Business of Men

The oestrogen guilt trip

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As a coach, I don’t like to generalise and this is definitely not that; the fact is, as a woman, a working mum and a coach of both males and females in the work place, I see a huge amount of guilt attached to women. This guilt can relate to hundreds of things, but usually it runs along the lines of:

  • I haven’t done enough
  • I have done too much
  • I was too rude in that meeting
  • I should have helped out more
  • I should stand my ground
  • I’m not spending enough quality time with kids/hubby/family
  • I haven’t got through enough work today

So why bother writing about it, if it is in fact so common?

Guilt is a response to our internal morals i.e. what is right or wrong, in our eyes. So guilt can actually be a healthy, positive outcome for a behaviour we are in fact responsible for. It could be poor behaviour towards another person, or something else we could have directly influenced. The healthy, positive outcome is, we ‘fix’ it, or take our ‘lesson’ out of it with an aim to improve/avoid the situation next time.

When we start to feel guilt, for the sake of feeling guilty (a habit, a pattern, guilt we haven’t addressed one or five years ago) it becomes detrimental to not only our work, but also our fun, happiness and life. Guilt left, will sometimes turn into shame – shame vs guilt is who am I vs what I did. Not only do you feel worn out and unproductive (time thinking about what you should have done, makes it hard to focus on what has to get done), our leadership capabilities can be ‘altered’ too (leading ourselves through life, including decision making, as well as how we lead our team) as we start to see this guilt turn into behaviours such as:

  • Attacking
  • Withdrawal
  • Lacking confidence
  • Seeking power
  • Seeking perfection
  • Being overly nice/self-sacrificing
  • Blame

Awareness into the guilt in our life and checking in with ourselves is the first place to start.

My top 3 tips in not only managing the guilt trip if it has caught up with you, but also to tackle it head on as you feel it come up are below!

  1. Think about your morals – in relation to your work (load, time, tasks, people), relationships inside/outside of work and finally behaviour towards others. How can you communicate your internal morals around these topics where necessary and find common ground with others you work with. Stick them on the fridge, at your desk, if it helps you keep them at top of mind!
  2. Stop. Think about what you are getting done in a day. Give yourself credit! If there is something you could be doing differently than action it, otherwise don’t beat yourself up over what you are already doing well! Tell yourself you are doing a great job!
  3. Write down any of the behaviours listed above you feel are occurring right now. As above, this is about awareness and facing up to it. If for example the behaviour is blame – write out “I feel the need to blame X when Y occurs.” Then write out what you want to occur “When X happens, I will think about how I can take responsibility and action positive change starting by 1, 2, 3.”

Sometimes having this clarity not only addresses what I call “the oestrogen guilt trip” but also opens up so many other opportunities too.

About Lissy Venner

Lissy Venner is head coach of Amazing You, and lives by the motto of following your dreams and being what makes you happy - making time for things that matter, investing in yourself and living your passions. She works with clients on Self-Mastery - mindset, leadership, human behaviour - leading into communication, team building, confidence, setting and achieving goals. She has worked as a life and executive coach for the last five years and in the corporate industry for over 13 years; the last nine of which she was responsible for managing multi-million dollar business channels and leading teams. Her programs include online, one on one, private retreats, workplace programs and seminars/workshops.

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