Everything I love about my clients also makes me wince

My work leads me to some amazing women - smart, ambitious, successful, action-takers, and go-getters. They inspire me every day I work with them. They're working with me because they know more and better in their lives and careers is available to them as a right, and they want guidance to create their goals and make them happen.

Everything I love about them is also everything that makes me wince.

When did we become so hard on ourselves?

You see, these women have high standards and expectations - of others, and their level of work, effort and accuracy; but they hold themselves to an even HIGHER standard than they do of others.

To hold themselves to a higher standard, they raise the bar so high, they can never feel accomplished, competent, loved, accepted, or content. To live with that every moment of every day leaves a massive imprint on their brains of...

I'm not good enough.

Just imagine doing that to a child every single day. Imagine telling that little child, "You're hopeless," "You can't do that!" "You're not as good as they are."

You just wouldn't do it.

Think about that next time you're berating yourself for not meeting your self-imposed high standards.

I admire those ambitious traits you have, for what they can do for you, and what you can achieve in life and career with them.

Those same traits can also 'undo' you - in a big way.

  • Beating up on yourself on the daily when you don't measure up to the arbitrarily high standards you've set for yourself.
  • Experiencing extreme emotions when you are challenged in a work setting or when you feel you may not have all the answers, affecting your performance and relationships.
  • Feeling fiercely competitive, coming from a place of anger, frustration, and scarcity.

It preys on your well-being - emotionally, mentally, and even physically, with conditions like emotional eating, or over-training and injury. It affects your relationships.

It is exhausting to feel this pressure on a daily basis.

Does this resonate?

It resonates with me - at least, who I ONCE was.

What I practice now is FORGIVENESS: Allowing myself room to fail so I can learn from it, and see how I can do, be, and think differently next time; not, "What SHOULD I have done?" but "What can I do differently next time?"

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" Winston Churchill

What I practice now is ACCEPTANCE: that I am pretty bloody brilliant just as I am. My 'weaknesses' and failings make me human, and are an invitation to greater self-awareness, self-knowledge and self-mastery.

What I practice now is DETACHMENT: I have goals, of course, and I strive to achieve them. At the same time, by letting go of the outcome, I can ease into the goals, flow with the process, have faith that the goals will be achieved. It is a more abundant place to come from, instead of an angst-ridden, scarcity-based "What if I don't achieve my goals?" (The answer to that is, "I will still be pretty freaking awesome as Helen. It won't define me."

"Failure is seldom fatal"

You'll notice I said that I practice forgiveness, acceptance, and detachment - for that's what it is; a practice - every single day. I'm not perfect, and I know it,...and it's OK.

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it" Salvador Dali

Does any of this sound like you? Tired of beating up on yourself in this way? I'm currently offering a free Career Strategy call to help you turn down the volume on the inner critic so you can achieve your goals. Book a Career Strategy call to find out how to balance fierce ambition with fierce self-acceptance, as well as the 5 factors that might be slowing your leadership track.


A new episode of my podcast, the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions has just been released and it's one of my favourite topics:


It's not that I'm money-hungry (though it certainly allows me to live a life of freedom), but it is because the topic is so full of angst for people, especially women.

"Money is like sex - no-one talks about it but we're all supposed to know how to do it" Michelle Gyimah

Join me on this episode where Michelle Gyimah, a money mindset and women's empowerment coach talks about her guilty secret of debt, and how overcoming it, taking control and leading herself out of it led to other areas of her life improving too.

If you haven't yet subscribed to the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast, do so over at Apple Podcasts (you know, old skool iTunes) or by registering here.

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Want to know the secret sauce of success? Click to learn what personal leadership is and how stepping into it can create the success in life & work that you desire.

More nuggets coming up about personal leadership! I've got a lot to share with you on the topic, and how embracing it can change your life and career!

Bisous x

"I Don't Know" - What it Really Means

"I don't know"...Harmless enough response to a question, isn't it? Perhaps you use it quite frequently.

This is just a quick post to highlight what I am finding in working with my clients.

