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Keep Calm and Carry On...

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02 September 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On...

I'm used to being the strong one and the girl that always carries on regardless... KEEP CALM & CARRY ON may as well be my mantre. I quite often tell people that when you're the Managing Director or CEO, the main thing you need to do is be able to act. Regardless of your views and feelings you have to just smile and get on with the job at hand. You really have no choice - and that's as it should be. If you crumble then everything and everyone around you will too. But let me give you a little insight into my world. During all three pregnancies I worked in a wheelchair in constant pain and unable to take medication, I had daily injections of Clexane to prevent blood clots, hardly slept due to chronic pelvic pain (this was all down to SPD, a condition caused by hormones relaxing the pelvic ligaments) and ran a business. When each child was born by c-section I wasn't able to have maternity leave, the babies came with me and I carried on from when they were a couple of weeks old. People saw me carrying on but in reality it was hell and I hate that I couldn't have time with each child during their early years. When I carried out an MBO, restructured the Board, made my uncle and cousin redundant, became MD, acquired 2 businesses, recovered from a major fire which wiped out production, created a new management team and set up a new manufacturing site I also happened to get divorced, be a single mum and move house - all in the same year we celebrated 100 years of the family business. No one saw the tears when I had to get rid of my family members or the sleepless nights, the holiday I spent awake 24hours a day to negotiate a deal, the fall outs in the family due to shareholdings etc. My workforce would never have wanted to know about the times we weren't paid or the house and car that we lost as the company failed. They wouldn't want to know about the personal guarantee that remains hanging over us. The day I signed the paperwork for the company's administration in 2009 and addressed my workforce to tell them this news will stay with me forever. I was a lost and lonely little girl and it was possibly the only time the exterior cracked a little - but not for long. The next day was business as usual and my job was to rally the troops and get on with finding a buyer and trading through administration. As much as I am proud of being able to hold it together, I often wish people could understand that things are never quite what they seem. I am not someone that looks for sympathy and I can't abide people that choose to play "victim" but occasionally it would be nice to be allowed to hurt and cry. My husband is the only person that has seen the pain close up, especially as the company closed and I tried to find a way through the darkness. I am often accused of not asking for help - well it's not in my makeup. I simply can't ask even when it's needed and so those that offer unconditional help and support are even more appreciated. I was with one of my oldest and most trusted friends yesterday and I have never appreciated people like her as much as I do now. When time's are tough it filters out people that are genuinely on your side - the rest show their true colours and so as my time comes back around I will not forget those I could rely on and what really matters.