Do you remember a time before life beat you up? Wide eyed and full of hope, you were sold a fairy tale of the perfect job, the perfect life, the picket fence. But you were knocked down. Again and again. And one too many times. So you decided that it was safer and less painful to stay small, along the way losing sight of your amazing gifts and talents.

No matter where you are on your journey – whether you’ve been knocked down once and are struggling to stand up, or whether you no longer even try to get up because life beat you up with too many knocks a long time ago. There is a small voice inside you that’s whispering – RISE UP! GET UP! BE BRAVE! FIND YOUR STRENGTH!

This is YOUR life. These are YOUR scars. Those are YOUR battles. And trying to pretend any different is just too much effort. You CAN march to the beat of your own drum, not the beat the world says you should. You got this.

Show Notes

So when life beats you up, remember these three things:

  1. Each one of us was born with gifts and talents, and with parts of us that are less than ideal.  
    • TOP TIP: Keep a journal tracker! For perspective.
  2. Ask those around what your superpowers are, and look back at your life to connect the dots.
  3. Fill your spaces with amazing songs and things from your childhood you loved to do.

What are you waiting for? Do it now! Reconnect with the joys of your soul. You are too strong to stay down. Too brave, too talented. So stop apologising for being the amazing human that God made you. March to the beat YOU drum, not to the beat the world says you should, because you were made for so much more.

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Quotes from this episode

“When I see the strength and talent I know that lives in both those women from school and my oldest friends, I want to call into the hearts of each one of them, and myself, and tell them – God made YOU an amazing human.”

Transcript

Lisa Linfield: 00:21 Hello everybody and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. I’m Lisa Linfield, your host. Now, all of you know that my goal is to teach a million women about money and how to live their best life. Why? Because so many of us are stuck in a place where our heart deeply desires for more than what we have. For some of us, it’s more money. For others, it’s more career success. For others, it’s more happiness. For others, it’s more freedom, whatever it is. Most of us feel that in some way what we have is not enough. But none of us can live our best life when we’re sitting at rock bottom, when we’re struggling with what happens when life beats you up.
One of the most special events in the last few years has been my 25th school reunion. For me, it felt quite unlike the others that had come before. I was living in London for my 10th, was in the chaos of pregnancy for my 15th, and had one-year-old twins for my 20th. But what made the 25th different was not what was going on in life at the time, but how much more settled in our own skins each of us seemed. Maybe it was just me and maybe it was just me settling into my own skin, but it felt that everyone was far more settled.
I look back on the 10th and think that we were all still wide-eyed and full of hope, that we would all have that perfect job, perfect life and perfect picket fence that we’d been sold in the fairy tale and by the world out there. For me, the 15th and 20th was when the cracks were starting to show, but despite those cracks, we desperately tried to cover them up and convince ourselves and others that we were in fact on track for all of those picket fence things. But it was the 25th that we all seemed way more real, more vulnerable, more open with the fact that this life we were holding onto just by the edge of our fingertips, was more chaotic, more imperfect, and more difficult than that happy ever after had made us believe it would be.
Each one of us had experienced a good smack or two from life. Nothing was as we’d been led to believe. Parenting was harder, marriage was harder, divorce was shocking, and that story that we could have both a fulfilling career and be hands-on moms had left out a few crucial details of not only how hard it was, but also how much guilt we would feel every single day. And we were all starting to be more comfortable in accepting that this was life, no fairy tale. But this was our life, our scars, our battles, and trying to pretend any different was just too much effort.
There is an amazing depth of friendship with people you’ve lived with. For us, we’d lived five years together in boarding school. For others, it’s their university roommates or first job housemates. But what’s unique about these high school friendships, besides living together, was that we all knew each other before too many of life’s big knocks happened. We knew each other’s souls, each other’s makeups, each other’s strengths, and their challenges. It’s the same gift of our childhood friends, that no matter how much time has passed, we know the greatness that lies in each other. And yes, we also know each other’s challenges, the less than perfect things.
But because we were forced by circumstances to live with each other for five years at school, or in the case of family, friends, the lifetime of our parents’ friendships, we came to accept deeply both sides of each other, the good and the not so great. Accept each other for who they were. Like all things in life, some we liked more and some we liked less, but we knew and accepted everyone without wanting to change. What broke my heart as I looked at these amazing woman was how many of them had lost sight of their amazing gifts and talents and the things that had brought them joy.
How many of them had felt knocked down just one too many times by life and had decided that it was safer and less painful to stay down for the good of their kids, their family, and in some cases, the false harmony of not provoking that angry bear in their life. I see it often when I connect with old friends. Each one of us has a song that deeply resonates with us, that if we put it on full blast and scream the words from the bottom of our tummy as we fly down the highway, we feel like we could take off. That theme song for me at the moment is This Is Me sang by Kesha from the movie The Greatest Showman.
When I think of these amazing people in my life, my family friends, my oldest friends from school, people who have been in my life for a long time, and I see them lose sight of their amazing gifts and talents, the first verse comes to mind. “I’m not a stranger to the dark. ‘Hideaway.’ they say. ‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts. I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars. ‘Runaway,’ they say. No one will love you as you are.” How true those words resonate, that for some reason we’ve all been told by the world out there to be ashamed of our scars. Why? When so many of our scars come from bad decisions we made before we were 25, before the frontal lobe of our brain was fully formed and we were able to use our full powers of reasoning to fight with that teenager struggling in the world out there.
Or some of those scars were inflicted by circumstances way outside our control. Or by other humans who were broken by their own pain. Why do we listen to the crap that the world out there says, that makes us feel like our scars and our lives are somehow not living up to its perfect expectation? Why do we let the angry words of bullies, teachers, parents, bosses, old boyfriends, tired husbands, cranky kids, unhappy moms in the car park keep us knocked down on the floor? Why do we let those words keep us small and keep us from living our best life and using our unique gifts and talents?
When I see the strength and talent I know that lives in both those women from school and my oldest friends, I want to call into the hearts of each of them, and myself, and tell them, “God made you an amazing human. God made you talented. Don’t listen to all the broken souls chained down by their own pain. Listen to that still small voice inside you that’s whispering, ‘Rise up, get up, be brave. Find your strength.'” I want each one of us to make this the rallying cry. The next verse of the song, This Is Me, “When the sharpest words want to cut me down, I’m going to send a flood. Going to drown them out. I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me. Look out ’cause here I come. And I’m marching on to the beat I drum. I’m not scared to be seen. I make no apologies. This is me.”
I know that so many of us feel far from being able to truly say those last four lines, that we’re able to truly match to the beat of our own drum, and not what the world out there expects us to be. How many of us can say that we are truly able to stand strong? But those words need to call each one of us out, as if crouched down on the floor, the brave, young, hopeful soul, rises strong from our hearts, leading us to the destiny that we were created for. I remember once feeling so beaten up by life, so unable to get off the floor, so desperate to just give up and stay down. It was then that an amazing woman recommended to me to do a piece of homework that I thought was very odd at the time.
She told me to make a playlist of songs that lifted me from deep in my tummy. Songs that pulled my heart out of the ground and made it soar. And so I did. In fact, I now have three playlists, and there are many times when those songs and their words connect to that still small voice inside me and encourage me, “Rise up. March to the beat you drum, not the beat the world says you should. And most of all, that you were made for so much more.” So when life beats you down, remember these three things. Firstly, each one of us were born with gifts and talents, and with parts of us that are less than ideal. But we cannot ever let the world out there, and that harsh critic inside ourselves tell us that we are mostly made up of the less than ideal parts.
