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  • Writer's pictureJosie Coco

What measure, success?

Day 259/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.

Fear of success, or is it something else.

Sarah makes a very good point this morning that I'll attempt to reflect on here. She suggests that it's the unspoken words that undermine a woman's attempts at success. The unspoken words behind the "I do" when entering a marriage that surface when her career opportunities arise.

Some time on from her writing, the research demonstrates that this may just be the case. Harvard Business Review surveyed a ton of early graduates at the time of graduation and some time later. Initially all genders had similar aspirations for their careers. However later, whilst the men generally maintained their percentages of achieving their goals, women certainly hadn't.

On further examination it was discovered that when it came time to decide whose career would be compromised for the extra care that the children needed, it was an unspoken expectation that it would be the woman's. And often not so unspoken as the men agreed that it hadn't occurred to them that they would need to curtail their plans when children came along.

When are woman considers her success she has traditionally been alone in considering how it will impact her family relationships, she has taken the lion's share of responsibility for those relationships and modified her career and other successes to support them.

This may be changing. I see and hear younger men feeling more into family responsibilities. Let's see how that pans out over the next generation or two.

I've certainly toed the line and compromised my career and income to family and relationships. It felt like it needed to be done. Conditioned into these priorities no doubt contributed. And to some extent, I'm even more committed now than before, to the success of the relationships I have close to me. Maybe that's a function of understanding the importance of connection over career. As we've discovered with CV-19, careers evaporate as quickly as businesses who cannot survive even the briefest downturn in the economy.

Which suggests that our priorities for career and financial success may be misaligned.

If relationships and connection are a priority in times of pandemics, why are we not making them a priority in the good times, times when we are thriving?

There's an element of feeling that we've made decisions and choices as a human race that have not served our greater good. It seems to me that anything that fails to support connection and relationship is destined to fail.

So back to women's success. For me, success is measured by the success of the connections I have, the relationships I nurture, the people I am able to support. It hasn't always been that way.

Our focus on independence fails us when we realise that we are inherently interdependent. You need me to socially distance from you so that your chance of getting CV-19 is reduced. You need me to consider the vax so that you feel safe. As we consider these decisions we are thrown into conflict with each other primarily because we have failed to nurture the kindness and support for each other that this sort of behaviour requires.

Just this morning I engaged with a piece of content that was all about blaming another for the difficulties in life. It was in my view, a vicious attack on the mental health of another that had consequences for the offspring. There are kinder more considered ways of approaching these topics without pitching people against each other. The very article that vilified this pitching practice did exactly that. That's another blog.

I guess what it comes down to, regardless of gender, is how you measure success. If it is measured by means that require you to choose that means over your relationships, you are going to experience difficulties. If it is measured by means that support and include those relationships, then you have a better chance of achieving your goals and being supported to do so.

It's a choice that you can make, in spite of the social pressures.


Simple Abundance

366 days Towards Self-Mastery

When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)

I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.

As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.

My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?

I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.


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