By Celine Healy
You feel pressed on all sides.
You are not sleeping well. You are constantly fatigued. You have no energy.
You feel you have the skills yet have an overriding feeling of “imposter syndrome” which is holding you back.
You feel overwhelmed. You try to keep up. You are spending more and more time on the job. Yet, you are not getting ahead to achieve success.
You are overlooked for promotion. You don’t feel successful anymore. You are, quite simply, not enjoying life.
You feel there are more constraints on your role: time to do the job; time to up-skill; to keep up. The immediacy and impact of social media brings a whole new meaning to self-worth and the comparison politics you play and you are unable to enjoy your life to the fullest.
What is going on here? What are you doing wrong? Do you really understand the game that underlies the whole debate?
Have You Ever Stopped To Examine What’s Really Happening And Why You’re Not Achieving The Success You Deserve or know to enjoy your life?
It’s not in your mind!
There are things happening “out there” that are contriving to hinder your success and stifle your enjoyment of life.
What is really happening?
Nothing has changed in the last 20 or 30 years. The gender gap does exist! It will continue because women are trying to play a man’s game, their way.
Professional career women trying to win at this unwinnable game — they’re adopting a masculine approach. They think that by doing so, they’ll be treated equally. They won’t!
Women implement these kinds of strategies: becoming a perfectionist, overachieving, overworking, and spending far too much time on the job.
To be more accepted they try to mold themselves, their clothes, their attitudes, their personalities into someone else. By being more assertive, they try to stand up for themselves, yet they come across as aggressive or bitchy.
Women try to show they have not only the capability, but also the attitudes and language that will blend in, within the chiefly male-dominated professions, in which they work.
They lose themselves. Their identity. Quite often their soul and their life’s true purpose.
Sometimes they lose that inspiration and motivation that helped kick-start their career.
Women, trying to fit into these roles, often try to change who they really are. Their authentic self. In the pursuit of advancement.
Yet, quite often, they are overlooked. Especially if they have come back from maternity leave, or long periods of time away raising a family.
They are not taken seriously. They compare themselves and their progression with men. They compare their skills and abilities and feel wanting, not through lack of trying, up-skilling, networking and working harder.
They raise their expectations to be perfectionists. To beat men at their own game. Does it work? Most often, no!
Yet they continually try to buck the system.
Society is built on a patriarchal model. Ever since God made Adam first, and then fashioned Eve from one of his ribs, women have found themselves trying to not only buck the system, but also change men’s basic nature. From that of hunter-gatherer, protector, owner of property. Who set societal rules. Who go to war. Trying to keep his family safe. His pride intact.
Trying to change men’s basic nature! Does this strategy work?
It’s a long, long, history of the predominance of the male role. His interpretation of what was, and is needed, in order to survive and thrive. Keep himself and his family alive.
This does not mean women don’t deserve equality and deserve the rewards and success for equal work. They do. It just means there’s a parallel universe operating on a subconscious level, like the ingrained laws of nature. The natural order of things. The way life really works, which conspires against women.
Yes. The gender gap exists, historically and at a level that deeply pervades our society.
Women rail against this order, continuing to try to change the system. Comparing themselves and their successes to men, whilst perhaps holding unrealistic expectations that they can be, do and have it all!
You can’t! Logically, as soon as you make one choice, it sets you on a particular path. It cuts out all of the other choices available.
But can they? If this is the way things are, what are they to do?
How can women overcome this mire of pervasive beliefs, attitudes and experiences that underlie our society? How can they be successful and enjoy life at the same time?
Don’t fight against it! Learn a different way! A newer, better strategy!
The arguments are many and varied. The reasons why women aren’t achieving the success they desire and deserve, could fill a separate book.
But that’s not what this is about.
This is about pointing out what some of the main issues are which are common to many women, and devising a new perspective that will allow women to be who they are at their core. To free themselves from the shackles of this pervasive patriarchal society. This gender gap. To achieve success whilst enjoying life at the same time.
This is about creating such a strong self-identity that these frustrating and sometimes soul-destroying issues will magically fall away.
Are you ready to hear this alternative view?
Hmm! It might go against the grain for you. Yet, there is no other way to guarantee you the success you desire.
Everyone comes to this earth for a purpose. With skills, talents and abilities unique to that person. They then get thrown off course, and do so because of the complexities of the family of origin into which they are born.
This early childhood background sets our attitudes, experiences and beliefs. It conditions us to respond to people, situations or events in certain ways. These patterns of behaviour and reactions become embedded within our physiology, our psyche.
Sometimes we become an angry person. Feel fearful. Feel a victim. Feel less. Feel lacking in self-worth or do not feel good enough. These beliefs can pervade our whole lives.
Anna Block, Health and Wellness Coach, @Blockfit, says that the professional career women she sees, struggle with a loss of assertiveness and self-esteem. They don’t create the space to develop well-being and self-care.
Why is this so?
Women seem to lose themselves in their “struggle” — perhaps because they use “struggling against something,” instead of using a different, more optimal approach.
All of these issues create havoc in later life. We spend our whole lives trying to overcome these issues, beliefs and attitudes. Sometimes, these beliefs are unbeknown. Always in the background, steering our future. Mostly of which, we are unaware.
