Women are at the heart of everything we do at The Singapore Women’s Weekly and that’s the reason why we started The Great Women Of Our Time Forum. It’s a platform that allows us to give back to our loyal readers by tapping into the inspired minds of women we admire, whether they be entrepreneurs, entertainers, thought leaders or simply changemakers in their respective fields.
Over the course of a Saturday afternoon at The Great Room in Centennial Tower, we did a deep dive into topics ranging from success and failure to perfection and self-care with our six amazing panelists in a bid to empower and inspire our audience members.
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Highlights From The Great Women Of Our Time Forum 2019
Editor-in-Chief Barbara Koh kicked things off with her welcome note that touched on the challenges women face daily like stress, burnout, work-life balance, and finding joy in what we do. “This inadvertently leads us to neglect our physical, emotional and mental health. But it doesn’t surprise me. Women tend to put the family before themselves, and many find they are in an ‘always on’ mode with a never-ending to-do list,” she shared.
“We want our readers to know that they are part of this #womenforwomen community. We strive to arm you with the tools, solutions, and advice to manage life effectively and purposefully. So, as the panel speakers share their stories and experiences, we hope you will feel heartened, uplifted and supported.”
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Scroll through our gallery below to catch up on all the happenings at the Great Women Of Our Time Forum:
Past Great Women Of Our Time alums and friends of The Weekly — Jaelle Ang, Rachel Lim, Elizabeth Tan, Cheryl Tan, Maddy Barber, Karen Tok — bared their souls and shared with us the secrets behind their triumphs in life, love and business during their panels.
Panel discussion 1: How to succeed without burning out
Jaelle Ang, Rachel Lim and Elizabeth Tan opened up to us on this panel that focused on self-care and self-love, battling burnout and finding balance in life.
Here are the key takeaways from their session:
The power of saying no
“Saying no is one of the most empowering phrases you will say in life,” shares Jaelle. “One of my most valued team members at The Great Room says ‘no’ to me the most but when she says ‘yes’, she delivers. I have a number of phrases that I turn to when I need to say ‘no’ in a way that lets the other party down gently and one of them is: ‘My heart wants to say yes but the reality is what’s on my plate makes this a no for me but thank you for thinking of me’.”
We all succeed in different ways
“The greatest accomplishment in life is not earning your first million, starting your first business, or even earning your tenth million,” says Rachel. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, she continues, “The greatest accomplishment in life is if you stay true to who you are and be yourself in a world that constantly tries to tell you to be something else. I do believe very much that we’re living in a time where people tell us ‘you know you should start something on your own, be your own boss, be an entrepreneur’ but it’s really not for everyone and that’s really okay because we all succeed in different ways.”
It’s okay to fail
“I think, overall, in every job or anything that you choose to do, as long as you have a vision, there are always sacrifices to be made. For me, it was my relationship. I’ve been separated for three years now because I expected him to be everything to me and no one can be everything to everyone,” Elizabeth reveals. “We got married quite young as well, and I think it’s okay to recognise that things aren’t working out during the course of a relationship and to find ways to make it work better for everyone involved.”
Panel Discussion 2: Letting go of being perfect
Cheryl Tan, Maddy Barber and Karen Tok talked about the chase for perfection, prioritising oneself, taking your power back and how to embrace failure during their session.
Here’s what we learned from the stories they shared:
Imperfections make us real
“Being your best doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. I think at different stages of your life you just become better at certain things. And you know what? In a world where everything seems perfect, it’s actually our imperfections that make us stand out. Imperfections make us real and feeling guilty over not being perfect is one of the worst things you can do to yourself,” says Maddy.
Be inspired by love, not fear
“Think about the source of what drives you to be the way you are, whether you’re a perfectionist or not,” says Karen. “For me, when I’m driven towards a goal it’s because I’m inspired, not desperate, and that pushes me to want to do more. Doing more is not always a bad thing, but you need to remember your source. Are you inspired by love or by fear? If its love, then carry on but if it’s fear, that’s when you need to assess if what you’re doing to attain perfection is harmful or helpful,” she advises.
Accept that your best is good enough
“Perfection may be something that we benchmark ourselves against but the reality is that we can never attain it so we’re literally competing against ourselves and that’s a very stressful journey to be on,” shares Cheryl. “The sooner we let go of this concept of perfection, the happier we’ll be. We have to learn to accept that our best is good enough.”
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Photos: Darren Chang