Last Friday I laced up my hiking shoes, silenced my phone, and headed out for a short walk in the woods. Ten minutes into enjoying the sunshine and movement I was suddenly overcome with words I just HAD to write. I pulled out my phone and stood on the side of the trail writing line after line into my Evernote app. This is what came out. This is everything I want to say to my clients, to myself, and to all women everywhere. This is my message for you.
Ode To the 2019 Woman
You are more than your job title and your latest performance review.
You are more than your pants size, dress size, and cup size.
You are more than being a mother – or not being a mother.
You are more than what anyone thinks you “should” be doing.
You don’t need permission, but if you want it, here you go.
YOU HAVE PERMISSION.
You have permission to set boundaries.
You have permission to slow down. To breathe. To rest.
You have permission to wear the red dress and feel like you might be too much.
You have permission to take up space. To share your point of view. Loudly. With no question marks at the end.
You are allowed to cry.
You are allowed to be overwhelmed.
You are allowed to be mad, sad, livid, scared, and frustrated.
You are allowed to feel whatever feelings you are feeling.
You are also allowed be HAPPY.
You are allowed to experience delight. And pleasure. And ease.
You are allowed to bubble over with joy and laugh until your cheeks hurt.
You are allowed to stop wherever you are, look up at the sky, and overflow with the complete wonder of it all.
You don’t need to apologize for saying no to someone else.
You don’t need to feel guilty for saying yes to yourself.
You are bold, brave, and beautiful.
You are enough in every second of every day.
You are all you need to be.
Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to stop the hustle so they can reclaim their life and focus on what’s really important. Click HERE to join Heather’s mailing list and receive a free copy of Five Ways To Quiet The Inner Critic.
I have a deep, deep belief that all people have a right to be heard. I’ve reflected a lot on where this belief came from and it goes all the way back to childhood. When I was growing up, I interacted with a lot of different people. My dad was a lawyer and when his clients came over for dinner, I was included in the conversation. My mom taught blind and visually impaired kids and was very involved with her students, so I went bowling with kids that couldn’t see the lanes, met students that were immigrants and Hmong refugees, and saw a whole different side of life than what existed in my white upper middle class suburb.
You know what I learned from this?
ALL PEOPLE ARE JUST PEOPLE.
We each have a story to tell and a right to be heard.
But here’s the next thing (this is going to feel like a ninth grade geometry theorem!):
If I believe that all people have a right to be heard.
And I am a person.
Then I also have a right to be heard.
I remind myself of this whenever I get nervous to share. Or I feel like I’m not enough of an expert to have an opinion. Or when what I’m doing feels big. Uncomfortably big.
You also have a right to be heard. You have a point of view that should be shared – and listened to. Your ideas can change your team, company, and customers. They could have an impact way bigger and broader than what you could ever imagine.
But your ideas can’t change anything if they aren’t heard. Part of being heard is just saying the words. Getting up the courage to raise your hand and SPEAK.
But the other part of being is heard is HOW you speak.
Do you ever start a sentence with “I’m no expert, but…” or “You may have already thought about this…”
Do you ever ask a question when you really have a clear opinion to share?
Do you apologize just for sharing that opinion?
If so, then you are decreasing the power of your idea. Your important message won’t be heard clearly.
Most of the time we don’t even realize all the ways we decrease the weight of our message. They are habits we learn early and they go on autopilot.
But once you know about these habits you can change them! Subtle shifts in the way you speak, write, and carry yourself will have a HUGE impact in how your message is interpreted.
I believe we need more women’s voice in the world. That’s why I do the work I do and that’s why I created Confident Communication for Women – a 90-minute live online class to raise your awareness on all the things that decrease the power of our communication – so that you can change them and BE HEARD.
Be heard in a team meeting. In a job interview. In a presentation. In a salary negotiation. In a client pitch. Even at home.
It’s time for you to be heard. Confident Communication for Women is Tuesday, April 23, 12:00-1:30pm central time. I will record the class and send it to everyone that registers, so even if you can’t make it live, you’ll still get all the information. Cost is just $25 and includes a checklist for writing powerful emails.
