Years ago, I was working 80 hour weeks away from home, away from my children, managing a high budget, high profile project, expecting an enormous amount of commitment from my staff. Overachieving as usual, trying to prove that my self-esteem wasn’t really low realising that even though I was in recovery from using addictive substances to manage my low self-esteem, that I’d just moved my addiction onto work.
The funny thing was that my reputation to quote one of my staff was “If you work for Lynn, she puts your balls in a box and then gives you them back at the end of the project.” I took no prisoners. Not only did I have impossibly high expectations of myself, I expected the same from others. What my staff didn’t see however was the guilt, the shame and the crying in the toilets because I wanted to be a nice person and not the ruthless bitch I acted at work.
As an accomplished imposter, I used addictive behaviour to mask my pain and insecurities, to stand up in front of a crowd and perform and make people laugh. No-one knew the real me, not even myself. All I did know was that inside was pain and a self-destruct button that I pressed constantly.
Here’s where I could explain to you why my self-esteem was so low, but I’m not going to. You don’t need to hear the gory details. Let’s just say that through no fault of my own I didn’t develop any.
Eventually, I managed to overcome my fear of being deemed weak if I asked for help. I was pushed over the edge by a close friend’s suicide. He didn’t ask for help and his life was over.
It was a powerful message……
So I asked.
I had therapy.
I got a great coach.
I walked away from my career… My MD/CEO said that he could have chosen to call me one of two things – insane or heroic. He chose heroic, I thought “insane”. (I don’t now).
I stopped running away from life and my feelings and began to face it – head on.
I changed my behaviour.
I felt the fear and faced that head on too.
I learned to manage my thoughts and my self-destructive behaviour.
I took responsibility for my physical, mental, and spiritual health by developing the right support network.
I learned to nurture myself.
Why I didn’t go into detail about why my self-esteem was so low is because everyone has issues of one kind or another in our lives. It’s not what has happened that matters; it’s how we are affected. What’s important right now is stopping that effect.
What you do need to know is that despite everything I’ve got self-esteem now.
Is it at its peak 100% of the time? Hell no. Life happens. But I know exactly what to do in order to protect it and top it up when I need to.
I have learned who “Lynn” is.
I’m no longer an imposter; I’m authentic (which is a hell of a lot easier by the way).
I know Lynn, I understand Lynn.
I know my strengths and I know how to manage and accommodate my weaknesses.
However, there is a caveat. I’m not perfect… I sometimes make mistakes, shock, horror. But I’ve had a hell of a journey getting to this place and all it took was to make one choice.
That life is too short not to be happy with it.
I have done everything to achieve my win in life. I understand that my “win” is to be happy in my own skin, to be happy with the way I live my life, to choose healthy relationships, to follow a career about which I am passionate.
Because I can.
I invite you right now to do the same.
Because I know you can.