“I also” – two little words that encapsulate so much. I have the benefit of time, so my story is long: my educational background includes an engineering degree, a second accountancy degree and a qualification in Interior Design – the last one being my true love.
I established a residential interior design practice over 15 years ago after a 10 year stint in the city (which really helped with the business side of things), and now I also run a luxury villa-hotel in Sri Lanka which I designed and built in 2017.
On top of all that, I am also a mentor for the British Institute of Interior Design, a mother running around as a general taxi service, a hockey coach for my two daughters’ hockey squads and I have recently become more involved with a local Sri Lankan charity near our villa – trying to close the circle and give back to the community.
The mentoring and charity stuff is becoming more important to me – I feel a yearning need to give back and show some gratitude for where I am in life, and if I can help just one or two others have the same kind of experiences, then that will be a life well lived.
I actually don’t use the “I also” phrase often as it’s just part of what we do as women isn’t it – multi-tasking /juggling /spinning plates – so I feel that it’s probably quite normal for many.
Most of the female entrepreneurs I know my age are juggling plenty of tricky aspects to their lives, and keep taking on more! I do think it’s an entrepreneurial trait – if you have that streak in you, you just take on roles/ experiences /tasks that come along because they need to be done, and you don’t want to give any of it up!
I’m not complaining, it’s just the way life is – and I am very happy with it for as long as I can take it all on.
Saying that, it’s hard sometimes to spin all the plates and sometimes I don’t do it very well. Sometimes I drop a few – generally when I really have just taken on too much in my week.
I quickly realise as the tiredness sets in, that I need to look at my diary and clear some space to be able to recharge, take stock and then get stuck back in.
It’s enormously important to look after oneself – my mental release is exercise. I also like relaxing with my friends over a raucous dinner and drinks or chilling with my family in front of a good film after a big Sunday roast. Whatever works for you – do it, often. I should remember my own advice and put these events into my diary!
I love having more than one role – I need the variety. I love being a business woman, and a creative, and a project manager, and a mother, and a friend and a mentor etc etc etc….There are so many interesting people in the world, I get a lot from interacting with passionate people – whatever their passion is, it’s life affirming.
As a woman, it is easier these days to do more. We are lucky in this country that we have freedom of choice, and also opportunities (if one is willing to chase them). Women want more – financial freedom, being a working mother, being independent etc …..the #ialso tag is so apt as more and more fabulous entrepreneurs chase their dreams, innovate careers and businesses and ALSO settle down, maybe have families or get involved in all sorts of other things to fill their time productively and satisfyingly. There is a strong girl power movement – it’s fantastic!
Looking to the future, I hope we are in for more of the same. I believe in equality. I don’t think that women should be treated any differently (worse or better) than our male counterparts but I think it’s time that the mindset shifts. I think it is shifting for the next generation – I see it in my kids and their friends (male and female). I hope the future will be innovative, energetic and equal for whoever has an opportunity thrown their way.
I talk to my daughters about freedom of choice all the time. Nothing has landed in my lap, I made it happen and worked really hard for it – BUT, I am lucky that I had the ability to spot any opportunity that was thrown my way. A mindful mindset is so important. It would be great if we could all be a bit more aware about what it is we truly want within ourselves, don’t follow the herd, listen to your instincts and then grab life by the badoobies!
We can make things happen for ourselves and help each other too – sometimes requires a bit of balls, but better to try than watch life pass you by.