The Female Addiction Trap that is killing your career
by Susie Heath
August 4 2015 - Susie argues that women have been holding themselves back with excuses whilst men 'grab the bull by the horns' and it's time for us to change. We have been holding ourselves back for too long. Feminine addictions happen when we lose touch with our instincts and our authenticity and it is slowly eroding our careers.
Put me in a room of women and there is not one woman there who doesn't put her hand up and confess to having some sort of craving or behaviour which she feels she has to satisfy. I'm not talking about the obvious hard-drug addictions here - I'm talking about things that you do every day that affect your life and prevent you from living full out, from being fully self-expressed, from being your authentic magnificent self, fulfilling your true potential.
Now I know that men do these too, but women tend to be much harder on themselves, These behaviours may start out as innocent coping strategies but when you become dependent on them to cope with daily life, I lovingly call them 'Feminine Addictions.' Unfortunately they are becoming an epidemic and if not tackled may lead you towards burn-out where you can barely get out of bed in the morning, or not living the life you really would love.
I've identified 7 categories which are particularly pertinent to women, with a few examples that you may relate to.
- 'The Overs' - Overwork, overwhelm, over masculine, over-worrying.
- 'The Unders' - Low self-esteem, victimhood, comparison, people-pleasing, the Imposter Syndrome.
- 'Body Hatred' - self-judgement, eating disorders, obsessive dieting, medical interventions.
- 'Addicted to the Impossible' - perfectionism, fear of failure/success.
- 'The Love Bug' - desperately seeking 'The One' or keeping up with others exploits.
- 'Virtual addiction' - to social media, mobile phones, TV programmes.
- 'Mind the Gap' - caffeine, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs.
Women are brilliant at hiding the fact that they're not coping - in fact we work even harder to over-compensate, which is rapidly becoming another of our addictions. Some of these behaviours seem to be wired into our brain, others are where we have been conditioned as girls from childhood to be 'less than,' or alternatively, to behave more and more like men if we want to reach the top. Unfortunately the latter leads to massive hormone dysfunction which has enormous ramifications for our health, our intimate relationships and our fertility.
The most far-reaching social development of the early 21st century is our increasingly insistent habit of rewarding ourselves when we feel the need to lift our moods. When you check your emails before going to bed, go shopping for some expensive item "Because you're worth it!" or have 2 glasses of wine when you come in from work, or keep your lap-top on way after bedtime - you are reinforcing the addictive streak in human nature. That streak is there because our brains have evolved to seek out immediate short term rewards. Our ancestors needed to stuff themselves with energy-rich berries and protein and respond quickly to sexual stimulation - you wouldn't be here if they hadn't!
So this primordial neural wiring still seduces us into bad habits in life that can affect your day to day existence. You become your own worst enemy and when that happens your work suffers:
- You get overlooked for promotion;
- Colleagues stop trusting you;
- People start to whisper behind your back;
- Rumours fly around the office;
- You get watched for every little thing you do;
- You feel dreadful and can hardly drag yourself through the day;
- You lose confidence in yourself;
- You get picked on or ignored;
- You get demoted;
- Or worse-case scenario - you get sacked.
From talking and working with hundreds of women, I know you want peace of mind, serenity in the madness of the frantically busy life you're leading. You want to get rid of the chaos and overwhelm, have a more structured life with the pieces of the jigsaw fitting together so life makes sense. You want to become more empowered as a woman; you are looking for a better version of yourself in a truer sense.
You're looking to be at the top of a career that fully inspires and satisfies you and gives you a feeling of knowing you're making a difference. You're looking to earn the money you're really worth; you're looking for good health and vitality so you have the energy to work and play full out. You're looking to enjoy the body you are in, to appreciate it and feel really good and sexy. You're looking to have a juicy fulfilling intimate life with a wonderful loving partner; you may be looking to have a family or be a great mother to the children you already have.
You're seeking fulfilment, so you are truly, madly, deeply satisfied.
My methodology takes you back in connection with the wisdom of your body - while we may have intellectual understanding of how our body functions, we have very little 'actual' understanding and have lost touch with our instincts, not just for survival, but in our social and personal communication too. It's time too, to learn how to use more of your mind than the 3% you are currently using. The other 97% consists of unconscious behaviours that we have inherited or learned and they are running the show on autopilot, preventing us from being conscious and aware, and keeping us trapped in mediocrity. To not put too fine a point on it, this is vital information that we need if we are going to have a future that is worthwhile. And my belief is that it is time for us as women to step into our true potency and become amazing leaders.
So it's time to give up self-sabotage, ditch the addictions that are holding you back and learn how to gain more vitality, more focus, more confidence, greater self-esteem and more success while remaining true to yourself as a woman.
Susie specialises in working with professional women between the ages of 29 and 55, particularly in the corporate market, who are stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted and who have over adapted to a more masculine way of being, as well as women entrepreneurs who want to create a more fulfilling and balanced life by developing confidence as a woman. Previous clients include executives from BP, KPMG, Nat West, Credit Suisse and senior HR consultants. She has run workshops for WIBF (Women in Banking and Finance) and has worked with high-profile film stars, opera singers, pop stars and even royalty. Susie is a trained TV presenter and has recently been featured on several radio programmes internationally and in a television programme on divorce called What Would Sharia Do? Susie is currently co-creating and co-presenting The One Woman Conference with Dr. Joanna Martin and Annie Stoker.