During the holiday break I deliberately spent a good bit of the holiday period away from my computer and social media and soaked up the pleasures of the non-digital world. During that time, an old friend of mine died, and it gave me great pause. I spent a lot of time thinking about his life. About what an ordinary, extraordinary life he’d had. He was a beloved husband and father of two small children, he was a nuclear physicist, and he was a guy who loved music, camping, and being with his friends. Although he’d achieved a lot in his life, it was his humility, his thoughtfulness and all his small kindnesses over the years that really stayed with me.
Often women will say to me ‘I don’t want to speak up because I’m worried about someone disagreeing with me, or of causing an argument, or about upsetting people’. I completely understand that. I was reminded recently of just how much courage you need to speak up and share your truth, especially when you know the person listening might not want to hear what you have to say.
As a 1:1 coach for many years, I had to get comfortable with gently holding a mirror to clients so they could see things about themselves they didn’t want to see.
I’m a pretty upfront sort of person. I like to know where I stand with people and I really dislike the feeling that someone is manipulating me to get the outcome they want (especially when they’re manipulating me in the nicest possible way. I REALLY hate that. Give me a straight … [Read More...]
One of the most insidious aspects of the patriarchy is the way it divides and conquers. Everywhere I look women are struggling on their own.
Some women are struggling to care for small babies. Burdened by the demands of caring for young children on their own. Hour upon hour of changing nappies, singing nursery rhymes, feeding young ones. Isolation and boredom pervasive, no village to support her.
Some women are speaking up against power – at work, online, in politics – and they’re doing it alone. People aren’t rushing in to support them. They’re standing on the sidelines, glad it’s not them that’s being attacked or criticised.
Some women are saying no to bullies and being ridiculed or diminished because of it.
Some women are finding themselves homeless as they age, society turning its back on its nurturers at the very moment when they most need support.
Some women are … [Read More...]
Often you’ll hear people talk about the X factor in show business. The statement, ‘She has the X factor’ will often be followed with, ‘You can’t learn that’.
Actually I agree that you can’t learn it. You can learn to be technically proficient. You can learn techniques to minimise nerves. You can repeat a skill enough times that it feels very natural to you.
But you can’t learn to feel. You can’t learn to shine. You can’t learn authenticity.
That’s not a process of learning. It’s a process of unlearning.
I believe everyone has the X factor. We’re born with it. It’s an innate part of being a human being. What happens though, is that we’re taught not to let our X factor shine through.
We’re taught that by well meaning teachers and parents and friends who don’t let us be ourselves. People who try and fit us … [Read More...]
Every business woman (and stay at home mum, and woman who’s retired, and woman on a disability pension, and female student) needs to free herself of her inner good girl.
The inner good girl is the one who cares deeply about being likeable. She’s very focused on pleasing other people and spends a lot of her time internalising her emotions. Emotions which, if expressed, would rock the boat or cause problems for other people.
The good girl is a role we’re all encouraged to play from a very young age. And at that time, it makes sense. Parents need to get children dressed and fed and to bed on time, and teachers need to educate us. And so, as a child, the more you inhabit the good girl role, the more you’re rewarded.
Unfortunately though, what worked for us as girls, does not work for us as women. In fact, … [Read More...]