Seen on Screen turns 7 this year, and I almost can't believe that over 8,000 women have passed through our doors to date. So what have I learned from these women, and from my own journey as a sole founder and female entrepreneur?
I thought International Women's Day was the perfect day to open up about the experiences which have had a profound impact on me. This is the first piece in a new blog series which I have been developing over the past year, and I can't wait to start sharing my story with you all...
5 years ago, my Dad bought my sister and I coasters for Christmas, decorated with quotes which reminded him of us. Mine read, “She believed she could, so she did;” and, to this day, I keep it on my bedside table so it’s one of the first things I see when I wake up, and the last when I go to sleep at night.
I’ve had to face some serious challenges building my business, and I’ve had to combat self doubt and low confidence, just like everybody else. In those times when I could feel my historically steely self belief land sliding, seeing this quote everyday was becoming an anxiety inducing thing because what if it read…
“She believed she couldn’t, so she didn’t”
What if she believes she can’t? What happens to her then? What if she looks at herself and deep down, she doesn’t feel she’s enough?
It may come as a surprise that feeling like you’re not good enough, not smart enough for success, not desirable enough for love, is a major, unspoken roadblock of women achieving what’s important to them.
It certainly came as a surprise to me, so I started looking at the numbers, and I couldn't believe what I saw...
So you have to ask the question...
From my own personal experience of running a business that is built on successfully getting women through a challenge (i.e learning a dance routine), and also having the opportunity to speak openly with women about their challenges, I wonder if our lack of confidence has something to do with it…
Last year, I was invited to mentor at the Women of the World Festival at the South Bank Centre, to listen and talk to professional women about the challenges they were facing in their lives.
I mentored six women in total and I was so inspired by the women’s stories. Even though their professions were completely different to one another (from politics to fashion design) they shared the same insecurities, and because they were there to seek help, judgment free, they were probably more open with me than they were with their friends and families, and it was eye opening.
These women are looking at their industries, and challenging the status quo. Not only were they trying to lift themselves up, they're universally working to improve the lives of others, giving others a voice and a helping hand. In their ambition to do this, they're meeting challenges and hitting a wall - and when they do, the default emotion seems to be 'I'm not moving forward because I'm not good enough, my cause isn't important enough'. And as a result of questioning their ability (and their self worth) - they stall.
This really struck a chord with me because it’s something I battle with too. And on one hand it was refreshing to hear other women were going through the same thing, but on another hand, I had to question why this was happening, and why it mattered? I think women struggling with this idea that they’re not good enough is a serious issue because it will dictate how we approach challenges and setbacks. Your belief in yourself could make the difference between preserving and picking yourself back up, or giving up.
So, what do we do to fix it? What do you do when you start to believe you can’t, and you can feel yourself slipping? Or, you’re way past that and you’ve just face planted in self-doubt and despair, and you don’t know how to find a way out of it?
Addressing these challenges face on is at the forefront of my mind when building my company, Seen on Screen. What started out as a fun way to get fit almost 7 years ago, has evolved to become a force for female empowerment, where awesome, feel-good dance classes with likeminded women helps boost confidence, heal insecurity and bolster self worth. The self-confidence developed through our classes isn’t the kind that is threatened by other women’s success, nor does it make other people feel less-than. It is the kind that encourages, unites and inspires. A truly confident woman will raise another up so she can thrive too, and that is the culture and community that we are building at Seen on Screen.
My goal with writing this article, and opening up about my own experience is to encourage people to talk about how they’re feeling, and to show that if you feel that you’re not enough, I feel it, and every single person I have spoken to about feels the same way.
Feeling like you’re not enough, but being brave enough acknowledge it, address it and follow your heart anyway is never going to be easy, but it will incredibly rewarding, fulfilling, empowering and inspiring to others. I’ve always been a believer in dreaming big, so follow your heart and if you stall, know that you have me, and so many women who know exactly how you are feeling right behind you, rooting for you.
I believe, we can.
Happy International Women's Day SOS Crew!
Our amazing International Women's Day logo (inspired by the Suffragette colours) is designed by our super talented illustrator Suzi Kemp