Startling fact: More than 70% of women I researched in America last year didn't have a career plan that was working for them. And more than 48% of women were just winging it. Pretty scary isn't it? What have you done lately to move your career forward? I mean, to intentionally…
She was blocking her own possibilities…..are you?
Picture this: A woman sits in front of me. She is amazing, but doesn’t fully realise it. We start talking. She has come to see me because she wants more for her career than what she is experiencing. Secretly, she actually wants more for her life.
She feels stuck. Stifled. And more than a bit over it.
We unpack what’s going on currently. Work. Home. Wellbeing. Life.
And then, as the time passes, we go deeper.
“If there were no limitations regarding time, money, commitments or expectations, what would you be doing with your life? What work would you be doing? How would you be living?”
She stares at me blankly for a moment.
It’s a big question.
And then a few things happen like clockwork. First, the glimmer of hope flashes across her face. Her eyes light up. A smile starts to twitch at the corners of her mouth.
And then this.
The cloud comes over her. The frown begins to form. The hope seems to be dashed. The eyes fade.
I know this scene. I’ve been here before.
“Tell me what just happened in the last thirty seconds…….explain it to me.”
She looks at me shyly, like she has a big secret.
“Well, I thought of something I’d really like to be doing with my life, but, well, you know……..” and her voice fades out like the glimmer in her eyes did.
“What do I know?” I ask.
“Well, you know, that would never, ever happen so I’m just dreaming and it’s not realistic,” she says, shoulders slumping down a little further, seeming quite defeated.
Yes, I do know.
This is a scene that has played out dozens, if not hundreds of times, with women I have spoken with, particularly the amazing women I coach.
When I ask questions around what my clients want for their careers and lives, it’s not that they don’t have a dream. It may well be long buried, may not have even had a look in for a decade, but there is always a spark of excitement about something if you dig in the right areas and ask the right questions.
But here is where we get stuck. We give up on ourselves too easily, and it shows up in that 30 second window: I ask the question, she ponders and feels the hope, then she shuts it down just as fast as it came up.
As we play this story out through a coaching relationship, many magical things happen. Because she has to – she showed up, paid the money, made the commitment – this woman sits in the possibilities of her life. What could the dream look like, who would be involved, what would she be doing, how would it change her life, what would the ideal day look like…….what would the very next small action be?
When I am sitting in front of her, or holding space on the phone, there is nowhere to escape and no place to hide. But she isn’t trying to hide from me. Only from herself. Because I am just the mirror. And the question bearer.
When we create space for the dream to unfold, the vision to build, and the plans to be developed, I have witnessed what would before have seemed miraculous: careers reimagined, businesses birthed, books written, lives completely changed. And all because, invariably, a woman was willing to show up, do the work, and plan for change with honesty and grace (and yes, a little grit too).
Experience would tell me that this may all sound very familiar to you. That you have a dream of something more for your career, your business or your life.
So I ask you these questions to contemplate this week:
What possibilities have you shut down or closed off in your life?
What would you truly love to be doing if there were no limitations?
What permission do you need to give yourself to unpack those possibilities?
What stories and beliefs are stopping you from taking action?
My work in the world is to help women rise. To help women step into and own their power. To help women redefine and reclaim what it means to be a woman. And to help you see what’s possible for your life.
And if I know one thing from all of the work I have done, it’s that you have to start with getting real about where you are at, who you really are, and what you truly want.
So this week, give yourself the gift of your truth. Make a cup of tea, diffuse some calming oils, put on some relaxing music, and get out your journal. Pick up a pencil, and write. Answer these questions I pose above. Just let yourself dream about what could be possible for you if you were brave enough and open enough to wish for it.
And then, work out what the smallest step is that you can take this week to inch yourself in the direction you want to head. You don’t need any grandiose plans. Not just yet. One small action, followed by another one, is enough to get you started. Enough to begin building momentum.
The magic is made with the little things. And it all starts with giving yourself permission to see what’s possible. So go ahead, be just 10% braver, and start.