International Women’s Day: Inspiring women in their 40s + share what they wish they knew

It’s International Women’s Day – a time to uplift the voices of women everywhere. International Women’s Day is the perfect time to reflect on the progress women have made around, whether that be socially, economically, culturally or politically. With that said, this International Women’s Day we asked these inspiring women to share their life lessons and what they wish they had known.

This International Women’s Day, this is what I wish I had known…..

“I wish I had known that every single thing that I admired in other people and thought that I lacked i.e. confidence, intelligence, courage and beauty; they were all there within me. I just had to believe in myself enough to manifest them. “– Codilia Gapare, breast cancer survivor, founder of C-Lash in collaboration with Eylure London

“Focusing on your personal strengths, instead of other people’s expectations of you in a role, will guide you best in finding the right path in life.” – Steph Bennett, Managing Director of award-winning communications agency Battenhall

“We all face obstacles in our careers and life. You can either let them hold you back or you can overcome them. My advice would be to take them in your stride. The most successful people face a number of hurdles, numerous times. Breathe, smile, get back up, dust yourself off & go again.” – Lisa Shepherd, founder of award-winning brand The Hair Boss most awarded and profiled female colourist in the UK

International Women Day
From left to right: Codilia Gapare, Steph Bennett, Lisa Shepherd

“I only wish I could pop back and tell my younger self to ‘embrace trauma’. From finding out my husband had been having an affair and watching him leave, to experiencing 5 miscarriages. I wouldn’t change a moment of my journey as its created the strong and determined woman I am today. Embracing trauma is such an important part of life and I wish I had known this.” – Kate Bell, Entrepreneur of the Year, top 10 most successful businesswomen to watch for 2022 and founder of Zip Us

“When you embark on your own business it will push you out of your comfort zone daily so it’s been important to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. By far the biggest learning I’ve taken with me throughout my journey is to listen to my gut and back myself.” – Kristy Chong, CEO and Founder of multi-million-dollar women’s tech wellness and leak proof underwear company, Modibodi 

I wished I would have trusted me more. Understood men more. Communicated my needs more. Got clear on who I am and comfortable with saying no. Understood the difference between men and women and how to communicate effectively. Lead with love not ego and fear. Listen more to learn rather than be heard. And ultimately, Believed in me more.” – Dimple Thakrar, best-selling author and relationship expert

International Women Day
From left to right: Kate Bell, Kristy Chong, Dimple Thakrar

 “Surrounding yourself with people who are allies and will support every step of your growth is a great aid in pressing on with your goals. Keep pushing, and never give up! Developing a strong network of people for yourself is very important.” – Delphine Remy-Boutang, founder of JFD, a growth accelerator for women committed to change the digital world

“That I’m good enough. That I’m worth more. That I can reach higher. To fight harder. Never to doubt myself.  Always trust my gut. Love is most important of all.” – Lorien Haynes, Actress and Writer, Pieces of a Woman show launching on International Women’s Day at The Koppel Project 

“I now see how lucky I am to come from such a global background. To have family in the UK, in South Africa, having grown up in Canada. Being different when I was younger was hard. But now I see it as my superpower.” – Philippa White, Founder and CEO of world-leading international leadership programme The International Exchange (TIE)

International Women Day
From left to right: Delphine Remy-Boutang, Lorien Haynes, Philippa White


“At twilight, as a child, I chased fireflies. The mere practice capturing life’s brilliant, elusive precious moments. Hold them gently. Those curious winged creatures require intense focus. Blink—gone. Remember vividly—take them with you.” – Sharon Sutila, novelist and private investigator

“Having never kicked a football in my life before reaching 40, I now train weekly with a team of wonderful women at my local pitch. It is life affirming!” – Rachel Freeman, Partner at law firm Kingsley Napley

“I wish I had known how to meditate when I was younger. I learnt two years ago and I am grateful every day. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to cope with these crazy times without this amazing way of finding steady ground. ” – Jessica Zoob, artist at McKay Williamson Art Gallery

International Women Day
From left to right: Sharon Sutila, Rachel Freeman, Jessica Zoob

“Being driven by ambition is a strong focus to progress your career. But to really enjoy the moments of success, just pause and enjoy the achievement, before looking to the next step.” – Faye Barker, ITV News Presenter and Reporter

“Pretty much everyone feels like an imposter at some point – indeed, the people that seem supremely confident with their shizz absolutely together are usually the ones who suffer worst with Imposter Syndrome.” – Dr Meg Arroll, Psychologist and Author

“I wish I had known that being in a woman’s body was the greatest gift and that my power and wisdom lay in embracing my cyclical nature, as opposed to resisting it.” – Katherine Crawley, Mentor and Founder of All Katherine

International Women Day
From left to right: Faye Barker, Dr Meg Arroll, Katherine Crawley

“How important my voice is to make my dreams come true. Ask for what you want, repeat again. Asking for everything you want in life – regardless of whether it will happen or not. It’s the secret to negate ‘oh I tried but it didn’t work out’. It’s persistence, not talent, not education, not status, not intelligence that wins the day. We can make our dream’s come true.” – Riffi Khan, TV Creative Director

“There is always time.  Time to think, time to redirect energy, time to re-ground, time to take a breath.  Taking time, allows you to feel more connected to the journey and success.” – Natalie Elliott, founder of SAKRID, clean beauty campaigner

“I wish I had known that it’s okay to remove toxic people from your life, in fact, it’s good. It makes room for all the brilliant people you might otherwise not had time to see.” – Rebecca Wilcox, TV presenter and radio personality

International Women Day
From left to right: Riffi Khan, Natalie Elliott, Rebecca Wilcox

“Say yes more than no when you’re building, and no more than yes as soon as you can afford to.” –  Seni Glaister, Novelist, Founder of Litalist and former CEO of The Book People.

“Challenges against your brilliant ideas are not reasons to give up. They are reasons to continue pushing forward, and find strength in your niche!” – Stella Sutcliffe, Founder, Go Title Free

“I wish I had known that I don’t need to try be like anyone else. I am good enough. I am an original and so are you.” – Olga Thompson aka Big Fat Greek Mother, comedienne, actor, singer and all-round joy-bringer

International Women Day
From left to right: Seni Glaister, Stella Sutcliffe, Olga Thompson

“I wish I knew periods were a normal part of our lives, not a shameful secret. I was brought up in a Middle Eastern environment where pads were almost treated like Class A drugs – tucked up our sleeves and exchanged under tables and in discreet handshakes!” – Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne, Iranian refugee, bladder cancer survivor founder of Freda Health

“I wish someone had told me to spend more time on hobbies and other interests when I was at school and university because the skills, life experience and networks to be gained are just as important as academic success. Seize every positive opportunity that presents itself.” – Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham

“Becoming successful is a process. I was always looking for people to validate my worth. Now, I say the only person who can answer those questions is ME! It’s not an easy journey, and we can often slip back into old ways of thinking, but once you release yourself from being a slave to those thoughts, guess what? You have FREEDOM.  With this freedom you can do, say, love, laugh, make mistakes, make great accomplishments and shine like you never believed possible. ” – Jennifer Ducker, Executive Producer, Rapture Productions

From left to right: Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne, Munira Wilson, Jennifer Ducker

We think you’ll agree that these words of wisdom this International Women’s Day are a truly empowering way of celebrating strong women. What would you add to this list of things you wish you had known this International Women’s Day. Why not leave your words of wisdom below in a comment or let us know over on our Instagram.

Cover picture by rawpixel.com

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