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!
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!
Do you work with a bunch of women? Do they sometimes drive you nuts?
I walked into an all-female meeting a while back and immediately knew it was going to be an hour full of sarcasm, snide comments and passive aggressiveness. And I was right! OMG! They cut each other off, spewed darts at each other as they spoke and refused to "play nice." I just wanted to shake them all and say stop! Can't you be nice to each other?
We work in a predominantly female sector
The majority of people that are employed in the non-profit sector are women, so my guess is you work with a lot of them. I'm also going to venture a guess that you find them "emotional" and that those displays of emotions get on your nerves. I'm curious who's driving you crazy today? Your administrative support, your boss or the team lead? Maybe it's the whole dang team!
Your mood today plays a big role!
Here's the thing, how you are feeling, your mood, affects how tolerable you are of their behaviour.
Your mood impacts how their attitude affects you!
This is what it can look like instead
Coming from a place of compassion and feeling a bit more patience may allow you to address the issue, rather than the person. I am NOT suggesting you let things slide and allow people to be rude, ignorant and disrespectful.
Don't take their comment personally
This is what you can do to deal with moody women on your team
One sure way to find the patience for dealing with other women: Choose your mood. Tune into this Ted Talk to hear the science behind this idea. But here's the thing, you can change your mood. You can lift yourself up, and, it doesn't take much time.
🎶 Mambo # 5 🎶
🎶 Pump up the Jam 🎶
🎶 Rock around the Clock 🎶
Are you smiling?
You didn't even need to HEAR the music, and I know already I've changed your mood! You are hearing the songs in your head...the beat..the tune..the energy. Makes you want to dance, doesn't it? Are you humming?
Boost your mood!
If that's not enough
I get it. This is in some ways only a temporary fix. The reality is that ongoing negativity and moods in the office can turn things toxic pretty darn quickly. Here are a couple of more resources for you.
But always, start with you! Take responsibility for YOUR mood! Trust me that will have a ripple effect!
If you are like most women leaders, there is a general unhappiness with your day-to-day life, but you don’t know how to change it.
If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone! Many women find they are stuck in survival mode. Just getting through their days, tolerating the crap and looking forward to their next vacation to get a break from it all.
It doesn't have to be that way! Keep reading to discover how you can change days and your inner mantra!
The short story
The problem is, that you are stuck in a rut and don't quite know how to get out. It may not be bad enough to run, but if you are honest with yourself, it's time for a change of some sort. You just don't know how to do it.
The consequence of staying trapped can be stagnation, frustration, and bitterness. It can become quite unhealthy for you, your team and your family as the effects spill out around you. Perhaps you’ve already noticed this. Especially, if you, like many, have been bogged down for weeks, months or even years.
THE SIMPLE SOLUTION:
The solution is to change it. Getting from where you are now to where you want to be is quite simple, right? You just figure out where you want to go and start moving in that direction. It sounds simple perhaps in theory, but we all know, it is not always so easy in real life. At times, getting there can seem downright impossible.
The longer story
I know that place of stuck all too well. Time-and-time again I have found that I am once again feeling stalled. I realized I’d been working hard, but getting nowhere, except worn out. You know that feeling too right?
I learned that instead of staying stuck forever, it was when I paused long enough to realize what was going on that I had some great insights. Through conscious pondering, I was able to figure out what I needed to do to get from where I was, to where I wanted to be. This reflection gave me time to think and allowed me to do a little bit of a pivot in a new direction.
That slight shift of direction helped me to create a new strategy to accomplish what I was looking for. With that plan in hand, I was able to proceed forward, despite challenges, opposition and with the fear and doubt that are ever present.
THE COMPLETE SOLUTION:
The key to success has always been a plan. It is the deliberate understanding of what I need to do next, and perhaps even after that has gotten me, and can get you too, through the challenges that are inevitably in front of us when we want a different experience of life going forward.
A plan is a roadmap that helps you to move from where you are now, to where you want to be. Think of it as your guide that shows you the next step when you get lost or disoriented. Without it, you might just end up going around in circles. Many of us go around-and-around the hamster wheel of life, never really getting anywhere.
A plan isn’t just merely saying I don’t want this, but I do want that. A well thought out, and a comprehensive plan includes the steps you need to take and addresses potential challenges and roadblocks that you will face. The truth is, it is going to take time and effort to get to your destination. You will need to work at it step-by-step. To be successful, you need to build a thorough plan.
