Against all odds, I have seen women rebuild towns, villages, companies, start and grow businesses with little or nothing. Nothing meaning they did not possess the requirements that we taught in business school that one must have to “succeed” or taught in life one would need to live a comfortable life.
Coming from a business school background, I was quite fascinated by this, I wanted to know what made these women continue along the journey despite the odds?
What made them transcend the circumstances to achieve their vision of rebuilding the community whether it was through business, activism, social justice.
A common thread among the women that transcended situations and challenges was an unwavering belief in self.
Competence and persistence are usually assumed to be the drivers of success, particularly in rebuilding lives and entrepreneurial pursuits. When it comes to women, the main ingredient is Self Confidence- Redefined!
Self Confidence redefined as:
- Knowing that there is no one way to do anything – looking at alternative methods of achieving, doing and living.
- Failing forward – using failure as feedback rather than a reason to stop.
- Listening to their Intuition and being guided by it despite how it looks or sounds to others.
- Being nudged by the messages received through intuition even if it makes absolutely no sense!
- Using non-traditional financing methods – women entrepreneurs are masters of this. On many occasions, traditional financing institutions either flatly refuse to extend credit, or believe the risk is too high to invest and choose to not extend financing. Because of these and many other circumstances women are not able to access credit, venture capital funding and loans. Women find a way to fund their enterprises despite these challenges.
- Using non-traditional partners and allies – corporation over competition. Rather than compete in the traditional sense, there is more of a thrust to work with those already existing in the space.
- Believing that there is always a way through no matter how it looks.
- Sharing the vision openly – the ability to share the vision without fear and reservation. Everyone involved is given a clear picture of what the vision is, what the goal is. It is easily and simply communicated.
- Being open to sharing, being passionate and most importantly being authentic.
- Expressing all their feelings without fear or favor,
Women are the rebuilders. I can say that without reservation. I have been privileged to work with women in Africa and Latin America who made a conscious decision after either natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Or after civil wars to rebuild their communities.
Women who wanted a better life for themselves and their families, who want to open businesses and live out loud, they automatically go into build and rebuild mode, with a self-confidence – redefined.
Sharing these lessons can only bring benefit to other women who can see real-life examples of others who are doing amazing things despite the odds, to let others know that they are not alone, that using the inherent traits of our intuition, is a strength rather than something to be ashamed of. It will also let others know that they are never alone, there is a community out there making the same type of magic.
Learning about these stories and seeing them first had has certainly changed the way that I now approach my work in communities. It has also changed the way that I view not just self - confidence but the self. It also teaches us that there is no need to be afraid of being vulnerable, because those who show that they are, have confidence in themselves and know that, at some point in our lives, we all stumble; they do not interpret this as a sign of weakness, but of humanity.
Through self-confidence redefined, I have learned that complete confidence is not only in your future but also in the work you're doing, the person you're becoming, the path that you're on. It is fiercely believing that you're exactly where you're supposed to be: trials, downers, challenges, hiccups and all. It is believing past your current circumstance. Believing as big as your dreams. Believing with utter and unmatchable determination that you are enough. That your dreams will happen. That you will make it through another day. That this will all make sense later. That everything will be OK. That your impact will be great.
Through self-confidence redefined, I have learned that there is a main driver in transcending the challenges along the journey.
Self Confidence of a Woman.
Self Confidence Redefined.
Author: Akosua Dardaine Edward
Akosua Dardaine Edwards has won awards for Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean Female Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the Global Innovation Partners. She offers entrepreneurial and business support with a message of unconditional self-love and living a life in love and personal power.Akosua has travelled throughout countriesworking with women and youth