Last week on Thursday I was a parliamentary candidate in the General Election, and came second to the sitting MP. On Friday I was also one of three finalists in the Venus Awards Thames Valley, for Entrepreneur of the Year, a title worthily taken by the extremely able and very nice Charlotte Cavanah founder of ‘Time for Tea’.
I don’t normally talk about my political life in work but I’ve been encouraged by a couple of Team Holy Brook to share my thoughts on how these two experiences felt.
In both cases I exceeded my own expectations (I increased my party’s vote by 82% and I made it to the final), but I didn’t win.
Would I have preferred to win?
Was it still worth it given the outcomes?
So, what did I learn?
Plenty, but both processes had some common lessons:
- It felt really good to represent something I passionately believe in.
- Going in for something without the pressure of expectations is a great way of beating impostor syndrome
- Taking a calculated risk is a great way of learning and developing.
- sometimes apparently playing it safe is actually a bigger risk: the benefits of the process both personally and for my organisations were huge.
- It was good practice at keeping your eyes open, and realism.
- Trying something is a great opportunity to meet some new amazing people
- A competitive process is also an opportunity to cooperate and deepen my professional and personal relationships with people I already know.
- Bringing your whole self to something can work – in my professional life I can be apologetic for my political conviction and vice versa: but they are both aspects of my determination to help make a better world.
- It can feel like a one off but just as there are no happy endings in life there are also no full stops on your professional journey: we say it to our children but it is true “There’s always next time”…
The final lesson I would share don’t be embarrassed about who you are or down play your conviction.
It is exactly one year since the anniversary of Jo Cox’s assassination today (Friday 16th June). In one hustings, we were asked who our hero was and I was rather embarrassed to say it was Jo Cox and some other MPs currently in parliament who had inspired me.
It felt almost as if I was being presumptuous, but actually once I’d said it I realised just how true it was.
Jo Cox was an inspiration and just went for things – she didn’t hold back. There has been a lot said about what she meant to people but the thing that really sticks with me is something her husband Brendan shared:
“Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.”
We may not all have her talent and strength, but what an inspiring approach and a great way of ensuring you do everything you can to make a better world.