One of the founding principles of DrivenWoman is a requirement to be honest with oneself. Sounds pretty simple but we think it’s surprising how many people unconsciously deceit themselves in order to avoid their real issues and an opportunity to change.
One of my great self-discoveries was that what I used to manifest the most – ‘I don’t care what other people think about me‘ -was the biggest lie I kept telling myself for years. Starting DrivenWoman and exposing my values to the whole world has finally freed me from my secret lie. I can see now how important ‘approval‘ was and how it held me back for years.
It’s great to see how honesty can free people. I remember how Jane, a 40 year old single mother and entrepreneur, came to the first DrivenWoman event sounding like she already had her business completely figured out and everything was going well for her. A month later she attended the ‘Entry’ group where everyone analyses their current situation and writes down what they would like to get out of life. She later told me that at first she was a little shocked how open everyone was about their situtation: how happy or unhappy they were in their jobs, or relationships or how impossible it felt to set up a business. Wasn’t this supposed to be a networking event for driven women? She then decided to try the same strategy and to be completely honest about her situation. She said she had been ‘disillusioned’, hoping for some kind of miracle to happen that would finally take her business forward. Well, the miracle happened sooner than she thought – the miracle was called Jane! Once she admitted to herself, and others, how things really were in her life she discovered she was equally supported regardless of her imperfections. After that meeting she make incredible progress. Within a month her product was finally ready and she got it listed with the first retailer.
If you feel stuck, you might be a victim of your own lies. Here’s couple of typical scenarios.
1) The success fake
A lot of people fall into this category and most of us have done it at some point of our lives: tried to look more successful than what they actually are. ‘Fake it until you make it’ can be a powerful short term strategy (used it myself many times!), but to be blinded by it for longer periods of time can be dangerous. All your energy is going into keeping up the appearances and ensuring your peer group thinks highly of you rather than focusing on the work that would create meaning and purpose in your life. You are wondering why you are stuck. That is why: a wrong allocation of energy, time and most likely your money.
2) Stuck in the past glory
You had a great career, you got famous for something or with someone. Then you opportunities took you another direction, or you had babies or simply wanted to change your life and do something else. However, you keep holding onto the past glory convincing yourself that someone cares. The truth is that people have already moved on. In your head your worth is still strongly associated with what you did 10 years ago and it feels almost impossible to let go. The bad news is, you have to go through a ‘death valley’ where there is no success, nothing you can hold onto and you have to accept that you are a nobody. Until you do this it is nearly impossible to align all your energies to make the next venture successful.
3) Building the wrong castle
You have it all, you think, yet everything still feels empty. But you keep repeating to yourself that everything is great, at least on paper. A beautiful house, rich husband, children in the top schools and holidays in warm places. You are loving it, right? When everything looks great we think it’s supposed to be great. When we have people around us envying our possessions and lifestyle it is difficult to think differently. Many women keep telling themselves this lie for decades because that is what they originally wanted, or they thought they wanted, or was it the family that wanted it. You don’t remember anymore, it gets a bit confusing after so many years. Who wanted to build this castle…? You’ve build a fantastic castle and you should be proud of it (and you are) but it’s just slightly wrong castle. Because it took so much effort and many years to build it’s almost impossible to admit that it is not what you want. Perhaps best keep lying to yourself a couple of more years…
(For the record: DrivenWoman doesn’t think that fulfilling life, happiness and wealth can’t live under the same roof. Quite the contrary! We also believe that if you find yourself in a beautiful house unhappy there should be a way to rebuild your life without loosing your set up! We just want to understand why women are so afraid to ask for more.)
4) The tomorrow girl
This girl is full of energy and eager to start new things. She can already see how successful she is going to be with her new venture… until, er, something more exciting comes along which is going to be even better. Yes, just wait and see, she tells herself. Rather than fully exploring her true passion she keeps chasing something that is yet to come and will bring her everything she always wanted. Next year perhaps. When she feels stuck she tries to fix it with taking yet another opportunity projecting her hopes into the future. She needs to stop lying to herself, admit defeat and stop chasing her happiness.
5) The ‘remedy’ junkie
It’s important to use different tools for personal development, be it self-help books, yoga, mediation, blogs, dieting or networking. However, the remedies can provide a route for an escape rather than a real cure. Overdosage of your remedy is not going to change your reality. To expose this lie you should go back and think how long you have kept using the remedy and how long are you intending to use it until you allow yourself to be ‘ready’ to start living the life you want?
It bombs me out it took me over 20 years to decode the blind spots, the wooly lies I told myself (and I’m sure there are still some little ones to discover!). My theory is that we get coded by our parents and our surroundings until around late teens when we are supposed to rebel, and then we spend the rest of our lives decoding it, some do it faster, some decode never. The first is called growing up and the latter is called personal development.
Being completely honest about your current situation is super important if you want to get anywhere. The sooner you agree to face the reality, the sooner you can make a decision how you want to change it.
We’d love to hear your comments about this!