I come from a long family line of strong, capable, hard working, resilient, independent women.
Attributes we reward in our overly-masculine society.
In my career this served me well. I achieved, I got sh*t done and I was both supported and rewarded for it.
And when I became a parent I automatically, both consciously and unconsciously, became a strong independent mother.
I love being a mum and managed to "balance" being a stay-at-home mum with my charity work, my growing coaching & consulting business and "life". (Albeit, my house doesn't get cleaned as often as I would like.)
But... it has been this independence which has also been my biggest challenge and has lead to feelings of complete overwhelm at least once and getting sick on more than one occasion this year.
My challenge: Asking for help
This isn't a new challenge for me...
And, even as I write this I am feeling uncomfortable about sharing it.
I have always had difficulty asking for help if it was me specifically that needed help. I can even recall a job interview when I was 18 and being asked a question about experiencing a specific challenge and "what would I do?".
I remember listing various ideas and scenarios and basically saying I just would not go home until I had fixed it. It never occurred to me to simply "ask for help".
Then, just last month I got so worked up about needing to ask for help so I could attend an expo to showcase our coaching and consulting business that I made myself sick.
What I had failed to realise is...
Lesson 1: Asking for Help and speaking truthfully about where I need help is ok
Lesson 1.1: I don't have to (and cannot) do absolutely everything myself - and that's also ok
In my role as a coach, this month I had one of my clients watch the powerful TED Talk by Brene Brown on vulnerability, which made me think back five and a half years to when my coach first recommended that I watch it...
This time, when I recommended it I decided to watch it again myself.
And it remains as relevant and powerful now as it was then.
But... this time I was able to relate it to my parenting, my super-mum tendencies and the difficulty I seem to have in asking for help.
And, that's when I was given...
Lesson 2: It takes courage and strength to ask for help, not weakness.
During the year I also made a commitment that I would share more, and not just the happy snaps, but the other stuff...
The stuff we usually keep hidden or behind closed doors.
When I was younger I used to get frustrated when people only showed the one side - the "attractive" side - when I knew there was so much more going on...
But... This was just a reflection of me, because it's exactly what I was doing!
It has taken courage to share more, but with more people now reaching out to me, it has lead to so much more connection, honesty and trust. And for that, I am so grateful.
Definition of Courage: To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart
My 3rd lesson in overcoming super-mum tendancies...
Lesson 3: When I show-up and share myself with courage and (finally) ask for help, I am supported and embraced
Knowing the connection between self-compassion and compassion for others and being kinder to myself has been a journey for me over several years. A lesson which has deepened this year.
I love what Brene Brown says: "We cannot practice compassion with other people if we can't treat ourselves kindly"
Lesson 4: Being kind to me increases my compassion for others
In 2017 I look forward to welcoming more vulnerability so I can also welcome more joy, more gratitude, more connection, more happiness and more love.
Love & Light,
p.s. You can check out Brene Brown here: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability