For 30 years I have lived my life frightened. It’s the main driver for writing this blog..I want to jolt you out of feeling the same.
Agh, it makes me cringe thinking about it: from watching “confident” girls at university and almost all social circles between my degree and now, to watching mums “hold court” at coffee mornings, to watching someone make exactly the same point I was thinking or had tried to make in a business meeting. Never mind mansplain it was more a case of “anyonesplain”!
In sales pitch after sales pitch at work (and I have a strong track record of winning and retaining clients), I won the business almost in spite of myself rather than believing in myself as a specialist, a guru, a solution provider. I know that I have managed to pull off a façade of being in control, focused, confident and almost to the point of having “no needs” (that is not feedback you want to get).
That is just exhausting as it is so far from what was going on. Over the last couple of years I am happy to say it has shifted. That’s because I stopped hiding and decided everywhere I went, I was going to wear my proverbial “comfortable shoes”.
Not your Saturday night heels with the red soles, the ones you are comfortable in when you are not on show. Me: I had always positioned myself as someone on the borders, or who could fly under the radar and not be noticed. Easy! Don’t offend, don’t be controversial, take the path of least resistance so that you never have to look into the jaws of rejection.
I was scared. Scared of being vulnerable. Of facing ridicule. In Australia, we call it the Tall Poppy Syndrome. This is where you don’t want to put yourself out there for fear of being perceived as a narcissist. It was just easier to conform and tick along.
What that has stopped me doing however is sharing the essence of myself. This is to encourage and bring women along, who could benefit from the experience that I’ve had. I’ve talked before about being in flow and this is what I do when I am there.
Until, until it occurred to me that things were hitting existential crisis point and I could no longer live like this. It wasn’t courage to change that moved me along, it was desperation. When I stopped hiding, amazing things began to happen.
People who mattered reacted well. There is something very attractive about you looking comfortable in your own skin. When I did this:
- I properly positioned myself as a trusted advisor at work, and negotiated the perfect working week pattern to suit my organisation and my family. I became more effective and had consistently strong feedback.
I finally reconciled the parts of myself: a wife, a mum, a friend, a daughter but also someone who had to find fulfilment out of these arenas, in a career.
I finally put finger to keyboard and started a blog, to encourage other women to relaunch/gear up their career.
- I connected more meaningfullywith everyone I came across as I was not afraid to be authentic and meet people where they were.
- I started a YouTube channel! That person speaking is me, not me from a script, or me thinking what anyone else wants to hear. Given that I have always been intensely private and fearful generally of any social media platform, this is huge. And a bit fun.
- I started to line up with myself and thrive in every area of my life.
This has made me happier, calmer, sleep better, more ready to lie on the rug and rumble with my kids than worry about the next thing I have to do.
Because I see now the end goal is being myself, as much as I can, and everything else flows from that.
For you reading this: is not a matter of transforming yourself, it is a matter of renewing your thinking and that can be instantaneous. I promise you, where you are today is not a million miles away from this. It is looking at yourself in the mirror and making the following deal: “You (insert name) am enough just as you are. I commit to you (insert name again) that from this minute on, in every situation that you are in, you are going to be answerable to yourself only, and talk as you would if you were in your fluffy slippers”. It will work.