Doubting yourself and suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’

I have suffered with anxiety now for about 3 years and when I first received that ‘diagnosis’ I did feel a bit all over the place. In hindsight I can now see that the relationship with my inner self was broken. I couldn’t predict how I would feel or react and I also felt like I was always on edge and found it really difficult to relax. Luckily, I have come a long way since that time and I can definitely notice how the growth I have achieved has helped to repair the relationship I have with myself. But as we all know; mental health issues are an ongoing battle. There is no quick fix and poof it goes away like a virus. So, one of the main issues I have been suffering with more recently is feeling inadequate to achieve my goals. Now this is not something that is just limited to people with anxiety. There are so many reasons that can cause you to doubt yourself. Changing careers, becoming a parent, taking a risk…

I came across the term imposter syndrome during a lecture at my university. To cut a long story short it means that an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. As I’ve grown older and progressed through my career, I’ve become aware that this is a problem that has plagued me every day. I’d reached a point where I had to admit to myself that I was actually quite scared of manifesting my goals. One of those goals is getting a degree. And as my time at university has passed I find myself second guessing my ability to perform in an academic setting. Despite the fact that my grades have been consistent and I’m doing well. I decided to speak to an academic at my university about how I was feeling, to which she replied ‘ it’s quite a common problem that a lot of women suffer from, especially BAME women’

I went away from that conversation thinking why do us women feel the need to self criticise and constantly compare ourselves to others. Through this turning point I realised that I need to start being my own fan and reassure myself that I am capable of handling the next stages of adulthood😂 As I’m quite a visual person I thought that I could starting putting up some motivational quotes on my walls to be a constant visual reminder to stay focused mentally. It’s very easy to think of a plan whether it be big or small, or evening approaching a meeting, work event. To get caught up in the mindset of ‘will these people like me? can I actually pull this of? What if it goes completely wrong? You have to try and get out of that mindset and push through.

So I will now be focusing on being my own biggest fan to build my confidence up. A lot of the time we focus so much on external relationships and situations and end up pushing ourselves to the background. It’s about convincing yourself that you are capable to achieving these goals or making changes in your life.

Saying that, clearly I have not mastered this skill yet myself so it’s a learning curve for us all.

What would you suggest to help minimise imposter syndrome, comment below!

@crazybutcool932

20 things every 20 something should know!

I turned 27 in April and I’ll be honest, it was not a comfortable feeling. So many thoughts we’re rushing through my mind such as, have a worked hard enough? Am I where I want to be at this age? How much more do I need to do before I’m 30? I was anxious around the time of my birthday. It’s really difficult to not compare yourself to others and to be critical on your own progress. I always said to my teachers at school that I would own my own house at the age of 25😂😂😂I laugh inside at the thought of it. Could I have reached that goal? Of course I could have. But the problem was that I didn’t have adequate knowledge about how to even go about getting a house that the goal slipped by me. Here I am 2 years after that deadline paying £635 a month in rent lol. How life has a funny way of making you question yourself.

So I’ve made a list of 20 things to keep in mind during your twenties. This list has been created to help you stay on track at all times whilst staying grounded.

  1. Your twenties is a good time to build strong financial foundations
  2. Every job move you make you should aim to increase your salary by 3-5000
  3. Re training yourself and unlearning bad behaviours at this age will increase your potential
  4. Holidays are essential to your overall wellbeing and world knowledge
  5. A good group of friends can make the difference between loneliness and secure attachments
  6. Sex during this period will get better, you will expand your experiences
  7. Your weight may change drastically over this period. But that’s okay, your finding what fits you.
  8. Experiences, experiences, experiences….. your at the stage now that you are earning your own money. Use it to start a new hobby or activity
  9. Make smart financial decisions, create a rule for spending. And spend wisely…. balenciagas on a 21,000 salary may be living above your means
  10. Give your friendships space to grow. Your friendships will go through changes, people work to different schedules etc. Try not to judge your friends for changing, roll with it. Grow together
  11. Don’t be afraid to ask for promotions and pay rises. Yes you can do this at work. Evaluate your work rate and set the goal for your progression
  12. Don’t label yourself… some of your friends may secure an amazing job or may have just gotten married. Don’t judge yourself by other people’s timeline. What is meant for you will happen on your own timeline. Learn to trust the process
  13. Ageing…. for us ladies… the belly and waist is not going to be as snatched as it was at the age of 19…. maintainence will be required lol (damn do I miss my 19yr old body)
  14. Don’t limit yourself… age is just a number. It doesn’t matter if your 21 or 27. Take of those caps that you have on goals. The sky is the limit.
  15. Balance… adulting is stressful and these are the years to find balance within yourself…. find what works for you and use it to manage your stress
  16. Defining your character…. who are you really… what do you want and what do you stand for. Let’s those questions sit with you for a while
  17. Be your own biggest fan… your twenties is a time that it’s okay to be a bit selfish and put your dreams first. Promote yourself and go hard for what you want.
  18. Relationships come and go…. learn to be comfortable by yourself because people do come in and out of your life and you may go through many friendships at this stage
  19. Dating is a minefield…. tinder dates and hook ups have really changed the dating game. Get your hard hat on and protect your space… the journey can get rough
  20. Love yourself unapologetically…. yes you will make mistakes, we all will. Don’t allow that to build up to self-loathing. When you  f**k up, evaluate the situation and learn from it. Even a bad situation is another opportunity to learn more about yourself and grow. Remember we never take an L

