Guest post by Nicky Raby, a life coach, actor, writer & mama
Before you became a parent there was always a lot of chat.
‘What are you wearing on Saturday night?’
‘Is he the one?’
‘Do you want children?’
‘Is he good in bed?’… I’m not sure it would be appropriate to ask one of my pals this question these days?!
Then if you choose to become a parent, all the questions will follow and the volume of chatter is turned right up.
‘Do you think you will stay in London?’
‘Are you going to buy a bigger house?’
‘Are you going to have more children?’
‘How do you feel about work?’
Many of my clients come to me because they would like some support as they figure out their next move. Parenthood changes everything. Often we discuss work, career, doing more of what they love, developing a business idea and/or creating their own pic ’n’ mix version of success.
The word success means something different to each individual. That’s why working with a coach is so useful because I can help you figure out your version of success.
The ‘online’ version may be a laptop lifestyle with a 7-figure business jetting around the world. I would love to be a 7-figure business owner but I also have to consider my responsibilities as a mum. With a lairy 19-month-old baby, jetting around the world on long haul flights is not necessarily my idea of heaven. However, the idea of spending quality time with him and going on adventures that will stretch his mind, that lights up my world. There will be time for travelling later on.
Before I offer you some strategies, I would love to share something with you. No-one has everything sorted all of the time. Perfection is a myth. I have worked with clients who, according to their Instagram grid, have everything sorted in a effortlessly Scandi way, but have plans they want to bring to fruition and can’t seem to figure out the first step.
You may have seen my head shots and thought ‘It’s ok for her, she has good hair’. Yep, I do. It is malleable and grows quickly (I could actually sit on it a few months into motherhood- it was a little trampy rather than Disney princess!) but do I think I have the perfect bikini body?! Hell no!
So even if the beautiful filters of Instagram try to trick you into thinking that everyone else has sussed it while you are still trying to get out of bed, give yourself a break. Take the first step. Besides, your version of success may be completely different to theirs and that is all kinds of ace.
- What do you want? If the five-year plan looks scary, just think about the next year ahead. I often ask my clients to complete the ‘Be, Do, Have’ exercise. Grab a piece of paper and draw three columns and then title each with ‘Be’ ‘Do’ ‘Have’. Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t edit or hold yourself back, dream big, believe great things are waiting for you (because they are and you just have to step into them)
- What is important to you? These may be simply words – e.g. ‘work’ ‘family’ ‘fun’ – but see if you can define them more deeply. Family could mean picking your children up from school. Being available for school assemblies. Or a family holiday twice a year or not working at the weekend. Scribble your ideas down.
- Your non-negotiables. These could be relatively small wins: a full fridge, regular exercise, money to spend on your age-defying moisturiser or a bed that is lined with Egyptian cotton and matching cushions. Writing down the details of what you need in your daily/weekly life will bring much clarity. Plus, they may not be what you think!
- What is your Why? What is your bigger reason? Knowing the purpose of all your efforts and daily activities is not only a great motivator but also allows you to track your progress. Ultimately, you may want to move out of London so you can open a wellness centre or run your own freelance graphic design business. Or work in the city five days a week and then turn off your phone on Saturday and Sunday.
- What is the next step for you and how can you support your success? It could be booking a workshop, a course, attending a talk or reading a book. You may have to dig out some old business books you have. Or unfollow some people on social media because they are distracting your progress. Whatever you need to do, do it. Keep moving forward and listening to your intuition. You alone know what is best for you and your family. You can’t get this wrong because you know your situation. Plus, there are so many variables and no two paths are the same. So, if some uninvited and unwelcome ‘friendly’ advice comes your way from someone who vaguely does the same thing as you, you can choose what you do with the information, and figure out whether it applies to you or not.
I have a free video series which will help you expand the points above with a step-by-step guide: www.nickyraby.com/lifeaftermaternityleave
I am also available for 1:1 coaching: www.nickyraby.com/coaching and across social media @nickyraby