Do you remember pushing your mum’s buttons? Or watching your sibling push them? And the chaos that would ensue afterwards?
It was only when I became a mum that I really understood what it felt like to have my buttons pushed. How is it that your child seems to be perfectly designed to intuitively know how to push your buttons in exactly the right way at the right time? The mastery they have from such a young age is incredible. The second twist of the knife comes when you think you have “understood” your first child and then suddenly your second beautifully shows you that they know how to push a whole different set of buttons that you didn’t know you had!
Looking back over the past 15 years I don’t think parenting came particularly naturally to me. Children come with a whole host of “jobs” that take up time and energy. My way to deal with this was to lean into my ability to be structured and organised. I could plan ahead. I could think different scenarios through. I could tidy as I went along. I could batch cook meals in advance. But I couldn’t plan for the unpredictable. I couldn’t plan for events that triggered upset or disappointment. Life happens and at times my buttons were pushed.
I’m not proud to say that there were moments when I “lost it”. That I shouted. Stomped off. When I mirrored their behaviour with a tantrum. There was always a calm after the storm and hugs are abundant in our household.
It was only when I started practicing mindfulness and then when I trained as a coach that the needle started to shift.
Mindfulness gave me the space and awareness to choose a different response between a behaviour and my reaction. The more consistent my practice was the more that I noticed how my perspective was changing. The dropped broken glass was met with an “oh well” instead of an “how could you be so clumsy?”. Their upset or frustration was met with space and silence so they felt heard. It started to change everything.
The more I walked on my journey of self-discovery the more I learnt about myself. I realised I had limiting beliefs. I trained with Positive Intelligence and discovered that I self-sabotaged just like everyone else did. I understood that my ability to be organised and structured was helpful when I was reacting from a positive “Sage” place, but that overusing these skills caused me stress and anxiety that the girls picked up on. Suddenly I had access to an operating system that helped me intercept my self-sabotaging behaviours and access a more Sage response – one where every challenge is a gift or an opportunity. In addition it allowed me to access my power of Empathy; to see the world through their eyes. To remember what I was like when I was a 5-year-old without a care in the world.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve consistently practiced. I’ve observed. I’ve been aware. I’ve slowed down and give myself space. I know that in every cell of my body that although it’s a mother’s instinct to protect their offspring that I can’t do that unless I give myself time for me. Time when I can nourish my soul.
I pleased and proud to say that I am reaping the rewards. I am, hand on heart, proud of my daughters. Proud of their independence. Of their creativity. Of their free will. I know that they love me. I know they know that I love them for who they are – not for the labels that society gives them.
And most importantly I have perspective. I know that life isn’t going to always be rosy. But when life throws a curve ball, I know that I have the tools to respond with love, compassion and kindness; to myself and to them. Interestingly this was put to the test just this month. Two A&E visits in two weeks. The first in nearly 16 years of being a mum. I’m proud to say that I was cool, calm and collected. I showered them in love without any anxiety or panic. And they felt it. They were brave and calm. I definitely passed the test!
I’d love everyone to be able to learn the tools that I have. I honestly believe it’s the key to changing the world. I never imagined that having my buttons pushed could be such a gift. And when it comes down to it they can only be pushed if you let them and underneath it all there is a lesson or gift for you to uncover.
I’d love to hear if any of this story resonates with you. I can be reached here: https://linktr.ee/reachingmybest and if you curious enough to want to know how you self-sabotage you can find out here: https://bit.ly/RMB_PQquiz
It’s only when we look back over our lives that we can see the invisible threads that connect what at the time seem like a random collection of experiences. University in France. Travelling the world. Management consultancy. Interior design. Never one to stop, with a hunger and curiosity to learn.
It was only when Claire experienced disempowerment and unfulfillment at work that Claire reassessed her options and stepped outside of her comfort zone and started her company, Reaching My Best.
Claire quickly discovered that we are all held back by our own limiting beliefs (or Saboteurs) and how the expectations of ourselves, others and society cause us daily angst, whether we are conscious of it or not. Coupled with instinctive people-pleasing tendencies, in a world that is now more equitable for women can challenge many women, particularly those with powerful careers.
It’s Claire’s mission to help women have the confidence to find balance, fulfilment and purpose in their lives so they can keep everyone, including themselves happy while achieving the seemingly unattainable.
Claire leads by example and shows that when we are able to truly be and trust ourselves that a world of possibilities opens up for us all.
As a Certified Positive Intelligence Coach, Claire draws on coaching, mentoring and mindfulness techniques to help her clients reawaken their unique power and rewire their brains for sustainable change in their lives.
Claire and her husband Hamish have two daughters, Ruby and Isla. When she’s not working she enjoys reupholstering chairs, learning new creative skills and listening to books and podcasts while she walks her dog Watson.
For more info on Claire click here.