For the past few months, we had the privilege of working closely with six remarkable women as part of The Gift, a pilot programme led by the She Matters Foundation. This programme involved two full-day workshops facilitated by Chris Van de Velde, focusing on life coaching. The workshops aimed to enhance self-awareness, explore personal values, and foster a greater sense of self-confidence in both personal and professional spheres.
During these transformative days, the participants shared their personal stories, discussed the challenges they faced, expressed their insecurities, and even revealed their deepest life desires. It was during these moments that I came to a profound realisation: it's not merely about finding one's voice; it's about embracing it.
One of the challenges women often face is that they are inherently caring, considerate, and empathetic, often prioritising the needs of others before their own. Additionally, societal norms, shaped by patriarchal influences, often expect women to conform to specific behavioural standards. Consequently, in environments that heavily emphasise extroversion and dominant communication styles as a measure of power, women may feel compelled to alter their authentic selves to fit in, even if they naturally lean towards introversion.
However, the workshops presented a remarkable shift in perspective. Each of these incredible women chose not to change who they are but rather to fully embrace their unique qualities. They recognised that their perceived insecurities were, in fact, their greatest sources of strength.
We would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Chris for sharing his wisdom, to Patagonia Netherlands for the use of their facilities for the workshops, as well as extending my sincere appreciation to Lula, Hala, Suha, Arya, Marwa, and Egana for their active participation and openness. We believe this is just the beginning of their incredible journeys, and it's essential to remember that finding one's voice is not the ultimate goal—it's about wholeheartedly embracing it.