The Courage Blog


Vanessa May

The Courage Blog



Work and live well, whole, and with courage.

Smiling young Indian woman stand look in distance window dreaming or visualizing, happy overjoyed millennial ethnic girl thinking or planning of future success opportunities at home

How can I navigate being the only woman in my team and overcome feelings of exclusion?

Being the only woman on a team can be a challenge.  I was involved in a recent conversation where some women in tech were sharing how they felt the need to feign interest in activities or sports they wouldn’t normally engage in, just to be part of the workplace banter....
Your sparkle lives in your sensitivity

How to use sensitivity as a strength in leadership.

My lived experience has been that my sensitivity has often been judged as a weakness, marginalised and made wrong.  I have received comments like, "you're too fluffy" or "you're too sensitive" or "that's not important here" most of my life.  For many years I internalised the view that my sensitivity...
One of the most enchanting and mysterious gardens in Morocco created over 40 years by Yves St Laurent and Pierre Berge

A year of reflection, rediscovery and brave beginnings

Vanessa May · Courage Unfolding - A Year Of Reflection, Rediscovery And Brave Beginnings   This time last year I was preparing to launch my book. I was excited, nervous, and anxious. I wasn’t new to writing having in the past blogged for Psychologies Life Labs, Huffington Post and Tiny...

Rise above: a guide to empowerment for career women.

In the bustling realm of a career woman’s life, my journey has been a tapestry woven with threads of growth, resilience, and the empowering shift from fawning to self-advocacy.  Like many others, I too grappled with the inclination to prioritise everyone else’s needs over my own – a habit that...

The Exhaustion Trap: Overcome the habit that keeps you slogging it out.

What drives your exhaustion? It's a relentless cycle. You push and slog it out to keep up or get ahead. You can't switch off because there's always something else to focus on and achieve. You juggle work and home, and your boundaries blur with hybrid working. You enjoy the flexibility...

How to stand up for yourself when the jokes are at your expense

I’ve been reflecting on situations that bring out my passivity. One of those is humour that isn’t funny. You know the moments; they’re point-scoring conversations full of quips and innuendos at your expense. They’re conversations that have a derogatory tone where someone is puffing their ego up by putting you...

How to create your own support team

Sometimes in life, we experience hard things. Sometimes when it hurts the tendency is to react by armouring up, being tough and going it alone. After all, you absolutely know that you can rely on yourself – but can you?   Being fiercely independent and stoic can also mean that you’re...

How to clear the noise when you’re overwhelmed

I woke up this morning feeling anxious. My brain has too many tabs open. It was full of things that were on my list that needed attention. Each one felt massively important and urgent. I am at capacity this week with work, and I notice how my week started with...

How to tune back into your intuition when you’ve tapped out

Does having power or no power change your behaviour?   It happened to me last week. I was in the middle of a work gig and something weird was going on. Something felt off. If I use metaphor to describe it, it was like the moment before a thunderstorm. Something...

Why women fail to experience true career success

I often hear experiences of women working harder, earning less, staying in unhealthy work environments and juggling everything whilst putting themselves last.  These women share their stories of struggle, pushing hard and frustration.  They feel like they take one step forward and two steps back. They come to coaching with...

Why it’s actually OK to be selfish

One common thread among the women I work with is this notion of having to hurry everything.  They wake up with a list in their heads, then jump onto the wheel of juggling work and life and the many roles that come with it.   They’re so busy – but it’s...
A close up image on blue feathers with 'How to stop apologizing and own your authority' written over top of it.

How to stop apologising and own your authority

Live Courageously is a book for women who conform to people pleasing, procrastinating, burning out, self-doubt and imposter syndrome but know they’re built for more.  The book draws on my own experience and those of women I’ve coached. Women like me who have surrendered to playing small, holding back, keeping...

How to stop people pleasing and claim your courage

People pleasing has been an old protective habit of mine. For much of my life, I focused my attention on others’ needs – trying to do my best to accommodate, help or satisfy them. I became very good at this behaviour, but I also started to notice I was developing...

3 simple steps to rediscover happiness at work

You’re not sleeping well. You used to work out and meditate but don’t feel motivated. Your main concern is your work performance, but you get distracted easily and working from home isn’t helping with your motivation. You feel stuck, bored, and less competent, and you want to feel happier without...
A water drop falls in a body of water, leaving a ripple effect.

Why you should break your own rules

One of my favourite phrases is that your first marriage is with yourself. I love it because it reminds me that my first and foremost job is to get into right relationship with myself. Sounds easy? I can tell you it’s been a lifelong challenge. There have been many times...