the time I lost my confidence on the French Riviera

I’ve always been a pretty confident person.

I make decisions quickly and navigate the uncertainties of life with as much grace as I can muster.

But about a year after I left my position as a university psychologist to focus on creating she{ology}, I lost my confidence. And I’m not just talking about figuratively losing confidence.

My confidence literally left me

Here’s what happened.

For the first year after I left the university, business was thriving.

I was at the top of my game.

I was working with amazing women from around the world.
I was traveling internationally, and really living my heart’s vision, all the while wearing cute shoes.

I’d bathed in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, spent extended time in the South of France, Paris, and London.

I even had a brief romance with a French economist (this was long before Mr. McAvoy appeared on the scene).

And then about a year into my work, something happened.
Actually, lots of things happened while I was in France one summer.

But here’s the jist of it.

A couple of important sales fell through.
I got into a major disagreement with a dear friend over a misunderstanding.
My business manager was exasperated with me. She didn’t quit, but I’m sure she wanted to.
And because I was tired and homesick – not to mention, totally ungrounded – I didn’t bounce back as quickly as I usually did.

Rather than pulling myself up by my bootstraps and rallying, I froze.
I got scared, and I began to question everything I was doing.

It all came to a head while I was staying in Cannes on the French Rivera.

I got a disappointing (but not catastrophic) email from a prospective client.

But in that moment, I felt myself give up.

I closed my laptop, stood up, and stated out loud, and without passion,

“I.
Quit.”


And in that moment, I felt all of the confident, spirited energy that had sustained me and my business for the past year, simply leak out the bottoms of my feet.

In an instant, it was gone.
And I was alone.

Afterwards, I collapsed on my bed and sobbed hot, helpless tears.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t know what to do.

Looking back, I’d begun a major life crisis, while nestled the middle of a lovely hotel room located one of the the most beautiful, glamorous spots in the world.

I was surrounded by all the splendor of the South of France, but inside I felt empty and alone.

I began to question everything.
Especially myself.

Nothing I was doing seemed to be working.
None of the marketing.
None of the strategy.
Nothing.

Though I was working with a mentor at the time, there didn’t seem to be anything she could do to support me in the way I needed.

Though I could have called my sisters or one of my friends, I didn’t.
I didn’t want them to worry.

And I didn’t know what to say, anyway.

And here’s the thing.

From the outside, looking in, unless you knew me well, you’d probably never have known that I was struggling.

But my mentor Barb told me once, that she can tell when I’m most afraid because it’s in those times of great fear that I appear to be most courageous.

It also turns out, I have a tell.
Barb shared that when she looks carefully, just beneath the surface, she can see terror in my eyes.

Barb always speaks the truth, in love.
I was terrified.

After the tears subsided, I went down to the beach where I sat for a long time on the rocks.

After a little while, a tall-ish Frenchman with dirty beach feet and kind, bright blue eyes joined me.

After flirting with me briefly, he asked where my husband was.

I told him I didn’t have one.
And then he told me something that made me believe that he was a messenger from God.

As he rose to leave, he quietly said, “Une femme belle comme vous ne sera pas longtemps seule.”

“A woman as beautiful as you won’t be alone for long.”

He was my harbinger of hope.

After that day in Cannes, I kept getting up every day.
I kept trying to figure out what to do next, how to make my business work.

Though the spirit of my work had flown, I still had my intellect.

And in some ways, my intellect saved me.
I was as persistent and committed as always.

I still shopped. And worked out. And did my best to appear that nothing had changed.

Except everything had changed. 

I wasn’t living my life in spirited joy.
In fact, the joy that had filled me up and propelled me to such great success was gone.

I was living life on empty, going through the motions, trying to muscle my way to success, when it had come so effortlessly before.

In the next post, I’ll share with you what happened next, including how I reclaimed that vibrant confidence that is necessary for a woman to live a full, happy, and successful life.

But for now, I want you to know a couple of things.

1. Grown-up smart girls like you and me are *really good* at hiding the bad stuff that happens to us.

We have the capacity to mask anxiety, depression and trauma by using our intellects.

Why?

Because we can, of course. But here’s the thing: at some point, your intellect isn’t going to be enough (as I discovered).

Have you? 

2. Your intellect is necessary but not sufficient for the next level of your success.

To thrive as a leader, to contribute as an innovator, to fall in love with your life, your spirit must be fully present in your heart, in your hips, and in your eyes.

You accomplish this by creating a bridge between your head (your intellect) and your heart (where your spirit calls home). 

Until next time, here’s to love & confidence reclaimed,

Robyn 


Ever since I reclaimed my own spirit of joy and enthusiasm, I’ve been helping women engineers, physicians, and other high-performers like you build bridges between their heads and their hearts so that they can reclaim their own confident, vivacious spirits.

Why?

So they can joyfully and confidently fall in love with themselves, their work, and their lives.

If you’d like to meet with me and find out if I can help you do the same, I’m here for you.

Request a complimentary strategy session right here

There’s no obligation to buy; we’ll just have a friendly chat about your next steps.

Sound good? Looking forward to speaking with you soon, smart girl. 

Want to know more?

Read the stories of transformation that women who work with me experience right here: http://robynmckay.com/stories/

 

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