I would have sworn blind that I wasn’t doing any such thing but that’s the beauty of a powerful question (and why I love coaching); it can bring a surprising level of awareness to our stubborn, habit forming minds.

So there the question was – how have you been robbing yourself? ‘No no no no, don’t be silly; was my initial response…Except… For a start, I thought I was ‘focussing on what I want’. I’ve always been something of a maverick (and by ‘something’ I mean ‘hella maverick’)… I chose a long time ago not to chase certain things – social status, a conventional career, money, badges of achievement – yet instead of focusing on what I wanted, I was focussing on damage control, apologising to myself for those decisions, trying to future proof myself from insecurity and constantly bargaining with my freedom.

What does this look like?

Making decisions to go after ‘what I want’ but then putting all my energy into the peripherals. For example, making sure I have an income from something more conventional so I can have ‘me’ time to work on other things, taking work I don’t enjoy but gives me freedom, not telling people what I REALLY do in case they don’t get it…

How else?

I was robbing myself of relationship and being out in the world. Just as I found it difficult to let go of ‘what I know’ in work, so too with relationships. The fear of being adrift kept me tethered to dynamics that exhausted me. I was often not showing up as myself, while also swinging from trying to gain approval to reactively refusing to conform. The fear of being adrift, alone, untethered had left me – hmm, adrift, alone, untethered.


And one more thing, while we’re at it. I was robbing myself of wellbeing. So overwhelmed by all the messages about what I SHOULD be doing, with a really strong free spirit, and with loads of stuff to do… letting my mind, body, soul stuff slide. I needed more space for me to strengthen and find calm.

So if you are doing any of the following, don’t worry I have an action plan:

  1. Tricking yourself into thinking you are going after your goals but actually wasting time trying to stay ‘safe’ while doing it
  2. Bringing a limp version of yourself to your community to appease others, leading to the very lack of connection you are running from
  3. Sacrificing your own well-being because it feels too much like hard work or non-urgent

Then what is my answer?:

Focussing on my light without compromise. This means no more worrying about the peripherals and living only by the answers to the following:

  • What do I really want?
  • Who am I in full power?
  • What do I really need?
  • How can all of this feel satisfying and enjoyable?
  • Try these questions for yourself!


So there it is, the beauty of a powerful question and an unexpected response.

Thankfully, it has given me a whole new level of understanding to bring with me. This is the kind of understanding that is woven into both my ICF Diploma in Skilled Coaching – something that you can use both for yourself to make sure you are never robbing yourself – AND to help others to do the same. Get in touch to find out more!

This article was written by Helen Johnson, one of Careering into Motherhood’s Partner Coaches. Helen trains coaches, leaders, changemakers, and entrepreneurs in ICF standard coaching (level 1 credential – ACC). She teaches the art of coaching beyond mere techniques, leading to personal and professional transformation.