Brisbane Business Hub recently welcomed over 160 attendees for an empowering event to help them build their confidence, vanquish their doubts and stand just that little bit taller.
The event was hosted by Samantha Rush, founder and creator of Marvellous Women Cards, a deck of decision inspiration cards containing the wisdom of 52 women, ranging from Cleopatra to Lady Gaga.
Samantha was joined by a pair of Marvellous Women – Sally Prosser, a holistic voice and speaking coach, and Bec McIntosh, an MBA career consultant at the University of Queensland School of Business and the founder of Career Jam, which can be found on YouTube (@careerjam) and Instagram (@careerjammer) – for a night of celebration, education and inspiration.
Both Prosser and McIntosh took inspiration from the Marvellous Women Cards within their sessions, as they aimed to help attendees be their best by learning from the wisdom of the remarkable women that have come before them.
Changing it up
Bec McIntosh led the group through a session on the confidence needed for change, and how that confidence allows for mid-career growth, transition and transformation.
“The key to change is not change itself,” she said, “but having the confidence to make that change.”
“The first step to getting somewhere new is deciding not to stay where you are. While it may feel overwhelming, take one step at a time and seek the support you need along the way.”
She suggested asking yourself:
- Are you confident in your ability to make strong career choices?
- Do you have a professional network that you regularly engage with?
- Are you clear on your values, strengths, capabilities and experience?
- Are you comfortable telling your career story?
- Do you feel like you can cope with setbacks and challenges in your career?
- Do you believe that things will turn out positively?
- Do you have a career where you look forward to the future?
- Do you believe you have what it takes to navigate change?
“Your answers to these questions will tell you pretty quickly if you’re confident enough in yourself and your skill set to make a move,” Bec said.
She added that change is an ever-present theme in today’s careers space.
“In the past few years the job market has been impacted [by COVID-19], giving people the opportunity to evaluate their options and choices,” Bec says. “Coupled with the magnificent leaps we are making in technology, we are in a very fast-moving world.
“The only constant is that things will continue to change, and we need to have the skills to enable us to navigate that change as it comes.”
Of course, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, which is why Bec suggested that women considering the next step in their career should look back at the choices that have brought them to this point.
“To help guide your way forward in the decision making process, you may like to do a timeline to represent all the conscious and unconscious career decisions you’ve already made that have led you to where you are now,” she said. “This will help determine what you like and dislike.
“Career decisions are so important, because your career is never in isolation. It is part of your life, and part of what makes a good life for both you and those around you.
“There is a wide world out there. Life is big and bold, but only if you want it to be.”
Speaking with confidence
Sally Prosser then took to the floor to provide attendees with tips on speaking with confidence.
Sally explained that speaking with confidence allows you to communicate more effectively, consciously and clearly, and is an incredibly important skill to have in the workplace. She said the key is to remain calm and focused, so you can manage your thoughts better and present yourself in a more professional manner.
“Taking a moment to yourself,” she said. “Breathe, have some water, and don’t let the fear of the ‘what ifs’ take over, but prepare for the ‘when I’s’ instead. ‘What ifs’ lose their power when you’ve planned out actionable steps.
“For example, change your mindset from thinking, `what if I forget my words’, to, ‘when I forget my words I will…’”
Sally said that when it comes to making ourselves heard, we often sabotage ourselves before we even make a sound.
“Just like a musical instrument, we play our voice,” she said. “If someone is comfortable with their musical instrument, you can tell straight away, just like you can tell if someone is a confident speaker before they start talking.
“Focus on your body language. Walk with purpose and direction. Ground yourself by imagining your legs are tree trunks, and your toes are roots going into the floor to stabilise and support yourself. Imagine you are wearing angel wings, push your shoulders back and hold your head high.
“It is essential to get comfortable in being uncomfortable, and remember you aren’t alone. You have your audience – pick out the lighthouses and hone in on their positivity.
“Think about it this way: What if the physical symptoms of nerves are actually your messages getting ready to come out? The more we suppress that, the more uncomfortable we will be. We have to allow the energy to move through us and out of us.”
Sally said tone of voice also plays an important role.
“As women, we are often told to lower the pitch of our voices,” she said. “But rather than thinking about the pitch of your voice, think about the placement of your voice. Your voice raises from your heart – practice starting lower, as if directly from your heart, so you have room to go up.”
Ultimately, Sally said it was important to learn how to use your voice, so you can help those without one to be heard.
“So many women do not have the opportunities like we all have, and that gives us the responsibility to use our voice and use it well,” she said. “Use it for others, and also use it for yourself. Speak your truth.
“People are threatened by things that shine. We are even threatened by our own light. People get used to playing a character, but when we step into our own light, we can only be authentic. That way, you can be an example to others – not an example of who they should want to be, but an inspiration to show them it’s okay to be who they are.
“Each of us can use our voice and shine our light.”