Strong has a different meaning to me now – post burnout.
Working on my own terms – Hell yeah! Strong – No thanks.
Prepping for my BBC Radio Bristol interview with John Darvall last Friday, I was asked to think about where I was then, where I am now and what advice would I give my younger self.
That got me thinking and it bought up a few emotions!
I remember my life was predominantly work focused, and whilst there wasn’t much play, my attitude was work hard, play hard.
I was hell bent on building my “successful” career that my personal life suffered. I was so busy striving for the next achievement, that I didn’t stop to assess where I was heading, what I was chasing and why I was even on the path.
I described myself as a strong woman. What does that mean anyway? For me, certainly not physically strong, but more mentally and emotionally. I was the go getter type; a high achiever. I reaped the rewards, bonuses, career highs of opportunities and promotions, but at what cost?
What was being strong mentally and emotionally about? Was it a badge of honour? Was I wearing armour, or a mask to cover up what was really going on? I didn’t have time to process that at the time, but I was very aware of how I felt.
Always having to prove myself at work, my best rarely felt good enough. I was also hard on myself, just to compound the negativity. Never having time to do anything properly, and always rushing because I didn't say no to anyone!
I saw very little of my friends and family. Whenever I attended weddings, christenings, etc, my mind wasn’t always present fully enjoying the event. To sum it up, I can safely say that I wasn’t really living life, just existing.
Thankfully 13 years later I woke up from this treadmill achiever existence and did something about it.
Now I have redefined my meaning of being a strong woman. The balance has tilted towards my personal life, with more intent on living and enjoying life’s experiences. I’m certainly not building someone else’s dream and lining their pocket.
Working for myself for 3 years now, I’m chuffed to sum up my refreshing definition of a strong woman in 6 words; joy, integrity, authentic, choice, courage, but most of all FUN!
What is your definition of a strong woman in 6 words or less? Do you want to create success on your own terms in 2016?