Coming back from my own Annus horribilis

1 Jan
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2016 for me personally was the most testing year of my life.

It’s the New Year and I have never felt as excited as I do this year, born simply from the fact that 2016 is finally over. All you have to do is look at the amount of incredible people we lost during the year. Let alone the shocking political changes of Brexit and the presidential election to see that it is a year that will be remembered for the fact we endured, rather than enjoyed, with potentially tremendous consequences we are yet to feel.

2016 for me personally was the most testing year of my life. I lost my business, my dreams, my income, was stalked and in the process fell out with my sister who I have grown up idolising. I was broke, scared and low really low. I lost my way, my purpose and as a result my drive and with my thirtieth round the corner I felt I was headed for an early life crisis.

Why am I telling you all this? Because with the New Year I feel like I have turned a corner that was last year, it’s in the past. This year more than ever feels like a new start, a year for action, a year for valuing myself because I am capable of anything and determined to achieve my aspirations. But most of all doing what makes me happy with purpose.

In the last year whilst down on my luck I withdrew more observing life than living it. Whilst licking my wounds and observing others I was shocked by the lack of value and credit that some of us particularly women give ourselves. Not that men don’t also suffer from a lack of self confidence, they do but I have noticed it is my female friends more than my male ones who seem to suffer the most. Brilliant, intelligent, beautiful, enigmatic, incredible, talented, charming women who deserve the very best, yet seem to be settling for less.

As I approach 30 I am seeing more and more panic buying into relationships as the biological clock begins to tick. Or for those who do not want children their need for validation from the opposite sex and companionship drives them to lower their standards and settle, dumbing themselves down for the comfort levels of others. It seems it is better to have someone than no one regardless of whether they are right for you or appreciate you. I have thought for a long time now that the route of all evil isn’t money but fear and it seems we are all scared these days. Scared to stand out. Scared to have an opinion in case of offending someone or being judged. Scared of being alone and it drives us to settle for less than what is worthy of us.

Today is a golden age, anything is possible right? Technology is advancing at a rapid artificial intelligence is in our homes for God sake. The world is getting smaller traveling has become a rite of passage into adulthood with more opportunities to work abroad as well as virtually making a work life balance actually achievable. We are living longer and experiencing much more, the opportunities are endless! The world really is our oyster!

Yet for a world striving for equality, women are still hitting the glass ceiling, having to work twice as hard than their male counterparts to prove their worth and that they are not there just to meet a diversity score. We are still not rewarded equally and for those who have climbed the ladder are still accused of getting their for by other means than their capability and talent. All of which goes unreported we all know what is at stake if we do.

There is a great line in the Man from Uncle film directed by Guy Ritchie when describing the female villain.

“All our information indicates a lethal combination of beauty, brains and ambition”

Which me describes beautifully what it means to be a high value. Looks may get you in the door, but it’s our brains that will keep us there and our ambition and being brave enough to stand out that drives us forward.

Yet still women who fit this description are for some reason undervaluing themselves. Women who strive for equality and success yet, settle for conformity and undoubtedly less.  

Instead choosing to dumb themselves down to follow the trend of what is perceived to be the perfect life on social media. Setting unrealistic ideas of perfection that feed the inner critic and stops them getting on in life. This is true of men and women, men are just as held back by self doubt as women. In fact the expectations and pressures on men today are greater than ever.  So I urge you to remember your own worth and value, to strive for what you want. After all this life isn’t a dress rehearsal so what are you waiting for?

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