I often find myself out and about having seemingly random conversations with strangers. People will stop me in the street and ask for directions. They’ll ask me where to find something in a shop. They’ll stop and chat as they go for a walk with their dogs whilst I tidy the front garden.
Someone will make conversation on the Tube in London. Where the typical etiquette is not to make eye contact, let alone utter a word to another human being.
I’ve even flown back from Bordeaux to London and spent the entire flight having a fascinating chat, putting the world to rights with a lovely woman sitting next to me. Who apologised to my husband for keeping me talking. (He was fine with it as it gave him some peace for an hour or so.)
At networking meetings I tend to meet the people I am meant to meet. Magically we seem to gravitate towards like minded people. So conversations flow easily. Most of the time we aren’t even talking about business. We are getting to know each other better and choose to meet up again afterwards as we’ve run out of time and there’s more to discuss.
And now I see there is another thread throughout my life, I am a confidante. People tell me their inner most thoughts which means I am a trusted keeper of stories and secrets. I don’t ask them to share. It just happens. And these days more frequently.
Random conversations are powerful. Especially the heartfelt ones.
But the conversation isn’t always about others needing to offload. Sometimes someone I meet will share a nugget of wisdom that is precisely what I need to hear in the moment. They gift me an insight. A piece of wisdom. Share necessary guidance. Reaffirm something. They tell me something important that I need to hear so I know I am on the right track.
For some time I had been deliberating whether or not to create my own group for women. My idea had bubbled away for several years. It was about connection. Deeper conversation. Honesty. Encouragement. Collective growth. For women.
I held the vision of me standing in an unknown place, and one by one women would step forward and stand alongside me. We’d be collectively together.
This vision became a frequent visitor.
And yet, there were plenty of reasons why I didn’t pursue it further at the time. The concept wasn’t quite there. I struggled to find the right venue. I couldn’t fully articulate my ideas. I didn’t want to write a typical sales page. I had too much going on at home. And who would be interested anyway?
But still, I continued to wonder if other women out there were seeing and feeling what I was?
Did they see that even in this day and age women were still being overlooked?
Could they sense that something was beginning to shift?
That women were finding their their voices and were courageously beginning to speak out about the things that truly mattered?
Did they feel as strongly as I do about the women out there who have powerful gifts and valuable insights to share who are being ridiculed, ignored and suppressed?
I wasn’t so sure. So my frustration and the idea remained just that, an idea.
Last year an unexpected but significant conversation occurred in my local supermarket.
Unbeknownst to me I was about to meet someone very special in my local supermarket and have a conversation that would change how I went about my work and business.
Whilst standing in the queue an elderly man on a mobility scooter was in front of me. He paid for his shopping and made off to leave but accidentally hit the power on his scooter too hard. He ended up crashing into a bench located on the other side of the aisle.
We all laughed. (He was OK I really don’t just go around laughing at the misdemeanors of elderly men on their scooters!).
And the lovely check out lady said “You can have my L plates, as I have just passed my driving test”.
We laughed some more and fortunately he made it out of the shop unscathed.
I began to pack my shopping and said to her how brilliant it was that she’d passed her driving test and freedom beckoned.
Suddenly the conversation took a more serious tone.
She looked up at me and said “If only”.
With tears in her eyes she shared that she had spent the last eight years trying to learn how to drive. Now that she had passed her husband wouldn’t allow her to use the car. He didn’t want her to drive herself anywhere without him. He had to know exactly what she was doing and with whom at all times.
She went on to explain that in her culture you do not disobey your husband.
And yet here she was in a country surrounded by women with opportunities and their freedom. Why couldn’t she have the same?
In that moment I saw her. Really saw her. I could immediately sense what she was not saying aloud.
Something profound passed between us.
She continued to say that since moving to the UK she was more unhappy than she’d ever been. Because her freedom had been taken away. Before she moved here and married her husband she was free. And now she wasn’t.
This was not the life her mother had intended for her and she had decided it was too late to change. But she would do everything in her power to ensure her young daughter’s life would be very different than her own.
I nodded. I heard her. I understood. I felt her pain and anguish. And I wished her life was different too.
She asked me what I do. So I told her that I am fortunate to have my freedom. That I am able to work with brilliant women who have theirs too. Some have their own businesses. Many are on a powerful mission. Or they may use their voice to share their stories. Or they may even want to do something more meaningful but are not sure how. So I help them. To be the change that many of us desperately wish to see in our lifetime.
