Have you ever been asked a question that you could answer perfectly well but for some reason find yourself burbling a slightly incoherent answer and then kicking yourself for the rest of the day? I’ve just been asked (unexpectedly) by a major women’s publication, what does RenewYou actually do for women? I wish I could tell you I gave a coherent and quotable soundbite of a response, but I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t. RenewYou is so close to my heart, so much part of my passion for helping women, that I sometimes find it hard to be objective and so I burbled, hence bruised shins.
I did give her something about Great Ormond Street staff reporting a 40% increase in confidence after running it, or the fact that a large Midlands police force use it to help their gender equality drive, and that I’d run it for journalists, like her, in News UK recently (see picture above), but I could tell it wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted to hear real life stories of women who had been on it. So I thought about it and here are some of those stories (anonymised, obviously):
Bina came on RenewYou because she was intrigued, as she’d never done a personal development course before, and because her employer was paying for it as part of her CPD. She was a bit apprehensive, to be honest. By mid morning she was thoroughly enjoying herself and at the end of the day she said:
“I’ve never had so much time to properly think about myself before in such a safe environment. The exercises are so insightful and it’s been really liberating to talk with the other women. I realise that for the last four years I’ve been on a sort of automatic pilot, doing what was expected of me without really stopping to think if it’s what I actually want. Your phrase ‘live your life consciously’ really struck a chord with me. I feel back in control. I’m going to retrain to follow my dream of working in the arts.” And she did.
Sue did RenewYou soon after she’d been turned down for promotion and was still feeling rejected and undervalued. She said after her day on RenewYou:
“I have stopped feeling like a victim. My confidence has soared; I realise I am control of how I feel about what’s happened and that one rejection is just a step on the path. I will get promotion, if not in my existing company, then in another one. I have a plan and I am going to follow it.”
And finally, Mary. Mary came on the RenewYou day because she generally felt dissatisfied with her life. She didn’t know why but assumed it was her job. She wasn’t happy but didn’t know what she wanted instead. At the end of our day participants are invited to say something, if they want to, about what they’ve got from the day, or what their future plans are. Mary stunned us all by saying:
“I’ve realised it’s not work, it’s my relationship with my partner. I’ve realised I have to leave. I know it won’t be easy but I also now know it’s what I have to do to be true to myself.”
It’s one of the reasons I love RenewYou so much. I didn’t write it with the intention of it being life changing; that’s a happy outcome I hadn’t anticipated. I wrote it because when I was working one to one with wonderful, fabulous women privately they would confess to not feeling confident in their role. There are a plethora of surveys telling us that women’s lack of confidence stops then being high achievers. That last phrase is problematic in itself; what constitutes a high achiever? Is that somethings defined by a our largely male culture and underscored by amount of money earned? Is it something most women want to buy into? Are we women less confident because we’re being judged differently, or trying to succeed in a world where our gender was not taken into account? There are a myriad of reasons.
My aim with RenewYou was simple: I wanted it to make women feel feel good about themselves at the end of the day, and to give them the confidence to be whatever they wanted to be. For some that is career advancement, for some it’s giving up a career and following a dream that might not confirm to the norm. To my knowledge it’s only once resulted in someone leaving her partner but if that’s what she needed to do, all power to her.
And all power to you, too, in following your dream. Never give up; you may have to adapt and compromise from time to time but, if you know what you want, have a plan to get there, get support from those who matter, you will achieve it. Dare to dream!
In November I am personally running a RenewYou course in London. Find out more here. (If you’re subscriber to the blog let me know and I will give you a 20% discount if you book before Monday!)
The photo above is of some journalists and staff at NewsUK who had an in house RenewYou in May this year.
Posted on October 5th, 2016 by Jane