Her Hustle Career Coaching | Has your notion of success changed during lockdown?

  • Emma-Louise Boynton

Last month, we held our first group career-coaching session for our Her Hustle members with the brilliant Personal Development Coach, Lorna Mann. Read all bout it here: https://bit.ly/HHLornaSuccess

Lorna was previously head of PR at the film studio, Lionsgate but after 12 years in a high-powered leadership position in the corporate world, she experienced burnout and decided it was time to leave. She describes it as her ‘fuck it’ moment, when she relinquished all burdens of expectation and fear of judgment by others, and pursued a wholly new, wholly unpredictable and wholly exciting new path.
The topic for today’s workshop was success and how our perception of success may have changed during lockdown. As we emerge from this **unprecedented** period, she said, we have the chance to write our own story, dictate our own rules and design a new narrative for our lives going forwards. While I know lockdown has been punishing - socially, economically and professionally, for many - the idea of being able to be someone new and enter whatever the next ‘new normal’ looks like with a renewed sense of ownership and autonomy felt very comforting indeed. It also reminded me of a recent piece penned by Lisa Toddeo’s for the Sunday Times Magazine, ‘What lockdown has taught us about FOMO’, in which she describes how lockdown has given some a new perspective on where to find, and indeed seek, joy - on our own terms at not at the behest of peer pressure. Could a post-lockdown me be a little less fraught with FOMO induced social anxiety? Silver-linings indeed.
So, having armed us with an alluring vision of what a new future and new sense of self, could await us all post-lockdown, Lorna then guided the group through an hour-long session exploring our varying perceptions of success - both personally and professionally, and with a clear delineation drawn between our pre and post lockdown understanding of it.
Personally, I am not an avid journaler (mainly for a lack of discipline rather than anything else) but being guided through a set of focused questions within the context of a designated time and space, and in the (virtual) company of others, makes the process feel an incredibly cathartic and surprisingly soothing one. Plus, in the disorientating pseudo-busy-ness and insecurity that has typified lockdown, this was an hour of comparable calm and mental stillness.
As the hour progressed, I was quite surprised to see the themes that emerged in my sequence of answers - themes I haven’t been aware of in my thinking and which suggested a pretty narrow notion of success as it so happens, one with little room for the ‘kinder’ approach goal-setting and career planning we later went on to discuss.
Having the opportunity to hear what the others had written and discovered felt similarly enlightening, and I really mean it. After so long in lockdown-imposed isolation you realise how easy it is to exist in your little bubble of thoughts, so it felt as refreshing as it did important to have that little perspective shift that hearing other people’s thoughts elicited.
One Her Hustle member mentioned at the end that she has struggled to avoid overwhelm when mapping out her bigger goals, and throughout lockdown has put increasing pressure on herself to achieve and move forward with big tasks, much to the detriment of her mental health and sense of well-being. Lorna’s response was to remind us all of the power of dreaming big and articulating what step number 10 in our career journey might look like, but then taking a couple of steps back and considering what steps 1-9 could look like, and where joy and fulfillment could be found there too. It’s as much about the journey as it is about the destination, as they say.
As someone who perpetually feels as though they’re hurling themselves towards some rather intangible and amorphous end goal - step 10 as defined by a rigid and demanding notion of success - it was a much appreciated reminder to stop and take stock of the opportunities for joy and purpose that might also be found on the way.
With Lorna’s 10-step guide in mind (read it here https://bit.ly/HHCareerCoaching10steps) , and her approach to re-evaluating how one thinks about success at hand, I plan on spending a little more time reflecting rather than hurtling this week, and look forward to the next career coaching session when I can carry on this process in the virtual company of our Her Hustle members.

Her Hustle Members can watch the full session here with their member-password.

Finally, check out Lorna’s recent chat with Gina Miller, aptly focused on ‘The Power of Women’. Hell yes.