I must admit the thought of going back to my old grammar school Chelmsford County High School for Girls in Essex to speak to the Year 11 girls at a specially arranged ‘Leadership Conference for Women’ yesterday filled me with terror.
I was not exactly a star pupil during my time there, was almost expelled once for fighting on the hockey pitch, was written off as someone who was not expected to achieve much in life and ended up being rejected from every University I applied to.
I ended up getting a job in a local firm of accountants filing and making coffee.
So to be received back yesterday as one of the school’s most famous ex-pupils to something of a superstar welcome was extraordinary to say the least!
The panel of four Alumnae each spoke for 10 minutes in the opening presentation. In my stint I talked about how amazing things can come from what seems at the time like failure. My own failure to get in to University lead me on a path which gave me exactly what I needed to become an entrepreneur – 7 years working my way up in the accountancy profession ending up specialising in the taxation of entrepreneurs and small businesses, with clients like Robert Breare and Sir Terence Conran in my portfolio.
I also encouraged all the Mavericks in the audience – all those girls who didn’t feel they conformed – to realise that their ability to ‘dare to be different’ was in fact one of their greatest assets. All the greatest entrepreneurs I know didn’t fit in at school.
Here are 3 of the ‘Mavericks’ who came up to see me afterwards to thank me… (Emma, Lucy and Chloe I think?) Three women to watch!
Later in the morning I delivered a seminar to 100 or so girls all around ‘Manifesting Prosperity’. Amazingly, not one person in the room (including teachers and the Headmistress) had read Napoleon Hill’s classic book ‘Think and Grow Rich’.
What are we teaching our children ????
In my own simpleton way I explained to the girls about 3rd and 4th dimensional consciousness, Newtonian physics vs Quantum physics and the kind of magic that the Universe can deliver when you work from passion and a ‘burning desire’ to see your dreams manifest.
How it’s important to switch out of the logical left-brain ‘How To’ mode and limiting beliefs, into trusting that all the right people opportunities and ideas will show up to light the pathway. If only a handful of girls read ‘Think and Grow Rich’ or open up to these ideas as a result of my visit it will be a job well done.
Afterwards I was taken for a tour of the school by Sophie, Lucy and Suzanna – a real trip down memory lane, albeit that the site has been massively redeveloped since I was there in 1975 – 1983. The facilities are amazing – with the exception perhaps of the ice cold swimming pool!!! *Shudders at memory*
The school now educates three times the number of girls it did in my day.
Before I left I could not resist leaving a piece of graffiti on the paper beautifully provided for the purpose in the toilets.
Once a naughty schoolgirl always a naughty schoolgirl!!!
It was indeed a truly magical day and I would like to thank the headmistress Mrs Chapman for inviting me plus all the girls for giving me the X-Factor welcome !!!
PS Big thanks to the girl (sorry I can’t remember your name) whose grandma sent me these pics of her with my Mum. She also went to the school (c1950) and these are the only pics I have of my Mum (on the right in main pic) who passed away in 1997.
In the panel session we were asked how we kept going in the face of failure. My reply was that my Mum always used to tell me when I was young ‘You’re so clever, you’re so special’ – which has given me rock solid self-confidence all my life.
Thank you Mum for that special gift.