Well Spring has finally sprung and with it the feeling that we need to clear out the old, reflect, refresh and make way for the new. Lots of us get stuck into a bit of spring cleaning at this time of year – and anyone who’s been following Marie Kondo will understand how liberating a good old tidy up and declutter can be for the soul. I also feel this way about achieving mental clarity – and so this week decided to review my life and career thus far. As I’ve recently started an exciting new chapter with my podcast it seemed like a great time to reflect on the events and experiences that have made me ‘me’, to introduce myself to you properly, and to have a think about the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’d like to share them with you here (and in more depth in this week’s podcast). Read on, you never know – the things I’ve learned about myself might just help you too!
- I’ve always been ambitious.
Facing some challenging circumstances when I was growing up made me determined to achieve financial security, stability and safety from an early age – and this has manifested itself as lifelong strident ambition.
I’ve learned that ambition isn’t a dirty word and that being ambitious is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not unfeminine and it’s not about greed, or succeeding at the expense of others. It’s more complex: it’s about determining what you’re capable of, seeing what’s possible, improving your circumstances, and going for a goal even when someone tells you it can’t be done.
- I can’t remember my kids’ first words.
Does that sound terrible? All I know is that with 4 small boys and work, those early years went by in a blur.
I have learned not to beat myself up about the smaller details – but to focus on the bigger picture instead. It’s easy to feel guilty if you miss a first step because you’re working, but I always tell myself that I am doing my best for my children in a broader sense – loving them, providing for them and inspiring them.
- I had my first son before I was married.
My parents never married and growing up, I felt such shame about this. It made me determined that I would never have a child unless I was married. And then guess what happened! My surprise pregnancy is now a handsome strapping beautiful 15 year old called Dylan, eldest of 4 boys and of whom I am extremely proud.
This really made me reflect on how much childhood experience affects how we think and feel. This was a time to challenge that. In a way, it’s like the universe did it on purpose – teaching me the importance of being flexible about the ‘hows’, ‘whens’ and ‘whats’ that life throws at us.
- I suffered from Impostor Syndrome at Cambridge.
You may have heard me talk about this before (see my blog on the Impostor Syndrome mindset here). Despite having the qualifications and ability to get a place, I always felt that I was blagging it somehow – that I didn’t really deserve to be there and would fail at any moment.
I realised that sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. If you want to get anywhere in life you need to face your fears and go for it, however frightened you may feel on the inside. I learned that a positive, ‘can do’ attitude can get you a long way.
- I’m passionate about helping others overcome external and internal barriers to achieving their goals.
The challenging circumstances of my background and my experience of Imposter Syndrome and the support I have had along the way have made me hugely empathetic to those who dream big but are confronting their own obstacles.
I’ve discovered that it’s important to find a way to connect your passion with your work. It gives your work meaning, and so many people don’t have that. It’s not only about informing your future choices, it’s also about knowing and understanding yourself and your motivations.
- I’ve had a miscarriage.
Between my sons Noah and Luca I had a miscarriage after telling everyone I was pregnant.
I came to realise that there is no right or wrong way to deal with miscarriage – you have to find your own way. It’s not a dirty secret, you are entitled to heal. You may find this book helpful: ‘Life After Miscarriage’ by Jo Tocher.
- Mother’s Day is hard for me.
I have a very tricky relationship with my mum which most of my friends know nothing about.
If you have a good relationship with your mum, treasure it. If you don’t, and you’ve done all you can, don’t despair. Focus on the wonderful relationships you do have – especially with your kids (claim Mother’s Day for yourself!) if you have them, and if you don’t, with the other people in your life who play a similar role.
- I’m still an imposter.
I always have been an imposter. It’s who I am.
I know that my Imposter Syndrome isn’t going anywhere. I’ve learned that it’s not Imposter Syndrome that’s the problem, it’s what you make it mean. By making the decision to own it I turned it from a weakness to a strength. You can do this too – listen to my podcast #1
- I’m not great with money.
For years I was very careless with money – but have begun slowly changing at the grand old age of 46!
I’ve noticed that lots of friends and clients are bad with or in denial about money, especially women. Consider making it your goal to get on top of this this year – I have! Coming soon: my podcast will feature an interview with money expert Miss Lolly.
- I think I’m Superwoman!
No – I don’t do everything – but I believe anything is possible.
It’s ok to think you’re Superwoman, so long as you don’t think being super means you have to do it all. I have made that mistake before then learned to step back, delegate and ask for help. (see my blog on getting help here). Find a Superwoman definition that supports you, not judges you. My Superwoman positivity means I can overcome adversity, bounce back from failure, and achieve things that others tell me can’t be done.And that’s good enough for me!
To hear about my life lessons in depth, tune into this week’s podcast.