And what she said next has stayed with me ever since.
She told me that I must do everything I can to help the women around me. To embrace my freedom. To speak up on her behalf. To do what I can for those who for whatever reason cannot.
I promised her I would.
And I also told her that it is never too late for her to change her life for the better. She deserved to be happy. And she was just as entitled to her freedom, like me.
I left the shop and drove home with a heavy heart and tears. Because how could this still be happening to women in our lifetime?
But the sad truth is it is. And a lot more.
So I knew it was time for me to follow her advice. She had given me a powerful insight. I’d met her for a reason. And every time I go into the supermarket I look for her. But I have never seen her since.
If ever I needed a sign or a nudge or a monumental kick up the arse from the Universe. The powers that be. Whatever you choose to call it. THIS was it.
Instinctively I knew what I had to do. I had to get out of my own way and trust and believe that what I saw and felt, others did too. It was time for this idea of mine to become a reality.
So I created and launched the Social Collective.
The Social Collective came together following this heartfelt conversation with a brave woman who trusted me enough to tell me her story.
I am eternally grateful to her. And if I see her again, which I hope I do, I will tell her that because of her all of us within the Collective have since gone on to transform ourselves, our lives and our businesses. Who knows this domino effect may have transformed those around us and our tribes too?
I consciously created the Social Collective for women. Soulful women. Women on a mission. Women who know they are capable of more. Women who have their freedom of speech. Women who know they have something important to share. Women who want to serve. Women who want to empower others. Women who have something important to do. Women who are brave, courageous and sometimes afraid. Women who are willing to be vulnerable and share their stories in order to help others in their time of need. Women who are willing to readdress the balance between the masculine and feminine. Women who say we’ve had enough of being ignored, overlooked, suppressed and belittled. Women who are simply the change.
Why did I create it?
Because I can.
And I promised her I would. For her and her daughter. For me and for my beloved Grace. For my beautiful nieces. For all the women who are willing to be the change. And even more so for those around us who cannot be.
It’s for all of us.
Because things HAVE to change. Don’t they?
The Dalai Lama said that the world will be saved by the Western Woman.
I now realise this is not because we are the only ones with insightful wisdom or magical feminine powers. It’s because we may have more freedom than others.
We have the tools ready and waiting at our disposal. We can express our voices to speak our truth. We are stepping forward and rising so others can see and hear us.
But we have to choose. Are we in or out?
There are many reasons why I choose to work with soulful women. I will share more of my why’s another time.
But it is my intention to do whatever it takes to change the world for the women I meet and work with. I can show others how to leverage the internet and social media to raise awareness of a meaningful campaign. I can demonstrate and teach how to create and market a petite business that comes from the heart. I will continue to use my voice to tell stories that speak the truth. And I know and wholeheartedly believe that the time is now for us wonderful women to lead with our wisdom.
So this is just some of the work we do within the Social Collective.
With all of my work we focus on you. The real woman within. We get re-acquainted and reconnect with her to understand what she is really here to do. And why.
So that’s you in your entirety. Not just your business. Not just you personally. Everything. Because you are the driving force. Without YOU nothing happens. Nothing changes.
And change and transformation is long overdue.
The Dad Driving School!
Saudi Arabia was the only country left in the world where women were not allowed to drive. That began to change in June 2018.
I relish my freedom and I was fortunate that my Dad taught me how to drive as soon as I could at 17. And he taught my Mum. And my sister. Because he wanted us to be independent and have our freedom.
Every weekend we’d head out in my Mum’s car. Me at the wheel driving up and down the hills. Practicing. They’d be cursing. Much telling off. Words of encouragement. A few near scrapes. However he persisted. With all of us. Until we passed.
He may have needed a stiff drink or several when we got home.
My Dad also taught my Great Auntie May who at the age of 63 sadly lost her husband. He left behind his car and so that she could have her freedom and retain some independence she decided rather than sell it she would learn to drive. So she did. This was in the 1970’s.
During the recent summer holidays my Mum and I took my niece Boo to see Mumma Mia at their local cinema. My Dad drove us into the nearby town where they live. On the way there we told Boo that this is where Grandad taught Nanny, Mummy and me to drive.
She asked me “Why did Grandad teach you?”
“Well” I said “He did this so we could be independent and have our freedom.”
And I will do everything in my power to ensure she has hers too.