HOW DO I PUT MYSELF FIRST AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT?

When someone asks a question like this, or makes a statement along the lines of “I can’t because” there are a whole lot of beliefs about what they must do, what they should do, how they supposed to act and how much or how little they value themselves.

It becomes a very real problem when other people expect us to always be there for them, to jump when they say jump or allow them to speak to us in ways that are unacceptable. If we don’t value ourselves, our time, our goals and our dreams how can we ever expect other people to value us? We end up becoming people pleasers and as a result lose our sense of who we are and our self-respect.

We teach people how to treat to us and if we want things to be different we have to retrain ourselves first. When we change it creates a ripple effect on the dynamics of our relationships with our loved ones, our friends and in the workplace.

For those of you reading this who think you might be a people pleaser check in and ask yourself how many times you do something out of a sense of ‘duty’ or because of what someone might think about you and then notice how that makes you feel.

Now ask yourself how you feel when you decide that you really want to do something for someone, regardless of the inconvenience and take particular notice of how that makes you feel.

Deciding to do something for someone when it is coming from a place of giving is a very different experience from those times when we agree to do something that we really don’t want to do, or we alter our plans to do something to fit in with someone else and there is resentment, anger or we experience a general feeling of being pissed off.

There is nothing wrong with putting ourselves first, in fact if we don’t know how to say NO then we are giving people the green light to walk all over us. We have let them know that their life, their goals, their wants and their desires are far more important than our own.

I remember when I first started work after being at home raising my kids for many years and one of the managers asked me to prepare a report. ‘It must be completed by the end of the day as I need it first thing the next morning” he said. To do this I had to stay back later after work and arrange for the kids to stay with a neighbour for a few hours until I got home. I placed the report on his desk as I left the office.

About 4 or 5 days later I was in his office and I noticed the report still on his desk where I had left it. When I asked about the deadline he had put on having it finished he said ‘the meeting isn’t until next week, I just wanted to get it done straight away.’ A big lesson for me, it never happened again simply because I asked better questions about deadlines and timeframes.

We all want to be liked and loved it makes us feel good right? Friendships and relationships are the perfect training ground for us to learn how and when to draw a line in the sand and when it’s OK to go along with what other’s want even if we aren’t all that keen. It’s about finding that balance between what’s important and what isn’t and when it comes to friendships and relationships it’s about being willing to walk away from the ones that are no longer aligned with who we are.

I would like to share something I read many years ago from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey that had an impact on me at the time and still resonates deeply with me.

“A personal mission statement based on correct principles becomes a standard for an individual, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily decisions in the midst of the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives.

Once you have that sense of mission you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values that direct your life. You have the basic direction from which you set your long and short-term goals. You have the power of a written constitution based on correct principles, against which every decision concerning the most effective use of your time, your talents and your energies can be effectively measured.

Many of us, me included, allow other people and circumstances to have an influence on our day to day lives that takes us away from doing the things that are most important to us. Writing this blog has been a wonderful reminder for me to go back and reassess where I find myself in relation to my personal mission statement.

Which brings me to ‘self-love’ or lack thereof.

Many people give too much and love too much and then wonder why they are left feeling unappreciated, unloved and dissatisfied with life.

If you identify as someone who gives too much and you are frustrated that your goals and dreams are sitting out in some far distant future this is the perfect time to write your personal mission statement and enforce boundaries around how you use your time and your energy.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au
With love and gratitude
Jenny xx

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WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR EFFECTIVE SELF LEADERSHIP?

As I began to think about writing this blog I went to my bookshelves and was astounded at how many books I have that are related in some way to ‘leadership’.   Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In – Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Stephen Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Ken Robinson The Element, Malcolm Gladwell Outliers to name a few and I’ll throw in The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz slightly off topic and yet fits beautifully and is one of my favourites.

What is self-leadership? What exactly does it mean?

Andrew Bryant in his book Self Leadership defines it as having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do and where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviour on the way to getting there.   All of this can be summed up as self-awareness and the maturity to take responsibility for your personal development, goals and outcomes.

