This week I attended Spark, a conference for women in business here in Amsterdam. It was the second time I’ve been to this conference, spending a day networking and attending lectures and workshops, this year on the theme Create, Elevate, Celebrate.
It was great to spend time making positive connections with a whole host of inspiring women, all of whom are entrepreneurs; women who have bravely struck out to do offer the world their personal skill set. A lot of the attendees were from the huge expat community in Amsterdam, but others were local. I found it really affirming to be among so many other women, all there for the same goal of raising each other up, supporting each other and celebrating our successes.
This is not to say I found it easy! I’m a true introvert, and although I definitely crave human contact and companionship, I also find socialising very draining. Going to a networking event is quite scary for me, taking me way out of my comfort zone. This time I made an effort to not use diminutive language when describing my business, and instead went into it knowing that I would almost certainly be the only jewelry maker there and that that possibly made me an interesting person to talk to - someone different to all the many coaches and consultants who made up a large chunk of the group.
There were a number of great takeaways that I scrawled in my notebook to share with you guys. Firstly, “Rising tides lift all boats” - the idea that in a growing sector of the business world, there is more business for everyone. “Done is better than perfect” - a useful thing to remember if you need to stop nit-picking you work or procrastinating! There was a lot of advice regarding the importance of rest, of stepping away from your tech, and the importance of being genuine. And finally, a charming idea to do with your self-perceived weaknesses - highlight them! Turn them into a feature! Don’t like you feet? Wear bright shoes! Think you’re too tall? Wear high heels! Highlighting a feature that you’re not happy with can help you feel more positive about it, and can also stop other people using it against you. Be yourself, and celebrate all of what that means.
If you're interested in Spark, you can find their website here: https://www.sparkwomen.eu/