Today was my last official day as a Damsels in Success Director… But then again my sisterly story starts a long time before today…
Today was also the last Damsels in Success – Warwick meeting of the year of 2014 and I wanted to mark the occasion, so I asked to speak and speak I did… I wasn’t sure afterwards whether any of what I said made any real sense to any one but me and thinking that I hadn’t said a lot of what I had meant to say, but knowing too that this was OK, for I spoke from the heart and in the moment. And even more importantly, as a dyed in the wool Damsel in Success, I decided to take it easy on my self, so I rounded off my speech by reading out a post that I had written nearly 3 years earlier – my Love Letter to Every Woman, in love and homage to womankind and to Damsels in Success and of course to Lucie Bradbury. I read it because I have been so busy and had not prepared, I read it because it was true then and still is…
So now is my chance to say all the things meant to be said and still to be said… Slowly and out of the spotlight, to go on this page, whether seen or unseen, a never ending record of how it was for me.
If you didn’t already know, I am the second longest serving member of Damsels in Success – after Lucie Bradbury, whom we should never forget, is really the first in every way.
The truly magical Michelle Clarke (Director of Cardiff and stalwart of Damsels Heart Quarters) who has been on much of this journey with me (and who I call my ‘Shelley Fairy’), has suggested that as a result I should get a gold badge – and you know, whether I wear it on my dress or in my heart, I’ll wear it with pride and laughter and so much more…
And all too soon being a Damsels in Success Director will be a part of my history… And speaking of history, did you know that I was the first ever Director to step in this gorgeous, sparkly spotlight – at Warwick in fact, where I co-led with Lucie for a little while.
I was there because I was one of a group of gorgeous women in Lucie’s VIP Mentoring group and because I knew that I desperately wanted to change to my life… Worn out by working years in the corporate world as a Human Resources Manager, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have the capability and resources to run my own business, and to write the books I had always dreamed of…
Yes there I was, a corporate demon, dressed in black, thinking I was a sad and broken thing, when someone suggested I train with Lucie Bradbury and learn Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).
Well the rest is more history – from NLP graduate, I became Damsels Member – that at a time when we just had one group in the whole wide world.
I quickly knew too that more women should have what I was getting from Damsels and so I told Lucie I would help her to do that and so, you know, I did… There were a small group of us who took a leap of faith with Lucie Bradbury to create this community, and leap we all did, holding hands and learning such a lot along the way.
I can take the credit for many things in Damsels in Success, one being that I helped this amazing community to grow and influenced it in many gorgeous little and large ways.
I haven’t had a perfect relationship with Damsels in Success, but I have had a real one, a brave and beautiful one and I gave so much to it, for five amazing years, because of course, I got so much from it. And I could always see how at its’ beating heart, that it could give more to more women, who like me had a craving for change and wanted to be with spirited, high vibration women who wanted more from life and were prepared to do something about it.
And soon I moved away from Warwick and set up my Burton upon Trent group, moving to the East Midlands to marry an amazing man and set up my own business with his support. The day after my Burton launch, my man ended our relationship… What followed were strange times, when I nearly gave up on every thing, including Damsels, but then gradually I gained members, and that felt wonderful and putting myself into that purpose became my strength. My group grew slowly and gorgeously and over time together we made a large family, a community and a bond. I have some founding members that stayed with me for most of the 4 years I ran the group, and there were members who came and went, who have kept in touch or left our view, as is the way of the world. And for a wonderful while I ran the Glasgow group too.
Time and again I saw transformation, growth and change – these wonderful, ordinarily extra-ordinary women grew and blossomed and grabbed fantastic opportunities and still too created amazing opportunities, all with Damsels in Success and me as a catalyst.
My group (she said proprietarily) Damsels in Success – Burton, I am so proud of all we have done and been. I love you for being on ‘the journey’, and thank you for coming with me on mine. You, my members have always been my greatest gift and joy.
