creating change image - woman walking into the sunlight

Last week I introduced you to the idea of Storming the Castle but I’d be the first to admit not everyone wants to change their own world let alone change THE world and these posts aren’t for those people. Instead they are for that small minority of people who do want to create change, whether it’s in their own life or whether it’s for the benefit of others and incidentally, as you’ll begin to see, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

Many others who have come before me will tell you that it is a lonely road when you are storming a castle and it can feel a bit like you’re in a film, you know the one where the hero steps bravely out to challenge the dragon and everyone else falls two steps back. Most people will never choose this life and that’s ok. Remember it takes just one person to start a revolution. It’s just not what I chose to do and I guess it’s probably not what you’re thinking about choosing either.

These posts will help you see that says it’s ok to do this, that you aren’t completely barmy and that although some people will probably tell you it’s the wrong thing to do, in reality it is absolutely the right thing to do because this is your life. And you only have one of them and it is possible live it your way.

The one thing I will warn you about up front though is that if you do start on this path you will need to commit to it. It’s not something you can step away from lightly should you change your mind six months down the line. You may have invested money, time and effort; you may have gathered supporters, heroes and customers; you may even have started a revolution. So, if you are having second thoughts at this point I’d suggest you put this blog post down, go and have a cup of tea / coffee / glass of wine / pint of beer / stiff whisky (delete as appropriate) and think about it long and hard because as you continue reading these posts the ideas and feelings will begin to flow and you have begun the walk to the castle gates to issue your challenge.

What should I expect if I Storm the Castle?

What you can’t expect is that things will remain as they are. One little change brings about a mountain of possibilities; a slight nudge here and a gentle touch there can move the boulders that have been causing problems for aeons. Revolutions have repercussions and it is these that have the lasting effects.

At the very least you can expect to meet new people and be seen as somehow different from the person you think you are right now. At the very best you will change your life completely, perhaps you’ll earn your living in radically different ways or step into the limelight along with the great and the good. And if you’re changing the world, you will even be remembered past your lifetime as someone who made a difference to others, someone who shook the ‘establishment’ to it’s core,or even someone who was brave enough to storm the castle and kill the dragon guarding it.

Why should you believe me?

If you’ve had your cup of tea / coffee / glass of wine / pint of beer / stiff whisky (delete as appropriate) and come to the conclusion that change is probably a good thing, then you may now be wondering who on earth I am to be telling you all these things and encouraging you to step up to the mark. So, perhaps a bit of background might help you along.

In 1994 I had a hysterectomy, yep that’s right I had all my womanly bits removed and it was the best thing I ever did. I’d got the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was in my early 30’s (which means you can now calculate how old I am!) and was considered young to have this type of surgery. I thought I was reasonably bright, but when I started to get some menopausal symptoms I began to wonder just how much I really knew about what I’d done when I had my surgery.

I was fortunate enough to return to full time education in 1995 and began the long haul through an MSc in Information Science and it was when I discovered the subject of patient health information that the penny started to drop. My thesis was called ‘Hysteria, It’s not funny on HRT’ and if you really want you can read a summary of its findings here: hysterectomy_info_needs. It contained a booklet and a website which were to be examples showing how the information that women having hysterectomies said they wanted could be disseminated in the new age of the Internet. It was never intended to be anything other than a piece of work which got me through my higher degree.

I hadn’t counted on the women who’d taken part in the research saying ‘we have no support group’. I agreed to leave the website online ……!

As a result of my thesis, the accompanying website and the little booklet that was stuffed into a makeshift pocket in the front of the bound document I became a social entrepreneur with my own social movement, the Hysterectomy Association. The website supported hundreds of  thousands of women over it’s 20 year existence serving up millions of pages each month. It was the place women shared their stories, fears, hopes, dreams and questions with each other (and with me) and the booklet was the basis of the first book I ever published called The Pocket Guide to Hysterectomy. And in the middle of all that a new career developed for me too, firstly in social media strategy and more recently in digital transformation. Once again I’m creating massive change, just in organisations this time!

And now I’d like to leave you with three points to have a think about before I resume the story next week.

  1. My story is not unusual. There are many others like me who stormed the castle and changed their lives, and the lives of others, in all sorts of unexpected ways.
  2. I did not start out with the intention of changing my life or the world – it sort of just ‘happened’
  3. There was no luck involved.

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