In January a member of my team who had joined me on a secondment encouraged me to attend a networking event for professional women at the Said Business School. I entered the workshop and saw 30- 40 smartly dressed women, inspiring women, all interested in how they could come together to support each other professionally and personally and I was inspired to get involved.  

I quickly got involved in the health & wellbeing group who had been looking to set up some structures and events that would kick off the set the tone for the new membership as being a safe & friendly environment where women can come together to connect on a human level and leave their work-mode for an hour a month.

I tentatively shared that I had a colleague who I had worked with over a number of years who is truly inspiring has worked hard to achieve a work life balance who was setting up an Agile for Life business with her friend called “80% awesome”. Rachel has always been a great listener and talked to me about the fact that I always seem to be in “the burn out zone” and that sometimes it is OK to not be 100% effective all the time. 

The Professional Women’s Network were incredibly interested in being part of their pilot session as it seemed like a good fit for the programme launch and we felt it would help members to crystallise what they might use the Professional Women’s Network for. I linked everyone up and within days an Eventbrite had gone out to the network and people started to sign up to the workshop.

The day of the workshop I was juggling multiple meetings but was determined not to miss out on the event and get that rare hour and a half to participate in the workshop. My work life balance at that time was teetering on the edge and my stress levels were high and with that comes the feeling of emotional risk and exposure. 

The event was an amazing success, it’s very rare opportunity to workshop your life in your lunch hour.  I fell in love with the concept of the Lean Life Canvas as a tool to help me think about what matters to me, check in with myself and really get some perspective. I came home buzzing that it had gone so well, that members seemed happy and I felt an enormous sense of pride that I had been a small part in contributing to the network.

So what I learned about myself.  I am worrying about a lot of things all at the same time and it’s overwhelming my brain and I am in burn out most of the time. I am letting lots of things steal my time that are just not in my control and I got that when I lost my beautiful dog Stella in July I lost a lot of joy and sunshine in my life and had withdrawn from seeing friends as much. What I learnt about the people on my table was that we are all striving to live our best lives, we are all worried and feeling guilty when we don’t feel that we are operating at an optimum level and there are things that are in our control that we can change. I felt a sense of lightness as I left the room and a feeling of possibility.

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