What if you just decided…?

I recently posted a version of the following on Facebook:

What if you decided to drop your stories?

What if you decided that everything happening in your life was happening for your highest good?

What if you decided to no longer label anything as good or bad or right or wrong and decided that things simply were?

What if you decided to allow your emotions and circumstances to flow over you, around you, and through you; instead of desperately clinging to them in an attempt to control and manipulate the outcome?

What if you decided right now that you are enough and while you might desire personal growth and expansion, there’s not one single thing wrong with you that needs fixing?

What if you decided to play and to enjoy life as it unfolds for you?

What if you decided to embrace uncertainty, knowing that from this place, all things are possible?

What would happen then?

 

I invite you to not only read, but actually answer the questions.

I did.

Allow me to share:

What if you decided to drop your stories?

What trips me up the most is the story in my head about how I expect things to be, what I “should be doing”, and what things “mean”.  If I decided that I would drop the stories, I would no longer hold onto things as “wrong” or “bad” and I would be more equipped to move through life’s circumstances with greater ease and joy.  I believe things would get solved more quickly and move through faster because I wouldn’t be clinging to them in my attempt to categorize or create meaning.

 

What if you decided that everything happening in your life was happening for your highest good?

This one is big for me.  HUGE.  I’d relax more.  I’d lean into life.  I’d spend more time present.  I’d trust more.  I wouldn’t freak out or lose my sh*t when things didn’t go my way.  I’d be more flexible.  I’d actually seek out what’s good.  I wouldn’t fight against “what is” believing it to be wrong.  I’d know that no matter what was unfolding, it was all perfect for me — happening FOR me and not TO me.  Albert Einstein is quoted saying, “The most important question you can ever ask is if the world is a friendly place.”

 

 

What if you decided to no longer label anything as good or bad or right or wrong and decided that things simply were?

I’d be happier.  I’d be more curious.  I’d be less angry in my judgments.  I’d experience less disappointment.  I’d ask more questions.  I’d listen to more answers.  I’d attempt to understand instead of operating from my own assumptions.  I’d be more open to possibilities.  I’d learn more about other beliefs and cultures and I’d have the opportunity to have my own beliefs stretched.  I’d experience more expansion and deepen my growth.  I’d have more compassion for my sisters and brothers on this planet.  I’d love more and I’d love harder.

 

 

What if you decided to allow your emotions and circumstances to flow over you, around you, and through you; instead of desperately clinging onto them in an attempt to control or manipulate the outcome?

I’d experience less physical pain.  I’d be more relaxed and less tense since I would no longer feel the need to hold so tightly.  I’d be more present to my feelings, but I’d let them go.  I’d be more at peace and experience less anger and resentment.  I’d be lighter — physically and energetically — because I wouldn’t be carrying around so much baggage.   I’d have less stress lines and wrinkles, my jaw would be more relaxed, and the tension in my shoulders would dissipate.   I’d be more open, knowing that there was no longer a need to protect myself energetically.

 

 

What if you decided right now that you are enough and while you might desire personal growth and expansion, there’s not one single thing wrong with you that needs fixing?

I’d stop trying so hard to be better, to do things right, and to be perfect.  I’d speak boldly and courageously and I’d share my truth with confidence.  I would know that your “like” is not necessary to validate my existence or affirm my message.  I’d show up authentically and expose my soul to you.  I’d love myself exactly as I am right now.  I’d look in the mirror and celebrate my powerful body instead of picking apart every tiny “flaw”.  I’d eat and move and drink like I love myself instead of coming from a place of hate.  I’d be more supportive, encouraging, and nourishing.  My personal development choices would come from my desire to be of the highest service to you, not because I believe there is anything wrong with who I am.  I’d stop searching for external validation and check in more with the desires of my heart.  I’d stop pretending.  There’d simply be no need to do so.

 

 

What if you decided to play and to enjoy life as it unfolds for you?

