As many of you will know, I chose to take July and August off from my regular writing in order to make space – in my diary and in my head – to get really clear about the specific flavour of coaching work that I want to be doing.
Many of you will also know that I’ve had some other changes brewing in my life and that on my second attempt at donor insemination I, quite miraculously, got myself pregnant!
The timing of all this was, in some ways, a fortunate coincidence – I had a real desire to get specific about my work, I felt like I needed a break from the pressure of regular posting and I wanted to do some advance thinking about what work might look like in the lead up to and once I’ve had a baby.
I’m going to write a post soon about my insights from taking this little break but I’ll tell you now that the biggest surprise to me was that I’ve really missed being in regular virtual contact with everyone.
So, to be honest as much as I needed the time out, I’m bloody glad to be back!
What I’ve discovered while I’ve been away?
On stepping back, I wanted to hone in on the sweet spot between the work that I’ve most enjoyed doing in the four years and the most interesting challenges and subsequent insights that my clients have uncovered in our sessions.
There was one word that I was immediately drawn to…..’enough’.
“Am I good enough?”
“Do I know what my good enough looks like?”
“Is good enough, in fact, even good enough for me at all?”
When I stopped to think about it and once I’d reviewed a pile of previous client conversations, I started to see so many interesting themes that were shooting off just from that 6-letter word.
But, where was all this coming from?
Why are these challenges and feelings so common?
Is there anything that ties them all together and makes them more than just a long list of interesting words?
Then, one day (24th July to be precise – I remember because I was waiting for a scan!), I was reading The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris and I saw the source of these problems and a simple framework emerge in front of me in a cloud of scribbles.
At the heart of it, we are all hard-wired for survival. The primary purpose of our brains is to protect us from danger and keep us alive.
I’m sure we’d all agree that this is pretty handy and that we wouldn’t really want it any other way. (I’m sure this is also not news to many of you and, just to be clear, is certainly not a concept that originated with me!)
Thousands of years ago, you didn’t survive if you weren’t always on the lookout for danger, if you weren’t always striving for more/better and if you weren’t part of tribe (and, on top of all that, you’d get booted out of the tribe if you showed any sign of weakness).
Today, we very rarely face life-threatening danger, most of us live in the western world of plenty (Waitrose isn’t likely to cut off our food supply for the winter) and, although it’s very nice to be connected to others, we don’t need to operate in tribes or depend on the collective for our survival.
The problem is that some of us have learnt to apply these primitive drivers to our modern lives in ways that aren’t actually that useful (i.e. to situations which are not life or death) and, sometimes, we’re doing that to the extreme.
The key principles behind the work that I now want to do
#1 We believe we need to fit in (so not to get booted out of the imaginary tribe) –we continually compare ourselves to others, hide our weaknesses, pretend we’re something we’re not and work harder to please others than we do to please ourselves.
#2 We believe we need to solve all potential problems (eliminate all threat) – we’re constantly scanning our lives for the negative, wanting to pre-empt every future scenario that might cause a problem and analyse everything until we have all of the answers.
#3 We believe we should always aim to be/do/have more (in case of famine) – we care a lot about everything so we set rigidly high expectations for ourselves (and, sometimes, those around us) and, even if they’re achieved, we always move quickly on to “what now?” and “what’s next?”.
Tying this all back to my initial inspiration……it’s all about realising that who you already are and what you already have is enough.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t want to grow and improve.
But it does means that we don’t need to be obsessed with things being perfect.
And it does mean that we don’t have to be in complete control of everything.
And it does mean that it doesn’t matter so much what other people are up to.
I believe, in a nutshell, that life can be great without being perfect (and so can you).
What does all this mean for my work?
Well, kind of everything and nothing.
I’m going to be focusing on the space of ‘life being great, without needing to be perfect’ because I find it such a juicy area to explore and because I know that it can make such a difference to the smart women that I most enjoy working with.
I still want 1-1 coaching to be the main emphasis of what I do. That’s always where I feel in my element because I’m able to be right alongside people to witness their light bulb moments and as they realise that they really can do this for themselves.
I also know that there’s something really important about making the decision to engage in 1-1 coaching at the right time – there’s an optimal window between realising that something needs to change and not being so frazzled by it all that you aren’t able to step back and take responsibility for making the change happen.
And I’ve decided that I want to be able to offer something which helps people come to that realisation and helps them to get a foundation understanding of what might be going on behind the scenes – a foundation which may, in itself, help them to begin to feel different.
So, in November I plan to launch a brand new online awareness boosting programme called Good Enough 101 that will help you free up your headspace and start enjoying what you already have.
It combines powerfully straight-forward observations about how smart modern women have evolved to care way too much about way too many things and simple exercises which will both shine a light on your own unhelpful habits and help you re-write your own rules based around what really matters and what your version of good enough actually looks like.
If this sounds like just what you need right now, then sign up below and you’ll be the first to know when the course becomes available (and there may even be a cheeky discount for keen early bird subscribers).
Now I can get cracking with what I love – writing about this fascinating subject and supporting more amazing women who share my desire to want to evolve and grow but without all the pressure and expectation of being perfect.
Whilst I get started with that, why don’t you have a think about this….
“Which of my three key principles are having the biggest impact in your life right now?”
I’d love to hear what comes up for you so comment below or drop me an email with your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if all this has piqued your interest and you want to hear more then make sure you sign up right here and also guarantee that you’ll be the first to hear more about Good Enough 101 as soon as it’s ready for you.
I’m so delighted to be back.