Hi, my name is Frances Grant but anyone who knows me calls me Fran. I started the Dattner Group Women in Leadership Course, Compass in June 2018 and man has been it been quite the journey for me. When I first started, I didn’t quite realise what I was getting myself into. I had been fortunate enough to have a colleague complete the course the previous year and recommended it to my manager.
One of the toughest and most rewarding learning’s I have from Compass is about the things I tell myself every day.
I truly am my harshest critic, my worst enemy, and my toughest judge. When Fabian was teaching the group about the stories that women tell themselves I related to a couple of the examples she provided, and with all the other things I took away from that module, something about it resonated with me. It might help to know that the other big thing I took away from the same module was my fear of failure, and how I feel like who I am is very heavily connected to my work. Anyway when I went back to work and normal life the thoughts stuck in the back of my mind.
How can I change things? Am I telling myself stories? Why am I so hard on myself? Why do I feel like work is all I am?
And so I decided to start writing things down.
If your anything like me, at the end of every day I have all these thoughts in my mind about what I did that day, and whether it was good or bad; if it was bad I would struggle to sleep feeling anxious about how it all went, going over and over things in my mind, unable to stop myself. This is where I started. I wrote down everything that I was telling myself, all the little comments or judgements about how things went that day or what I may or may not be able to accomplish tomorrow.
I very quickly started to realise that I was telling myself stories and most of them were very negative.
At first I felt so overwhelmed – how could I be telling myself all these awful things? How am I going to change this? What do I do?
I went back to what Fabian had taught us and tried to be curious about the stories and question them; are they really true? If they aren’t true then what is the truth? What do I want to tell myself? And then one by one I rewrote them.
I remember on our first day when Fabian was telling us that the one thing holding most women back was themselves, and all I thought was surely that can’t be true. As you can see in my case it definitely is true and slowly, day by day, I am changing it. Compass has given me a focus on being kinder to myself and rewriting all those awful things that hold me back.
I’m due to graduate from the program in September. It has been a challenging and incredible time in my life, and the women I have had the privilege to take this journey with have been nothing short of amazing. We have laughed, we’ve cried, faced our fears and mourned together. I already feel the impact that these women and the Dattner Group Team (Fabian, Sarah, Michelle, Tim and Jen) have had on my life and I cannot thank them enough. I don’t feel as stressed, I am more positive, I sleep better, I’ve decided to study at University for the first time in my life, and I spend less time putting myself down and more time having the courage to do the things I want and need.
I hope that my story does one of two things; if you are like me and find yourself repeating negative thoughts/stories in your mind, I hope you take some time out to be curious about it and question if what you are thinking is really true. If it didn’t resonate with you, then talk about this with women you care about – you never who in your life might be bringing themselves down just like me and might need some extra support or courage to see things in a different way.