When Tracy asked me to write the post, I was very honoured but a little panicked.
I am such an advocate for women living their best lives. Women discovering who they are, living their true selves and following their own paths. I am so passionate about it that as I write copy for my new website, I have even referred to myself as a professional ranter. Yes, I am prone to a rant.
The World Economic Forum reported, last year, that we are still 170 years from closing the gap between equal pay and opportunities for men and women. Stop and think about that. That is incredible, not in our lifetime, not even in our children’s lifetime will your daughters have the same opportunities as your sons. Another report stated that women still do 4 hours, FREE work, a day, whereas men do half of that. So I rant in the form of wanting women to realise this, to step up and to claim their equality.
When Tracy kindly asked she mentioned one of my “From the Pink Tank” posts in which I say:
“If you allow your dreams to be sacrificed for the sake of someone else’s. If your skills are lessened or put in a box because it is what you thought was expected of you. Then you show the next generation of women that is what is expected of them.
We need to create a new standard for the term “traditional roles” by making a bigger effort to create and enable equality across the board.”
So my rants come from a place of love, from a place of wanting every woman to live their full potential and a lifestyle they choose for themselves and their family. I write (rant) about sacrifice and equality a lot. I think women, in particular, Mothers, are prone to sacrifice way more than anyone else. My heart sinks when I see women seeking work with the caveat of it must be during school hours and term times. How many men need to ask this question? As a woman who runs a business coaching women, so many of my clients seem to run their businesses around the school holidays. Again how many men set up businesses with this in mind?
Some women love to do this, I get it, but it often comes from a lack of options first and therefore the sacrifice is required as opposed to this being a dream lifestyle. As I write this post, I am conscious that I am writing it on International Women’s Day. As I celebrate with my other sisters, I am also aware that we are still in a poor situation if we need a day to remind people of the power of women. The success will come when we don’t need our own day anymore.
However, this is such a huge subject with so many contributing factors and Tracy only asked for a post, not a textbook. So, I have pondered, for a while, about what I wanted to write about. Then as I folded my knickers using the KonMarie method I was reminded by the ethos of Marie Kondo’s books which is about joy. Her principles are not based on whether you need something or not but on whether it brings you joy. That is how we should all live, that should be the basis of our education, how to create our own joy.
As women we have unlimited potential, we have a huge capacity to create, innovate, heal, inspire. Too often we seem so ready to sacrifice that for the feelings and desires of others with the belief it is the right thing to do. This is because that is what our Mothers taught us to do, who were taught to the same thing by their mothers and everything in our daily lives that goes to support that way of life, from communities, religion, education, politics, television…
Most women don’t even think of it as a sacrifice. They do what is required of them as Mothers, partners and friends. But when was the last time you felt complete and utter joy in your own right? Not because your child did something but because you did something that was meaningful for you?
How often do you start the day with “What am I going to do today that will bring me, Joy’? When was the last time you sat down and mapped out a lifestyle that would bring you joy? Do you live a life of Joy, are you really, really, really doing what you want to do with your life?
Way too many women empty their own vessels on everyone else before they think of themselves but that is a bit like trying to drive a car on an empty tank of petrol. But it is such an important lesson to learn; it is such an important lesson to teach your children. You need to walk the walk to show your children how important it is to strive for joy in every area of their lives.
We seem to have been brought up on this, “You can’t have your cake and eat it” mentality. My thoughts on that are, what is the point in having cake and not eating it? That is my idea of torture.
As we grow up, we seem to be led down the path of least resistance, a path that everyone else has walked down. This leads to us to being told what we should learn in school. That if you want to get on you need to get more education. Then once that is done you have to get a job because you have to get a house and partner and have children. For the majority of people that may lead to contentment, they may say that they are happy. But I would ask on a day to day basis if they experience pure unadulterated joy? Is that you? Again, I would ask how often do you experience pure joy?
One of my clients is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is an incredibly busy Mum of three and business owner, but her joy is to study. You can see when she talks about it how much joy it brings her, she is a perpetual learner, always on a course. So she ensures that she makes real time for that, she takes herself away for a week sometimes, away from her children and partner. But that joy transfers into her healing work and the results she gets with her clients. It also, more importantly, translates when she talks about her children, in particular, her daughter. To her, it is important to show her daughter she can go after what she wants in life.
So I want you to turn off the Mum guilt, partner guilt, daughter guilt, friend guilt. You can take small steps, but it is essential that you allow yourself periods of joy just for you. Whether you need to chuck the whole family out and enjoy a long soak in the bath, whether that is leaving work an hour early and going for a walk by yourself or sitting in a bar having a cocktail reading a book, or going to the theatre, whatever it is that brings you joy.
You can then take bigger steps. This is where your honesty comes in, what are the bigger steps that would lead to an entirely joyful lifestyle? Do you have a passion for writing? Then set aside time for yourself to write without being disturbed. Book yourself on that course you have wanted to attend, set up that business you have been dreaming of. Take small steps and works towards your ‘joy plan’. A life which brings you joy.
If this feels overwhelming or impossible, then create a Joy Group where you are surrounded by women who dare to be selfish and will push and support you in taking time for yourself, no partner, no kids and no negative friends, just you and your own joy.
The path to joy, the path to your why is not always easy, especially if you are surrounded by people who don’t get it. But when you make time for it, for you, when you push through any barriers to finding it, when you listen to your heart, your life and therefore the lives of those in your family, it becomes magical.
No more waiting – time to find your Joy.
About the Author
Angela Harkness, the founder of High Heelers, is passionate about entrepreneurship and championing other women to become entrepreneurs too. High Heelers has been specifically founded to help guide these wonderful women, walking with them every step of the way from the executive boardroom to the entrepreneurial classroom.
High Heelers works with passionate women hungry to find their own joy and meaning in life, guiding them through private coaching, mentoring, business classes and mastermind groups.
Angela is a firm believer that woman, no matter if a mother, lover or wife, should lead by example in their lives for their children and those closest to them to follow and to hold on tight to their joy, keeping their spirit and passion alive.
To keep up with Angela’s latest thinking, tips and advice or to find out how she can help you personally, follow her or get in touch with her here: