Personable development

I’m not one for group sessions. Put me in a room with people and ask me to participate in an “ice breaker” and my eyes will ROLL. Those sessions where you have to work together in a group to make an egg not crack, or build something out of pipe cleaners, and I am done. Yuck. I’m not much of a joiner.

Being part of a team for work though, usually means that there is some kind of team bonding session at some stage. I’ve done plenty in the past in my previous life as a financial planning practice manager, or when I worked in finance for a big old bank. I’ve done personality tests, I’ve been on management courses, I’ve mingled with work colleagues over awkward drinks. I’ve been a MANAGER of people for goodness sakes.

Last week we were away with the other bloggers from my agency, The Remarkables Group. A diverse group of women and men, all creative and passionate about what they do, opinionated, loud speaking, and knowledgable about what they do. I think that when you happen to work with people who you respect, truly admire and respect, then the whole group things are a little easier to swallow. I mean you can pick brains and chat about things and actually LEARN something. We had a couple of sessions that required a little personal development. A personality test – discovered I am an influencer…well DER…and a director. Whenever I am in these sessions a bit of a shield comes down…who knows why…but I get an air of “I know” about me. What can I say? I’m a bit of a know it all.

We had a session on our last morning about conquering fears. And stuff. I wasn’t into it, then WAS into it, and then wasn’t, and then really wasn’t and then was. Ish. Last year when I was in New York for 2 weeks, I tapped into a bit of “me time”. I also tapped into some stuff that I manage to push down most of the time. You know the kind of stuff that itches at your sidelines from time to time? Those insecurities? Those excuses? That stuff. Most of the time I can keep that “stuff” at bay…I’m too busy to wallow or explore it, nor would I want to, but since that trip to New York, it just keeps popping up. And up. And especially up when I am away from the kids, or Rob, or normal day to day life.

This session involved the presenters opening up a huge mountain of broken glass that they had wrapped up in a plastic sheet. Broken wine bottles, and beer bottles and glasses, all piled up and broken. When they opened it up and suggested that we walk over it, well my eyes rolled into the back of my head. And then around again. For fucks sake! And then I started to feel sick and then I couldn’t sit down any longer, and then I had to stand in the furthermost part of the room. And then I started to CRY. I mean REALLY Beth. Get a grip. I don’t know why I had that reaction, I’m still trying to work it out now. I think it had something to do with the fact that in front of me was an actual physical representation of all MY STUFF. Ugly and broken. It was there and I couldn’t avoid it any longer because there it was. Sharp and nasty. I watched many of my fellow bloggers walk across that broken glass and not get cut, and just got on with it. Fears? Stomped over. Mind over matter and all that bullshit. Even Mrs Woog sucked it up, and got on with it. I couldn’t stand it. The sound of that glass as they crunched over it made me sick.

I knew I had to do it. And I eventually sucked it up. And stomped up to the front of the room ready to walk all over that stupid broken glass. Annie Lennox style.

Except I couldn’t.
And I didn’t.
That stupid glass beat me.

Except it wasn’t the glass it was all this OTHER STUFF. Stupid personal development stuff. Stuff about fears and about my head and all my self sabotage that I continue to practice. Just fucking stuff. I broke down in front of 18 people who really don’t know me at all and I cried and cried….like out loud, messy sobbing crying about things I didn’t even understand I was crying about. My head, getting in the way of me, and where I need to go. My past, getting in the way of where I need to be now.

I’ve been feeling a little strange since then. I suppose I’ve recognised some things that I need to work on. I figured out I DEFINITELY need a shrink to speak to(!) and try and get through some of this stupid stuff. I know I need to slow down. And focus and use purpose and thought, rather than rushing through things in the way that I do. There’s something….slower and quieter than the usual show pony me that has been stirred. It’s the thing that can take me from good to the fucking BEST. I’m ready to tell those fears to piss off.

Are you a fan of personal development?
Are you your own worst enemy like me?
Ever cried ugly tears in front of near strangers like a maniac?
Know a good therapist?


