I talk a lot about how I believe in women owning our thoughts, feelings, beliefs - and most importantly, our voices. Let's be honest, this is in no way a new message and I'm hardly the first person to stand up and claim to support women to empower themselves to do this.
The personal development world - and even feminist communities are seemingly filled with big personalities, with loud and proudly reclaimed voices. This is extremely important, and I by no means want to diminish how important the roles that those people play are - let alone how hard they've fought to make themselves heard.
But something I feel isn't discussed as much as it probably should be - especially when we consider how much noise there is about introverts and Myers-Briggs Personality Types in general, is the internal struggles we face before we can find and use our voices.
I'm not talking about internalised misogyny or the bullshit patriarchal messages which teach us to feel ashamed of our desires, and to silence ourselves and deny our emotions.
I'm not even talking about societal expectations and the pressure to conform, go with the flow and fit in.
What I'm really talking about, are the internal fears and emotions which come up when we need to own our voices, speak our truths and put our big dreams in motion.
The reality is that for many of us, it can be incredibly difficult to speak our truth and say what we really need to.
I've found that fear is my biggest silencer, and not only fear of something awful like when I fuck something up and I'm worried about owning it. I also freak out about things that could turn out to be totally AWESOME.
A recent example of this, was the decision that it was time for me to let go of my role as The Nanny Named Kym. Now for those of you who don't know I've been a nanny for 6 years, and for most of that time, I had been working with the same family. I had become such a big part of their lives - and they in mine, that I had been working with their youngest child from the day after he was born when I went to meet him in hospital. After so long, we had essentially become family.
I was starting to realise that I had gotten to a point with my coaching business, and that opportunities which were literally too good to pass up and would need a lot of attention, were starting to present themselves. That I would need to choose one role or the other was not an easy thing to come to terms with, and there were many tears shed over late and restless nights.
Eventually, Jordan and I sat down after months of back and forth about what was actually practical, and talked about how we could make it work, as well as WHY it was the right time (I may have cried the whole way through this conversation). Essentially, I'd hit a point where I needed change and I couldn't keep doing things the way I was. I was feeling burned out - Physically and Emotionally, and deep down, I KNEW where I wanted to be working.
Even having had that discussion didn't make the conversation with the family I worked with feel any less daunting, and it took me close to a week for me to actually find the courage to speak with them.
I was honestly really scared that I would lose contact with them and that I wouldn't get to see the kids anymore (which is a ridiculous thing to be afraid of), and as a natural People Pleaser, I didn't want them to be disappointed.
So, how did I find my Brave and create a situation where I felt as safe as it was ever going to get so that I could do the big and scary thing of owning my voice?
I made sure that I was as prepared as possible. I didn't just make a mad-dash decision and run out half-cocked without a plan.
Over the years I've been known to make HUGE decisions (like quitting my last job) with no real plan or clear next step. I'm at a point in my life now where I can't really just wing it anymore. I have adult responsibilities, and a partner to consider now, so quitting my job at the drop of a hat just isn't something I can do without there being bigger consequences.
Create a Back-Up Plan.
Even though I'd spent the last 14 months building my coaching business and working as a full time coach is my ultimate goal, Jordan and I sat down and looked at what other work options might be available to me. I said that I was happy to put my name down with a casual nannying agency, and within days of making my plans known to some of our friends and neighbours, I had a couple of B Plan options up my sleeve.
Surround yourself with people who will be supportive and realistic.
While it's important to have people who are positive and enthusiastic about your goals, there is not point in just being surrounded by Yes People who won't challenge you to think bigger, or call you on your bullshit.
By the same token, when you're trying to build your confidence and find your Brave is NOT the time to be surrounded by Nay-Sayers or Negative Nancies, so it's important to focus on what NEEDS to be done.
Remind yourself that you deserve to stand up for what is right for you, now.
It's okay to say no to something you don't want, and it's okay to let go of something that isn't the best fit for you anymore. This was the biggest challenge for me - especially knowing that I was letting go of seeing the kids I'd helped raise most days of the week.
I also had to do heaps of work to build my confidence around my coaching business and my ability to actually make it work. If you spend any amount of time in the personal development world, you'll hear over and over again that, "mindset is key to everything" and it really is true. We can have everything set up and in place to really achieve huge things, but if you have the belief that you're a screw up, or don't deserve something, then ultimately, that's what you're going to get - totes not something I wanted, right?
Create an external accountability and support network by letting other people know.
By letting other people (like my Girl Gang) know that I was going to be having such a huge conversation, it meant that they were able to check in, and support me. This definitely helped - especially knowing that other people were now expecting to hear the news, so it was outside just me, but it wasn't quite enough for me to make it happen.
Every day I went into work feeling ready, and telling myself that, "TODAY IS THE DAY!" only to come home deflated and annoyed with myself for letting the opportunity slip by.
It's do or die, Baby! Create a situation where there's no going back.
This is ultimately what worked for me, and it was the best thing I could have done for all concerned. I texted my boss one evening after I'd come home and asked if we could speak the next day while the kids were out. The next morning we ended up having a really beautiful conversation and she was so understanding and supportive.
Letting go has definitely been sad and I know that the kids will miss seeing me so often, but they also know that I will always be involved in their lives (in fact I'm seeing them next weekend!), and I got to be involved in the handover with their new nanny and ensure that they all felt settled and confident.
Their new nanny is wonderful and she's going to be really great with them. I'm really proud of the people the kids are growing up to be, and I'm really proud that I got to be part of their lives.
And my first week of working from home?
It's been amazing, and I couldn't be happier! Not only have I gotten to start my days on my own terms, and go on art gallery dates with Jordan during the week, I'm actually getting more exercise with daily walks in the park AND I've had the best week in my coaching business yet in terms of sales!
There are some really exciting announcements coming over the next few weeks including collaborative projects that I now have the time and energy to really commit to whole heartedly!