The harder journey

by Kathryn Evans @purekathryn76

My husband has often mused that if I have the option of two different pathways, I will always choose the harder journey. To this, I always reply that the journey may be hard but the learning will be of greater value and the sense of achievement even greater

I am incredibly proud of the success of the @WomenEDSE #LeadMeet on International Women’s Day 2020, which was held at my workplace, Archbishop Courtenay Primary School in Maidstone, Kent. The sense of team, collaboration, community and support was tangible.

Strangers arrived having given up precious time to prepare presentations for unknown numbers of delegates. Colleagues rocked up and set up, made coffee, shifted furniture and just knew what to do. Posters appeared. Sign-in sheets were printed. It all came together.

My name kept being mentioned: thanks Kate, well done Kate, good job Kate. I felt like a fraud. Not me - I haven’t done all of this. This was the result of Kerry (@KerryJordanDaus) mentoring and leading, guiding me through the process, asking pertinent questions and sharing her very impressive list of contacts. It was the result of Debbie (@jewellsjournal) coming alongside, designing fliers, organising, encouraging, using her influence to connect with others and bring them along. It was the result of colleagues at work opening up the building and setting up, turning up ready to lift and shift, taking on the catering (at the last minute due to a miscommunication), sort the IT out. It was the result of Alison (@AlisonKriel) agreeing to speak, and of Carly (@MrsShapland), Rowena (@Rowena_Linn), Jess (@drjessm), Kimberley (@nourishworkplce) and Niki (@Niki_Paterson) taking a huge risk in agreeing to run workshops. It was the result of my mum, who has supported me every step of the way in my teaching career - I’m so proud that she’s so proud of me. It was the result of the incredible women who bought tickets and came along.

There were moments in the planning that I wanted to bury my head in the sand and hand it all over, to give in. What if no one turns up? What if the workshop leaders are disappointed by the numbers of people who attend? What if I end up looking really silly? Why is my name on the flier? What if… what if?

We can’t be brave if we don’t experience fear. I felt the fear. I did the bravery, but not on my own. I have always been prone to retreat, to find a place by myself and struggle alone but as I get older, I value the support of others so much more.

We are communal, we need community. We need clarity to collaborate and challenge. My confidence grows when I am nurtured and supported. I’ve learned to communicate better and I’m challenged by my friends when I try to hide.

I definitely chose the harder route but my goodness, how far we’ve come and my goodness, how much I’ve grown. Would I do this again? Absolutely!

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