“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year, a day that celebrates womanhood. In honour of this special day BEO has joined in conversation with our very own Aoibhín Garrihy, BEO Co-Founder, to bring #Balance forBetter back to you!
Aoibhín what is your take on the success of Women in today’s world?
Men attribute their success to themselves and women attribute their success to external factors for example someone helped me get where I am or I got lucky – how do we change this perception of ourselves and praise ourselves for achieving success in the workplace?
Well I think while it may be a female thing, it’s very much an Irish female thing too. We will tell the world and her mother she’s great before we tell ourselves. We must be the only nation in the world who sees a confidence in oneself or a love for oneself as a bad thing…we use it as a put down “Jeez that wan loves herself”. I think it’s all about self talk and how we deal with or how much air time we give that voice in our head and we all know her, she’s the one who tells us to “pipe down, what would you know?!” And yes maybe she has a place, she’ll ensure we don’t loose the run of ourselves (God forbid) But I think the question should not be “Who is going to let me”…it’s “who is going to stop me?”
How can we take the positive out of every situation?
At times, this can be a very difficult thing to do and I think a lot of the time it’s all a matter of mindset. We all want to adopt a more positive approach to our work life, our family life, our friendships but having that glass half full mentality is sometimes easier said than done. For me, I try to focus on the bigger picture. By that I mean, I try not to sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff) and I try to practice gratitude daily. I remind myself of what I have rather than what I don’t and I try see each experience regardless of whether it’s an amazing or difficult one as a step towards achieving my individual work and life goals. That’s not something that necessarily comes naturally but it’s something that we can all adopt with a little energy. In business, you never loose, either you win or you learn.
As women face harder choices between professional success and personal fulfilment how do you find the balance?
This is a question that I have been asked a number of times since even becoming a mom, I’m sure you all have. How do you juggle it all. Perhaps some do but I’m afraid I don’t! I think this notion that women can have it all is an ideal that can end up doing more harm than good and tends to add an additional layer of pressure to what is already a challenging time for women. I think you establish what your core values and priorities are and you make certain sacrifices or adjustments to your lifestyle in order to ensure those values and priorities are taken care of. That to me creates a level of personal fulfillment and that to me is finding the balance.
As women, we need to believe in ourselves more and own our own success. What factors could we implement into our daily lives that would allow us to put this in to practice?
I think going back to that idea of positive self-talk is really the most important thing when it comes to self belief. To look at ourselves through the eyes of those that love us rather than listening to that judging, pass remarkable, doubting inner voice that can cripple us at times. I think labels can also be quite career limiting, pigeonholing ourselves as x or y leaves little room for growth or expansion. Growing up I wanted to try every extra curricular activity under the sun. My mom used to say “Aoibhin’s a jack of all trades master of none!!” And now well in to my adult life and career it’s taken me a while to discover that I don’t have to be only x, I can be y too!
What is the best advice you have been given?
It’s nice to be important but it’s far more important to be nice. That came from my mom and I think it’s a gem. When women support one another magic happens. And no matter how successful you become, throw the ladder down for somebody else.
Who has been the most inspiring person to you in your life?
My parents. The have mastered the art of reinvention. Their adaptability during the recession, their ability to pick themselves up and dust themselves off, their glass half full approach to life and their incredible work ethic while also having a very healthy work life balance has always been a source of inspiration to me and I have learned so much from them.
We need to constantly push boundaries in today’s world – what is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to get to where you are today?
I think naturally I’m a risk taker but even for me having the courage to take calculated risks in my career took a long time. Having the courage to take matters in to my own hands rather than waiting for the phone to ring. I got another great piece of advice from my Dad, he said “Aoibhín a dumb priest never got a parish” and it’s so true. Maybe it has something to do with being Irish again but we are slow to stick the neck out for fear of what people might think! But I would say knock on that door, make that phone call! What’s the worst that can happen!
If there was something you could tell your younger self, what would it be?
Enjoy the journey! Big goals are great and very important but you may never get there and so it’s just as important to celebrate the mini victories along the way and enjoy the ride!