It's a simple enough word, but it holds huge emotions around it for many people. How many times during the day do you wonder if what you are doing is enough, at work, at home, in your relationships, your life. How many times do you feel that you are failing or that you are not enough, just as you are in this very moment. How many times does looking at social media make you feel that you and your life are not enough. You may very well know in your head that you are enough, that you are doing enough, but then the memories from the past show up to scroll through like a movie screen of all the times that you felt not enough, ashamed, that someone else shamed you. Why is it as women we believe that we have to be more than enough in order to be recognized, to be listened to and HEARD, to be seen as valuable.
Let's then think about the aging issue on top of all of that... As I get older I feel less inclined to be what anyone else thinks I should be, but sometimes the 'shame reel' starts and I have to do some very hard work to turn the fucker off. As a woman in our society, we are seen as less than in many points in our lives but never more than we become a woman of a 'certain age'... The societal value added of looks starts to diminish, the body doesn't look or feel like it used to and sometimes it takes awhile for the brain to catch up. To accept that you are no longer the demographic with the power, not that as women we have had that much power traditionally anyway..
I spent years working in technology, before many women were working in technology in anything other than support functions. I learned how to build computers from parts, install software, pull wire, install a network, come up with a plan for a client to build out a network that met needs without letting technology run the business. I worked mostly with men and frankly was treated with respect, was offered help and learning opportunities and learned most everything on the job. I flew by the seat of my pants a lot of the time. And while companies listened to me and I was the bridge in the room between the geek speakers and the money people (because they do NOT speak the same language at all), there were times in my career where I wasn't treated with the respect that I deserved and received push back from people who didn't know anything about what the goal was, they just didn't like the 'Bossie Blonde' telling them what they could and couldn't do. It was frustrating, it was hard and some days I was just exhausted by it. I got out of the technology world several years ago, partly due to that behavior, but mostly because I'm more of a people person and spending all day messing around with machines and feeling like I was always behind got real old. I never felt like I knew enough (there's that word again), I didn't feel that driving desire to keep pushing to ride the bleeding edge either.
There have been many times over the years that I have felt less than, not enough, 'different'. As I get older I find that I truly enjoy being different, I don't want to be like or look like everyone else. I don't feel the need to be posting the perfect handstand photo on Instagram to feel like an accomplished yogi and teacher. I have gotten better at learning to appreciate and expand the areas that I excel at and worry less about the things that I don't do as well. Those old reviews at previous jobs where you had to learn your strengths and weaknesses and then figure out a plan to get better at what you are weak at, those were awful. I say focus on what you are good at and then get help with the things that you are not so good at or build out a team that possesses the talents that you are weak in. I learned years ago that a great manager would build out a team that had a varied skill set and work to maximize those skills so that the team as a whole excelled.
Everyday I see and hear of women stepping outside their fears and worries about being enough to do things, follow their dreams and passions to branch out into a life they love. To move beyond old stories from themselves and others and step forward to create a new story. Most learn on the way, make mistakes, pick themselves up and learn and keep moving forward and just keep tweaking and learning and getting better and better along the way. No I am no longer young but that also doesn't mean that I cannot move in the same space, create a life I love, do things I have never done before, take some risks, makes mistakes and not let those stop me and also take the fork in the road if that sounds good too. The only person it has to be enough for is ME.. The 'shame reel' slows my roll and I am not inclined to want to lose momentum, so I do all I need to do to support myself shutting the shame reel off. I've lived some life, learned some stuff and will continue to do both of those things. And I have some really great stories too. I think for women my age we are all learning that we still have so much to offer, that reinvention is still attainable and yes that we are truly ENOUGH, just by being exactly who we are.