I often get asked why people hire a coach and when is the right time to invest your energy and money into coaching. There are a MILLION great reasons to hire a coach, but people tend to fall into one of two broad categories:
You’re facing a challenge and you want help sorting through it and making good decisions
You’re looking to take your business, career, or life to the next level and you want accountability, tools, and support to make it happen
Yes, those are huge categories! You can find a coach to help you on parenting, divorce, weight loss, work-life balance, becoming a CEO, team dynamics, leading change, etc, etc, etc. It can be overwhelming! I want you to know exactly who I work with and can best serve.
First, I work with women! I’ve worked with hundreds of women in workshops, leadership development programs, and in one-on-one coaching, so I KNOW what women are facing and have developed tools designed especially for you. Beyond that, my clients tend to fall into one of three categories:
You’re considering making a career change, but the thought of actually taking the leap is terrifying! Maybe you want to leave corporate and start a business. Or change companies. Or entire career tracks. But you think to yourself, “Can I really do this? What if I fail? Can I be successful elsewhere? What will people think?”
You experience a lot of self-doubt and imposter syndrome at work and want more confidence. You may feel like a fraud, question your skills, wonder if everyone in the room is smarter than you, or hold yourself back from opportunities because you don’t feel ready.
You’re a stressed-out overachiever that wants to take a more balanced approach – while still finding success in your career. You’ve been hustling since high school and you’re ready for the madness to stop! You want to achieve in your career AND enjoy the rest of your life.
Do any of these sound like you? If so, it’s time to schedule a call with me. In this free 30-minute consultation you’ll get clear on what you want and what’s holding you back. We’ll get to know each other, I’ll answer all your questions, and then we’ll decide together if coaching is the right fit for you.
In addition to the massive amounts of personal growth that comes with coaching, my clients have asked for (and received!) raises, received multiple job offers, and created new career paths for themselves. They’ve also learned to say NO so they can slow down, enjoy life, and get the important work done. After coaching they trust their true inner voice and have tools to manage doubt so they can get out of their own way. They are living life and pursuing their career ON PURPOSE. Past clients have said:
“Heather helped me find the answers and get the strength to seek them out. Neither one of us knew where they were or what they were, but she guided me in a gentle way AND supported me in the process when it was super scary and I was full of doubt and fear. And she helped me find the strength to question that fear and replace it with something else that made me feel empowered instead of scared. It was a journey of discovery. Actually life changing in many ways.”
“I feel more empowered. Less timid. I needed that little push to know that there’s more of me I can experience. Those fears are just fears. They can’t control my way of thinking or the way I feel about myself.”
“I learned how to believe in myself and know my worth.”
“Heather is very competent in the HR space and has a strong grasp of organizational dynamics. I never felt judged by her, but she pushed me when I judged myself.”
Click HERE to schedule your free coaching consultation.
Did you know that I make a $50 donation to the non-profit of your choice when you refer someone to me that becomes a client? Go ahead and forward the link to this blog post to anyone that might benefit from coaching – it’s a win-win for your friend and your favorite non-profit!
IMPOSTER SYNDROME! If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably heard of it. But just in case….here’s a quick definition.
Imposter syndrome is just that – it’s feeling like an imposter, a fraud, like someone is going to find you out.
It also means that you assess yourself as lower or worse than you actually are. Like when you get an awesome opportunity and you think, Holy crap, I’m not ready for that! I just got lucky. I only got that opportunity because they like me.
Yep, that’s imposter syndrome.
It manifests in a bunch of different ways, from not going after the promotion or big client because we aren’t sure we can really hack it at that level to keeping ideas to yourself in meetings (especially with leaders!) to staying in a bad job too long because you question if you can be successful at another company.
And it just doesn’t feel good. Wouldn’t you rather feel like your confident, authentic true self rather than a fraud? Yeah, me too.
SO – now that you have your primer on imposter syndrome, what the heck can you do about it?!?
Here’s my #1 tip: NAME IT.
