self-belief

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.

Naww...When Harry Met Meghan

Everyone loves a good fairytale romance.

We can't help ourselves. Whether you're a royalist or not, there is something that captures the hearts and imaginations of women the world over when a handsome young prince plucks his beautiful princess-to-be from amongst the 'commoners'.

It gives us hope that one day it might happen to us (or is that just me!)

It is true fairytale stuff.

And it annoys me that a Prince-Harry-engages-actress-Meghan-Markle story evokes this response in me. It tells me that, despite everything - despite the fact that I have created all I have in my life, despite the fact that I have been quietly determined to achieve a life and career I love - deep down, I am conditioned to desire to be scooped up and rescued.

It is conditioning.

Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist and writer of the 20th century, studied the stories of all the cultures in the world and identified there was a common theme - a story of a restless young person, called to a purpose, who faces struggle, and personal demons, and ultimately conquers. The theme appears in Bambi, Luke Skywalker, Greek mythology - it's the basic premise of just about every story ever written, spoken or shot on film...and none of these heroes are women.

You see, women wait.

In this scenario, women feature as mothers, wives, or daughters, waiting for the hero to return victorious. Women have waited for centuries - waiting for husbands and sons to return from war; waiting to be rescued by a prince or a knight in shining armour, waiting for Dad to 'fix' things...

And we're still waiting...

We have made great advances so that we can choose, to a large extent, how we desire to live and work, and yet:

  • We wait for our good work to be recognised, rather than actively being more visible, or asking for a promotion.
  • We wait for the company to pay for our personal and career development, rather than proactively making learning and growing a lifelong mission. (Really? Your own personal development is someone else's responsibility?)
  • We wait for a raise to be offered before actively asking for one.
  • Sometimes, we'll even stay in an unhappy or dysfunctional relationship or job because we're waiting for something (the kids to grow up, the mortgage to be paid off, etc).

So I urge you to STOP WAITING.

Write your own story and be your own hero and inspiration.

How are you waiting in your life and career? What are you waiting for? What obstacles are you putting up that are really just excuses in disguise?

If you'd like help to break down the barriers you've created to living and working as you desire, book a call and let's discuss where you are now, where you want to be in the future, and how to get you there. 

Here's What You Need to Be a LEADER

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

These 2 Words Could Quite Literally Change Your Life!

Every morning, as part of my ‘success routine’ (which includes meditation, yoga, and journaling as well), I read - usually a couple of books on the go at any one time. It is the second time I have read Gabrielle Bernstein’s bestseller “The Universe Has Your Back” and this time around, I was struck by the message I received today.

These two words could quite literally change your life…

CHOOSE AGAIN

At any given moment in life, we are free to choose again - a different thought, a different behaviour, a different road, a different response, a different action. The last decision didn’t work out so well? Choose again. It’s like a 'Sliding Doors* moment' every freaking second of the day.

We are not wedded to a decision we took in the past, or a behavioural or thought pattern that is simply a habit or a pattern inherited from our parents. Just because we a chose a decision or habit that served us in the past does not mean we are required to choose it now. There is a tendency to attach a lot of 'story' or drama to a decision - that if we take it, there is no going back. How far from the truth could we be?

  • Cut off by some jerk in a BMW on the way to work? Choose a different response and see how it changes the tone of your day.
  • Fed up with being treated like an assistant by your colleagues? Choose a different attitude and see how you get treated.
  • Fear of putting yourself out there and 'being seen' is keeping you playing small in your career? Choose to be more visible and see how being seen leads to more opportunities.
  • Tired of not living exactly as you had hoped you’d be by this time of your life? Choose one small step on a different path and see what transpires.
  • Feeling sluggish and unhappy with your weight? Choose a different meal or activity and see how you feel after a week of choosing differently.

Every moment of the day is an opportunity to literally change your life - in some small way that will lead to massive change, or in one gi-normous leap to massive change!

It’s liberating to think of life like that; knowing that the very next decision you make could quite literally change the course of your life. And if it doesn't work out..."simples" - you take another!

Wow. Just wow.

Exciting, or what?

So what are you going to choose next?

Remember - one slight shift is all it takes.

Here's your first decision - let's chat.

*Anyone born after 1998 may not get this reference! Sliding Doors was a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow - the film itself wasn’t up to much but the concept was brilliant. The story alternates between two parallel universes depending on the decisions taken by the two central characters. Watch it.

How to be a CEO - it's Not as Hard as You Think!

It’s May Day or Fête du Travail - a day to honour the humble worker. In keeping, the Guardian published an article today reporting that MPs warn of the downside of the growing UK ‘gig economy’ where employees become self-employed by choice or necessity (e.g. via the business model operated by Uber, Deliveroo, Hermes, and Amazon.)

