Last week I attended a Networking in Heels event dubbed Superwoman at Sarova Stanley. I had a great time meeting new people, learning a lot and networking of course. I loved the Nokia Lumia gadget session. I had lots of fun even though I didn’t win a Lumia 🙂 However, my highlight for the evening was hearing from the speaker, Joanne Mwangi, CEO of PMS Group. Now this lady is quite something. You are inspired just by hearing her being introduced. She has many titles and has won numerous awards. My special favorite was her 2010 fete. Take a look.
- Overall Winner – Kenya Top 100 Mid -Sized companies survey 2010
- Category Champion – Service Industry
- Joanne Mwangi – Entrepreneur of the year
Pretty impressive, huh? And that was 4 years ago! She spoke on being a Superwoman. She started by asking us what our definition of Superwoman is. We started listing all these awesome things we think a Superwoman is..
- Great mother and awesome wife
- Great at her job – her team loves her and still produces results. Her pitches always get a go ahead nod.
- Always looks smart and beautiful – never has a bad hair day or chipped nail polish 🙂
- Calm and collected even under pressure – never falls apart
The more we listed them, the more I began to feel like this Superwoman thing is a myth. This woman we were describing sounded perfect. Too good to be true. It was not until Joan began her talk that I realized the relevance of this exercise she had given us. She showed us that this image of Superwoman we have in our heads is indeed a myth, A figment of our imagination. Listening to her I realized that she also faced challenges. She went ahead to share her story, wisdom that she has picked along her journey of life. She invites us to see that her life was not as glamorous as it looked. She showed us she wasn’t perfect and that no one of us is.
I learnt a lot from Joan that evening, some from things she said and others from just listening to how she does things. Here a few things I picked up. Hope they inspire you as much as they did me.
Love how you look. It’s a great start to realizing how good you are. Most of us don’t think very highly of how we look. We always wish we could have nicer legs, a smaller nose or/and a better body shape. Learn to appreciate your beauty; it will boost your confidence. When you are a confident woman you become well aware of your great abilities outside of your looks.
Get grounding in your life that you can build upon. Get a solid spiritual foundation. Invest in great friendships, honor your parents and visit them as often as you can. I loved this point. As a Christian, I know how important this is. A great foundation means that whenever you’re at a cross road, you have guidance on which road to take.
It’s OK to ask for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate. Most of us women feel that unless we do something ourselves, it won’t be done right. I have this problem myself. People will indeed disappoint you once or twice but instead of taking up the job yourself why don’t you show them how to do it right? That way, you will have empowered them to do it and you will not have added to your plate of things to do.
Empower others to make decisions in your absence. Train you house manager on what to do so that they don’t have to keep calling when you’re in the office. Train your children in their early years to analyse situations and take the best decision. Unfortunately, we will not always be around. No one of us is guaranteed a specific number of years to live. So do what you can now to ensure when you are not around, your family, your business and other things you do, go on well.
Define success for yourself. Don’t use others as your yardstick. You’d think this is self-explanatory and easy to do because of how much we have heard it. Well, it’s not. Peer pressure is real. Don’t make your decisions based on what your friends have or what they are doing.
Be willing to pay the price. Joan mentioned how she wakes up early and insists on taking her kids to school herself. She does this because she knows that in a day full of board meetings and business deals, mornings might be the only time she gets to spend time with her children. Be willing to make tough choices. For instance, when you’re kids are young; you can take a job close to home or even work from home. You can take a job that requires less travel so that you are not always away.
Have a great support system. This one we talked about with Violette (CEO and Founder of Networking In Heels) after the event. When you have working on something major, you have to keep your cool to clients and other people regardless of how you’re cracking up inside. Get yourself a great support system; friends or family you can be yourself with. People who will listen to you and support you when you’re falling apart. That way you have somewhere to unload your pressure.
I’m sure I haven’t listed all the things said that night but I hope you have learnt something. If you missed it, now you know what went down. But don’t miss next time!
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.