provide micro loans? Sign up http://www.goodreturn.org
Want to do the 10thousandgirl 6 Step Challenge? Sign up http://www.10thousandgirl.com
Just read a blog on the MoneySoft site that made me go ‘yeah, that’s me too!’ Have you hit that age or stage where dreams of marrying a prince are slipping away and you’re finding yourself thinking about money??
Here’s Amy’s story… ‘Before I was a mum, I was a woman who enjoyed shopping for myself, being out with friends and family, paying for Foxtel to make sure I was update with every show and movie available on this planet. I enjoyed manicures, pedicures, facials, dinner parties, brunches, shopping online, spending summer days at the beach and having a quick drink before heading home. I drove everywhere, not really stressing about the cost of parking meters, or parking stations. Late nights splurging on food and drinks was not an issue as I could most probably sleep in the next day and if not have a quick nap before meeting up with friends for dinner. Everything seemed simple. Life was simple. What I wanted I did with no care in the world.
Something happened between my twenty’s and my thirties. I would always put it down to “well that’s what happens when you start having kids”…but in actual fact it’s just that my priorities shifted. I woke up one day thinking hang on (and that’s a PG version of what I was really thinking) why has everything changed? At what point did I become so money conscious and when did I start loosing sleep over this matter?
I can’t tell you exactly when or why but it happened. I found myself regretting a lot of my decisions from my younger days. What if I didn’t live paycheck to pay check, what if I saved a bit here and there, maybe just maybe I wouldn’t be in the predicament that I’m in now. When friends were all putting deposits on their investment properties I was that hippy saying “Enjoy life, life is short, we have plenty of time to work our a$$’ off and worry about money” then I would laugh and go home and think how I have got it so down packed this thing called life…. Just quietly I think those friends are now laughing.
Something had to be done it was getting ridiculous, having twins, a husband and all the pressures of life I no longer craved the ‘what I wanted I did with no care in the world’ kind of approach. My husband who is equally if not more a little ‘whatever’ with our finances came up with a great idea, pretend like we don’t have money. The first few months was great, we set up separate accounts to which our income was assigned to and another account for all our bills to come out of. We did the whole take food from home for lunch, put our left over coins in a jar at the end of the day, started selling a few bits and pieces online for some extra income, but slowly slowly our spending demons started resurfacing and scratching through the few months of hard work we had put in. In the end we looked at each other and..’ READ FULL ARTICLE >>
Did you know the average credit card debt in Australia is $3500? And paying minimum repayments at the average interest rate of 21.5% could take over 90 years to pay off?
Shocking but true.
In a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald ‘Plot a path to turn red into black‘, some basic tips to get yourself out of a credit card pickle were shared along with case studies which show it can be done.
Here are some other tips and resources to help get on top of debt and back into black:
- Managing debt
- Creating a Debt Repayment Plan (video tutorial)
- Reaching your savings goal
- Credit Card Calculator
TIP!! If you are consolidating debt, make sure you are careful of your credit rating, making multiple applications for credit cards etc can impact your ability to apply for a home loan etc. at a later date. Talk to your bank manager/s but don’t let them log any applications for you unless they’re 100% sure you will get it. You can check your credit history by getting a free copy of your credit report from these credit reporting agencies:
TIP!! Paying a little more than the minimum repayments on your credit card can mean the difference between having the debt for 90 years or 2!
Start small, be strategic, keep on it and you’ll get there in no time.
I have always been a daydreamer. Ever since I was little I would spend hours day dreaming about my future and about who I would be when I grew up. At the time I attended the Canberra Life Planning Workshop in June 2010 I had just turned 30 and despite amassing 30 years of day dreams I realised that I hadn’t actually achieved any of my dreams or even knew which ones I wanted to achieve. As for how to start achieving, no clue!! I kept waiting for things to fall into place, the perfect job at the perfect time, skills magically appearing to start a new hobby (and be the best rock star ever discovered), buying my dream home, starting my perfect lifestyle and obviously winning lotto to make all of this happen.
