Philippa is an excellent lawyer, she’s a superwoman… she also finds it impossible to say NO…
I was speaking to a friend recently, a lawyer just like me and a mum and wife.
Philippa is an excellent lawyer, very sought after and able to command any salary she wants. I can say these things about her, she wouldn’t say them about herself, she doesn’t see it.
We met for the first time in 6 months. We don’t live far from each other, but Philippa has been working such long hours that any time she wasn’t working, she felt she had to spend with her family.
Can you relate to that particular breed of guilt?
We had a lovely evening together talking about old times and our kids and husbands.
Philippa had taken a leap in changing firms after about 15 years. The new firm had “guaranteed” a more flexible working pattern and to honour her days off. I was keen to hear how that was going…
For the first month she worked until around 10pm every night. I rolled my eyes…
I’d expected it. Philippa isn’t just an excellent lawyer, but she never ever says NO. I asked her what might happen if she said no to one of the senior partners.
Philippa thought about this for a while then replied that if she said no to work, they might stop passing work to her. She might lose her client contacts and be seen as unreliable by her team. She wouldn’t be able to bill as much as she usually would and then her position at the firm might be called into question… Have you ever had similar thoughts?
But, is this the truth? I’m not so sure…
I really hoped she’d think again about her workload for the sake of her deteriorating health and so that she has more quality time with the children she adores. I suggested maybe she didn’t need to say Yes to everything both work and non work related…
Something painful struck me after our conversation. Her marriage is struggling. I got the sense she felt it was really quite serious.
You see, Superwoman is amazing. She’s the one meeting all those work deadlines, running projects, managing teams, smashing targets. She orders the weekly shop and sorts out the washing. She helps the kids with their homework and makes sure they have their lunch boxes, swimming kits and forest school clothes!
Superwoman is also the cause of our burnout, anxiety and depression, ill health and marital problems. We need to learn to use her in moderation only, if at all. She doesn’t look after herself and doesn’t know when to STOP.
I’m not suggesting we stop being ambitious and driven, but that we do it another way. In a way that protects our health, sanity and relationships.
I realised this a few years ago before it was too late, I hope Philippa does too…
It’s for superwomen like this that I created Authentically Speaking. It’s my mission to help career women to create lives they love, not just survive.
Right now I’m working with two clients who have fantastic legal careers, lovely families and although I haven’t seen their homes personally, I’m sure they’re beautiful.
So why are they working with me?
Because a life that looks great on paper isn’t the same as a great life.
There are ways to replace superwoman (and when we work together we even have a process for officially retiring her!).
One place to start is to tap into your inner Warrioress energy. In many ways she’s like superwoman but in all the ways that matter, she’s not superwoman. Instead this is a stainable, healthy energy.
To find out how well you know your inner Warrioress, click below to grab my free downloadable guide (it’s really short so great for busy women!)
to your happiness,
your happiness catalyst