Our life’s journey is about trying to get back to that whole, unique individual that we were born as. That pure soul with those unique skills, talents and abilities. Those values intrinsic to us. Unfettered by our own beliefs. By others’ beliefs. The opinions of others about our self-worth. Living life as our authentic self.
That is our journey! The choices we make along the way grow out of, and are heavily influenced by, our early childhood experiences.
Our perception gets clouded when we continue to attract into our lives the experiences, situations and people that mirror either our positive or negative beliefs. Beliefs we have become accustomed to in our early development.
We don’t know what is happening or why. Because we do not understand how life works!
That is our trial.
So, we arrive at today’s work environment, which is mostly governed by men, with the underlying patriarchal rules and laws of the universe, and we try to “change” this system.
Trying to change the system “out there” is like trying to break down a thick stone wall with a nail file.
It will fail! The tools you are using are inadequate. They are ineffective because you are not fully cognisant of the real, underlying game being played.
For women, the game they need to be playing is not gender-specific. It is not about using either a masculine or a feminine approach. It’s about seeing how the world really works and doing that instead!
Go back to your purpose of being a soul, in a human body, having a specific human experience, utilising your unique skills, talents and abilities. Understand what is happening here.
Your purpose is to be the “best you” that you can be. You have no control over people or things “out there.” You only have control over yourself.
As the Alcoholics Anonymous prayer says, stop beating your head against a brick wall trying to change things you can’t. The system. The universal laws. Other people. You need to change yourself.
But, but! What? You must be nuts! It is the system! It is the men! It is the unspoken rules of the workplace that are hindering my success!
This can’t be!
But it can!
This is about becoming your authentic self. Utilising those innate talents to your best ability, not trying to change anyone else. Not trying to be someone else.
This is about decluttering your life, your beliefs, your attitudes, behaviours and actions to become the “best you.” The best version of yourself. Getting back to your true identity.
By getting back to your true identity, being on purpose — your purpose. Living those values. Living your life on your terms. This will increase your light. You will shine like a beacon. You will be in flow.
Things will come easily to you. If they don’t, it means you have gone off track.
How do you achieve this ideal state, your authentic self?
Tell me! Tell me!
You have to come to an understanding of what your unique skills are. You have to take some steps, one at a time. You have to unravel the years of layering. Of building a different person over who you really are. Trying to fit in.
This is about your truth. Yes, it will make you vulnerable. You could get hurt. But — who do you want to be? Someone else, or yourself?
How do I do that?
First, you need to acknowledge that you have to change. This may go against the grain. The AA creed has been successful for decades because of this first step.
It’s about acceptance. Of yourself. Of things as they are. So you can move forward.
You do this by saying to yourself, over and over till it hurts: I love you.
Loving yourself means you will stop doing things that ultimately hurt you — who you are, at your core. Every time an issue arises, or you feel inadequate or insecure, tell yourself: I love you. Yes, you. Not someone else “out there.”
This simple step will give you the clarity and courage to move forward.
Then, you have to love yourself enough, continuously and constantly, to make the incremental changes you need, in attitude, beliefs and behaviours.
Yes. There need to be changes here. Baby steps. How do I want to feel? Can I let go of being a victim? Can I learn to forgive others? Whatever you intuit is your first attitude or behaviour to change.
Finally, you have to ensure you are utilising your innate skills daily, at least 80% of the time. Doing so will get you into flow. Flow is a feeling of inner ease. Of achievement, of success. It’s like a river finding its own level. Smooth sailing. Flowing along at its own pace. Happy in its own lane.
What will keep you on track, being like a river, is knowing that, when things go bad, out of sync, you will be out of flow. You will know this because things are not coming to you easily and effortlessly. Life will be bumpy. Like going over rocks. Knowing this, you can then adjust your course.
But — how do I know what my innate skills, talents and abilities are?
Two ways. Ask yourself: What do I like doing? What am I good at? And focus on those things. If you cannot get those at work, do them socially, or in your hobbies. Or volunteer.
However, if you really are unsure, as I was, take a personality profiling assessment.
You are the most important person in your life. Not your partner or husband. Not your parents. Not your children. You!
Your life is about you! Working with and developing your innate skills, talents and abilities.
If part of the things you do, such as looking after your family or your parents, you enjoy, then that becomes part of the composition of your innate skills, talents and abilities.
You can become the success you deserve when you play your own game. Your way. Being the authentic you, inside!
Being in flow is the point you will realise that you feel in control. You feel successful. You will be enjoying your work. Your life.
You will not be in competition with anyone. You will not want to be!
You will never compare yourself with anyone again. You will be living on your purpose, according to your values. Using your unique talents and abilities.
You will let go of things that are not important.
Your confidence and self-esteem will soar.
You will be in your own success bubble, living authentically, according to your unique value as a person.
You will finally be loving yourself. Loving others. Loving and accepting “what is.” Not trying to buck the system. Or change the system. Or anything or anyone else. You won’t really want to, because you won’t really care! You will be changing yourself.
When you grab hold of really, truly understanding the real game that is playing “out there,” in the world, at work, you will disengage from any gender gap or trap. You will become your authentic self.
Being successful and enjoying life at the same time!
All those perceived barriers to success falling by the wayside…
It could be like that. The choice is yours!
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