* Epic Fail *
If I could take a snapshot of the last time I felt like a failure, it would look like this...
...hold on scratch that!
Truth is I almost allowed myself to go there.
Gosh, why is it so much easier for us to shout about our successes, than to share about our failures - in our heads, they are epic fails - but are they really?
On Wednesday I attended the prestigious Business Book Awards 2020 in the hope that my book, ROAR! How to tame the bully inside and out, would be shortlisted for an award, but it was not meant to be. In a heartbeat, I was transported back to the moments in my life (lots from my childhood) where I didn’t come out on top. Where I felt 'not enough', not smart enough, not beautiful enough, not thin enough, not good enough... like second best... I was reliving the moment I was appointed the vice-head girl when all I wanted was to be the head girl (dammit).
By now, operation "Marilise! Get out of your head" was in full swing.
Ever stared at a blank page knowing you have a story to tell but just can't get started.
The page mocking you as you start writing and delete and start again only to delete.
A dance of words and backspaces .. mad scientist moments and blank stares.
The process is somewhat poetic in nature and filled with charged emotions. When the words flow they gush. The entire page is filled. You know you just have to get them down just in case you have another moment of blank stares, knowing you'll write and delete and start that dance all over again ...
This sums up how I felt writing my book, it was the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. It took a monumental effort to tell my story, research, qualify and test my theory.
If I wanted 'good enough' ... well, ROAR! wouldn't have actually made it onto the pages.
Now that it is with the printers, being published as we speak, there is no more I can do. I have allowed myself to unwind and get excited about sharing it with you.
Part of me is...
You may recall that last week I wrote about finding your superpower and how I was learning gratitude for not only my past or the anticipation of what the future holds but for my immediate moment.
Well, this week has been a test of that for me.
I sent a document off for its final review this week. The entire process has been a long and challenging journey for me, so when I pressed send I felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
30 minutes later however I felt like I had failed ..
My changes were challenged. I felt like my request was being dismissed. I found myself questioning my ability to get the job done. Wondering where I would find the energy needed to continue to finish this.
The conversation I was having with myself, took me back to the days when I was continually criticised and made to feel like the work I was doing, wasn't good enough.
I recognised this pattern immediately and had to stop myself from reliving the past.
While away on a high-performance coaching certification course last week, my thoughts turned towards gratitude and found myself pondering how far I've come in the last 12 months, since the last one. I can't quite believe it and am still pinching myself just to make sure I am here on planet earth on the 29 November 2019.
I remember doing an exercise with one of my coaches where I was challenged to discover my superpower, my unique ability, the thing that could be described as unconscious competence.
'What is the thing that you do easily that others are in awe of?'
Things that seem to come naturally to you..
Things you have mastered over the years..
Things that others find hard..
Wow, what a question!
Well if you are anything like me, I started off saying well I'm a woman .. how's that for a superpower? lol, yes while that brings a unique ability to us ladies, it's not what this exercise was all about.
I realised that I...
Sometimes it has to get worse to get better, ever heard that?
That poxy cold that is hanging around or the flu you just can't shake. The challenging situation you are encountering. When faced with health issues, we ask for help from a professional, but when it comes to facing an issue with mindset or feeling paralysed by fear, not taking action because of self-doubt, overcoming our limiting beliefs, we somehow expect ourselves to figure it all out on our own.
When I hit, what can only be described as a very low point in my life I knew that something had to change and fast. When the life I had been building, the career I had invested my time and effort in, was all starting to look different, I knew that taking massive action was the only way I was going to start to rebuild my dreams. I just had no idea what that looked like or where to start.
It sounds so dramatic describing my situation, now that I can look back. Had I not trusted in my ability to figure things out and asked for...
Sitting at my laptop, I found myself dithering .. it was a Tuesday, half term, the boys were busy playing games, the house was quiet, apart from Stella who was lying at my feet snoring her head off.
I had so much to get through that day and yet despite knowing what to do, all my training and commitment to productivity, to high performance, I just couldn't focus and get anything done ..
I decided to take myself to the gym thinking that my HIIT workout would do the trick.
That will get the blood pumping and I'll feel better and be able to concentrate, I told myself.
I'd been working out for 30 minutes and the phone buzzed away at me .. I'm not going to answer that, this is my time, time for exercise, not calls. It buzzed again, this time I took a peek at the caller - OMG its the office - am I supposed to be - Oh no! the penny drops, a conference call, I should be signing in - oh no - I can't do it now...
Finding your purpose in life can feel like you are playing a game of hide and seek.
You know the feeling I'm sure. Many of us don't know what our purpose is until we experience a moment in time that inspires us to take action. It's easy to think that the dream you have is impractical or impossible .. its human nature to seek out the easy path or to invent obstacles that prevent us from moving forward with our goals. We've all been there!
When I think back to my dream to be a successful career woman as a little girl it makes me smile because I remember how excited I felt at the prospect and I now know how long and winding the path has been to get there.
We learn to play the game .. hide, watch, listen, don't breathe or you'll be found .. oh the racing heartbeat, the hours of fun and the squeals of exhilaration when finding someone. I still smile thinking back to all those happy times growing up.
After qualifying as a CA and starting work, I very soon...
When you're in a tough situation, feeling stuck and unsure or unclear about the outcome you want to create, it's like climbing the steepest rock face with no ropes ..
Not able to see beyond your immediate reality, not knowing if the tiny shelf you are reaching for will hold or if you will miss it altogether, if the ledge you are standing on will hold your body or if you would survive if you slip and fall.
In fact, taking action was the last thing on my mind when I was in survival mode. When every day felt like a battle I had to fight. Every meeting draining the life out of me and each interaction demanding the very last ounce of positive energy.
It's no wonder when I got home all I wanted was stress relief and to crash.
I couldn't wait to get home, to my safe haven with my hubby and boys. The person that came home to them every day looked very different to what I do today in body, attitude and energy.
Getting honest clear help in a difficult situation was...
Ever tried eating pancakes without maple syrup and lemon, or peanut butter toast without honey or jam .. Ha - 'yes, I do it all the time Marilise!' .. ok .. now I know these things belong together in my world and I'm sure you have a few non negotiable combinations for things you love to eat .. what about gin without tonic and grapefruit, or steak without chips and salad, or spaghetti without the bolognese. You get my point, right?
For something to 'work' it needs to be combined with other elements to make it what it is. Together the flavours make the dish what it is!
This is no different in life, there is a relationship between certain elements that combine to create something .. nourishing or toxic. The scenario I want to talk about is what I call the toxic trio, found alive and well in our environments.
With all three in place feeding off each other, they create a perfect breeding ground for...
I got to the point where I had simply had enough, my nerves were frayed, I was on a very short fuse, I was emotional, angry and frustrated. I couldn't see a way out of the never-ending spiral of negative energy.
I felt alone ..
I knew that I had to take control of my path and say, NO MORE!
Putting up with the bully in the workplace is something many of us expect to do. To learn to tolerate it. For many of us, it is the culture we work in that lets us down as it appears to be 'the way we do things around here' in so many businesses.
As we climb the ranks, eager to prove we can do it, we ALLOW bad and unacceptable behaviour and when we see it, turn a blind eye to it.
This is the journey I have travelled ..
My situation got to the stage where I chose to walk away and change my life .. my day to day interaction with a bully, operating in a toxic culture left me feeling like everything was out of control.
Looking back its no wonder I had moments where I...