Of course, I see the downsides they report (no employee protection for pension or health), but there is something to learn from the business model, even for the employed.

I’ve long been an advocate of being your own CEO - viewing yourself as the product, the service, the Brand and Marketing Manager, the CFO, the Sales Manager, the CHRO and Learning & Development Officer. Taking responsibility for our own skills development (personal and professional), our own career path, how we present yourselves to the world, how we show up in the world is about showing personal leadership; and personal leadership must be embraced before we can embrace business leadership.

This might be controversial,...

...but I have always felt that an employer should not be solely relied upon for the development we need. For sure, they have a part to play if they really value their employees; and if they are prepared to pay for that expensive leadership course, why not? However, I have always considered it as the icing on the cake of doing the course, not an expectation that they should pay. Of course, it will be good for them if you take that leadership course, making you a more productive and effective leader, but it will be even better for you, enhancing your skills at a professional level, and opening up so much from a personal perspective, such as confidence, clarity, and communication skills. This is not to say that companies are off the hook for investing in their people, but I recommend leading yourself first.

For me, investing in myself in a variety of mind-expanding, up-skilling courses, a stylist, networking groups, or philosophical exploration according to what the ‘Business of Me’ needs says that I back myself; I believe in myself; I value myself; I am my own CEO. I have not relinquished control of my life and career development to someone else.

Having this take gave me unshakeable power and confidence to carve out a life and career path I truly desired. Without a sense of obligation, misdirected loyalty, a false sense of job security, and expecting to be ‘looked after’ by the organisation, I was able to step out of the corporate world when the time felt right - some say this was a brave decision, but in the context of striving to be my own CEO, perhaps it was a natural next step.

This was my route to fulfilment in life and career. Yours may be different.

So, hold a mirror up - are you your own CEO? Do you truly back yourself? Do you have that unshakeable power and confidence to carve out a life and career path you truly desire - whatever that looks like to you?

Need help with that?

Let’s talk

Is Lack of Trust Getting in the Way of Your Success?

I felt inspired to re-publish a post today. It was inspired by a call I had with a potential client this morning. 

Before we even start, let's just pause...

In all the world, whose opinion and ideas do you trust without reservation?

Husband, wife, partner, mother, father, bestie,...?

Did you say YOU at all?

Whether we're taking decisions in our personal lives or in business, we frequently ask for the opinion of others, "What do you think I should do? What's your view?"

Nothing wrong with it. It's great to get another viewpoint. Perhaps we have missed something that's staring at us in the face that could be the perfect solution.

The problem is, it can also mess with your head.

Everyone has a different perspective, experience, belief systems grounded in social, cultural, ethnic, religious norms, their own baggage, their parents’ baggage, and their own agenda. So while it's interesting to get an alternative viewpoint, be aware that they are coming at the problem from a different place that may also work to your detriment.

I found this when I first started as a coach entrepreneur. Two respected coaches had two very different opinions and experiences regarding effective marketing. As a new entrepreneur, I was keen to learn, absorbing all the information I could to ensure my business was a success (I still do!) So I sought their opinions. The problem is, their opinions were at either ends of the spectrum. One would say one thing, the other would say the polar opposite. I was completely conflicted about what to do.

I lost self-trust, and confidence in my own intuition, and in what ‘felt good’ for me and my business, giving more weight to them and their opinions. All it did was make me procrastinate. Instead of deciding on a clear strategy, I did a 'little bit of this, and a little bit of that', a scatter-gun approach to marketing - ineffective, and spreading myself too thin.

My seeking their opinions was less about getting their perspectives as it was about me being afraid to ‘get it wrong’, to fail in some way. Perfectionism or a fear of failure and lack of self-trust simply stops us from trying, putting ourselves out there, from taking a decision, or from learning from our failures. I’m learning to quell those annoying perfectionist tendencies ("better done than perfect" is my new mantra!), but they creep back in from time to time, when I become fearful of ‘getting it wrong.’

Ultimately, in business and in life decisions, we have to trust ourselves first and foremost.

Listening word-for-word to others' advice, solicited or not, is giving up our power to someone else. Seeking opinions from more experienced people is great, but consider how their advice applies to you, your business, your life, and ask yourself, "Is this true for me?" "Does this feel right for my business/life?"

So, who do you trust most?

Feel like you need to help to trust yourself more in life and career decisions? Let’s chat to find out how you can uncover your unshakeable power and confidence so you can create your kind of wonderful in life and work

P.S. Self-trust and self-confidence can be real hurdles to women achieving success - whatever that looks like. Book a call so you can uncover your unshakeable power and confidence today.