How High?

I was chatting with a female colleague about how we achieved our ‘manager’ status in highly technical and male dominated industries; television and IT. We both worked our way up from the bottom, a strategy that benefited our knowledge base and understanding of the industry as a whole, and respect for the depth of that knowledge. And it was the only way you did it 25 years ago!

What we both felt was that there is a need to experience the whole to understand the sum of the parts. From a thorough working knowledge, we can appreciate the whole team and the process and what is expected from us as managers.

I have reflected on how much, during the early years, that I chose to behave like a man. When I was asked to do a task that involved some manual labor, I wanted to prove my strength and that I could be as ‘good’ as a man.

When they asked me to jump, I asked ‘How High?’

That was all the option I knew when I was coming up through the ranks of television – that I had to perform at the same level as the guys around me. I was graded in the top three in my year for cinematography, a very physical, male dominated sector to this day. I loved creating images through the lens and lugging a huge camera and tripod around just came with the territory.

But I guess there was something in me that realized the stress that was putting on my body. Because when I was offered my first job, it was as a camera operator for a company that produced sport for television in 1988 – I turned it down for a production assistant job that was office/location based and didn’t require manual lifting to the extent being behind the camera would have required.

There is substantially more female production staff than men, and more technical crew who are men – I feel that balance is right.

What has happened is that a high proportion of women have taken the toughness of the industry on in another way – we have hardened to be resilient and survive the workplace.

This pattern needs reflection and questioning whether this toughness is still required of me as a manager today – and the answer is a resounding NO. As a role model and mentor of younger women working in my team, my priority is to show my femininity and gentleness as much as possible. This doesn’t mean I’m a sap in the executive meetings! The quality of fragility I now choose to express is so much easier on my body and the feeling of power with it is palpable.

Expressing fragility and vulnerability in the boardroom is an effective management tool and one that I am continuing to explore. It feels much more natural for me than the alternative!

With love, Sarah

Changes at Work

On Monday we were told that the business I manage has been sold. The new owners have been in the office for the last few days meeting with all of us and going through a consultation process to get more of an understanding of the business. This deal has been rumoured for many months so the first feeling was relief.

Since Monday’s announcement, I have experienced many different feelings and emotions which has posed the question for me – how much do I see myself as what I do?

There’s the obvious financial reliance on working, and the reflection on the excess in my life. But more than that, I have been contemplating on whether they will see me as a value to them or whether they will let me go.

Read – Will they like me or not?

The deep self-doubt – which I know is not real – has shown me that I still have a need for acceptance that drives how I am in pressured situations on which my livelihood depends. I felt anxious and nervous in one phone call in particular with the new MD and was “trying to say the right thing”. I was comparing myself to him without giving myself the space to see how far I’ve come and to honour my knowledge during the brief conversation. And it stayed with me after that and left me wondering if they were going to keep me on in the new structure.

That feeling of self-doubt is feeding from all the times I was hurt at work in the past. Yelled at, criticised, undermined, patronised, ridiculed – and the list goes on. There’s a battle scar from every one.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying – “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”

Once I got home, I realised I needed reassurance and a hug! With no hugs available, I had a little cry to release some of the hurt I was feeling, and phoned a friend. The support and clarity of true friendship is a God-send and the flow of that ‘let’s de-brief the day in 20 minutes’ conversation had us both laughing and realising that it’s only energy and I will be OK – I am already OK.

How the new business owners see me is their choice and I am not privy to their decision making or their master plan for the structure or my role within that. So today I will allow myself to be more ME and come back to the true knowing that I am OK and will be OK whatever the decision made in the boardroom. I have absolutely no control of that.

Another true friend responded in email to say that “If they are feeling the love you truly are, Sarah, they will either fight tooth and nail to keep you there … or get you out of the door as fast as they possibly can.”. How true is that! And still this morning the giggles over that comment keep a lovely smile on my face.

