The second instalment of a brilliant story about changing career to fit around a family. Rachel, current attendee of our Game Changers programme, tells us about taking on the supermum myth and dealing with her inner critic. Find out whether she has made any progress over the last three weeks, and if you missed Chapter One you can read it here.
This week we started the second section of the programme, Reboot. Having spent some time working out what our values and strengths are, and creating a vision for how we see our lives in the future (read earlier blog post), this is the time to tackle some of the negative thoughts that might be holding us back.
First we looked at the myth of the supermum, which, when you start to notice it, is everywhere, from the media to advertising to idle gossip.
I thought I was fairly aware of the pressure of this mythical mother figure which I thought made me immune to it, but I was surprised to acknowledge while working through the workshop that I’m susceptible too.
While I’m under no illusion that I need to compete for mum of the year, and my husband and I don’t subscribe to old gender roles in our family (he’s a far better cook than me, for a start!), I realised that I do find it hard to make time for myself for fear of being selfish or not giving enough time to my family.
This week covered a really useful set of tools to help mums look after themselves better, and I found myself scribbling them all down frantically (and adding a few of my own for good measure – in for a penny…)
We also covered self-care. I suppose I’ve been a bit cynical about self-care, assuming it basically meant having a massage or a bath once in a blue moon, but it’s made me consider smaller and therefore easier to achieve ways to look after myself a bit better.
Most of all, this week’s workshop has really made me understand that looking after myself is far from selfish. If I’m falling apart at the seams, I simply can’t be a good mother or partner, and investing some time in making sure I never get to that point is time very well spent.
This was a big one! This week was all about identifying any blockers we might have standing in our way, and recognising and dealing with our inner critic.
Our inner critic is that sneaky voice that undermines us and makes us doubt ourselves, and we were encouraged to write down the negative thoughts that come up and then to tackle them with logic.
This exercise highlighted how much of that voice is supposition; when I started to really analyse my worries, they weren’t based in fact, and could be worked on quite easily. The main culprit was lack of confidence.
Helen has a great way of reframing those pesky blockers though, which completely tips them on their head and feels way more positive. Instead of looking at everything that could go wrong, it made me excited to think of what could happen if actually everything went right.
We also developed personal positive affirmations to use to counteract those negative thoughts.
As Helen pointed out, we actually use affirmations all the time, whether we do so consciously or not, when we talk to ourselves. It makes sense that switching that self-talk to something positive creates a much healthier environment which helps us to flourish.
I think this is going to take a bit of practice, but I’m actually quite happy to have identified what my blockers are and to know I can work around them.
This week was all about tackling our fear. Whenever we are planning a big change, fear can start to creep in. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I fail? These are definitely voices that have disrupted my thoughts and plans at times.
There’s no doubt that fear has the power to take away our power and stop us in our tracks. This week we looked at some practical ways we can deal with fear so we can focus our energy on moving forwards.
I think I am ok at moving past fear but there were some techniques that were really useful to discover, and it was also interesting to think about tackling fear more strategically.
We looked at what we can control, but I was also really taken by the idea of using visualisation to conquer fear. I hadn’t considered that before but as I’m very visually-orientated I think that will work well for me.
I really liked this week’s challenge too. I don’t want to spoil it for those who’d like to make their own Game Change, but suffice to say it encouraged me to get over my doubts and take action in a decisive way. This led me to have a conversation I’d been dithering over for ages, and it turned out to be a very worthwhile and productive one, so I’m very grateful to have had that push to get going with it.
At the end of this section of the course, having covered expectations of motherhood, self-talk and our inner-critic, looked at our blockers and learnt how to overcome fear, I’m feeling much more together.
I’ve kept up the self-care promises I made myself, I’ve become better at saying yes to things that nourish me (and actually realising what they are!) and no to being over-stretched. I’ve realised my main blockers are actually in my own mind, and not in reality, which makes them far easier to deal with, and I’ve found a way to work around fears and take action, as well as realising why this behaviour is what will help me continue to grow and develop where fear can only hold me back.
As we head into the Re-energise section of the programme, my prevailing thought is BRING IT ON!
For more details on the Game Changers programme that Rachel is completing visit our Courses page – you’ll also find a FREE seven day challenge to get you started.