Surviving Life – Maintaining happiness throughout the struggle

There’s no way of denying that life can be realllll shitty at times. Most people experience a form of trauma at some stage of their life. It can be very overwhelming coping with some of the stresses that life throws at us sometimes. Personally, I have had my fair few stressful situations. But the one that affected me the most was living in poverty… below the breadline.

Now let’s not jump to conclusions, I’m not talking about poverty on the level of homelessness. I’m talking about this ‘first world’ level of poverty. The type that will have you sitting on a £1500 sofa, watching a £600 TV whilst discussing potentially losing your house and how to find money for food. I was raised in a single parent household; my mother an absolute grafter, was the provider for my brother and I. Most of my childhood and early teenager years I’d say we were doing okay financially from my perspective. It was when I started to hit 16/17 that things became a struggle. Becoming aware of adult level problems and losing the innocence of your childhood can be a massive shock to the system and some people struggle with this more than others.  When you are young, you receive gifts from your parents and you know… the food is just there magically. But you don’t fully grasp the blood, sweat and tears that a lot of single mothers go through to maintain their household and to put food on the table for their children. 

This is me in the middle with the dodgy hairstyle with my siblings and my dad.

So yeah… growing up is tough. The reason why I call it first world poverty is because from an outside perspective everything seems normal. You have a may have a car … the three-bedroom terraced house and even nice clothes. But did I have food to eat within that house? A lot of the time no. Could we afford heating during the winter? lol definitely not. It became a constant battle of putting money on the electric key and the gas meter only for it to go off a few days later and we sometimes had no way of finding money to put the electric on or the heating. I’ll keep it real there was times when we had to sell things in order to get a bit of money to tide us over. This type of lifestyle will rob you of all of your dignity especially if you are a proud person. There were many times when I would have to ask if I could bathe at my friend’s house and they would also give me food to cook at home so we had something to eat. Situations like this help to form the deepest of bonds between people. So, I’m sure you can get the idea… it was tough for a while. But despite living that kind of lifestyle, I don’t look back and focus on what I didn’t have to eat and the times when I could see my breath in the air, it was so cold in my bedroom.

The luxuries and gifts stopped coming and for a good few years we didn’t exchange birthday or Christmas gifts to each other. I think my family has been lucky because we do have a close bond. So having Christmas without presents under the tree never bothered me personally. But I can imagine for my mum it was hard because parents do feel a huge responsibility to provide for the family. But this is where the deepest lessons I have learned were formed. It was never a case of what didn’t I have… always a case of how can I work harder and bring more money into my household? 

Going through tough times and situations where you feel like life is just punishing you, that is the opportunity to discover yourself. These are the situations that tests your character and allow you to confront yourself. Happiness is something that you have to create for yourself. Can you be poor and be happy, 100%. It is about learning to accept yourself as you are when everything is stripped back… no distractions. You can develop unlimited potential within yourself. Let me clarify, my point is… the times when life is pushing up on you and you feel shiiiit. This is the type of situation that allows you to dig deep and get creative. You start to discover skills you never thought you had. And when you are short of money you have to get resourceful anyway. 

Resilience is a skill that will help to get you through these tough times. Being able to bounce back from setbacks and still see the beauty in your life, that is no small task.  After many losses and sets back, I have reached a stage where I have the ability to change my perspective. I never take an L, as every situation for me is the opportunity to learn, rediscover and adapt myself to the course that life has put me on. 

