Diana is a corporate executive at a leading marketing firm in Chicago. She’s married with 2 kids and sits on the foundation board for the largest health system in Illinois. She’s active in church and several community organizations. She manages a full time job, a family, and a full roster of community service. Diana works in a company dominated by men and constantly feels like she has something to prove. She wants to prove she can handle it all; work, family, community leadership, she’s got it all under control. Or does she? Does this look like she’s got it all together or do you see overwhelm, insecurity, and burnout? Do you see yourself in Diana?
Let me tell you what I see.
I see overwhelm. Overwhelm because she’s not living up to her own expectations at home or at work. She’s taking the kids to swimming, but stopping at Chick-fil-A for dinner. She’s having dinner with the family, but never goes to bed with her husband. She only talks about work and doesn’t “have” time for lunch with friends. She’s suffocating, but refuses to let anyone know.
I see lack of confidence. This is the hardest for women to see. Diana is a Columbia University honors graduate. By that definition alone, she’s a confident woman. But would a confident woman feel the need to prove herself at work? No, right? A confident woman would know the value she brought at work and not compromise time with her family to prove what she already knows. Right?
I see burnout. Diana has gained 10 pounds over the last 2 months. She can’t understand why because according to her she never eats. She doesn’t have time for breakfast, so she grabs a venti cappuccino on the way to work. She works through lunch and switches her caffeine intake to coffee instead of espresso. Three o’clock hits and she’s starved so she eats whatever sweet treat is in the break room or has the staff order Chinese food. Since she just ate right before she gets the kids from school, she serves up more Chick-fil-A and skips dinner. By 10 pm she’s hungry again and since she didn’t cook, orders UberEATS.
I share this story with you because Diana’s story is one that so many women struggle with accepting. And it all stems from this idea that they alone are not enough. All that they offer isn’t enough unless they stay at work after hours, get an additional degree, or pursue another certification. While it may be important to continue your personal or professional development, let it be something you do for yourself, not something you do to prove to someone else you’re capable. Feeling this need to prove ourselves didn’t start with the corporate job at the fancy firm. We don’t connect the dots though and as a result have a hard time breaking the cycle.
If you see overwhelm, lack of confidence, and burnout in you or if you think you might be stuck in this cycle of proving to someone else your value, join me in my upcoming group coaching program where we will dive into how to get out of the cycle and help you stop suffocating at home and work.