I’d have a lot more fun.  A lot more fun.  I’d laugh more.  I’ve actually heard some claims that children laugh more than 300 times a day, whereas adults laugh less than 20 times a day.  I’d be more childlike in my joy.  I would appreciate moments and stop trying to rush through beauty on the way to something I’ve deemed “more important”.  I’d be more curious about what was coming and approach life with a childlike wonder.  I’d be less controlling of the time and other people and since I can’t control either, I’d experience less irritation when my attempts to control don’t work.

 

What if you decided to embrace uncertainty, knowing that from this place, all things are possible?

I would experience more moments of calm and a lot less overwhelm.  This is so real for me right now as I build my business and gain clarity on who I want to serve and much more importantly, who wants to be served by ME.  I’d feel more open and excited and curious about what could happen.  I’d appreciate the abundance of options and opportunities and see it as a good thing, not something negative.  I’d have and experience a lot more gratitude and therefore would attract more people and circumstances to be grateful for.  I’d be excited about the future instead of anxious about moving in the best direction or doing the “right thing”.

 

Wow.

 

I really like the person who decided.

She sounds compassionate, peaceful, easy-going, trusting, grateful, faithful, grounded, expansive, and open.  She sounds fun, joyful, calm, curious, loving, and relaxed.  She sounds like someone I’d like to be more often.  It’s comforting to know she’s only a decision away.

 

Are you willing to answer the questions?  If so, I’d love to hear from you!  Who would you be?  What would happen if YOU just decided?

 

xo,

Michelle

 

 

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When you don’t feel “merry” or “bright”…

 

 

I wasn’t in the mood for Christmas.  I simply was not feeling “merry” or “bright” this season.

 

I spent the morning of Christmas Eve sitting in my car with tears streaming down my face, feeling a sadness and a loss and a heaviness on my heart.  It felt different than I’ve felt before and I was worried about myself.  Was I depressed?  I’d been kind of down for the couple days prior and it seemed to be getting worse.

 

To be fully transparent, there were a few external factors that could have contributed to my mood:

  1. We didn’t decorate.
  2. We didn’t buy presents.
  3. We weren’t with family.

However, all of those were deliberate and intentional choices.

We closed on our first home just 3 days after Christmas and we had a lot happening this year.

SO…

  1.  Frankly, the thought of decorating was unappealing.
  2. Our monies were on lock-down due to the closing and any presents we were giving and getting were going to be after we closed and for our new home.
  3. Traveling to Ohio or Michigan or Maryland to be with family didn’t feel like the best choice this year and it wasn’t financially intelligent.

BUT…

With the exception of closing on the house, none of that stuff was “new” for us.

  1.  There have been years past where I wasn’t in the mood to decorate.
  2. There have been a few times over the years where we’ve been down and out financially and were unable to afford gifts.
  3. With family so spread out and jobs in the restaurant industry, there have been many, many years where we’ve not been with family during the holiday.

HOWEVER…

Despite all of the hiccups in the past, we’ve always had our traditions.  We bake cookies and make hot cocoa and drive around looking at neighborhood Christmas lights.  I make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we talk to family.  We cook dinner, we have drinks, play games, and watch Christmas movies all day.

But this year I didn’t want to do any of it.

Not a single thing.

I just wanted to stay in bed, snuggled under the covers with my pups.

I felt super lonely and simultaneously wanted to be left alone.

 

I felt this emotional sadness until December 26th.  By late afternoon that day I felt better.  I could tell because there was a tangible shift in my energy.

So, while I know we’re now past Christmas and into the new year, I want to share what I did over those few days.

You see, life will deliver you many opportunities to feel overwhelmed and to feel pressured with expectations on how you’re “supposed to” feel.  There will probably be times where you’ll experience sadness, be in “a mood”, feel anxious, or simply find yourself in an unexplainable funk, and if you do, I want you to know there’s hope.

 

1.  I let a couple of people see the “real me”.

 

I allowed myself to been seen in my sadness by a few people I trusted and I knew would hold the space for me to just be.  I texted a friend and told her what was really going on with me.  I told another friend what I felt sad about and allowed myself to be vulnerable and honest with her when she came by work to wish me a Merry Christmas.

