This week I want to share with you the details of an amazing project that I am involved with. I want to share it with you for two reasons. The first reason is because it is something you are likely to be interested in if you are a follower of my blog and social media. The second is because it is a project that is really pushing me outside my comfort zone and I wanted to share with you the learning I am taking from that.
So, let me tell you about the project…
I (along with 11 other incredible women) are collaborating on writing a book that will be launched in December. The book is called She Is Unstoppable and every chapter will be about how one of these women have faced adversity and found a way through to become more than they thought they could be. The intention for the book is to inspire other women to push forward and move beyond what has held them back and really move in the direction of their dreams. It is humbling to be part of it. Over the next few months I will be sharing more information about the book and all proceeds from the book will go to charity which is incredible.
Now let me share what is starting to surface for me (This is me being very open!)
Overwhelm and anxiety
When I started the work on this project, I really didn’t appreciate how much the project was going to require from me. I don’t mean this in a work sense because I enjoy pushing myself and feeling like I have had to put effort in to achieve something. It almost makes me feel like I have ‘built muscle.’ The overwhelm comes from a place of how BIG this project actually is. It is about the responsibility I feel to ensure that my contribution is the best it can be whether it is the writing of my chapter or sharing the details of the book with people.
I am having to really dig deep and just keep the intention of sharing and inspiring others front and centre. It is so much more than just me. It is being there in support of the other women on this journey with me. It is about being honest and it is about being vulnerable enough to admit when the anxiety hits. It is about asking for help. It is about allowing others to share their anxieties and vulnerabilities too in order that we can grow together.
It is about breathing, taking a moment and knowing that this feeling comes before growth and that all is well.
This one has already reared its ugly head for me. This is something I think women face every day to a greater or lesser degree. We judge ourselves SO HARD! How many times do you hear yourself say “who am I to…?’ Fill in the blank!
We worry that we are not good enough in our jobs, good enough as parents, good enough as friends. And so, the list goes on.
My Unstoppable Sisters who are involved in this project and I were on our first video call together this week. As I sat on the call listening to the plans for the next three months leading up to the launch of the book, I found myself thinking oh my goodness, this is way bigger than I imagined. I think I have bitten off more than I can chew. These women all have amazing stories. Who do I think I am to be doing this”?
I am going to lay my heart on the line here…
I came off the call and headed downstairs to find my husband Rob. He looked at me and asked me what was wrong. I felt myself get emotional and my stomach was doing somersaults and I just whispered to him “I didn’t realise how big this was and it has scared me”.
Rob is brilliant at grounding me. He just gave me a hug and asked me to explain why I was feeling the way I was feeling (because he wants me to get every ounce of joy out of this amazing opportunity). The truth is, I was sat on the call feeling like an imposter. Worrying about whether my story was going to be good enough and whether I deserve the place at the table.
My Dad always used to say to me “you are YOU. No-one else can be better at that than YOU. So, just be YOU.”
This will not be the last time that the imposter syndrome comes up during this project BUT, I am going to hold Rob close and hear my Dads words and know that no-one can tell my story better than me and that someone will read my story at the perfect moment for them and it will have the impact it is meant to have.
So, the final realisation I have had is how easy it is to fall in to the habit of playing small. In the coaching work that I do, I encourage and support women to be the person they are meant to be. To move beyond living an ordinary life and reach for the extraordinary. I try my best to embody this so that I can be a role model in what I do. So, I was so disappointed with myself when I realised I have been down playing my involvement in this amazing collaboration.
It isn’t so much about what I have said, it has been the way I have said it. I have been self-deprecating and not practicing what I preach which is about owning who you are and celebrating your successes. There are people close to me who I have not even shared the news with. This is simply ridiculous.
I know I am not alone in this though. I know that other women do this; I see it all the time. We bat away compliments because we don’t want to be thought of as big headed or arrogant. We play small to make other people feel better. We play things down because it is easier than being brave enough to be in the spotlight even for a short while.
I have had a word with myself and decided to put my big girl pants on and enjoy the limelight because I have worked hard for this opportunity. I have been chosen for a reason and it is not just me I will let down if I don’t stand tall and shout from the rooftops about this book. There is a much bigger vision that I am contributing to.
So, why do I share all this with you? (this blog post is not just therapy for me!)
I share it because I know that some of this will resonate with you. I know there will be times where the overwhelm hits, or you feel like you are not worthy of something or you feel like you want to hide and play small.
These behaviours don’t help us develop the muscle we need to achieve the potential inside. It doesn’t help us to move in the direction of a life that is worthy of us or feels extraordinary.
So, my advice is this…
- When opportunities come your way, take them no matter how scary they are.
- Don’t second guess your instincts, go for your dreams
- You are not an imposter – no one can do YOU better than you.
- When the spotlight lands on you, step in to it. Don’t play small. Bask in the glow. You deserve it.
- Don’t hold yourself back. Be unstoppable in the pursuit of your greatness
Until next week, be unstoppable.
Ps You can follow our journey in the run up to the book launch on the She Is Unstoppable Facebook Page
PPS You can follow us on Instagram too! She is Unstoppable