29 June 2021

How I Became a Strong Leader After Decades of Stress and Self-Doubt: My Vulnerable Story

Leadership in corporate isn’t for everyone. There’s a level of resilience you have to muster to show up at work as authentically as possible.

In 20 years of climbing the corporate ladder, I faced many situations that made me question myself and hold my personality back from shining through.

To be honest, it was never somebody else’s fault. The power to change my situation was within me all along, but it took me so long to see it.

Well, a good thing came out of it: I can tell my story and, hopefully, inspire you to prioritise yourself and your personal life more, before other things (in my case, relationships) get sacrificed.

Ditching the self-doubt

I did everything right ever since I can remember.

One minute, I’m in my secondary school class - a big room with tall windows, a blackboard full of smart equations, an authoritative teacher standing with a straight face right in front of me.

I wanted to be the best at everything, always at the top of my game, constantly reaching for the next goal. I was positive all the time, energetic, and excited to make friends, to learn...

The next minute, I’m in a cold conference room, with a team of wide-eyed employees looking at me, waiting for me to lead them to our next goal. I still felt energised and enthusiastic, but I also felt a huge sense of responsibility and pressure to deliver.

How did that happen?

Well, I’ve run through my life the way society told me I was supposed to. Good grades at school, a degree from a great university, a successful career, a life that looked ideal from the outside.

But on the inside?

I gave myself SUCH a hard time throughout my 20s and early 30s. Even though I was constantly running at 100 mph, getting things done left and right for my career, I didn’t think I was good enough.

I doubted I could deliver, so I would beat myself up over it repeatedly. However, I ALWAYS delivered, so there was plenty of evidence I was doing a good job, but self-doubt and perfectionism held me back from seeing it.

I put so much pressure on myself to prove that I was capable, even later on in my career. Looking back, I now realise that none of it was necessary.

When I got promoted to a senior leadership role, I was over the moon.

I had a team, so I knew people depended on me to do my job well and be the leader they needed. But I created an image of a leader in my head that wasn’t aligned with who I truly was.

One day, I just let go of that artificial image of a leader. I didn’t want to be a different person at the office; I wanted to be authentically myself and encourage my team to do the same.

I felt like I had finally found my feet. I was also working with a coach, who supported me on my journey and held me accountable, so that helped a lot.

I became so much more comfortable with who I really was - I didn’t have to have all the answers, I didn’t have to be the best (I hired people who were much better than me at some things)... All I had to do was show up and do my best to support my team, remove the roadblocks and have their backs as we worked to achieve our goals.

I was so successful, just as I’d been dreaming, and I thought that’s what I needed to be happy.

There’s a catch, though…

While I was thriving in my career, I slowly but surely sacrificed my personal life for it.

I knew what I wanted for my career and my team, but that led to one of the most earth-shattering moments of my life: my marriage breaking down.

I remember this vividly...

I’m sitting alone in my apartment one day. I’m feeling numb because I’m going through a very hard time with my divorce. I look around, trying to figure out what I should do next.

Something had gone wrong that day. I don’t remember exactly, but I think something at work happened that would’ve usually stressed me out. Instead, I just sit there. Completely detached from a thing that, not so long ago, would’ve made me move mountains to get it done.

Suddenly, it hits me.

My perspective about work completely shifted: it’s just work, and the truth is… In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Why? Because my marriage had just fallen apart. And one reason for that is the fact that I was always knee-deep in work, wearing busyness as a badge of honour and taking for granted what I had in my personal life.

That’s when I realised how important it is to slow down, take a breath, and be more present.

After that moment, my life began to change.

I checked in with myself more often, and started prioritising my wellbeing, my relationships, and my inner peace. I found myself again, and the joy in living a life of freedom and true happiness.

Slowing down, I could finally see my life from a different angle - one that isn’t focused on work, but on me. It didn’t mean that I didn’t care about work, it just meant I didn't let it control my life anymore.

You can get there much faster

There’s nothing I want more than to help you get to where you want to be much faster than I did.

I sacrificed a lot along the way, but I also gained so much wisdom and insights on how to help other leaders live their lives freely and happily.

And the best thing about it? You perform so much better at work, you feel more energised and motivated, and you can show up as a strong leader for your team.

That's exactly why I created my signature course Supercharge Your Power. In it, you’ll find all the tools you need to take back control of your life, and be the confident, happy leader you’re meant to be.

Vote for yourself and sign up today.

Jeni Carroll

As a certified life coach, Jeni helps busy, successful women ditch overwhelm & selfdoubt & rediscover their energy, passion & freedom with proven strategies.

Ready to ditch the overwhelm and self-doubt? Start your transformation now.