Today, on International Workers' Day (i.e. May Day, my favorite day), we celebrate laborers all over the world, and their struggle for political and economic rights.
On this day, I invite you to ponder what being a "worker" means to you.
You may think working is just about getting money and security, getting enough money to pay the rent, pay for childcare, and save for retirement.
But this post is a reminder that there's another piece to the puzzle -- our community and our social class.
In fact, many of us don't take on certain job opportunities because they are associated with a different social class, and that scares us.
For those of us who grew up poor, working class, or at the very least not as wealthy as our neighbors, we often see richer people as "the other," as "The Man" oppressing us. Making more money and working a "fancy job" means becoming "one of them," "Those" people who oppress us.
For those of us who grew up with wealth, working in the (for example) service or entertainment industry is scary for a similar reason. It means becoming "one of them," the people who serve us and our friends. The people who are not part of "our" community.
Our labor, then, is not just about financial security and comfort. It also has to do with feeling comfortable socially. Some of us feel uncomfortable around wealthy professionals, because we associate them with oppression. Others feel uncomfortable around working-class professionals such as cleaners and drivers, since they associate them with shame and lost status.
How is your labor tied to your social class?
Is there a job you secretly want, but which would mean associating with people from a different social class? What feelings does that bring up?
Happy May Day!
Do you sometimes feel unqualified to achieve the big dream of your career?
Do you feel like you should spend $100,000s of dollars (if you're in the US) (or if you're outside the US, put your career on hold to go study) in order to get an advanced degree or training and finally feel legit in your profession?
I've felt that way too. When I got my bachelor's degree, my professors groomed me for a PhD in Literature. I decided not to get one, but throughout my career, there was always a voice in my head telling me that I wouldn't be legit until I got a PhD in whatever field I was working in at the time.
The need to study more before you can have the career you want is something I see a lot in my clients. And I don't want to knock school -- if you want to be a medical doctor or a licensed therapist, you do need to go to school. And if you want to do research, an academic institution is often the best way to get your research done.
But in many cases I see, this desire for more education is hiding a basic sense of unworthiness, one that no degree or certificate can take away.
If you're in a profession in which you don't need a professional license in order to practice, and if you don't want to do research, ask yourself -- Do you feel worthy and talented? Do you feel like you can learn the skills of the trade? Do you feel knowledgeable about your field? Do you feel like you can help people?
If not, why not?
Unpack the desire to study. What need is it fulfilling? Is there an alternative way to meet that need?
As for me, I will always continue to train and stay updated on the latest best practices of my profession. But I also understand that my basic sense of worth and service to my clients is separate from that training. I hope the same for you.
Someone asked me "do your coaching clients help you deal with your own issues? Do you learn from them about what you should do about your own situation?"
My coaching clients teach me a lot, but part of me wanted to answer "no."
This is because I still feel very separate from my clients' transformations.
Let me explain: My clients make amazing changes to their lives in a very short amount of time of working together. It's pretty crazy. And my favorite thing about coaching is that I can never anticipate the changes they'll end up making, and when they will make them. After a week between sessions, a client will come back telling me things like "I just quit my job and I'm moving across the country" or "I'm going to work in a different field entirely." I'm always delighted, and I love not knowing what's going to happen next.
Clients love attributing the changes they make to me, but truly, in coaching, I'm not in control.
The changes I facilitate in clients' lives are very personal to them and depend on their internal logic. They are living with themselves every day, while I'm only with them for an hour a week. I'm not privy to a client's entire history or to their day-to-day experiences.
I know coaching works, and I know the theory of why it works. But I will always remind clients that their transformations are up to them, and not up to me.
It's easy to worry about failure when you're trying to create a fulfilling work-life.
Have you ever had one of those days where you’ve thought, “What if this is as good as it gets?!” or “What if a fulfilling work-life is just not in the cards for me?”
