For most of my life I’ve been trying to fix the things about me that were ‘wrong’ in order to progress and achieve the standard of success I’d been led to believe was important. I wanted to have a good job, but before I could get there I needed to get better at the ‘financials’. I wanted to have an impact, but I was ‘only’ HR. I wanted to be fashionable, but I’ve always felt my weight has prevented that. The life I really wanted has always been caveated.
You did what?
24 days ago I uploaded a video of myself to LinkedIn and I talked about something I never talk about. My weight. I talked about how it has always impacted everything in my life and how I perceive myself, and how I now notice that my health is suffering as I get older because of it. I cried too. I didn’t have make-up on and I was red faced from the walk I’d just done. These were all HUGE things for me. I have never spoken about my weight, in fact I’ve done everything in my power to hide it. I never wanted to be defined by my appearance, but in many ways it’s defined everything I do.
So why talk about it so publicly? Well for one thing it provides great accountability. I committed to walking every day for 30 days and uploading videos each day to document it. The thought of being seen as a failure, even by strangers on a social platform has been a great motivator for getting out and doing it every day. Most of all though, I wanted to show other women that change is hard, but it’s not impossible if it’s really what you want.
Make-up free and emotionally charged
I didn’t wake up one day and have the confidence to speak, make-up free, emotionally charged on a social media platform. It’s taken me at least 5 years to get here and it’s an ongoing process. There isn’t a magic wand to getting the life you want, it’s a conscious, hard process that some days will test you to your absolute limits and make you wonder why you’re even bothering. Your own brain, the one you used to decide you wanted something different in the first place, it’ll work against you in an attempt to keep you where you are. Because where you are is safe, and safe generally means survival, and in the main we’re all just wired to survive.
Giving up what you are to become what you will be
My whole career now is dedicated to supporting women to have impact without overwhelm. This means choosing to do things differently. To break up with toxic work habits that are leaving them feeling overworked and undervalued. To put themselves first instead of trying to be everything to everyone. To stop doing the things that are keeping them stuck, so that they can unstoppably pursue what they really want instead. This isn’t possible by maintaining the status quo, but if it was that easy, we’d all be living the life fantastic wouldn’t we?
Tips, tips, baby
So what does it really take to make a change for yourself? Here are my top tips based on my personal experiences:
- Believe that things could be different for you: Right back at the start I told you how the life I really wanted was always caveated. “I can do that when…”. Nothing is going to ever be 100% ‘right’ to take bold action. All it really takes is a belief that things could be different, and that has to start with you. It can’t come from anywhere else to be honest.
- Go all in: I’ve left two jobs without another one to go to, to get out of being stuck. Both times I distinctly remember telling my husband that I needed to let the universe know I’m serious about what I really wanted. Whether you think that’s fanciful or downright stupid, it’s certainly spurred me into action. You can dance around an area of your life you’re not happy with, believing you have no choice, but sometimes all you really need to do is make the choice. The rest will work itself out from there.
- Be prepared to refine how you get there: I’d be lying if I said I’d managed to walk every day like I said I would. Life doesn’t work like that. It gets in the way sometimes. The temptation is to brand yourself a failure and give up, right? Well of course (see point 4). However, just because you’re not ‘there’ yet, or you’re getting there in a different way, it doesn’t make you a failure. Part of the process is learning to celebrate along the way. I can say with absolute integrity that I’ve been more active than I would previously have been on all but one day over the last 24 days. That’s not a failure – unless you’re too rigid with what you expect from yourself and how you define success.
- Be stubborn: Sure, you can make a decision and that decision might absolutely be the best thing for you. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth sailing. Your friends might not understand. Your family might tell you you’re bonkers. None of it will be as harsh as you’ll be on yourself. Expect things to keep trying to pull you back to the norm, and be prepared to dig your heels in.
- Select your crew: When you decide you want something different for yourself, it can unsettle the people around you. It doesn’t (always) come from a bad place, but people can get unnerved when you don’t act in the way you expect them to. That’s not your problem, but it can make it hard when the people you expect to support you the most, don’t. Finding the right people to support you, who have similar ambitions, who’ve been through the process themselves will be so important to get to where you want to be. The weird thing is, once you start showing up differently, you’ll notice a whole army of people who are willing to support the new version of you, which is insanely powerful.
Everything has to start somewhere, but it’s hard to believe things could be different if you’re starting from a place of self-doubt. My theme for the month is confidence, and if you notice that there are areas where a boost of confidence would be useful, I’m extending a warm invite to you to join in with 5 days of free training which you can register for here.