Here are some helpful tasks that can help you to change your perspective: 

Create a list of positives 

If you are struggling to see the positives of a situation, sit down and get out some paper. Write down your biggest loss, did you just lose your job or maybe a bad breakup. Now create some headings such as short-term benefits and long-term benefits. Once you have completed your list, keep it! You can always refer back to it when you’re feeling low or just need a reminder to slow down and gain some perspective.  

 Visualisation 

This doesn’t work for everyone as some people are more visual than others, but if this is your type of thing, create a detailed summary of what you want your life to look like in a specific time. One of my visualisations is a full fridge, I know that may sound weird but after going through the experience of being hungry and not having money to buy food. I need to have food in my house to feel content and secure.

There are going to be times that you feel like giving up and struggle to see the light at the end of tunnel but do not give up. Everyone is entitled to a bad day, and they will come. Lets support each other and continue to Rise! 

Remember risers, We never take an L !! 

L = Loss  

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Living with Anxiety

One of the biggest lessons I have learned through being diagnosed with anxiety is, a lot of people struggle to relate to mental health as it is an ‘invisible illness’. There’s no plaster cast or pack of medication that screams ‘I’m not well at the moment’. You will come across people who genuinely can’t grasp the issues that you are going through.

My journey with anxiety was a result of many years of unsolved trauma. I began to notice my behaviour changing, however I always dismissed it as personality changes as I was getting older. I was such a spontaneous person growing up and was always up to take part in most social events etc. But when I reached 23, I found myself declining almost every invite that was given to me. ‘I just prefer chilling at home’ I would tell myself. And as a result have missed out on major occasions that I still regret today. I didn’t even understand Anxiety at that stage let alone saw the symptoms within my own behaviour. I begun to feel numb emotionally. I remember describing it to my friends as feeling as if your trapped in a glass box inside your own body. You can smile and laugh on the outside but it’s as if the emotions don’t reach inside of you.

After a couple of years of experiencing those problems, I went through a break up (yes I know I’ve mentioned this before lol). On top of dealing with that I was made redundant from my dream job and my friends and I had decided to give up our house that we was renting and move back in with our parents. During this time, I started to feel so uncomfortable within myself. I would wake up and feel worried for no particular reason, I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then came the physical symptoms…. waking in the middle of the night with heart palpitations, my arms would go numb and tingly and I begun to clench my muscles subconsciously.

I’ve always been a bit of a worrier with my health so you could imagine I was freaking out at this stage. I decided to go to the AnE department (dramatic I know). After many hours waiting to be seen. The doctor on duty explained to me that all my tests where normal and that he believes my symptoms where a result of stress and anxiety. To hear that… honestly it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve always felt that I was a strong person (whatever that means) but hearing the doctors discuss my options. I couldn’t help but feel like I had failed myself.

The weeks following the diagnosis I visited my GP to discuss options to help relieve my symptoms. Luckily, a friend of mine had recently gone through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and recommend I give it a try. So walking into my GP office I was already equipped with the information about the CBT. The first thing my GP said to me was ‘okay we can put you on a course of anti-depression tablets’. This really bothered me as I felt I had to deal with the route cause of my Anxiety rather than the symptoms so I pushed for the CBT and was able to get a referral. The therapy helped me a lot and I will write another post explaining it in more detail.

That diagnosis was 4 years ago now and I have since learnt to manage my anxiety. I’ve summarised my go to methods for coping with anxiety below:

Breathing: Once I learned how to control and manage my breathing I was able to prevent anxiety attacks from occurring.

Meditation: Similar to the breathing techniques I use meditation as a way to process my emotions and to unwind when feeling stressed. There are many guided meditation apps available that will help you out if your new to the process.

Communication: I am very lucky that I have very supportive friends around me. Talking to them about my feelings helped me to process my emotions. They didn’t laugh at me or dismiss my irrational thoughts, they helped me explore them and talk myself out of the anxious feelings.

Anxiety is something that you may live with for the rest of your life. But don’t lose hope, there are so many ways that you can manage the symptoms and feel in control of your life again. I will go into more detail in future posts about the specific type of anxiety I suffer with and how that affected me.

