Today’s Thought: Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.
For the past five years, I have been fighting to prove myself in a job I am starting to think isn’t right for me. I have been through denial: ‘I am absolutely right for this; I will show them all!’; I have been through delusion: ‘Things seem to be going well, maybe I am good at this after all.’ when actually, it’s been going well because other people have been doing their jobs well and right now, I think I am entering a period of acceptance: ‘I’m a good person, but maybe this role is just not the one for me.’
I don’t like this feeling; I am blue. However, I have also run out of fight – it is no longer within me to prove myself. I have no idea what I am going to do – I’m not even sure what I am capable of doing any more as my skill set feels quite narrow and my financial responsibilities are not going to disappear any time soon. I know that I must find some way to be happy, though. This job is not the way; being so hell bent on proving myself is not the way. Accepting who I am, embracing it and finding the role that fits me is the way.
In the words of Brene Brown, I need to: ‘Let go of who you think you are supposed to be and be who you are.’
Be honest with yourself – are you trying to be someone you aren’t rather than embracing who you are? For true happiness, let’s start looking for ways to celebrate the person we are. Carl Jung said, ‘we cannot change anything unless we accept it’. Maybe what we need to accept is that we are trying to be someone we aren’t – let’s change that and see what happens!
Today’s Thought: How can you stand out if you are trying so hard to fit it?
I am reading Brene Brown’s ‘Dare To Lead’ right now. I am trying to improve my leadership skills as I find it difficult to locate the courage I need to challenge my team when things aren’t quite right. I visited Brene’s website, http://www.brenebrown.com and found this beautiful quote that I intend to use as my foundation for the next week. I thought I would share it for all of you who, like me, feel as though you are a square peg in a round hole!
Let’s get on with standing out and sparkling, not fitting in and floundering!
Today’s Thought: You are only responsible for being honest, not for someone’s else’s reaction to your honesty.
I find this difficult – I hate upsetting people and feeling responsible for their anger or distress. I need to become more resilient, though, if I am to hold people to account.
This quotation will be my mantra over the next few weeks. I will still aim to be kind – I have no wish to strip people of their dignity or to make them feel like muppets, but I am going to aim to tell people the professional truths that will help them to improve and will ensure I am holding them, and myself, to account.
Aims for the next week:
Be honest and kind in my words.
Have integrity and best practice in my actions.
Stay true to the vision and pay attention to detail.
What are your positive intentions for each day? Are you living your values?
Today’s Thought: When you’ve spent your whole life listening to others, it takes courage to pay attention to the sound of your own voice.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to listen to others – I mean, if they are genuinely trying to help you then by all means listen! It’s when they are saying things that feed the fears inside of you that you need to stop and truth check.
When that chime of anxiety rings within, ask yourself, ‘where is the evidence that what they are saying is true?’ An opinion or a feeling is not evidence. Evidence is concrete facts that demonstrate truth. For example this week I was told I don’t hold people on my team to account enough. I was disappointed to hear this, but reflected on the evidence that led them to say this, researched what holding people to account should look like and found their assessment to be true. I don’t always follow through on my expectations of others – this means I am not always effective at holding people to account, therefore it is worth me making adjustments to improve this. I am still disappointed, because I want to be the best at my job, but the flaw is fixable so all is not lost!
If there is truth, then look at what you can do to change it (if it is something that needs to be changed and is holding you back).
If there is only opinion, then note the person’s opinion and then let it go. You are not responsible for their feelings (unless you have been intentionally rude or unkind)!
Create a positive voice, telling yourself what you are or wish to be: I am kind; I am considerate; I persevere; I am creative; I work hard and try my best; I encourage others. Tell yourself what you are every day. You will have evidence of this because of the actions and words you use each day. The more you tell yourself, the more your self-belief will build.
Make sure your own voice is louder that everyone else’s; be your own champion and you will win!
Today’s Thought: You are strong enough to face it, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
How often have you been consumed by anxiety before a specific event and felt as though you can’t possibly survive it and then found that the event is over and you are absolutely fine?
Maybe this is a good time to reflect on all those times and consider today’s thought. Yes, every time the anxiety bites, it’s terrifying and you feel as though you could spontaneously combust. Yes, your amygdala is screaming at you to run away or freeze in terror and you couldn’t hate it any more than you already do. But guess what, you survived!
You are strong.
You are kind.
You are creative.
You are honest (because let’s face it, everyone else feels exactly the same, but they’re not letting on)!
Fear is a reaction; courage is a decision and every time you choose to carry on regardless of your fear, you are showing how brave you are. Recognise your fear, then strap on your cape of courage and go out and face the world!
Today’s Thought: Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be someone we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are – and aren’t- that you will truly succeed.
This week I have been worrying myself silly that I am not good enough at my job again; that someone I work with would be much better at it than me. I have been undermining my confidence and putting myself down to the point where I have been looking at other jobs to see if there is a viable way out! There isn’t! I have to face the challenges that are coming my way.
