Leading or surviving?

I was at a celebration event last week for the completion of the first cohort of emerging women leaders to go through a groundbreaking programme at one of our High Street Banks. I was touched and honoured to be presented with a bottle of champagne in thanks for my part but the real cheerleader is me.

I am cheering because I can see that these women have decided to step up and take the lead. Stories abound of supposed leaders who are surviving instead of leading. That is what happens when people don’t understand themselves. When people have an external locus of control and the world crumbles then they have to crumble with it. I say ‘have to’ because they have been reliant on external factors for security when the only security you can really have comes from the inside. That’s why I do strange things like jump off 40ft telegraph poles and walk on fire – not because I’m an adrenaline junkie but because I am constantly testing my inner voice.

What is your inner voice saying to you right now? Is it telling you that you can’t or that you’re not good enough? Take control of the voice. Don’t feed it with attention, starve the damn dog!

Here is an example of somebody who has decided that she is a leader in every way: Amy Bone (pictured above) is taking on an enormous physical challenge as well as holding down a busy and important role. I will be bringing you regular updates about Amy’s progress over the coming months as I hope it will inspire all of us to bigger and better things – despite the recession!

In January 2010, I will be joining a team of 12 women from around the world to attempt to scale the three highest mountains in Africa (Mt Kenya, 5199m, Mt Meru, 4566m, Mt Kilimanjaro, 5895m) to raise money and awareness for three key issues facing Africa today – environment, education and healthcare. We will be only the third amateur all-female team to complete this challenge, and will complete in just three weeks. All women are paying their own expenses, so every penny raised will go directly to charity. None of us are climbers, or athletes, just ordinary women trying to do something extraordinary.

I came across three peaks by accident, after some time looking for a personal challenge to complete, and I couldn’t help but be touched by the personal stories of the communities this charity supports. The organisation was founded in 2004, focussed on generating financial support for already established East African organisations, with every mountain climbed supporting an organisation and community directly impacted by that peak. For example the communities of Mt Kenya directly benefit from that summit attempt through the support of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum. (more info on each charity will follow in subsequent updates).

As well as the physical challenge, fundraising will be a huge test leading up to this event. Personally I hope to raise at least £10,000 for my attempt, with current fundraising strategies including car boot sales, tube station collections and three peaks, three days, taking amateur climbers up the three highest peaks in the UK. This is what I perceive to be my biggest challenge at present – how to raise funds and support in what is the worst post war recession the UK has seen. It will be tough, but I am hopeful I can get there, and help add real value to the lives of many communities in Africa. I am extremely excited about this challenge, and consider myself very lucky to have been selected and have the chance to take part. You can support me and find out more at www.justgiving.co.uk/amybone1
Amy Bone is a Relationship Manager at a major High Street Bank.

Last but not least – look out for me in the Appointments section of the Sunday Times this weekend discussing the current outflux of women from the City

Live with passion!

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