SELF WORTH, CHASING ‘NEXT’ AND REDEFINING YOUR VALUE
Your Value Isn’t one Dimensional
This year so far has been a complete blend of 150 mph work, lots of travel and utter exhaustion and amongst the ‘just keep swimming’ mental mantra for survival, some thought provoking ideas, feedback and personal reflection.
Spoiler Alert: Your self worth and value in life isn’t one dimensional …
Last year was a year of ‘health MOT’, I did well committing to some behaviour change and healthy habits, and in large I stuck to my healthy new rituals – acupuncture, yoga, no dairy and gluten, supplements, working from home on Fridays, and generally ensuring I get 9 hours sleep a night. As someone with auto immune, a crazy and stressful career and an ambitious mindset that generally doesn’t have ‘no’ in the vocabulary, this was critical. My health was at an absolute low, and the last 7 years of career relentlessness and the impact on my health couldn’t be ignored any more. As the old saying goes, I simply couldn’t carry on the way I was going, my body was falling apart (a helpful queue to stop, as my mind was ignoring the memo). Despite a year of solid commitment, the madness of December carried into January (lots of travel, a busy work schedule and not enough sleep) and it started to impact my time for yoga, acupuncture and sleep – and I felt it badly.
I haven’t shared it in tones of detail on my blog but since November i’ve been to LA, Paris, NYC, LA again, the Alps, Paris, Suffolk and finally Lisbon this weekend. On top of that travel (much of which was work) work has been incredibly demanding. So travelling weekends, working late, and sacrificing time for me (let alone time at home or on our renovation) naturally started to take its toll again.
Perhaps this hectic schedule was the reminder I needed as to why I’d made such an effort to change my behaviours and put my health first and the importance of protecting that process …
Perhaps it was also the conditions I needed to truly reflect on what’s going on, what I actually want, how I value my self worth (or lack thereof) and what my life looks like as a whole (and not just from a work point of view – more to come on that.
Amongst the exhaustion, a few profound moments occurred.
Most noticeably a week spent in Chantilly (South of Paris) on a leadership course which went so far beyond leadership into life coaching and personal development, combined with a few interesting conversations with my acupuncturist and some work changes which have left me out of sorts.
The stress, uncertainty and frustration, perhaps provided the perfect circumstances to realise and accept that maybe I’m ignoring a critical part of myself. Work has always been a focus, ambition has always been a drive, and a lack of self esteem has always been a motivator for the hard work I put in. The self esteem point has most definitely helped me so far in my career – driving me to work hard, deliver my best, never say no, never let anyone down, always go above and beyond. So I don’t demonise it. Yet it has also been the driver for sacrificing me. Me being my health, other things that make me happy, balance, home time, peace. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all doom and gloom. But the last month or so, with changes out of my control at work, a return to a pace that my health doesn’t agree with, and time for serious self reflection, have made me truly acknowledge and accept that I have been putting ‘Career Mel’ first for a very long time, and perhaps in doing so, I’ve lost a side of myself that’s equally as important to me, but also of value to the world.
A moment of realisation …
I base my value and self worth on my job. Almost entirely my sense of esteem comes from my career. And in turn, i’ve neglected the side of myself that isn’t ‘career Mel’ and forgot to see and believe the value of me, all of me, beyond just my job and achievements in that part of my life.
Not just that, but imposter syndrome and internal pressure keeps me locked in a cycle of never feeling good enough until I achieve that next thing … and as we know, there’s always a ‘next thing’, which means I’m constantly never enough.
It’s a profound thing to realise, and even more pivotal to accept and acknowledge it. I’m just starting the process and embracing the epiphany. I’m sure many ‘career driven’ people are the same too. This grapple of course plays to our favour. But it can also play to our demise.
A moment of reflection …
Thinking about turning 90, looking back on your life, thinking about what you see, how you feel, who’s around you, is quite a profound mental experience. It’s also relatively alarming when you realise so many of the things you chase right now, don’t even crop up in this image …
The process and visualisation (which I personally did during a one on one coaching session, which is where much of this came out) provides the space to consider what matters to you, what you value, what’s important for your happiness and provides an insight into what you want your future to look like.
For me it provided an opening and awareness to all the things that matter to me, that I’ve largely ignored and set aside for ‘work success’ – and could risk if I don’t rebalance. It forced me to realise I’ve neglected a huge part of myself and what makes me happy. It also provided me with the courage to begin realising and accepting that I am so much more than my job title, yet I sadly base my feeling of self worth on that. That there’s value I can bring to this world outside of my career and work, and that most critically, my value in this world isn’t defined by my career.
The latter is a work in progress.
Like I said, amongst the madness there’s been some pivotal reflection time. Things have been bought to the surface that I’ve probably been ignoring for a long time. I realise i’ve neglected some of the things that truly make me happy, as a result of focussing on just one dimension of myself. My work.
So whilst there’s no denying that my career is still going to be of huge importance to me, in the years to come, if not forever. I realise that I need to make space for the other parts of me to play, to create, and to be too.
There’s no answer right now. Just thoughts. And an awareness.
And that’s all thats needed to start this new chapter.