I’ve always been incredibly independent. An introvert by nature, I’ve long depended on the world of books and learning to teach me what I need. Without consciously realizing it, I spent my early years in the ‘real world’ constructing a powerful work persona cocktail of stubborn independence and overachieving that left me burnt out in a major way. I was working crazy hours at a nonprofit, sharing living spaces with my coworkers, and barely scraping by financially.
After a few years, I started to see the physical effect of my lack of balance. I would wake up with crippling anxiety, and feel chest pains and numbness in my hands and feet throughout the day that terrified me. I would get sick for weeks at a time, and my body was struggling to repair itself. Mentally, I felt exhausted and tapped out, and realized that my current situation was not sustainable. Priding myself on my ability to handle anything and everything for my employer had ironically left me with nothing for myself.
In addition to the stressors of the job, I struggled with how to be a powerful woman in a professional setting. As my first job out of college, I was desperate for a mentor. Although I worked with kindhearted individuals that I loved and admired, I couldn’t find another female in a position that I envied. I was exhausted and had no plans for my future. In fact, I had no clue where to start dreaming about what my career could become. I still stayed on at this job for longer than I should have, wearing different hats and working where I was needed, hoping that one day a positive role model and a career I was excited about would present themselves to me.
Finally, I realized that the only person capable of advocating for my career and quality of life was myself.
I shifted gears quickly. I started to live in practice, not theory. I moved across the country and started to look inward. I wanted to know who I was, and what I wanted – and I was willing to put in the work to make that happen.
I cut back the work hours and took on less demanding roles. I collaborated with women I admired and studied how they worked. I stopped trying to fit my personality into what was ‘expected’ of a leader in a traditional setting, and instead started to define who I wanted to be as a leader. I quickly realized that the happiest and most successful people in my life refused to DIY their lives.
The women I learned from and admired weren’t chasing some elusive badge of honor that can only be earned through exhaustion and sacrifice. Instead of working hard in a role for someone else with the vague hope of getting noticed, they were proactively creating a life they loved. One major component of this creation process? I realized that they all recognized when asking for help was wiser than trying to do it on their own.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a feminist through and through, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re capable of DIYing anything you put your mind to. The question I’m interested in, though, is not whether you can do it – but what if asking for support made your end result better AND improved your quality of life along the way?
I believe that as powerful women we need to relearn the art of asking for support – in business, yes, but also in our own personal development journeys. The power of collaboration and community is undeniable. Inviting in new voices sparks new ideas and gives us perspective. We know this is true in corporate settings, so why not embrace it in our life’s work of discovering ourselves?
To me, being a well supported woman means learning from my peers and sharing my own discoveries along the way. It’s about crowd-sourcing your personal development so that all women can become more confident, clarify their vision for their careers and lives, and strengthen their connection to self & to others.
What does choosing to reject the martyr role and showing up as a well supported woman in my daily life look like? It looks like rejecting the overwhelm of doing it all, and choosing to stay in my most creative element. It means that I ask for flexibility from myself, my clients and my collaborators when necessary. It means that I prioritize my mind, body and spiritual needs because I recognize that I’m the one responsible for my wellbeing. As a well supported woman, I protect my energetic boundaries and choose only to invest my time and mental space with intention. I’m also dedicated to building a supportive network that holds me accountable to my highest goals.
What could being a well supported woman look like for you? In what areas of your life would you not just survive but truly thrive if you had the support of your community? If you’re unsure, I encourage you to start with sharing your own skills and insights with those around you. Choose to support other women in a powerful community, and you’ll be supported in turn.
Laura Weldy is the CEO and head coach at The Well Supported Woman, a life coaching community and personal development hub for the millennial woman seeking confidence, clarity and connection in her daily experience. The Well Supported Woman offers online courses, in person events and private one on one life coaching to help you take your personal development to the next level. Learn more about working with Laura at www.thewellsupportedwoman.com Instagram: @lauraweldy, and Facebook: thewellsupportedwoman.
Laura is speaking at The Well Supported Woman Event on 7/20. Get your tickets HERE!