I was emailed by a journalist from the Insurance Post who wanted to feature me as part of an article for their feature around diversity in the Insurance sector, me being me I jumped at the chance. As well as the answering some questions I was asked if I would take part in a photo shoot in London for the article and of I said yes - little did I know that in doing so I would meet an inspiration woman who would change the course of my life.
When I entered the room for the shoot as well as the PR people & journalists from the Insurance Post, I also met Sam White CEO of Action 365 Ltd & Pukka Insurance.
We hit it off immediately.
As we got talking about all things insurance and life in general, I could tell I was speaking to a kindred spirit. Here was a woman who like me, not only sees past the person, she also challenges the status quo. Sam doesn't accept things have to remain as they always have been - I mean if you can change something and improve it why not?
She asked me after about 10 minutes if I wanted a job, at first I thought I'd misheard her, but when I asked her to repeat what she said and she asked me again.
I assumed she was going to ask me to look at her businesses and the policies around LGBT inclusion, but she was asking me to work for her. At first I wasn't sure but as often happens at times like this, my instincts told me to say yes and after several phone calls, one interview and a 460 mile round trip I accepted a role in a position two levels above the role I was in at the time.
I did managed before, in my 20's as a catering manager but this was a long time ago and I was a different person then (in both senses of the word)!
At first, I doubted myself and wondered if I was making the right move. With the new office being 230 miles away, I would no longer be living on the south coast - but I decided if she believed in me then I should practice what I preach and believe in myself too.
I'd been in my previous role for over 6 years and I was very good at my role , but I also knew that the chance of a promotion like this would never come my way staying put. I also knew that I had done as much as I could at my last employers and I was beginning to feel like I needed a new challenge.
Once I revealed the new role to my previous employer I had a lot of support and people were really happy for me, although a few said to me "That's a big change" ! Saying this to me is like telling a hedgehog that they're prickly.
When it comes to change I'm a bit of a master!
Whilst in my new role I've faced many challenges both professionally and personally, I have never been happier at work. Ever.
I cannot understand why people would want to stay in the same place doing the same thing and not challenge themselves beyond their current position.
To me life is about getting outside of your comfort zone, pushing yourself to grow professionally, personally and spiritually.
So the next time someone makes you an offer, ask yourself this one question. Will I regret this in 12 months if I say no. If you're not sure, then my advice would be to say yes.