Here’s to Your Life
Let me start by saying that I am so incredibly proud of you, the person you are and what you have already achieved that I could burst. As a mum, I will always want the best for you, and wish that I could protect you from the more challenging elements that life can bring, but equally I know that whatever challenge is put in your way you will tackle with dignity, a sense of purpose, kindness and empathy.
As a woman entering the workplace this year, you will doubtless encounter stereotypes, assumptions of ability, determination and meaning, because you are a young woman. You are from a generation and environment where you are un-accustomed to your opinion being dismissed because of gender, race, age, even nationality. When you come across these examples of negative gender, social, cultural bias, I hope that it acts as motivation to create opportunities, to make things happen and let the detractors see for themselves what can be achieved when approached in new creative ways and by a strong young woman – that’s you.
The next phase of your life will fly by. I have no doubt you will work hard to achieve your next set of life goals, some of which you are still to define, some which you already know. Your work life and personal life, as much as you may try to separate them are inherently intertwined. Take time to think about yourself, your family, your friends as you build your career. Take time for you, take time to appreciate the small things and big things that happen along the way - you are worth investing in!
Life will throw you many curve balls, some that with hindsight you might have avoided, others that land at your door due to someone else’s actions. However hard and unfair those curve balls might be, find your inner strength, your empathy and focus on learning from these life challenges. This is resilience, and I know you have it in bucket loads.
Try not to make rash decisions but trust your gut. I believe that a gut instinct is something you should listen to, it is like an inbuilt warning system, but challenge it, prove it and then act on it or deal with it. Always try and do the right thing, it sounds like a simple rule, but isn’t always as easy as you might think when it impacts on other people’s lives – this is where trusting your gut can really help. You’ve been brought up with strong values and I trust you to make the right call.
Human beings make mistakes, that means you and it means others. Learn from these mistakes, yours and others, this is how we grow. The trick is to learn, move on, don’t hold grudges and don’t hold anger or any other negative emotion. You are such a fun person to be with, such incredible company, so kind and generous, keep those traits with you through life and don’t let others drag you down or dim your light.
One of the gifts in life (personal and professional) is helping others along the way. Take time to help others along the way, whether it is a helping hand to a colleague at work that is struggling to meet a deadline, or someone that simply needs some advice on how to approach a problem. Be generous with your help, it will give you back so much more.
One of the uncomfortable truths for my generation is the impact of climate change. You will live your life in an era where there will be a great deal of change from the world you were born into and all of the above advice on resilience, decision making, learning from mistakes and helping others, I hope will help you lead by example, holding your personal values dear and keeping you grounded with a sense of purpose.
Stand on your own two feet. Being able to support yourself and look after yourself will put you in the driving seat to make the decisions you want in life. I know you are destined for an exciting life ahead, so remember that health is important to live it fully – look after yourself. Your career will take a great deal of your time, so find a career that makes you happy, that challenges you, that helps you grow as a person. Match striving with thriving and you will be on the right track.
Finally, you know I am always here for you. I will always be your biggest champion and will always love you with all my heart, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Here’s to your life: live it, love it, love you.
All my love always,
About Caroline Rush
Caroline Rush is the CEO of the British Fashion Council.