Brand New Day

The glorious sun rises, sometimes from behind clouds, but it is always there, reminding us of a new beginning. The sun feels like a reflection to me of the opportunity I have every day to re-set and make new choices.

Yesterday was my final day at work – as predicted, they couldn’t get me out of there fast enough and I am feeling relieved to be returning to London, and a little sad that the Melbourne journey wasn’t as I expected. I know I had very high expectations and was in illusion about what the position held and what I thought the job was going to bring to me, instead of the truth – which would be to see the job for what I would bring to it.

I reflected yesterday about a comment from a very dear friend that said “Love yourself a billion percent” – and I know that there is an opportunity for me to have another crack at that in the next job! I know that I will continue to have opportunities to bring another dollop of Sarah to the corporate world 🙂

In truth, in every moment, I can Love myself a billion percent – and with every new sunrise and in every moment, I have that opportunity to change how I see myself and give myself the grace to take the sunrise into my heart and feel that new beginning. And a sense of graceful urgency to begin each day with tender acceptance of change and my responsibility to be me a billion percent.

Yesterday, one of my female colleagues gave me a big hug and said, “I’m going to miss the energy you bring.”

London here I come!

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