While going through phases of feeling completely unmotivated, confused and lost for purpose aren’t uncommon when deciphering the ‘big picture’ road ahead, whether personally or professionally, the last year has undeniably been one that’s caused a complete reworking of what motivation looks and feels like.

Now that lives are (somewhat) returning back to normal, the question begins to be: how does one get themselves out of such a funk, especially when considering that for most of us, a ‘good day’ has meant managing to get out of activewear or get in that daily walk? That’s where the notion of being your own ‘hype girl’ comes in, according to Nicola Berman, a social worker, Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy student, and the inspiring brains behind TO DO WOMEN.

Berman’s community is all about “uniting and connecting like-minded women to educate, inspire and motivate one another to overcome self-doubt and work on their self-worth and belief.” While encouraging women with the resources and platform to inspire each other, it also champions the idea of doing so yourself—being your own hype girl, so to say—an idea that puts you front and centre of your own charge and action.

The community, which started as a passion project when Berman’s own ability to focus or be productive was quickly overcome with “overwhelming and crippling self-doubt”​​ (something, no doubt, many women can relate to), has quickly grown to become a place to find that motivation, whether it be through Berman’s open and transparent conversations around these feelings to daily reminders, journal prompts and evidence-based practices. In the end, Berman found a means to “persist and achieve”, as she says, and is sharing that with other women who need it.

“The tagline ‘SHE PERSISTED SHE ACHIEVED’ is true to my experience as I believe that if you put in the hard work, step-by-step with a community of women empowering, motivating and supporting you, you can achieve your goals.”

While the platform is inspiring on all fronts, it was the concept of being your own hype girl that really stood out. While it might sound like a Girl Boss 2.0 kind of trope, the idea that women can and should learn to motivate themselves is an interesting one nonetheless.

“Hype Girl came from my personal experience of constantly looking outwards to receive affirmation and validation,” explains Berman. “Whether that be on my physical appearance or my work, I was not satisfied until I receive the ‘nod’ from others. I realised the effect this had on my ability to be proud, celebrate and enjoy the small things I have accomplished.”

That validation is not a strange feeling for many, especially when looking at the dominating role social media plays in our lives.

“I feel there is a need for some people to get the validation from the outside world as if to say that when we don’t our work is not valued,” she says. “Being in isolation you’re not seeing people as much and therefore not really getting any compliments, affirmation or validation from the people around you. I noticed the effect it had on my emotions and self-worth and I was shocked, but more scared, at how much I relied on other people’s opinions of myself.”

Taking matters into her own hands, Berman began to be that person for herself—regularly complimenting and validating the value of her work, to no one but herself.

But, like most things—learning to rid yourself of such negative thoughts takes practice. Below are some of the ways Berman works on that skill regularly.

- “I try and speak to myself as I would to my best friend and really focus on the language I use. Kind, generous and non-judgemental words.”

- “Create a list of your strengths and play to them. When you accomplish something small or big recognise the value of them.”

- “Have a ‘go-to’ mantra when you start to doubt yourself or feel like you need affirmation from the outside world. This can keep you focused on valuing your uniqueness.”

- “Journaling! This may not be for everyone, but it has certainly helped to get all the negative thoughts in my head onto a piece of paper. It allows me to visually acknowledge all the hard work and effort I have put into my day to day life. This provides an opportunity for introspection and reflection, when we forget how unbelievably resilient, creative and unique we are.”

- “Celebrate and learn from the small wins and losses! I find that celebrating the small wins and learning from any failures keeps you grounded and balanced. You can’t grow and learn without failing a few times right?”

On top of being a welcome community that regularly encourages and inspires, Berman also puts that into physical products that can help aid in the journey to becoming more individually reliant. That includes planners that not only track daily tasks, but come equipped with gratitude and self-care sections, so as to not forget that these are just as important as everything else.

“When I was talking to women in different communities, many of them said they always forgot to schedule in their self-care time or ‘me time’,” Berman says. “Whether it was because of kids, their job, family or other commitments they felt as though they were a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.”

“If we don’t take care of our mental health and well-being how are we meant to show up and be present? Self-care means taking the time you need in whatever way, shape or form to replenish, nourish and reboot yourself,” she adds. “A bath, a face mask, book, podcast, run, yoga, Pilates, journaling, sleeping, Netflix, time off social media or seeking professional support are different forms of self-care.”

Gratitude is also not something Berman takes lightly, regularly using it as a means to ground herself and bring herself “back into the present when spinning out of control in terms of self-doubt and negative thinking.”

It’s also important to remember that reminding ourselves to seek validation inwardly is as much a skill as cooking or running, it won’t happen overnight and, like anything else, requires patience and practice.

Image Credits: To.Do.Women