Drop any comments below or a DM on insta @crazybutcool932

Developing relationships within schools between staff and students

There was a time in my career when I was going through a bad break up. Usually I was good at separating personal issues from my work but it was a vulnerable time for me. I had a registration /tutor group at the time and I’m sure they had to started to notice that I wasn’t myself. Valentine’s Day came around and it was time for me to go and start the lesson with my class. As I walked into the room, they had a massive bunch of flowers on the table for me and a card. I opened the card which was from them all and it read… we will appreciate you always. This simple gesture literally made me cry… another thing that I don’t make a habit of at work. Lol. I was so overwhelmed by the kindness of these teenagers. Some of whom I would frequently be in disagreements with regarding their behaviour. When I eventually left that role, they gifted me a scrap book. They had all wrote messages in the book and I was really shocked at some of them. One even said although we have had our disagreements you taught me that my way is not always the right way’. And I thought wow, the life lessons I gave to them actually sunk in. We both learnt from each other during the time I was at the school and they had taught me to be more patience and how to navigate complex issues with young people. And I shared my knowledge with them, sometimes it was a lesson in CV writing and how to assess your own skills. And other days it was supporting them while going through tough friendship problems.

During my time at secondary school, I developed a close bond with a few of my teachers. I suffered from a traumatic experience when I was in year 9 and my tutor, English teacher and Sociology teacher were made aware of this. Not only did they support me through this journey, they also helped to build me back up and realise my full potential. I felt comfortable to approach them when I was feeling vulnerable. Fast forward 14 years and I still keep in contact with the same teachers and they continue to offer me words of wisdom to this day.

Reflecting on this made me think about the relationships between school staff and their students. It has literally been drilled into my head that a gesture like that is hugely inappropriate and that we as staff must try to maintain our professional distance at all times. Don’t get me wrong, we need a certain degree of protection as staff and also so do the students. But at what point did we as a society stop prioritising our children’s emotional needs and need to form relationships. All throughout early schooling, teachers play quite a nurturing role in their students’ lives. They would certainly put their arm around a crying child. But what we see currently is an education system that is quite frankly, dominated by the academy institutions.

Children need support and stability and as teachers and school staff we spend a lot of their time around them. When will we start to support healthy attachments between school students and staff? Schools have high staff turnover which makes it harder for the students to build relationships with the multiple staff they come into contact with. When will we start to treat students as children instead of professional colleagues? I do believe that if staff and students were able to build a more meaningful relationship then students would have more accountability for their actions towards them. 

Schools are fundamental to the development of young people and also families. We need to focus on building a system that supports the connection between schools and their students. The question is…. how do we achieve t

The Destruction of Free Youth Media

The BBC are shutting down BBC three as a way to save up to 50million pound needed to be cut. There are many other ways that this money could be saved. In the news today there was an article that mentioned that BBC spent 30million pound on accommodation for staff. 11.6 million of that was just in 2013 alone.

If the BBC changed their spending habits and lowered that crazy salaries they dish out to top executives, maybe they could prevent the closure of this important channel.

BBC three is the only channel available on UK TV that specifically targets young peoples issues. There is no channel similar to BBC three. Most young people we have approached are not even aware that BBC three is closing down.

Below is the link to an online petition, make sure you sign is as this is our only hope at standing up for what we believe is right and is actually needed. It’s time to actually have a say in what is going on. There are different options the BBC could do in order to preserve the channel and ensure the quality of the shows are not compromised.

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/to-the-bbc-trust-savebbc3

What is preventing young people from voting?

44% of young people aged 18-24 voted in the last general election. Many young people do not care about politics in the way that we should. Governments do not aim their policies towards us because we do not make up the majority vote.

A survey found that 24 per cent of 18 to 21 year olds had never registered, and another nine per cent did not know whether they were on the register. One third (33 per cent) had been added by a parent, guardian or relative and 32 per cent said they had registered themselves.
Seven per cent of 22 to 25 year olds said their names had never registered and a further eight per cent in that age group said they did not know whether they had been.
The research, suggesting that as many as 800,000 young adults could have been disenfranchised across the United Kingdom, was carried out for the Electoral Reform Society.

As mentioned in a previous post we need to educate ourselves on the basics in UK politics. That way we can make a stand for the policies that we want to go through parliament and start voting for real change.

The voting system is a biased one to mention. We are encouraged to vote in a system where they portray the race as a fair one when in reality, there are a small group of elite men who all studied at the top schools in the country. They were groomed from school age to become leaders and people of importance within society. Where is the fairness of that. We live in a pretend democracy where they only people who become leaders are those who are born into the elite system.

Do not allow them to make you think this is the only option available!

Do you really think that you or me could become prime minister in this current society. The answer is no. And because of that point we feel that there is no real point in voting at the moment until there is a legitimate party who stand for what is right.

Our leaders no longer represent the people. They are essentially machines who dictate the smallest details that (believe it or not) do have a major effect on our lives. But yet these so called leaders have not really experienced life in the way that the mass experience it. They are from the clouded society ‘the elite’ where they wouldn’t know how to put the emergency electric on when your money cuts out. Or how to have a choice between getting to work or having money to eat. The leader of the Labour Party didn’t even know how much a weekly food shop costs nowadays! So ask yourself the question, why do we allow these elite machines to rule our lives and country.

