This week has been an interesting one for me, you see, I’m usually in the business of lifting others, being the cheerleader shouting ‘you got this girl!’ and reminding women how incredibly amazing they are. But during the last couple of weeks, I have found myself in a situation that I’ve not been in for quite some time.
I remember the day that I left my job to go on maternity leave with my first child, 39 weeks pregnant, hormonal and severely over it! I sobbed as I handed in my pass because I knew my world was soon to change dramatically and I wasn’t sure if I was really prepared. Don’t get me wrong, I was overwhelmed with excitement for the next phase of my life and I couldn’t wait to welcome our baby into the world but that was coupled with a huge sense of loss. I had only ever known myself as an academic and a professional working woman. My identity had really taken shape during the 5 years that I had been in my full time job and my life had seen many changes during that time too. I was trusted and respected within my role and I had an unshakeable confidence because I worked damn hard to be good at what I did. I was scared to walk out of that door on that day and lose everything I knew of myself.
Fast forward a couple more years and another child later I found myself in the process of applying and being interviewed for a new job. I realised that that my confidence had taken a huge dip and despite knowing my capabilities, believing in them was another matter. But thankfully I had my own team of ‘go getters’ who had my back and helped me along my merry way.
It began with one voice saying ‘You are amazing’ and that voice brought in another, which validated the compliment and put power and force behind it. This made me feel that it wasn’t just one person who believed in me…it was a whole tribe (actually it was just two but it felt like a tribe)
Because most of the time she is too busy focusing on what she cant do or hasn’t done and being reminded of achievements is actually incredibly empowering.
We’ve all been there with the “I’m not sure this is a good idea but…. or I am not that good at….” We talk ourselves down and sometimes all it takes is someone firmly pointing that out, to snap us out of it. In the last week the statement “Don’t you dare do that to yourself!” was almost shouted at me! But I needed to hear it and it made me wake up and shut up!
There is nothing more uplifting than someone valuing you and your development enough that they would give you their time. Taking time to offer advice and guidance in any format (texts, emails, phone calls) is encouraging and shows that someone genuinely cares out you and your future.
Loud and proud, bold and strong. Don’t be shy about telling someone that what she did was incredible, because it was. A woman who is lacking in confidence cannot deny or hide from someone celebrating for them. And when you speak up about another woman publicly, you actually empower yourself too by demonstrating the very essence of being a woman that supports another.
Support doesn’t always have to come in words of wisdom or big celebratory fanfares, it can be very simple. The smallest of gestures can have the biggest impact and when a woman is on a mission to achieve something, its the minor ‘spanners in the works’ that can bring everything to a holt. Giving a lift, helping with childcare, reading through a CV, they are all things that can have a profound effect.
This week, I was momentarily outside of my comfort zone but I have the safety net, of my sisters, who believed I could.
When women support each other, great things happen. Together, we are smarter, funnier, more ambitious. We are braver and bolder.