Secretarial Trainee to No 10….and a pair of shoes

My mother told me that I didn’t walk until I was nearly two.  I like to think that it was because I was soaking up all the knowledge around me before I took my first steps…rather than being a little lazy.  In fact, it was the sight of my first pair of very shiny black patent shoes that drove me to take those first steps, and I have never looked back. I had achieved my first goal…to walk, or rather to wear those shiny black shoes.

In my early childhood I was shy, always watching, but never joining in.  Something always held me back.  It was confidence.  I hesitated to take those steps forward.  As I grew older, my confidence grew and I put myself forward more often and realised that I wasn’t going to get anywhere by sitting and watching others all the time.  I needed to take action to achieve my goals! No-one was going to do it for me.

I set my sights on a grammar school place and I achieved that.  I probably set out not to get many qualifications, and I achieved that too!  Life was for living when I was 16, and there was no way I was staying on at school.  I wanted to earn money to buy my first pair of work shoes!  They walked into Land Rover in Solihull and, although I had never typed anything in my life…I became a Secretarial Trainee. I set myself a goal to learn to type and passed my exams within a matter of weeks.

However, I was always looking at other people’s shoes, and who was wearing them, and set myself a goal to work my way up and into that role.  From secretarial trainee, I became a PA. From PA to bank clerk.  From bank clerk into sales, and so on.  I even went back to school to get those qualifications and qualified as a solicitor, but that’s another story.

Last December I was invited to visit No 10 Downing Street, to represent  the Warwickshire & Coventry branch of the FSB, as a woman in business, to meet with the Government’s advisers to talk about diversity and to encourage more women entrepreneurs to start up their own business.  Standing in my shoes, outside the door of No 10, I savoured the moment, reflecting about the time I stepped into my first job as the secretarial trainee who couldn’t type. I thought about all of the goals I had set along my journey and just how many I had achieved.

I truly believe that goals are a journey to a destination.  Personal or business,  you set out your goal and a route map on how you’re going to get there.  In my case, in a pair of shoes…one step at a time.

Sandra Garlick is a Business Growth Consultant, Mentor and Public Speaker.  Sandra speaks throughout the UK on a number of business growth topics and inspires women to start up and grow their businesses.

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