Many young people do not feel that politics concerns them. It’s a very warped view that needs to be addressed. Realistically the options that we have for leaders today are between the conservative party, labour and liberal democrats. Out of the 161 councils involved in the local election today, 77 are run by Labour, 52 Conservatives and 8 are Liberal Democrats. Only 24 have no overall control.

We need to encourage more young people to be interested in politics and then start to move towards having more politicians who do represent the voters.

Ways we can do this is by getting involved within your communities, have a first hand look at what is going on in your own neighbourhood. Educate yourself in UK politics and get to know what is on offer. You may find that you agree with the policies of a party.

As the future of this country it’s time we stand up for our own rights and ensure that change does happen.

The power is in the people and what we say is ‘ To hell with the Eton robots’ let’s have some real politicians!!

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Tips for handing stress when applying for jobs.

Applying for jobs is a very long process so it’s helpful to have a few tricks to ensure you are sending out the maximum amount of applications but yet do not lose any quality.

1. Apply in sections
set yourself a manageable target so for example, I will apply for 10 jobs today. This makes the task seem smaller. Applying for jobs can be a long and tedious process

2. Create multiple CV’s and cover letters
Take 4 main jobs that you will be applying for and tailor your CV and cover letter to match what the employer is expecting. This will help you complete many applications quickly.

3. Try something different
A few years ago a graphic designer made his CV as a chocolate bar wrapper. Sometimes you have to get creative in order to set yourself aside from other candidates.

4. Have a written template already prepared. This can be a document listing your main skills and a explanation of experiences you have faced when you have had to apply your skills to. This will allow you to perfect your answers and ensure you can submit a quality application every time. You can copy and paste this into job applications.

We hope you try some of these tips. Leave a comment to share your experiences of how they worked for you.

The Real Rise©

How Stephen Sutton Can Inspire Us All

Stephen Sutton really is an inspiration he raised an amazing amount of money for the teenage cancer trust. Not only did he achieve his goal but he really did inspire so many people and his achievement has demonstrated how many people can make small individual efforts to reach a common goal.

He managed to raise over 3million pound and 1 million of that was literally in a few days. This is a perfect example of how young people can unite to raise a common goal. It’s time to stop looking at your peers as competition; you know the saying strength in numbers….

We need to join together with mutual goals and create new opportunities. You should evaluate what your goals are in life and try to reach out to people who are like minded. For example you could arrange for 3 friends to chip in together to buy a van and insurance… Get a few interested clients and that is the beginning of a removal company.

There is a shortage of jobs for us so we need to create them for ourselves. We should aim to recreate the enthusiasm that his cause created. He really did appeal to the empathetic side of people’s nature. You will be surprised at how many people may share the same goals as you all you have to do is reach out… You never know where it may take you. Look at Stephen, his unfortunate circumstances lead him to start his fundraising goal but it was his strength and passion for the cause that was able to make it as successful as it is.

On that note, here’s the link to Stephen’s just giving page if you would like to donate a small amount towards his cause.

https://www.justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-tct

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Top tips for young people to maintain their credit rating for the future.

I know some of you may have done a few ‘AC’s’ in the past or were a bit reckless with the spending when you were younger. So we have created a list of a few tips that can help improve your credit rating.You may not feel like it is a big issue now whilst your young. however, when your older you may need to rely on credit more often.

Your credit rating is basically a score to show how well you are at paying money back to lenders. For example, if you defaulted on a previous payment this will affect your credit rating.

Here are some tips to take note of to improve your overall credit score.

1- Arrange all of your outgoing bills to be paid by direct debit, this will ensure that they are paid on time every month, which will help boost your rating.

2. Put your name on the electoral register, lenders like to see you on there for as long as possible.

3. Always read the terms and conditions when setting up a new credit agreement. Always check if there is anything that mentions any late payment fees etc.

4. Don’t change your current account too much, the longer you have had your bank account the better it shows on your credit report

5. If you have a credit card use it and pay it of quickly…. Only if you can trust yourself to manage your money effectively. This will demonstrate that you can manage your credit and pay your bills on time.

6. Don’t allow people to take out any credit in your name…. Trust us you do not want to have a county court judgement over your head.

7. Be aware that when you try to get credit in your name the lender will do a search on you. Too many searches will look bad on your credit file.

Try these tips out and good luck with your financial future guys😬

The Real Rise©