I’ve always been very ambitious and worked hard for successful. I started my journey growing up with a middle class family just outside of Helsinki. Faced with adversity and challenges, I moved through life always abandoning paths that didn’t serve me (schools, jobs, marriage, countries). I dropped out of high school (twice), yet got accepted into the best business school in Finland and built a relatively successful international career. I always believed I’d find my path and that life would somehow carry me. I have lived trusting my inner voice and embracing opportunities that came my way.
This ‘doer’ attitude has served me well, and five years ago I understood that my ability to see opportunities and take steps forward, even when I didn’t know what the outcome would be, is something I can share with the world. I have slowly realised it is my purpose to help other women embrace the unknown and keep moving forward, towards something more exciting.
I saw how brilliant, ambitious women were struggling, often suffering from a chronic lack of self belief, due no fault of their own. We have been brought up in an operating system that was not designed for us. The endless climbing of the corporate ladder. Choosing between a career or a family. Why do we have to 'make it' in the man's world?
I wanted to challenge the traditional success norms and definitions.
The question that kept lingering in my mind was that women might have a different vision of success and we were struggling because we were trying to climb a wrong tree. The environment wasn't designed for us and all we could do was to wait for organisations and corporations to change to finally treat us equal.
Or was it?
What would happen if all women could become successful in their own terms?
It’s this atmosphere of waiting for something to happen, an idea of being a victim in someone else’s world that I wanted so desperately to change. It may be a man’s world today, but nothing should stop us creating better circumstances for ourselves and eventually changing what we want!
I understood that we needed a safe environment where we could escape together to be re-born, to value our dreams and to build our strength.
"It's easy for you to talk about confidence", you might think.
But hold on. I never believed I would have ‘what it takes’ to build something based on who I am. I wouldn't have found the courage to search deeply within me if it wasn't for the support I got from a fellow DrivenWoman at the time. I decided to build that self-belief so that anything would be possible. And I wanted to know how it could be done.
In a way, my journey is that of any driven woman.
I've been building my confidence step by step - to believe in my purpose, to change my own world and the world of those around me.
It doesn’t take a social economist to figure out what the global impact could be if all women stopped worrying what other people think about them, if we’d stop accepting a daily struggle as a norm, if we’d start walking away from situations that are abusive or corporate structures that are non-supportive.
We are not living in an equal world, but we are the ones who can change it. Nothing external will ever empower us as much as the power we have inside.
I was at Mums Enterprise Roadshow some weeks ago. I sat on the Q&A entrepreneur panel in front of 200 women desperate to do something for themselves. I will never forget that one lady who stood up and asked:
“I’ve had this idea in my heart for many years now, but every time I want to take it forward my husband tells me that now is not the right time.”
She burst out crying as she voiced her question. I wanted to cry. I still do.
But instead of crying I have decided to act.
I’m building DrivenWoman so that we all can finally stop crying.
So that we can start acting. So that we can find a safe space where our ideas are valued. Where nobody tells us that we can’t do it or that we shouldn't even try. Where we come together to support each other and to keep one another accountable. Where we find the strength to carry on when we want to quit. Where we realise that small steps is all it takes to move closer to our bigger life.
Dreams don’t happen because it’s difficult to stick to our own plans. At DrivenWoman we have created a formula where nobody is left alone. I have now seen hundreds of beautiful personal transformations, big and small. They are all equally dear to me. Our network brings together bankers and florists, photographers and board level women, all realising that we are held back with the same issues and our dreams are all equal.
Our mission is to make personal development and self-actualisation accessible to 1 million women globally by 2025. This is why we have started a big expansion drive, recruiting group leaders across the UK and Switzerland, and soon going on a roadshow in France and Italy, and other European countries. Our flagship event Festival Of Doers in London (26.1.2018) is becoming a real meeting place for women 'doers' (only handful of tickets remain), and soon we will be raising money via equity crowdfunding offering everyone in our community an opportunity to be part of this success story.
This is my plan A. There is no other plan. And for me, no other plan matters. Because now is our time. It’s our time to change our own world, together.
Do you want to get involved with DrivenWoman? Join one of our Introduction events, if there's no groups in your local area, register your interest to bring DrivenWoman Lifeworking groups to where you are.