It has now been just over 12 months since I attended the Life Planning Workshop and guess what, I won lotto! Nope, telling lies, I didn’t win lotto. I did however learn to make realistic goals and that there is nothing wrong with a little bit of planning! The beauty of the workshop, and what 10thousandgirl is about, is how to identify what is important in your life, how to create goals to align with these aspects and then how to make finance work for you to support your goals.
Creating a life plan was an epiphany for me, along with the realisation that making plans and putting words/dreams into action isn’t all that hard if you view it as part of your journey. So I decided to stop waiting for things to happen for me and to start making things happen!
And to prove it’s all not talk, I actually ticked off a lot of little actions and ended up ticking off a pretty big goal. I created and launched my own range of organic bed linen that is unique and a heartfelt part of me. www.ohmabel.com.au commenced operation in April this year and have had a tremendous response to the concept. Oh Mabel may not take over the world in terms of retail or the bed linen industry, however I hope that by starting and achieving this goal, that the result will set me up to continue enjoying a life that I have created as opposed to continuing a life where I felt I was just following the well trodden line.
I feel that so much is now possible, and that is due to the tools I learnt from 10thousandgirl and their amazing Girls (thanks Zoe!) and from what I have learnt from starting Oh Mabel, is that there’s never any point in saying ‘Nope too hard’.
I am now excited about the prospect of the next 10 years and am determined to keep dreaming so that I can live them out instead of wishing. Thanks 10thousandgirl!
Thank you Sarah and your wonderful enterprise Oh Mabel looks fabulous – we all want to jump into that bed in the field :)
So what exactly is microfinance? 10thousandgirl’s microfinance partner, Opportunity International help us go back to basics and explain the concept before Jhunu and Minati share their story.
What is microfinance?
Microfinance includes basic financial services – including small loans, savings accounts, fund transfers and insurance. Alongside non-financial services such as business training, microfinance assists people living in poverty who wouldn’t usually qualify for regular banking services because they have no form of collateral or formal identification.
Loans as small as $100 help people in poverty start or grow their own small business. This enables them to earn an income so they can afford food, clean water, proper shelter and an education for their children.
Through local partners in the countries where we work, Opportunity is a provider of socially focused microfinance – existing to help people out of poverty above all else.
How does it work?
By helping a mother buy a sewing machine to start a tailoring business or a father buy seeds to plant a vegetable garden, small loans enable people in poverty to earn an income and provide for their families. As each business grows, loans are paid back and lent out again. With 97% of loans repaid, the cycle continues, year after year. Each successful business feeds a family, employs more people and eventually helps empower a whole community.
Are you part of a GIG (Girl Investment Group)? Take charge of your own finances and in the process provide microloans to help women around the world lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Read more to join the campaign and create your ripple effect. More stories here.
One of our favourite 10thousandgirls, Marie Delaitre generously shares her journey, tips and lessons from playing her way into the sharemarket.
Would you like to have fifty thousand dollars to invest in the sharemarket?
The ASX sharemarket game allows you to play with fifty thousand ‘pretend’ dollars (risk free), and learn about the sharemarket for three months. It sounded like a good deal to me, so I signed up!
Three months later, I made a nice little profit of $3,694 … ok, a ‘pretend’ profit of $3,694. In the game, 21% of the 10,000 players made a profit. I came 92nd in NSW (out of 3,300 players), which is not bad for a first time player and novice.
Here is what I can share with you.
- Buy what you can afford. If your investments are going to keep you up at night and have you constantly fretting on share price movements, it could end up driving you batty. Keep it simple and fun.
- Do your own research. Don’t just follow what someone else has to say. People can seem very knowledgeable about ‘a good company to invest in’, but it’s your money, your risk.
- Good companies come good in the long term. Hang in there through price dips; remember that shares are long term investments. During the game, when a market rumour about one of my companies made the price fall – I panicked and quickly sold out at a loss (even though I had bought because I knew it to be a solid company). The price eventually came back up, but I had already sold. It was a good learning experience.
- Have a plan. Know whether you are making a gain or loss along the way (know your rate of return – is it better than putting money in the bank?), and know when you will step out.
- Diversify. Don’t put all your money in the one company/industry (the ASX game makes you do this by default, you can’t have more that a certain percentage of your portfolio in one company). This means that if one company/ industry does badly, you don’t lose all your money.