I find that the ways the response "I don't know" is most often used is not in the circumstance where somebody truly does not know the answer to the question, but in one of several other situations, such as:

  • Facing Fear: "I feel resistance to thinking about this - it may identify a fear I have that I'm not willing to face;"
  • Time versus Priority: "This is not really a priority for me to think about so let's move on;"
  • Solve My Problems: "This feels like it will take a lot of energy to think about - I want you to do it for me;"
  • Processing: "I need to digest this - it's a big idea and I don't know what to do with it right now."

On rare occasions in my business, it means "I genuinely do not know the answer to that question, but I am going to find out."

Language helps to create our reality - what you say is what you ultimately do and how you show up. "I don't know" can be seen as avoidant behaviour, procrastination, lack of creativity or desire to solve a problem - and in some cases, just plain lazy! I believe that this 'no response' response creates our reality, too - it's the thoughts behind the non-committal and ambiguous words that matter.

Before you answer "I don't know", try digging deeper - if "I don't know" wasn't a phrase, what would your response be?

Get to the real answer behind those words so you can gain greater understanding of the problem and greater self-awareness.

Want to create a different reality? Get on a call and let's see if we're a fit!

There's No Good in Should

Choose your words carefully

I caught up with a friend on Friday evening, a gorgeous summer evening on a terrasse in the posh old 16th, breaking bread, chewing the fat, shootin' the breeze. Not sure how we got there but we ended up on the topic of language and how important it is to our mental state, drive and ability to achieve goals. In fact, I think I picked her up on her use of the word 'should'.

Evil damn word, 'should'. I have almost entirely eliminated it from my vocabulary since the day a school friend said "You should come to the party". I came to the party. She was distinctly uncomfortable to see me there. What she had said to me was clearly not what she had meant. From that day forth, I have come to recognise that 'should = lack of intention.'

There is no good in should*

It's the word of procrastination - "I should start looking for another job" = "I should, but I am kind of comfortable where I am and it will take a lot of effort."

It's flimsy. There is no weight of intention behind it - "I should go home" = "I should, but I am having such a blast right here."

Limiting language shapes reality by shaping our consciousness (1).jpg

It's the word of judgement - "I should save for a rainy day" = "I should, but I'd really rather expand my mind and experiences by taking another trip."

It's the word of lack of confidence - "I should start my own business," = "I should, but I might not be able to do it / I might fail / I might lose money / [insert own limiting belief].

Consider my all-time favourite quote:

"The mind is everything; what you think, you become" - Buddha

Language is intrinsically tied to how and what we think, defining our thoughts and reality. It's how our cultures have been formed. It's how the holy books began. In Conscious Language, The Logos of NOW, Robert Tennyson Stevens describes Conscious Language as "...the science of choosing the words that express our true intent, and knowing that our words are the quantum templates of health, abundance, peace and relationships." Language has been vital in history to describe our stories, our cultures, our experiences, our ideas. It is not coincidence that many cultures rely heavily on story-telling to this day - through history and on, these cultures understand the power of language,

In essence, Stevens' book gives guidance to re-frame one's language from negative, limiting sentiment to upgrade it to positive, affirming, expansive words, since, as he writes, "limiting language shapes reality by shaping our consciousness".

Witness the use of 'I can't'. To use another well-known quote:

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you are right" - Henry Ford

While the quote is quite a clumsy one, the sentiment is clear - whatever you think, either way, you are right. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Think before you open your mouth

Sounds like something your mother said, I know. Given the power of language, she was right. Take some time to think about your own language and how it could be limiting your thoughts, beliefs and consquently your ability to achieve all you desire.

List all the words and phrases you commonly use and re-frame them - spin them into more positive, affirming phrases.

Conscious language to use instead are words like:

I am, I can, I will, I choose, I love, I create, I enjoy, I imagine.

There are many more ways and phrases to upgrade your language and I thoroughly recommend Robert Tennyson Stevens' book to start changing your reality with language.

And I have another whole blog in me about the difference between 'wish' and 'desire' - that's for another time!

Bonne semaine!

*This rather catchy phrase was created on Friday night. Amazing how a couple of friends, food and wine can fuel one's creativity!

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