Deep breath! This Christmas, we’re giving you our uncensored vulnerability

This post was originally going to be a practical list of tips to make Christmas easier. But, after an emotional response to an activity in a workshop we gave, we’ve decided this post matters more.

In the training session we asked everyone to write down exactly what goes through their heads when they’re not getting on with it (‘it’ being whatever they’re supposed to be doing, or want to do — professionally or personally). We collected the anonymous notes, shuffled them, and read them aloud to the group.

What followed can only be described a wave of ‘RELIEF’.

Everyone in the room, including ourselves, felt sobered, bonded and determined to try to help each other make things easier by being more open about how we struggle. The overwhelming reaction was, ‘I thought I was the only one. I’m so relieved to know I’m not…’

We won’t share the private thoughts and doubts of the women in our workshop. Our Christmas gift to you is to make public own deepest, private doubts. Bear in mind that these are the thoughts of two women in our 40s who have pretty good mental health and a lot of resilience. Yet, these thoughts still appear like an uninvited internet pop-up and we have to press the ‘x’ to clear them from the screen.

Is it a professional risk to share this stuff with you? Possibly.

Greater than that risk, though, is the risk that you might for one second look at us, the success of our programs, our methods or our posts on social media and mistakenly believe that we have our collective acts together.

Nobody does. Most of us go through phases where we feel more confident than other times, but there are times when we feel we’re staggering through the week with all the elegance of newborn giraffes.

Here are word-for-word and in no particular order the things we’ve thought, told ourselves and believed to be true during our lives and careers—as long ago as primary school and as recently as this week.

  • I’m a bad mum
  • I can’t write
  • What am I doing wrong?
  • That’s horrible, how could I think that?
  • Nothing fits. How did I end up looking like this?
  • I’m never going to be as good as…
  • Just shut up!
  • I’ve completely lost control of my house
  • People are laughing at me
  • I’m leaving myself wide open
  • That was a fluke. How can I repeat that?
  • I have no idea what I’m doing
  • This is hard
  • I’m so stupid
  • I don’t care
  • Why do I always do this?
  • I’m letting my kids down
  • I’m getting this all wrong
  • I can’t believe I said that
  • I’m messing everything up
  • I’ll be happy when…

We could go on, but you probably get the drift. It was a cathartic exercise just sharing these thoughts with each other, let alone sharing them with you.

Here’s the challenge: Imagine recording a stream of thoughts like this and playing it through a child’s iPod. You’re so stupid. You look hideous in that dress. You don’t know what you’re doing. Why did you say that…

It would be unfathomably cruel, wouldn’t it?

Just as we’d try to catch a child in the act of speaking this way to themselves and help them find kinder, more resourceful language for self-talk, we can begin to be more observant of our own language and experiment with more empowering phrases.

That’s our challenge to you.

We’ll be sharing some more about this early in 2016 when we offer a free online Mindset Masterclass to help you wrangle this and other stumbling blocks in your way.

All the best!

Emma & Audrey x

About The Author

Emma Grey & Audrey Thomas

Audrey Thomas and Emma Grey are productivity experts, authors of 'I Don't Have Time' and its forthcoming sequel 'I Can't Be Bothered', and co-founders of the popular online program, My 15 Minutes. They help busy women reclaim their time and energy around the real-life challenges of modern life.

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