I want to deeply express two simple words: “thank you.” Thank you for being a part of my life. “Thank you” doesn’t need a reason, but I feel like it’s deserving of a little back story.
First – a question. When was the last time you had one of those temporary wondering-if-there-should-be-regret-about-anything moments?
The other day I watched a beautifully edited 10 minute video clip about the power of sharing your story effectively by including your vulnerabilities in your message. At one point he said, “I realized I used to tell my story like I was the hero all the time.”
This got me thinking. About me. About you. About a lot of things.
“Have I been playing the hero too much?” I wondered.”Have I been too open, or not open enough?”
I started to stew.
But then I remembered Maggie Smith’s character, the Dowager Countess and the Earl’s mother in last year’s series, “Downton Abbey” and her admonishment to her granddaughter:
“Oh Edith, don’t be so defeatist. It’s so middle class!”
I laughed when I heard that line on Masterpiece Theater because – while I have no interest in old school class structures – I realized I was not immune to my own buried tendencies to wave my silent defeatist flag when things got a little rough.
Many people do. And that’s ok to feel a little defeated, but the key is in how you handle it.
My business coach, Christine Kane, recommends not writing about it until you’ve figured it out – to not “air your stuff.” As she points out, Oprah wouldn’t air her dirty laundry. Instead, she advocates really speaking the language of your peeps, directly to them, consistently. That is why I began sending a regular ezine 4 months ago, and have sent it every Saturday since then. I hadn’t been consistent before, and I wanted to communicate with you regularly because I want to be that kind of presence in your life.
Another coach and mentor of mine (and my photographer from this fall), Christina Morassi, advocates “living on brand” and bringing people along on your journey through transmission. And I totally love this, which is why I started posting YouTube clips bringing you along on my adventures, but sometimes that can feel overwhelming.
And an exclusive coach I respect and admire tremendously, Rich Litvin, advocates that if it’s not a ridiculously, enthusiastic “YES!”, then you shouldn’t be spending your precious life energy doing whatever that thing is. Which is why I don’t blog all the time, why I don’t spend the time to make fancy videos, and why I don’t micromanage my blog to the point of trying to “get you” to sign up for my updates – it’s not a great use of my life-force energy.
But beyond their advice, between these three people, and the many others I follow on Facebook, Twitter, and by email, there is an incredibly growing trend of living authentically and openly.
Which is great for people like you and me. Because we love being open!
But sometimes …it’s really scary.
Especially if you’ve been taught to be extremely cautious with what you share.
I decided Maggie Smith’s character’s advice is pretty darn good.
And what happens if you over-share a little bit? You worry about it because you are fearful of the permanent ramifications.
So sometimes, you start to withdraw, because sometimes, your openness scares even you.
(It’s ok. You’re not over.)
So The little voice that says, “Well, what if all those people are right, that it’s not safe to be open? That it’s not safe to be me?” can threaten to take over.
(That would be you listening to them, and not you.)
And sometimes, because it can feel so soft and tender being open and emotionally raw that you begin to listen to the doubts that come from that place of fear, which doesn’t really feel like yours, but has clenched tightly to certain parts of your brain.
(Really, don’t be so defeatist!)
And the destruction of listening to this voice is that you decide it’s good enough reason to pull your gift off the shelf.
(No no! Not that!)
And the ramification of that is that the people who so desperately need and want your gift, that only you can offer, are now left without.
(This is bad, very bad.)
And so I feel like there is only one choice:
Listen to the words of Maggie Smith’s character. Don’t be so defeatist. Process your feelings and move forward in a way that works for you, and know that you can’t get it wrong and you’ll never get it done (as good-ol’ Abraham-Hicks always says).
And then consider the words of Taylor Swift.
In a recent interview with NPR, Taylor Swift said:
“My confidence is easy to shake. I am very well aware of all of my flaws. I am aware of all the insecurities that I have. I have a lot of voices in my head constantly telling me I can’t do it. I’ve dealt with that my whole life. And getting up there on stage thousands of times, you’re going to have off nights. And when you have an off night in front of that many people, and it’s pointed out in such a public way, yeah, that gets to you. I feel like, as a songwriter, I can’t develop thick skin. I cannot put up protective walls, because it’s my job to feel things.”
So I say to you, when things get a little scary, keep being you.
We cannot afford to develop thick skins, we cannot put up protective walls, because it is our job to feel things. And to keep going.
Keep breathing, and as my friend and colleague, Olga Aura says, “Thank you for all that you do.”