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‘It's OK to be you'

​ - self reflections from Erika Percival, entrepreneur and founder of Beyond Governance.

Life teaches you lessons that help you grow if you’re receptive to learning; I truly believe that. That said, I also think that the exact same situation creates different lessons for everyone regardless of your gender, age, race or background.

I have experienced the unconscious and conscious bias of those around me. It started with my age and then my gender.

I listened to every ounce of advice, after all my seniors knew all the answers right (?). Then I realised that I’d become someone so far from myself that I didn’t recognise myself anymore. Because I wanted to succeed, I’d allowed myself to 'metaphorically' be pushed around and I’d changed because I felt someone else knew who I should be.

Getting back to feeling confident about who I really was created an inner tension and was a struggle. I was nervous about being me, I’d built my career by navigating the waters and hadn’t realised how far I’d travelled off course. I feared rejection and disapproval.

So, with International Women's Day on 8 March, I want to say to my fellow women (and men) be honest with yourself on who you are and learn to appreciate and like the real you. Stand up for who you are because no one else will and don’t become someone you’re not to please others.

There will be challenges along the road, I’m not saying it’s easy, but staying true to yourself will leave you stronger and healthier; it’s ok to be you, honestly.