There she goes, driving through Fallowfield in her Peugeot 106; it’s a maroon (not her choice) Aztec addition and in it she’s absolutely nailed parallel parking.
She’s on her way to Manchester Met to study International Fashion Marketing, a little apprehensive knowing that she’s here because she declined an offer from the London College of Fashion for the same course.
Her heart wasn’t in it, she didn’t want to go to London and this was to the first ‘life choice’ of many she would make where she chose to follow her heart...
If I was sat there next to her in the passenger seat, this is what I’d tell her about the journey ahead:
Follow your heart but take your head with you
Every decision you’re going to make will always come from your heart, it’s how you’re wired and you should understand that’s OK, just take your head with you.
It’s OK to fail
Make mistakes Emma, they are going to be your biggest and most memorable learnings, they are just a temporary, necessary detour, not a dead end. Just don’t make the same one twice!
Love what you do
And if you don’t – leave. You’re going to be at work 5 days out of a 7 day week; enjoy it.
Surround yourself with brilliant people
You feed off people’s energy. Surround yourself with talented, fun, friendly people – both at work and in your social circle.
You get out what you put in
Nothing will be handed to you on a plate. Work hard and your reward will come in many forms; respect, recognition, friendship and loyalty.
Don’t apologise for your emotions
In your early career you will see this as a negative and as a woman, you will on occasion, feel and see that it is sometimes used again you - I’m here to tell you that’s b**llocks.
You will be hugely passionate about what you do and the people you work with, you will have high expectations of yourself and your team and you will learn to use your emotional intelligence as a tool to help support you in your Leadership role. Don’t underestimate the power/ the impact you can have with the ability to be able to connect with people on an emotional level.
ABC; Ability, Breaks and Courage
This will be a light bulb moment that comes to you at 32 years of age during a presentation by Angela Spindler; CEO of N Brown Group PLC - and you’ll wish you’d have heard this sooner.
With regard to career progression, relate it to ABC; you have to have the ability, make the most of the opportunities/ breaks that may come your way and have the courage/ confidence in yourself.
Sometimes we sit and wait for things to happen, so push yourself and carve your career path.
You will have the ability based on the experience you will gain over the years in the industry to push yourself for promotion when the opportunities arise, so have the god damn courage to stick your hand up and say ‘give it to me and let me prove to you I can do this’…. You may surprise yourself and others.
It’s OK to be content
From now until you’re early 30s, you’ll always be thinking ‘What next?’. You’re always going to be focused on that next step.
But you know what, sometimes it’s good to stop, take a breather, look around you and appreciate what you have and be proud of all you have achieved so far…
Never under estimate the power of a great outfit
As Coco Chanel once said, or it quite possibly could have been your mother? “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress, dress impeccably and they remember the woman”.
A good laugh, and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.