Help! Can I really do it?

Did you ever climb trees as a kid, feeling excited about the view you’d have from the top?  Do you remember that feeling of being half way up and then suddenly being hit by doubts? You’ve been making great progress but suddenly you’re paralysed, and you feel like you can’t even find the next foothold…..

In that frozen moment of no confidence it’s hard to imagine getting to the top isn’t it?

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Our journey to finding work we love, work that fulfils us and fits in with our family, can be a really tough climb.  Moreover, it’s often very specific fears that cause our crisis of confidence.

Women we coach say things like:

  • I'm going to fumble in the first interview!
  • I'm too scared to ask for the hours and conditions that I want!
  • I'm struggling with all the technology!
  • Is it even possible to find a rewarding flexible job?

These are real fears getting in the way of your achievement.  To succeed we have to push through confidence obstacles.

How can we push through a crisis of confidence?

First of all – Re-ignite your motivation!  Remember WHY you started climbing

To fire up your desire for change you can remind yourself of the details of your dreams.  What exactly have you been striving for? Think about how dissatisfied you’ve been feeling with your current situation.  What are the specific issues you’ve been wanting to fix?

If you’ve already written down your goals this is a great time to review them (or put them into writing now!).  As you look at your goals, imagine that you’ve achieved them – you’ve made it! How would that feel?

I know why I want to make change but it’s so hard!

Consider your choices!

When you’re actually climbing a tree you don’t have a lot of options – it’s really just up or down.

But when we’re striving to change our careers we could also choose to just stop – to decide that it’s all too hard and stick with the status quo.

But think what you’d be missing out on!!

To keep going towards your goals, your mindset becomes central!  We need to believe that we’re capable of learning and making the most of opportunities.

What can you learn that will help you make progress?

When we believe that we can develop our skills it feels easier to take a risk and try something new.  We’re able to recognise that it’s our effort and our attitude that most influences our success.

Try to remember times in the past when you’ve learnt new skills and coped well with a challenge.  Try to recall when you’ve felt most confident in recent times – what were the key factors that helped you in each situation?  By noticing what works for us and doing more of it we can create a circle of growing self-belief and confidence.

And now it’s time for action!

We encourage you to make a plan and get excited about renewed progress!  Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What’s the first thing you need to do?
  2. What can you do TODAY that will help make some progress – is there a phone call you’ve been putting off?  A LinkedIn profile to start writing?
  3. What resources are available to you?
  4. Who can you reach out to for help?

Please be assured that you’re not alone!  We all get stuck and doubt ourselves. If a chat about some of these ideas would help you right now you can book a free coaching chat with us

We’re in your corner and very much want to see you do work that you love!

Best wishes,

Kate and Deb


"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"?

….. A bit dramatic, but I bet there’s times when all of us can relate to it! This blog is about how we can face up to the inevitable challenges and stresses of motherhood. What we need is an injection of “Mental Toughness”.

In Positive Psychology, Mental Toughness is not about being hard-edged, unflappable or perpetually strong. Rather, it’s about turning stress into something less threatening, to see it as more of a challenge and even an opportunity to grow. When we are Mentally Tough, we can emerge from tough times without losing confidence. We can reduce our anxiety, continue our activities and even enhance our wellbeing.

The good news is that Mental Toughness, though partially hereditary, can be developed.

A useful model looks at the Mental Toughness qualities we need in times of stress:

  • Challenge.  Our drive when we are faced with challenges. Do we embrace them or avoid them?
  • Control. Our “can do” attitude and our conviction that we can shape our lives and manage our emotions
  • Commitment. Our “stickibility”; that we still keep our promises to others or ourselves when things get tough
  • Confidence. Our self-belief remains intact despite setbacks
Strong mum

How mentally tough do we need to be?

We don’t need to shoot the lights out with our Mental Toughness! We only need to have enough to cope, and help us be the best that we can be in stressful situations.

So here are some ideas for increasing your Mental Toughness:

Your drive: think “If they can do it, so can I” (this one is particularly helpful for childbirth!). Try stretching yourself in another area of your life – learn a new skill, do a MOOC.  Accept that stress is inevitable.

Your “can do” attitude: spend your time and energy on things you can control. Think about what you want to happen, then make baby steps towards it. Have emergency strategies for when you lose the plot – deep breathing, venting to your mum.

Your stickibility: visualise the best possible outcome from a tough situation. Stop doing things that aren’t important. Think of the big picture – will this matter in 5 years? Find the meaning in your life – not least of which that you are leaving the legacy of another human being on this planet!

Your self-belief: be OK about learning from mistakes, seek support from friends and family.  Do things that you are good at and enjoy (use your strengths). Ask yourself “what went well?” at the end of the day.

Stress is normal in life and in motherhood. So, if we can face up to and even embrace challenges, stick to our promises, believe in ourselves and our ability to control ourselves and our situation, then we are well on the way to be Mentally Tough enough. Then it won’t kill us, and it will make us stronger!

best wishes from Flourishing Mothers

Adapted and inspired by the work of Peter Clough and AQR.