This question has been asked to me several times this week as I finally publish my first book. EEEEKKKK!!! If you’d asked me 3 years ago, 'Where will you find the time to write a book?' The answer would have been either 'Me, write a book? LOL' or ‘I've no idea!.’ But I have and I did.
Living proof that if you want it, you make space for it and take action on it, there is very little you can’t do!
So, how did I do it?
Well first, I decided it was something I wanted to do. I wanted to do it because I have gained such a lot myself from reading books and implementing action from exercises and strategies that lie within those lovely pages. I know not everyone will want to invest fully in coaching so a book is an ideal opportunity for me to reach that woman who is sitting with her head in her hands at the kitchen table feeling alone, exhausted and can’t see the wood for the trees. She’s my why. She’s why I had to make the time.
I also wanted to write a book that allowed me to be me, to talk with my voice and not the well trained corporate voice that was necessary to attract European Funding or attract charitable donations from large corporations or keep a project on target. I wanted to write a down to earth, warm, British approach to personal development. Yes, well researched. Yes, filled with value, but also I wanted it to be filled with me and my daft expressions, my Merseyside colloquialisms. Again, proof you can do this on your terms. Your way. Oh my giddy aunt you can.
Plus, I wanted to take the shame out of my burnout. Yes, even now this is the hardest part. In saying out loud, effectively to anyone in the world that wants to read it, I have had one full on burnout, and swerved a second, I am confessing my 'weakness'. My subconscious fear and my Mean Little Cow voice says, ‘Stop, you’ll make yourself look pathetic. You’ll make yourself unemployable. You’ll embarrass your kids and husband/family. You shouldn’t announce this to the world you’ll be seen as weak!!’ (And that’s only the tip of that iceberg!).
On a society level we are made to feel ashamed in the working world, if we express weakness or mental health issues. We can be seen as a burden or a weak person. Luckily, I had been blessed with two great bosses who were supportive and resourceful when I shared any of my burnout symptoms. However, researching more about burnout I realise now that by sharing our burnout stories in the work place we can support employers to create more nurturing environments and give them the chance to retain talent before they leave unexpectedly!
The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers. In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health. Shocking isn't it. Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.Again, proving environment can be a major factor in burning out. *Work related Stress, Anxiety and Depression Statistics in Great Britain 2015 report from HSE, UK
Therefore, I tell my MLC, “I must do this. I must admit it because there is a lady out there feeling just like I did. She feels alone, scared, she feels trapped in a job, business or an environment that isn't helping her explore her greatness. She's scared to tell anyone as she fears she'll been seen as weak or a failure, that she’ll never feel OK again. But look at the stats, she's not alone.
My story and the tools in the book can help her see this isn’t a bad thing that is happening. It’s a chance to reflect, assess, to grow. It’s an opportunity to look at what she is doing and why she is doing it. It’s a chance to make positive changes in the environment she’s in, or create an exit plan that will take her to a place she can shine and show her strengths in a better light if that’s what she needs.The fact you are now equipped with all these tools, strategies and have a success definition that alerts you to when you aren’t aligned to it makes you mega employable and an even better leader than before, if you ever want to apply for a job that is.”
And in quietening MLC's fear driven banter I pressed approve on the publish button and bring that story to you and in doing so allow the taboo of burning out to be overcome in a small, but significant way.
So why I wanted to find the time was a significant factor in how I found the time!
‘What was the secret then Michala?’ I hear you cry. ‘How did you find the time?’
I used the time I had to better effect.
Nothing mind blowing.
No rocket science.
Simply, I looked at my working week, plus the time I am with my family/friends, and I said, 'Where can I fit this in?'
The only available slots were 2 hours a week, whilst my treasures were in clubs. Usually, I’d sit and watch them in one hour, or I’d go for a coffee with a friend or go for a run, in the other.
Instead, I sat in my car paper and pen in hand (I’m so old school. LOL) and I wrote. It took me longer this way than if I’d blocked time during the day or written late into the night, however, with my client commitments, my on line content creation, my family commitments, my success definition to thrive and other volunteering I do there wasn’t any space for that, so rather than wait for that space, (Let’s face it, it will never appear!) I used what time I had to the best advantage.
Several months later I had written my first book!!
No excuses. No waiting. I did it.
Have technical hitches set me back on my original release deadline? Yes.
Has it stopped me? No.
Did I find help? Yes. (Thank you Peter Thompson. Tech ninja. I am eternally grateful!)
So here you find me the proud (scared, excited, nervous, excited) author of my first book!
If you are a woman sitting at your kitchen table, head in hands saying, ‘What’s the point? Why can’t I see a way forward? Why aren’t there more hours in the day? What is wrong with me?’ then this book is for you. I hope it makes you love you a bit more. I hope it helps you see you and your world more clearly.
I hope you can learn as I did that burnout is an opportunity to grow and create positive changes. I hope it helps you see the wood for the trees.
Yesterday a gorgeous lady sent me a photo of her holding my book saying, ‘Look what I have!’ I cried. The woman I wrote this for has it in her hands.
So the secret is; there is no secret. Make time for what is important to you. Decide it’s a must and take action. #sodtheshoulds
To celebrate this book I have created a great new community called the Bounce Back Club. I’d love you to join me if you are ready to bounce back from anything life chucks at us! Click here to join NOW!