I am a coach, and more specifically a coach for women, mothers. And as I sit here on International Women's Day, I feel a pressure. A pressure to say the right thing. To provide the right words of wisdom. The egoic part of me says I should be running some kind of promotion (not me at all) or to be creating the most instagram-able picture or post that will help my business (and that isn't me either). So instead of that, I tuned into myself, and ask the question: what should I be sharing today?
When I watched The Greatest Showman for the first time (I have gone on to see it, or hear it from a distance, a further 18 times, give or take), I was hit in the chest by a quote: “comfort is the enemy of progress”.
You may recognise this scenario. You’ve been lost, stuck, asking “what the hell is happening with my life”, and then it comes - a little bit of clarity, and then more, you start to feel excited, lit up, driven and then you stop. Sometimes this happens over a few weeks, sometimes this entire process can happen in just seconds. It is so common and I see it all the time with the women I work with. We move forward a giant leap, and then it’s like our feet get stuck in the sand and we can’t move any further. Something else has taken hold.
On the build up to the royal wedding on Saturday, it is fair to say I was pretty grumpy. I couldn’t quite place why, or what was bothering me. I wanted to go to our local town, Windsor, to watch the event - I wanted to be part of it in some way. But in reality, and bear with my as I am aware how cuckoo I sound, I wanted to actually be at the church. What the fuck eh? Who do I think I am?
Here’s mine and here is how I changed it. I have a few stories obviously, there is the one about the broken family; the one about the broken heart… many many stories. But this is the story of the girl who wanted to be a hairdresser, then a journalist, then work in advertising and eventually landed upon the idea of doing PR.
Dear Fear, You have served me so well. And I am sure you will do again, if ever I am about to walk into a road without looking both ways, or when driving on icy roads. But here’s the thing, you’ve got too cautious, you’ve extended your (without doubt lifesaving and super critical) role into my every day. And it needs to stop.
The week before last was a bad week in my world. So bad that I broke a bit (a lot) and had to cancel a group call I had in the diary. I was immediately, and very lovingly, met with lots of requests to know what was wrong, some from people who I haven’t actively heard from in months. And the thing is I couldn’t answer. The actual reason seemed so silly and small that I was a bit embarrassed to admit what was actually causing me to have a mini-break down and hug a radiator*.
I stumbled across this Abraham Hicks quote at the weekend and it hit me in the heart. I love words and I’ve been playing around with various ways to precisely describe WHY I set up my business. And this is it. Concise and beautiful.
“Content where I am, eager for more” - Abraham Hicks
We can be content where we are, while also being eager for more.
Who inspires you? Who inspires your best friend? Your partner? Your mother? The man who walks past you with his dog in the street? For every person, there’ll be a different answer.
Different stuff works for different people. Which is why I find it so frustrating when I see articles that suggest a certain way of living our lives is wrong. An article in the Daily Mail this morning did just that. It took the lives of women, who are also mothers, and judged them.
Nicola and Nic are both me. And for a long time I felt like I was stuck between these two places, that a choice had to be made to be one or the other. It is where many women find themselves. It is where even more mothers find themselves. ‘Stuck’ between a former self (perhaps a pre-motherhood self) and a person they are, or are starting to become, later in their lives.
The term work/life balance. Over-used, over-simplified and over-promised. I guess the term is supposed to ensure that we spend time (1) looking after our jobs and (2) looking after our lives, making sure the two are nicely balanced. But in my experience its simply a term pandered around and used less as a positive and more as a way to berate ourselves for the lack of said balance in our lives.