Posted: by Jo Wednesday, 3 January 2018 @ 22:12
To kick us off, I’m going to tell you about 5 women who truly inspire me, and the reasons why:
Amy Johnson: for sheer
In 1930, Amy
Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia, and she set
a string of long distance records over her flying career. I loved flying when I was young – and reading
about Amy Johnson, she became a real hero to me. In a time when flying was
hugely dangerous, Amy never let fear of the unknown stop her.
Diana Nyad: for absolute persistence
became the first person to swim the 111 miles from Cuba to Florida, which took
53 hours through shark-infested waters. But what impresses me the most is that
she succeeded when she was 64, on her fifth attempt. She first tried aged 30,
and never gave up on her dream, making attempt after attempt. The very last
one, at the age of 64, was successful, which she attributes to her mantra, ‘Find
a way’. The inner resources Diana must have drawn upon are
Louise Hay: for inspiring so
Hay had a challenging early life, marked by sexual abuse and violence; and
later, she was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than letting her life be dominated
by these events, she developed a philosophy of self-healing and
self-forgiveness, to overcome life’s difficulties. Her writings inspire
millions of people, the world over. She is a great lesson in not allowing
adversity to define you; and using your gifts to inspire others.
JK Rowling: for never, ever,
Rowling inspires me for the same reason as Diana Nyad: no matter how many times
she failed, she just kept trying. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter stories were
rejected by 12 publishers, before Bloomsbury took her on. Her early life was
not easy - miscarriage, divorce, single-parenthood, depression, life on
benefits – but again, she did not let that give her an excuse. She didn’t let
adversity get in her way, or rejection demoralise her.
Beryl Matthews (my mum): for
mum is an absolute inspiration to me, and a great role model. Though poorly
educated herself – leaving school at 15 – she fully recognised the importance
of education, teaching my sister and me to read before we even started school.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, she lost her eyesight and
mobility, and has had a very tough 12 months. She has never
once complained, or expressed bitterness, or asked, ‘why me?’ Her stoical
attitude of facing whatever life throws at you, and just getting on with it, is
a true inspiration, and she has become an even more powerful role model in my
I find role models – particularly women – hugely inspiring. When I was younger,
I definitely let fear of the unknown stop me trying things; I gave up too soon,
when the going got tough; and I let adversity get me down and convince me I
couldn’t do something.
to mind any one of my role models reminds me that they did not let fear get in
the way; they weren’t defeated when things went wrong; and they never gave up
hope and positivity.
of my favourite mantras sum up the attitudes of my role models:
‘She who is brave is free’ and ‘When life pulls you back, aim forwards.’
back later this month to read an interview with the first of our remarkable
women, and find out who truly inspires them.