Has anyone ever asked what makes YOU remarkable? No, me neither! But it was a question posed to me and some of my inspiring female colleagues when we attended Google’s recent #IamRemarkable week. Without being too self-deprecating, I did have to think for a bit. Not that I don’t think I’m remarkable, but it’s more that most of us carry on day-to-day juggling work, home life and family without giving it a second thought. It is when you stop and think about it closely that you realise that you need to celebrate your achievements and be proud of your accomplishments. And this is where #IamRemarkable comes in.    

#IamRemarkable is a Google initiative which empowers women and underrepresented groups. From 12th to 19th November they held a digital experience consisting of virtual talks, workshops and panel discussions. The week was created to help professionals empower themselves and celebrate their success in the workplace and beyond.  

I listened to a talk entitled ‘Building a Better Workplace for Parents in 2020’. As a parent, I was keen to hear what they had to say. Challenges faced day to day by mums in the workplace include the dreaded ‘mum guilt’; trying to find the best work/life balance you can without detriment to your home life. This has been made more challenging while working from home, as we are often present physically, but not mentally. Cue lots of ‘shushing’ and general distancing. We are all striving to work hard for a better future for our family. The overriding message is to prioritise what is important to you and also to remember to be kind to yourself.   

There is an amazing quote by Brian Dyson, the former CEO of Coca-Cola. Until now, I had never heard it before, but I think I shall make it my mantra. It makes a lot of sense!   

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them work, family, health, friends and spirit. And you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. 

Finding the contents valuable and inspiring, we have been discussing #IamRemarkable among ourselves. Lauren Gale, Client Services Specialist, had the following to say after attending a live, interactive workshop during the week. 

“Throughout my ten years at Space & Time, recognising my achievements has been key to my personal growth and progression. Valuable tips and advice surrounding this subject are always of great interest to me. Being able to speak about our value is essential to success and career progression, otherwise we risk slipping behind our self-promoting colleagues. It is crucial that we feel comfortable talking about our accomplishments.” 

Other topics during the workshop included the importance of equality in the workplace, regardless of race, gender, or age, and the importance of regular reflection. While we can all be highly self-critical, we should focus more on positive achievements to empower ourselves. 

The workshop covered five different exercises that can help us feel more confident in discussing our success. 

  1. Remarkable Wednesday – share an achievement out loud with a colleague every Wednesday
  2. Practise & perfect – practise phrasing and expressing 2-3 professional accomplishments with colleagues
  3. Track your achievements – keep a log of your accomplishments, so you have it ready when needed 
  4. Act & review – share your accomplishments in a real professional situation, review and improve 
  5. Set a stretch goal – use your self-promotion skills to achieve a career goal you set for yourself

Mandy Wilson, Executive Assistant at Space & Time, attended a workshop entitled ‘Identify and Love your own Voice’ and initially found the premise problematic:  

Cocksure, cocky, condescending, egotistical & holier-than-thou came to mind when I came across this workshop offered in the “I am Remarkable” week of events. I mean, that’s what we automatically think about someone who likes to sing their own praises don’t we? (go on, admit it!).  

We don’t celebrate ours, and others’ achievements enough; not sure if it is to do with that “stiff upper lip” thing going on or whether we are just a modest bunch of people! 

This was a talk featuring Riyadh Khalaf and Rowan Ellis, and how they found their voices and learnt to embrace them. As YouTube stars, you might wonder, did they really need to learn to love their own voices? However, they are real people just like me and you and they have their insecurities too. I guess that is what this was all about, recognising your insecurities and trying to overcome them.  

This talk resonated with me, especially in these current times: everyone deals with insecurity on some level and it can have a big impact on your day-to-day life. So, we all need to celebrate our successes and talk ourselves up when we have a big win at work or at home, whether we have won a new client, increased someone’s spend, or just managed to get that quilt cover on properly this morning, we deserve to celebrate ourselves every day!   

We should be proud of what we do, even if it seems awkward at first, as it can have a powerful effect on our self-esteem. I mean, that is why we are here, isn’t it?  

We now ask you to step back and have a think… what makes YOU remarkable?