I’m often asked as a speaker, author and coach “who inspired you to do what you do?” And I’ve always found myself scratching my head and thinking “er?” Hardly the greatest of replies is it?

And yet as I write this now I still find myself thinking “er?”

Was I inspired by Margaret Thatcher…..No I was too young and probably more interested in Miss Piggy!

Was I interested in pop stars like Madonna…..no, because my parents told me she was inappropriate for young girls and I was one of those weird children that listened to everything my parents said….well until I got to an age where music was not the only love of my life.

If I move from pop starts and politics I arrive at the movies. So, did anyone there inspire me to be me, Mandie Holgate?

To be honest as much as I loved Princess Leia I always wanted to be Hans Solo (he was far naughtier) but the actress Carrie Fisher did inspire me to a degree but only looking back am I inspired. However I will never forget being a poorly girl on the sofa watching The Blues Brothers with my Dad in his lunch break and thinking this tiny woman with the massive rocket launcher blowing that building up was so cool! Okay could I just point out I can’t stand violence of any kind and abhor the attitude we have in this world to it, however there was something crazily cool about Carrie and I fell in love with the idea that I could be that dominant and powerful. Did that last and stay with that 15-year-old girl?

I’d love to be able to tell you yes, but alas education got in the way and taught me that I didn’t have straight “A’s” and so clearly according to the way we grade humans (yes, I’ve opinions on that but for another day!) I wasn’t good enough. And yes that probably stayed with me for longer but it was not lasting as teenage angst was far more powerful. Although hang on a minute I do remember a Mrs Carter who taught me to be honest about the music I loved and it was fine to have a love of history (I still do to this day!) and she may have been my history teacher but she drove a big mini bus and lived in a beautiful 15th century house on her own, she was a woman on her own terms. And I can remember thinking she was mega cool, but did that lead me to a passion for education and was Mrs Carter my role model?

I’m still not convinced. And as another International Woman’s Day arrives and I’m asked to deliver 2 keynotes on the 8th March around the fears that impact on success, I find myself asking “Well, come on Mandie, who has been your role model?”

Again, I’m back to that “er”. And then it dawned on me. I had a role model. She was someone that I only really started to notice in the last 3 years. Before that I knew she was there, but did she impact on? Did she mould me? Not particularly.

And I can see her now, running across a garage car park carrying a Bumper (Fender) so that a customer’s car would go out on time. And I think, “wow that was pretty cool!” You see that young automotive Body Shop Manager was me. I was one of the UK’s youngest female body shop managers, but did I at the time think “Mandie you are a role model for young women around the world to believe they can do whatever they want to”? No, I just thought “how cool is it to do what I really want!” I cared passionately about helping my customers and supporting the staff to do their best job possible. However, looking back on that 22-year-old Mandie that’s pretty impressive.

But here’s the thing, you see to say to you, Thrive Global Readers, that I think what I did 20+ years ago is impressive could so easily construed as big headed, or self important, however the purpose of a role model is to inspire us to be someone that we aim to imitate. And while someone else can motivate us and inspire us to a degree no one else on this planet has the same values, beliefs and experiences on this planet as you. Therefore, while another person’s story can inspire you to believe in yourself or take action, it is when the motivation and inspiration comes from within we get the epic results. So, it’s not big headed to say I motivated myself. Mandie Holgate nearly died twice, had 2 kids, married an amazing man, moved to her dream house by the sea and has 3 books to her name. All things I’m incredibly proud to say are part of me, even the nearly dying bit defined the person I am today.

Therefore, on this International woman’s Day take note and say thank you to those that go before you, or achieve your wildest dreams, however it is only by learning to think like an international woman, that is already awesome will you get the results you want in life.

Looking back on my life, whenever I get a nose dive of confidence or belief (and yes, we all get them!) I am able to say to myself “Mandie Holgate look at what you’ve achieved, look at what you can do for other people, look at where you are?” and I’m able to remind myself of how I did that and trust that I can do it all again. I.e., I can imitate my results to get what I want, which you can do too and that will be far more powerful if you can recognise all the brilliance that you already are.

This international Woman’s day could I ask a favour? At the end of this article go and have a look in the mirror and give that face a big smile and say “Thank you” Because you today, on the 8th March 2018 are incredibly awesome, capable and have a lifetime of values, beliefs and experiences that have moulded you into who you are. Unique and that is what International Woman’s Day should do; enable us to be who we are, say what we want, and get what we want out of our lives.

By doing this we can all be a part of the changes we wish to see. We can help make them in our own lives and those around us. I asked my daughter as I finished this article “who her role models are?” and she said “Mum, it’s you.” I don’t think I can begin to put into words how much that means to me. (Yes, there was a little tear) because I realised we all have the ability to be role models. My gorgeous 14 year old has oodles more confidence and self belief than I achieved until about 8 years ago. She trusts she is a great person. She doesn’t care that she hasn’t sussed what she wants to be when she grows up and she loves the body she is…..oh hang on a minute I just found another role model!

Sophie Holgate, I write this article in honour of you and your amazing friends. If we could all be as trusting in who we are as you are, then I think we could make this world a very epic place a lot faster, do not lose all that confidence and loving of who you are, you are your first role model, never forget that!


  • Mandie Holgate

    Author of Fight the fear - how to beat your negative mindset and win in life, Lupus doesn't stop me, speaking, coaching, blogging and changing lives.

    I firmly believe that despite adversity or anything else "life" wishes to throw at us we are capable of achieving what wish to, allowed to be happy on our own terms living a life that fulfils us and those that matter to us. And as globalisation happens more and more we all should care not just about those close to us, but to those everywhere. We can all impact on the way people feel, what they feel capable of and their life choices. As founder of The Business Womans Network, one of the UK's youngest automotive body shop managers, illness has never held me back. Happily married (we just remarried again we love each other that much) 2 clever gorgeous kids, a home by the sea and a belief that life can be awesome no matter what you face. Success truly is better shared.