The last Damsels in Success – Burton meeting
In the three years of the annual Damsels in Success ‘Women Inspiring Women’ events, we Burton Beauties have won awards, with Hayley Lloyd-Wilkins and Caroline Ashby both winning most inspirational UK member and myself winning Director of the year. So I got to be three times proud…
Because of Damsels in Success I have realised two dreams that I have held in my heart for so long… to be a coach and a published author. My first book – ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’, has Damsels in Success weaving in and out of it in so many seen and unseen ways. Being a coach and a writer were both things that I was born to be. In doing them I fulfilled myself and then got to support and serve others, joyfully… How could I even begin to express my gratitude for the phenomena that activated these gifts and gave me the forum to explore, hone and then give them to others?
As a writer, I always wanted Damsels in Success to have its’ own book and I am so proud that a group of us came together and co-created ‘The F-Factor’. The whole process was a joy – from heart storming, to writing, through to launching and now to the continuing comments received from its’ readers; and so our beautiful purple book keeps touching and inspiring more hearts and lives.
Damsels has also given me a platform to speak and share – honing my learning in every single month I ran an event. Then I had the gift of the larger stage of IGNITE! where I spoke to hundreds of women, with thousands of butterflies in my stomach… On one such occasion I asked two hundred women to chose the cover of my book Peachey Letters from two designs… It was a defining moment for me…
Every month we have explored and shared a theme and I always chose to walk the talk before I shared our strategies each month with my members – this has been the most amazing investment of just about every asset I can think of!
Next I come to the Directors, who did not just co-create a book, but a fabulous feminine community, one I have tapped into every day for five years. Can you imagine bringing together a group of such wonderful women ‘on purpose’, living for a purpose? We’ve been through so many things together, have been so supportive to each other, through light and through dark. It has been a defining force in my life and I have learnt and gained so much from it.
And it all began with Lucie Bradbury. Damsels in Success is her dream and her mission. And she took it from an idea to a reality, creating a team to build the dream.
I have seen her go through many things, and have been in loving awe of how she shined through having a critically ill baby and a husband with a head trauma. I’ve seen her become a mum three times over and grow Damsels many times over. And we’ve had our moments, especially in the early days of my directorship and we’ve even nearly walked away from each other. But we are both loving stubborn women who chose to work it out and became stronger and better because of it.
I have a lot to thank Lucie for, and I do, with all my heart. My loving nick name for her is my Angel in Chief… for she has of course, given me wings…
My last day flowers…
And whilst I am in the business of giving gratitude, I want to thank Michelle Clarke, too, for her warmth, her wisdom, her sense of fun, her strength and for being another amazing example of growing more and more into her true and beautiful self and shining a light for so many others. So often with Michelle it felt like nothing was ever too much trouble, and for me she engendered this with out ever being a push over.
And I have a lot of gratitude to give to so many others too on this Damsels journey, whether I name you or not – I can cliché say, that I hold you in my heart, every woman one of you and the marvellous men too of course…
And so I write this elegant elegy as I step down from becoming a Director. Why would I leave something like this behind? There are many, many reasons as it happens and they are all personal. I have known for a while that it was time to make a change, and to focus my energies on other things. When I finally admitted to myself that I was going to cease being a Director, I was actually devastated, and for a while I grieved, deeply. Then came the acceptance it was time for me to change and I worked through all the practicalities of winding this part of my life and my business down. Next came reflection and gratitude and joy. I am most definitely leaving on a high. Well actually I am leaving Directorship to return to membership – how much does that tell you?
At this time, I have had a hankering to put together a video of all my amazing Damsel’s moments to remember and to celebrate, but never did, since I have been having a busy, happy, filling all my time, time these last few weeks.
Well on my last lovely night as a Director, I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from Lucie and my sister Directors and also, my Shelley Fairy – Michelle Clarke created the memories video for me… Bless her – something else to thank her for!
Here is the video… What can I say? It is a damn fine indictment of an amazing five years that I couldn’t and wouldn’t swop for anything…
And finally, as we like to say in Damsels in Success… WOW, WOW, WOW!!!
With much love to you.
You can buy my Peachey Letters in book form – it’s all here at the click of a link…