It's no way to be 

Hands up if you’ve ever felt like a square peg in a round hole. Or that you couldn’t fully relax and be your true self, probably for fear of judgement. 
You might have been labelled aggressive because you were an assertive woman. A troublemaker, not afraid to speak your truth when your integrity is being challenge. 
Maybe you’ve been told to calm down because you were animated and excited, or in their opinion, “unprofessional”. 
Perhaps you were taken aside for a quiet word because you’d been too passionate then got emotional and it wasn’t the done thing. 
Possibly you’ve been too loud and fun to be around (aka popular) and someone else has felt threatened and tried to quieten you down... 
I can give you a list of examples of these things happening to me without even having to think too hard. It used to bother me. I used to care what other people thought so in order to fit in/gain approval/not ruffle feathers  etc I’d end up playing it safe. 
I’d not speak my truth. I’d suppress my feelings. I’d go along with things I didn’t really want to do. Then feel resentful and go into victim mode. Pity parties and how life isn’t fair would be my internal modus operandi. Meanwhile I’d be smiling through gritted teeth. Get out of a meeting and feel like banging my head against a brick wall. 
It’s exhausting. Wearing a mask, not being able to show up as your true self, the grinds you down. It’s no way to be. 

Being visible takes courage 

I’ve realised over the years that there is no point in giving a fuck about what other people think. They will form their opinions about you regardless. Being vanilla, sitting on the fence isn’t going to upset anyone but it’s not going to inspire anyone either. When you’re bland and nice and go along with whatever, despite not wanting to, you’re keeping yourself trapped. You have a choice. 
It might piss people off, but you have to weigh up whether that will ultimately make YOU feel better or worse long term. I once heard a speaker, Amanda ?, talk about your life being like carrying a sack of potatoes...imagine that resentment you are feeling is a rotten potato. What happens if you don’t get rid of the rotten potato? Everything starts to go bad. 
These days there is a term for people who are not on your side and want you to fail at stuff – they’re called ‘haters’. When you put yourself out there, loud and proud you’re probably going to attract more of them into your world. The ones who are watching you on social media, they know everything that you’re up to. They watch you, not to cheer you on but in the hope that you’ll come a cropper. There’ll be something making them feel that way- could they be jealous and want to be like you in some way? Secretly admire what you’re doing but can’t bring themselves to be happy for you? Their problem. Not yours. You are not the jerk whisperer. 
Do not dim your light because its shining too brightly for them. Instead think about those who are a few steps behind you and who are feeling inspired by watching your progress. You don’t have to be climbing Mount Everest or feeding a village in Africa singlehandedly to be inspirational. 
I have someone very close to me who always thought her writing was rubbish. She’d lived in fear of the red pen...she let these limiting beliefs stop her from blogging. Until recently. She’s started writing and it’s flowing from the heart. I was over the moon for her recently when she shared an email from someone who had been inspired by what she’d written to get in touch and share her own story. It was beautiful. And such a boost. You just never know what ripples you might be creating by putting yourself out there. 
Being visible takes courage. Being vulnerable takes courage. The more you do it the easier it becomes. Getting messages from people who read your stuff and take the time to get in touch makes it all worthwhile. It’s a little sign that tells you that you’re on the right path. 
I got this message from a lady some time ago and I’ve printed it out. It’s on my office wall. It says ‘I really connect with all your posts. Just then you made me cry. Thanks for always being so honest and open in your posts. I really value each and every one of them. Hope to meet you in person one day.’ You never know how you might be helping someone just by sharing your experiences. 

Create boundaries, improve your life 

Meanwhile, if you are ever in a situation where you feel like you have to dull your shine for somebody else, ask yourself why. There’s obviously a reason behind it. Why do they make you feel that way? If it’s making you feel uncomfortable or unhappy, what can you do about it. 
Remember that you have a choice. What you’re not changing you’re choosing...when you let this statement sink in it can be a really powerful catalyst. It will help you create boundaries and improve your life. It did mine. Start saying no to things that aren’t serving you. If you’re usually a people pleaser it might take a bit of practice. But it’s worth it. 
When you put your own needs first, you’ll be happier in the long run. You can start to fill your life with things that bring you joy and contentment. You can invest your fucks on things that matter to you rather than wasting them on other people’s priorities. You’ll be setting your own boundaries. If you don’t have clear boundaries, it’s hard for people to know if they are crossing them. 
I was in the company of someone recently who was going through a tough time at work and in her personal life, throw menopause into the mix and it all becomes a shit show. As she talked it was obvious to me that she wasn’t implementing boundaries. Nobody else was being impacted except her. She couldn’t see it. 
I’ve been there. I could see myself as she talked. It took hitting rock bottom for me to make changes. Which is why I share my stories and run my business as I do now. 

Everyone can shine 

If any of what I’ve written resonates please rest assured that you would be in good company at the FAB Network meetings. We laugh, a lot. There’s a relaxed vibe, the meetings are structured yet informal. The energy is high and there’s a warm, welcoming atmosphere. 
You are certainly NOT required to dull your shine. It’s the kind of space where everyone can shine. Or, if you’re not feeling so shiny you can tell us why and we’ll support you to get back to full beam. 
We are a hybrid of face to face and online meetings so geography is not an issue. Our next meeting is 14th June in Nottingham. Women in business travel for hours to come to them. You are welcome to join us and check it out. Here’s the ticket link. 
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