  1. Polly McDougall says

    Beth I love your openness and honesty! It’s so generous of you to give so much more than a little bit of yourself to all of us on here almost every day.
    But please do take the time to stop and consider all the “stuff” and what impact it’s having on you. We’ve all got it and sometimes you’ve just got to shine a light on the darkest corners instead of turning away from them.
    Good luck finding someone fantastic to talk about and thanks as always for sharing!

  2. murphycl1 says

    Don’t beat yourself up Beth. We’ve all got ‘STUFF’ that rears its ugly head from time to time. Raising little people is a privilege but it also leaves little time to tend to your own needs (teeth brushing, leg shaving, emotional health and the like). Therapy is good. Go get yourself some. Claire xo

  3. XX (tried to just leave you one X but was told a comment had to have 2 characters so you get two!)

  4. Ugly crying is the best. Embrace it. Grow from it. Take solace in it. I love you Beth. You are working hard, living hard and loving hard. Sometimes that deserves a big, ugly cry. Be kind to yourself. Big kisses xxB

  5. *Hugs* Hope you can find the time to sort out your stuff!! Looking after littlies often means mums like us put our stuff on the back burner and it isn’t until we break that we realise just how neglectful we’ve been. We’re here for you Beth!! Look after yourself lovely xx

  6. Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo says

    I hate those development days too. Especially when they get under your skin and actually make you think.

    Sounds like it was just what you needed. Maybe we all need a little broken glass walking.

  7. Those development sessions were the ONLY thing I liked abut working in financial services. I loved that shit! Of course I only ever used it in relation to my personal life – never about work..der.

    I’ve been reading your blog since Daisy was born and can’t believe how far you come in so such a short amount of time so can’t imagine that you have any of those fears or doubts about yourself that you’ve spoken about. What I see is someone with incredible amounts of motivation, someone who takes risks, works bloody hard and puts it all out there to share with the rest of us. I’ve started working towards a new future for me too and if I can get half as far as you have in double the time I’ll be a very happy girl. Keep smiling Beth.

    • I will Mel. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. You’ve been here a while then! I’m so glad you see all those things in me. I AM that person. Thanks for the reminder x

  8. Cat_BeLoverly says

    Oh you and I are made of similar stuffs. I hate that team building caper. I am not a joiner inner at all! And I totally would have lost every piece of my shit that I’m holding on to if I had to walk over glass like that. Sounds to me though like you needed this to push you closer to where you can fight the demons. You are an amazing woman Beth, truly x

  9. I am now crying, in front of my computer. Sure not in front of 18 other people, but crying. I can so identify with having to confront the stuff. You’ll be better for it. it sucks at the time, but is yet so liberating. Go you. And thank-you for sharing your heart.

  10. Alison von Bibra says

    Yep – I cried and cried when I had to fling myself off a table into the waiting arms of colleagues. It was pure shit. What did I learn – bunch of crap, apart from the fact I’m partial to terra firma, not throwing myself off tables. Very like you, in terms of personal development! I’m very TASK focussed, so probably not the person to talk to about having purpose and enjoying tasks, rather than getting through them. You have been so generous in your comments. I take my son to a social worker and she has been a delight in having him talk and share. Talk to your GP and get a recommendation for someone you can work with. Day by day. You can’t solve whatever it is that is under your skin in a minute. It takes time to build up and time to work through.

  11. Aha now I understand why you chose home and not pottery barn today… a big decision and only one you can make. I love your honesty and know that just by writing this you HAVE made the first step!

    Can I also suggest a life coach as an option to a shrink… I had a shrink for 2 years and we just weren’t a good match. I did some searching and found a brilliant life coach who was amazing and she took me places in my head I had avoided for years! Hunt around and make sure regardless they are a good ‘fit’ for you!

    thanks for sharing xx

  12. oh your HONESTY in this post Beth!!!!!!!!
    now *I* am the blubbering mess in the corner.
    Love your courage.
    LOVE it.