- If you are investing and researching yourself, it can be time consuming, know how much time you wish to invest too.
- Don’t just ‘guess’ – build a strategy based on facts, not hunches. I created a watchlist of ASX companies who have 2 or more women on their Board of Directors – and started to track their performance over 4 month. So far, the results are not as magical as I had expected. What sounds good in theory, may not work out in the market. The watchlist functionality on the ASX website is a good way of seeing how a share performs, without actually investing.
- Keep your records straight! When buying real shares, ensure some of the routine stuff is completed from the outset – eg: have you given the company instructions to pay your dividends directly to your bank account, are you able to participate in a dividend re-investment plan, do they have your tax file number?
Lessons from playing
- During the game, having a ranking helped me feel ‘confident’ that I was doing fine. If my shares went down, but so did the leader, then I wasn’t worried. When this was not the case, I spent more time looking at whether the shares from one company were being significantly affected. Outside the game, I will try to follow an index which resembles my portfolio to keep my confidence up – and calm my nerves.
- I checked on my portfolio once or twice a week during the game. The newsletters from the game were a good prompt to check on my portfolio. I did not make too many changes – once I chose a company to buy into, I held on to it.
- Buying small packets of shares (less than $1,000) can make it hard to make a good return in the short term due to brokerage fees.
My friends have asked me whether I would do the same things if it was my own money – and to be honest, whilst I really liked the profit I made in the game – if I had $50,00 I would be afraid to just invest it in the way I did. So my goal is to start with small investment bundles – use the principles and habits I have been learning to build a portfolio over time.
I suspect that when I read this in a few years time, I will have leant new things and methods, but this is one of the first steps – and I wanted to share it with others who are thinking of buying shares on the sharemarket directly.
Possible actions to get you started:
- Your first investment in the sharemarket could be an investment in learning about the market, while you save up to buy some of your own shares. The ASX runs the game twice a year, and you need to pre-register. Check online at www.asx.com.au for the next registration date.
- Choose one or two companies to follow (put them on your ASX watchlist)– and when you have enough saved up and are ready to try investing, buy some shares using an online trading account. Small investments build up, and over time, you will be glad you took a step in!
Marie is actively involved in a GIG (Girl Investment Group) in Sydney. The group of 8 meet in one of the girl’s homes each month and learn about the basic financial principles; how and when to invest in shares and property, what the options are when it comes to choosing a managed fund, how to be proactive when it comes to super and insurance and what new investment opportunities are becoming available in the fields of ethical or responsible investing. Most importantly, the girls are clear on their plans and goals and keep each other accountable to staying on track. Oh and they manage to have a vino, laugh hysterically and make sure everyone’s love lives are tracking along well too… To start a GIG in your area, check the website or contact 10thousandgirl to see if there are others looking for like minds to form a group near you.
I was an attendee at the 10thousandgirl workshop in Canberra last month and have been telling friends about it ever since. Before the workshop, I was doing pretty well for myself. I had completed my university studies and bought a house around 6 months ago with my partner. We worked really hard, and saved up for a couple of years before we found ‘the one.’ Purchasing a home was a goal that me and my partner shared, and we were so proud to have achieved it together. From that time, our sole focus went to paying off the mortgage. There was money coming in from our salaries, but lots going out to different areas, like bills, food, cars etc. We were in a good position, but had never written down a detailed budget. I was slightly uncomfortable about this, and felt we needed to keep track of our money flow, and needed more balance between our financial responsibilities while also having a decent portion allocated to enjoyment and hobbies.
I got more than I expected out of the 10thousandgirl workshop, and didn’t think I could learn so much about finances, goal setting and myself in one day and in such a fun friendly environment. I really enjoyed the financial aspects, they were practical and very applicable to my situation. Activities like drawing up a money flow diagram, and writing down a spending plan were really helpful, as was the Q & A session with the experts. In terms of goal setting, I was really inspired to dream big! Before the workshop, I had goals floating around in my head, but getting them down on paper and making an action plan, brought them closer to reality. Making a vision board was lots of fun and seeing it each day keeps me really motivated as well. One of my goals for the future is to live in Mexico and help those less fortunate. Giving something back to society would give me much fulfillment.
