My tagline (as of 8/5/18) says that I help professionals 30+ go from feeling burned out to living life on fire. But this feels incomplete. It doesn’t ring that inner bell of my true purpose.
People keep asking me to define my audience, but it’s not a particular demographic or age group. I’ve yet to see a FB group or meetup that speaks to who I am here to work with. It’s not limited to a particular career path like nurses or entrepreneurs. It’s not just moms or empty-nesters. I’m not here just for people who love yoga or vegans or Star Trek.
Tired of figuring out what mask to wear to which office or party or mom’s group.
Tired of editing themselves to “fit in” at this social group or that sports team.
Tired of the mental gymnastics of deciding what pieces of themselves to share in each setting, with each person.
Tired of being anything short of their whole, authentic, and complete selves.
When I read Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown, I had competing thoughts. One was “holy cow, my heroine just wrote all the things I’ve been thinking and grappling with down in one short novel.” The other was “Dammit, Brené! Now what can I contribute?” It’s what led me to becoming a coach, so that once I have the required certifications I can do her Daring Way™ program and officially spread these amazing tools that she’s created. It was so easy to get caught up in the business machine and it’s rules about how to build your audience. I had to remind myself that I am here to break the rules. Tell me “this is how it’s always been done” and you will see how quickly I get motivated to find a way to do it better.
I know how great the reward can be when I belong every place and no place at all. When I belong to myself I am truly free.
I never know what to say when people tell me this. Aside from my perfectionism and not being comfortable with compliments, I’m never quite sure if these are compliments at all. I usually mumble something like “thanks” but inside I wonder, “who else am I supposed to show up as?”
Sometimes I forget that it wasn’t always this way for me. That I used to have a mask and a script and an inner narrator with editing team for every possible interaction. It was exhausting and made me wonder if anyone actually liked ME. The real ME that was inside that maze of identities and polite masks somewhere. I was afraid that maybe *I* wouldn’t like her either. What then?
It wasn’t until I found a space where I was not only allowed, but encouraged to be my fullest most authentic self that I understood what all those masks were costing me. Once I tasted freedom and the peace of not scurrying to create and carry more masks, there was no going back. I started asking a different question instead. What am I missing out on by showing up only halfway? Where could I spend my energy if I didn’t have to filter and edit and craft my persona to meet my imagined criteria for each group and situation?
It’s not easy. But it’s not as hard as I thought it would be either. And I ALWAYS am grateful for making the hard choice, having the tough conversation, or potentially disappointing someone, because in the end, what I feel is peace. The great irony is that the less I try to “fit in”, the more connected I feel to the rest of humanity. We are all human beings having unique and sometimes lonely experiences on this planet. We each have pain, challenges, triumphs, and greatness within us. I firmly believe that the more of us that can experience what Brené Brown calls “true belonging” (1), the more peace we will have as a species.
Now, how do I boil that down into a niche statement?
(1) True belonging = “the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” ― Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
Originally published at www.devongrilly.com