x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dreams can take flight to become your desired reality

Janelle Malone pens her final weekly column for The National.

Today I sit and write my very last column for the Superwomen series in The National. I want to start by saying that the journey of writing this weekly column has changed me.

I feel that I have become a worldlier, better-rounded woman. And, like all things worthwhile in life, it was a process – one that began in those early months of parenthood when I was primarily house-bound (and on a newborn baby’s erratic sleep schedule).

But as long as I had my iMac, I could research any topic at any time, with the world news at my fingertips. Without ever needing to leave my home, I found an outlet for my ideas to take shape and form.

As a new mother, one who had no desire to return to her old career in retail leasing, The National supported me in my quest to carve out my newfound career path in the world of digital communications.

And so the time has come for me to close this chapter and continue on to the next. I am writing this closing chapter to share some of my lessons with you.

As I’ve said, it’s been a process. Since the start of my blog, womenmoneyandstyle.com, I have realised that I am not alone on this path. Through my blog, I have met a variety of women who are making life work for them on their own terms and living their dreams.

I am living proof that dreams can become reality, but learning to acknowledge and plan for the next step is a key consideration in taking full grasp of your success. You have to know when to let go and fully embrace your newfound reality.

So how can women reach their dreams? I believe that planning is key. Identify what it is that you really want to do and why. Align these goals with your values. What hours do you want to spend with your children each day? What income do you want to generate? Ask yourself what your passions are, and brainstorm ways to incorporate them into the job that you know how to do. Are there any additional skills that you will require? Or maybe outsourcing could be an option for you. Then, be grateful. Recognise every little thing in your life that you have to be grateful for. My gratitude diary was 100 per cent part of my career success.

I believe in dreams and I think that women today have more opportunities than ever before to see those passions come to fruition.

Once upon a time, you had two options – work 9 to 5, or become a stay-at-home mum. There was no in-between.

Today, this is not the case. You can forge your own business path and create your own working hours if you really want to.

Gerlinde Krupp, the chief executive of 4Work, the sole distributor of the Vorwerk Kobold Cleaning System in the GCC, shares these sentiments. Her business model embraces supporting women and mothers, empowering them to create a career path on their terms and have flexibility for their children. “Mums and women are my first preference when it comes to sales staff,” she says.

According to Mariam Al Kassab, the founder of Kidz Venture, a Montessori nursery and community centre based in Ibn Batutta Mall, one of the key considerations for her team was to have flexible hours for parents.

With so many working mothers, entrepreneurs and businesswomen today, parents can enjoy peace of mind should they get caught up in business meetings and are unable to collect their children. “The parents are not alone, we are here for them,” Mariam says.

It is precisely this kind of thinking which is developing and strengthening our community in the UAE to be an innovative, wealthy society.

As women today, we want the extra income to feel secure and invest in our futures, but also to enjoy our lives in the present and appreciate the little things.

When you feel confident and good about yourself, your perception of the world around you changes. You look forward to doing a job that you love, during hours that suit you and your family’s schedule.

Take it from me – it really has an effect on your entire life and is a great example for our children, who are our future.

Writing this column was an integral part of helping me realise my dreams. It was the beginning, the baby steps in finding my feet in business after having my baby. I am eternally grateful for the support of considerate, open-minded journalists and editors for giving me a go.

I think the real lesson for me over this last year has been one of learning to follow my gut and to trust my instincts; not to be afraid of being wrong, or of hearing the word ‘no’.

The lessons and rewards have been incredible. Today I have myself a nice little communications business, which came after many people told me I was three years too early.

And you know what? I did it through gratitude, sticking to my guns and letting the negativity out. And here I am now, living my dreams.

Janelle Malone is a wealth commentator, writer and author