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.

The "People-Pleaser" Debate

Are you a people-pleaser?

Are you someone who goes out of your way to please others without a thought for yourself?

I've had discussions with a few people recently who question me, "What's wrong with being a 'people-pleaser'? It's kind and generous to want to please others."

Yes, it is...until it's not.

People-pleasing in itself is not bad - in fact more kindness, generosity and a desire to love, connect with and please others is probably just what the world needs now (I feel a song coming on...)

The question to ask yourself is:

"What benefit am I getting from pleasing others all the time?"

  • Is it to be accepted, loved, and approved of because you learned from your parents or guardians that you could only be loved if you were the 'good girl' and helped others?
  • Is it to avoid conflict because you feel like you have to tip-toe around the other person so as not to upset them?
  • Is it because you only feel needed when you are doing things for others?
  • Is it because by doing things for others, you can get others to do things for you?

It's when pleasing others takes on such significance that you do it consistently, without regard for your own needs, at an emotional, physical, mental, financial, or spiritual cost to you, so that you become resentful, a martyr, and afraid to set boundaries, that it's time to look at it, and create new habits and beliefs. The trick is to find a healthy balance of giving to others that feels good to you without it being a compulsion and causing you pain.

So no - pleasing people is not bad, but consider the driving need behind it and at what cost to you. Codependence, self-abandonment, and lack of self-worth can easily be dressed up as 'doing good' for others.

PS I'm flying today to Dubai for 10 whole days! Work and play, I'll share with you what's going on.

ME - Live on Radio! WT?

I am over-the-moon excited!

A childhood dream realised!

I'm featuring on a radio show in France, accessible worldwide via the magic of the internet.


"Happy Hour with Ollia"

on Radio Enghien IDFM 98, Tues 9th January, 2018, 7-8pm.

Tune in on (click on blue icon top left "écoutez en direct") or 98.0FM in the Ile-de-France region.

It'll include some of my own choice of music as well as an insight into my work, beliefs and desires for women and leadership. Beyond that, I have no idea!

You can listen to other episodes of Happy Hour with Ollia on Soundcloud. Listen in! It's a great show!

Radio Enghien LI.png

How do you view your value and your worth?

Do you have a hard time feeling you deserve a raise?

Do you feel you have to work hard for a six-figure salary?

I've just got off the phone with a client - we had an amazing discussion about how she feels that her self-worth is tied up in how much she earns.

I get it - because I felt that way for a long time, too. I felt that I was a lesser person because I wasn't earning what I really wanted. It was like I had a price on my head - a number that others could see and would judge me as a person because of it.

My client and I are working together to uncover her self-confidence and one of the outcomes from the program is that she wants a raise of between 18% and 60%.

I asked her to write down the salary range and her response was, "It will be difficult to get", and that she feels she doesn't deserve the increase.

Do you feel like this?

Does how much you get paid feel like a reflection of your worth as a person?

Just. Stop. It. PLEASE.

The thing to differentiate here is that:

Self-worth and value are not the same thing.

You can have worth as a human being, and offer value to other people. Two people will see your value differently e.g. one employer will value your skills more than another, a friend will value your time more than another. It is not about YOU as a person. It is about THEIR perception of what you have to offer. Just like in an auction, one bidder will outbid others because they perceive greater value, and THEIR DESIRES drive their perception of value.

So detach from the two - your self-worth is NOT directly related to your value to others. They just see things their own way. And you know yourself, that the people who value your time and energy as you value theirs, are the ones you want to spend time with.

Take that same thought process into your career. If your employer or prospective employer doesn't value you, it's not about you as a person. It means the fit isn't right, IN THAT MOMENT.

Need help to prepare for the salary conversation? Are you tying your self-worth up in your salary? Book a call and let's discuss how we can get you feeing worthy AND valued.

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

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.

Playing Safe and Small Does Not Help At All!

I’ve been having really interesting conversations with a variety of people in the corporate sector, from CEOs and global product managers to front-line producers and HR professionals. When I mention that my focus in coaching is to help women discover their power and confidence, and silence the “I’m not good enough” voices, they chime in unison, “YES! We all definitely need coaching in that!”

