Mothers in business- open your eyes…

Here’s the thing- I don’t normally blog about biz shiz. I’ve used this space for birth and motherhood stuff, and kept my business and purpose coaching content in the dedicated Facebook group, talked about it on Insta a bit, but for a couple of reasons, it’s landing here now.

First, because this part of the brand is getting pretty HUGE- our growing community of mothering entrepreneurs is on fire, and it suddenly feels crazy that it’s not represented here.

Second, because I did this thing last week. I did this thing, and it’s been something of a wake up call about the scale of the need for what I do. And what exactly is that?

It’s not easy to nail it down, so I asked some of the women who’ve worked with me. They said things like…

Changed my mindset and my life.

Shifted our energy.

Supported me to discover my worth and my potential.

I love how you use your voice and don’t hold back. I’ve started doing the same now but wouldn’t remotely have done this without seeing you do it first.

If I had to sum it up, I’d say that I work with frustrated, powerful women, shifting their perspectives so that they can trust themselves, and claim a life lived on purpose.

But what does THAT mean? Because I like to speak plainly. I encourage them, direct them, prod them, to open their fucking eyes. To open their eyes to the ways in which they’ve shrunken into expectations. The ways in which they’ve conformed and transformed, from the version of themselves that had some sense of their right to a fulfilled and abundant and liberated existence, to the one that feels trapped and limited and tired of it.

For many, the downward spiral in their self confidence has been prompted by motherhood, for others, the arrival of their children has just enhanced or uncovered long term beliefs.

Beliefs like, ‘I’m not good enough. I’m not clever enough, not well spoken enough, not pretty enough, not polished enough, not toned enough, not certificated enough. People will judge me- for my efforts, my desires, my approach.’

And so, if they even dare to start something they feel excited about, they do so incredibly tentatively. They TONE. IT. DOWN. Play safe. Bland. Keen to offend no one, and so not really connecting with anyone.

Their dreamboat clients are scrolling, searching for that spark, for the provider who GETS them. The one who seems to be in their heads, speaking their language, and they’re met with VANILLA. And it’s like, ok, they’re all the same- who is cheapest then?

And so, these wonderful women end up offering these slices of themselves at lower and lower prices, and/ or sell far less than they’d hoped. Further down the spiral they go, now they have the proof they needed, that no one wants what they’ve got. Except no one knows what they’ve got.

They wanna quit a bit, but they’re possibly chasing initial investments. They may have tension at home on account of their spending on their venture, and the time and energy they’ve poured into it. They feel deflated, embarrassed, lost.

These are brilliant women. Women with incredible potential, not only to create more of what they want for themselves and their families, but to CHANGE LIVES all around them. But they’re half beaten before they’ve even begun.

WHY, THOUGH?

Because of the conditioning I will describe below, the sentiments of which were directly reflected in some of the advice I heard given last week.

Society tells women, again and again, be palatable. Be tolerable. Be quiet. Blend in. Don’t disrupt the status quo. Be a good girl, a nice girl. Don’t enjoy yourself too much, and certainly don’t admit to experiencing pleasure. Don’t share your opinion- unless it’s a judgemental one about another woman.

When you glance at the women’s magazine stand, you are reminded- I must be perfect, yet bland,  to avoid criticism. I must do it quietly and discreetly, and I must make it look easy. And if I see other women not conforming to these expectations, I must engage in judgement- I must become a double agent for the patriarchy, so they can keep us all in line. Heaven forbid she dares to break the rules if I don’t.

Women earn less than men, have fewer of the top jobs and therefore less power and influence in our society, because we believe we need to be this very particular way in order to succeed.

Generations of our female ancestors have rationally feared persecution, violence and ruin. It’s not been safe for them to speak and act in alignment with their values and beliefs (as is still the case in many places in the world). They’ve been mothers and wives, and nothing else, even if they’ve wanted to be. We carry that story around with us today, guilt and fear striking us down when we wish to reconnect to our authentic selves, and to share that absolute babe inside with the rest of the world.

Of course it’s a struggle to break free when the consequence of being true to yourself, and taking up the space you desire to occupy is clear. JUDGEMENT.

Those who benefit from patriarchal, capitalist structures are laughing at us gals. Howling. They’ve got us doing their work for them- keeping each other in line with our intolerance of the women who are ‘too much’.  Imploring each other to stay classy (vom) and measured at all costs. So much so that we are afraid to do ANYTHING. The advice I heard given included something like, ‘If you go to post something, and you think- maybe this will be a bit off putting for someone I might like to work with in some future facet of my business- then just delete it, don’t risk it.’

In other words, moderate yourself, not just with today in mind, but with all the ambiguity of the rest of your life spinning round your head too. CAGE THYSELVES ladies. Better to say nothing at all.

Never mind that TODAY, those people whose lives you could change, whose payments could enhance yours and your family’s lives, those people are searching for you… there they are, begging for the appearance of SOMEONE in the crowded, homogenous online landscape.

Never mind you spending hours of your life and buckets of your blood, sweat and tears (oh the tears) second guessing yourself, your worth, the benefits to the world of you being seen and heard.

Well, you know what? FUCK. THAT. There is absolutely no way I’m going along quietly with that. Are you?

If you want to put out copy and content and rhetoric that is massaged and ‘corrected’ and impossible for anyone to take offence at- GO AND GET A JOB. Go and consciously embrace the bullshit norms dictating how women should operate. Submit- you might as well.

If you want to live a life ON PURPOSE, one where your business and your brand is an extension of who YOU are- reflecting your values, your vision for the world, your VOICE, then go all in. It’s the ONLY way it’s gonna work for you- not just in terms of financial success but more importantly, in allowing you to operate from ease, courage, and joy. This is your LIFE.

I invite you to consider what you want your kids to see as acceptable. I’m totally alright with my kids dropping the F bomb every now and then- I’m not ok with them growing up believing you have to squeeze yourself into a box to succeed, adhering to social contracts in order to keep people you don’t align with in comfort.

I also want them to know that it’s SAFE to make mistakes- that there are wins and there are lessons- more of both when you commit to LIVING, rather than trying to. When we avoid vulnerability, we may save ourselves some pain, but we will miss out on more opportunities, more connection, more life. I know which I want for all of us.

The biggest jolt of all I felt within this experience was being part of the most bizarre interaction with another woman. Disagreement is healthy, of course- debating our perspectives on a level playing field- I think women are really good at that. At an event I hosted last month about Feminism itself, respectful disagreement was rife, and we connected, learned from each other, laughed together even. The women there had raised their consciousness to peek over that magazine stand and into each others eyes.

Back to the occasion that prompted these reflections, let me say, I was thrilled to be asked to be there, because I like and respect two of the women who were organising it enormously.

Once it kicked off, led by someone else, contrasting perspectives felt unwelcome to say the least. I wondered, beyond the evening, whether I’d overestimated the oddness of the tone of the conversation, until a fair few of the attendees contacted me to tell me what I thought I knew, and to check on me.

And I’m ok- I’m a big girl. It wasn’t a big deal for me on a personal level, even to learn that this person had continued to be rude about me and my business beyond the panel discussion (their words). I know that how people behave towards us tells us everything about them, and nothing about ourselves.

It was a GIFT of an experience- and so I’m compelled to unpack it, even if there is discomfort, and there is. I’m really aware of how it might land for some people- see the irony here if I don’t speak up? I can hardly be coaching women to dare to share if I am in analysis paralysis myself.

Within this gift, I’m reminded of the following…

Whilst I surround myself with people who lead with love and kindness, and who are brimming with integrity, these people are still the minority. There is work to do.

Whilst I know that there is bountiful potential for purposeful, authentic, rewarding life within women all around me, they are unable to know that themselves, because this limiting, fear driven framework is everywhere they look. There is work to do.

Without my voice, and voices like it, the status quo goes on. THERE IS WORK TO DO.

 

Come and be a part of the shift in our Facebook Community, Work Like A Mother.

(We get together once a month in real life too, for judgement free sharing and learning).

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