I see so many brilliant women holding themselves back with their own self-image, based on outdated beliefs. Like a computer that hasn’t updated its software in decades, they’re running on obsolete programming that’s not just outdated – it was never true to begin with!
Despite the significant success my client Jill* had achieved in her life and career already, she was struggling in the senior leadership role she’d been promoted into, when we met.
Over-thinking every decision, action and conversation, Jill regularly sought external validation to give her any level of confidence that she should even be in the role.
She worried endlessly about other people’s judgements, comparing herself unfavourably to her leadership peers. She had all sorts of mind-drama about how she wasn’t as good or experienced or deserving of the role as they were. The fact most of her peers were 20 years her senior did nothing to dampen her imposter syndrome.
Evenings and weekends were spent toiling away on the laptop; she simply couldn’t fathom how to get the job done any other way.
The persistent low lying anxiety she felt about her performance, coupled with the lack of work/life balance, were taking a toll on Jill’s health and wellbeing.
It didn’t help that, in her personal life, she had a tendency to prioritise her family’s needs over her own; self-care was low down her priority list.
These are the women I want to support
How Jill was feeling and operating when we met is typical of the smart, conscientious, hard-working women I coach.
Here’s what else my clients have in common:
Shared values of kindness, compassion, integrity, fairness, honesty, commitment, making a difference, collaboration, oh – and a wicked sense of humour! 😉
I don’t know about you, but I want to see more of these women in the world – leading organisations and teams, running their own businesses, taking care of their families, contributing to their communities – and having the impact they are here to have.
I want to see more women who are fully owning their talents, strengths and capabilities, who are not afraid to take their seat at the table – whether in the boardroom, the office, their business, or in their lives and relationships.
I want to see more women who’ve cultivated true self-confidence and self-belief, the kind that comes from inside of us – the kind that can’t be taken away or invalidated.
Women who value themselves and know the importance of prioritising their own happiness and wellbeing – because they are their most precious resources.
The truth is, we can’t have the kind of impact we are here to have if we are burned out, stressed out and run ragged.
And that way of being is no fun for ourselves or the people in our lives – and we are here to have some fun, after all!
The words in the quotes above are from Jill’s feedback when we completed her coaching recently.
Here are a few more snippets about how she’s feeling about her life and career now:
“I understand myself better.. I see all of my strengths and the positives in that, instead of negatively comparing myself to others…
Coaching has helped me to really look up and look forward in my life and career, rather than constantly looking back hoping to find validation…
It has helped me to build an inner capability to give myself confidence…
I trust now that I don’t need to know all the answers straight away.. there’s been a big shift in how I deal with ambiguity…
My work/life balance has improved considerably, I no longer feel guilty for not working in the evenings..
The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself? I have the ability to do anything I set my mind to!”
Two actionable tips:
If you recognise yourself in Jill’s story and know that self-doubt and over-thinking are holding you back from sharing all of your brilliance, how can you begin to change that?
Here are two practical steps you can immediately apply:
1) Start paying attention to the negative thoughts you have about yourself, for example:
You’re not good enough
Who do you think you are to do that?
You’ll just fail and make a fool of yourself, don’t even try
Nobody likes you anyway
Everyone thinks you’re a fraud and you’re going to be found out
Don’t try to change your thoughts yet, just notice them.
Notice them with compassion, as if you were witnessing a good friend having those thoughts about themselves. Notice that you’re believing a thought your brain is presenting to you that’s untrue (even if it feels true) – and that’s okay.
This step sounds so simple – and yet it is so so important!
2) Consider a thought you DO want to believe about yourself and write it down
Next write down at least five ways you know this thought is already true. You may struggle at first, but stick with it – I guarantee you have evidence that this thought is true.
Practice thinking and believing this new thought every day, and creating more evidence that it’s true – and add each new piece of evidence to your list.
Our brains will always look for, and find, evidence for whatever we choose to believe (good or bad.)
So why not focus on creating evidence for what is really true about you and your capabilities, instead of allowing your brain to spew out more crap based on your old programming?!
And if you know you would benefit from some coaching support in this area, I’ll share details of my new, uplevelled programme here very soon!
My ‘Big Why’
It was a real privilege to support Jill and witness her transformation. I am thrilled for her, for the tangible results she has achieved.
It gives me so much satisfaction to know I have contributed towards the kind of leader she now is and will become even more of in the future.
Every woman has her own ‘Big Why’ for wanting more confidence, courage and self-belief, as I wrote about recently.
Getting to work with clients like Jill ~ and knowing the impact they will have now and into the future ~ is mine.
This is the world I want to help create.
*Jill is not my client’s real name.