When I decided to return to school for my degree, it took 8 years and countless hours of study time. I had to stay focused and set my parental guilt aside while my husband handled the kid’s bedtimes and homework. The commitment required a ton of work to overcome inner saboteurs voices that threatened to stop me dead in my tracks.
My plan helped me to focus on what was in front of me. My strategy was to attain my degree slowly and steadily: One course at a time. I strategically planned which courses I was taking and in what order, matching it up with what else was going on in life. I took a couple of semesters off to recharge. I kept the end goal in mind when doubt, fear, and hesitation crept in. I also knew, what chapter I was reading, what paper needed completing and what I needed to do, that evening, and perhaps the next. Both the long-term vision and the daily steps of the plan were crucial to my success.
DEVELOPING YOUR PLAN:
Moving from the trapped place of feeling overwhelm, doubt or spinning your wheels to feeling happy, confident and advancing forward each day with purpose, takes effort, time and persistence. It is not easy. The truth is, it can be quite tricky. What makes getting back into motion easier, is one secret ingredient that is often missed. Wishing, hoping and begging will only take you so far. To get the rest of the way, you need that plan.
If it’s time for you to jump off of that crazy hamster wheel and move forward, then it’s time for you to develop your plan.
DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE HAZARDS:
If you are like many women, you develop a plan to change your life, only to have it all fall apart just a short time later. That’s because you likely made one of the critical mistakes most women make when trying to develop a plan to change their life.
I want to make sure you are successful moving forward. To help you out with this, I’ve developed a list of the 5 missteps women make when trying to change their life. I’ve also included the “fix” to those mistakes, so you don’t get caught. To get those 5 mistakes, click here, and I’ll send you the report.
Remember, the plan is critical. However, it must be a comprehensive plan to work. Take the time, don’t make these mistakes, and build your plan today! When you do, you’ll find yourself getting unstuck. Instead, you will be moving forward with clarity and purpose.
Here is a quick quiz for you to rank how well you are doing in contributing to your wellbeing.
Do work to do these 5 core elements of well-being?
If you wish for more wellbeing and happiness, you might want to increase your focus on these components.
I'll give you some ideas of how to do that below! It starts with Positive Psychology.
What's Positive Psychology got to do with wellbeing? Lots!
Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, says that when you practice these 5 things, (The PERMA model of well-being), you bring order to the chaos of your life. While these 5 components don't define well-being he says, they contribute to it.
3 steps to help you impact your wellbeing!
When you focus on these 5 components, you'll be doing both. Here are the steps for doing that.
.......... √ Be intentional
Other factors that contribute to your well-being
Tom Rath, whom I mentioned above, wrote not only the Strength's Finder, but also a book called Eat, Move Sleep: How small choices lead to big changes. Tom knows that these are the foundations for being able to do the others: Feel positive emotions, be engaged in what you are doing, have strong relationships, contribute something meaningful in your life and accomplish good things.
Don't forget to take care of yourself!
This time of year can be tough on your sense of well-being!
This can be an incredibly stressful time for many of us. I've fallen apart many times in December; physically, emotionally, spiritually and in my relationships. Each year I work to add new habits, routines and practices to ensure I enjoy December more and more. And do you know what? It's working!
Work on the 5 components of PERMA, and you'll be contributing to your well-being!
Do you need some help with the self-care components?
This month's training is coming up on Dec 19th, 2018. If you want to learn some quick self-care strategies for you and your team, that you can implement quickly, join me here: The 5-Minute Self-Care Strategy for the Swamped Gal!
We all know that self-care is important, but do YOU practice self-care AT WORK?
Yes, I want to know if you practice self-care AT WORK??
We think self-care can only happen AFTER WORK
Self-care is often seen as taking a bath in the evening, going for a massage and of course, trips to warm sunny locations.
Self-care AT WORK looks like this:
🗣Self-care is preached:
Do you have policies about self-care? Maybe you even have a wellness committee. Perhaps your organization has yoga mats with your logo on them. Mine did years ago. We KNOW that self-care is important. But....
❌Self-care is NOT practiced:
Think about it for a minute. Is it ok to practice self-care in your workplace? Or does it feel weird to do self-care activities?
🚫Self-care may even be taboo!
If you were to take a 10-minute nap at your desk and someone walked in and "caught" you, would you feel as though you had just done something wrong? It shouldn't be that way, should it?
It's up to you to change the culture of your organization!