I definitely have. I used to think I was just a weirdo for not enjoying my work like my colleagues did, and that I'm just not a "work person." I thought that for the rest of my adult life, I would just have to suffer through most of my waking hours at a full-time job I didn't care for, and then I'd retire. And then I'd get sick. And then I'd die. It was bleak.
Today I wanted to share a "fear of failure" exercise from my mentor Melissa Pharr, who reminded me this year that when you try to push away those fears of a bleak life, they just get worse.
I usually don't share others' exercises verbatim, since I'm obsessed with myself and my exercises (duhz), but I am making an exception for this important mentor because this has been super helpful to me.
To release fear of failure:
1) Feel your fear.
I know it feels like the last thing that you want to do, but you know the saying, what you resist, persists.
Fear is just here to get our attention and help us learn whatever we need to learn next to become ready to ALLOW our desires to feel like a real possibility.
2) Ask yourself what this fear is here to teach you.
Yes, it seems woo-woo, but we’re usually pushing fear away and NOT giving ourselves time to just feel it, let alone reflect on why it might be coming up. Asking what your fear is here to teach you can hold the key to growth.
3) Decide upon a response that is in line with your desires, instead of your fear.
Once you have some idea, even if it’s just a guess, about what your fear is here to teach you, it’s time to ask yourself, ‘How can I respond to this emotion in a way that is aligned not with my fear, but with where I actually want to go?’
There’s something about this process that will majorly help you build trust in yourself. As you see yourself being that person who has a fulfilling and energizing work-life, you will see with time that little will get in your way.
Story time: Some days at work, when I feel unsure of myself, in *a matter of minutes*, I go from “what is wrong with me?? I’m the worst ever!” to “Ah ha. I know how I can stop feeling this way now.”
Am I a magical unicorn?
No. I am simply a woman who got fed up with my years-long cycle of self-doubt in the workplace.
As recently as 4 years ago, I started every day by sitting down at my office and saying to myself (and my colleagues): “What am I doing wrong?” “OMG does my boss think I’m slacking off?” “Do I even WANT this job?”
It was exhausting to me and to my colleagues, who all assured me I was fine, I was great, and I should STFU.
It is bonkers to me that by using 3 simple mindset steps, within one year of my constant-worry days, I changed careers, made more $, and actually (gasp) achieved **work-life balance.**
Please don’t go through years of misery like I did. I’m taking what I learned and sharing it with you in my super simple 3-step “Self Doubt, Shut It” guide.
Are you a smart and creative woman who feels bored and frustrated at her job? Does this make you doubt yourself and wonder what you’re doing wrong?
Are you tearing your hair out trying to figure out why you feel so “off” while your friends and family tell you not to worry because “everything is fine”?
Are you soooo sick and tired of this feeling?
If so, save yourself the agonizing.
Download this FREE 3-step guide and get CLARITY on how to end self-doubt and gain confidence and a sense of power in the workplace.
Enjoy wildly decreasing the time you spend “wondering what’s wrong,” and wildly increasing the time you spend creating the work life you want. Shablam.
Growing up, I didn’t always feel like stability and order were mine to have. For years, I created stability and order for myself, by painstakingly taking care of myself.
But sometimes, my need for stability held me back.
For example, when I figured out that what I wanted to do professionally was coach women to heal their work lives. What a strange and seemingly unlucrative profession!
My choice of profession took me for a tailspin. I didn’t feel like I had the resources or gumption to become self-employed and forego a regular paycheck. I was very scared.
Thankfully, I had great mentors who taught me how to create stability even when taking a risk.
I finally took a risk after:
- Saving $$ for my career transition
- Setting up systems in my day that give me a sense of order
- Creating a plan B, plan C, and plan Z
- Interviewing people who have gone through this transition, so I could learn what they did
It’s important for me to share this story with you because I know that healing your work life does take a certain amount of *risk* and *growth*. There are things about it which are uncomfortable and take you out of your comfort zone.
What steps do you take in order to continually take yourself outside of your comfort zone so you can grow?
I hear from a lot of women about their dreams of making more money and working fewer hours.
