Thanks to Tash Thies for sharing this beautiful story – from overwhelm to world changer!
For 12 years now my family and I have lived in the Northern Territory. Most of these years my husband has been a station manager. When he moved up the ranks to station manager I acquired a position as his assistant. Now there are many ways this role can be described, but essentially it’s the glue that holds all the bits together and supports all the stuff to enable the business to happen. From the office to the kitchen, the guest room laundry, the social club, the garden and the crew (our people) you name it – there is always a need to be tended too and these needs are taken care of by the assistant. This sure wasn’t how I ever thought my life would pan out, this was not the way I thought I would be spending my days raising four beautiful boys.
So much to do, a constant hustle and juggle. After a few years of wading through said hustle and juggle trying to find my way or even a way, I got to being completely overwhelmed.
About four years ago I clearly recall THE DAY. It was a seemingly normal day. We had risen early, spent some time in the office lining up what needed done for the day, got the kids off to school then headed across to the yards. Next we unloaded trucks, processed, penned off and fed up. I then headed straight back to the office to smash out the paperwork before school pick up and getting organised for the next day’s pending visitors.
It was so hot and I was so tired.
The overwhelm was bubbling up from the pit of my belly and I felt I couldn’t control it any longer. It seemed as though we had been at this for ever with no reprieve. Never the less onward and upward hey! So off I ripped to get the floors mopped, windows cleaned and dusting done. Just as I finished mopping, in the door came my husband, muddy work boots on, looking so exhausted, just busted. But boots on, right?!?!
I gave in to the overwhelm, the cattle computer transfers and payroll stuff could wait because I was going there. And go there I did! I let it out.
Eventually after a tirade of accusations and blame I ended up on the floor of the kitchen sobbing uncontrollably, feeling so isolated, unsupported and out of control. All I could think and or say was “Look what you’ve done to me, look at the mess your love for this job has created, what am I going to do, I’m not cut out for this, I can’t handle this lifestyle, maybe I’m going mad!”.
Like an old vinyl record this was on repeat in my head and was seeping out into our life and tainting it all with the bitterness and fear I was feeling. Fear of not being good enough or not being right or not measuring up against my peers.
Fortunately, my husband’s a real good egg (not any of the things I had previously accused him of or blamed him for) and he scooped me up took me off to bed and tucked me in. He told me to sleep until I felt I could face it all again. When I resurfaced, he’d done all the stuff and everything was just as it needed to be. We soldiered on. This was the pinnacle of a pattern of behaviour that continued on, with the soldering on, for a good 12 months before I began to really notice some serious impacts in my life.
Major cracks were forming in my marriage, the boys were increasingly distant and unhappy even getting into trouble at school. I was desperately unhappy, overwhelmed, frazzled, sick and tired. Our whole lives revolved around work. It’s all we did, all we talked about with each other, our friends and family, seemingly all we knew. In all the chaos of marital fights, struggles with the boys, lost friendships, that same old chestnut kept popping up “We have no personal life, these no balance, how do we change that?”
There had to be an answer, a way to create the space, the peace, the balance. These issues were too important to ignore and the impact was too huge across all aspects of my life including my work and the way I was showing up as an employee, employer and a co-worker.
So, I set to work. I went out there and I found a way. A way that gave me the tools, the confidence and the understanding to set my course straight.
I found the world of personal growth and development and I fell in love with this new path and direction. I worked with a wonderful coach and support who by coincidence or maybe the stars above led my to meeting Fleur at a seminar in Perth. I knew that she would be my next coach from the moment I clapped eyes on her. My husband and I have committed to continuing to grow ourselves and our bond, so we reached out to Fleur to work with her in couples coaching and I did the Inside Out Love Story program.
As women we inherently seek to be heard, understood and to feel safe. No matter the role you have in a personal or professional capacity you will find a way to get these core needs met. Trust me there are some real funky, full on ways in which we can go about it to and guess what? They don’t work for the long term! With a solid understanding of who we are at the core, what makes us tick and some sustainable support systems in place we can do this with ease, joy, grace and fulfilment. We want to be connected, engaged and fulfilled in all that we do, our marriages, families, friends and careers.
I’m not the woman I used to be. I used to be bold, outspoken, super organised and super-efficient yet intimidating as all get out! No-one would ever argue with me unless they were feeling really brave! That was the version that I loathed. I was trying so damn hard to cope, just to keep my head above water and do all the things that would get the tick of approval. She had no idea about doing things from a place that bought value to the community or project. She didn’t have the capacity to even try to understand or be aware she was simply doing, all on her own doing, no support systems in place, no boundaries, no idea of core values … no foundation.
Who am I now? I’m still me, but the real me.
She is aligned. She has a solid understanding in all of her foundational needs, she lives by them. I’m still strong, organised, efficient and it’s the support systems that have given me that capacity to be all of that in the same roles that I once was but with ease, joy and grace. I do what I do now not because I married into a job but because I really do love supporting people, I love caring for people. I can confidently and passionately contribute something positive to my community with pride from a place of caring, not by just simply working really hard. Now I have the capacity/the support systems to do that in a way that is in alignment with primarily myself and then with the company I work for.
She’s not laying in the foetal position on the floor.
She’s going to change the world.