When you’re feeling down, it’s important that you don’t hide.  This part of you isn’t “bad”.  It doesn’t deserve to be shunned and punished.  It needs to be loved on and nurtured.

Start by giving that to yourself.  Give yourself permission to feel how you feel.  Tell yourself it’s okay, look in the mirror and say “I love you”, and take your right arm to your left shoulder and your left arm to your right shoulder and squeeze.

Next, find a safe space where you can be seen in your perfectly imperfect, messy, snot-nosed glory.  This might be with your Mom or Dad, a friend, a coach, a mentor, or an accountability partner.  You’re simply looking for a place or a moment in time where you can be who you really are and feel what you’re really feeling.  Oftentimes, you don’t need a discussion.  You simply need someone to know what’s really going on with you.  Another soul with whom you can share your authentic truth.

I am learning that part of emotional intelligence is recognizing that certain situations (my job) do call for me to “pull it together” because my emotional meltdown isn’t their problem, but that doesn’t mean I can’t tell a friend that I’m sad.

 

2.  I didn’t pretend to be happy.  

 

I didn’t put on a “happy face”.  I didn’t “fake it ’til I made it”.  When you’re in this space, I invite you to try and get neutral instead of trying to be happy.  Maybe you’re currently over in Funk-Town.  Please do not try to get to I’m-Super-Cheery-Ville.  In my opinion, it’s waaaaaay too far to travel.  When people ask how you are, you don’t have to say, “I’m awesome!” You can say, “I’m okay.”

There’s a balance between wallowing and complaining (something I do NOT recommend) and just being present with what is.  Oftentimes when we hide what’s real for us it comes from a place of feeling shame, guilt, or embarrassment.  We tell ourselves that we shouldn’t feel this way, that other people have their own problems, and that they don’t need to be “bothered” by us and our feelings.

Who you are and what you’re feeling is no bother.

Who you are and what you’re feeling is exquisite.

 

3.  I cried.

 

You’ve got to express yourself.  Cry, hit a pillow, throw a kicking and screaming tantrum, go to an arcade and throw or shoot something, journal, go for a run, take a kickboxing class, or do whatever else feels honoring to your soul.

Emotions are meant to be felt so they can be released.  No holding back here.  Personally, I cried.  Then I cried again.  Then again.  That’s what felt right to me.  There’s no right or wrong answer here.  You simply want to get the emotions moving.  Trust me, they don’t want to be lodged in your body anymore than you want them there.

 

4.  I rested.

 

When all else fails, take a nap.  Sometimes the only thing to do is close your eyes and catch some zzz’s.  It can often act as a pattern interrupt for the funk.  I’ve found that feeling sad is exhausting and sometimes the tired amplifies my sadness which leads to overwhelm and … {cue vicious cycle}.

You’re allowed to take a nap.

You’re allowed to get a full night of sleep.

You’re allowed to take care of you.

 

 

 

This wasn’t my first funk.  It won’t be my last.  What’s important is that we remember, “Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.” We don’t have to attach a story about what they mean or what they’re saying about who we are.  We can just sit with them as they move through us.

 

What are the things that YOU do when you find yourself in one of these funks?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please share any questions or comments below.

Wishing you presence in this new year.

xo,

Michelle

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My journey : Self-loathing to celebration

 

Self loathing.

I wasn’t born hating myself and honestly, I don’t remember the exact moment that it started.  My best guess is that it happened slowly.  An unfolding over the course of many many years, events, and small, seemingly insignificant, moments and conversations.

All leading up to the day where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.

 

I felt unworthy.  I felt hard to love.  I was stuck and I couldn’t see it.  What I could see was my behavior.  I could see my acting out.  I could see my trying too hard.  I could see my drug use.  I could see my drinking.  I could see that I didn’t know how to relax.  I could see how tense and angry I was.  I could see when I sat still how my legs, feet, hands, and/or arms would shake.  I could see my skin scratched red and bleeding from me clawing at myself while I rocked in place.  I could see my tears.  A lot of tears.  I could see my poor health and how sick I was all the time.  And, I could see myself shift from seemingly “fine” to hysterical anger in no time flat.

