For the woman who doesn’t fit in, that journey can be more exhausting. You spend so much time trying to figure out what people are really saying, that you don’t spend significant amounts of time listening to yourself. That can cause some damaging feedback loops, because sadly, and sometimes tragically, our worst versions of ourselves are often reinforced by all the messages delivered externally. You know the ones, you’re not pretty enough, smart enough, smiling enough, calm enough, safe enough, good enough. You’re certainly are too big for your boots if you think you are good enough as women, in some cases.
For the woman who knows how that feels on the inside, but can’t imagine expressing it outside, you’re not a stranger to me. I used to be excruciatingly shy; no one who knows me now would credit it, but I couldn’t talk to anyone in any decently coherent way. Some of it was from my severely “effed-up” childhood, where it was a demand, a command, or a punishment whenever “communication” occurred. There is more about that in my book (Words of Bek) if you are interested. A great portion of that early inability to speak came from being diagnosed with an incurable chronic illness at the age of 18 that was poorly managed by the process at the time. Due to the fact that “only old people” get arthritis, as is still the current view despite being statistically incorrect; I was told that I could, and most likely would, be in a wheelchair by the time I was 24 and not likely to live past 40 with any quality of life.
I had also just started my engineering degree and moved out of home when this happened. Slightly overwhelming also, you might agree. Yes. Terrifying. Possibly, but when you grew up with a father’s fist in your face, it was a kind of terrifying that I had never experienced. Because it was also freedom. It was exhilarating. It was … not home.
What I eventually found was how to turn the survival traits I had from my upbringing and my altered view of the world as a result, and turn it into something… weird. I’m not supposed to be this successful, happy, confident, resilient, leader with what has happened in my past. It took me years to get comfortable with the notion I don’t fit AND be absolutely confident and garner respect in my industry; not just respect, but awards, recognition and some really fabulous mates.
I am different. It’s not bad, or better, a status proclamation; it isn’t a statement for anyone other than me. I feel I’ve earned my confidence in ways that I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to experience; it has been tough, and lonely, and a struggle to understand and accept some moments on my journey. It has been rewarding and character building and taken me in directions I never would have gone had I taken any other path. I have pretty much chosen the path less followed and finally made it to the destination with an incredible journey behind me.
I wrote a book of how I got here, trying to be practical and supportive and inclusive. I am taking that to the next level and actually getting out in front of other women to speak to those of you who are deliberately in the back row, who opted for comfortable instead of conforming, who want to be of themselves but also want to be accepted for their edges, as well as their curves.
Having already unleashed HER, I am Embracing The GladiatHER in me, the rebel leader who always win and gives their all to the outcomes. The tough, calls-it-how-it-is, powerful, motivated human that I am, and all that I have to share with others who want to be the best version of themselves.
That in order to be your best, you have to be your own harshest critic, but there comes a point when it is just critique and you can stop now… because you are already successful and don’t need to drive yourself like a gladiator quite so much anymore. It is time to hone and sharpen skills, rather than prove you have them.
GET. YOUR . BOOTS. ON
Professional Women’s Network International Literacy Award 2014 QLD Project Management Achievement Award (Community Service) 2012
Professional Mentor 2008 – 2019 for Business Chicks | AIPM | NAWIC | Master Builders –Women Building Australia Program |Private Clients
It took me years to get comfortable on the notion I don’t fit and be absolutely able to stay confident and garner respect in my industry; not just respect, but awards, recognition and some really fabulous mates. I don’t fit into fashion circles, I love ladies who can really put together an outfit, but it doesn’t do anything for me. My safety boots are my confidence, I stand firm and strong in them. I also have a disease that means I can’t really wear high heels, I love the fact that I followed an industry that means safety boots are fashion du jour. I am different. It’s not bad, or better, a status proclamation, it isn’t a statement for anyone other than me. I feel I’ve earned my confidence in ways that I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to experience, but it has been tough, and lonely and a struggle to understand some moments on my journey. It has been rewarding and character building and taken me in directions I never would have gone had I taken any other path. I have pretty much chosen the path less followed and finally made it to the destination with an incredible journey behind me.”
Introduction from Becky Paroz, Award Winning International Speaker, Author and Mentor
Becky Paroz particular encourages people from all backgrounds to apply. She is willing to discuss access requirements for people with disability, she encourages healthy mental support for those who are currently receiving treatment, she has mentored Indigenous business leaders, and several people from diverse religious backgrounds. She is a firm practitioner of equality, so whatever your circumstances and your requirements, Becky will work with you to make it happen. She is not a qualified counsellor and none of these sessions replace qualified medical and professional practitioner advice. Becky simply requests you declare your circumstances so she can ensure that you received the best outcomes possible when you work with her on your journey.