I always find myself inspired by incredible women. Not a day goes by when I am not left totally awestruck by the courageous acts of my peers, or the mind-boggling achievements of those I aspire to. Seeing women I admire reach such heights, produce such calls for celebration… there’s nothing better. It gives you that uncontrollable desire to live life even more deeply; to be as big and bold as you possibly can be.
I decided to write this post after closely following this incredible campaign led by one of my favourite bloggers, Fiona. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen it reported on everything from Sky TV, BBC News and The Guardian …even Buzzfeed jumped in on the action. #TakeBackTheBeach began as a response to the recent Protein World ads (seriously, living under a rock?) and turned into a national phenomenon. These two girls are now leading a seriously fucking awesome quest to promote body confidence and stick a middle finger up to body shaming.
Unsurprisingly (kudos to the destructive little world we live in), their campaign didn’t run without a side of trolling. Yet they still keep pushing on to inspire other women to embrace their body and learn to love themselves.
To me, that’s pretty damn inspiring.
And it got me thinking. It got me thinking about the many other women who inspire parts of myself… the parts I feel most proud of. The parts I continuously try to develop to help me become the happiest I can be.
Sure, I could reel off the famous women that I look at and think YOU. YOU ARE THE IDEAL. People like Emma Watson, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, JK Rowling, Maya Angelou, Karren Brady… I mean, really, how can you even begin to list the incredible women in society past and present?
But what I want to do is pay homage to the people slightly closer to home. The people I’ve spoken to once, twice, perhaps every day… either way, they’re the ones who have left that telling mark on me. They’re the ones who encourage me be the woman I really want to be.
Inspiring me to be a bad-ass entrepreneur
Aimee is a bit of a tour de force when it comes to the world of business and marketing your brand. When she isn’t being interviewed on Sky, giving TED talks or presenting award ceremonies, she’s busy running her own business that provides careers and recruitment advice to people all over the world. And that barely scratches the surface. I was put in touch with Aimee as a bright eyed student about to be unleashed into the big bad world of adulthood. Her passionate advice and genuine interest in my success gave me the confidence to go on and secure my first graduate job. As my career developed, Aimee continued to be a constant source of inspiration to build my own personal brand and expand my portfolio in as many ways as possible. I now see Aimee as not only a mentor but a friend, and am proud to have recently worked with her in my capacity as a freelance communications consultant.
When Miranda featured me in her own Inspiring Women piece, I was genuinely shocked. How was it that this incredibly inspirational woman could see me in such a way? From the moment we met (and yes, the meeting may or may not have been accompanied by MANY gin and tonics), Miranda sparked something in me that I had never considered before. The owner of her own successful social media consultancy, she showed me what could truly be possible with a bit of determination and fire. She showed me that crafting your very own dream job didn’t have to be just a dream, it could easily be a reality. Her love of her work transpires in everything she does, and you’ll often find her giving key talks at various high profile events. Basically, this girl is the shit. And I friggin love her.
Inspiring me to grab life by the balls
Laura Jane Williams.
I started following Laura’s blog back when shit really started to hit the fan in my life. I was immediately drawn in by her beautiful way with words that articulated such an exciting existence, fuelled by adventure and the need to run with every damn opportunity. A writer, a traveller and a killer business woman; this girl was living it. After toying with the possibility of looking like a Grade A stalker, I emailed her to tell her how much her blog had affected me. I spoke about my interest in Italy (a place she had lived in for a considerable time) and my fear of the unknown. Her gutsy response was the final puzzle piece for me, and was the push I needed to get me away from my safe life in Cardiff into a terrifying one in Florence. After spending time in Bali to explore the world of yoga and progress her writing, she has now moved to India to train as a yoga teacher… oh, and she’s just signed her first book deal. There’s nothing this woman can’t do, and I ain’t even ashamed to be fan-gurlin’ over here.
Inspiring me to always trust my gut instinct
Bizzy and I worked together during my time at WNO. What I loved about her was her warm spirit, her love for the industry she was a part of and her drive to succeed. One month into her internship with the company, fate lent her a hand in the form of Kate Wasserberg, an Artistic Director and Theatre Associate looking to open a unique theatre in Cardiff. The theatre would be like nothing the city had ever seen. It was risky. It was exciting. It was a bit mental. And Kate wanted Bizzy to help her build it. Bizzy knew that this could be something truly fantastic, and went with her gut instinct in the most courageous way I have ever seen. Nearly a year and a half on from that first meeting and she is now the Executive Director of Cardiff’s very first pub theatre, The Other Room. Approaching the end of their first season, it’s safe to say it has been (and will continue to be) a roaring success, with constant glowing press attention from across the UK.
Inspiring me to be bold and brave in everything I do
It’s hard to know where to begin with Suz. In the past six months, she has quickly turned into one of my closest friends. Despite not seeing a great deal of one another in Cardiff, since moving to Italy we have begun a relationship that feels like it was just always meant to be. Suz is one of those people that just radiates positivity. Despite going through some of the worst times I could possibly imagine, she has always approached life with joy and a boldness that seriously needs to be jarred up and sold (she’d make a killing). Her approach to life is all about paving your own path and building your own happiness; after training (and working) as a lawyer, she moved into a job in law recruitment before packing it all in for the world of communications in an advertising firm. On the verge of her biggest adventure yet, I could not be prouder to call her a best friend. She’s a risk taker, Suz. And her indisputable talent assures me that whatever she wants in life, she’s damn sure going to get it.
Inspiring me to love unconditionally
How can I list the most inspiring women in my life without a special shout out to my big sisters? My best friends, there is not a day that goes by when I do not turn to them for some sort of advice or reassurance. Since a young’un, they have inspired me to not only have confidence in everything I do, but to love as deeply as possible. Why? Because that is the love they have always shown me. The bond I have with these two eternally supportive women runs through every single part of my body and never fails to put a smile on my face. Thanks to them I am able to build strong and meaningful relationships, wearing my heart on my sleeve whilst maintaining a slight toughness that I pride myself on. They’re the balls, really. My life would be a very empty place without them.
And of course, the list could go on and on… work colleagues, employers, friends, housemates, aunties, cousins. It would be impossible to put a cap on the countless women who make me want to be better; who make me FEEL like a better person, just for knowing them.
Realising that? Yeah, it’s a pretty awesome feeling.
What about you? Who are the most inspirational women in your life?