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They say comparison is the thief of joy; self-doubt is the thief of...well, there are multiple ways to end that sentence really.  Achievement?  Happiness? Content?

For many of us I think it'd be fair to say that we're our own worst critic.  I can be unduly harsh on myself for all manner of reasons, but I'm beginning to wonder it's the lurking self-doubt which is most damaging.

After all, the voice which tells me I look like crap when I wake up can be pushed down upon application of make up.  The devil on my shoulder frowning as I even consider having a hot chocolate is punished with a gruelling spin session.  I've given two time-specific examples, but in reality these voices are ever-present and they shout.  The other week I tried to keep a tally of how many times throughout the day I had any negative thoughts pertaining to food or my weight and I simply couldn't keep up.

But loud as they may be....I don't *think* they affect me too deeply.

It's the thoughts that I'm not good enough which are most detrimental.  I'm not focusing on body image here -  I'm thinking career, specifically.  Where there's the suspicion that I'm not competent enough, that I'm an imposter waiting to be found out, that I'm not up to the job.  These are the thoughts I'm most worried about.

I know this idea isn't something specific to me, and in fact research shows that women as a whole suffer from a lack of confidence in a way that their male counterparts don't.  It's known as The Confidence Gap and is a concern because it often overshadows female competence and sees us underachieving compared to male colleagues.

I've noticed it a few times at work recently.  I work in a team of three support staff and if there's even a hint of a mistake being made, I'm having an instant cold sweat and owning up to it.  Even if it's not me.  And when it is, I respond with a clear apology, offer to make things better and mental butt-kicking.  My male colleague?  A quick nod and "ok" with none of the longlasting dents to his self-esteem.

Let's look at some statistics:
// 65% of women lack the confidence to pursue a promotion;
// 61% lack the confidence to request a payrise;
// 56% won't ask for a new role or position; and
// 73% won't go after a job which is outside of their experience

Admittedly I don't have any male statistics to reflect on, but regardless these figures speak for themselves.  I'll certainly hold my hand up and say I'd put myself in with the majority on the numbers above. 

And sadly there's no quick fix.  No magic formula to spirit away all thoughts of self-doubt and replace it with assurance and sass.

Baby steps of course, but I think a lack of confidence needs to be dealt with much like facing a fear head on.  Ignoring the sweaty palms and stepping up.  I was part of the 61% until I swallowed down the shake in my voice and asked for a payrise.  It was scary and my stomach was flipping, but I did it.  And I got my payrise and a little bit of confidence to boot.

We need to work on not doubting ourselves.  On building our own hype and believing in it so that we're empowered to go forth and achieve.  To speak out, chase dreams and be recognised for our capabilities.

Step one?  Beyonce of course.  Run The World (Girls).  On repeat.

Thoughts on Self-Doubt

22.3.17

They say comparison is the thief of joy; self-doubt is the thief of...well, there are multiple ways to end that sentence really.  Achievement?  Happiness? Content?

For many of us I think it'd be fair to say that we're our own worst critic.  I can be unduly harsh on myself for all manner of reasons, but I'm beginning to wonder it's the lurking self-doubt which is most damaging.

After all, the voice which tells me I look like crap when I wake up can be pushed down upon application of make up.  The devil on my shoulder frowning as I even consider having a hot chocolate is punished with a gruelling spin session.  I've given two time-specific examples, but in reality these voices are ever-present and they shout.  The other week I tried to keep a tally of how many times throughout the day I had any negative thoughts pertaining to food or my weight and I simply couldn't keep up.

But loud as they may be....I don't *think* they affect me too deeply.

It's the thoughts that I'm not good enough which are most detrimental.  I'm not focusing on body image here -  I'm thinking career, specifically.  Where there's the suspicion that I'm not competent enough, that I'm an imposter waiting to be found out, that I'm not up to the job.  These are the thoughts I'm most worried about.

I know this idea isn't something specific to me, and in fact research shows that women as a whole suffer from a lack of confidence in a way that their male counterparts don't.  It's known as The Confidence Gap and is a concern because it often overshadows female competence and sees us underachieving compared to male colleagues.

