I’m not ashamed to say that 4am is not my favourite time of the morning – it’s far too early for my taste. Though, that didn’t stop me and fellow co-workers setting off to our first ever BrightonSEO.
Snuggling up in the back-seat of the car, trying my very best to return to my slumber and shut out the world, it was hard to see any excitement on my face but believe me, it was there… somewhere.
Several hours and a handful of digital marketing-related dreams later, we arrived in Brighton.
Failure IS an option
The most interesting speech, in my opinion, was ‘Why Failure Should Be an Option For All Of Us’, delivered by Arianne Donoghue of Epiphany Search in Leeds.
Arianne is a member of ‘She Does Digital’, a collective aimed at helping to equalise the gender balance in the marketing industry. Her keynote focused on the role of women in the digital marketing industry and the struggles that often accompany their career climb.
Donoghue’s address highlighted that studies reveal girls at the age of six consider themselves as ‘less talented’ than boys of the same age – despite having tested better in the subjects studied.
Additionally, she also explained that men will apply for a job if they fit 60% of the employer’s criteria. In contrast, women will only apply for a role if they meet 100% of the criteria. This is down to our natural fear of failure.
However, the takeaway message Donoghue wanted her female observers to understand, is that failure can be and should be an option. Using herself as an example, she relayed anecdotes detailing how the lessons learnt from past failures and her ability to take risks, helped her reach where she is today. Moreover, she also wanted to reaffirm a message of self-confidence to young women everywhere – be comfortable in who you are and be proud in what you have achieved.
Inspiring women who go a step further
Upon hearing that of all FTSE 100 companies only 7 are headed by female CEOs, I was genuinely speechless. On a more personal note, Team Bigwave arrived at Brighton SEO an equally-valued group of individuals, ready to learn.
Workplace equality should not be an issue in today’s industrial sphere, not because it is not a subject worth addressing, but rather, the issue should have been resolved long ago and simply non-existent today. Woman like Arianne are an inspiration, espousing ideals that should be commonplace and demanding industry equality be sought for all.
Telling girls to have the confidence to fail is but the first step, asserts Donoghue. She reassures that there is no need to unwarrantedly criticize yourself. Arianne’s story is a first-hand example that highlights how a forward-looking outlook has a colossal impact on a career’s trajectory. Mistakes and failure help us to learn, grow and develop, not only as individuals, but as women in the workplace more specifically. Failure is, in itself, not a failure, but the catalyst for self-improvement.
Digital marketing – an industry of diversity
As the day ended, I was disappointed to leave, but satisfied in my efforts to quench my thirst for marketing knowhow. And so, we began our long journey home. Many road closures gave me enough time to reflect on the day, affording me an opportunity to think of what lessons I would bring with me into the workplace.
What I will take with me is the vision of equality for our industry. I am thankful to work in an environment where my contributions are valued, and my opinions are respected. Everyone has the right to make mistakes and indeed learn from them. Take time to reflect upon the fruits of your labour.
Arianne concluded her presentation with helpful pieces of advice for young women in our industry. Allow me to share them with you:
Planning makes you feel confident and helps you to focus your efforts.
Know your scheisse ;)
Make sure you are prepared for that upcoming meeting or have practices that forthcoming presentation. Practice makes perfect – no question will catch you unawares.
If there’s something wrong, if you feel uncomfortable or you simply have a question: speak up and ask. Be confident in yourself.
Don’t be scared
If you have a positive suggestion or improvement that could be made, make sure you convey this idea. Remain respectful but authoritative.
Positivity is one of the greatest tools in your arsenal. No matter how stressful your day seems, make sure you remember that everything is going to be alright.
Keep a log
Not only will this help with this list’s first suggestion, but by also keeping note of the compliments your work receives, it’ll additionally help you to maintain a positive working outlook.
No more ‘what ifs…’.
People around you can only notice you if you are visible. Get in touch, convey your thoughts and get yourself noticed.
Do the scary thing
If you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the raffle. Everyone has made a mistake, so do not be scared of taking risks. Every failure is a lesson that you can learn from.