Written by: Jo Mousley

Today I am contemplating the fact that it is International Women’s Day. I often wonder… have I done enough in my life and could I do more to help others?

At school, my report would often say ‘could apply herself more’ and I agree. I left school with average grades and was accepted to go to university through clearing. I’ll admit that I decided to go because my sister went and all my friends were going, not because I wanted to. That’s when I started to realise you can make your own decisions. It might be hard and people often won’t like it, but if you want something enough, you can do it.

So, much to my dad’s dismay, I dropped out of university after 6 months and came home to a job stacking shelves. I remember my uni tutor telling me “You will be successful whatever you do because you have had the courage to make a tough decision”. She must have been a wise woman as that shelf stacking job turned into a 21 year long career within a great corporate firm where I have had many happy memories. It was here that I was lucky enough to work with a wise leader who once said to me “You have the capability to be whatever you want to be in this life, you just have to decide what you are willing to compromise on.” How true was that?

Throughout that time, I made more tough decisions. I got married, divorced, married again (thankfully to the love of my life this time), had a daughter I was told by doctors I would never have, gained a degree whilst holding down a full time job and looking after my 18 month old daughter and teenage step daughter. I ran my own slimming club and got over 30 people to their dream weight in just over a year, and then maybe made one of the toughest decisions yet, decided to take voluntary redundancy and leave a great job after 21 years!

That brings me to where I am today…in a job that I love, within a great family business, now helping other people to realise that if you want something bad enough you can have it!  You’ll need to think through your options, make a plan and make some pretty tough decisions. There will be heart ache, tears and hard work, but the upside is truly worth it.

It feels quite uncomfortable sitting here thinking about publishing this story to the world, however, my role in life has now changed.  Yet another wise women told me “You have to show vulnerability to be an inspiring leader” so here I am opening up about things people who have known me for years don’t know. I am now working towards leaving a legacy.

If you are sitting there reading this over your coffee at work, thinking I wish I could be what I want to be, then go for it. You can do whatever you want in this life, it is just about making choices. If I can inspire one person to make a change today, than my job is done!

Just to finish the story, I am sitting here, thinking about how I can help my two wonderful daughters to be as happy as I am in my 40’s.

This is the message I leave with them every day as they walk in and out of the kitchen…