Founder and CEO of “An Inspirational Journey”, Heather Jackson embodies what many of us see as a successful working mother. But each of us sees success in a different way, so we asked Heather herself what she thought being a success was and how did she define it.
“First question I asked myself when asked to write this blog was what does success mean to me? I thought if I covered this I could go some way to answering this question and you would understand that what success looks like to me may often be something else to someone else. So I am writing this from my own personal angle of what success looks like to me for me.
Success to me is being able to have choice and control in doing what I want, how I want to do it, when I want to do it, and to the best of my ability being able be there for my two children, my team and the people within my organisation and my friends and family.
I’m a single mum of two teenage children who just happens to be the Founder and CEO of an organisation; “An Inspirational Journey” an organisation that through its programmes and activities works to address the imbalance of talent that exists at the top of corporate Britain, ensuring the future is one where the best talent can lead regardless of gender. We are currently working with some 52 global organisations and reaching out to some 5000 women in the talent pipeline, and, I am proud to say, we are delivering tangible results on this serious business imperative.
When I say I have choice and control my main achievement in this was, I had choice and control to be a working mum or not to be a working mum. To be honest the latter was never really a consideration for me. My father, an artist and successful business man , had brought me up on the readings of Genghis khan (be master of your own ship), and it never crossed my mind to not want to be personally, individually, financially independent and secure, and never to be self reliant on another individual.
I also had choice and control in being a mother. This is something I have never regretted, and indeed am grateful that I never take for granted the fact I am very fortunate to be able to have been able to have children in the first place. However that said, I never anticipated the strength of unconditional love and the huge strain of responsibility and guilt this brings with it.
To embrace and achieve success in my life, I have had to learn to live with the guilt that being a working mother brings with it. Guilt that:
- You are not giving enough time to your children when concentrating on the business and its needs;
- Guilt when you are with your children you are not giving enough time to your business and its needs; and
- Guilt when you get 2 minutes of personal time to indulge in a run, the cinema, a spa or a weekend away that you are not giving enough time to your children or your business!!
To be the success I have had to try and live with the guilt and accept that it is part of life and the package I have chosen to create and in order to achieve this I have had to accept I am not Joan of Arc and its not about making sacrifices. I am indeed making choices and have control of my life. To think this way, for me, is the only way I can survive (and to date it seems to be all holding up).
To be the success I am I have also had to accept I have only one life and in making choices, I have stuck by them and concentrated on them, accepting at an early age that I could not have everything I wanted in life but I could have everything I chose.
So here are my choices
- To be a good mother – one who has done to date everything in her ability to support, direct, guide, provide and love her children to the very best of her abilities.
- To be a good business woman – to deliver a business that would allow my team and myself to not only deliver and produce effective results on a serious business issue, but also allow my team to flourish and grow as individuals.
- To be respected as an influencer and catalyst to economic and societal change.
- To be a good friend and loyal supporter of my closest and dearest friends.
- To be healthy and happy.
Please note intentionally throughout this I have aimed to be “good” not “great”. There is no point trying to be something you can’t be and I have always believed that never over promise on anything, especially with yourself. Why set yourself up to fail?????
My final inspirational choice, is my biggest failing, as like many women, I tend to concentrate on everybody else first. However, I am not complaining.”