'Each and every one of us lives an extraordinary life'

Lower part of teenage girl in casual shoe walking up outdoor colorful stair,teenage lifestyle succes

Making the first steps towards self-belief - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

How often do I hear women in business say “it’s just my job”. 

Whether at home or work they are struggling with their self-belief and their understanding of the value their contributions make. Over the years Sampson Hall has asked many women in business “why do you not employ a cleaner”? Their answer: “It saves me money doing my own cleaning”. You could say this is true if you work a normal working week and then do all your cleaning over the weekend. But this actually means you are working six days, doing the chores on a Saturday and then by Sunday you are so tired and exhausted you have little energy to spend quality time with friends and family. So, if we look at this slightly differently, if you are employed or run your own business and you are paid the same hourly rate or more than your cleaner, then for every hour you are cleaning you are either losing money or more importantly losing precious time to do the things that bring you pleasure and enjoyment, known as a work life balance.

Prior to Covid many of us were ‘time poor’, rushing to fulfil a blend of domestic and work duties and would not even have time to consider ourselves and “me time”. Me time is the time to rest, think, reflect, exercise and socialise. Many ladies feel guilty about doing this but it reduces stress, allows us to gain perspective and recharge our batteries. I will often ask “How can you look after others if you don’t look after yourself?”. If we have responsibilities or are in a stressed leadership position, then we are unlikely to be able to make good decisions. Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others!

A common theory used in business that looks at what motivates people is Maslow’s theory. Abraham Maslow defined the hierarchy of needs, a model that demonstrates that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualisation. Despite being around since the 1940’s it is still relevant today and many leaders will start here when examining their own individual needs and the needs of their team members. We all have physiological needs of food, water, warmth and rest and yet many of us will sacrifice one or two of these and then wonder why we are stressed. How many times have you skipped a meal just to get some work done? Found yourself awake at 3am due to pressures of work, or allowed yourself to become dehydrated because of no time to drink?

The next stage is our needs for safety and security, be it a steady job or sustainable relationship, good health or a safe place to live or simply the need to feel safe in our environment, both physical and virtual.

Belonging and relationship needs are the next level, our need for intimacy and friendship. We need to set aside the time to invest in our families and our friends and I think lockdown has epitomised this need.

Then finally esteem and self-actualisation. Having that sense of achievement or recognition for what we have achieved, confidence in our own abilities and respect for others. Thus, allowing us to fulfil our potential, achieve our goals and become the best we can be. For many these levels have become unclear, we have lost confidence and anxiety levels have risen as our futures have become more uncertain. Currently much of our coaching helps people to reflect and realise the value of their contribution. We all need to set ourselves time to contemplate, this reduces our inner stress levels and improves our feelings of self-worth. How many of us feel we are just ordinary people living ordinary lives? How many of us feel that everything we do is just ordinary? Yet each and every one of us lives an extraordinary life.

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