Last night I attended my first event with Girl Geeks Scotland, a group I've admired for a long time now but was never quite certain if I was geeky enough to join in with! Having been reassured and encouraged to come along by founder and friend, Morna Simpson, and other actual proper Girl Geeks I met at their relaunch this time last year I decided to go along....and I'm glad I did!
Not only did I get great advice which will help me with my own long term career ambitions but I met some genuinely interesting individuals who had fantastic stories to share about their own career and personal journeys.
There was F who was interested in potentially changing field and during the evening's exercises was able to confirm to herself exactly what it was that was driving this need and what she would need to do in order to scratch that itch she'd been feeling about her work.
There was S who spoke so passionately about her company and their working environment, others were talking over each other to ask if there were any openings for them! (I have to admit that I was pretty pleased others reacted in a similar way when I spoke about my company too :) )
And C had recently moved to Edinburgh and was a freelancer. Hearing how she chose Edinburgh over other places because of our work ethic and her ability to work here on a visa, giving herself a sense of fulfillment and self-worth, made me feel a new kind of pride about my hometown.
One thing that was clear was that meaningful work was something important to all these women. And although their jobs and skills were definitely far more in the geek-zone than mine, this need to ensure we were doing something meaningful was something we all shared.
The event itself was called "Sticky Floors". As opposed to creating a plan to crack the Glass Ceiling, the event looked at what might be holding us back; what was sticking us to the floor. It was the first in a series of mentoring events aimed at encouraging and supporting attendees through career growth, development, goal setting and change.
Last night's event had a number of speakers and the workshop I chose, looked at Creating Compelling Outcomes. It was a simple exercise, one following an NLP approach in helping you explore your goal, your motives and enabling you a greater chance of achieving success.
Working in pairs with someone who I'd never met before was fantastic. The questions she asked me really meant I couldn't let myself off the hook and had to really ask myself what I wanted, why I wanted that and what was stopping me getting there. There was no hiding from the answer to that last question..."me!, I'm stopping me!".
As I sat on the train home, eating a rather yummy toastie (with packaging that really spoke to me!), I thought back on what I'd learned. Most of it I really did already know but hadn't found a clear way to think through it or to really challenge myself when I gave myself excuses.
I also learned that the Girl Geek community, really is just that, a community. I've chatted to another attendee about meeting up and continuing to support each other with our objectives, I've given advice to someone attending interview and connected online with others.
All in all, a very positive way to spend a Tuesday night and I will certainly be checking out future events.