Is it time to get vulnerable?
R U Ok? Only yesterday, a colleague mentioned she is seeing so many more mental wellbeing issues in workplaces. So there is a conversation and subsequent actions that needs to happen but haven’t we been doing that for years? Where is the change we need to see?
In pondering this, I take inspiration from Ed Ross, of TradeMutt fame. His most recent blog ‘That’s not talking‘ hit me like a brick. He spoke about the conversation of being vulnerable and this is something people leaders and business owners find really hard to do.
So following Ed’s lead and ‘walking the talk’, I want to start a conversation about my journey; the good, the bad and the ugly.
My business journey is almost 10 years young, quite the milestone. Yes, the first couple of years were the usual rollercoaster of starting a business but it has been the last 5 years that have broken me many times. Over this period I have baked and birthed 2 beautiful and healthy kids, but having young kids and a business has been the single, biggest challenge of my life so far.
I started back working in the business when my first baby was 5 months old and 4 months of age for my second. This was my choice but I essentially had to start my business growth from scratch 3 times. I completely lost myself in the busy-ness of business and parenthood. I didn’t look after myself, didn’t sleep, ineffectively multi-tasked and suffered impostor syndrome on a daily basis.
This time 2 years ago, I couldn’t see any brightness through the overwhelm and the weight of my own expectations. It all came to a head for me when someone said,
‘Melissa, you need to take time to breathe’. I thought ‘great, another thing to add to my list’. I mean WTF! My response to this very simple and much needed suggestion shocked me into action….because I really needed to remember to breathe.
The very next day I booked an appointment to see a psychologist. So with weekly psychologist appointments for about 4 months, I slowly rebuilt my resilience. This is certainly not the first time I’ve had the support of a mental health professional and it absolutely won’t be the last.
This also brought the stress of financial costs because pausing my business meant a severe impact and reduction of the family budget.
So my next step was to start working with a money coach to help change and rebuild my relationship with money. I could blame kids, business or many other reasons for struggling with finances but the truth was, my money story was built on negativity (I felt I repealed money). Understanding and working on this helped me gain an understanding and a process to move forward. I’m still working on this as I can’t undo over 30 years of negative money conversations.
Then came the work I needed to do with impostor syndrome, which I still suffer from. Wow, writing that terrifies me. Am I sharing too much? If people know that, will they not want to work with me? What value is there in me sharing? Simple answer is, I share this in the hope that it helps someone understand they are not alone. It could be your partner, your team mate or even yourself.
Where am I at now? I’m still trying to figure things out but I have found some sense of levelness. It’s a combination of time moving on (kids are a little older now), having clarity on what I’m here to achieve and knowing what I need for my wellbeing.
Recently I had the privilege of being interviewed for a podcast, Real Talk for Women in Business. I spoke about how I feel work/life balance is a myth; I believe it’s work/life choice. I make a conscious choice about how I spend my time and finances. The challenge is the parent guilt associated with those choices.
I don’t feel my journey is unique; there are SO MANY working parents and business owners that suffer the same struggles as me. What I didn’t know is how they did it and, from the outside, looked so ‘put together’. But thanks to the honesty of posts like that of Ed Ross, I can be reminded that this is part of being human.
One of my favourite writers is Anne Frank and I have this quote on my wall.
This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps the end of the beginning.Anne Frank
Here’s to the end of this beginning and bring on the next. Let’s start.
Hi! I'm Melissa
I'm a sought-after HR coach, advisor and strategist. I'm also the director of Exceler8. My clients call me their people paracetamol because I help them say 'goodbye' to HR headaches and 'hello' to the perfect people formula to support their business. If you're ready for HR help or transformation, please get in touch.
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