*If you have been living under a rock for the past year, Hidden Figures is a film about the 3 black women in NASA who were at the centre of the race to space in the US*
On Friday I attended a private screening of the film. The event was sponsored by Cloudflare and it was completely free! Over 150 women interested in STEM attended and the atmosphere was amazing.
Finally I was able to see a face like mine on the big screen, front and centre without a white saviour character stealing the limelight. One of them did try it, but mostly the film focused on the black women and their accomplishments. I was slightly nervous about watching this film as it has received such rave reviews so I was starting to wonder whether it is over-hyped. It was not. The film adequately dealt with issues of race and gender whilst appreciating their inter-linked and still prevalent nature.
So if you are wondering, it is not “The Help”. In fact, it is far from it. It is funny, inspirational and the best thing is that it actually focuses on STEM. So make sure you go and watch it! Whether you are interested in STEM or not, there are some key lessons that you can learn from this film.
Here are mine:
DON’T BE AFRAID TO TAKE RISKS
One of the things that I tell myself daily is: The worst thing that someone can say to you is no. That is literally it. I won’t die and I won’t be anything less than I am right now. I may be disappointed, but I will be even more disappointed with myself if I never try. In the film, doors were literally shut in their faces, but they used their talents to create new ones. They never remained at the place of their set back.
DREAM BIG AND WORK HARDER
The film inspired me to dream again. I mean, these women had the biggest dream of all: space. It reminded me of all the times I would dream about changes that I wanted to make and the impact that I wanted to have. But growing up it became lost in “reality”. So it was a great reminder to keep my dreams at the forefront of everything that I do. Also, the black women in the film had to work 10 times harder than everyone else. Unfortunately, because they had no choice. But it was also a great reminder that you should never ever underestimate how much work it will take you to achieve your goals and the obstacles that you might meet on the way.
DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT
People always say that your talent will speak for itself. However, no one is going to recognise your talents if you keep them hidden. Share them! That’s how these women were recognised. Yes, they were exceptionally skilled, but they did not shy away from putting themselves forward for jobs. Don’t think that by underselling yourself, you are being humble. No, you are selling yourself short. Stop waiting on people to see you. In fact, stop waiting on people for anything! Put yourself out there.
BUILD A STRONG SUPPORT NETWORK
I mean they are SQUAD GOALS for real. They were all an inspiration to each other and they exemplified the importance of surrounding yourself with people that are going in the same direction as you. By that I don’t mean career, I mean mindset. If you are going to spend time with people, let them be people who help you to grow. Encourage those around you, but make sure that you are being pushed too. The journey to achieving your goals can be tough! It’s even tougher when you feel like you are doing it by yourself whilst dragging others with you. Invest in reciprocal relationships.
Lastly thank you Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson for inspiring us to dream big.
This is the first of a series of posts, where I will be sharing the lessons that I learn from events that I attend or things that I watch. Whilst they are more informal, I hope that they will encourage you to be on the lookout for lessons in your own environment. When saught, you will find that they are even in the most unconventional places (yes I stole that from Dumbledore).