  13. But you DID step on the glass. I heard it break under your feet. You weren’t ready to cross over then but it sounds like you are now. Also I think our sting ray session made up for the morning conference session! 🙂 xxx

  14. mary_j_j says

    Oh, my heart went with you. Speak to your GP, everyone is able to access 6 sessions with a shrink (of some description) through medicare. See how you go from there. It’s funny, my old trainer wasn’t a shrink, but it sure was good to talk (whilst exercising) to him twice a week and just nut things through. Hugs x

  15. Sounds like you personally developed yourself without even having to step on broken glass. How cool is that? Recognising that you have stuff to work on is an achievement in itself and taking steps to work on it is, positively awesome! Having a “professional” to speak to is invaluable – having a safe place and someone to help you work through all that “stuff!” I think if everyone had a counsellor the world would be a better place. It’s changed my life so much – I’ve decided to become a counsellor myself! Soon… your fears will be pissing in the wind! PS I know an awesome therapist but she’s Sydney side!

  16. What a beautiful, raw, honest, thoughtful blog post. You are so kind and compassionate to others, please be kind to yourself. And cry as many tears as you have as often as you can, those angry, unexpected emotional ambushes won’t stop until all the feelings have been felt and the tears cried out. One day it will be done and you will feel so light. It will be a great day.

  17. Can I recommend you browse through “Slowing down to the speed of Life”. It helped me to see that there was definitely an alternative to my usual rush, rush, rush attitude. Didn’t cure me of course, but might help you see that some of your problems are in fact universal. Hugs to you Beth.

  18. Take care of you x

  19. I hate stuff! It rears it’s ugly head in my part of the world too every now and again, usually when I’m super busy and not looking after myself properly. I have what I call a “reference point” for when it comes up now. She’s awesome and it started with those 6 sessions the GP referred me to (someone else mentioned going to the GP and getting a referral in another comment) and once they were up I kept going and eventually she said to just call when I need her. It’s great. Hugs Beth, you’re an awesome woman x

  20. Lisa Mckenzie says

    No I’m not I hate it but probably because of the same reasons as you,fear and what I might find out about ME.If you feel you should talk to someone do it and maybe not be so hard on yourself Beth x

  21. Candice says

    The line “I’m ready to tell those fears to piss off” made me grin so big. You can do this!

    I’m a huge fan of personal development. Except that it’s HARD. And I don’t like hard work. It’s worth it, though.

  22. Cath Bakker says

    WOW, what you have said right there ^^sounds so much like me it is scary…I still am not sold on the whole therapists thing…tried it once many moons ago, and like you mention above, felt i knew why i am like what i am! But i guess perhaps they go deeper and actually help you deal with it not just tell you what it is. Good Luck…. Cath @ Lunch Boxes With Love

  23. Gibbergunyah says

    I’m a (child) psychologist. I’ve been to a therapist. I hear that Ros Morris is Bowral is good. All the best, brave Beth. Kellie

  24. Much as people like to deny it we all have that stuff. And to use some awful clichés recognising the stuff, the great big elephant in the room is the first step.
    It’s also easy to push down all the stuff when you’re constantly being told to be greatful and feel lucky. It can make you feel guilty and the stuff is still lingering and festering there plus you have the added guilt. Take care lovely. Xxx

  25. You are so authentic Beth. Sincerely, good luck! By the way, we ALL have ‘stuff’- it’s called the human condition. Go and explore the shit out of yourself, shine an ‘understandascope’ on you life with a therapist or whoever. If it weren’t for the massive denial that each and every one of us employs every day we’d all be weeping messes all of the time. Be gentle with yourself. x

