By Lisa Sweeney

Have you ever found yourself in a situation so daunting, so utterly overwhelming, that the mere thought of taking the first step forward sends shivers down your spine? That was me, standing in the bustling chaos of Incheon airport, surrounded by a sea of strangers vying for one elusive prize: a luggage trolley.

As I watched the frenzy unfold before me, it dawned on me that this moment encapsulated more than just a struggle to retrieve my belongings. It was a metaphor for the challenges women often encounter when contemplating the leap into senior leadership. The fear of the unknown, the uncertainty of whether we’re truly ready to navigate the complexities of management – it’s enough to make anyone hesitate.

But what made my situation even more dire was the fact that I wasn’t just lugging around a single suitcase. No, I had three pieces of luggage in tow, making the prospect of navigating the airport without a trolley all the more daunting.

To add to the chaos, only a limited number of trolleys – around 20 at a time – were provided for the hundreds of travellers pouring in with each arriving flight. It was a scene of frenzied competition, with each person determined to secure one of those precious trolleys for themselves.

As planes continued to land and the crowd swelled, I realized that standing back was no longer an option. If I wanted to escape the confines of the airport, if I wanted to move forward, I had to commit. And so, with a deep breath and a resolve born out of necessity, I plunged into the scrum.

The first attempt was met with failure, as I struggled to assert myself amidst the chaos. But with each subsequent try, I grew bolder and more determined. And finally, I emerged victorious, clutching a coveted trolley and my three bags of luggage.

As I reflect on that moment now, I can’t help but draw parallels to my journey in the corporate world. The allure of senior leadership was undeniable, but so too were the risks and uncertainties that accompanied it. Like many women before me, I hesitated, unsure if I possessed the courage and resilience required to navigate the challenges ahead.

But just as I had at the airport, I eventually made the commitment to step into the fray. And while the journey hasn’t always been easy – navigating the argy-bargy of office politics, facing the day-to-day challenges of managing teams – the rewards have been immeasurable.

So to my fellow women who find themselves hesitating on the precipice of leadership, I offer this advice: yes, there are risks involved, and yes, the path ahead may be daunting. But there is also courage within you, waiting to be unleashed. Trust in your abilities, believe in your potential, and know that the rewards of stepping into senior leadership far outweigh the challenges.

Remember, sometimes all it takes is a moment of introspection, a leap of faith, to break through the scrum and emerge victorious on the other side.