“The role of modern leadership today is all about building a vision that is greater than yourself. To inspire others to be more successful than you, to become legacy creators, transformational leaders for the next generation. If you want to be a truly transformational leader you have to accept that wealth and success is only achieved when you are prepared to give everything of yourself in order to serve others who will then be inspired to give back, to pay it forward themselves to future generations. It’s the ripple effect. One step at a time. A ripple can create a wave which can then create an almighty tsunami.” Ania Jeffries
Ania is an award-winning Coach, the Founder of Women Work, an international best-selling author of “The Pay it Forward Series, Notes to My Younger Self”, a licensed NLP Practitioner, Progression Mentor for the ‘Princes Trust’, Event Organiser, Radio Broadcaster for ‘UK Health Radio’ and community radio PowerXtraRadio (for entrepreneurs). Her upcoming book “Gain Confidence in 24 Hours, The Toolkit to Help You Grow” is to be released this autumn.
Ania’s vision is to build a global revolution of legacy driven confident entrepreneurs to powerfully develop and use their authentic voice to influence relationships, impact on business and personal growth and become leaders of groundbreaking, positive change in the world. She specialises in personal and business growth, empowerment, self-improvement, networking and collaboration.
Ania, you are known as The Confidence Generator. You made it your life mission to give a voice to those who don’t, usually, speak for themselves and empower them with self- belief and confidence. What is the role of leadership in modern day?
The role of modern leadership today is all about building a vision that is greater than yourself. To inspire others to be more successful than you, to become legacy creators, transformational leaders for the next generation. If you want to be a truly transformational leader you have to accept that wealth and success is only achieved when you are prepared to give everything of yourself in order to serve others who will then be inspired to give back, to pay it forward themselves to future generations. It’s the ripple effect. One step at a time. A ripple can create a wave which can then create an almighty tsunami. A leader’s vision should be bigger than their experiences, their position, their team, their organisation, their work and their lifetime. It is your legacy for future generations. It should blow your mind, instill you with passion and drive you to inspire others to want to make it happen.
You are a great believer in the power of local communities, what they can create when working together towards common goals. You believe in true collaboration and you stand for healthy business practice in the marketplace. Most entrepreneurs struggle to collaborate in real life and find it difficult to share their ideas due to unfair competition. What is the role of co-operation for successful Leadership?
As a wife and mother of three, with several entrepreneurs in the family (my son is Founder of Influencer.uk and my nephew is Founder of Perfectdailygrind.com) , I strongly believe that the only way forward, for us to create a better future for ourselves, our families, our businesses, our community is through collaboration and partnership. Companies are slowly recognising that if you want to build strong, healthy communities, attract top talent, it is important to create a corporate culture which is collaborative, and not competitive… In today’s modern workforce it has become even more important to encourage creativity, teamwork in order to improve productivity, motivation, commitment and healthy employee relationships. Collaborative leaders are recognising that when they are more inclusive, the team and the organisation is better served. It is no longer a case of a few members of the organisation making things happen. All members have wisdom and expertise to share, all can exert an influence, and participate in seeking the best solutions for the business. Together we are more united, impactful and stronger. It’s as simple as “Let’s work together. You help me and I will help someone else”. A win win alround. I love Dr Marina Nani’s quote “You have to serve a million people before you make your first million.” This is so true. Showing gratitude towards others, embracing the spirit of community and collaboration, encourages the concept of paying it forward bringing greater rewards.
The life of an entrepreneur is not an easy one. It is filled with risk, daily challenges, overwhelm. Entrepreneurs who struggle to collaborate believe that life is not abundant, unfair. It’s a battle, a question of survival of the fittest. It’s an ugly trait, a small minded scarcity mindset which does not inspire, nor builds powerful and authentic industry leaders.
Education starts first and foremost at home with parents educating their children in the importance of acting with integrity, respecting others and understanding the true power of leadership, of paying it forward, to become men and women of true contribution, connection and collaboration. Why? Because some of these children will become transformational leaders of the industry one day and you will be able to stand proud, knowing that you instilled in them their greatest core values to inspire us all.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to arrive where you are in your life?
