Well, the weather has changed with us in the last few days, bringing much needed rain at last after a few glorious weeks of sunshine here in the Ribble Valley. It's feeling fresher, almost autumnal; cleansing and cool, shifting our focus back indoors, regrouping and checking in.
The change in weather is coinciding with an autumnal shift in my internal seasons; once again I'm grateful to be cycle tracking and noting these patterns... they've become familiar and saved me from a downward spiral on more than one occasion.
For me, the autumn part of my cycle brings reflection, internal-focus and often a big dose of I'm-not-good-enough. It usually starts with...
what's the point?
I'll never build my business!
I might as well give up...
Once upon a time, I spent many years living with self-doubt, not confident in my abilities despite what others said (in fact the gap between their view of me, and mine, only made it worse), holding myself back from any opportunities and staying really safe in my little bubble. I thought it was because I just wasn't capable of being any other way; I wasn't like the big, confident ones, I was small, unheard and staying like that. It's just the way introverts are... [spoiler: this isn't true]
Like most good stories, a fairy godmother arrived around this point to show me there was another way. Mine was called Colin and he rode a motorbike.
Colin was a coach, the first one I'd ever met, 8 years ago now, and I knew straight away that I too was a coach, already, on the inside. Colleagues told me the same thing; here is what I was meant to do, at last. It just remained for me to find some great training and I could get on with helping people, confident at last!
Except that... despite learning the skills, my self-doubt was still there... who was I to think people would want to work with me? I wasn't good enough, I couldn't shout loud enough to be freelance and I'd never get an actual job coaching...
Long story short, I found myself a coach; this time a namesake of mine, from New Zealand, and working together we got right under the skin of what was holding me back, and how I could move forward. I found ways to grow my self-belief. Yippee!
It's never a straight-line journey.
I discovered so much with my coach, about self-doubt and self-belief; everything I'm learning now deepens my understanding, how could I possibly feel small ever again?
Because I'm a human. Because my self-doubt is there to keep me safe. Because it shows up whenever I want to try something new (it might be unsafe).
The difference now is that because I understand, and acknowledge, the self-doubt, I can work with it, even welcome it; it has something to tell me.
When it arrived this morning I decided to look behind me... (useful in short bursts, so long as you do still watch where you're going!)
I'd love to share this tool with you...
I drew this out for my Connect workshop back in March, a great tool I picked up from my NLP training and one I often share in school... Let me know if you try it?
Looking forward to where I want to be in The Future is too big.
Looking forward to next week, while I'm feel self-doubty, is too big.
But when I look back, to where I was, who I was, gives me a whole different perspective...
Oh I took that step!
Gosh, remember when I did that?
I've learned so much since that point...
Suddenly I see that it is possible to take more small steps forward.
This morning I was reflecting simply on my journey during lockdown, at the start of which I was unclear on my direction and trembled in front of a room of people. In a nutshell...
I've refreshed my branding & my website
I've run 3 (fabulous) workshops & booked in 3 more
I've attended networking meetings every week without a tremor
I've made some wonderful new connections...
... and, just as important, some disconnections.
I've said yes to every opportunity to speak in groups or on Facebook lives, on my own page or others.
I've signed new clients
I've learned some techniques for hosting meetings, including how to make them enjoyable for introverts
I've listened when people said "your energy is very calm, you're just what I need when I feel anxious or overwhelmed"
And as a result of all that, I've got super-clear on who I can help; quiet humans, held back by their own self-doubt. I know this is true when I hear myself talk confidently about this work, it's where I'm meant to be.
And this - THIS - is what I hold onto in those autumnal moments when I think I can't do it... because I have, and I can.
Today's letter has been a longer one that I planned. I hope you read to the end, and took away what you needed. If you feel my energy is for you, I'd love to continue writing to you. If it's not for you, or not for you now, that's ok too.
Finally if you're curious to check out how it might feel to work with me, here are all the details of my newest workshop...