Since attending the workshop, my partner and I have had a few discussions about our individual goals and priorities. It’s a really interesting exercise, and something we hadn’t really done at length before. We’re both also working on our own bucket lists.
The 10thousandgirl workshop equipped me with some great skills and knowledge. I left feeling inspired and believing anything’s possible. There are no goals too extravagant or ridiculous. Grab life by the cajones!
Each time we have a success, whether it be letting our mind be opened, taking action on something we’ve been putting off, starting a business or deciding to help someone else – when we share it, our success turns into inspiration for many others. This is what we call the ripple effect. Below are some inspiring emails received recently from powerful women who have attended 10thousandgirl Life Planning Workshops.
If you would like to share your story, ask a question or help them with their incredible dreams and plans in any way, please contact us and we’ll make it happen. Thank you to everyone who has shared their learnings, tips, challenges and successes along the way. Sharing makes the world go round, keep sharing and well done!
SUN 27th MARCH 2011
I come from a very low income family and its hard to see my dad still renting and not being able to afford a car at the age of 65.
I now feel like the world of personal finance is an exciting area for me to learn more about. That figuring out how to create the lifestyle I want and the finances to match it is a creative process.
I feel really empowered by yesterday.
TUES 19th APRIL 2011
The research group just sounds amazing. What I would like to do is look at getting a group together from June when I move to Newcastle. I am really interested in getting some of this amazing information and education out to women who are or have been in situations of Domestic Violence. I myself am in recent recovery from an abusive relationship where one of my barriers to getting out was a lack of confidence in managing my finances. I am really grateful and inspired by the opportunity I have had to attend a 10thousandgirl workshop. The timing was amazing for me as it has given me alot of encouragement and support that I was needing to move forward into a new life with confidence. A big question on my mind right now is how to get the same learning and confidence around finance to women before they get to their ‘final straw’ in abuse relationships?? It seems like a hard one because these sorts of situations leave women very isolated. At the very least, I believe maybe it could be possible to get a group of women together maybe, that have experienced Domestic Violence situations and through learning in the research group find out where we can reach out to further lift women up….
I wanted to share a little about where my thoughts are at around 10thhousand girl because I really believe in what you gals are doing and it is spurring on many ideas and inspirations for myself. I hope that I can be successful in forming a GIG in the next few months, I would be overjoyed if thats how it rolls. I will keep you updated and please if you have have any feedback on my thoughts I’d love to hear what you think!
:) All the best!
TUES 19th APRIL 2011
Hey hey Arienne and Zoe, thought I’d let you know what I’ve been up to since the 10000girl weekend I had.
Anyway, I just wanted to share. The most intense stuff is still ahead ! ie the INSPIRE goals!!
THURS 28th APRIL 2011
I attended one of your fantastic life planning workshops in June (Canberra) last year and I just wanted to touch base to once again say thank you, and to show you what that day has done for me.
Being able to set a life plan/goals for myself, and along with the realisation that the nice things that I want in my life are not just going to happen, they will require planning, totally forced me to look at what I wanted and how I was going to get there. So for the last year, I took all that on board and started to make things happen, and to appreciate that all the small things (and the hard things) were part of living a journey. And it made such a difference to my life and outlook in general having that realisation, as opposed to waiting for things to happen. And complaining when they didn’t!
So nearly a year on from that day, and this week I launched my own little venture – www.ohmabel.com.au. An online store selling my 100% organic bed linen.
So thank you SO much once again. I truly believe that without that great day last year and without your guidance and tools that I wouldn’t be where I am.
Good luck for all the future achievements of 10 Thousand Girls and I’m sure that there are many many aspired girls out there you and your team have helped.
Again, thank you girls. By sharing your gratitude, dreams and inspiration, you inspire many. If these girls have inspired you, please share your story.
Vive the Ripple Effect.
A few years ago I was moved to tears as I read a magazine article about the plight of girls. Despite technological advances and the abundance of wealth, today we live in a world that openly discriminates girls. Being born a girl becomes the basis from which the most incomprehensible violence, health issues and abuse transpires.
Knowing this information bought me to the point where I asked myself the question, what can I do about this? I decided to make a film that could reach out to a broader audience to inform and also give people the opportunity to connect and do something through transmedia.
