This blog post is long overdue for two reasons. The first is the time of year. I don’t know who decided to call this season “the holidays” but it certainly was not someone with small children. I am swamped by nativities, Christmas parties, Christmas jumper days etc. My daughter’s school then decided that the Christmas Fairs, church services and charity days weren’t quite enough to keep us busy. They threw in a Greek Day as well, just to keep parents on our toes. I have never loved my daughter quite as much as the night before the aforementioned day when she informed me that she had asked her teacher, with no prompting from me, whether she had to get dressed up for this. The teacher had said that she didn’t and so my daughter refused to do it. This was music to my ears. I would not need to battle with a sheet at some ridiculous time in the morning, trying to fashion it into a toga. I also would not be getting it back in an unmentionable state at the end of the day. There would definitely be some health and safety issues in them running around school and I dread to think how an eight year old would cope with a trip to the toilet in a toga.
The other reason that I have not written for a couple of weeks is that I have been struggling with the direction in which to take my business. Initially I felt that I was all decided on my niche, who I wanted to work with and where I was going. However recently I have been wondering as to whether I’ve got it all as sorted as I think I have. My husband made a very good point. “Lets face it, and I can say this because I’m your husband, but you are a man’s woman”. In my unique selling point being someone who coaches women to go back to work after they have had children I am effectively cutting out half the population. And it’s a large chunk of people that I do get on with. One of my very best friends is male. I come from a long line of men’s women. I know my mother might not think that she fits in there, but my maternal great grandmother, grandmother and also my daughter – we all respond well to men. I coach the long term unemployed to go back to work at a local charity and I have made good progress with both men and women, so which direction now?
I did a little bit of self-coaching. Much better than self-analysis, which has never ended well for me and much more accurate. What do I like doing? What do I enjoy? What lights me up when I’m coaching the people that I work with now, either my paid clients or where I volunteer? One thing kept coming back to me. I’m great with anxiety. It doesn’t phase me, I understand it and the devastating effects it can have on people. I see how it can grip people’s lives and strip them of their confidence and self-esteem and I know that the very first step in getting control over anxiety is to show it some light.
To go back to the analogy of the Wizard of Oz from a few weeks ago I felt a bit like Dorothy when she comes to a crossroads. She looks bemused, it’s all been plain sailing down the yellow brick road up to this point, so she wonders aloud which is the way to go now. Here we meet the scarecrow who tells us he “can’t make up his mind”. He suggests first one way and then the other, finishing with “of course, people do go both ways”. Initially this sounds ridiculous, how can you take one path and another? Yet you can, if you chose to do them at different times and in different scenarios. The scarecrow is a mass of contradictions; he hasn’t got a brain and yet is extremely astute. He just doesn’t see it. He needs the wizard to give him a piece of paper saying that he is clever before he is able to accept it for himself. Maybe I can learn from the scarecrow? Perhaps the two areas that I want to work in are not mutually exclusive? Nobody is telling me that I can’t do them both. I don’t need a wizard to give me a piece of paper to give me permission to do this or believe that I can. Dorothy has all her own answers within herself, I can find a way too. The next question is how am I going to do that? Once I have staggered out from the tinsel and wrapping paper of the next few weeks I’ll start to figure that out.