Nobody will tell you about this female productivity issue
Xmas is a crazy time for all of us and especially for the homemaker who is overwhelmingly still female. I laughed this Xmas as I tried to be wonder woman because this self-inflicted pressure was magnified due to us being in a serious process of fundraising at work. Then I came across an article I wrote eight years ago, and it still makes me smile. I have copied it below because it feels relevant today for the women I work with.
I have been an evangelist for personal development for three decades. Yep, for thirty years I have read virtually nothing but self-help, personal development, psychology and business development. I have spent over £100,000 going to seminars all over the world – Europe, USA and even the Gold Coast. I have studied under every Guru under the sun, who seemed worth listening to, and even spent some time at a spiritual retreat in New York.
If the definition of an expert is that they have 10,000 hours experience under their belts then I must qualify as reasonably able. This amounted to thirty years of training in the area of human potential and, from 2001 to 2016, 10,000 people trusted me to share some of that knowledge through my corporate and public seminars, web casts, products, newsletters, books and blogs.
Impressed? Whether you are or you aren’t, there is another side to this story and it doesn’t sound as pretty or impressive or exciting. And on some level, despite what I know, I am still really confused.
Running in parallel to my ‘WOW’ career I have also been a single mother of three daughters who are now aged twenty, eighteen and fifteen. Nothing is more important to me than my girl’s happiness, and I also think this is where I, and thousands of women that I’ve spoken to, come adrift. This is where confusion, guilt and doubt creep in. Nowhere in the world of personal development have I seen this issue addressed properly.
What do I mean by this? Well, in the world of success psychology, there is an agreed formula. How you define success is unique to you but the supposed process to fulfilment is not unique it is a formula that goes something like this:
Every day I commit to:
- Meditate for at least 20 minutes
- Exercise for 45 minutes
- Eat 80% health giving food
- Drink 2 litres of water
- Take daily green drinks and vitamins
- Visualise, rebound, breathe
- Connect daily with Mastermind Group, Coach or Mentor
- Connect with nature
- Read and learn for 20 minutes minimum
- Set yearly, monthly, weekly goals and just do it!
- Ensure that all of the above serves my missions and values
Does this formula work? No doubt about it. If you follow this plan and deal with your fears, you cannot fail. You can literally have anything you want. The life of your dreams, all the money and success that you want, the relationship that your heart desires, health, happiness and connection to something beyond yourself. The examples of this working are everywhere. Go to a book store and see how many people there are who want to share their story of success with you. See how many people there are who made millions with this method. And I know that it works for me too. I have lived and applied it all and have the stories to tell that prove it.
BUT, not many people will tell you what I am about to tell you next. I have never, in fact, seen or heard anybody in the world of personal development talking about this because most don’t really get it. Some of them are men and (sorry guys) your biology just doesn’t work the same way as ours. Some are single women; some are women without children and some with children and a supportive husband. But where is the Guru that says you can ‘have all the rewards and success you want and bring up three teenagers at the same time – on your own.’
I can honestly say that there have been desperate days when I wept with frustration. Younger children can be looked after by somebody else as their needs are relatively simple. But your teenagers need YOU and you cannot say ‘sorry darling, I really haven’t got time for piano lessons, college research and enrolment, university research and enrolment and then the moving in and out of student accommodation. I don’t have time for GCSE’s and A levels or to help you write a CV and look for a job. I don’t have time to help you pass your driving test and then research a car and the insurance and then go look for a car. There isn’t time for coaching and help with relationships and finances and I really, really, don’t have time for the weekly emotional (hormonal) car crash because I need to maintain a peak state darling and go meditate.
And multiply all of the above unspoken, unpaid work of the heart by three but don’t let it interfere with your formula Tracey, or your day job.
This week I read about a man (single parent) who gets up at 6 am to vacuum the carpets before he takes his daughter to school and it made me wonder if the key is to keep it simple. But then, I know too much to go back and so I hope that tomorrow is calm enough that I can get up at 6am and meditate in the silent day break and that will make all the difference to my day and anything that it throws at me that isn’t in the formula.
Tracey Carr, 2010
Footnote: My wonderful girls are now all wise and independent adults and I have a lot more time. But guess what? I was told (by a male investor) that I am too old for a Tech Start Up.