As we close out 2019, I want to ask you, “How are you, really?”
A wise friend of mine begins our monthly circle meeting with this question. The extra word tagged at the end changes everything. It causes each of us to pause and reflect, instead of automatically confirming that we are “fine”. Our honest communication creates a feeling of profound support and deep connection.
This was one of my biggest learnings in 2019. The importance of being truthful. Not pretending. Developing the courage to tell it like it is.
Because we can all tell great stories. We can post our pretty pictures on Facebook. We can talk about the amazing things we accomplished in 2019. And about our great plans for 2020.
Our stories are usually well intentioned. We want to share our joy, feel the support of our friends, and be inspiring.
But this often isn’t the way our stories land.
At the beginning of 2019, I asked a woman for her truthful reaction to a short speech I’d delivered at our women’s business club about my coaching practice. I could tell that something was off, but I wasn’t sure what.
I thought I’d just delivered an inspiring story. I’d told the story of my own transformation from lawyer to artist to life coach. My intent was to create in these women a sense of possibility. To show them that if someone ordinary like me could do these things, they could too.
Here’s what she heard instead, “Heather’s a special snowflake. She practiced the most difficult area of law, so she must be super smart. Then she just blinked her eyes and became an artist. She blinked her eyes again and became a life coach. And now she’s blinked her eyes a third time and her retreat appeared. Everything comes easy to her. She could never understand me. I feel like such a loser compared to her.”
I was stunned. If she only knew the reality of my journey. The obstacles I’d overcome. The negative thinking that continued to accompany me. The panic attacks. The doubt. The self criticism.
Since I had ALSO experienced so many good things – things that were profoundly important to me – things that made the difficulties and challenges worthwhile, I wanted to show women what was possible for them too.
I’d been under the illusion that the best way to inspire the women was to present all the good things.
But, after my feedback, I started to notice what inspired ME the most. I realized I also wasn’t inspired by bright, shiny words flowing out of other people’s mouths.
What DID help me believe that I could accomplish what I’d set out to do? Bene Brown’s talks on shame and vulnerability. Kyle Cease’s raw, open coaching, showing men (and all of us) how to cry and allow our negative feelings. Eckhart Tolle imitating the critical, doubting voices in our heads, causing the entire audience to laugh in self-recognition. Kamal Ravikant’s book about learning how to love himself when his business failed. Stacey Boehman’s straight-from-the-heart posts and podcasts where she openly shares her doubts, fears and challenges as she builds her successful business.
These people have all helped me decide to show up differently in 2020. I’ve been trending towards more authenticity already this year, but in 2020, I’ll be ramping up. I’ll be posting a lot more. I’ll be starting my The Unlikely Artist podcast on May 1. I’ll be openly sharing the good AND the bad. If I’ve had an experience I believe can help you, I’ll share it. Whether it’s a challenge, a success, a negative emotion, a failure or something amazing I’ve just discovered.
Because what I want for you is for you to know that your struggles are not unique. To see that your biggest learnings can come from your most daunting challenges. To believe that you can change even if you’re afraid, don’t think you have the skills or feel unworthy.
I’m going to be taking you on a creative journey – a journey where you learn how to create a life you love, go out and do it.
And I’ll be there with you through the ups and downs.
So, how are you, really? I’m ready to listen. Let’s go through this amazing, daunting, joyful, challenging human experience together.
It’s 2020 tomorrow! Bring it!
I’m excited to announce that I’m taking enrolment for my brand new Creative Personal Transformation Experience. In this one-on-one coaching experience, you’ll learn how to create a life you love and meet the challenges along the way. If you act quickly and secure your spot by January 31, 2020, you’ll earn a 30% Early Responder Reward! Regular prices apply after that date. To learn more about this experience and discover if you’re a good fit for this program, schedule a free one hour session by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on one of the scheduling links in this website.