Hello and welcome to issue 92, our Future Focus issue. I thought that because it’s the start of 2018, instead of trying to tell you it’s time for a new you – as pretty much every other magazine has done – I’d like to encourage you to imagine what the future you could be like. Now don’t go changing, that’s not the point (unless you particularly want to). The reason is to get you thinking about how the whole world is changing, and the way you want to feel about that.
So, in this issue, I’ve rounded up a group of super-awesome women who have interesting things to say about the future. I’ve got an epic roll-call of women from tech, medicine, architecture, film, science, engineering, law, insurance, psychology and more. I hope you enjoy the wisdom they have to share. I really enjoyed gathering their stories.
Like it or not, the world is constantly evolving, so how about embracing it rather than being fearful of change?
Here’s my thoughts about some ways to do this:
1. It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts
(No, this isn’t a double entendre!) Tech is such a great enabler that’s levelling the playing field. I’ve been intrigued for so long by coding and tech that I clicked on a YouTube ad today, which took me to Udemy.com. If I sign up by Thursday I can pay £10.99 for a machine learning course and start basic coding in Python, from the comfort of my living room. So, in theory, anyone, no matter who they are and where they are can learn to code. For £10.99 is would be rude not to give it a go. I’m privileged enough to have a broadband and a laptop so I’m going to use them to learn something new and exciting. Why don’t you try it too?
2. It’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel
Part of the reason I wanted set up Womanthology was about breaking the link between women’s magazines, age and appearance. I don’t care what you look like or how old you are – I’m just interested in the ideas you have to share around the things you’re passionate about. The occasional exception is where we’re referring to school age children / young people as this helps with context, but other than that, I’m not interested in your age. Guess what, the future looks a lot brighter when we stop obsessing about our ages.
I was on holiday several years back (before I was an entrepreneur and when I still had the money / time to partake in such frivolously expensive, time-consuming activities as holidays). I was in a seafront restaurant tucking in to my coconut prawns and I remember looking up and the wall. There was a sign that just read ‘Simplify’. I’ve always remembered it since. The future is much easier to embrace when we do so without too much baggage. I remember speaking to the futurist and author, James Wallman, back in 2016 because he had some interesting ideas about the future of gender balance. Prior to this, he’d also written a book called Stuffocation that was about how many of are getting stressed out by our excessive amounts of belonging and stuff, so we’re moving towards what he calls Experientialism. Maybe it’s easier to embrace a simpler future?
4. Dance like nobody’s watching
The future is so much more appealing when we move forward without concerning ourselves about what people think of us. I found this tweet from Barbara Corcoran, the American business and real estate guru who appears on Shark Tank, the US version of Dragon’s Den.
When you think you’re failing, you feel like people are watching you. I found that nobody is watching and all they care about is themselves.
— Barbara Corcoran (@BarbaraCorcoran) December 4, 2017
Particularly since I started running my own business, I’ve concerned myself far too much about what others will think of me. Whilst this tweet is perhaps somewhat direct (people do care about some things other than themselves), they are mainly concerned about trying not to fail themselves, so I’ve decided to stop worrying less about the opinions of others.
5. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious
I borrowed this quote from Albert Einstein because it’s one of my favourites. Throughout life we’re conditioned to look out for talent, or to perceive a lack of it. We’re labelled, or sometimes, more sadly, we label ourselves. “I’m no good at maths.” “I’m not a very good at sport.” I studied child language acquisition for A-level English Language and there was the whole innatism v behaviourism debate about whether or not the mind is a blank slate or not a birth. What if it’s just our curiosity and passion for what we do that determines success?
So, to all the go-getting women out there, don’t let anyone hold you back, the future isn’t about your gender, it’s about your curiosity and passion. Go get it.