I've noticed it a few times at work recently.  I work in a team of three support staff and if there's even a hint of a mistake being made, I'm having an instant cold sweat and owning up to it.  Even if it's not me.  And when it is, I respond with a clear apology, offer to make things better and mental butt-kicking.  My male colleague?  A quick nod and "ok" with none of the longlasting dents to his self-esteem.

Let's look at some statistics:
// 65% of women lack the confidence to pursue a promotion;
// 61% lack the confidence to request a payrise;
// 56% won't ask for a new role or position; and
// 73% won't go after a job which is outside of their experience

Admittedly I don't have any male statistics to reflect on, but regardless these figures speak for themselves.  I'll certainly hold my hand up and say I'd put myself in with the majority on the numbers above. 

And sadly there's no quick fix.  No magic formula to spirit away all thoughts of self-doubt and replace it with assurance and sass.

Baby steps of course, but I think a lack of confidence needs to be dealt with much like facing a fear head on.  Ignoring the sweaty palms and stepping up.  I was part of the 61% until I swallowed down the shake in my voice and asked for a payrise.  It was scary and my stomach was flipping, but I did it.  And I got my payrise and a little bit of confidence to boot.

We need to work on not doubting ourselves.  On building our own hype and believing in it so that we're empowered to go forth and achieve.  To speak out, chase dreams and be recognised for our capabilities.

Step one?  Beyonce of course.  Run The World (Girls).  On repeat.

Week 11 turned out to be quite a busy one.  My sister came back from being in Australia for the past six weeks, I've been upping my fitness game in terms of training and nutrition and we've had a few mornings where it truly felt as though spring was on its way...albeit followed by a couple of very blustery afternoons.

But there's more!

Here are a few highlights in photos from the week...


As I mentioned, Zara came back from adventuring around Australia since the beginning of February.  It's funny to think of my baby sister off exploring the world on her own....going further afield than any of our family has done before...but the memories she's made and the sights she's seen sound incredible.  She met me for a very jetlagged (on her part - I was just suffering from the usual midweek slump) lunch break and do you see that streak of sunlight there?  We stayed indoors but feeling the warmth of the sun through the window was a welcomed treat.


I'm lucky enough to work close enough to home that I can pop back for my lunch, but had gotten out of the habit for the last few months.  This week I made the trip a couple of times and really enjoyed taking time out of the office to chill out for a bit before heading back to work.  And I think Dudley enjoyed the company too!


So experience has taught me that kids parties are an awkwardly hellish affair. Too loud, too manic, too cliquey - especially when you consider I tend to go in my auntie capacity so don't know any of the other parents...it's just not my thing.  Being the doting aunt that I am, however, last weekend I took Ella to a pottery painting party which turned out to be a very civilised affair!  The venue itself had a coffee shop vibe, with oversized armchairs and homemade cakes, and because it started mid-morning we were back home by lunchtime.  And there were no sugared-up kids running about....more parties like this please!

And as a bonus Moment (without the accompanying snap)....this week we booked out girlie holiday to New York!  I say "we", I mean the organised one of the group to whom I am eternally grateful for pretty much acting as my PA for all social activities.  We're going for a group birthday trip at the end of September and I can't wait!

Week 11 in Moments

20.3.17

Week 11 turned out to be quite a busy one.  My sister came back from being in Australia for the past six weeks, I've been upping my fitness game in terms of training and nutrition and we've had a few mornings where it truly felt as though spring was on its way...albeit followed by a couple of very blustery afternoons.

But there's more!

Here are a few highlights in photos from the week...


As I mentioned, Zara came back from adventuring around Australia since the beginning of February.  It's funny to think of my baby sister off exploring the world on her own....going further afield than any of our family has done before...but the memories she's made and the sights she's seen sound incredible.  She met me for a very jetlagged (on her part - I was just suffering from the usual midweek slump) lunch break and do you see that streak of sunlight there?  We stayed indoors but feeling the warmth of the sun through the window was a welcomed treat.


I'm lucky enough to work close enough to home that I can pop back for my lunch, but had gotten out of the habit for the last few months.  This week I made the trip a couple of times and really enjoyed taking time out of the office to chill out for a bit before heading back to work.  And I think Dudley enjoyed the company too!


