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Navigating Resilience: Insights from the UKVA Conference 2023!


VA Conference collage of aspects from the day

Just over two weeks ago now, I made my way down to the coastal town of Bournemouth ahead of the highly anticipated, UKVA Conference 2023!


Hosted by Amanda Johnson of VACT Limited and 100+ fellow Virtual Assistants in attendance, hailing from various corners of the United Kingdom, it was bound to be a remarkable experience. The conference was all around the theme of Resilience and it offered a diverse range of talks, with each speaker bring their unique insights and expertise to the forefront.


This included:


Jane Thomas
Is Resilience a Fundamental Trait? And Boost your Motivation, Ignite the Fire Within:

WhDelving into the essence of resilience and its role in our personal and professional lives. Reviewing our motivational mind maps to see what our motivators are to provide us an insight on parts of our businesses that could use a boost.


Alan and Emily Braithwaite from Yellow Tuxedo.
How the Heck Do You Stand Out from the Crowd When Marketing Your Business in 2023

Alan and Emily Braithwaite brought their unique insights and advice on standing out in a crowded market into marketing and branding in this rapidly evolving digital landscape.


Lauren Malone
Money Mindset: Build a Resilient and Abundant Attitude Towards Wealth

Money mindset is a crucial factor in determining our financial success. Lauren Malone's talk provided a deep dive into how our attitudes towards wealth can shape our financial journey. Her insights were not just about accumulating wealth but also fostering a resilient and abundant attitude toward it.


Ryan Ramsey, Former Submarine Captain
Overcoming the Unexpected.

Captain Ryan Ramsey's talk was one of the highlights of the conference for me. His experiences as a former submarine captain offered a unique perspective on overcoming the unexpected. He shared insights into crisis management, adaptability, and leadership that were not only applicable to the maritime world but also relevant to our own professional lives.



A Night of Celebration: The Gala Dinner and UK VA Awards 2023


The conference ended with a bang that night with the UK VA Awards and Gala Dinner. While I didn't have the privilege of leaving with the Best Newcomer trophy, it was an incredible honour to be listed as a finalist among a cohort of exceptional VAs. The recognition was a testament to the hard work and dedication we all pour into our businesses.



Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone: Putting my Coping Strategies to the Test!


Since receiving my ADHD diagnosis, I've spent the best part of the last two years learning about myself, understanding what the condition is, what it means to me and how it affects me. Along the way, developing coping strategies, boundaries and self acceptance has meant my life looks so very different to how it did before the diagnosis. But now with the help of these, I am very particular in how, what and where I put my mental energy into and whether or not the benefits will offset the negatives.


Attending events such as this is undeniably a massive step out of my comfort zone and not something I always enjoy. By going means: I will be putting myself in situations of constant stimulation, information overload, and the pressure to network which are all particularly challenging separately, let alone all at once! This leads to overwhelm, stress and mental and emotional burn out; the very things I’ve been learning to avoid.


and that's downright scary!!

When I first started out as a Virtual Assistant, I kept hearing that the VA community was incredibly supportive to one another and welcoming to newcomers… but I have to admit when I first heard that I thought “that can't be true, what a load of shit!”. It reminded me of when corporations say the workforce is like a “family” (allow me some time to vomit quickly🤮).


But oh how wrong was I and this conference continued to prove me wrong (which if you know me, admitting I was wrong is not something I do lightly!)


Whilst I can’t sit here and tell you I didn’t suffer any of the negative repercussions after putting myself out there, because they happened; they are a part of my life. However, alongside my coping strategies, the sense of camaraderie, warmth and acceptance from my fellow attendees made the experience truly memorable and worth it. Meeting like-minded professionals who openly share their experiences, insights, and tips, help create a network that will undoubtedly continue to be a source of inspiration and the connections I made are invaluable. Moments like that serve as a reminder to me that despite the hurdles, the rewards can be significant!


Group photo from our table from the VA Conference
From left to right: Kristy Watson, Abigail Glover, Me, Hayley Hudson, Elsbeth Coppock and Suzy Rennison

In conclusion


After some much needed post-conference downtime for recovery, I can look back on my time in Bournemouth and say I can't help but feel grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this event as I left with a wealth of knowledge, fresh perspectives, newly found motivation, and more importantly a network of supportive peers. It reinforced the idea that stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to personal and professional growth. I look forward to future conferences and more opportunities to continue learning and connecting with the VA community!


... oh and let's hope next time for no 1 am hotel evacuation😂


 

One final thing:

I wanted to share an extra special shoutout to just some of the wonderful VA’s I had the privilege to meet: Hayley Hudson, Yolanda Earl, Abigail Glover, Suzy Rennison, Kristy Watson, Elsbeth Coppock, Hazel Day, Gwen Backhouse, Amy Russell, Vicki and Stephen Wilson.


And of course I cannot forget to thank, mr onethreefourcreative, Harry, for coming down to support me and saving me from having to navigate the trains home!


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