It is absolute utter junk. We are mostly made up of gifts, talents, and the goodness of humanity. Are we flawed? Have we messed up? Absolutely. But if we were to do a count up in every single day, we would definitely score more than 50% on the test of goodness. We just tend to wait that one mess up in our life or in our day, way more than the gazillion other good things. Let go of that. Shut up the Crayola DeVil voice in your head. The longer you repeat that beating up, the more it becomes deep rooted in your subconscious as part of your identity.
When [Jess 00:11:19] was six, a number of events led us to take her to a self-esteem therapist. When asked to say the good things about herself, she had nothing to say. She could not find one thing that she was good at, or was nice about her. So I started and said, “Jess, you are a very kind little girl.” “No, momma,” she said, “I am not. Yesterday I was mean to Izzy and Emma.” Then the therapist asked her, “Is your mom kind?” “She’s very kind,” Jess responded. And so I paused and said to her, “But, Jess, yesterday momma was tired and ratty from work and she was not very kind to dada. Does that make me an unkind person?”
“No, momma,” she said, without hesitating. “You just had a bad day.” Isn’t it amazing how we can see the humanity in others, but we don’t give ourselves the grace and gentleness to allow the humanity in ourselves? I truly had spent the last 24 hours beating myself up about what an unkind, awful human I was and a horrible wife to my husband. But it took the mirror of my daughter to show me how cruel that voice in our head can be, and how graceful and gentle we are to others. Why can’t we use that same grace for ourselves? Keep a journal tracker, if you need to, of how many good decisions and good things you do so that you can visually see those moments of greatness.
And then if you need to, put in a little mark for the moments you messed up. But you will soon see that there are suddenly more days where you score definitely more than 50% on whatever it is that you’re measuring. That it’s not factually true to say, “I’m useless at,” or, “I’m an unkind human.” I found these two seriously helpful when I try and change my self beliefs, and I spoke about it in episode 87, on how to overcome your biggest stumbling block to changing your life.
The second thing you need to do is to ask those around you what your superpowers are and look back on your life to connect the dots. We are all terrible at seeking and receiving positive constructive feedback, but if you truly want to pick yourself up from rock bottom, go engage with the people from all parts of your life and ask them how they see you. What are the good things about you, and be sure to listen with an open heart. Every person whom I’ve ever supported doing this, or the superpower exercise we discussed in episode 73, always tells me what a truly humbling and strengthening exercise it is.
Many describe how they hate putting together the email that asks for the feedback, or setting up a conversation, but the outcome has never been less than transformational. We are so busy beating ourselves up, in addition to the beatings that life gives us, that so much of our head space is taken up by criticism. There’s a great quote that says, “You can’t read the label from inside the jar.” Meaning that there are things about yourself sometimes that you’re an able to see that easily because you’re stuck inside your head. You need someone to hold the mirror to you and show you what they see.
And when I look at my oldest friends and my friends from school, I see born leaders, phenomenal artists, street savvy business women, amazing mothers, kind souls, strong and brave hearts, and precious, precious souls. A mirror, I wish I could somehow make every one of them see. When you can’t see it, ask a different variety of people to hold up the mirror and believe them deeply when they tell you what your super powers and gifts are.
Lastly, fill your space with amazing songs and the things from your childhood you love to do. When I was younger, I lived with music going all the time. I watch my girls now, and each one of them seems absolutely attached to those huge earphones on their ears. They literally bathe themselves in song. Last night I walked in and Jess dancing. She didn’t hear me because of those huge earphones, so I was able to watch a while. It was like watching myself. I used to spend hours dancing as a child and teenager, and even a young adult in my flat in London. And it used to lift my soul to heaven.
Nowadays, I very seldom listen to music, not even in the car. Silence feels like such a rare commodity that I never turn on the radio, and I can’t remember when last I switched on the stereo and just danced, letting my body let go of all the crap that sits inside it. These days, I get so excited for a wedding or a 50th so I can get onto the dance floor and scream the words of the song from the deepest place in my soul.
A little while ago a friend of mine was going through a tough time, rock bottom kind of stuff. At school, she’d been a great artist, but hadn’t painted or drawn since then. She had lost her confidence in her painting. I bought her art lessons and gave her strict instructions, with that the only proviso was that she was not allowed to judge the output. She was just too focused on how much she enjoyed working with the colors, the paper, the paintbrush. How good it felt to see that white page transform before her, regardless of the end result. To go back and just enjoy the process.
When I went to Oxford at 28, I decided to reconnect with dance. I just broken up with the love of my life and was heartbroken. I took up ballet. Truly, it must have been the most hysterical site, of this Heffalump in a track suit, surrounded by the youngsters in pink. But I loved reconnecting with my body, the music, and the expression. After that year at Oxford finished, I signed up for hip hop classes in London. My real love was never ballet, but slightly [inaudible 00:18:14] I decided to pursue the dance that filled my soul. Everyone else was 20, and I probably looked like a little jumbo elephant muddling along in the back. But I loved every moment of it.
As I get older, I realize how important it is for me to reconnect with the dance, the music, and the things that pull my soul out from its cage. To reconnect with those things of my youth that gave me so much joy. To follow the advice that I give my clients when I found out that when they retire, they will take up art again. Do it now. Why wait? Reconnect with the joys of your soul. It’s one of the truly amazing things about life, is that when things go badly, it feels that everything is going badly. Our money, our happiness, our joy, our careers, our kids. But when we can start to break that cycle and pull our soul to the heights that it should reach, we are able to know that goodness and the joy of living our best life.
Every one of us is born with gifts and talents, every one of us has super powers, and every one of us has a unique destiny that we were always mean to fulfill. We need to stop living the lies of the world out there that tells us that we’re supposed to be doing X, Y, and Z. Stop worrying about what other people say and realize that most of the times the things people say, the nasty things that hurt us and pull us down, come from a place of their own brokenness. And we need to reconnect with the joy of our youth, the people, the friends, the music, the dance, the art, whatever it was that made us happy, and go back to a place of laughter and joy.
I’m Lisa Linfield and this is Working Women’s Wealth. Have a great week, each one of you amazing and talented human beings.