Work in Progress?
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
Over the last few days, I have been busy creating faffing with my new website. Having never written a blog before, I was going leave a blank page on my blog with the words "work in progress" or "site under construction", like you see in many a new site. But for me it felt lazy, disconnected and almost disengaged; a concern given that I am now in the business of engaging with people who may want my help. It got me thinking about those 3 words, "work in progress" and how they relate to me as a coach and you as my clients. It got me wondering…
Are we all works in progress?
Do we ever get to that point in life where we have learnt enough, grown enough and had enough life experiences that we no longer need to do anymore? Do we ever get to the “perfect versions of ourselves” and our job is done?
Do we simply accept that the whole point of being authentic and true to ourselves, is that we are always a work in progress... constantly growing and changing and building on the foundations of our life experiences? Chipping things away and letting them go when we no longer have a use for them? Knocking down the walls that hold us back from reaching our true potential? Getting rid of any excess baggage or clutter that may get in the way and slow us down? Closing doors on the past and opening new doors to the future? Maybe adding new rooms or building extensions?
I am the first to admit that I am far from being the “perfect version of myself”. I’m not even sure that’s who I want to be. Perfect is feels far too much like hard work to be honest... not that I haven’t spent most of my life trying to be perfect! Life and solical media today seems to give us a skewed view of what life should be like and how we, as human beings, should think, feel and behave. There is so much pressure to be the perfect partner, the perfect parent, the most successful business person, with the perfect house/car/figure/wardrobe* (please feel free to insert your own personal “perfect” pressure here!). It is almost impossible to keep up with achieving and maintaining all of those things and retain a reasonable level of sanity, even without taking precious time out for ourselves to learn and grow.
About 10 years ago, I had what you may call the perfect life – the big house, the high-powered job, the BMW, holidays abroad every year, designer clothes and the kids were top of their class in school but deep down I was miserable. I spent most of my time and energy striving to be what I felt other people wanted me to be and putting everyone else’s needs, wants and priorities first. On the surface, I was fine but something was missing. My first epiphany (and I’ve had many more since then!) happened during a coaching training session when I was asked how satisfied I was, in that moment, with my life in terms of my different roles – mum, wife, friend, daughter, sister, pharmacist... oh and of course me! I guess its no surprise that my biggest dissatisfaction was with myself. But there it was, clear, in black and white and it really hit home. In the process of nurturing everyone else, I had forgotten to nurture me. While helping everyone else to grow and learn and lead a fulfilled and happy life, I had forgotten that maybe I needed to do that too. I was like one of those buildings that you sometimes see in cities, where they’ve started construction but part way into the build, the work has stopped. The foundations seem strong and good even though they’re not immediately visible – it hasn’t fallen over yet! You can see concrete blocks and pillars with the thick steel wires sticking out, marking where the structure needs to go.. but there it stands, neglected and alone.
From that day, my life changed. Through training to be a coach in order to help others learn and grow, I gave myself permission to nurture and grow and learn about myself. I got back to being a “work in progress”. I learnt the hard way about knocking down walls, closing doors and letting go of some of the ties that were holding me back and it was really painful. On 22 October 2013, I let go of the “perfect life” – mainly my marriage and with it, the big house, the posh car, the designer wardrobe and I set off on my own, to rebuild myself and my life. I obviously kept hold of some treasured things, like my kids and my mahussive shoe collection! It’s not been an easy journey but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Today, I am still a work in progress and that’s ok – the scary bits of steel wire have now been covered up. There are still a few holes to fill, walls to knock down and maybe some brightening up of the décor here and there! But there is so much more room to grow. And even when I have done that growing and learning, I know that there will be more and for me, that is so exciting....
My wish and my call to action is for you to see and embrace yourselves as works in progress... building on the foundations that you have already started, giving yourself time and space and structure to become your brightest and most authentic self. I believe it truly is about the journey and not the destination.
So... go and be a beautiful work in progress...