This little girl is me
This was me at maybe five years old. About to start school, and with no idea about what lay ahead. Never again would I be at home to such equanimity! I had not yet fallen in love with Paul McCartney, or my best friend's brother William. I had not studied Textile Design in Leeds, lived in Scotland in a croft with no electricity, or discovered an ability to communicate. I had not met my husband of more than 40 years, nor could I imagine my amazing daughter. Two of my siblings weren't even a twinkle in my Dad's eye yet. The undiscovered delights of the best and worst of human behaviour lay ahead.
Even then, I was in close touch with my inner rebel, finding my own way to live life and resenting those around me with fixed ideas of how things SHOULD be. Perhaps a little idealistic, I hoped for how things COULD be; from the existence of fairies to the belief that my little sister (whose leg is just visible with my Dad in the bottom right corner of the photo) would one day like me, even though we gave depth to the meaning of sibling rivalry at the time.
What would I say to this little girl?
Believe in yourself, have confidence to act in those moments when a leap of faith is required. When you feel that the way forward on its current course is unthinkable, then bring what Simon Sinek calls your 'existential flexibility' into play. You know how to visualise the possibilities and have the strength to pivot when you need to. Consider what is the worst that can happen ... and mitigate the risks the best you can. In sixty years' time, you will be using everything you know to help others make the best of themselves. You won't regret the opportunities you took, only the ones you didn't.
Remember 70% of girls feel more confident about their futures after hearing from women role models. It is International Day of the Girl on 11th October, so let's show them we have their backs.
It's inspiring to read some of the amazing stories attached to the hashtag #thislittlegirlisme. Looking at old photos helps to recall the back story of the moment they were taken. I'm lucky to have boxes of prints like this one. I wonder will digital photos taken multiple times a day have the same resonance for us when we are old? Assuming our technology allows us to access them!