Earlier this week, I met a very good friend for coffee.
It’s not an uncommon experience – we meet often, but something came up for me this time that really surprised me and I decided to be open and honest – vulnerable even (eek) – and to share the moment with you.
We were chatting generally – when my friend asked me about my new business as a Coach and how things were going. I gave her some ‘top line’ chat about the progress I have been making; how many clients I have signed, where they are located internationally etc. I updated her on my limited social media activity and the results I have achieved so far and I then went on to tell her about an idea I had to host an Event but that despite making the decision and being committed to it… I still hadn’t progressed any of the arrangements.
She asked me why I was procrastinating, and whilst I was searching for the answer, she interjected my thoughts. Might it be a matter of CONFIDENCE?
Say what? Confidence? Me? …. Well yes, maybe….
Maybe? Maybe, Definitely! You see I’ve learned a lot about myself these past few years, but the thing that has surprised me most of all, is just how much (and to what degree) my personal identity has been embedded in my career in Corporate. In fact, it’s more than that. Not just my identity – but my self-worth – and with that, my confidence.
My career defined me. It has always been ‘WHO I AM’ not simply ‘WHAT I DO’.
Work is where I felt valued. Its where I felt I could make a real difference. Its where I felt most in control. Whether I succeeded or failed was determined by how hard I worked. I understood that and I accepted the responsibility. I was never going to fail. And from there, I gained my ‘certainty’.
But when I decided to leave my Corporate life behind and set off on this new entrepreneurial path, I had absolutely NO idea, just how much impact, my experiences had, in shaping the person I had become. I had grown into the person I believed that I needed to be – or the person that I was ‘expected’ to be in order to achieve success in this specific environment.
I was passionate, I was strong, I was resilient and tenacious, I was the completer/finisher, I was the person you could always depend on to get the job done. And I was often confrontational.
I was the Logistics Director, or the Operations Director, or the Marketing Manager. I hid behind the title, and the corporate mask. In my 20s, I was an active participant in Jack Black’s Mindstore for Life Programme, and Jack taught us that we could protect ourselves in difficult situations by creating an imaginary ‘bell jar’ that once in place, would protect us from the ‘missiles’ fired in our direction. The missiles would simply ‘bounce’ of the glass and be returned to sender whilst we would remain safe in our jar. As a young woman working in a man’s world, I started wearing my imaginary ‘bell jar’ in my early 30s …. and I never removed it.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the STORM to pass.
It’s about learning to DANCE in the RAIN”
Over the last 2 years, I have invested significantly in me. I have (and continue) to work with a number of coaches, and as I do – am continually removing layer after layer of masks and protective barriers and I am reconnecting to ME. Linda Thomson.
Its enlightening and it’s terrifying and it often leaves me feeling very vulnerable.
You see, being fully connected to my truth is not something that I ever did before. Without understanding that I was even doing it, I continually stuffed my feelings deep down inside of me. I grew up in a home where any display of emotion resulted in endless teasing and mocking. And no-one wants to be a ‘softie’ growing up on the outskirts of Glasgow. So I learned not to show feelings. In fact, I learned (or so I thought) not even to have them.
And because my work was all-consuming, there was no time in my life for ‘introspection’. When feelings did come up that made me feel uncomfortable, then I would ignore them or assume them to be ‘hunger’ and ‘self-medicate’ with chocolate, crisps or takeaway foods. There was very little in my life that couldn’t be solved by a Chinese takeaway.
But of course, what I have come to realise through my work now is that even my ‘workaholic’ tendencies were about staying ‘safe’ and staying ‘in control’. If I worked day and night, then again, there would be no time for introspection. No time to listen to the whispers of my intuition or to navigate what I was really feeling. If I felt ‘out of kilter’ I could numb the pain by indulging in bad foods (as described above) or by treating myself in the Duty-Free shopping area whilst on a work trip. But do you know what… it didn’t make the feelings go away. I was treating the problem at the ‘surface’ level – I was not addressing it at the core (on the inside). It merely ‘hid them away’ until the day would come when I was ready to face them.
And that time has come:
- Is it comfortable? Absolutely not?
- Has it surprised me? Absolutely yes!
- Does it scare me? Hell yes!
But you know… I am continually encouraging my Clients to step outside of their comfort zones and I must be honest with you……. this is just about as uncomfortable as it gets for me. But I will not stop. I will continue to invest in me, continue to deconstruct the persona and connect to the truth of me.
I cannot wait to experience the magic on the other side of this path.
So, let me ask you this. Are you connected to you – the truth of who you really are at your core? Do you make time for you? Do you sit quietly with your thoughts and acknowledge your feelings (good or bad)?
Are you self-medicating in any way? It could be with chocolate, wine, junk foods, junk tv, drama, prolific dating – any of those things. If you are, I’d like to suggest that you take a look at what might really be going on for you and see if there is another way to work through your fears. Perhaps journaling or meditation for starters.
If you want to go deep, and need some support on the journey, then I am here for you.
It may not be the easiest path, you too may realise some things about yourself that will surprise you. But if you are ready to take charge of your life, then you may first have to ride out the storm.
I’m prepared to embark on that journey with you. And I will bring the umbrella!
This is your time to shine.
x Until next week, sending you love x
I would love to get to know you more, connect with me here.