Luckily, I had an appointment with my therapist this week and when I told her how I have been feeling and how anxious I am about the heavy workload I have coming up over the next few weeks, she set me a challenge – to name all the ‘bad’ things about some of my colleagues. I had sat there listing all the ‘bad’ things about me, saying everyone was better than me but I hadn’t said anyone else was ‘bad’ at anything.
It was an moment of realisation for me – of course we all have strengths and weaknesses, that’s totally normal, but why was I only focusing on my weaknesses and everyone else’s apparent strengths? Sitting with my therapist, we listed all the weaknesses my colleagues have – even the kindest, most lovely of them had weaknesses – and we compared the weaknesses to my strengths and saw how they balanced each other out.
I am still anxious about the next few weeks; I am scared I won’t perform under the immense pressure that is to come, but I have made a decision: I am going to play to my strengths – one of which is encouraging others to perform at their best, by developing their strengths and supporting their weaknesses. I am good at this! I have colleagues who are good at the things I am less good at – this is why we have a team and why it’s important we aren’t all strong at the same aspects of the role.
The next time you feel inadequate or have an attack of impostor syndrome, take a few moments to list everyone else’s bad points (don’t make it public, maybe only do it in your head – you don’t want a situation where someone finds your list!). Consider how your strengths counteract their weaknesses and how their strengths counteract your weaknesses. See how you play your part then get out there and play it well!
You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be you.
Today’s Thought: They are angry because the truth you speak contradicts the lie they live.
This week a colleague of mine had to have some tricky conversations with her team. Some of them responded in a defensive manner and both she and I felt infuriated by it. Why weren’t they as keen as we were to make this better for our clients? Why couldn’t they see the barriers to success? Why weren’t they passionate about what they do? How could they miss the point of their role so much?
Reflecting on the meetings, though, I can see that those colleagues have responded in fear, confusion and a deep need to protect what they thought they knew. It’s so difficult to challenge a long-held belief; even harder to do when it’s held by someone who is essentially a good human being, who works hard and is just trying their best to manage in a world of work that seems to expect ever more from individuals.
We must persist, though. It will be a bumpy journey for our colleagues, but if we can help them see the truth – that they are missing the point of some imperative aspects of their role, they we can help them fly. They will feel more successful and more satisfied in their roles than they have ever done before. Our clients will reap the benefits of the improved practice and resources: it will be a win/win situation.
The truth will cause pain for a while, but ultimately it will empower and heal. How typical of life that the route to freedom is not straight-forward and that enlightenment first requires discomfort!
Today’s Thought: Trust starts with truth and ends with truth.
When reflecting on what helps me to feel less anxious and calm in general, I know that it is being assured I have access to the truth, whatever that truth may be.
Being unsure that you are being told the truth or knowing that you aren’t telling the truth lets the anxiety dogs out to run wild!
If you want to feel inner peace, tell the truth – especially when it is most difficult. Obviously there are times when it can be kinder to tell a tiny fib – ‘no your hair doesn’t look greasy today’ or ‘What spot? I can’t see one!’. Just make sure that when the truth counts, you tell it.
If you want to feel that all around you is real, ask for evidence that what you are told is true; surround yourself with trustworthy individuals who you are confident only share necessary truths and ensure your create conditions where people can be honest with you without fear of recriminations.
Be true, be kind, be calm!
Today’s Thought: Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.
This week I felt fear build following a difficult interaction with a client. They were furious with us and had planted a seed of doubt in my mind about whether we had covered all our bases when dealing with them.
I sat with the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty for a minute or two, then had a flash of realisation. I didn’t need to. There were things I could do to reassure myself and check our actions. As soon as I decided to follow that path of investigation, the fear seemed to shrink and shrivel.
Next time the fear creeps is. Explore where the feeling is coming from then ask yourself what you can do about it. Is there a way to check facts? Is there someone you can seek guidance from? Is there corrective action you need to take? This way you control the fear and it no longer controls you.
It will swell within you from time to time, but you have the power to diminish it, to put it back in its place. Fear: False expectations/evidence appearing real. Check the honesty in a situation and you will quieten the fear.
Today’s Thought: Something magical happens when you’re completely honest with yourself. When that happens, no one can ever hurt you again.
I think this is true. If we aren’t honest with ourselves about why we are hurt; what has hurt us and how we are truly feeling, then we cannot start to heal. If we can’t heal, we can’t move forward and we will continue to hurt.
Look deep; identify the pain and be completely true to yourself about where the pain comes from. It will be uncomfortable and distressing, but you will then be able to find the antidote.
To begin with you will find the shame or anxiety or fear or anger is heightened and you will wonder why you ever started to pick away it it. Have courage. You are not alone and needn’t be alone. There are lots of helpers out there. Find yours and share your pain with them so your healing can begin.
You can get better. Never, ever give up, for you are loved; you are wanted; you are important and you are strong.