Sometimes you make friends at school who will be there with you for the rest of your life. That happened for our daughters. And sometimes you fall into step with another person and you click. That’s us.

We talk about many things together, from parenting to being working mothers, from stressors when we were growing up to relationships now. Our worries include facing a boardroom of smart people, trying to fit in, always trying to do a good job at everything we do, and there’s that dreaded imposter syndrome lurking around the corner. We know we can do it and sometimes a personal cheerleader helps.

That’s how the book Being Brave began.

We set out to write a story about some of the worries and self-doubts we had growing up and what we’ve observed with the young girls in our lives. We wanted to share the tools that help us through moments of doubt and the inner critic. With our life and work experiences, we wanted to support girls in whatever they choose to do in their lives and arm them with a personal toolkit.

Every person has self-doubt. You will think: I can’t do this, this isn’t good enough or why bother, I’ll fail anyway. Studies have shown that boosting self-esteem with social support improves mental and physical health. The things we talk about in the story, such as talking to your friends, journalling, going to nature, mindfulness, helping others and thinking about your strengths can help to manage that hurtful voice inside.

Accessing your courage is hard, we know. The world can be scary at times, we’ve been there. We say mean things to ourselves because something hurtful happened to us or to someone else. You can’t stop these experiences. They’re a normal part of being in this world. But as we grow up, if we keep thinking in a bad way towards ourselves and others, it’s not good for us or for your growth. How do you manage this thinking? How do we act brave when we don’t feel like it? We hope the tools in this book will help.

We wrote the story like it was Hester and Sema talking and chatting, like how our daughters might message and support each other. As we wrote, a story developed and we hope you enjoy it. We’ve learnt a lot in telling the story together and we’re still learning. We’re still fine-tuning our own tools. But we have each other. And now we have you. We are all the Being Brave girls.

Sema and Hester x