CHANGE – Yes You Can!

Karen Birch

Karen Birch

The theme of the magazine this month is CHANGE

Partly I was moved to select this theme as in a very real sense this magazine represents change for me and partly as the speed of change in our 21st century world struck me while I was chatting to my 95 year old grandfather about all the changes he has seen in his almost a century on the planet. Life was much slower and the world a much smaller place when he was young – his first job was delivering meat for a butcher which meant, at most, a dozen deliveries a day as he had to cover his delivery area either on foot or by bike. Can you imagine Tesco operating at that pace!

I had planned to quote a few statistics in support of my theory that we are now in a period of exponential change but Jane has done a great job already in her article Change Is Good and the short youtube clip included in her piece says it all! Have a look and I’m sure you will see that what Jane and I propose is true.

As you will know if you have read my profile her on the3rdi magazine, I have had a number of successful careers to date – made money, built businesses. There have been failures along the way and I found Jo Geraghty’s article a real inspiration as, do you know what?, it is OK to fail! Getting something wrong DOES NOT make you a failure. It is the difference between being drunk ( a state that can be easily recovered from and an experience that can have lessons for the future) and being a drunk ( a permanent state with no redeeming features and no benefits). When I was working in technology transfer the differences in US and UK attitudes to failure were astounding. US investors almost needed an entrepreneur to have a business failure on their CV. It showed that they had learned lessons at some other investors expense and that they would have learned from that and be a better investment proposition because of that. In the UK had someone failed they became uninvestable…I hope that this is changing.

The other thing that struck me with regard to failure is peculiar to women. Twice in the last month I heard very successful women, Leslie Caron and Shirley Williams to be specific, say that “I thought of myself as not quite good enough…”. Shirley Williams is a hero of mine and who would not have wanted to be Leslie Caron dancing with those wonderful male leads, so if they felt less than able what hope for us ordinary women? Here I think Lindsey Agness may be on to something with her article about Ageing with Attitude, and as Amanda and Marie-Claire have repeated in these pages over the past few months, one of the secrets of getting to the very top is TO BELIEVE THAT YOU DESERVE IT! So let’s make a decision that we are going to take on this positive state of mind. Here at the3rdi magazine we will strive to bring inspirational stories from remarkable women (and men) to help keep us all on the right track. And here I will make a personal appeal as it is to keep us ALL on the right track!

My own career background is mixed, each step made perfect sense at the time I assure you, but I concede that zoologist to editor via the internet sounds more like a mensa puzzle than a career plan. But it can also appear exotic and lots of my friends have said over the years “I couldn’t do what you’ve done” YES YOU CAN! Admittedly my first venture into running my own business may not have happened as early as it did without a divorce and my determination to turn a negative into a positive, but I do believe that it would have happened at some point. And every change after that has been less and less traumatic – once you have leapt off the cliff into the clear blue ocean once you not only have no fear about doing it again but you wonder why you spent so much time just standing on the cliff looking at the water!

I am aware that when we print stories from some amazing women the tendancy may be to put these people on a pedestal, to think that you cannot do what they have done. But guess what…YES YOU CAN. Read their articles! Every single woman interviewed here is telling you the same thing…this is how I did it and this is how you can do it too! Their stories are here to inspire and encourage and to give you faith that you too can make a difference. We will continue to bring you uplifting stories from all areas, not just the millionaire and the boardroom. Look at Clare starting a new business post 50. She couldn’t believe that we wanted to interview her. She doesn’t think she is amazing..she is…read her story…and you can be too! So come on…take that leap of confidence in yourself and “come in, the water’s lovely!”

Karen x

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