Women come to me for help. The end of a relationship is a highly emotive time and there is not a great deal of difference in the emotional and physical responses from the stay at home mum with children, the women who have been married for 20+ years and professional women in those first 3 to 6 months. Divorce wipes people out, they can’t think straight, and many lose every inch of their self worth and confidence. Their lives have been turned upside down and they struggle to come to terms with the reality of a situation they never signed up for.

There is no way I could address all the different situations and circumstances that women come from and through because of the end of a relationship. Relationships do not fall into a common category simply because no two people involved in a relationship have the same personalities, beliefs, values or lifestyle choices as any other couple on the planet.

What role does self-leadership play in the lives of women going through divorce and conversely for those who are ready to step into a new relationship?

What’s the difference between the women who are able to get their lives back on track more quickly and those who stay stuck for years hanging onto their story?

In very simple terms the difference is this: the women who get on with their lives choose to create a different story.

This is where self-leadership falls nicely into this conversation.

Here are the three important components of effective self-leadership inspired by some brilliant writers and thinkers.

Self-leadership requires self-awareness

Women who move on with their lives more quickly after separation and divorce have a clear perception of their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

They are willing to ask for help and they are coachable. By that I mean they use the tools and resources I teach them to take control of their emotional state on a daily basis. They want someone who will be honest with them and allow them to uncover their own answers to questions and solutions to their problems.

They are willing to let go of the things they cannot control, how other people act is always a trigger in separation and divorce situations. They are willing to accept that they have no control over what the other party might do or say knowing that they do have total control over themselves and how they respond.

Self awareness is many things including:

Listening to our internal dialogue and recognising when we are making judgements about other people, circumstances or situations based on the story we are telling ourselves, essentially making up shit!

It’s about knowing what questions to ask yourself to gain insight into the what, the why and the how of a situation.

It’s about being in control of your own mind, where you focus your attention, your emotions, your responses to situations and ultimately your behaviour.

When it comes to creating change in your life being in control of your thoughts comes first, the emotions, the language you use to describe a situation and the actions you take all follow on from your thoughts and will have a massive influence on how you view the world around you.

When it comes to facing those curved balls that life tends to throw our way from time to time self awareness is critical when it comes to managing yourself and your situation.

When it comes to wanting your life to be better or different in some way, knowing what it is you want and being absolutely clear about why you want it is essential for moving forward.

Self-leadership requires living according to your values and priorities.

Living according to your values and priorities will show up in your life on a daily basis.

Being fit and healthy is both a value and a priority and it will be evident in the choices you make about what you eat and as a priority it will influence how you plan your day.

Stephen Covey discusses our independent will as human beings that make self-leadership possible: “It is the ability to make decisions and choices and to act in accordance with these.” Successful self-leaders are those who live according to their values. They know what to say “yes” to and have clarity on what to say “no” to.

Self-leadership requires taking personal responsibility for your development.

Self-leadership requires a willingness to learn from the people around us. If creating amazing relationships is something we desire then we spend time finding out more about how we can do this, speaking to people, researching and getting very clear on what an amazing relationship looks like and feels like for us.

You can substitute any other quality or trait for the word relationship, wealth, freedom, contribution, independence, creativity, community, honesty, self-expression and so on.

We all have the ability to continually improve ourselves, our lives and in turn the lives of others. It is a journey and once to take that first step you soon discover that there is no end to this journey. As we grow into being more of who we really are without all the bullshit beliefs and lies that we have told ourselves, our dreams, goals and desires also expand.

Accept that there will be times when we fail, we fall in a heap, we struggle to continue, and yet we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on the journey knowing that we have just taken one giant leap forward.

There is no taking away the heartache and pain we experience when it comes because of the challenges we face with separation and divorce, that’s a fact.

My clients know that once they have moved through the worst of the situation and out the other side, there is a whole world of new possibilities and opportunities waiting for them to discover. And that’s when we begin to create magic together.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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