24th of May, 2021. The deadline I had been working towards for some time, to submit my application for the Women in Leadership Scholarship competition. For quite some time, since I first read the details of the competition I had been managing two different lines of thought:
What should make the cut to the concise 800 word limit?
Should I even dare to dream of winning this scholarship?
I must admit that, initially, I thought that the competition would receive so many brilliant entries that it would be very, very hard to even be considered. I kept asking myself, why would anyone want to read my thoughts on this matter, and why should I share them? What if what I have to say is not what people want to hear? And it was only when I started listening to this internal talk, these little daggers of doubt, that I started to challenge myself and answer those questions. And I realised that I was not looking to write the article to win, but to put into words the thoughts that I had been gathering across so many years of work experience, of being a woman in business, of experiencing first-hand the success and challenges attached to this. It was a way to contribute, to play my part, to share thoughts and, in the best of cases, find out if they resonated with anyone else.
And from that moment on, I decided to pour the best of myself into this process, this journey, and what started as a 3000 word draft, gradually narrowed down to the 800 words that made my final submission. This process allowed me to allocate some valuable time to reflect into a subject that is incredibly important and relevant in today’s business landscape. It also gave me the opportunity to discuss some of these thoughts with friends and colleagues, and to realise that there were more synergies than I anticipated, but also that there were some other alternative, very valuable views. And it shaped my views on leadership thereafter.
So, as the 2022 Women in Leadership scholarship competition is open for applications, I wanted to take some time to share my experience with everyone who may be thinking of applying. My advice to you is to invest yourself authentically in the process, to think critically about the topic and to allow yourself to express your own opinion rather than what others have already said. Be genuine, be unique, and be kind to yourself. Make sure to reach out to others and share ideas, encourage others to participate, and allow yourself to change and grow along the process.
But also, don’t forget, someone will be the winner of the 2022 scholarship. Why not try to make that yourself?
Best of luck