Fear for me usually comes from being outside my comfort zone. It’s not an easy place to be. My first reaction always used to be one of minor panic. Not any more.
Actually that’s not true, it’s still my first instinctive reaction but what’s changed is it’s now quickly replaced by excitement. Why? Because I’ve learnt that this usually means I’m facing a challenge, a problem to be solved - and that IS exciting.
I remember the first time I was asked to develop an operating model. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, I was being asked by my new boss. Our Group Director of Strategy at Sky. A woman I hugely respect and am frankly in awe of. And it was for a new product we were launching - Sky Store. Time for that deep breath.
To be fair, she saw my fear and her reaction was to empower me. She basically said ”you’re bright, take a look at this, talk to the key people and tell us what you think - you’ll become our expert”. She was right. From that moment on, it became this fascinating problem to solve and a story I had to work out how to tell. And I discovered I loved this process.
Now you could argue that the key here was empowerment and the value of role models. Both true and a topic for another day but what she really did in that moment was flick a switch for me and help me to learn to love being out of my comfort zone - for which I will be forever grateful.
I don’t think I would have successfully launched the Parents@Sky network without this. There were many moments in the early days when the barriers seemed too great. But having learnt what I could achieve by embracing this challenge I pushed on and frankly pushed my luck - but it worked. Today the network has 1500 members, and is run by a team of volunteers delivering workshops, webinars and events. Making a difference to people.
Today I find myself out of my comfort zone once more. And this time, I’ve put myself there and there’s no doubt it’s scary. We made a lifestyle choice to move from London to Dorset. To give our daughter the chance to grow up by the beach and to give me the chance to move into the next phase of my career - to take what I’ve learnt about supporting working parents and professional women to drive change among the wider UK business audience.
So just a small challenge I’ve given myself…but the excitement is there.