Lessons Learnt with Lucy Bloom

Inspirational is an understatement

On, 8 March 2021, I had the privilege of listening to the totally AMAZING and FABULOUS Lucy Bloom at the Business Women Albury Wodonga and BEC Business Advice Tools Skills Support International Women's Day lunch.

Inspirational is an understatement! 

Lucy delivered some really important messages while keeping us totally engaged, inspired and laughing.

I've shared some social media posts about my take-away points from Lucy. But I really haven't been able to stop thinking about Lucy and what she shared. So, I’d like to share with you, some more detail around my key take-away points from listening to this most amazing woman.

1. Chase the Squirrel

I often refer to Shiny Thing Syndrome. Lucy refers to Squirrels.

It’s a space where your attracted to/distracted by the “new shiny thing”, the new fun thing, the new kid on the social media block, the new business idea.

I have always tended to look at the new shiny thing for a little bit and then go “no, I need to stay focused on the project at hand”. After hearing Lucy, I’m going to chase those shiny things – those squirrels – instead of looking at them.

2. Be courageous (with humour)

I consider myself courageous. I am a feminist and proudly so. Really, anyone who believes in the equality of sexes (not sameness) is a feminist.  However, there are those who don't understand ‘equality' is not ‘same'. But I digress. 

Being courageous, I try and call out patriarchal bullsh*t, racism, appropriation, sexism, basically any inappropriate behaviour whenever I see it. 

My problem is that I call it and then I’m usually so filled with “this is so wrong, why can’t you see this is wrong, why can't you understand” frustration, that my throat constricts and my brain freezes and I cannot articulate a calm, considered discussion. If I can actually speak, my frustration then comes out loudly and, to be blunt, pretty obnoxiously. And that simply does not help the situation. In fact, when it comes to sexism it reinforces the other person's belief that women are too emotional! *facepalm*

After speaking to Lucy about this (yes I bought her book and had a chance to chat briefly), she suggested using humour to call out the inappropriate behaviour and/or comments. And to practice, practice, practice my responses.

So, I’ll be practicing, practicing, practicing. I really hope I don’t have to practice this for too long and that the number of times I have to be courageous starts to drop (and eventually disappears).

3. Imposter syndrome is female bullsh*t – we need to stop it, be confident and back ourselves

I absolutely, totally agree with Lucy on this. “How the hell did we, as women, give ourselves a syndrome?”.

Yes, we have grown up in a world that has told women to be meek, ladylike, quiet. (All of which I’m pretty sure I’m not – well most of the time. But I used to be!).

As a result (of the world of women = meekness), there is a perception that being a confident woman is a negative. And we have created imposter syndrome to counter being confident. Men don't have imposter syndrome. They have confidence in themselves and their abilities.

We should too – have confidence in ourselves, our abilities, our choices, our lives. We have to stop believing in imposter syndrome.

Confidence is not arrogance.

I am good at what I do. I help small businesses with their marketing. I do it differently to a lot of marketers.

Sometimes (not often), I will question if the way I do things is right. I went to Uni. I know the theory of marketing, strategy, consumer behaviour, blah blah blah. But I work in the real world, with real clients and when I look at the results I get for my clients, I know I’m doing the right thing and that my confidence is well placed. 

I'm confident enough to say to a potential client “I'm not the right person/agency for you, let me introduce you to…”. 

Collaboration over competition. Community over Comparison.

Comparison is not imposter syndrome. It's nearly as damaging though.

I remember one of the biggest lessons I learnt when I went through the Wine Industry Leadership Program.

Different is not Evil.

Being different gives me confidence. Let it give you confidence too. 

And stop talking about imposter syndrome. I believe if we stop giving it oxygen it will go away. 

4. You must have fun

This is already one of my key values and it was great to hear it reinforced by someone as fabulous as Lucy. Yes, I know I said don't compare, but I don't consider this comparison. More a same values thing. 

I wonder if Lucy dances in the supermarket aisles. Have you tried it? It's a fun thing to do.

Anyway, I’ll continue to have fun and encourage others to have fun too. Go on, next time you're in the supermarket, have a little bum wiggle in the aisle. You might be surprised at how it puts a smile on your face as well as others.

5. There's always a lesson to learn

In sharing her story, Lucy also shared that whenever a negative thing had happened, there was always a learning. Sometimes it was learning something about herself. Sometimes it was something about others. Or sometimes it was knowledge or a skill.

The point is, there was always a lesson.

I have always said

It's not a mistake or a failure if you learnt from it. It's a lesson.

Don't be afraid to fail or to make mistakes. It's how we learn – both new skills and how to be better people. 

6. Finish with action

Lucy finished her talk with five actions for us to do. She commented that if we just rocked up for a lunch on IWD and didn’t take action, we were just a bunch of privileged women having lunch.

Wow!!! I so love this. We often forget how privileged we are. I had a conversation with one of my guests at this lunch (the fabulous Cate). Cate is like me – middle class, white, well-educated, etc, etc. We have lived a privileged life.

Cate works with Indigenous people and commented that when she wore a top with Indigenous print on it, people treated her differently. They held more tightly onto their handbags/wallets. They moved to the other side of the street. The spoke with a different tone of voice. Service….what service? Cate's experience is a taste of what Indigenous people go through all the time.

Our discussion was a reminder of our privilege. It is not a comfortable thing to acknowledge our privilege, but it is important that we do so AND to act for change where we can – appropriately.

So, alongside Lucy's direction and Cate's experience of recognising our privilege, I’m inspired to take action.

Here’s what Lucy asked us to do.

  • Do a Google search every day for “regional women are the generals in the war against the patriarchy” 
  • Join the CWA
  • Make a donation to domestic violence projects
  • Nominate her (Lucy) for Australian of the year
  • Switch the boys and girls clothes around in the department stores

I’m going to do at least four of the five things in the above list, because my Why is to make a difference and that list can make a difference. Edit as at 15.3.2021: So far I have done two of the five. 

Plus, as Nelson Mandela said

Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.

starfish

starfish

Hi, I'm Mell - a wine lover, shoe fanatic, cheese fiend, and wishful traveller. I also dance in supermarket aisles. And, I live, breathe, and love all things marketing! I founded Starfish Marketing in 2015 and have been helping business owners make your marketing and social media happen ever since. If you're overwhelmed by marketing I'd love to see how I can help.