I’ve always been a dancer. Not a particularly good one, but a born dancer. It has always run in my blood and beat through my heart. I'm comfortable on stage despite being an introvert, and I love entertaining people. The latter has even caused me to adopt a ‘class clown’ character in dance classes for as far back as I can remember. It has always been as enjoyable for me to make my dance mates laugh as it is to move gracefully and with expression.
I’ve also always been a workaholic. Regardless of whether it was an admin job in a government agency in the temporary home of London or as a marketing manager at a global corporate in my home city of Jo'burg. I get great satisfaction from a job well done and I often work early, late or through the night regardless of whether the deadline is real or self-imposed. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I’ve worked extra hard to earn the respect I am now granted, yet comments that still get passed by my male colleagues in this day and age make me want to work harder to prove them wrong.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. The limited and sporadic periods I’ve been able to spend on the sport that I love as I’ve built my career means that my potential and abilities as a dancer have been neglected. My perfectionist nature makes me very hard on myself and it frustrates me that I can’t do everything I want to at the top level I believe I would be capable of if I could dedicate myself to each of them in turn. Basically, I want to have my dance cake and eat my career too.
I’ve watched beginners start the dance genre I’m currently involved in - pole fitness - and then seen them in advanced class with me the next time I’m on a “I must get back into it” binge. Whilst my greatest thrill is watching other women enjoy the sense of achievement that pole sport brings as they become able to do more challenging moves, I feel embarrassed if they ask me “for how long have you been dancing?” when they see me still struggling to achieve my nemesis moves.
Embarrassed; that’s not an emotion any woman should ever have about her abilities. The other red flag is that I too easily and too often choose working a few additional hours on a project over working on my God-given gift for just a few hours. Something else women are prone to is guilt no matter what we choose to spend our time on. Do you think men suffer as badly with that type of guilt?
The above is an illustration of just two conflicts in my life. I’ve not mentioned my wanting a beautifully maintained home and to spend more quality time with my husband and family.
So, my current #WomenInProgress challenge - one for which I have just taken almost three full weeks of leave from my job to focus on - is rediscovering and investing in the non-work related areas of my life, and then carrying a fairer balance forward when I return to the office. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job (probably the largest reason I battle not to choose it over other things), but there is more to my life than just the role I fulfil at my corporate employer. If I don’t start being personally responsible for enjoying that life now, when will I?
If not, when will you?
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