Do you believe you can have a fulfilling career, be committed to it and have a full life?
I think many of us ask that question. We strive for it. We ache for it. Yet, there is a tiny little part of us...or a great big part that doesn't believe it's possible.
Every time something happens, and we get swamped, have to travel, we get sick or our kids get sick, or....you fill in the blank...and we lose our sense of balance, we are once again wondering: Will I ever truly find work-life balance?
Here's the thing, maybe work-life balance is possible, maybe it isn't,
but you will never know if you don't try to find it! Are you ready to try?
Keep reading to learn how!
We do want "it all!"
Honestly, it often feels like you are "damned if you do and damned if you don't" If you give too much at work, you are judged as not being there for your family. The reverse is true too. Take too much time off, waver about travel or talk too much about your kids and your commitment to the job can be in question.
It's true. Countless studies and online forums have women attest to this. In a recent study from the Ontario Nonprofit Network, women identified flexibility as one thing they were looking for because they were struggling with work-life balance. We desire the freedom to have some flexibility so we can juggle everything a bit easier.
The demands in social media and the recommendations in reports are clear; organizations need to provide the right culture, offer flexibility, ensure wage equity and offer fair opportunities for advancement. While these are all critical factors, it's only half of the equation.
The other half is you. The truth is you also need to step up confidently.
It takes two to tangle
You are fully in the challenge. Rather than being the victim of the circumstances, I encourage you to step forward with hope, optimism and a belief that you can find a way to find more balance.
The way - - > Change your mindset
Finding a new way starts with the right mindset.
Ditch the fixed mindset. That is the one that believes:
Instead, embrace a growth mindset. That is one that believes:
If you need some help finding the mindset that will help you find success, tune in to this training on finding your Success Mindset!
The new truth
We can change "the world" together. It's not easy. It will take time. But keep this in mind: Someone has to start. We are being offered a hand...it might seem tentative, but it's there. The sector is demanding equity, fairness and flexibility. It's time we do our part to make it happen.
Believe with your whole heart, that work-life balance IS possible!
p.s. This whole journey starts with believing you can do it. That's confidence, my dear! Make sure to grab your copy of Mastering Confidence and re-read it if need be! Do the free course that goes with the book and then take in extra training here. Master confidence and you'll be well on your way to finding more balance!
Do you ever feel lonely?
Do you ever feel like no one understands you?
Do you ever long for connection?
Do you know what?
I would venture a guess that almost every women leader I asked those questions to, would answer just the same way as you just did. YES!
Here is what you can do about it -->
I have felt this way sooooo often!
I have multiple journal entries that indicate all through my years as a leader, and even now, I can say yes often to these questions. I've felt lonely, not understood and ached for a hug so often I couldn't even begin to count the times. It feels very isolating and even scary at times.
You'd be surprised to know how many other women feel this way too!
If you look around your office, across the boardroom table today or through your list of names in your inbox, you'd be surprised how many of the women you come across would answer the same way. Even women that you think have it all together, seem so connected and confident.
But we keep it a secret
Here's the thing. Most of them would not admit they are lonely. Not in the vulnerable way you and I are talking about right now. Most would brush it off, hide it or downplay it.
Secrets lead to shame
We know that when you keep something hidden, it leads to suffering and shame. We feel wrong about how we feel. We feel guilty. We are reminded we are supposed to be grateful. So we assume that we should shake it off and move on and certainly not tell anyone or admit how bad it is.
Instead, awaken your self-compassion
If what I said is true earlier, that you are not the only woman leader feeling isolated and alone, then it might also be true that it is a very real part of being a woman leader that we will experience the feeling of loneliness. It would also be true then, that we aren't weird, wrong, bad or selfish for desiring connection.
This recognition that we aren't alone is one of the 3 components of self-compassion. Expert Kristen Nef describes as "Common Humanity vs Isolation." She describes it as:
Next steps for you
With this new understanding, we can let go of the shame of reaching out.
If you want to know how much self-compassion you have, take Kristen Nef's self-compassion test here.
