I remember watching Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman during my elementary school years. Every week I tuned in with anticipation to sing the theme song (including the instrumentals) and to bear witness of a woman using jewelry as a shield. In my mind, I was Wonder Woman and I needed the Underoos as proof just in case I encountered naysayers along the way. Lynda Carter demonstrated the strength of a woman with power and beauty in a dynamic I hadn’t seen before. Most of the women I’d seen on television were depicted as housewives in comedic roles. While there isn’t anything wrong with being a housewife, I was drawn to this female character who demonstrated courage, confidence and boldness which was clearly the exception for depictions of women at that time.
While I was busy jumping off my bed and thinking bracelets would help me win a fight, there was a “second wave of feminism” transpiring that I was totally unaware of. At that time, women were shifting from their role as housewife to a more career-oriented way of life. In essence, it was the birth of what we see as the norm today: women who pursue professional goals while attempting to balance roles in the home aka “Superwomen”. Sociology defines “Superwomen” as western women who work hard to manage multiple roles which results in the “Superwoman Squeeze” (pressure to perform well in every role). However, what I’m most concerned about is the “Superwoman Complex”: the expectation a woman places on herself that she can and should do everything. Not only is this expectation unrealistic, it’s also unhealthy. Women are 1.4 times more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression in comparison to men. This has to change…one woman at a time.
The consequences of being Superwoman or having the Superwoman Complex include:
- Erratic diet (not eating or eating too much)
- Forgetfulness and mental fogginess
- Lack of focus
- Mental health challenges
- Short temper
- General aches and pains
If this list doesn’t convince you, perhaps Ariana Huffington collapsing due to exhaustion will inspire you to relieve yourself of trying to do everything and be all things to all people: Click here –her wakeup call .
For multiple reasons and in the best interest of self, I retired my cape YEARS ago!
Instead of being a Superwoman, I made the decision to be a Super Woman. The difference is:
- I excuse myself from the opinion and approval of others. I’m not arrogant nor do I believe I can achieve success without feedback or the support of others. I simply created a definition of what success means to me so when others share their opinions, I measure them against the vision God has placed in my heart. Any point of view that’s more harmful than helpful is disregarded.
- I say no, no thank you or “not right now.” I keep my goals before me so sometimes “a minor ask” from someone becomes a major request as my agenda for the day has been established. When I can help, I absolutely do but when I’m at capacity, I can’t. In those instances, there’s an opportunity to compromise or simply “I’m sorry but I can’t. I’d love to (fill in the blank) but my plate is full.”
- I make time for myself. I’m learning to serve from my saucer and not my cup as Lisa Nichols states. Even on an airplane we’re instructed to place our oxygen masks on prior to assisting someone else in the event of an emergency. Everything begins with me so when I’m running on empty, my performance is subpar, I can’t assist clients with a spirit of excellence and my family/friends get the worst of me vs my best. My “me time” is spent reading, praying, resting, relaxing, shopping, dancing, or listening to music.
- I silence my phone before bed. Those who know me recognize I love food and I love sleep. Not only does a good night’s rest make you feel better; research indicates sleep is crucial to good health and I prefer 7-8 hours on a regular basis. Are there exceptions? Of course, but the chances of me saying I haven’t been able to sleep for weeks are slim.
Being a Super Woman means I’ve made the decision to forego quantity for quality while taking care of myself in the process. While I’m not where I’d like to be, I certainly am not where I used to be.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, try:
- Adding yoga or meditation to your daily activities (even 5 minutes or a few stretches will help)
- Asking for help
- Expressing gratitude (studies show being grateful reduces anxiety and stress)
- Having fun
- Reducing your laundry list of priorities to your top 3
- Listening to music
- Laughing out loud (Google health benefits of humor and get your laugh on ASAP)
- Celebrating you: your achievements, your successes, your accomplishments, your strengths, the progress you’ve made, etc.
This week, remove your cape, retire it and focus on being a Super Woman: the best person you can be, one day at a time vs being a Superwoman who has set the bar so high, only God himself can meet the standard. Lastly, feel free to share this article with the women you know and love so we can collectively get better together.
Need help retiring your cape while achieving your career goals? Let’s chat: Click here- Free Call: It’s Time For The New Me
Ericka Spradley, President of My Next Level ensures ambitious professionals and students get hired. As a Career Coach, Adjunct Professor and Author (“30 Min. Career Coach: Interview Basics for High School Students”, “7 Days to Confident Interviews”), she empowers others to take their interviewing skills to the next level so they can ultimately secure employment. Ericka also provides career support/guidance for clients when she’s not working tirelessly to change the career readiness conversation and course curriculum to include interviewing skills. To download your complimentary copy of “5 Simple Strategies to Land Your Ideal Job” click here