Cotton Eye Joe …Listen Here
The title of this blog are lyrics to a song I first heard in my youth. I had the privilege to vacation with a child-hood friend and her entire extended family. The last week of summer, before we went back to school, we went to a super cute and quaint resort in Red Bay Ontario, right down the road from Sauble Beach. It was a tradition that lasted 10 years and I am forever grateful for the opportunity!
The memories and adventure from our yearly summer vacation was always a highlight for me. We stayed in cabins, swam in the pool and lake, caught frogs (well, I mostly observed LOL). We ate delicious meals provided for us by the resort staff and participated in the nightly theme of activities that the resort facilitated. SOme of my favourites were Euchre tournament night and a Talent Show where the guests had the chance to particulate in entertaining the resort guests. The Line Dancing and Square Dance Night… yes you read that right! LOL was definitely at the top of my list of enjoyment and is where I first heard the song.
How the heck does that song and this blog fit in? The lyrics came to me as I was planning the content for this blog! I knew what I was writing about and this part of the song just popped into my head, so divine! LOL
Earlier this week I had an amazing opportunity to present to a group of women who are a part of the Not-For Profit Foundation Dress for Success Barrie. Myself and three other women I know through Toastmasters (Visit their Facebook page here)spoke to the women about a range of topics associated with workplace skills. Some of the topics we covered; how to overcome anxiety, confidence building tools, conflict resolution techniques, mindfulness and interview best practices.
I was very excited to be a part of the initiative and to collaborate with these women. I certainly did not anticipate how I would feel and what the experience would mean for me until the event wrapped up.
The women we spoke with showed so much courage and vulnerability. They shared their stories; where they had been and where they are going and expressed interest in the areas that they wanted to improve and grow in.
As they shared all of this with us, I was blown away and had so many “ah-ha” moments. I often move quickly and passionately towards goals and action, from one to the next. The other extreme has been when I hit my *sh#%* and am processing another layer of stuff, the fluctuating emotions and riding out that wave and layer that’s being peeled off. Sitting at the table of women on this day made me realize that it is not often that I look back on my success, my past accomplishments. And when I say ‘accomplishments’, I am not referring to the big milestones that look shiny and all materialistic. In reflecting on the stories and subjects being brought up around the table it reminded me of where I have been on this personal and professional journey. I reached a point where I no longer remembered the days where I felt like a complete failure. This bullshit false belief that I could not express myself without ‘getting in trouble’ or lashing out. I held onto my thoughts and feelings so long that all of a sudden, a last straw triggered an ab-reaction
Abreaction; the expression and consequent release of a previously repressed emotion, achieved through reliving the experience that caused it.
I remember spending years hoping, praying and wishing that I would become confident in myself. The people-pleasing syndrome that plagued me for years; kissing A#$, being who I thought others would accept me as and doing what I thought others would be happy to see me doing or include me if I followed trends and popularity.
Three main takeaway’s from that day:
1. I had come a long way and am now in a space that I once wondered if and how I would ever get here. An opportunity to recognize the growth and appreciate all of the events that led me to where I am today. Events that, at the time felt difficult and challenged me. The experiences allowed me to strengthen my interpersonal skills and now that I am in this space, have a whole new respect for the people and events in my past.
2. A reminder that confidence is an ever-evolving skill and characteristic. Confidence is not an overall feeling that is reached and then maintained forever. Confidence is achieved in each aspect of life and once I became confident in one area, a new experience was presented for me to gain confidence. The skill is built on from one event and scenario to the next.
Confidence; successfully completing calculated risks
3. This one was the biggie, the one (this seems to be a theme in the blogs) that, though I consciously and logically knew this, I understood on a whole new level this time around.
What I felt inside, my insecurities and less-than-proud qualities and behaviours that I had, were not as predominant to the outside world and people I interacted with on a daily basis. The negative thoughts and emotions were much more prevalent in my own head. I recognized this because as the ladies shared their struggles and what they wanted to overcome and achieve, I saw that they already had everything within them. The cliché that “if only we saw in ourselves, what others see in us ” could not have felt more true in that moment.
As soon as this awareness came, I moved immediately into gratitude. I am SO grateful for the clarity, kindness and love I have for myself today.
Working with my life coach to quiet the monkey mind that I had running for YEARS so that I could step into my power, to own all of who I am, imperfections and all has been one of, if not THE best gift I could ever have given myself.
Only through my own journey with a coach, could I be able to receive the next big gift, the ability to work with men and women in guiding them on their journey to developing a strong sense of self-confidence, higher self-esteem and expanding on living a life they love!
Dream BIG my friends ♥