By Kerry Cope
Over the last couple of months, I have been working with The Girls Network, whose purpose put simply is to support young women through mentoring. They believe as I do that all girls should set high aspirations, be able to discover their self-worth and to develop their capacity to shape their world.
Finding our place in the world is influenced by so many things, and the influences that inform who we become are not always positive, inspirational or supportive. Some of us are really lucky and can identify female role models who influence and inspire us through our formative years, others aren’t as lucky. That’s why the mentoring scheme is so important to me, it’s about inspiration, focus and support, helping girls find their way in the world and setting their sights on a path that at the start may not have seemed possible.
One of the workshops, in both this and my general coaching is to look at who inspires you – and specifically with The Girls Network, which females. This can be a really thought-provoking exercise, as what happens when you scratch the surface – why is it certain women who inspire us? Everyone loves a bit of Beyoncé, when most people talk about her, they would say strong, sassy, fierce, doesn’t everyone know the lyrics “Cause if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it”. But is she truly inspirational, and if she is, is it those things that inspire us?
We all admire and aspire different things, that’s what makes us the amazing and interesting people we are. I am inspired by many different people, most of my inspiration comes from people I have met through my life, however like most people I also admire people I haven’t met.
For those who know me well, it may come as no surprise that I would mention Kate Bush as a person who I respect. Whilst on numerous occasions I have tried to replicate her talent (Wuthering Heights always a karaoke favourite), it is not necessarily about her talent. It is about her total commitment and belief in herself and her art, at the age of 19, to ignore the doubters that Wuthering Heights was nothing more than a novelty song and continue to drive forward and take control over her career, to push to have this single made and taken seriously. A quite unassuming but definitely strong female who took charge of her career, and in a quietly unassuming way completely smashed it, to become one of the most iconic female lyricists of our time inspiring a whole generation of musicians.
That belief in yourself to make things happen, to drive change whether personal or professional is a trait that has inspired me and is what resonates to the core. So whether the conversation is about inspiration, aspiration or your list of guests in the ‘who would be at your dinner table’ game, take a moment today to celebrate the amazing women who make a difference every day.