Last week I was asked to talk about what I do professionally to a women’s group I have recently joined. I am passionate about coaching and mindset work and love to share my experience with others on these subjects. After speaking for 45 minutes and ending on the poem by Marianne Williamson which I always find impactive and is a powerful reminder to us all that we have a right to Shine….I asked if anyone had any questions…
Now, I’m a coach and also a Red Cross Emergency worker so I’m fairly robust and well able to hold my own in most situations, however, what I wasn’t prepared for was to be asked about my size, well to be exact ‘whether my size affects my coaching’, particularly by another women, and in a business setting. I think the shock was evident on my face as it was on everyone else’s around the room and an embarrassed hush fell across the room as everyone waited for my response…
To be honest, I’m not sure I did know how to respond at the time but from memory I think I said that I had never had anyone tell me I wasn’t able to coach them because of my size and if someone was bothered by my size then that was their issue not mine. Now a few days on and a weekend away to reflect on it I want to say this…
I am so disappointed that another women, particularly in a business environment, would feel it was ok to ‘shame’ another women due to her size. I wonder if she would have asked the same question if I had been a male presenter, or asked a black or disabled woman if their colour or disability affected their business? I feel incredibly sad that in 2019 as women we are still being judged by how we look and not on how we perform. Michelle Obama wrote in her book about how every morning she had someone do her hair, her make-up, tell her what to wear, whilst Barrack only had to choose which tie to wear!
What that woman did last week was not only attempt to shame me but told every single woman in that room that it was not ok to be who they are, and no matter what they achieve they will be judged by how they look!
I work with women every single day who are a result of other people’s views; parents, teachers, employers, partners etc. Women who have low self-esteem, poor body image lack confidence to go out and live the life they want for fear of what others will think…well let me tell you this. Never ever be embarrassed by who you are, regardless of shape, size, colour, ability etc we are all miracles of nature! With these kinds of views we are encouraging a generation of image driven young people, who feel the need to take 20 selfies of themselves to get the ‘one’ that looks just right, that develop an eating disorder because they feel they need to look a certain way to ‘fit in’
I shared with this group last week, like I do every group I talk to, my own personal life journey, not because I want their sympathy but to show them that despite their past life experiences their past does not have to equal their future, they can become who they want to be.
I am a survivor of child abuse, I’m no longer ashamed of that, but I used to be… I recognise that it has made me the strong, driven person I am. Every day I try to do something to inspire other people who have faced adversity in their lives and show them that it is possible to get beyond these experiences and live a life of purpose and happiness.
For the woman who asked the question of me..
Every single day of my life I work on my health and wellbeing, you won’t know that because you don’t actually know me..you see, my abuse left me with a lifelong eating disorder, one I have worked on since I was a teenager. At the age of 52 with the help and support of an amazing counsellor I am now binge free but am left with the ravages of a body abused by dieting its whole life. My journey continues!
Every day I work on my mindset so that I can be the best version of me and help others in the way that I do.
Every day I watch my mum who lives with us disappear a little bit more through her dementia but feel gratitude for that extra day.
And know this…
Despite my ‘size’ I have supported and empowered clients for the last 15 years, using my brain, my ears and my heart…never my body, to coach.
I have performed on stage with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Despite my dislike of heights, I’ve Climbed mountains, scuba dived, gone white water rafting, skied and leapt out of boats in the middle of the ocean.
I’ve travelled to work out in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and slept in a tent for 2 weeks. I’ve held people who lost loved ones in the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire, and been awarded The Red Cross Henry Durrant award twice.
I’ve cycled for 50 miles, and walked 13 blistered miles through the night dressed in a bra for charity
I’ve walked 102 miles on holiday just for fun, and went down an olympic bobsleigh run at 60 miles an hour…dont ask!
I’ve run a health retreat in Spain for 12 months because I wanted to help others.
And most importantly I’ve always been my authentic self. I’ve never presented as perfect or hidden my personal challenges. What I hope I have done through my openness and honesty is to inspire and empower people to know that despite their challenges they can still go on to achieve a happy and successful life.
Life is a constant learning process and I continue to work at being the best I can be.
There are many people out there, both men and women fighting a daily battle with mental health issues, they need love, support and encouragement, not judgment. Behind every single person is a story, their story…so before you judge anyone
And for yourself, be the best you can be…
Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us. We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of the world.
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, As children do. We were born to manifest
The glory of what is within us. It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Finding yourself stuck right now, no idea how to move forward away from where you are?
Lacking in confidence, suffering from low self-esteem?
Why not join my new 12 week Life Transformational programme for women, “SHE WHO DARES SHINES’
Starting on the 1st of April
Find out more here https://www.debihaden.co.uk/she-who-dares-shines/