“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep”
Last time I talked about how when we know ourselves inside and out and can talk about ourselves with confidence, certainty and our very own brand of charisma, it can make a world of difference between feeling like we gave the best shot we had at the interview, pay review or pay rise request or we kind of, sort of fell short of the mark.
Owning what is fantastic about ourselves we imagine is not difficult. After all, when we’re brilliant and know we’re brilliant, we can talk about it until the cows come home.
So, we say. However, in my experience, for myself and many of the women I have interviewed at all levels across the spectrum of the working world, there are times, unfortunately often, when we struggle to convey our brilliance with the kind of confidence, certainty and charisma I talked about earlier.
Because we have been told time and time again, and see it often in our lives or the lives of the women around us; don’t get too big for your boots, or you will be taken out of them. And it happens not only in our professional lives, but also in our personal lives. In any moment when we dare to savour the sweetness of success – whatever it might be, big or small – a shadow crosses our path and we freeze, as some of our worst perceived fears come to the fore.
I could make such a lengthy list here about the kinds of scenarios this would cover, yet one thing is clear. For many women (and no doubt men) often in the moment we feel successful, it’s equal partner – FEAR – shows up and snatches the true taste of success, joy and fulfilment from us immediately. And it is this weird, strange, deeply insidious fear, underlying our moments of success, when reflected upon (if you dare) that can show us why we are so very hesitant about truly owning our worth and asking for what we want with deep confidence, certainty and charisma.
In order for me to write my book ‘Six Steps To Six Figures’ and for it to address the deep down challenges women face when it comes to asking for what they want in their careers in a way that works for them, I decided I had to be brave, remember every aspect of the journey for myself and share all my stories when I started writing. Writing the book was cathartic for me and it helped me to focus on core transformation for my clients, not just superficial strategies and tactics.
Throughout my career, I have asked and received, sometimes not, yet when I looked back over all 20+ years of it, I saw with immense clarity why I had often struggled to FEEL successful and fulfilled in my career. It wasn’t because I didn’t love what I did. It was because every time (and I mean every time until the last few years) I enjoyed a moment of success, my dark friend, my FEAR would show up and steal the moment by simply reminding me that now I had another challenge, another opportunity where I would have to prove that I was as good as I had said I was. And the cycle would start all over again.
I can remember one of my biggest successes; asking for a $30,000 pay rise and a larger role within three months of starting a new role and being out with my friends that night, celebrating my big ask and receive. I remember being on such a high, yet behind it I could feel in every moment, sapping my joy, my dark friend quietly reminding me that tomorrow when I went into work, I would have to start demonstrating what I was made of. As if I hadn’t already. I mean, what got me the damn pay rise and promotion in the first place???
This is how insidious it is, and time after time, supposed success after supposed success, I did whatever it took to silence my dark friend. When it told me, I needed to be more, do more, work harder, work smarter, achieve more, write more, travel more, explore more, go out more…. In the end, more was always required of me, because my belief was I still had a way to go. I wasn’t done yet. I hadn’t proved I was……(fill in the blanks).
One of my favourite poets is Robert Frost and I started this post with a favourite quote of mine, however after a while it seemed the woods stopped being lovely, dark and deep. They just became dark, with too many promises and never-ending miles to go, and I concluded that until I stopped the endless cycle of trying to prove whatever it was about myself I was trying to prove, the woods would continue to get darker, the promises would become even more unrealistic and I would never sleep.
I wanted to be able to be in a room when I needed to be, talk about my brilliance with all the fire I could muster and know, no matter what, she would always, all ways show up, without needing to prove who she was. Because it’s who she innately already is. Who I inherently am. All my experiences, together making up the totality of me, ready for the next challenge from a place of fullness, never lack.
It often seems in this mad world of ours, in every way possible, that no matter how confident we are of ourselves, there is always something or someone that tells us, we’re not as good as we think, or we’d better be careful – if we get too big for our boots……
But in the end, comparing ourselves to someone or something else is a fool’s game, if in the comparison you are not inspired from a place of fullness. If the voice of comparison is coming from a place of lack telling you; YOU, as you are now are not enough and that to be enough, you must be more, do more, more, more……until you are no more, then you are on the path to nowhere, and the woods will just keep on getting darker, the promises more desperate and sleep utterly elusive.
If you decide to take the time to do the exercise I shared with you last week (lots more in my book – you can get it here – https://highvaluewoman.org/project/six-steps/), I sincerely hope you come to realise; all that is your brilliance is yours and you have created it and are continuing to create it as you live your life. Therefore, then owning it and talking about it becomes a natural outpouring of who you are. You never need to worry about coming across as arrogant; your voice will echo with your authenticity and the people on the opposite side of the table will hear its truth.
So, go ahead. Talk about your brilliance and never stop. It’s who you are, and the world longs to experience it. Don’t deny them the gift of you. Brilliant, unique YOU.
“We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
Here’s to next time,