What I was not yet aware of, what I couldn’t yet see, was that I was medicating my emotions to keep up the facade I believed that the world wanted to see.

 

I remember looking in the mirror and hating who I saw in the reflection.

I was burnt out and exhausted.

I was negative.

I hated my job.

I complained a lot.

I was afraid of failure.

I was afraid of being exposed.

I was afraid of what success would look like.

I was unclear.

I was insecure.

I was stressed out.

And, my head talk was out of control.

 

Shortly after that moment in the mirror, I started a home-based business and got introduced to the world of personal development and mindset.  For the very first time, I became aware of how I was sabotaging myself.  For me, the problem was, WTF was I supposed to DO with that awareness?!  The generic affirmations I was being given weren’t enough.  They weren’t working.  I didn’t have this awareness at the time, but it was almost as if they were making things WORSE because they magnified the distance between where I really was and what I was affirming.

What I really wanted was an “Easy 1,2,3 :  Steps to Fix Yourself”.  If I could have found anyone selling that anywhere, I’d have snatched it up immediately.

But, they weren’t.  No one was.  What I’ve come to know as truth is that the healing journey is individual and we must be willing to walk it ourselves.

 

Simply starting my new business didn’t “fix” anything because the work had to be done internally.  I had success, but I was still unhappy.  I felt like a loser and a fake.

Pretending to be perfect.

Pretending everything was okay.

Pretending I was happy.

Pretending I wasn’t struggling.

Pretending I wasn’t scared.

 

The first significant step in my healing was to put my hand up for help.  To stop pretending that I had it all figured out and that I could handle everything on my own.  How I was living wasn’t working and I needed to come clean.

What I’ve learned is that we cannot solve our “problems” while sitting in the same situation, with the same people, and with the same mind that created the “problems”.  We need outside perspective.

 

Thus began my in depth journey back home to me.  I’m not there yet.  But, I have come a looooooooooonnnnnng way and I am obsessed with guiding others while I continue to walk out my path.

 

What follows are a few of the things I’ve learned in my travels…..

 

 

1.  Be willing to answer the tough questions.

 

This is a “come to Jesus” moment.  Be willing to ask and HONESTLY answer the tough questions.

What’s NOT working?  Your career?  Your relationship?  Your health?

Where in your life are you not playing full out?

Where/when do you shrink back so that others won’t be uncomfortable?

Where in your life are you out of integrity?

How do you speak to yourself?  Do you frequently use words like stupid, idiot, klutz, dumb, fat, or ugly?

How much time do you spend on self care?

How negative are you?  (Think scale of 1-10)

How often do you experience anger and how quick are you to go there?

How often do you feel sad?

Do you like being alone?

How frequently are you using substances to mask your feelings?  (Drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise, food…)

 

 

2.  Stop pretending and own up to your reality.

 

Just stop it.

Stop pretending that you’re okay when you’re not.  Stop pretending that you have it all together.   Stop pretending that you’re always happy.  Take off the mask of perfection and take full ownership of what’s REALLY happening in your life.  Look at your previous answers and accept that this is your reality.  This is what’s real for now.  It CAN change, but the first step to change is acknowledgement of what IS.

The next step is taking responsibility for what IS.

 

WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  WITHOUT JUDGMENT.

 

Just acknowledge.  “This is my reality and I take responsibility for the choices I’ve made that have lead to this moment.”

Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” 

There’s no blame in this space.  Just acceptance.  Beautiful, loving acceptance.

 

What you must know is that from THIS space, you can take ACTION.

