WORDS OF WISDOM
WORDS OF WISDOM
This article is inspired by ‘The International Day of Happiness’, celebrated every year on March 20th, which leads me to ask how much do you value happiness in your life?
How important to you is being happy? How much consideration do you put into what it means to be truly happy?
What does happy actually mean to you?
If I were to ask what your default state of mind is what would you say. Joyful, angry, calm, grouchy, excited, miserable, confrontational, contented, stressed or [insert your own version]
What is your default state of mind?
If I were to also ask what is you preferred state of mind, what would you say? I imagine most of you might say something positive. Rarely would we admit to saying we prefer a less than positive state of mind, yet we often behave as though this is the case.
If I were to ask the people closest to you what would they say your default state of mind is? Go ahead and ask them for me.
On March 8th we celebrated 'International Women's Day' with it's theme of #balanceforbetter, a campaign which will continue throughout the year.
I believe it should continue beyond 2019 so we carry on creating balance in the world. The challenges we currently face won’t go away if we just quit taking action once we reach the end of the year. As with any change, behavioural or otherwise commitment and perseverance is required or progress will stop.
The ‘Balance for Better’ campaign looks at building a gender balanced world, which is essential for businesses, economies and communities to thrive.
Diversity in thinking, perspectives, learning styles and personalities is a must for success in business and these other areas, gender balance allows all of these and many more attributes to create and enhance success.
We already know how important balance is in all aspects of life, it’s something we can all work towards creating for ourselves and for others in varying forms.
The campaign theme emphasises that we all have a part to play to make gender balance happen. Including both women and men in the conversations for change will enable collaborative action.
Here’s an example of how an open conversation can change assumptions and perspectives, which are very important for working towards gender parity.
Are you over 40? Thinking of a career change? Is your heart set on doing something different? Does your optimism, enthusiasm and confidence wane at the idea of changing careers at this age?
Individuals over the age of 40 who’ve been successful in changing careers do something very different from those who haven’t been so successful. They are focused on what they want, not on what they don’t want and most certainly don’t listen to societal naysayers.
Societal norms are generally not designed to encourage people to take risks. They can also contribute greatly to how we think and the decisions we make. Is what I’m doing normal or will my actions meet with approval from others, are questions you might ask yourself.
Ignoring what the world might’ve been thinking I did a complete about turn and changed career when I was 44 and I haven’t looked back. I am determined not to have any regrets in life or if I do they will be nominal.
A move from what you know into the unknown at any age might cause varying degrees of emotions ranging from excitement to fear along with a degree of uncertainly but if your desire or drive is strong enough you can work your way through these range of emotions, hopefully making decisions that feel right for you.
True Diversity and Inclusion cannot exist without very honest and sometimes difficult conversations.
Diversity and inclusion are high on the agenda of many organisations, yet I’m still having conversations where women share with me the most inappropriate things that have been said to them both in one to one conversations and open forums.
I’m witnessing the fall out from behaviour that falls short of respect and acceptance for others. How can we as a collective promote a greater level of respect within organisations, so this behaviour becomes something that happens less and dare I say it disappear.
True, I’m only hearing one side of the story and as the saying goes there are three sides to every story yours, mine and the truth, but based on my own experiences and the upset I see being caused by what is being said, I find it difficult not to believe what has been shared with me.
What does success mean to you?
What are your motivational factors for success in your personal and professional life?
Are these motivational factors for success Internal or External?
What drives you? What is your raison d’être? Do you know? Have you ever thought about it or is it too heavy?
Internal or External Motivation
Most of us are taught to study, work hard, buy a home and have a family and if you’re able to manage these you’ll be happy.
What if this isn’t enough? What about emotional wellbeing, fulfillment, peace, contentment or ‘insert’ any of the other things that are important to you.
Hopefully you’ve read part one of “What to do when self-doubt gets in your way”.
If you haven’t already please go back and have a read, posted earlier in October you can then use the two together as a helpful guideline.
I wrote about a number of things that will help to provide you with a new perspective along with action steps especially for those struggling with challenges related to self-doubt.
Many of the things I mention you might already be aware of. You may of heard or read about them before, but there is a difference between being aware of or familiar with and putting these practices into action.
Strictly speaking if you are committed to the processes I’ve spoken about or similar and taking action, your self-doubt challenges would be minimal or non-existent.
In short, stop being aware of or vaguely familiar with all the advice you’ve read, listened to or have been given about improving your self-doubt. Put these useful tools, techniques and practices into action step by step so you can reap the benefits and experience a significant change in how you feel about yourself and the world around you.
Take action and exercise your right to be free of self-doubt.
The first thing to do is acknowledge it, instead of being fearful. If any type of fear subsequently accompanies your feeling of self-doubt, then also acknowledge your fear. It sounds a strange thing to do but acknowledging the feelings that at first seem to hinder your progress is a valuable way to remove the hold they have over you. Awareness and acceptance of feelings or emotions labelled as negative will mean you can start the process of removing the power they have over you and in the case of self-doubt will enable you to elevate what you believe yourself to be capable of.
When we fear something or are uncomfortable with the way we’re feeling there's a tendency to veer towards avoidance rather then acknowledgment, exploration and acceptance, which would in fact provide you with a starting point for options towards change and more affirmative action.
The uncomfortable feelings you experience such as self-doubt might at first appear to be there to trip you up or stop you from progressing but they are created by you (mostly unconsciously) with a helpful purpose in mind. They are created to protect you, which is a wonderful intention but not always helpful. They’re created with the intention of saving you from being hurt or disappointed and to keep you safer within your comfort zone, the zone of only doing what you know and where you think you are certain of the outcomes.
As humans we are very complex in the way we think and sometimes it’s not always easy to understand our thought processes, which determine our behaviours and actions.
There are successful women everywhere some of whom are hiding in plain sight.
What do I mean? They are dumbing down what they know and what they say. “I might be criticised”, “I don’t know enough”, “I prefer not to draw too much attention to myself”, “perhaps I might be found out that I actually don’t know that much”, “I’m a fraud”.
These are just some of the things being thought and sometimes said out loud by successful, high achieving professional women.
The reason behind this, the self-doubt they wake up with each day. The self-doubt that has been created over the years and is now an inherent part of who they are, which can be hard to shake when you have the same thoughts daily.
It makes me so sad because I know it doesn’t need to be this way. This self-doubt can stem from different sources. Learnt in formative years, at school, college or university, from your background or culture, from a passing comment made by someone of influence, it could even come from your perception of society and its influence on how you believe a woman should behave, unfortunately this continues mostly within your professional environment.
We talk about Imposter syndrome but it runs deeper than this, it’s self-doubt that for now remains at the forefront of the most amazing careers.
This is for you if it resonates; you are successful in your own right, in your role, your career and in what you do.
You are intelligent, you have phenomenal academic credentials or your career spans years of leadership or you’re climbing the corporate ladder but you’re simply not enjoying the journey.
I'm older and wiser than I look. After many years working in the corporate world I decided to branch out on my own.......Brave eh?