The vision for the I Am A Girl is pure and simple – to weave a universal story through the voices of ten girls in ten different locations around the world dealing with different challenges. It is my dream, that when finished this film becomes a tool to use in every classroom and one that the community reflects upon and inspires action. I am excited by the change this film can bring to the world.
You can watch the trailer here: http://www.indiegogo.com/I-Am-A-Girl and help us make it happen by donating and sharing this link with your friends.
So far this film and online project has captured the imaginations of many individual and organisations including Documentary Australia Foundation and philanthropic donations from the Intrepid Foundation and Women’s Plans Foundation. We hope you can help our dream come to life and the improve the lives of girls everywhere.
To find out more visit www.iamagirl.com.au
Well it’s that time of year where a lot of us reflect, dream and plan. As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail so we’ve put together a range of worksheets to provide some structure around this process. Some of you may have downloaded them from the December newsletter and be all sorted for the year. For others, here goes, dream big and enjoy!
Step 1. REFLECT: Download your Year in Review worksheet.
Step 3. PLAN: Once you’ve delved into your creative powers to create a magnificent 101 list and reviewed the goals you may already have, it’s time to set and break down your goals for 2011 with the Goal Setting Action Sheet. Breaking down your goals down into do-able steps then putting the action items in your diary or calendar ensures your dreams come down from the clouds and become a reality. It’s important and helpful also to share your plans and to hold each other accountable. Let’s face it, we all have our days where we’d rather turn our backs on our dreams but in the end, facing the challenges head on is where the true reward really is.
Have you got a bucket list? A list of 101 goals? People you’d like to meet, places you’d like to explore, passions you’d like to embrace?
Perhaps something to do over the Christmas period. Here’s one from Mel for inspiration. She finished creating her list on the 29th April 2009 and she’s already halfway through! Thanks for sharing Mel.
|1||Visit the pyramids in Egypt|
|2||Photograph the Grand Canyon|
|3||Go on safari in Africa|
|4||Finish my embroidery (ship/dock)|
|5||Set up a functioning sewing room|
|6||Enter a photographic competition|
|7||Empty my wardrobe of old clothes and renew it!|
|8||Sort out the family photos – set up photo system|
|9||Build a family website|
|10||Pack up children’s primary school folders|
|11||Print and frame photos for wall|
|12||Spring clean cupboards|
|13||Set up study as a functioning office|
|14||Find a hairdresser I want to go back to|
|15||Take a mystery flight|
|16||Review boxes under the house|
|17||Fix my bike|
|18||Sponsor a child overseas|
|19||Contribute (with my time) to a local charity|
|20||Transfer home videos to DVD|
|21||Learn more about my spirituality|
|22||Spend time walking in inspiring places|
|23||Become an ambassador for a worthwhile cause|
|24||Walk the Great Wall of China|
|25||Gaze at the Taj Mahal|
|26||Ride a horse in the surf|
|28||Enjoy embroidery regularly|
|29||Spend more time researching my family tree|
|30||Attend Historical talks|
|31||Scuba dive on a coral reef|
|32||Sort out my jewellery|
|33||Redo Christmas card list|
|35||Take a photoshop lesson|
|36||Learn to use my new camera|
|37||Cook a soufflee|
|38||Swim with dolphins|
|39||Read at a nursing home (poetry / novels)|
|40||Walk the Kokoda Track|
|41||Photograph Ancor Watt as the sun goes down|
|42||Frame overseas pictures / paintings|
|43||Visit a remote monestry|
|44||Broadcast on the radio|
|45||Buy a flat in London|
|46||Create my Facebook page|
|47||Learn about Real Estate|
|48||Find my mother’s brother in England|
|49||See the Chinese terracotta army|
|50||Learn to tango|
|51||Sail down the Nile|
|52||Watch the sun come up on Mt Sinai|
|53||Go on a London ‘book’ walk|
|54||Arrange regular girls’ night out at Dendy premium|
|55||Have a Cheetah experience at the zoo|
|56||Buy a coast house|
|57||Ride the Orient express from Venice to London|
|58||Find my great uncle’s plaque at the Somme|
|59||Frame interesting objects|
|60||Ride a camel on Cable Beach, Broome|
|61||Visit my grandmother’s grave (Leonora, WA)|
|63||Research at the War Memorial|