So experience has taught me that kids parties are an awkwardly hellish affair. Too loud, too manic, too cliquey - especially when you consider I tend to go in my auntie capacity so don't know any of the other parents...it's just not my thing.  Being the doting aunt that I am, however, last weekend I took Ella to a pottery painting party which turned out to be a very civilised affair!  The venue itself had a coffee shop vibe, with oversized armchairs and homemade cakes, and because it started mid-morning we were back home by lunchtime.  And there were no sugared-up kids running about....more parties like this please!

And as a bonus Moment (without the accompanying snap)....this week we booked out girlie holiday to New York!  I say "we", I mean the organised one of the group to whom I am eternally grateful for pretty much acting as my PA for all social activities.  We're going for a group birthday trip at the end of September and I can't wait!
Guidance |  If you're just starting out then bullet journalling can seem daunting.  There's a lot to get your head around and there's no way you can get started without a basic understanding of the system and how everything works.  I'd recommend starting here to get in a idea of what it's all about and then heading over to Boho Berry for a more practical look at how the bullet journal can be used..

A notebook |  No brainer, right?  The beauty of the bullet journal is that you can use any notebook and don't necessarily have to face any upfront cost just to get started.  A dotted Leuchtturm or Moleskine tends to be the norm but you definitely don't have to stick with either of these.  Personally, I like the clean look of the dotted Leuchtturm which makes it my notebook of choice; definitely order through Amazon (where they tend to be cheaper) and there's also the official bullet journal version available.

Pens |  Another obvious one; you're going to want pens that aren't going to bleed through the page and spoil all the effort you've gone to in getting your notes looking nice.  I use these for the basis of all of my journalling and then have a couple of coloured pens for accents.  A good place to start is with Staedtler Triplus Fineliner and the Tombow Brush Pens are great for bulk washes of colour.  And so many shades to choose from, too!

Things that need organising | A bullet journal isn't going to be for you if you don't have any ideas about things you want to track or organise as this is definitely where the fun kicks in.  Nobody needs another half-used notebook sat in their collection and if you have nothing to journal then there's no point in even considering starting.  Monthly and daily to do lists are a given, but if you're struggling beyond this then check out this post for more inspiration.

Time |  I don't think I realised when I first started quite how much time bullet journalling can take up!  Mapping out and drawing spreads can easily eat up an hour or so, so be prepared to invest your time if you want everything to look just so.  Thankfully I've found a more minimal (and quick!) style of layout which is both pleasing aesthetically and suits all of my needs. 

The 5 Things You Need To Begin Bullet Journalling

15.3.17

Guidance |  If you're just starting out then bullet journalling can seem daunting.  There's a lot to get your head around and there's no way you can get started without a basic understanding of the system and how everything works.  I'd recommend starting here to get in a idea of what it's all about and then heading over to Boho Berry for a more practical look at how the bullet journal can be used..

A notebook |  No brainer, right?  The beauty of the bullet journal is that you can use any notebook and don't necessarily have to face any upfront cost just to get started.  A dotted Leuchtturm or Moleskine tends to be the norm but you definitely don't have to stick with either of these.  Personally, I like the clean look of the dotted Leuchtturm which makes it my notebook of choice; definitely order through Amazon (where they tend to be cheaper) and there's also the official bullet journal version available.

Pens |  Another obvious one; you're going to want pens that aren't going to bleed through the page and spoil all the effort you've gone to in getting your notes looking nice.  I use these for the basis of all of my journalling and then have a couple of coloured pens for accents.  A good place to start is with Staedtler Triplus Fineliner and the Tombow Brush Pens are great for bulk washes of colour.  And so many shades to choose from, too!

Things that need organising | A bullet journal isn't going to be for you if you don't have any ideas about things you want to track or organise as this is definitely where the fun kicks in.  Nobody needs another half-used notebook sat in their collection and if you have nothing to journal then there's no point in even considering starting.  Monthly and daily to do lists are a given, but if you're struggling beyond this then check out this post for more inspiration.

Time |  I don't think I realised when I first started quite how much time bullet journalling can take up!  Mapping out and drawing spreads can easily eat up an hour or so, so be prepared to invest your time if you want everything to look just so.  Thankfully I've found a more minimal (and quick!) style of layout which is both pleasing aesthetically and suits all of my needs. 

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