There is only one solution and that is to keep returning to love, no matter what. And to continue to keep counting my blessings and not my imperfections.

With Love, Sarah

From a Puppet to Essence – No Strings Attached!

Today I watched a documentary on a puppeteer on Sesame Street, Kevin Clash, “Being Elmo”. He felt so shy and sensitive growing up and didn’t know how to express that, so used puppets to be the vehicle. His parents were completely supportive of him making puppets and putting on shows for other children – but what I was contemplating while watching it was – Why do we hide behind a character or a created role?

Kevin is amazing and totally loves being the Executive Producer of Sesame Street and teaching children, being Elmo and working in his field – but his private life is not how he expected – spending more time as Elmo than being a husband and father had an impact and he’s divorced and his daughter had to write to him to remind him that she was going to college soon and would like to spend some time with him.

There is a truth to how Kevin expresses when he’s Elmo – a gorgeous, super gentle, loving quality/essence/expression that loves hugs and kisses and is tender with everyone, no matter what the colour of their skin, whether they are sick or healthy, young or old. And, in truth, every single one of us has those true qualities equally.

The reflection for me as I watched it was how I have spent many years not knowing how to express my essence with others and hiding behind a role or character I have developed to manage my life.

Working in film/television/advertising for 26 years has developed the ‘role’ into a career, which I love and always have (the career, not the ‘role’!). I just haven’t known that it could be possible to express and be in my essence within that. I used to say, “it’s who I am” – now that doesn’t fit anymore with the new person I see in the mirror. The old ‘role’ isn’t able to express my new awareness of the impact I have with everyone I meet.

The ‘role’ was developed over the years and was usually different with people at work, with friends and with family. I was exhausted, frustrated and felt that people didn’t understand me. Truth was that I didn’t understand myself and had no gauge of myself. All I had been shown was that you needed to get on with your career and be successful. But all the time I felt like a fraud. Like I was in a reality television show!! Always performing, on edge and a ‘forced’ persona that wanted everyone to like me. Being rejected was my worst fear.

We play a game of what we are NOT – we put out something we can’t sustain. There’s no where for me to hide anymore.

The groovy reflection of Elmo for me is the quality of expression of love we all have equally and when we allow that love to simply unfold and be super gentle and loving with others and ourselves, a new acceptance begins to break the hardness and protection I have put up as a barrier to keep myself from not being rejected. It’s been my choice to keep people away and stay in separation. Ouch.

Time to take off the puppeteers strings and express uninhibited by patterns and expectations I’ve put on myself in the past.

In slowly developing my connection with my essence, and letting people in, I have been exploring how I can simply be me and nurture the expression of my connection every day while still working in my field. There are times when I am simply me and there’s a panic that creeps in – can it be this easy?

I’m so much more than that panic and self-doubt and will have a crack at that barrier with a big smoochy Elmo hug (no strings attached!) for myself and know that when I re-connect to the love that I am I will always be there for myself and know the true essence of me.

With love,
Sarah

Contemplation on Self-Sabotage

I’ve been contemplating the choices I have made regarding the complacency I have towards myself and the lack of self-honouring with my body, time and money.

When I rush into a decision it means there’s never any space for me to truly feel in my body where the impulse is coming from – from a need, or a lack or to be recognised in some way? (All of the above!)

Underneath there is a strong pull that takes me out of myself when it happens – what’s that about?

There’s part of me that absolutely knows truth, what’s true for me and what’s not – the Soul. And the part that is reckless and doesn’t consider the consequences and treats the body with disregard – the Spirit.

The arrogance of the Spirit part of me has taken me on many a roller-coaster ride of disregard over the years and interestingly, even though I know what’s going on, and can see it clearly – I still choose to be taken for a ride and end up giving myself a hard time for the errors I make when I don’t stop and listen long enough to make a TRUE decision that’s loving for me. It’s crazy!

So the consequences bite me on the arse and I then literally have to pay for my mistakes for years.

What is it that drives that complacent disregard? There’s a conscious decision to leave the wisdom and grace of my Soul to go for a ride on the Spirit’s heady wave of intoxication. I know the feeling and it’s charged with determination and a mind that wants to do whatever is necessary to get or do the ‘thing’.

My wardrobe is fabulous, no doubt about that. But there’s an excess in how I accumulate goods that far out-weighs the loving expression of ME required in a corporate environment.

The force I call in takes charge and uses me like a puppet to manipulate my life, finances, decision making and career and relationship choices. I choose to give my power away to that force and don’t take responsibility for where my energy is coming from. I blame the ‘issue’ I have created as the problem and the gooey mess that is self-created I then have to wade through, stuck with the consequences of not being me – really Sarah??

There was a huge painted sign on a fence in a field on the M40 from Beaconsfield on the drive into London and it said – WHY DO I DO THIS EVERY DAY?

Great question!

Why don’t I simply be the Soul-full Love that I am and stop all the other behaviour that causes me so much pain-full implications?

I have a squillion excuses that are wearing very thin but here are a few to break the ice –

  1. It’s hard to slow down in a corporate environment
  2. I had to respond to the email straight immediately, it’s urgent
  3. That person needed immediate feedback
  4. I ran out of time
  5. I really need that new car, it will be an asset
  6. The suit/shirt/shoes/scarf/lingerie is on sale
  7. I’ve always wanted a (insert a million items here) and I’m earning good money now so am going to treat myself
  8. What the heck!
  9. I don’t trust myself enough
  10. It’s always been this way, it’s just how it is
  11. It’s too late to change
  12. It’s too hard to stop when everyone around me is running a million miles an hour
  13. The world is harsh
  14. I’m not strong enough
  15. It’s like a runaway train I can’t control
  16. Blah blah blah

Serge Benhayon sent me a response to an “It’s too hard – what’s wrong with me?” email yesterday with the very simple “It’s time to count your blessings and not your imperfections.”

The healing I felt was then expressed as TRUTH …

So just to clarify, the choices I’m making to self-sabotage are not being driven by anything from the past? They are from choices to not be the love that I am now

So all I need to do is just be the love that I am and stop punishing myself for things in the past?

“Very correct” came the reply – That’s it? That simple?

Note to self Sarah – take time to contemplate on everything – what I eat, how I eat, what I spend money on, how I send that email and how I type – everything. Slow it down gorgeous.

So my journey deeper to my own Soulful-Self-Love begins and the decision to simply be honest with myself and stop the perpetual motion of the Spirit that has driven me.

A new day, a new beginning and an opportunity to explore how I express with grace, tenderness and deep kindness.

With Love

Sarah

Energetic Responsibility in the Workplace

I completed a day of manager training on Anti-Discrimination and Equality in the workplace recently. The presenter was confident on the topic in relation to policy and the law.

The day-long presentation had a lot of role-play situations with actors brought in for us to see some examples of the topic in action. This made the day go faster, but I felt they missed a huge part of how we interact and the impact we have on our colleagues every day.

The presenter was adamant, and backed up by the law, that no matter what you think, how you behave, what you indulge in, or how you react at home or out with friends – you can’t bring this into work. For example, he said, “if I have an issue with people from a different culture, I leave it at the office door and not let it interfere with how I respond to people in the office”. I agree that this is great in theory …

I asked him (and the group) to maybe see it from a different view.

If everything is energy, then we are energetic by nature. So everything we think, feel and say, has an energy behind it. That energy is flowing through us constantly. I questioned whether that’s something we can actually ‘switch off’ as he proposed.

From my own experience, it’s impossible.

How I live my life is with me when I wake up, when I get ready for work, when I drive my car and when I walk into the office, all the thoughts that have been with me during that time I bring into every conversation, email I send and interaction I have during the day – it’s obvious isn’t it? And then the whole day is in that energy, unless I choose to stop and choose another way.

So all that I am is with me all of the time.

