One of the unexpected benefits of setting up this new organisation, Flying School, is that I’m having to operate out of my comfort zone far more than I’m used to; and it’s really not as bad as I feared!

Every day I’m aiming to be 10% braver in my actions, my thinking, my learning, my potential and my confidence.  Moving away from a structured and corporate environment means I am really finding and testing my own leadership voice which is feeling more authentic as a result.

What have I done this week to be 10% braver?

Rachel and I attended the ‘Women Leading in Education’ Annual Conference @WLiEYH in Leeds last Saturday based on the International Women’s day #balanceforbetter. Although not knowing anyone at the event, I made sure I made introductions, I asked questions and I shared the vision of Flying School to a brand new audience. Absolutely not the most comfortable situation for me as I felt a need to ‘sell’ Flying School to an audience of child experts, but after relaxing, listening and joining the conversation, there was so much we all had in common; how to give our children the very best start for their futures.

Striving to ‘have it all’ or trying to be the best we can to everyone, may often lead to putting so much pressure on us that we forget to be compassionate to ourselves. If you are working long hours on lesson planning and marking, keeping up to date with new ideas and techniques, ensuring pupils are happy and engaged as well as having time for your own family and friends, never mind your own personal growth and time, then when do you have time to be 10% braver?

Some of the ideas discussed were:

  • presenting flexible working options to employers, and ensuring there was time allocated in the working week for personal CPD
  • making sure we put our ladder up to the right wall (i.e. focus on what it is you want to achieve and when it’s right for you)
  • getting a coach or mentor to discuss options and provide wider thinking
  • offering to be, or asking someone to be your ‘boast buddy’; that person who will say great things about you and in return you do the same
  • collect your affirmations

We gained so much from being in the room and hearing the conversations and thoughts of over 150 women leading in Education. The energy and passion for inspiring and developing children was fantastic and we’ve taken away a number of key messages to build into the resources and games we’re developing to create environments to help children learn to fly and inspire others.

Sharing passions and energies outside of school life was great to build wider connections other than ‘education’ and the atmosphere was supportive and collaborative. We heard that teachers and leaders in education are innovative and inspirational. They are stopping doing the things that hold them back just because it’s always been done that way, and they are embracing flexible working practices to give teachers the chance to pursue wider development interests and also to achieve a better work life balance such as seeing their own children in achievement assemblies.  

We heard the messages ‘I want to stand up there and be a role model to the next generation’, ‘I want our children to see that anything is possible’. The women who spoke were ambitious, but not competitive; fierce but not scary; optimistic whilst being realistic and above all, creating education environments to help children to succeed.  
So, to conclude I’ve written and published my first blog, which isn’t 10% braver, but nearer 50% braver. 

Where do you think 10% braver might take you?

Additional reading: Brene Brown, Daring Greatly – How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

For further information about the Women Leading in Education Yorkshire & Humber network and how you can get involved follow @WLiEYH on twitter, or go to www.womenleadingineducationyh.co.uk. The network are looking for sponsors and partners to continue to fund them to 2020 and beyond, so if you are able to provide funding, or venue space etc, please get in touch with them.