By Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels
Last weekend I recorded my raw thoughts about winning an industry award. I planned to record my thoughts and publish straight away, but just found I didn't quite have the courage to do that. Somehow a blog post just feels slightly more formal than a live video, and I wanted to get it right rather than get it out in a hurry
Note: I do quite a bit of driving and I find listening to podcasts and learning or just getting the thoughts out, by recording my thoughts on voice notes is helpful. I can make some sense of the world when my mind has to hold one less piece of information. Of course, I'd rather be skating and a piece of my heart is with Noel Dazzler who is teaching her guest workshop in Leeds for us today. Thankfully she is a great friend and understands and we both know we'll meet again, hopefully in sunnier climates!
This afternoon Roller Girl Gang won an industry award hosted by Modern Retail, who champion small businesses. It was astonishing enough to be shortlisted (when we received this news just last Monday), and to be invited to the award ceremony held at Spring fair at Birmingham NEC. To actually win has rendered me speechless.
I met some of the judges at the 'Inspiring Retail' stage of the Spring Fair, which is a trade show spread over seven halls. The scale of the trade show was overwhelming, the halls are vast and varied - I applaud the business owners there who were pitching their products. There was everything from fashion to homewares, stationery, wellbeing, gifts and so much more!
One of the judges commented to me that she was so excited to learn about the difference our business was making to people's lives, both customers and the team who are integral to RGG's growth. Hearing this from a complete stranger who has researched your business (and basically your life), carries a whole different level of weight to hearing praise from friends.
I have a tiny inner voice/critic, which comes and goes. Right now she is in her mental box in my brain. She is Imposter Syndrome and I call her Isy. Isy tells me that the friends and supporters of RGG - those who surround us and continue to pour their positive energy into the business - are just telling me what I want to hear. Isy won't allow me to truly believe that Roller Girl Gang is something special and unique, that actually there are lots of organisations like ours. The judge kindly told me that there are not (at least not at the moment) and now as I'm driving home, the weight of her words have bowled me over. Isy has gone into hiding as she realises she has lost her power. My eyes are streaming with gratitude, relief and pride.
I've been working on not letting other people's words or judgement affect me, particularly negative opinions, and I've also learnt that we can decide whose words to listen to. The generous words of the judges are certainly ones that I'm going to celebrate.
The journey to get RGG to the place it is today, has been a long and difficult one, as has any business struggles through in its early years. If you want to read more about the struggle please go back and read other blog posts in the Show Up To Grow series .
The team are all delighted and so they should be because this is OUR award, certainly not just mine. We are a Gang who lift and support each other and are strong yet vulnerable. We allow vulnerability to be our strength.
To everyone who's ever bought anything from the shop. This is for you. We can't wait to keep on growing, with you along for the ride.