Leaning into opportunity and reaching your full potential

opportunity, diversity

Article provided by Zandra Moore, CEO, Panintelligence

I don’t know what I don’t know.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

I’d be willing to bet those words don’t fill you with confidence. But, remember – what you don’t know means there is opportunity.

Opportunity to learn, opportunity to expand your horizons, opportunity to make new connections – connections to people, places, businesses, things.

My daughter loves playing football – she’s 11 years old – but after a while, she got sick of playing with the boys.  She wanted to set up a girls team and I wanted to make sure she could carry on playing.

Cut to me on the first day of FA training with a bunch of others that love football. ‘How hard can learning to be a football coach be?’ I thought. I know nothing about football. I was one of only 2 women in the room.

The trainer asked us to write how we were feeling about the course on a post-it and pop it on the board. We left them there and at the end of the course we came back to see if we still felt the same after four days of learning and practicing drills. I’d written ‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’

‘Who wrote that?’ the trainer asked. I raised my hand. ‘I thought it might’ve been you,’ he said, ‘women are smart like that.’ Then he asked me how long I’d played football for before this course.

I didn’t see that coming – I’d never even kicked a ball, but when I said that, everyone was gob smacked.

They couldn’t tell. They didn’t think I was an imposter.

Four weeks later I was an accredited FA coach, and now we have two girls teams – U11s and U13s in the Harrogate and District Junior Girls Football League.

The truth is if you just have a go, not only is it amazing what you can do, you will surprise yourself and break the boundaries of your own – and often others’ – self-limiting beliefs.

If you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t.

Two years ago, I set up LeanIn Leeds for women in my city to find support and to help them advance their careers, building their networks and develop skills. It now has over 300 members and is growing quickly. I met my HR advisors, recruiters, web design agency, solicitors, training providers, and executive coach through my networks, which have become crucial partners to my business. I’ve seen my members grow in confidence and flourish, which is so rewarding. I truly believe in doing things that scare you as they help you become braver. Be prepared to fail and fail fast – you’ll overcome the challenge and find it extremely empowering.

So, when you see an opportunity, lean in to it.

You don’t know until you try. It’s exciting at the edge.


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