Law, legislation and policy are drummed into us in the corporate environment and there’s a definite need to have that as a benchmark. However, if we are not including energetic awareness in the discussion, there’s no true accountability or responsibility taken – it’s all just words.

I will be writing more on this topic

Sarah

A Corporate Perspective on Energetic Truth

My career in television/film/advertising is now over 26 years. Since 2001, my whole perspective on my work, and who I am in it, has changed fundamentally after meeting Serge Benhayon.

My modus operandi prior to that meeting was always to ‘play it like a man’. The career I chose is male dominated and so I hardened myself to meet men on their terms. I worked hard and played hard; working 14-16 hours a day and drinking and taking drugs excessively for many years. This was off-set (or so I thought) by running about 3 miles a day.

The hardness in my body numbed me from feeling the self-harming way of life I was choosing and was using the industry as an excuse. I was anxious, nervous and reactionary. My outer ‘sales confidence’ belied the self-loathing I felt and that drove my insatiable need for recognition and acceptance from colleagues, managers, clients and inevitably, my family and their expectations.

Mistakes have been made along the way – I have been exploring how I express truthfully at work and it’s backfired sometimes. Due in part to the words I used and in part to the fact that truth is not often expressed in a corporate environment and most people I have encountered find it very uncomfortable and confronting. But that hasn’t stopped me. I will continue to rely on the true knowledge of my own wisdom to support me in my decisions for myself at work, and know for a fact that the impact of truth on my work environment will absolutely affect people. I have a big responsibility with that.

The true knowledge is something I feel to expand on:

We are not taught to connect to the boundless wisdom we have at our disposal when we are connected to our true selves. When I am expressing or listening from my soul, there’s nothing I need to call in from outside me in response to any business situation. Obviously, my temporal knowledge of the extremely technical career I have chosen means I have a lot of tools already learned that I can call on, but when it comes with the wisdom of ME, there’s a confidence and natural-ness that is supportive and true and I will always be able to trust and rely on. True knowledge is there to support everyone equally – no exceptions.

By not being true to myself, I have made some decisions that have cost me financially and that is part of the ongoing ‘work-in-progress’ that is the amazing Sarah Cloutier! I will continue to be strong and consistent with myself and be open to show my loveliness as a woman at work. The change begins with how I treat myself first, then as a reflection to my environment.

The Universal Medicine courses, which I started attending in the UK in 2004, started a process of growing up that has empowered me to take full responsibility for how I am with myself and with others. Serge Benhayon has always asked me to be me – nothing more, nothing less. The techniques I’ve learned, e.g. the Gentle Breath Meditation, support me to re-connect with myself at my desk if I’ve been shaken by the inevitable spin that happens at work when situations occur that are beyond my control. Serge has shown me by example that there is another way to live that will energise me to perform at a level I could never have dreamed of.

No longer will I accept the path of disregard. The illness and disease I see around me every day now is a very real experience for me from the choices I made in the past – I was extremely unwell by 2004 as the consequences of my ill choices came to fruition in my body. The healing techniques of Universal Medicine have profoundly changed my physiology and the weight, tension, angst and years have fallen away and I look younger and healthier now (at 44 years old) than I did in my twenties. Today, I am truly well and make self-loving choices with food, gentle exercise and sleep rhythms that support my busy workload to ensure I am clear and ready for anything that comes my way – bring it on!

I’m proud to say that the changes my mother calls ‘miraculous’ are not a miracle, they are the result of the choices I have made to reconnect to who I truly am and to express that truth as much as I can with the deep kindness I now feel for myself.

With thanks and kind regards,

Sarah

Musings and Reflections

I realise more every day that the quality of me affects everyone around me, whether I am aware of it or not

Working as a General Manager in a Media company, how I communicate is vital to the running of the business and how my team respond/react

I’ll be reflecting here and sharing my experiences so we can start to take more responsibility for how we are in our every day life

stay tuned … Sarah