Afew years ago, I decided I wanted to become a coach. What happened next was a wiggly line to where I am today! As a mum of two young boys I had returned to a job I enjoyed, but which didn’t feel like the big ‘it’. But, like many mums I talk to, I felt grateful to have a good job and to work with such great people. It was a lot to consider giving up. I worried about money, lack of structure, lack of team and accountability from others. I was worried I’d not be able to do this alone. So, for a while, I did nothing. I thought about change a lot and then came up with a 1000 reasons why I couldn’t. It could wait. I could wait.
It was only through coaching that I understood myself and what made me tick. I realised that I knew this was my path. I knew with certainty. I began coaching at work and that was almost ‘it’. Things were good. I was coaching brilliant managers and seeing them grow and change. But it still wasn’t quite ‘it’. Then came the pandemic and redundancy and now, after the dust has started to settle… I can finally say that this is ‘IT’. The culmination of my years of experience as an internal coach & development trainer, combined with being a working mum who wanted something more. I took the step into the unknown and I haven’t looked back since.
I wanted to work with women in similar situations to me. Mums who are on the brink of discovering their ‘thing’ but haven’t found the confidence, pathway or opportunity yet. I have heard so many times how they feel like they should stay put because it works ‘enough’. That it is easier not to change, despite not being totally fulfilled. How they feel guilty for wanting to make a change and how they are so used to prioritising everyone else’s needs that their own desires get pushed further and further down the to do list.
What this serves to do is to put off change. We wait for the right time. For the kids to be older. For the to do list to be shorter. For our partner to be more available. For something, anything that signifies it’s time.
I realised I didn’t want this to be the norm and ‘just the way it is’. I wanted to help women to make the change they knew they already wanted, but didn’t know how to start.
What underlies a lot of this feeling of overwhelm and being stuck is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what others will think, fear of failure, even fear of success and what that would mean for the current status quo. Fear stops us in our tracks and tells us that we shouldn’t strive for more and we should stay small.
Fear also appears when you’ve tried to make a change and it hasn’t turned out the way you imagined, so now you have a strong internal dialogue that is trying to protect you by holding you back from trying or trying again.
So, what do we do to make change possible today and get unstuck? Can you imagine how amazing it would feel to wake up knowing exactly what you want so that you can make decisions with confidence and ease? Without fear of judgement or fear of failure. Just let that image sit with you for a moment.
It is possible! I know this first-hand. I got there through a combination of coaching and using tools that helped me identify what it is that drives me. When I knew that, it meant that when I was offered redundancy, I could take it with the certainty that whatever came next would be more than just ok, it would be right.
I decided to step away from the norm and do my own thing. And I want other mums to feel the way I do when I start work each day. I feel connected, joyful, challenged and confident.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing of course. That’s not what real life is like. It’s been a learning curve to say the least. From being in a team, with a manager and company objectives to work towards, I’m now a one-woman operation and have to do it all (as all founders will know!). But as with being coached, I have sought help in the areas I knew I needed it. I’ve invested in courses, mentors, networking, technology and my finances. I’ve also had to dig deep into my own insecurities and vulnerabilities to be able to put myself out into the world. The word authentic is used so often these days, but it is needed when you are selling yourself. You have to be you, in voice, in words and in action.
A key factor for being more authentic for me was to really understand my business values. I recognised that community, collaboration, empathy, honesty and self-accountability are so vital to me. This in turn gave me the steadiness to hold firm to the idea of being self-employed and the risks that it could bring to my family and what we are all used to.
And it has been a shift in dynamic for us all. One the one hand I have different responsibilities now and a new kind of pressure that didn’t exist when I was working in the corporate world. On the other, I am more present with my kids as I just work during school hours. I feel motivated and fulfilled and that I am being a better role model for my kids by doing the thing I love. My parents never loved their jobs and I want to show my children that it can be different. I want to redefine working motherhood for this generation and beyond.
Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s all this sounds great, but it’ll have to wait. I’m not ready.
But I don’t think it can wait. By even reading all the way to the end of this article you are already telling me that you don’t think it can wait either. You know that you are on the verge of taking the leap. It is scary. But it is so worth it. So, the question is, will you accept settling for something that is not bad but not great, or is it time to see asking for help as a strength, free yourself from mum guilt and take back the power over your life’s course?
Where you can find me
About your author
Laura is a Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Founder of That Balanced Life Coaching. Laura help’s working mums explore the long-lasting and fulfilling changes in life. She will work with you to find the time and headspace you need to take your next step with confidence. To redefine what working motherhood means to you and have the courage to walk your own path.
You can find out more about Laura & her business here.
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