Last Sunday, I took part in “Tough Guy Nettle Warrior”, described by the organiser as “The safest most dangerous event in the world”. I was in the Jelly Leg squad – a 12KM run combined with 2 laps of the fiendish assault course and the Tough Guy “Killing Fields”.
Soft Girl Does Tough Guy
The Killing fields and assault course consisted of delights such as “The Vietcong Torture Chamber”, “Death Plunge”, “Sky Walk” and “Behemoth”. But despite this sounding like a scene from a Horror B-Movie, it was actually fabulous fun. Ok, so I am covered in bruises and scratches, got electrocuted twice in the “torture chamber”, leapt through fire, shimmied under barbed wire, bomb jumped into water, plunged into icy water, carried a log through a lake, balanced over high planks and hauled myself over lakes with ropes. But despite how gruesome it sounds, I loved every minute of it – apart from the electric shocks, of course.
I have been on an insufferable post Tough Guy high all week, despite now being floored by a stinking cold (wonder why?!). I have pondered long and hard on writing this for Friday Fives, as it’s an experience that I’m very well aware that most wouldn’t dream of. As you can imagine, the general reaction I get from people about Tough Guy is “You are crazy”.
But my Tough Guy experience has acted as a reminder about the importance of courage – what it is, how we build it and how to use it to effect positive change in our life. Why? Because the overriding quality that I needed to draw upon for Tough Guy was courage.
Why is courage important for you as a working mum?
Anyone who wants to LIVE their life, rather than plod along, needs courage. And from many years of coaching working mums to do things they didn’t think they could, I know that courage is the main ingredient for women who want to make a change in their life, do something out of the ordinary or simply step out of their comfort zone.
Courage is necessary for living life, whatever floats your boat – it’s not just for soft girls like me who want to be tough guys!
Working Mums and Courage
Here are some examples, taken from real life experiences of my working mum clients. Each of these situations has one common denominator; they require courage to deal with:
- Your child is being bullied at school, the Head Teacher is proving ineffective in dealing with it and you need to escalate the matter.
- You have a colleague/team member at work who isn’t pulling their weight and you know that you have to tackle it, but this means treading a political minefield.
- You are on maternity leave and you have come to the realisation that you really don’t want to return to work full time. You need to raise the tricky question of flexible working with your boss, who isn’t very enlightened about part-time or flexible working.
- Your job has become a dead weight around your shoulders and you yearn to quit, but you don’t have a new job to move to – but you do have a mortgage and bills to pay.
- You have a dream to set up your own business, but this means giving up the security of a regular salary and you have no idea where to start or even if you will succeed.
- You have to give a presentation to a new client for an important new contract. No pressure, but all eyes will be on you!
- You know that you are underpaid and you don’t feel that your contribution to your organisation is being valued. You want to speak up and ask for the pay rise and the acknowledgement you deserve, but you are shy and introverted and your confidence is wobbly.
YOU have courage
Here’s the news you know deep down… You have all the courage you need already: You’re a mother and so you’re brimming with the stuff! It takes a lot of courage to give birth to a child. You might think that’s not true; granted, we don’t have much choice about giving birth. Once you’re pregnant, you can be pretty certain that in 9 months or less, you will have to face childbirth, whether you like it or not! But the fact is that you DID get through it – no matter what sort of birth you experienced. You had to face it and you did it – alone. Nobody else did that for you. You had to draw upon your inner strength as well as your physical strength to get that baby out! And that inner strength is also known as courage.
(As an aside – if you have adopted children – well – that exciting adventure must require a whole new level of courage!)
I’m Da Mutha!
What kept me walking towards the start line for Tough Guy, when all around me I was looking at packs of macho men with rippling muscles and swaggering gaits? It was this – I’m a mother! Shout it LOUD “I’M DA MUTHA!” One thing that I’ve experienced that none of these, haka-charged blokes will ever, EVER experience is childbirth. Ha! No obstacle in this event is going to compare. I’m one tough broad!
….And so are YOU!
Next week, I’ll continue with the topic of courage with six things that WILL help you build your courage, so that you can do ANYTHING you want in your life as a working mum!
In the meantime, if there’s anything you have been putting off because you’re scared, garner your courage and shout your Tough Girl War Chant:
“I’m DA MUTHA!”
Go on, I know you have the courage to do it!