A letter to my younger self

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As part of our International Day of the Girl Campaign, we’ve invited many amazing women to share their experiences of girlhood with guest blogs. Positive role modelling is an important part of building and maintaining girls’ confidence in themselves.

You can take part in the campaign by donating through The Big Give, now through 18 October, all donations will be doubled.

But first, meet today’s guest blogger, Linda Duberley, journalist, broadcaster, media and business coach, moderator and public speaker. 

Be strong. Be unafraid. You are enough. 

As you go through life remember to understand the empowerment of self-belief built on a foundation of diligence and determination, tempered by kindness. 

Above all march to the beat of your own drum. Even if you have to stand alone.  

Learn the lessons of your achievements. You will thrive, but see knock backs as a step on the road to self-realisation, which is the one quality that underpins everything in life.  

When you won the flowerpot race in the Brownies by practising hour after hour in your back yard on increasingly smaller upturned pots, moving forward by balancing on one to move to another – you were alone. But your victory came in front of a cheering crowd. 

When you reacted to bullying by going alone to the staff room to speak with your headmistress, Sister Dolores, strictly off limits to all pupils, the lesson you learnt was to act with fortitude and courage.

You won and the bullies lost. This lesson will remain with you. 

When your Mum asked the Deputy Head, Mr Degnan, could you pass the 11-plus. He asked, “Does she want to?” He had already seen your ability to strive for what you want.

Retain that memory and use it when times get tough.  

When a young Afghan girl – who was evacuated from the tarmac at Kabul – looks at you and thinks there is another way to be a woman, recognise you will make a difference. 

Be tough and dare to dream big because one day you will have a front seat in history. When you cover some of the greatest news stories of your generation, you will do so because you were able to ignore those who doubted your determination. 

Be kind without thinking of any return.

Success will come and you will prosper but an act of kindness is its own reward. 

One day when you stand by the Brandenburg Gate as the Berlin Wall comes down, as you report from the twin towers terrorist attack in New York and when you are live on air outside Buckingham Palace on the eve of the coronation, you will realise your energy and drive led to great professional fulfilment.

Don’t give up and don’t give in. 

When Michael Parkinson – the person who inspired you and many others to become a journalist – asks you shortly before his death, “Did you do OK?” You can look him in the eye and say, “Sure. I did.” 

But most of all when your fierce, smart beautiful daughter says you are her inspiration, you will know the greatest of achievements.  

Raise your children well, park your ego and your insecurities and love them much.  

They will be your legacy. 

Your life will have many challenges but don’t fear life’s hurdles. They are there to make you stronger. Learn to develop great instincts based on knowledge and life experience. Then trust them. 

Be not afraid. You will be strong. You will be enough. 

Thank you to Linda for sharing your story of girlhood. We hope all women reading this will join in by sharing their stories and advice on our virtual wall


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