Women like us crave self-care. It's more than knowing it's important; We want to put it into practice for ourselves and our teams. We want to role model it, encourage others to take care of themselves. We want to let our team know that it's safe to practice self-care, acceptable and even encouraged.
It takes moral courage to change cultures
Last week. I talked about moral courage. That's the courage to do the right thing, even if it is scary, awkward and goes against the grain. Moral courage is knowing what is right and wrong or ethical and then having the courage to act on that awareness. We all know the right thing to do, is to take care of ourselves.
My challenge to you
If you are a woman leader, like most of us, you are ready to change your team.
I challenge you to add self-care into your WORKDAY and to encourage those around you to do the same.
Let me know how it goes!!!
Need some self-care strategies that you can do AT WORK?
This month's training is coming up on Dec 19th. If you want to learn some quick self-care strategies for you and your team, that you can implement quickly, join me here: The 5-Minute Self-Care Strategy for the Swamped Gal!
Take 5 minutes now my dear. Take care of yourself. You are a role model for the next generation. Let's teach them a better way!
p.s. I really do want to know how it goes! Email me and tell me what it's like to role model, teach and make self-care safe in your organization.
Are YOU feeling off balance?
If I am honest, I can say yes to every one of those!
Now you are saying: Well heck Kathy! I thought you had it all together! I guess you can't teach me anything!
Yes, I can say yes to every one of those and probably will for the rest of my life! That's life!
Stress, busy times and full scheduled will never go away.
Nor should they!
** S T R E S S is not bad **
Only your thoughts make it so.
It's how you handle the stress of life that is key.
Stress = Meaning
I know, a warm sunny beach sounds good for a little while, but for how long?
I had a conversation recently with a lady who received an early retirement package. Within a few weeks of being home, she's depressed and feeling like she doesn't matter anymore. She lacks meaning.
Work gives us a reason to get up every day.
People need us. We have work to do. Busy times and full schedules are signs we are doing meaningful work.
Signs of stress are signals we need to pay attention to
Those signs above (racing heart, tense shoulders and relationship challenges) are signs we need to pay attention too. They are red flags to come back to a better state of balance.
- -> Here is how I took a holistic approach to bring myself back into work-life balance:
What work-life balance is NOT:
X Work-life balance is not a matter of just setting clearer boundaries.
X It's not finding a better time management system.
X Finding work-life balance is not just learning to manage your priorities.
What Work-life balance IS:
√ You find more work-life balance when you have the courage to set clearer boundaries.
√ You find more work-life balance when you have the humility to ask for help.
√ You find more work-life balance when you forgive yourself for messing up and have compassion for yourself as you work hard to excel.
I know this is a process to figure out and make sense of it all. But stay with it, it's worth it!
Do you hit "Like" when you see a good post? Do you share some that really move you? Me too! I love ones that just stand out in the newsfeed.
We skim, scroll and scan through our news feed
looking to feel better.
Here's the catch. It's a quick high that doesn't last.
When we flip through our social media accounts, we look at the world through blurry eyes...not really seeing people or our role in it.
What's more, we look at it and say, "Yeah...
Wistfully after a few minutes, we move away
from the newsfeed and back to reality.
Re-read those three comments in italics above again.
Did you notice anything? They all they blame out there....on someone else, the world or a lack of time. We are in victim mode when we see them and feel like we can't have that. That victim mode is why we head back to work, unchanged.
It's because we have not taken responsibility for change. Instead, we need to see the posts and ask what the message or lesson for ourselves in it:
When we look at social media posts and flip them back to action we can take in the moment, social media has the power to change our experience and that of those around us.
Ask this question
So next time you see a post that moves you, ask yourself:
How can I apply this message or lesson in my leadership today?
Moving into 2018 most of us have a bit of extra energy and enthusiasm to make the new year different, better or somehow different than it was last year. Beware though, that excitement will fade in a few short weeks as New Year’s Resolutions drop by the wayside.
This Facebook Live helps you to learn the 3 strategic steps you need to take now, to keep that energy and excitement alive throughout 2018.
LINKS from today's session
Discover how you can strategically change the direction of your life with My Blueprint for Change
Join the CONFIDENT WOMEN LEADER'S Group here
Get the GUIDE SHEET: A Strategic Look Back
Get the GUIDE SHEET: Create your Powerful Vision
Get the GUIDE SHEET: The 5 Mistakes Ladies Make When Trying to Change Their Life
Find MY BOOK- Mastering Confidence: Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system
Available on Amazon
Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.