Nearly two weeks ago I sat on a stool in an art classroom staring at a piece of A3 paper of a road map/journey with a box at the top titled “What do I want?” lying empty. The previous two weeks had been a rollercoaster and I was at the point where I knew I needed to start making some decisions about what I was going to do next. But that meant having an idea about what that might look like and when @umbarsharif presented us with that A3 piece of paper at the WomenEd Unconference 4, I realised I hadn’t got a clue!
Looking back I’m on a journey that’s been going on for the last 2 years for which the road map has been mostly blurry, unclear and, at times, appearing to be full of walls and I’ve not really been clear where it’s been heading. My “What do I want?” destination has been missing. It’s a journey that has been marred by that voice in my head, the one doing everything it can to hold me back.
Back in April, I heard @621carly speak about thinking yourself limitless and taking control of your inner voice and I decided it was time to let my inner voice speak, to acknowledge all the doubt it contained so I could face it head on. I started writing down what my inner voice was saying. I wrote about talking to people who were cleverer than me and pretending I knew what they were talking about. I wrote about wishful thinking of working part time knowing they were just words because I’d stay in my nice safe world of work wearing dresses from Next and shoes from Clarkes and turning up every morning. I wrote about how I always think of what to say in Senior Team Meetings half an hour after the conversation when it’s too late to contribute. I wrote about how I could look at other job descriptions but I would never apply because my achievements so far were a fluke and everyone would see through me. Imposter syndrome was a big thing for my inner voice.
But as the weeks went by my inner voice started to notice other things. It started to recognise signposts and landmarks on my journey that had been steps towards positive things and that could lead to new and exciting times. Discovering WomenEd in October 2016 had encouraged me to get onto Twitter and start blogging. I had written articles for different publications. I had put my hand up and volunteered to run sessions at conferences (one is the banner for this post). I had applied for and started an EdD, something I’d been putting off because I didn’t think I’d be any good at it (small crack of imposter syndrome creeped in here and was rapidly swatted away). I found a new inner voice that I could use to encourage myself instead.
And it’s that new inner voice that I’ve realised can help me finally fill in that “What do I want?” box and give my journey a destination. Today I’ve filled the box in. I’ve got a goal. I’ve even got the start of a plan for the actions I’m going to take (the other box that has been empty on my A3 sheet). Sat on that stool in the art classroom nearly two weeks ago I’d filled in ‘my inner voice’ as what hinders me but I was wrong. My inner voice should be what encourages me and keeps me going. I’ve harnessed it’s power for good!