Interview: Jess Stuart talks about The Superwoman Survival Guide
Jess Stuart is a Wellington based author, coach and international speaker who empowers women to be their best. Described as inspiring, articulate and relatable by audiences. Jess has a passion for sharing her knowledge and motivating others with her words. Jess talks to NZ Booklovers about her latest book.
Tell us a little about The Super Woman Survival Guide.
This book is not about changing who you are it’s about changing the way you think about who you are. Freeing yourself from the pursuit of a superwoman ideal that’s unrealistic and is making so many of us unhappy. So many of us these days admit to feeling overworked, overwhelmed and overscheduled juggling families, career, friends. We go through life trying to support everyone else and then when we burn out we feel guilty for letting people down.
Life has changed and evolved for women and whilst the opportunities are endless the same cultural norms and upbringings weigh us down with an expectation to fulfil so many roles. The higher the expectations we place on ourselves the more unrealistic they’re likely to be – we’re setting ourselves up to fail so it’s no wonder we don’t feel like we’re enough.
This book helps you understand that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing, as I teach you to master the art of self-belief and minimise the negative self-talk that’s holding you back. Understand your superpowers and how to use them. Overcome self-doubt and gain the confidence to succeed, as you are.
What inspired you to write this book?
I meet many amazing women in my work, women who are high achievers and making a difference in the world yet most of them think they’re nothing special. They focus on their weaknesses not their strengths and feel like they’re falling short of this high expectations society (and ourselves) place on us. We feel overwhelmed and overscheduled, last on our own list and then when we burn out we feel guilty for letting people down. I wanted to tackle that subject and help women see there’s another way. To be first on your list and be your best but without burning out in the process.
What research was involved?
I’ve worked with women for over a decade and having spent the last three years teaching women to overcome self-doubt and imposter syndrome there were a lot of reoccurring themes around the superwoman complex and juggle we struggle with. The research I undertook with NZ women asked questions like what’s our biggest challenge, what do we admire in others and what are our super powers.
Words like resilience, calm, empathy and kindness came back as things we admire in ourselves and others along with confidence and optimism. Our biggest challenge by far was motherhood, followed by the juggle (which I guess is the same thing just with the addition of kids or not!)
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
Little and often. Writing a bit here and there and blocking time out of my diary to make it happen. There was quite a bit of procrastination thrown in too! Some days when I wasn’t at my most eloquent I just had to sit and write knowing I’d need to edit a lot of it on round two!
If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.
Good question! I’ve no idea. Something uplifting and empowering that motivates us to be our best just as we are. It would probably be sung by a woman!
What do you hope readers will take away from reading The Super Woman Survival Guide?
That our quest for perfection is often our undoing – it doesn’t have to be perfect to be amazing. That we can be amazing as we are. Putting you first isn’t selfish – it’s necessary to give you the energy to show up and help others.
That we need to focus more on our strengths and celebrate our successes
What did you enjoy the most about writing this guide?
How many women it resonated with, the reoccurring themes we struggle with and the response to the research and questions to test some of the theories I’d collected.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
Started planning the next one – then I had to stop myself and remind myself what I teach others. Pause, reflect, take a moment and celebrate before rushing onto the next thing. It’s photo is in my success folder now and I lined it up on my bookshelf along with my other books and took a photo!
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
Untamed by Glennon Doyle – it’s the reason we’re in this superwoman complex in the first place!