Imagine sitting in a group with people you don’t know and sharing what is unique about you. Scary, right? Well, it definitely was a new experience for me, but also very liberating; it was the perfect ice-breaker. This was how a session on ‘Life Audits’ began, part of Storymoja’s Women in Leadership forum. Anyone who has been to one of these sessions knows there is something new and challenging every month.
Once we got past the initial restraint, it was good to realise that being a perfectionist or a neat freak is not really an issue, but a ‘positively’ unique trait that some would kill for. So really, my life audit began with the realisation that when people tell me that I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) issues, it’s not really an issue – it’s a positive trait, one they just don’t have!
This Women in Leadership session held on 18th April was a truly valuable experience. It was unfortunate that only a few women came on time (kudos to you!) hence the fully-earned phrase: ‘Kenyan timing’. Others trickled in slowly as the session went on.
The way in which Betty Wamalwa Muragori and Muthoni Garland led this interactive session made it far more exciting. As they say, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it that matters.” Betty Wamalwa, a writer, a poet, an expert in leadership training, research and consultancy, and Muthoni Garland, moderator at the event, MD of Storymoja and the author of “Tracking The Scent of My Mother” which was nominated for the UK Caine prize in 2006.
Some of the ideas discussed were drawn out of books by leading self-help authors such as Steven Covey, Robin Sharma, Paulo Coelho or Rhonda Byrne, which made it a session ground in expert advice. The format was not at all like that of a school teacher telling her students what they ought to learn to fix their lives. Rather it was highly interactive, with a lot of sharing of issues, questions, curiosities – name it what you will – that took us on an exploratory journey through our lives – auditing them. As we sat in pairs, we shared our goals, strengths and perceptions and told each other how we see ourselves while asking how others perceive us. We learnt that some of us are great friends, generous, while others want to be millionaires and no matter how much you brought up why, that goal only strengthened as the discussion continued.
Not only did we learn a lot about ourselves – it’s amazing how much you don’t really know about yourself until you make a deliberate effort to find out – the process also was a lot of fun. Networking with women from all walks of life was an added bonus, and the cherry on the top was when Betty Wamalwa and Muthoni Garland giving us a mini special performance of Sitawa Namwalie’s poetry from Cut Off My Tongue. These two women are inspiring, perhaps because they have taken the time to audit their lives and from the foundation of this knowledge can reach further to be best they can be.
I can’t wait for the next Storymoja women’s event: A session of the Women Mentoring Women forum that will be held on Saturday 16th May 2009 at the Storymoja offices at 2pm. Entry is 1000 shs, which is a small price to pay for your “5 minutes with Fame” – Yes, Fame…
We have so far confirmed Valerie Kimani (winner of Tusker Project Fame 1), Betty Wamalwa, Jacqueline Machaka (MD of Language Solutions). A complete list of the mentor panel will be up on here shortly.
Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday 16th May 2009.
Please call Sheila on 0722 838 161 to reserve your place.
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