  26. Slap that stuff right in its face and send it to where it belongs… not in your head. x

  27. Bev Williams-Krause says

    Up until eleven years ago I carried lots of painful crap around with me on a daily basis. Stuff that truly hurt my soul. Unfortunately, my nature is to put a face on, make a joke and carry on. Always making sure everyone else is ok first. My beautiful Mum died suddenly 13 years ago and rather than letting that pure guttural emotion flow, I held it in again, and added it to all of the other painful stuff. Making sure everyone else was ok first. Two years later, I had no choice but to get help.
    I had the most fantastic emotional therapist, who worked with me every week for two years solid – I had LOTS of crap.
    She taught me to be selfish. Something I still struggle with to this day. She also taught me to cry at every opportunity and to let my gorgeous daughter see me in every emotional state possible. Go and talk to someone, it freed me from my past and gave me the strength to follow my future. xx

    • Wow Bev! Thanks for sharing with me. I am HOPELESS at being selfish…it’s at the core of my problems I think….we sound very similar! I’m so glad that you are feeling lighter and free from all that CRAP!

  28. carohutchison says

    I know exactly what you mean. My challenge was to write the word I was most afraid of on a block of wood, then chop it karate style. I couldn’t do it. I tried about three times to break that wood and it wasn’t going anywhere. Lots of sobbing tears in an office at the end of the day. Different to you though I really didn’t like that job and they didn’t like me so we parted ways not long after. Over ten years ago I still remember it so clearly and have never felt fully secure in a job since.

  29. Slowing down is the best thing you can do for yourself! i was just like you except it took a breakdown…a massive one to get me to sloooow down. You have so much (which im sure you know) but try and stop to smell the roses while you achieve all that you can… i also got a therapist recently…its like chatting to a girlfriend…a girlfriend that knows no-one in my life so can’t judge me, it’s rather fun 😉

  30. oh huni – this has so been me for the past few ohidontknowforevers. Big hugs to you x a zillion. Talk to someone and then talk it out – it helps …. a lot! xxx

  31. ahoy.jenni says

    This book looks good – Rushing Woman Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver. I haven’t got it yet…been too busy…(joke)..might suit you.
    Love Jungian psychology, just love it. You know you can get a referral from a GP, Ask for a Mental Health Plan (MHP) and it provides you with I think 10 or so sessions you can claim back from medicare.
    Yes I would go to a psychologist all the time if I could 🙂 Life coaching sounds good too but I haven’t tried it.
    I’ve broken down in front of people, and it felt so good I didn’t care! It needed to come out!
    But you know what, you reveal so much of yourself in your blog and I think that takes guts so don’t beat yourself too much! Its also the age you are coming to when stuff starts to rise and come to the surface, and if you haven’t had a crisis in a younger age then you haven’t needed to look at your stuff. Its good its happening, means you are ‘evolving’ (like that one??)
    Take care, thanks for sharing 🙂

  32. You are the balls.
    I can totally relate, except instead of avoiding all my broken bits, I think about them every single day. I’m a sick puppy like that. I probably need a shrink too, but I worry what they will think of me. Ha! x

  33. Love your work Beth – please know that we all have shit- that’s what makes people like me read your shit because I get to apply all my shit to yours!!!!! I love the comment about feeling as if we should be grateful about our life , I’m grateful but every now and again I like/need to feel a little overwhelmed and sorry for myself – which is self centred but necessary I have been known to say to my darling Dad – its not about the starving people today I still feel bad for them but I just need a moment too!!! I feel that as i get older I’m almost going through more issues now as a friend/daughter in law/ wife – is it because life is more complicated or do we expect more or too much of people and ourselves because we are older and wiser??? Take care don’t stop oversharing because it helps more people that you will ever know!! Kris

    • Thanks Kris. I think you just become more aware of stuff…with age comes maturity and self reflection perhaps? I’ve noticed it too – letting go of stuff that really used to bug me and FINALLY willing to have a look at some of the stuff I’ve pushed aside for the past 18+ years. I think it’s called growing up! Eeeek!

  34. Maxabella says

    Can’t stand any of it. But then, I think I’m exactly like you in so many ways. Sometimes I’m pretty sure that all the broken stuff is really truly the stuff that holds us together. It’s what bones are made of. x

  35. shanshanity says

    Sorry I’m stuck on the walking on glass thing.. Did they really walk barefoot on glass?!

