by Caitlin D’Aprano
I grew up with a negative father who was very practical and cynical about life, but I never lost my spirit of self-empowerment; I always believed that great things could happen. First and foremost, I believed in myself. I never let anyone else’s opinions deter me. I was fortunate enough to have grandparents who believed in me tremendously. They would always tell me that I was the best and would encourage me to do what I wanted.
When I was 23, I moved from Melbourne to London to start my shoe business. Everyone told me it couldn’t be done: I wouldn’t be able to find a factory, I didn’t have any design experience, I wouldn’t be able to get the manufacturing cost I needed — the list went on.
Related: 5 Ways I Became More Body Confident
I didn’t believe it for one second. I was adamant that if I went to Italy enough times my business would happen, so I took four trips to Italy every year. On the seventh trip, I was on the plane going back to London. I was finding it difficult to find a factory that wanted to work with a small business. I felt disheartened, wondering if my dreams were ever going to come to fruition.
I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me. His name was Andy. I can’t remember what I said that made him laugh, but he seemed to be having a good time talking to me. It turned out that he was the head designer at a shoe factory in Spain. Our plane landed and we exchanged details.
A few weeks later, I found out that I had been chosen for the reality entrepreneurial TV show, Be Your Own Boss. I had one small problem: our prototype wasn’t made yet. So I took that as an opportunity to email Andy and ask him if he could make our first prototype.
Those days waiting for a reply were grueling. I finally received a reply from Andy, “Yes we can do it for you.” With that, my first shoe design was created. I had no design background, but I believed in myself. All I had was faith and that faith paid off. We were one of 400 businesses chosen to be in the final round of selections for Be Your Own Boss.
I had made connections with a well-known UK shoe designer who introduced me to a Spanish shoe factory that could provide us with the price points we needed. The shoe company is an ongoing work in progress and has transitioned to an eco-friendly brand. Our first collections are going to be accessories made from recycled fish leather and, further down the line, we will launch our shoe collection.
The brand is called WPW (w-p-w.co) and we give jobs to our Willpowered Woman clients who are being abused. In 98 percent of domestic abuse cases, the partner controls the finances — in order to leave, the woman faces homelessness. By giving jobs to these women, we are financially empowering them so they can move forward with their lives in a positive way.
Here are our top 5 empowerment tips from Willpowered Woman for believing in yourself:
1. Part of self-empowerment is daring to dream and having faith that you can make those dreams a reality.
Be daring enough to write your dreams down. The more you have, the better.
2. Have vision for the future you want to create.
Create a larger picture of all of the things you want to create in your life. How will you do it? What are the different aspects that need to be considered? When naysayers are being negative, having a big enough vision has the power to pull you in the other direction and helps you believe in yourself.
3. Take action towards what you want to create in your life.
Talk about it, tell people about it, figure out the small next step to take towards making it happen. That alone shows that you believe in yourself, your dreams and your aspirations.
4. Know who you are and what values you hold and no one will ever be able to tell you who you are or that something you want to do cannot be done.
Know your personal qualities and strengths and use those to build your self-esteem and self-belief.
5. When people tell you what you want to do is impossible, don’t believe them.
Believe in yourself more and you will do whatever you set out to achieve. If someone says it can’t be done, say to yourself, I am going to prove him/her wrong and I am going to do it. Be certain that it can be done and you will do it.
Willpowered Woman works with, supports and creates community for 18 to 34 year old women without children, who are being abused or have been abused. Visit us at: willpoweredwoman.org