Surviving a demotion: believing in myself and rebuilding confidence

by Lucy Flower @MrsLFlower  #PledgeForChange20

The awkward, quick smiles. The questioning glances. The open, naked curiosity. The conversations that stop when you enter a room. Recently, I was demoted from my leadership role.

Well, actually, I stepped down, but in the high flying, high powered, and high ambition culture of my MAT, the shame that other people feel for you means that a voluntary demotion is tantamount to having to be escorted from the premises. It isn’t what people say, of course, but is certainly the side glances, the sympathy, the whispered discussions. 

When the news of your demotion is about to publicly break you have two options:

  • keep your head down, ride out the humiliation, and quietly crawl along
  • own your own story, keep your head up high, and soar.

My outwards facing mask is certainly the latter: making my own announcement on Twitter, contacting relevant colleagues to tell them personally, and of course, writing these blog posts. To the world I hope it appears that I am holding my head high – owning my vulnerability. 

The reality? Hiding behind my breezy ‘authenticity’ of smiling brightly and saying (yet again) “It’s so great that I now have balance in my life” is a more complex picture: shame; hurt; frustration; exhaustion; but above all, a lack of confidence and self belief.

Keeping myself busy in my classroom to avoid the stares in the staffroom, and skulking round the school to avoid the sympathetic smiles of my former leadership colleagues cannot continue – nor can getting excited and carried away with an idea of how to improve an aspect of education before realising that I have no power to uphold it. The frustrated leader in me needs a passion. 

So now to my #PledgeForChange20: be 10% braver to find my passion, believe in myself to make the steps to achieve it, and have the confidence to make it happen. 

Being 10% braver: I want to put myself out there more. I’m going to write more blog posts, continue to be open and authentic on twitter, and also offer to speak at upcoming edu conferences and events.
Believing in myself: I’m going to challenge my own negative thoughts and perceptions, as well as filtering comments from others.

Being more confident: I want to have the confidence to articulately and calmly challenge other people when they belittle me or my needs.

Thank you in advance for your support in helping me to build my confidence in 2020 – I can’t wait to read about how you will be making a change for #WomenEd this year.

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