  36. Carly Findlay says

    I don’t think you need to torture yourself to push yourself. Sometimes reflecting on things, like you have done here, is enough.
    My friend Paul De Gelder just swam with sharks after he was attacked by a shake, losing his arm and leg in 2009. He faced his fears in a physical way, but it’s ok if that’s not the way everyone faces theirs.
    Great raw post Beth. Beautiful writing x

  37. Reannon Hope says

    I’m like you Beth in the fact that I like to think ” I know” myself , & I do, but a few years ago the whels fell off & I realized I needed someone to talk to who was impartial & not involved in my life. 12 months of counseling was so super helpful. It didn’t stop all the shit that bounces around my head not did it completely change the way I see myself but it did help me become aware of some behaviors & thought patterns I have. It was good.
    Go find someone to talk to. It will be good xx

  38. Hi Beth,

    I fully recommend counselling. I began seeing a psychologist when I was getting sucked into my sister’s messy divorce, she was supposed to help me learn to say no, but really helped me with much more than that. It’s nice to have a sounding board who doesn’t know anyone in your life. I saw her for about 6 months and now I ‘channel’ her when something is bothering me. Luck! x

  39. Stuff just sucks, I agree with most of the ladies here.

    For the past 15 months, I’ve been seeing a therapist. It has helped dramatically. Every time I leave her office, I float out with confidence, empowerment and a new lease of life. Then 2 weeks later, I’m back in there again, talking about all my shit.

    I’ve cried ugly tears. I’ve fled shopping centres mid purchase because of panic attacks, I’ve nearly pulled my car off the freeway to have an anxiety vom. I’ve cried and heaved in public, sometimes you cant control when that emotion is going to flood out of you. And like my therapist says, whats the worse thing that will happen? Besides a little embarrassment, people can be pretty forgiving. We are human after all.

    I’m onto my 2nd therapist now, my other one went on maternity leave and I found a replacement therapist who I liked more than my 1st one. She was pretty hardcore in the beginning but we are now making progress and I love seeing her.

    You can see your GP and get a “mental health care plan” which covers you for 6-10 sessions of therapy through medicare. I highly recommend that.

    Sometimes I go weekly, fortnightly. After I had Harriet, I lasted a whole month without going but a few issues have popped up and I’m back on a fortnightly basis which suits my busy life too.

    I actually think everyone needs a little therapy in their life from time to time. We need a safe place we can vent and get some advice.

    Dont be afraid to shop around for a good therapist. You have to have a connection with this person and feel comfortable with them. I had one lady who tried hypnotherapy in my 1st ever session and I had an anxiety attack and the room was spinning. She told me I had serious deep seeded issues… Thanks for all your help, you loony woman!

    I think you are one of the most amazing women I know. And it’s ok not to be ok. Hold your head high knowing you inspire so many people on many levels.


  40. I keep thinking about this post, Beth. And I keep thinking “what if my kids were in that room?”. My girl would have been all “Oh I want to do it!!!” and my boy would have been “um, no thanks”. You see, the thing is, we are all different. Do I love my girl more than my boy? No! They are just different and have different strengths. As do you.

    Just because you have “stuff” and didn’t walk on glass doesn’t make you “less”. You just have different things that we love about you and you have different strengths to those who did walk. Viva la difference! ‘Bout time we started to be a bit more accepting of all the types of people who make this world go around, I reckon.

  41. You were just having a breakthrough Beth. It’s great all this is coming up for you now because you can get it on out and move forward. Remember when we spoke about it takes courage to also say no and recognizing you weren’t ready just yet. And you helped teach so many people in the room powerful things.
    Your power is always there and you don’t have to walk over glass to tap into it. I’ve been doing this personal development stuff for years and I can’t tell you the amount of times I have broken down sobbing like a maniac. It’s quite a regular thing and is all part of the healing process. Just know that it is so completely normal and you are not alone.

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