One other little reminder...
it's hard to be compassionate to others ...
a strength of great leaders...if you don't exercise self-compassion!
Let's see if I am right
Email me and let me know if you've ever felt lonely, isolated or crave connection. Tell me a story about it if you'd like! I'd love to know what it felt like for you and what you did about it, whether that was reaching out, or hiding it.
I'm going to keep track of how many responses I get and report back in the Confident Women Leaders Community. By the way, that's a great place to share stories, challenges and ask for something you need.
Please do this:
If I could recommend one thing for you to do today, it would be this:
Go someplace where no one can see you, wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself the most loving and compassionate hug you can.
You are worth it!
One more thing:
Here is something to think about: When you role-model self-compassion for the younger women in your life, they will learn to practice it much quicker in their leadership journey!
Emotionally Intelligent women leaders are more effective, stronger and more impactful than their less emotionally intelligent counterparts. How did they develop their emotional intelligence? By increasing their emotional vocabulary. The more accurately you can name your emotion, the quicker you can move through it. You get control of your emotions by getting clear on your emotions. Clarity is the ticket.
In this blog, you'll begin to understand how to gain that emotional clarity thus giving you back emotional control and increasing your emotional intelligence.
Here are some trivia questions to get you started...Do you know...
Do you know what French, musical notes and emotion words have in common?
Here is what they have in common. They are all ways of communicating.
How often are you miscommunicating your feelings?
Miscommunication is one of the biggest challenges in relationships, at home and at work.
Given there may be 30,000 feeling words, here's the problem...most of us only use a select few...Brene Brown suggests we can only name 3 emotions. Click here to hear which 3. When we stick to those basic emotions, we are missing a big part of our own understanding of what is going on inside of us. That leads to us simply trying to shut our emotions off, minimize them or push them down. When that happens, we lose control.
Emotional Intelligence requires emotional literacy
Emotional Intelligence is being able to both recognize and manage our emotions. To do that, you need to increase your emotional literacy.
Practice Expanding your Emotional Vocabulary: Do this:
Thank about a particular situation today. It could have been "good" or not so "good.? Then take a moment to write down a few emotions you felt then. Try to get to at least 10.
Then grab a thesaurus and look for other words that might more clearly describe your emotions. Voila, you are on the road to expanding your emotional vocabulary!
Continue to grow your emotional vocabulary, and you will become more emotionally literate. That will increase your emotional control and your emotional intelligence! One last thing: Emotions are not bad, wrong or a problem for women leaders. We just need to learn to harness the power of our emotions!!! You will do that when you expand your emotional vocabulary!
So, you want out of survival mode. You want to enjoy your job more. You want to feel that you have time to get to the meaningful work, not just the crisis of the day. And of course, you also want to enjoy the rest of your life.
What are you doing to get there?
What are you actively doing to move from survival or a place of tolerating, to that point where most days you feel like you are thriving?
In this blog, you'll learn the 3 things you MUST schedule into your daily agenda if you want to get out of survival mode and move to a place of thriving in both leadership and life!
I start with the phrase ACTIVELY DOING for a reason. Wishing, hoping and praying things will get better won't change them. But I know, you maybe saying you can't actively doing thing yet. Ugh...I know, but....
Please DON'T tell me you are
These ladies certainly DID NOT wait!
You don't have to wait anymore either.
You need to realize this:
Let me tell you a little secret: Intentional personal and professional development is your path to success in leadership and in life.
To be intentional about your personal and professional growth and development, you need to treat it like anything else important in your day — You need to schedule it in!
Specifically, what do you need to have actually scheduled in as appointments in your day-timer, calendar or appointment book? These 3 things
The 3 things you MUST have in your agenda!
I will not tell you it's easy to schedule these things in. It's not. It requires courage to stand up for yourself, your beliefs and desires. Become your best self by scheduling in self-care, self-reflection and self-improvement. It will be awkward and uncomfortable at times, but that's ok. We are not in a popularity contest. We are here to make a difference in the lives of others, in our families and communities. To do that, we need to be at our best. Please don't apologize for that!
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.