Let me start this by saying, I have extreme discomfort revealing this "complaint" to my fellow Women in Business in our community. My life is blessed and full, with a huge emphasis on FULL.
I'm currently planning a wedding that is taking place in a mere two weeks, raising a two-year old boy, working a more-than-full-time job, and trying to balance the relationships in my life by appearing that I have it all together these days. Life is truly amazing. But, the reality is I'm feeling overwhelmed and wondering how I'll ever have time to simply shut my brain off and RELAX.
The fact is, I'm not alone. This is the mantra of every working woman that I talk to these days. Women in business carry a belief that we need to give 110% in the workplace in order to keep up with the "boys club" and in the midst of that, we fear letting go of our expected (though highly outdated) expected responsibilities at home.
My home life is incredible. My fiance is a sweet and caring man whose favorite part of the day is cooking dinner for his family and he constantly checks in with me to determine what he can help take off of my plate.
My work life is incredible as well. I work with a great team that supports one another and is always looking for ways to be the most effective with time management, and stresses the importance of work/life balance.
My son-- well, he's in his terrible two's. I'll leave it at that.
When I take a step back and look at the facts, all of my overwhelming stress is not at all a byproduct of the world around me, but is solely the result of my own issue-- Ladies, I am suffering from the Superwoman Complex.
The Superwoman Complex can be defined as one's need to do it all and never ask for help. It's a serious complex that possesses a myriad of results ranging from "I'm amazing, look at all that I have done" to "I am beyond overwhelmed, why can't I get a single person to ever help me". The Superwoman Complex can be deceptive because of the accolades and "atta girl's" that come along with doing it all, however at the end of the day the typical Superwoman can often feel burnt out, ineffective, and like a failure despite all that's been accomplished in a days work.
Where does this dis-ease come from? Why, as women, do we feel the need to do it all?
If you've ever watched an episode of Mad Men, you know that the women who came before us in the workplace were viewed as objects. Simply eye candy and assistants for the men, whose only purpose was to do as they're told. Fast-forward through Women's Liberation and ladies rising to the ranks of their male peers and you'll see decades of women attempting to prove themselves as equals, yet still being treated as "less-than". Generations of women who take on more and more, chasing after that equality, yet feeling as though they simply aren't doing enough to be taken seriously. Throw in the maternal instincts of care-taking that most women are equipped with and you have an additional level of responsibilities that need to be managed at home. Simply put? Even the baddest, most together Superwoman still feels as though she isn't doing enough and is failing the people around her, causing her to take on more and more until life becomes unmanageable.
Phew, I'm exhausted just thinking of that downward spiral.
So how do we overcome this Superwoman Complex?
There are a few things that I have discovered over the last couple of years that help me combat the effects of being a Superwoman. While I will forever be a work in progress, doing these few things as often as I can certainly calms my "crazy":
Boundaries - In an effort to be mindful in everything that I am doing, and present with the tasks or people that are in front of me, it's important that I set boundaries for my time. Between 6pm and 9pm, don't expect an email response from me as I am having family time. While I am focusing on a project at work, you'll often see me with headphones on as it's my best defense when needing to be mindful. Point is, it's 100% okay to say "no, I will not answer that email right now" or "Let's talk in an hour, I need to focus". Uphold your boundaries as those are critical to your sanity over time.
Gratitude - I am blessed with an amazing group of women in my life that shares a daily gratitude list. For the last three years on a daily basis, we have shared a list of what we are grateful for, what our assets are, and what we are working on for the day via email. This list has 100% changed my perspective on my day-to-day life, and while you can absolutely do a personal list of gratitude on a daily basis, I can assure you that the sisterhood of shared gratitude can strengthen relationships and also allows you the perk of upholding relationships that you may otherwise feel too busy for.
Down-time - Speaking for myself, I have to put as much effort into relaxing as I do my home and career. I literally schedule time to relax and insist on an hour of mindless TV or reading every night. That doesn't mean I read books on business-- I force myself to read shallow British Crime Novels and check out completely from all responsibility. While my scheduled downtime can be tough to get done, the work pays off in ten-fold and actually makes me more effective in everything that I do.
So, Superwomen of the Marketo Community, what are YOU doing to maintain your sanity and overcome the Superwoman Complex? Any tips on how to keep it all together and still be a Marketing Rockstar? I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments!