I almost can't believe this day has finally come - I have self-published my first novel. Hooray for me! This is the novel I’d been wanting to write since I was a child, since I was seven. I’m now 47. So what happened?
Like so many other women, I carried my dream in my heart for years. Unable to even talk about it, too ashamed to say it out loud. What if I'd not accomplish my dream?
Then, back in 2013, I found myself in a beautiful apartment in Hyde Park at what promised to be a new type of women’s networking event. I had been brought by a friend, who assured me it was ‘my thing.’ I listened and chatted, hey I was definitely one of these driven women and signed up immediately.
I wanted a business, I wanted to be rich and successful.
I become a DrivenWoman member and started attending their Lifeworking groups and three months on I was told to stop procrastinating by Nicola Gammon, another ambitious member and founder of Shoot Gardening, in my group. She was an experienced business woman and explained to me why my business model wouldn’t work and I should stop kidding myself. Honesty is always difficult but crucial for growth!
I had started a chilli sauce business but I had some fundamental flaws in the design which I had not wanted to face. The women in the group helped me to accept the changes I needed to make and over the next four years I would go on to sell 120,000 units, win numerous awards, secure £150k funding and then realise I had no interest building a corporate business.
Every month I turned up and surrounded myself with other ambitious women.
Some off the stuff I didn’t understand but I did it anyway, I understood that commitment to my journey was more important than any individual step. I turned up and did the homework and was available for the other women and at the same time was accountable to them.
I was open to new ideas and wanted to let go of limiting beliefs. At DrivenWoman's Wealthy Woman Workshop with Terhi Majasalmi I realised there were so many opportunities I could explore to get to my goal. This lead me to the purchase of my first house. It’s in the Czech Republic but its my first property and it was a start.
Oh yes, and I also wanted to find a boyfriend, you know. I wanted to find love. We had completed our 'Lifematrix' where you get to design all aspects of your life, your 'bigger life', and mine was going to have love in it!
It was almost as if the Universe had heard my wish and soon I found myself to be the guinea pig for Julia Keller, another member who was just starting out as a relationship expert. I worked her programme and got the marriage proposal as she predicted after a year.
When one woman opens up it gives a permission to another one to do the same.
I went to the 1st Festival of Doers in 2017 and one of the speakers welled up on stage as she spoke about the horrors of being domestically abused. I can remember physically recoiling with shame. How could she be so weak and cry in front of us all. I was horrified at her vulnerability at her over emotional state.
I went home visibly shaken and when I awoke I realised I was the victim of domestic abuse. I’d have to get out of the relationship I had so happily put myself in. I did get out and I am eternally grateful to that woman’s bravery and courage for it gave me mine. There are not many other forums where speakers and attendees are encouraged to be authentic and vulnerable and fully truthful about their journey. We all have our stories and shame we carry, for no good reason.
I found inspiration and support in each meeting. Author Helena Halme sat opposite me smiling an excitable girlie smile, when she informed us she was going to give up the day job and start writing Nordic romance novels full time. She had the groups backing and now look at her now!
When I whispered coyly to Jenni Muir I would like to write myself, she told me to read ‘The Artists Way’ and if I wanted to be a writer I had to write. Very good advice.
I was looking to do something that matters.
I was absorbing so much and everything is still with me as I can remember listening to Jenny Oklikah on numerous occasions. She spoke of not knowing where she was going but knew in her heart she was looking for something that would feed her soul. That became my mantra too.
And then last year another member, Kathleen King, got in touch with an idea to do something meaningful. We put our heads together and started working on children’s charity Kids Living. We’re already supporting children most in need, in Westminster.
At the beginning of the year I was diagnosed with cancer. After 6 moths of gruelling chemo I pulled through and can well remember reading Diana Patient’s (she's another DrivenWoman member) numerous posts on “Too Much Of A Person” her incredible online archive where women share their stories when they have been called 'too much' of something. Too loud. Too quiet. Too sexy. Too smart. The post’s reminded me I was never alone and definitely too much of a person…which I now know is such a cool thing to be.
Surround yourself with a magic environment.
As Miisa Mink, founder of DrivenWoman, would say, there is “no magic pill”. But I truly believe there is a magic environment and DrivenWoman is it!
I have been stepping out of my comfort zone one step at the time, and not always knowing there the journey would take me. When my steps didn't lead to what I wanted I learned, adjusted and changed direction. Those steps were as important as were the ones that felt 'correct' as with them came a huge amount of learning and personal growth.
Without the support of all these amazing ladies, their guidance and advice I would never have gotten where I am today: a proud author of ‘Nearly Thirteen Months’, my first novel. I finally found the courage to do what I always wanted to do since I was a little girl. It was time to honour my dreams!
This magic environment of other ambitious ladies provided me with the support, accountability and most importantly a safe space where I felt I could be who I was, and speak my truth. Without this support I probably never would have left an abusive relationship, realised I definitely wasn’t cut out for the corporate world and set up a charity…the list goes on and on!
I'm writing this blog for all of you driven women to thank you! Turn up, show up and have a little bit of faith because when you surround yourself with other women like the DrivenWoman tribe, they really have your back!
To all the Driven Women mentioned in bold above and to the others whom are not – Thank You!
Jane De Croos, is a former DrivenWoman member in London and and an author of 'Nearly Thirteen Months' available on Kindle and Paperback.
DrivenWoman is an accountability club that helps ambitious women to achieve their goals and dreams by creating positive habits one step at a time. Thousands of women around the world have joined our program and are achieving their life goals, which range from entrepreneurial dreams to career change or simply being more confident in their own skin and enjoying life in the present moment.
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