|64||Locate a relic in St Teribio Monestry, Potes, Spain|
|65||Spend time in antique stores|
|66||Get another family portrait done|
|67||Buy and sell on Ebay|
|68||Collect interesting old books|
|69||Appear on television|
|70||Create a vegetable garden|
|71||Walk the 12 stations in Jerusalem|
|72||Get more involved in church activities|
|73||Capture inspiring quotes|
|74||Build a house from scratch|
|75||London Olympics 2012|
|76||Create a sports’ room celebrating family achievements|
|77||Meet the Dalai Lama|
|78||Write about my family history for later generations|
|79||Spend more time gardening|
|80||Try a really different haircut|
|81||Go through book cases and get rid of old books|
|82||Host a fabulous dinner party|
|83||Spend Christmas Day helping out|
|84||Catch the sunset over Ayers Rock|
|85||Be fabulous, fit and fifty!|
|86||Ride in a hot air balloon|
|87||Skinny dip at midnight|
|88||Buy a new interesting book each month|
|89||Walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru|
|90||Hire a house boat|
|91||Have my fortune told at a Psychic Fair|
|92||Go for bike rides with the family on the weekend|
|93||Take evening classes with a friend|
|94||Sort out our DVD & CD collections|
|95||Clear out my brother’s garage (my stuff!)|
|96||Take pole dancing lessons|
|97||Purchase a new grunty camera|
|98||Write a letter to my grandchildren|
|100||Watch mountain gorillas|
|101||Wonder at a waterfall|
You can download your 101 List Worksheet to get you started here.
Victoria Craw has a degree in Political Science and English and is currently based in Sydney as a finance writer. Victoria has also worked as a foreign exchange writer in London, a journalist in Samoa and at a winery in a small corner of New Zealand. Described as a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ she occupies her time reading, writing and thinking about how to finance the next trip overseas. Read her personal blog at http://www.victoriacraw.blogspot.com/
Not knowing what to expect, I was amazed to stumble upon a hive of feminine activity. Part boardroom, part boudoir, the Napoleon office was filled with warm chatter, smiling women, soft music, and the smell of hot coffee. The large table was strewn with make-up, copies of Flirting with Finance and plates of dainty biscuits, with not a man or a briefcase in sight!
Led by the effervescent and positively charming Zoe, we all made our introductions and I was amazed at how open and individual everyone was. The aim of the day was to paint a picture of where we wanted to be, and create a road map to get there.
Firstly, Zoe asked us to look at our value systems, our beliefs, and habits – that when trotted out like a pair of well worn slippers, can become inhibiting. ‘I never have enough time’ or ‘I’m terrible with money’ immediately sprung to mind.
We looked at why we held these beliefs and if we wanted to, what we could replace them with. By saying ‘what’s the worst that could happen? Or ‘trust your instinct more’, it suddenly seemed easier to find a sense of empowerment to move forward, rather than stay in a rut.
We made vision boards, ate sushi, had makeovers and in my favourite part, painted a picture of our lives in 10 years time. By creating a story that involved living by the water, kids, pets, rustic furniture, a library full of books and for some reason, fruit trees, it made it easier to imagine this as a reality. We did the same thing for five years time, one year and eventually, broke it down into specific steps to take away.
One of the ‘light bulb’ moments I had was the feeling of connectivity in a society where people seem innately competitive. Where furtively checking out a women’s outfit can be more common than giving a compliment, it was great to meet people in an environment where everyone was open about their dreams and desires. Any bad decisions, relationships or work environments were obstacles to be overcome, not secrets to hide away.
I came away energized, positive and inspired. It’s easy to be ‘too busy’ or ‘too broke’ and I was happy to have spent time shutting off the background noise and thinking about what I really want. My goals include more writing, building a website, paying off my student loan and eventually owning my own home.
Since I’m a firm believer that to be inspired and positive you should surround yourself with positive and inspiring people, I’m going to embark on a series of interviews of inspiring women who have turned their passion into a day job.
Stay tuned to see how they did it!