This past Saturday, I participated in A Day of Nothing, led by my friend (and future coach – yes, she’s that good in the empowerment/self-care/mindfulness realm) Kylie Bellard. It scared the pants off of me and excited me at the same time, which anyone who hangs around these parts knows that’s the combo I’m always looking for. I resisted and resisted until the very last day of sign-up, where I had to face the fact that I wanted – nay, needed! – to put my “work” on hold and give myself this scary/exciting day.
Ya see, for as long as I can remember, my Underlying Automatic Commitment (which is a fancy coaching term for our long-standing beliefs) has been that Busy = Successful. I feel powerful when I can answer, “How’s the business going?” with “So great! I have so much going on – a waitlist for coaching clients, a book deal, a new program…I can barely come up for air!” Coming out of my mouth, it’s strength and control and “success.” In my body and my head, it’s overwhelm and disconnection and scattered-ness. And while I know intellectually that it’s no longer what I want for myself, my actions and habits don’t match this need that I feel to Really Change.
Because of the space I had for my Day of Nothing and the boundaries I set for it (No email or social media + Anything I did that day had to be rooted in self-care + No planning), I got hit on the head with a great big realization:
Since I started this business, I’ve been led. Of course, that’s not entirely true….I mean, obviously I’ve been in the leader in a lot of ways, but ultimately I’ve been so focused on making this business work that I’ve really only delivered what I’ve been asked to. All those Press opportunities that are on my About Me page? I can think of maybe 3 that I “pitched”, and the rest, well, came to me as I “simply” did my work and showed up. The 3 different group sessions that I run twice a year? One for those who don’t know what they wanna be when they grow up, the other for those who do know but need help on the How, and the last for those who are doing it but it’s not quite working? I created that when I figured out (in 2009, thanks to my first scholarship) those were the 3 reasons people came to work with me (or wanted to work with me)…and I scrambled to fill that need. The Declaration of You came from an email from Jess asking if I’d wanna work on something together.
Now, do not get me wrong. I was thinking the same thing about working with Jess, and she just happened to email me first. We’ve had a blast ever since we started brainstorming what we wanted to work on (back in 2010! or was it 2009?), and the fact that The Declaration of You will be a “real” book this summer is beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve loooooved working with every single one of my group coaching clients (really – that is not an overstatement), and I wouldn’t want to not work with any of those groups in the future (which ultimately makes me wanna be all-things-to-all-creatives-going-through-all-phases-of-career-transitions). The work that I’ve (co-)created and the people that work alongside me – my collaborators, my partners, my clients, my contractors – make me continually pinch myself.
But what I realized, thanks to my Day of Nothing? I’ve been hiding. Like every single person I’ve ever spoken to, the idea of establishing myself as An Expert makes me wanna throw up. So, I’ve shrunk away from it. Oh sure, I can share my experiences and I have things to say, but I’m a coach – I don’t wanna “give advice” or “tell anyone what to do”. Who am I to put myself in that spotlight? To step into that role? That belief has allowed me to just say Yes to things that interest/excite me that have been presented to me, to not make deliberate choices of what I feel is important to share and relay and “preach”.
After almost 3 years of being The When I Grow Up Coach full-time (and almost 5 years being in business), I’m ready to stake my claim. To share what I’ve gone through, to voice my opinion, to allow myself to believe that it’ll resonate with “my tribe” and will allow them to take their own action, find their own truth, steer their own ship. And I won’t call it “being an expert”, because that still makes me wanna throw up. Instead, for me, it’s about inspiring. About connecting. About promoting optimism and forward movement and action. About making the belief that You Can Do What You Love As A Full-Fledged Grown-up one that actually appears doable to all of the creative souls out there who know what they need, but not what it looks like or how it can actually happen.
The silliest part? I live for the spotlight, the applause, the accolades. Although I yearn for it, I thought it was something to be ashamed of – not a worthy enough “value” for me, not in alignment with being a coach and serving others. But I think back on my days as a performer and, well, applause and laughter and accolades were the only currency I cared about. It still holds true for me, and I won’t disown it any longer.
What message do you want to share? What beliefs do you want to instill in yourself and others? What do you want to be known for? (And if you’re unsure, that’s OK….we all need time to figure it out. It’s taken me 5 years to articulate it in this way) I’ll be sharing more of my own message and ideas in the next few weeks (and months and years, knowing me), but until then…the comments are yours.
We can stake our claim together.