Illustration: Ashley Siebels
It’s easy to imagine that our role models, leaders, and other highly successful people have it all together. No big career mistakes, no missteps, no faceplants.
I’ve also noticed that strong, accomplished women are especially adept at hiding when things aren’t going well. This has been on my mind a lot since I heard the heartbreaking news about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
When you’re used to routinely moving mountains, alchemizing ideas into results, rallying troops, and powering through roadblocks, it can be hard to acknowledge that you’re struggling. Tough to admit it to yourself, and almost inconceivable to admit it to others.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with, and cured of, breast cancer. After I recovered, I found myself drifting and without goals for the first time since I can recall. Even though I was being a self-care champion, I found it hard to fully focus on my work. I recognized that I was dealing with survivors’ guilt.
At dinner one night with my new friend, Cat, I opened up about everything. Without any judgement, she referred me to a truly awesome therapist. Exactly what I needed.
- It’s OK to admit you’re struggling.
- It’s OK to ask for help.
- It’s OK to accept help.
One more thing: Check in on your friends and colleagues. (Even that slightly intimidating, amazing, courageous woman who is making sh!t happen and always looks like she has it together.) Ask if they are OK. Be willing to listen, and if necessary, act. We’re all in this together.