I am super chuffed at having been invited to talk to the CIPD Kent community of HR professionals today. I think it went well, I managed to not end the meeting unexpectedly at any point which is a win in my books at least.
I’m so grateful for the people who gave up their time to hear me talk on my passion – changing the workplace so that everyone can thrive. That’s the essence of it for me. I’ve spent too much of my career sorting out situations where people are genuinely hurt and unwell because their workplace has failed them. It’s time for a change.
This community of HR professionals are my peers. For 16 years I’ve worked alongside them, one of the crowd, fitting in to the expectations that go with what it means to be in ‘HR’. Today I raised my head above the parapet and believe me when I say that I was nervous about that. I have a tendency to say yes to stuff and then work out how I’ll do it after and this time part of the ‘working it out’ phase meant overcoming the shite my inner critic brought up for me:
- Who am I to talk about this stuff?
- I’m not an expert, they’ll know more about it than me.
- Everyone knows this stuff, they’ll be bored listening to me.
- Oh my god these people know me, they’re going to be coming to catch me out / see me fail.
- I’m going to get found out as a fraud who doesn’t really know what they’re doing.
You see, I am just as susceptible to those inner demons keeping us in our box as everyone else. I have the same physical, gut wrenching feelings when I’m going outside of my comfort zone and my body is saying hold up, leave it out, don’t go there! Just because my work is about helping people break free from other people’s expectations, it doesn’t mean I’m immune to them myself.
The whole point of my talk was essentially that we are human.
All of us. Imperfectly human. Including me.
And if we could just accept that being human comes with its flaws, and requires a different kind of experience at work than the one we’re accepting as our norm now, I genuinely believe the outcomes will be amazing for everyone. Specifically if we can, as women, accept that we have our own particular set of requirements to live as female humans, and work with those instead of denying them, the potential is immense.
I have the tools now to know that my emotions aren’t the truth. I’ve done enough work behind the scenes to tell that inner demon to shut her damn trap and get out there and be uncomfortable. It’s not about discomfort not happening, it’s about being able to deal with it when it crops up and is holding you back from doing your best work.
Because safety doesn’t make change. Safety maintains the status quo and the status quo isn’t doing good by anyone. Come, rebel with me. It’s fun over here 🙂