But when it comes to making their preferences known to their bosses, clients, and spouses – they balk.
After getting a bunch of new responsibilities at work, they feel embarrassed to ask their boss for a raise.
They feel awkward asking their clients to pay them a fair wage for their work.
And they feel weird about asking their spouses to cook and do the dishes every day.
With all that, it’s no wonder that they are working so hard for so little money. They are doing other people’s jobs for them (the boss’s job, the client’s job, the spouse’s job) without getting payment or relief.
I wanted to post this as a reminder that when we feel anxious and overwhelmed, we can ask for the support we need to thrive. We can give our community a chance to give us the resources we need to make that freedom of “more money and less work” possible.
Your thoughts on this idea are welcome -- and if you've had bad experiences asking for support, please chime in.
“I get harassed at work too, but I can handle it.”
This is what I was told by a boss when I tried to report an abusive coworker. The contrast seemed obvious. The boss could handle the harassment, *unlike me.*
Throughout my years in the workplace, I was told again and again that I should be able to “handle” unrelenting long hours, harassment, and a pervading sense that my job was pointless.
After all, I was getting a paycheck. And no one likes a whiny millennial who wants special treatment at work!
I believed it.
I thought that I should buck up and learn to "take it" like the rest of my coworkers.
I no longer believe it. In fact, I no longer believe I have to handle anything that makes me miserable.
In the past few years, I learned that there are a million types of workplaces, and a million ways to make money and support yourself. And that the work life we want for ourselves is possible and in reach.
My clients and I are examples for what it possible in terms of a fulfilling work life. My recent client undid years of unhelpful behavior and set up boundaries with herself and her family so she could stay engaged throughout the workday. (No phone scrolling during the workday, no political talk from family, no fretting about her partner's job when she should be doing her own work, etc. etc.).
Another recent client changed her career path completely and even moved to a different country in order to be able to achieve a fulfilling work-life after years of feeling utterly exhausted.
My clients made these changes not over years, but over a few months.
I want every woman to have the option to create a fulfilling work-life.
It's time to say yes to healing your work life now, and I can help you to make that change through my 3 month coaching program.
If you’ve been depressed and hopeless about your work-life for far too long, you're not alone.
I secretly love reading the reddit group r/relationships for people’s relationship drama.
The other day, I read a story about a middle-aged guy who feels like he didn’t accomplish anything in life and is bummed about it.
For some reason, this lead him to think that he should leave his wife and/or have an affair.
This story made me really sad.
I hear from so many people who fear that they are not making a difference, and that their life’s work “has amounted to nothing.”
I used to feel that way myself. I hope that most of those people don’t think an affair is a solution to their problems! :P
I wondered what if, instead of fixating on an affair, this guy acknowledged his desire to make a difference in the world? To have a meaningful life? What would happen then?
I do think there is a lot of fear and worry about acknowledging our desire for meaning in our lives.
Would love to hear your thoughts:
💥 Do you acknowledge your own desire for meaning and accomplishment?
💥 What thoughts and feelings come up when you acknowledge what you want to accomplish during your lifetime?
All thoughts welcome.
I used to give my power away all the time. As a new employee, I had a senior member of my team constantly take hours of my time every day for pointless "meetings," leaving me no time to actually do my job.
I was exhausted and frustrated, yet when I talked about my frustrations to my coach, I said "it's fine that my team member hijacks my time -- this is what she's used to. But I'll just tell her that it doesn't work *for me.*"
I said "it's fine" maybe 100 times. :P
My coach asked me, "when you say 'it's fine,' how are you giving away your power?"
He was right. Even though I was getting ready to confront my team member, I was still minimizing my power and shrinking away by excusing her actions.
My coach helped me become way sassier to my team member than I was planning to, and I successfully got her off my back with no repercussions for my job. Woooot.
Let me know if you want to hear what I ended up saying to her. Mwahaha.
So I ask again, how are you giving away your power at work? And what are you going to do about it?