Not exclusively a female experience

I know it is not an exclusively female experience to have those feelings of fraud-ulitis, like they’re surfing a wave of success and at any moment now, they could wipe out royally; but women and men respond to it in different ways. Very often men tend to crank up the ‘bravado dial’ to present a face of confidence, while women tend to simply take themselves out of the game completely by not putting themselves forward, expecting their fantastic work to speak for itself*.

The feelings of “I’m not good enough” and lack of self-confidence show up in a variety of ways:

  • Not putting ourselves forward for a promotion - in fact, the thought may not even occur to us that we might be a suitable candidate for a position;

  • Not being self-assured in putting our arguments or points across in meetings, or being talked over;

  • Doing too much - working like a dog, taking on jobs outside our remit and several grades below us, in the hope that it will reflect well in our performance review;

  • Deciding to stay put in a job we loathe in an environment of deep-rooted unhappiness, simply because we have convinced ourselves that we’re not sure how transferable our skills are - or even whether we have any skills anyone would pay for.

  • Even on a personal level, lack of self-confidence may show up in a string of damaging relationships, or even staying too long in one, without the confidence to take a conscious decision to move on.

A lack of self-confidence keeps us playing safe and small, so that we’re not living and working as we truly desire, we’re not taking control of our lives, we’re letting others take conscious decisions for us.

It may not have even occurred to you that this may be an issue. Often those who suffer most from lack of self-confidence and feelings of “I’m not good enough” present the very opposite to the world, when below the surface is a deep layer of uncertainty and fear.

So how are you lacking in self-confidence?

It’s an issue that is not widely discussed - there is seldom a forum in organisations to discuss the issue. That’s why more and more people are seeking vital assistance outside the organisation in the form of personal 1:1 coaching. Coaching provides an independent thinking partner and a safe environment to figure out behaviour patterns and beliefs, and change them, so clients can discover their power and confidence and create success on their terms - their own kind of wonderful.

Do you need confidential help with this? Let’s talk

*I’m speaking in generalisations here. Of course, I know that individually we all have a different response; however, I see a common theme of lack of self-confidence crop up in many of the clients I work with.

It's Time to Change the Conversation

Women in leadership. Diversity. Gender equity. Pay parity. Women’s economic empowerment. They have all been slow to see any movement over the last 20+ years. In the 10 years since the World Economic Forum began measuring the global economic gender gap it has narrowed by only 2%.

My view is that we're looking at the symptom and not the cause.

The cause of disparity in pay, representation, and economic empowerment, in my view, is lack of self-worth & confidence in women (and men, too, to some extent). Not applying for that position because you feel you're not experienced enough? Not speaking up in meetings for fear of being wrong or ridiculed? Not taking decisions for fear of failure, success or judgement by others? Falling into another sh**ty relationship, and - worse - staying in it? Relying on external validation from colleagues, bosses, family, friends to feel valued & loved? Saying yes when you really mean no? Giving more than you receive? Not knowing how to accept help or love? Experiencing abuse of any kind (verbal, emotional, physical, sexual)? Battling health & well-being issues such as anxiety, eating disorders & addictions?

I could go on.

They all come down to lack of self-worth and self-confidence. By focusing on building self-worth & confidence we change the conversation. Relationships with others & ourselves naturally change and all the things we’re striving to change, too - diversity in leadership, gender equity, pay parity, women’s economic empowerment flow naturally when we value ourselves first.

I'm seeing this come up time and again in clients as well as in research I am conducting with women currently in corporate and those that have left - very different circumstances, but at the core in each case comes self-worth and confidence.

Is this something you can relate to?

Tell me what you think - I'd love to hear. Comment below or DM me.

And if you'd like to speak privately about your feelings of not being good enough, book a free call.

#dropthemic #changetheconversation #opendialogue #selfworth #selfconfidence #selfrespect #challengeyourstatusquo #yourkindofwonderful