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Brave Enough to be Me - #Highlights21 from WomenEd SouthWest

Nicola-Mooney-3

By Nicola Mooney  @nicksnook  Network Lead @WomenedSW


2020, what a year. Surely 2021 can only be easier?

12 months later, I hear myself again…..2021, what a year. Most of this is related to the fact that we have lived and educated through COVID, but for me this period has been an incredible journey of self discovery. Actually, that isn't entirely true, I have always known who I am but I had been through a long period of discontent so it was more a journey of self-validation.

While I will focus on 2021 in a moment, it wouldn't be right to not include the prequel that was 2020. I started 2020 totally lost, afraid to be myself. I had a sinking feeling that I just didn't fit. I had tried unsuccessfully to be different but it ended in feeling like there was an unbearable incongruence and this conflict in me made me crave significant change. In that sense, 2020 did not fail to deliver.

At the end of 2019 I became more involved in #WomenEd and started blogging. This has proved to be a critical phase of the journey because through writing I could express some of the things I couldn't say. I couldn't say because I had no audience. It took me being #10%braver to send it to @ViviennePorritt but it became a catalyst for my exponential development. It was for the blog series #pledgeforchange20. In January 2020 I added the link to this blog to a personal statement for a job application. I decided that if this put the recruiter off then it was absolutely fine because this is who I am, this is my journey and I'm no longer prepared to be a round peg trying to fit in a square hole.

Just before lockdown 1 I got a new job. It was like being gifted wings so that I could fly. When you are in the right place with the right people you just know.

So 2021, what are the highlights:

  • starting NPQH. I could write thousands of words about how this has been incredible but won't today. If you ever get the chance in invest in your own professional development in such a way then take the opportunity with open arms.
  • continuing my recovery from an injury I had in 2020 (a low point of 2021 was the unbearable pain I was in before I had a metal plate removed). I'm learning to adjust and to accept that I have a mild disability as a result but am looking forward to gaining strength and being able to exercise.
  • gaining an appreciation that I am in control of my destiny. I am in the driving seat and able to make decisions about what I want and need.
  • learning to delegate. This has been huge. It isn't good to do everything. In fact, it's impossible. I have learned that enabling people to do things for me is a privilege to both parties. I get to see other perspectives and this is fabulous.
  • 80% is good enough. This has been a hard lesson to learn. I'm a (recovering) perfectionist. This autumn I have put in boundaries that have hugely improved my work life balance and I'm incredibly proud of myself for achieving this. I have had a lot of coaching to get to this point.
  • I trust my judgment. I'm an overthinker but this has sort of trained me to be able to read situations with relatively strong accuracy. Of course, I make mistakes, but I'm less afraid to do so. Overcoming fear of failure will be an ongoing area to work on. I'm ridiculously competitive and I need to gain a more rational sense of how I can deal with disappointment.

So how have I become brave enough to be authentically myself? Well, I am in an organisation with the right culture for this to happen. My opinions have been listened to, and while I still sometimes struggle to communicate how I feel about things, my views are never rejected and there is always good that comes from them being aired. I have influence, and this has built my confidence. I'm happy with being marmite. I don't want to waste energy trying to express myself to people who don't see what I see or believe what I believe. However, I should mention that I don't want exist in an echo chamber, and do appreciate diversity of views. The point here is that we are working to achieve the same common goal. It is simply our approaches that differ. I couldn't have got to this point in my development in lots of other places, and I'm perfectly fine with this.

If you feel like I did in 2019, then move school. You need to find your tribe. With the right people around you, you will do wonderful things. 

I was incredibly close to leaving the profession but gave myself one last chance which changed everything for me. You can do the same for you.

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#Highlights21 - Liz Gregory FCCT
#Highlights21 from WomenEdEastern
 

Comments 2

Guest
Guest - Dr Jill Berry on Saturday, 01 January 2022 16:42

Good to read this, Nicola, and I love the phrase 'a recovering perfectionist'! You have much to be proud of, and it's clear that blog writing has helped you to process your experiences and recognise so much that is important. Very best wishes for the year ahead.

Good to read this, Nicola, and I love the phrase 'a recovering perfectionist'! You have much to be proud of, and it's clear that blog writing has helped you to process your experiences and recognise so much that is important. Very best wishes for the year ahead.
Guest
Guest - Nicola Mooney on Saturday, 01 January 2022 21:05

Thanks Jill! Thank you so much for being such a wonderful advocate of writers and always offering your thoughtful feedback x

Thanks Jill! Thank you so much for being such a wonderful advocate of writers and always offering your thoughtful feedback x
Guest
Wednesday, 29 June 2022

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