I’m very fortunate. I occupy a reasonable proportion of my working life talking. I get to talk on stages, or in rooms, or on webcams, or one on one with people. Yep I talk. Now I do like to have a bit of a chat; in fact, my Mum says I started chattering eloquently when I was about 15 months old and nothing has shut me up since. So, talking for a living feels a bit like winning the lottery, every single day! Over the past year alone, I’ve stood in front of 100’s of people and talked. As my friend Dayle says #winning!
I know that some people will read that opening paragraph and have one of two reactions.
- Reaction #1: Is she insane? Wow she’s brave. Not for me. I wouldn’t want to stand on stage/front of room in front of (lots/any) people and give talks, speeches, keynotes, moderate forums for a living. How bloody awful. How bloody scary.
- Reaction #2: What a bloody show off/big noter/got tickets on herself/blah blah blah.
I was going to talk on Reaction #1 and pen an article about women taking risks and having a go. But then I started reflecting on Reaction #2. Reaction #2 is the reason that so many women do not have a go, take a risk or put themselves out there, including me. So, I’m now going to write about Reaction #2 because it falls into the bucket of things I no longer give a f*** about*.
*I have used a lot of asterisks because my Mum might read this and I do give a f*** about what she thinks (and she doesn’t swear.)
I checked out a book by Sarah Knight titled “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F***!” A book that I encourage my daughter, my nieces, my sisters, my friends and my clients to read. Sarah was living a ‘shouldie’ life. What’s a ‘shouldie’ life? Margie Warrell taught me about a ‘shouldie’ life. You know “I should do the cleaning” or “I should lose weight” or “I should read more books” which can be very limiting and not very brave. Why do we do this? Because we care too much about what other people think (Reaction #2) and too little about being the authors of our own life story. Bending yourself out of shape to fit the ideal image or what you think other people think you should do is a concept I am very familiar with. Being brave and courageous along with authoring your own life is a concept Margie is familiar with and encourages lots of women to be brave and do the same.
Back to Sarah though. She was sick (literally) of doing things that didn’t make her happy. She was stressed out and decided she would rid herself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt, forever. She wanted to stop living a ‘shouldie’ life. So she undertook a process of ‘mental decluttering’ and decided to stop giving a f*** started being #NotSorry and used her time, energy, and money to live a life that matters.
In the middle of writing this article, I may have become a bit distracted.
Truth? I told myself I needed to do further research. So, I started some started to browse my Twitter and Instagram feeds. My school reports came to mind. “Michelle would do well to talk less, pay more attention and not allow herself to get distracted.” This time being a terminally distractible and Flawesome person paid off as I found this cool and descriptive pic.
I’m a committed member of the ‘messing about on the internet’ society.
So, my next port of call was to Twitter for further ‘research’. Lo and behold! Up pops an article in my feed written by the fabulous Jane Caro who I have admired since she was first on The Gruen Transfer. Janes quick wit, intellect, active feminism and love of dangly earrings have made me a massive fan. I digress.
Jane’s article writes about the benefit of being idle, disregarding all of that ‘shouldie’ stuff and living a life where you give no (or less) f***’s! The benefits of idleness, not being shouldie and living a life giving less f***’s means that we would be more relaxed, less judgemental and do less harm. Sounds perfect to me.
Then in the interests of further research, I went to my friend Megan’s blog. Now here is a woman who loves F words almost as much as me! I had remembered that the feisty, fabulous and Flawesome Megan had written a blog about giving zero f***’s which spoke to me loud and clear. One of Megan’s promises to herself stood out for me. ‘I’m going to be me, all the time (and that’s f***ing scary!)’ Megan nails it. The reason most of us bend ourselves out of shape, seek approval, seek validation and play small (Reaction #1) is that we fear being rejected (Reaction # 2). We want to be liked. We want approval. We want to belong.
What in the world does all this fascinating information from four fabulous feisty Flawesome females have to do with me talking for a living?
I talk for a living so that I can inspire girls and women to get beyond Reaction #1. I want less women to be defined by Reaction #2. So here are the four steps I’ve taken and some fantastic further reading by four fabulous feisty females:
- I’ve chosen to not live a ‘shouldie’ life and now I live and talk about my life story of which I am the author.
- I am Flawesome, I own that, I talk about it, I write about it and I don’t give a f*** who knows it.
- Being idle, faffing around on the internet and learning to be good at stopping has been wonderful for my creativity, productivity and, in my not humble, not giving a f***, opinion, made me a more pleasant human.
- You can’t please all the people all the time, so stop f***ing trying! There is one life people, so get on with living it authentically and doing things with, and for, people that matter.