The biggest challenge I had to overcome in my personal life was overcoming the trauma of a train crash many years ago. The conductor was high on cannabis and drove into the buffers of Cannon Street Station. I was in the carriage that concertined. It changed my life. People died around me. It made me realise how life can just change in a second, in one single breath. How you should savour every moment, be grateful to be alive every day and recognise the beauty that surrounds you, the importance of a daily positive mindset, of only allowing people in your life who will build and not destroy your dreams. This experience brought wonderful lessons of growth, transformation, strength for which I am very grateful. It made me the person I am today.. not that it wasn’t easy at the time. My two amazing bosses became my wonderful mentors who helped me gain back my power, my strength, to know that success and recovery solely lie in your reaction to whatever life throws at you and that past experiences do not define the person you want to become.
As one of 18 co-authors from around the world in the book ‘Pay it Forward: Notes to my Younger Self’ I share my moments of adversity. from darkness to light, in the hope that they will inspire you to share yours. The moment you share is the moment you give back the gift of voice to others.
In any western economy, competition is fierce. What changes need to happen in each industry, in the local community, so women learn to collaborate with each other and stop competing against each other?
Women need to understand first what motivates them to behave in such a competitive way, to reassess why they believe it is more important to compete and not to collaborate. Women of collaboration have made the choice to achieve brilliance in their life, business and career and do not waste their energy on envy or competing because they understand and identify with the true meaning of success. They make powerful decisions to choose what is best for them and their family and surround themselves with like-minded, collaborative women, in order to build stronger, new communities and networks for their children, the future generation. As Founder of Women Work, I organised two very successful events supporting both men and women at home, in the workplace, in business, providing them with the tools and strategies to create successful businesses, careers, homelife. The first event, which snowballed in just over 5 months into a workshop of over 1300 women, 51 speakers, 72 workshops with a huge focus on mental health and support from major sponsors such as Marks and Spencer, Metro Bank, Tesco, The Range, Pickering Cancer proved to the community that there are many women who are ready to collaborate, to bring communities and grow new partnerships together.
The questions to ask yourself is ‘How and if you inspire others through your actions?’ ‘What words would your colleagues use to describe you with?’ ‘Would your children, partner choose the word ‘inspirational’? If not, why not?
Those women who believe in the power of competition should reflect on how their behaviour impacts on new communities, networks and relationships. These women are easily recognisable within communities, for me they are not part of my future journey. They only hinder my global mission of delivering an international platform of transformational media, coaching, visibility strategies to dramatically increase the quality of your connections, collaborations and contributions and I have chosen to surround myself with women who are true, authentic legacy creators, changemakers who are ready to leave an impactful blueprint on this world.
What changes need to happen in our society so women from Western countries could help other women from un-developed communities?
We are very privileged in the western world to be so well educated, to have so many resources easily available to support us in creating our visions not just our ourselves but also for our businesses and our families. It’s important to recognise that there needs to be a fine balance between us helping undeveloped communities and them learning from us too whereby we improve lives without imposing our own cultures.
For me it’s all about sharing expertise, learning from other cultures, growing new collaborations, understanding different forms of cultural communication and finding opportunities which can mutually impact and benefit both communities. We can learn so much from other cultures and we mustn’t forget to stay open to learning! Our way is not always the right or the only way for development and growth. There is so much we can learn from others and my Female Entrepreneur Adventure Expedition focus on what is available out there, outside of our ‘comfort zone’.
You are going on an adventure this fall, to Malawi in October this year, The Female Entrepreneur Adventure Expedition, the first of its kind. Want to tell us more about it?
I am hugely excited about this expedition! Where do I start? I will start by saying that we have Key Women in Business Magazine, our media sponsors. They will be featuring team members in the magazine and will be following our journey in Africa.
We created a fabulous team of fourteen women (only three places remaining at the time of printing this interview), not just aimed at founders of businesses, professional but at women who are passionate about leaving an impactful footprint on this world. Each team member is a very courageous woman who wants to create a legacy for the next generation or a mother who wants to step up in the world and inspire their children. We are ready to share our expertise, giving back, learning from each other and other cultures, growing new collaborations.
Not only reflecting on our business and personal goals, also hitting the pause button in the beauty of Africa and showing gratitude for all the courageous woman that you have in your life. Members are prepared to be pushed out of their ‘comfort zone’ during this adventure. The expedition includes entrepreneurs forums, a homestay, a challenge (climbing Mount Mulanje), a final stay on Mumbo Island (only sleeps fourteen), a tropical paradise with add-on wildlife opportunities too. Visits have been organised to radio broadcasting stations, HIV/AIDS centres, mental health specialist groups, entrepreneur hubs, counseling centres, abuse groups etc. We will all be learning so much from each other. I cannot wait!
And this expedition is just the start of many! Wait till you hear what I have planned for 2019 and 2020…