 

 

3.  Embrace your process and love your exquisite journey.

 

You didn’t get here overnight.  You’re not going to heal overnight either.  I have to make a daily effort to stay showing up as the REAL ME.  Please give yourself time and trust me when I say you’ll save yourself a lot of energy if you’d simply be willing to drop the story that “you should have it all figured out by now” or “you shouldn’t still be struggling with this”, or whatever other BS lie you’re telling yourself.

 

I’ve learned exercises where I look at myself in the mirror, celebrate my wins, and tell the little girl I see in the reflection how much I love her and how very proud I am of who she is.  NOT what she’s accomplishing or how much money she’s making or how many likes or comments she’s getting on her posts or how many followers she has on IG or subscribers to her blog or emails.  None of those things have anything to do with who she is.

My value is innate.  It doesn’t increase when I “do good” or decrease when I “do bad”.  It’s completely detached from what I am accomplishing or producing.

I am worthy because I am.

I am valuable because I am.

I am enough because I am.

 

I’ve learned to label my identities as seperate from ME and as I’ve shared in previous articles, I’ve named them and communicate with them as the individuals they are.

 

I’ve learned to look backwards at how far I’ve come instead of constantly looking ahead to some undetermined place I’ll never reach because even if I get close, I’ll just keep moving the finish line to validate my “not enough” story.

 

I’ve learned to celebrate progress instead of exhaustively pushing for unattainable perfection.

 

I’ve learned to recognize that the identities that pop up aren’t ME, they’re simply a PART of me that is feeling unloved.

I’ve learned to love them.

 

I’ve reframed my fears from something to be avoided at all costs, to signs that I must be growing and confirmation that I’m moving in the right direction.

 

I’ve learned that I need a support system to help me.  I need a coach.  I need an accountability partner.  I need live events.  I need mentors.  I cannot do it alone.  (I’ve also learned that you can’t either.) 

 

Truth be told, I still battle my dark side.  But now, I bring it out to the open.  I don’t pretend it’s not there.  I don’t shame myself for having a dark side.  I’m not embarrassed of that part of me anymore.  I actually think she’s beautiful.  When I recognize that she’s in control, I reach out to my accountability partners, I post in my support groups, and I receive love, support, and acknowledgement that I am not alone.

 

I share this so you know you are not alone.  I share this to give you hope for what’s possible.  I share this to offer a first step or a next step depending on where you’re at in your journey.  I share this so that you know I recognize “stuck” as a real place.  I share this in the hope to breathe belief in you as you walk out your own healing journey.  I share this to offer support and a safe space.

 

Me?  I’m perfectly imperfect.  And, more often than not, I am pretty damn proud of that.

 

xo,

Michelle

 

 

Image via Princess-Hanners on DeviantArt
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What’s up for me right now…

 

It began early Saturday morning.  I noticed that it hurt a little when I swallowed.  Now, 6 days later, when I open my mouth no words come out.

I am unable to recall the last time I was physically unable to speak.  Even if I try, there are no words and it sucks.  It sucks big time.  It’s scary and a bit demoralizing.

But, as find myself forced into this silence, I notice there is a lot bubbling up emotionally.  So, I made a choice.  A choice to shift from being angry at my situation into lovingly accepting what is.  And, wow.  From that place much has been discovered.

Allow me to share….

 

My emotions have manifested physically.

This is something I’ve thought to be true in the past, but I’m really getting it in my body (literally) right now.  I am a believer that our emotions manifest themselves physically and therefore, when I experience any sort of physical symptom, I am prompted to dig into what’s going on emotionally.  Louise Hay is one of my favorite authors on this subject and her book, “You Can Heal Your Life” sits on my desk.  There’s a list toward the back of the book that references probable mental causes for dis-eases.  She invites her readers to “Look up the mental cause.  See if this could be true for you.  If not, sit quietly and ask yourself, “What could be the thoughts in me that created this?”  

What became present for me was a fear of using my voice.  A fear of speaking up and speaking out.  I became aware that I’ve spent a great deal of my life living in silence.  Not silence like I never said anything, I mean, I can talk a lot, but silent about the things that were and are deeply important to me.

