It’s easy to lose track of the little wins. But celebrating even the smallest achievements can spark big progress for underrepresented people taking part in #IAmRemarkable workshops around the world.
#IAmRemarkable empowers everyone who’s ever felt sidelined, stereotyped or held back by imposter syndrome. From May 2023, over 500,000 people have taken part in #IAmRemarkable workshops, tapping into the strengths that helped them get to where they are today and reminding them of their value as they look to the future - personally and professionally.
To celebrate this 500,000 participant milestone, we spoke to two people who came out of #IAmRemarkable workshops with renewed confidence, a revitalized attitude to self-care, and a passion to pass on what they learned.
Lola Onipko is a marketing consultant from Ukraine. She lives in the Czech Republic with her two children, having previously lived in Singapore and Norway. The workshop was suggested to her by a mentor.
Tiffany Alley, also a mother of two, manages a US Cellular store in Virginia. She went into the workshop with colleagues and executives from the same company.
"Seeing all of the people that had come to this one tiny room from everywhere and were much higher up than I am, I was taken aback," Tiffany remembers. "What did I walk into? But afterwards, not so much - I feel like I'm just as important as they are. They just do something different to what I do, and we all work together to make our jobs go how they're supposed to."
The connection between people at the workshop was a revelation for Lola. She was blown away by the emotional energy, as one after another, each person shared their accomplishments. Following on from the eye-opening workshops, both Tiffany and Lola took away new tips and strategies to change the way they worked. Tiffany went from occasionally sharing sales results on her company Slack to highlighting everyday wins and happy moments, like the time a customer brought in flowers to thank her for her help. "This deserves to be posted," she decided, "because that's what can happen when you do a good job and you're true to what you do."
Lola realized that she came from a culture which undervalued and downplayed achievements, especially for women. "In the past I would constantly put myself down for not achieving big things," she says. "However, after attending the #IAmRemarkable workshop, I found I gained a newfound sense of pride and confidence in myself, as I learned how to appreciate even the smallest of my accomplishments."
Celebrating small wins added up to huge effects for both Lola and Tiffany. Having been newly promoted into a leadership position, Tiffany previously felt unsure about herself. But looking back over the challenges she’d overcome to reach this point - at work and in life - gave her a new perspective on her abilities and her importance to the team. "Hey, I am worth something," she realized. "I'm not just here, I'm here for a reason. It's given me so much confidence in my personal experience and at work to be able to advocate for myself."
By celebrating themselves and others, both increased their visibility at work and boosted their sense of self-worth in very real ways. As a freelance consultant, Lola worried about what clients thought of her and her work, which made her cautious when it came to setting her rates. The workshop helped her recognize her value to her clients. "I feel confident to ask for more," she says, "and I’ve started to earn more because of that."
Lola also shifted her mindset to trust the process of finding meaningful work. For example, when a big project came to an end, she decided against taking a similar job. "The old me would take that opportunity because it’s the safe option," she says. "But as a result, I learned and practiced during the workshop. I'm going to take time and make space to think about how I can channel my passions and find more meaning and purpose. I’m not jumping on every project just because it brings in money - I'm not afraid any more to take risks and go for something I really want"
It isn’t just at work that Tiffany and Lola have found a new sense of themselves. Both are mothers of young children and, like many parents, have often struggled with their work/life balance. "I used to think self-care was just taking a shower or cleaning the house!" Tiffany laughs. But now she paints for stress relief. And both women now enjoy listening to audiobooks on their commute, reclaiming the time between work and home.
Tiffany and Lola work in different environments; Lola interacts with startups and clients on project work, while Tiffany works face-to-face with customers in a retail store. Despite these differences, they were both similarly inspired by the workshop - and carried those lessons into their everyday lives.
Tiffany was so inspired by the workshop’s self-reflection that she took the exercise back to her team. Meanwhile, Lola trained as an #IAmRemarkable facilitator to host workshops for women in Ukraine and around the world. And she has taken those lessons home to nurture a new generation. "With my nine-year-old, I was already repeating the vicious circle of my childhood when small achievements were never recognized," Lola admits. "I think that's where the lack of confidence starts - in our children. So something I'm trying to implement with my older daughter is I try to spend five to ten minutes together with her after the little one is asleep, and ask her, ‘What happened with your day today, and why are you remarkable?’"
Recognizing that they are remarkable has been a life-changing shift in perspective for Tiffany and Lola, finding a renewed sense of purpose in advocating for themselves and others. "I am remarkable because I empower Ukrainian women to celebrate their achievements," says Lola, "and work on their confidence during these difficult times."
"I am remarkable because I am a mom, I am a manager, I am a leader," says Tiffany. "And I am remarkable because I'm compassionate. We deal with a lot of elderly people, people in poverty and homeless people. Everybody's been through something in their life and if you haven't, then you will at some point. Compassion is so important."
They may have come from different places and different working situations, but it’s remarkable how Tiffany and Lola faced so many of the same issues - and made such striking breakthroughs at #IAmRemarkable workshops. Half a million #IAmRemarkable participants around the world have taken a big step to change the way they think and act. At work and at home, as advocates and as mothers, Tiffany and Lola discovered their remarkable.