Last night in Oxford we heard another inspirational story at Word of Mouth. We were joined by Lou Barwell, who came all the way from Doncaster to share her story of how she went from rock bottom to following her dream.
I met Lou six months ago at the City Women’s Network gala dinner. She was speaking at about her life, how she was arrested, how this had made her want to commit suicide, how she got help from the women’s charity Platform 51 and how she turned her life around. I was amazed how Louise was able to share an intensely emotional story so calmly and with humour.
Lou didn’t fail to impress the Fe-line audience, and like myself, everyone left feeling that they had met someone who is going to go along way in her career and life. Lou spoke openly about her arrest, what lead to it and how a lady from Platform 51 had found her and invited her along to their centre.
At the Platform 51 centre in Doncaster, Lou took part in confidence and self-esteem courses and was given counselling. Lou described this as the turning point in her life. She told us how at Platform 51 she can be herself and everyone accepts her. She still goes in everyday for a cup of tea before work for a boost. One audience member said: “I need somewhere like that in my life.” This was my own personal motivation for Fe-line; I have visited many Platform 51 centres and feel that all women from all backgrounds need somewhere to go to feel accepted and to get help; but more importantly, for women to help other women.
Lou talked about how when she was feeling really lost she would go and watch the Eddie Stobart lorries coming out of the depot. Her friend had told her that they all had women’s names, so she would go and look at the names. This became a hobby and she started going all around the country, lorry watching. When her grandad saw a picture of her sitting behind the wheel of a lorry, he said you “look very at home.” This planted the seed of becoming Lou’s career dream.
Lou thought she was going to have to wait five years to be able to afford her training to become a lorry driver, but the women at the City Women’s Network believed in her so much that they gave a large proportion of the money towards it. Lou has now passed her first two theory exams and is well on her way.
So what did I gain from last nights Word of Mouth? Well just an overall feeling of pride for a young woman that has come along way. There are people that you meet in life that you know are destined for great things, and Louise is one of these. Sometimes is takes hitting rock bottom to be able to build yourself up again.
Last night at the Phoenix Picturehouse in Jericho we held a fantastic Word of Mouth event. Listening to career and vocational coach, Mary Scott, made me realise why I organise Word of Mouth. Her talk was thought provoking, interesting, inspiring and uplifting.
Mary is a Sima qualified coach and works with people on a programme of self-development, usually at a point of change. Mary started her talk with the shocking statistic that only a third of Brits are in satisfying jobs. She described how this has a knock on effect on people: mental health problems, boredom, comfort eating etc.
Mary struggled herself to find her niche in life. She told us the story of her own father who had spent his whole life working in a job that he hated and lived for retirement. Seven years after retirement Mary’s father had a heart attack and died. Mary believes this was because his heart couldn’t cope with the stress of being in an unsatisfied job. This made Mary determined not to do the same. When people ask Mary what she wants to do when she retires she tells them: “I am not going to retire.”
Mary went on to talk about some of the pitfalls that many people fall into when it comes to careers. One is thinking too much about status. Mary believes that we have to do what we are naturally designed to do to be really satisfied. She described the story of one woman that she had worked with, she stayed in PR for 10 years because it was well paid and well regarded. But eventually this woman couldn’t get out of bed because of depression.
The other pitfall Mary mentioned was money. Through her coaching Mary has worked out that about 80% of her clients aren’t motivated by money, therefore eventually the money motivation of a job wares out for many.
The Sima coaching that Mary does works out what gives us energy. It is not psychology, it works out what makes us tick. Mary said that people who are seen as special or talented are just in their element doing what they were designed to do. If you put a group of children in a room and observe them they will do what they are naturally designed to do. As we get older pressures and expectations blur this and we can get pushed down avenues that aren’t natural to us.
I really enjoyed Mary’s talk and personally related with so much that she was saying. Especially when she talked about, being in your element. When you do something you love you will be motivated to do it. It took me a while to find my niche, but the change in my life since I found it, Fe-line, is remarkable. I urge anyone that finds their job unsatisfying, boring or depressing to get in touch with Mary.
Attendee Silvia summed up the evening excellently: “I left home exhausted and quite unwilling to go out, but during the talk I became more and more uplifted and I left the event happy and inspired. I love Word of Mouth! Mary delivered a beautiful talk and lots of inspiration – She is an example of authenticity and integrity. She truly shines her light.”