Last week was a rough week… like fleeing home in the middle of the night to go stay in a hotel by myself and weep all night kind of rough. The week felt like a non-stop battle - so much so that I was really starting to wonder what kind of vicious hagbeast I had been in a former life to warrant such karma.
By the time Friday night rolled around, I (not at all jokingly) asked the Mister what he thought about selling the house, cashing out all our accounts and running away to a foreign country - preferably one with a white sandy beach and really tasty spiced rum. I almost had him convinced, but then we remembered the kid, three dogs, two birds and two businesses that sometimes depend on us. I offered up that we could leave the kid some cash, the pets and maybe even the businesses - but then the kid came home for the weekend and reminded us how much we like being around her.
So we stayed.
All week long...
through the muck and madness and sadness, I had a feeling that something was out of alignment but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. On Saturday morning I stood in front of the mirror and asked myself for the eleventy-billionth time, “What am I missing? What am I not doing? Life isn’t this damn hard!” And that’s when the voice of an old coach popped into my head…
“Healthy people ask for what they want.”
I immediately wrote it on the bathroom mirror. (No lie, I keep a dry erase marker in my makeup bag for just such an occasion.)
But what did I want?
That’s a loaded question, of course, because I want a whole lotta things… twelve extra hours in each day to spend with my family, unlimited yoga with my favorite yogi, an angel investor for the SheHive, a healthy coping mechanism as satisfying as cherry cordial ice cream, thick hair, a voice like Adele’s, a PhD, a best-selling book, to be featured on Super Soul Sunday and the next season of OITNB to come out STAT!
But I wanted all those things last week too and it was a damn good week. This week? Poop. This week was poop.
I had to admit I was spent.
My emotional, physical and spiritual bank accounts were drained. What I really needed was someone else to step up so I could step back. Not forever and not for long, but just for long enough.
More than that I needed to know that there was someone that cared enough about me to take on a little extra for just a little while on my behalf. I knew the Mister would if he could, but the SheHive (the biggest and most glorious pressure of them all) would look a *little* different if left in his hands for a week. Think less glitter and glue and more Bourbon and flatulence.
Unfortunately no one else was volunteering. Maybe because they didn’t know I needed them? My people are good people with many amazing talents, but mind-reading is not one of them.
Healthy people ask for what they want.
I carried that thought into the SheHive KeyHolders' meeting the next day. We had an agenda packed with a lot of things - none of which were me standing up in front of the room and declaring through teary eyes, “I’m tired.” But that’s how we started and I barely got the second sentence out before they were all volunteering to help. Within ten minutesthey had a plan to cover the SheHive so I could hit the road with the Mister for ten uninterrupted days.
(We’re coming back, I swear.)
It’s scary to ask for what you want.
What if no one hears you? Or, worse yet, what if they hear you and don’t respond? Or laugh at you? Or call you selfish?
Or what if you lean on the exact people who promised to be there for you and they are?
What is one thing you need help with this week and who are you going to ask? I’d love to here about it. Shoot me an email or drop a comment below.
With much love and gratitude,
If I had a dollar for every time someone (myself included) said, “But that’s how a man would do it!” at the SheHive, I wouldn’t have to pay rent next month. Each time I hear it - or say it - I cringe a little bit. Partially because I don’t want the SheHive to become the She-Woman-Man-Haters club, but mostly because I don’t want any of us to think that we have to become more like men.
Or more like anyone for that matter.
The gender gap is a very real thing. Women have to work twice as hard for half the recognition and about three-quarters the pay. And currently less than 4% of Fortune 500 companies are headed by women. It sucks, it’s wrong and it is a detriment to our society. But striving to “be more like a man” and emulating the very people who have built corrupt systems for their own favor strikes me as a hell of a ineffective way to fix a broken system.
What would happen if…
What would happen if we stopped trying to emulate men and we started being who we really are at work? What if we took our whole light-filled, emotional, nurturing, sharing and caring selves into the office? How much more could we get done in a day if we weren’t wasting our psychological energy trying to decide how to show up? And how much fucking better would it feel?
More so, what if living life as your true, kind self was the real measure of success instead of position, power or pay?
There is a wealth of research out there that supports the theory that a feminine style of leadership - taking long-term and global perspectives, being nurturing and empathetic, sharing floor time, power and credit, and thinking in terms of the network instead of self - makes for stronger companies, both in revenue and in employee satisfaction.
So what if, instead of spending our time learning how to be something we’re not, we opted out of those places that didn’t honor our feminine qualities? What if we all stopped working in places and spaces that told us we were less than? What if we all marched our asses over to the companies that are adopting feminine leadership or, better yet, started forming them ourselves?
We’re definitely talented enough and smart enough to do so.
The world cannot resist authenticity
Now, of course, we can’t all just walk away from our jobs today. But we can all take small steps wherever we are to be less afraid to be more of ourselves. Science, the SheHive and the Universe is on your side.
What is one thing you are going to do differently at work (or anywhere!) today to be more yourself? I’d love to here about it. Shoot me an email or drop a comment below. I’d love to hear about it!
With much love and gratitude,
Nearly every day for the past two years I have pulled up to my house and lamented at the state of my slowly-deteriorating shutters. Every so often I would take a detour through the front flower bed and push the bottom slat of the worst of them back to where it belonged. Lately, however, that bottom slat no longer stays in place no matter how many times I nudge it and now the paint is peeling off four of the six shutters to boot.
I have asked my husband to take the shutters down approximately 500 times (or maybe twice). And each time he has provided me approximately 500 valid reasons he cannot do so… he’s too busy, he doesn’t want to dig out the tools, the house will look bad without them, the dog is sad and in need of comforting, we don’t have replacements yet, bulk garbage pickup isn’t until the next week, the game’s about to come on, it’s supposed to rain/snow/monsoon any minute, or the most direct excuse of all - he simply doesn’t give a fuck about the state of the shutters or what Ms. Vera across the street with the perfect yard “must think of them.”
The eleventy-billionth and last time.
Today I was out working in the front flower bed and I peered up at those damn shutters and cringed for the eleventy-billionth - and the last - time.
I yanked them off the house.
One by one they simply “popped” right off the house, held in place by a simplistic wedging system that probably hasn’t been used since the 1920’s. Which, if the 40 layers of paint on them are any indication, is when the shutters were originally installed.
Seven hundred and some days.
Seven hundred and some days of having that ever-present, nagging, little stressor in my life and it took fifteen minutes to resolve it. For the life of me I can’t figure out why I waited so long. Or why I was so convinced that someone else had to do it for me.
I do hard things all the time. Revamp my failing marriage? Check. Go back to school and get a master's degree while working full time? Check. Quit my job of sixteen years without backup? Check. Cash out my safety net to start a new business? Check. Stand up to Ms. Vera across the street with the perfect lawn every time she gives me and my rotting shutters the side eye?
Okay, that didn’t happen. Ms. Vera’s like a ex-Marine and shit and she takes yard work very seriously.
Beautiful girl, you can do hard things.
I have a note taped up on my desk in my home office that reads, “Beautiful girl, you can do hard things.” And it’s true - I know I can. I exert a lot of energy to make a big splash a lot of the time. But I overlook the small, simple ways I can make my life so much easier all the time.
It doesn’t have to all be so grand, so big. Sometimes simple and small matters just as much. Actually, it probably always matters just as much.
What’s the one thing you can do this next week - one small, simple thing - that gets you closer to a dream? Shoot me an email or drop a comment below. I’d love to hear about it!
With much love and gratitude,