Why Fit in When YOU can Stand Out
Just before my little girl went to crèche this morning she turned to me and said ‘Mammy you are very pretty, I think you have a pink sparkly heart and it is big’. I was overjoyed at my little three year old girl’s remark.
As a young girl who grew into a teenager and as as young woman I always wanted to be prettier, taller, thinner, and a generally more perfect version, not of myself, but a more perfect version of one of the girls off the pages of a magazine or from the telly. I never felt happy with how I looked, who I was or the way that the world saw me. I grew up thinking that being pretty and my appearance were how I would find my way in the world and that being smart was helpful but played a less significant role than being pretty.
I believed that only boys were good at Maths, that little girls should be seen and not heard, that only boys played football and that girls occupied a space in life which required them to be pretty little things. I battled these notions in my own mind and had many struggles with who I am and what I believed was expected off me by society. Despite, having a very supportive and loving upbringing, I lost many years of my teens and twenties trying to be someone that I could never be because of the societal expectations that I had internalised.
Now as a mother of two beautiful little girls I have made a conscious decision that my girls will not be so heavily influenced by what society thinks and expects from them. From the first moment that I held both of my girls in my arms I promised both them and myself that I would teach them to set their own expectations, to understand the difference between their own internal voice and the voice of external expectation, that they would be confident in their own skin and happy.
I promise to teach them to take risks, to decide what they are good at themselves, to respect the opinion of others but to lead with their own opinion and to know that the most important thing in the world is to be ‘pretty on the inside’ and to be happy. I will teach them the difference between right and wrong in the hope that both of my girls will have the courage to stand up for what is right.
To do this I must pave the road for my own girls, I must lead by example and I must have the courage of my teachings in the way that I live my everyday life. My girls are learning to be a person by watching me and my husband.
It is with this promise held close to my heart that I have left a job that made me deeply unhappy and that destroyed my confidence as a person, as a mother and as a partner.
I stayed in that job for over 10 years during which I faced daily challenges. My promise to my girls gave me the courage to break away from what was expected of me, what I am supposed to do, how I am supposed to act and react to everything.
I decided to ‘Design My Own Success’ and with much support I am now self-employed and founder of Careers Rainbow.
My challenge to you is this, if we want to change how society sees us, what society expects from us and what we expect from ourselves we must ‘Design Our Own Success’. We must make changes in our own lives that will allow our children, our youth and our young people understand and embrace difference.
Just like me if you are not happy in your current career that affects everything else in your life.
You need to begin to think in colour again. Work Life Balance is a Mecca, an ideal that places further societal expectations and pressure on each one of us.
We are encouraged to think of time as a currency and as each part of life as being separate in some way. It’s as if everyday we need to engage in a ritual which involves an exchange of time between home, gym, family, social life, R&R and sleeping. The better the books are balanced the richer our lives should be!! Yet there is still only 24 hours in the day and it is not possible to find balance between everything everyday!
In a bid to live up to what is expected of me as a mother, a wife, a friend, a professional and a daughter I began the quest for a book that would give me a plan, help me to focus and to find the balance. I found myself at the counter of my local bookshop buying a book called ‘Half a Wife’. The title of the book sounded appropriate so I decided to give it a go. The neon yellow cover, along with a hand sketched jig-saw depiction of a family just held together, fairly accurately reflected how I felt. Now all I needed was the time to read it and I could match up to what society expected of me.
Almost three years later the book remains unopened on my book shelf and at some point during a moment of madness, I pushed it behind the other books on my book case. Out of sight out of mind at the time was my motto. I did this to hide its neon cover which flashed like a siren from the book case taunting me that, I was even less than half a wife as, I couldn’t even find the time to read the book!!
If you feel just like I did you need to refoucs your thinking and to find harmony between each aspect of your life. A place at which you find enjoyment in your family, your career, your hobbies and your interests. A space and a place which allows each aspect to melt into the other. A place where there are less expectations on yourself as a ‘Time ATM’ dispensing ‘cash’ to designated areas of your life.
Your life is a whole with each part inextricably linked to one another so in order to be happy in one part you need to be happy in each other part.
If you allow the lines to blur a little and for one area to melt into the other areas you will find a sense of ‘flow’, a sense of lost time no matter what part of your life you are in at that moment. You will be less preoccupied with what you should be doing, you can live in the moment and you can enjoy the moment.
So here is my challenge to you ‘Why Fit in When YOU can Stand Out’. Design Your Own Success, colour in your own heart and pave the path for those that follow us, because if we don’t change who will teach our children to change?
Begin to teach our children that change is good, that beauty is on the inside and that being happy is something that you can design yourself if you believe in yourself.
If you would like some help in ‘Designing Your Own Success’, encouraging your child to ‘Design Their Own Success’ or you would like to encourage a friend to do so please feel free contact me on www.careersrainbow.com, Follow me on Twitter @CareersRainbow or Like me Facebook www.facebook.com/careersrainbow.