Yep. That’s it. Whenever you hear those imposter thoughts start to circle in your head, stop and NAME IT. Say to yourself “That’s just my inner critic talking. That’s just imposter syndrome. It’s there. That’s cool. I hear you, but you’re not going to make decisions for me.”
That’s it! Try it the next time you feel like an imposter and your inner critic shows up. Let me know how it goes!
Are you ready for more ways to combat imposter syndrome? Click here for Five Ways To Quiet The Inner Critic that you can use today!
As I thought about the research for my book on maximizing learning during development experiences, I immediately knew that I wanted to include something on growth mindset. The term kept popping up in Ted Talks, webinars, and articles and it seemed like a key to ongoing learning and success.
What is growth mindset?
In her book, Mindset: The new psychology of success, Carol Dweck writes, “growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others.” In other words, if you believe you can get better, smarter, faster AND you put effort into it – then you will.
Fixed mindset, on the other hand, is a belief that your intelligence, gifts, character, creative ability, etc are fixed and cannot be improved. We are born with a certain amount of innate talent and we cannot develop past that point.
Why does growth mindset matter?
Carol Dweck’s research repeatedly links growth mindset and continued growth and success throughout life. She provides examples of people that we now view as experts in their field, like Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, and Jackson Pollack, that didn’t show promise early in their careers. It was practice, effort, and experimentation that led to success.
This concept doesn’t just apply to world-renowned individuals. Dweck shares stories of kids that are taught the growth mindset and suddenly say “You mean I don’t have to be dumb?” After this realization, test scores improved rapidly. Belief in their abilities created a new reality.
I’ve always been a learner. I enjoyed going to school, read with a flashlight under my bedcovers, and collected pond water to examine under the microscope I got for Christmas. I started this book assuming that I had a growth mindset. But as I read I realized that while I do have a growth mindset in my intellectual ability, there are other areas of my life where a fixed mindset is alive and well.
There’s one area where I shifted from a growth mindset as child to a fixed mindset in middle school and then again to a growth mindset as an adult – creativity.
I’m guessing many of you will identify with my story. As a child I painted and drew to my heart’s content. I never thought about whether my art was “good”. That changed in middle school when art class suddenly had rules and grades. It was immediately clear that I was not good. Art went from being fun and playful to something I avoided for years.
As I grew older my fixed mindset around art broadened to general creativity. Despite the fact that I wrote poems and loved taking photographs, I did not view myself as creative. My mindset told me that I wasn’t good at drawing and painting and therefore I wasn’t a creative person.
My entire attitude towards creativity changed with one conversation nine years ago. I was working on a global leadership development program and I had just pitched an idea to my manager. She looked at me and said, “Heather, you’re always saying that you want to be creative. You just conceptualized an entirely new module for our program. That IS creativity.”
For years I had equated creativity with my perceived failure in seventh grade art class. Suddenly I realized that the root of the word creativity is CREATE – and I did that all the time. That shift opened a whole new world for me. New ideas came to me with more frequency and ease. I looked at my photography as art. I didn’t just write curriculum for our programs at work – I created them.
I also took this growth mindset with me when I started to write a few years ago. Instead of thinking that I was either naturally “good” or “bad” at writing, I adopted an attitude of learning and enjoyment. I took classes, was open to feedback, and didn’t take myself too seriously. Not only has the quality of my writing improved, I’ve also written in styles that I never considered. I even have two silly poems that I’d like to turn into children’s books! I never would have written them in my fixed mindset state.
Where do you have a fixed mindset in your life? It might show up as a hidden saboteur, the little voice in your head telling you that you’ll never be good at public speaking or math or running. It may emerge as fear of taking on a big project at work or applying for a promotion. It could even appear as a limiting belief around dating, parenting, or belonging.
“We’ve found that whatever mindset people have in a particular area will guide them in that area.” Yes, we are born with certain abilities. But, as Dweck writes, it is curiosity, challenge, and effort that feed our abilities and cause us to learn, grow, and eventually succeed.
What might be possible for you with that mindset?
Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to master doubt and imposter syndrome and own their brilliance. Learn more about her coaching services here.