Life Lessons from Lisa Walker: Ladies Who…Connect January

Another inspiring story from Ladies Who…Connect. This month we were talking about life lessons with Lisa Walker from White Apple Thinking, which follows on nicely from October’s post “Every event in life is an opportunity to learn” with Jane Tai, who will be speaking again in February (but more on that later).

Back to Lisa, Lisa shared her 10 life lessons with us from her personal journey leaving school through working for some odd companies with odd policies before forging a promising career in HR and ‘giving it all up’ for a more meaningful passionate life with purpose by founding her own business White Apple Thinking, where she helps others become better versions of themselves by making positive lasting change.

When you are good at something you get neglected

Have you ever noticed that? If you are good at something you are just left to get your head down and get on with it, but when we find something we are not so good at all the focus is put on improving it. It’s just like when something is wrong we fix it. We have a need to be good at everything so throw we throw time money and effort at improving our short comings. In his Ted Talk Cameron Herod talks about how we are more likely to pay for a maths tutor for a kid who is failing than hiring a tutor in other areas to help us excel and soar. Imagine having a personal coach, tutor, mentor to help you become even better at the things you are good at. Whether it’s a creative talent or a head for numbers, how much more successful, satisfied would you be if someone was championing you and you cheering you on instead of neglecting you? 

There is more out there than we know

So true, we are only limited by own thoughts, experiences and imaginations. We want greener grass because we’ve seen it exists, but we don’t want blue grass because we don’t know that blue grass exists. If we don’t go out in search of it we will never discover it, the world would still be flat.

Push the boundaries of your imagination and desires.

Trust your instinct, intution and integrity

That feeling you have when you know something’s not right, in the pit of the stomach. Like when you are in a job interview and you get a bad feeling, you know that it your prospective boss isn’t pleasant now they won’t be pleasant to work for, but do you still take the job? Have the confidence to speak out, to do something about it. Confidence is a personal thing and is damaged by so many of our life experiences, bullying, intimidation and not just in the playground but in the workforce too.

Have the confidence to make you own choices

How many people stay in jobs where they are miserable? I’m amazed by how many people I know have been reduced to tears at work, and even more who bottle it up only to break down and cry when they get home. Have the confidence to move on.

I’m proud that I move on if I’m unhappy in a job, with colleagues or a boss, I’ll just move on. Life is too short to be surrounded by people who make you miserable, doing a job that makes you miserable in a toxic environment that makes you ill. Some employees would question my loyalty and commitment to the business but I think that ignoring and neglecting unhappy employees is worse than losing an employee. How can a business thrive if its employees feel downtrodden, unmotivated and lower the moral of the rest of the team?

I am confident in my ability to my job, I have a passion and commitment to doing it to the best of my ability.  But it’s scary how many women have confidence hang ups, call them what you will dragons, gremlins, limiting beliefs, that little voce that whispers I’m not good enough, who am I do that. Even those women who look like they have it all together, perfectly composed in public are questioning themselves in private, even some über confident business women I’ve met are afraid to dine alone in a restaurant.

And so many women aren’t realising that they are good enough, that they are more than enough as they are, that there is more to life than this, more than societies expectations, there is a life out there that I want, there is a person I want to be and that person is me. And women aren’t realising this until their late 30’s and 40s. There’s a glut of women who are experiencing a breakdown, a falling apart, and then as this realisation dawns they are setting up their own businesses with passion, drive and enthusiasm and a thirst for a life they want, not what society dictates. But why is there this the pattern? Why aren’t we tackling this issue at school, why do girls have to go through a period of their life feeing like they are not enough, questioning their abilities at work, at home, raising their children, balancing and juggling being a good mum, partner, wife daughter, why do we have to be bullied, criticised, judged, miserable and depressed before we can break free like a butterfly from its chrysalis.

Why should we be trapped, constrained, restrained from voicing our opinions, afraid of not being taking seriously?

We are all a work in progress

Going back to your childhood ask yourself who were the formidable women in your life? We all that favourite teacher we not only admired but he one who got the best out of us, they knew how to support and encourage us to do our upmost best. I consider myself to be lucky in having numerous formidable women who knew just how to do this for me from Mrs Bott in primary school who allowed me to put Nesquik in my milk to make sure I was getting some nutrition to Mrs Ward in secondary school who fuelled my passion for languages which helped my fulfil a dream to live abroad.

Then ask yourself how many formidable women are in your life today? I can honestly say that I have a number of them in my life today, because I actively started searching them out a few years ago, some I follow online and am part of their Facebook communities or support programs. Some I have met face to face through groups like Ladies Who…Connect, Pure Zest and Winning Women.

Why did I actively seek these women out? Because similar to Lisa I encountered bullying tactics from female bosses, marginalisation for being female with my own opinions – in one job I was only allowed to take minutes and make tea in the client meetings while the male director ran the show, but then of course back in the office the project was completely on my shoulders.  I have had the good fortune of some formidable managers both male and female over my 10 year career who have shaped me, mentored and coached me.  Having these people in my life help me make better choices, opens my eyes to thing I didn’t know was out there and their support gives me the confidence to do what I do!

Join Ladies Who…Connect on Thursday 18th February at Hotel Du Vin in York to hear Jane’s inspirational story and discover more life lessons and the part that integrity and intuition has to play in in transforming your life. This is the 2nd time Jane has shared her story, so you can get a sneak preview of what to expect in October’s blog post and buy your tickets here.

Jane Tai


We all need formidable people in our lives, who are the formidable women in your life today?

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