I was afraid.

Afraid of offending you.  Afraid of hurting you.  Afraid of pissing you off.  Afraid of upsetting you.  Afraid of making you uncomfortable.  Afraid of rocking boat.  Afraid of making waves.  Afraid of alienating people.  Afraid of losing followers.  Afraid of being judged if I made a new decision and shifted my beliefs.  Afraid of being wrong.  Afraid of messing up.  Afraid of not being liked.

And if I did speak out, I was simultaneously apologizing.  So much apologizing.

I am sorry for hurting you.  I am sorry for making you uncomfortable.  I am sorry for offending you.  I am sorry for who the f*ck even knows what, but I probably did something and I’m sure I should apologize.

I’ve taken down videos or posts that I thought might piss you off or make you uncomfortable.  I’ve edited posts and comments I’ve made.  I’ve not commented or spoken up in conversations.

And I want to be clear, many times when I’ve opted out of getting involved, it has NOT by deliberate choice, but out of fear of judgement.

T H E R E  I S  A  D I F F E R E N C E.

I can CHOOSE to not engage.  I can CHOOSE to step out of a conversation or CHOOSE to not enter one in the first place.

But, being AFRAID to… well, f*ck that shit.

 

I am changing and I’m okay if that scares you.

There’s a lot of growth happening within me right now.  A great deal of shifting.

While this is uncomfortable to say, I realized that part of why I was hiding my voice and avoiding speaking my truth was because I didn’t want to be labeled.  I didn’t want to be “that girl”.  I was so wrapped up in worrying about the possible judgments of others that not only was I not standing in my truth, I actually wasn’t 100% clear on what my truth was.

You want to know what’s up for me right now?  I am learning what’s important to me.  I am discovering what I believe in.  ME.  Not what you think I should believe in or what my mom taught me to believe in or what society says I should believe in based on the countless stamps you could use to label who I am.

There’s the “I was sexually assaulted” stamp, the “I’ve been hit” stamp, the “I’m married to a woman” stamp, the “I am woman” stamp, the “I am an entrepreneur” stamp, the “I am a coach” stamp, the “I am a speaker” stamp, the “I am a teacher” stamp, the “I am a waitress” stamp, the “I am a spiritual seeker” stamp, the “I am an animal lover” stamp, the “I am a vegan” stamp, the “I don’t have kids” stamp and on and on and on….

I have decided that it is okay for me to form my OWN beliefs, opinions, and judgments and I have given myself permission to change my mind any time I learn something new.

AND I decided that my beliefs, opinions, and judgments do not have to fit into my outdated mold of what I used to believe is right and/or have been trained to believe is “proper”.

F*CK my expectations of me.

I am 40 years old and I’m getting to know ME.  The REAL ME.  Not the version of “me” I presented to the world for so many years.

I’m asking myself questions, some of which I don’t have the answer for… yet.

I’m allowing the space between who I was and who I am becoming to excite verses terrify me.

I have given myself permission to try on different identities.  Permission to explore different beliefs and see how they feel in my body.  Permission to have conversations with those who are willing to speak their truth freely.  Permission to stretch my beliefs and challenge what I thought I knew.  Permission to evolve.  Permission to transform.  Permission to do all of this unapologetically.

 

I am committed to speaking as I learn.

I’ll tell ya, there is nothing like having something taken away from you to up your appreciation level.

I am so incredibly grateful for my voice.  Grateful for the power of speech.  Grateful for the reminders that the Universe has lovingly been sending me for the past few days about the power of ONE VOICE.

I was pretending that I didn’t have anything important to say.  I was pretending that people probably didn’t care anyway.  I was pretending that my single voice couldn’t make a difference.

I decided to call bullshit on my story.  I had been using my growth and my learning as an excuse to stay silent.

Until now.

I will never begin if I have to have it all figured out first.  And I need to begin.

The call on my heart is great and while I honestly don’t know what it all looks like and I don’t know what I’ll be doing or how I’ll be showing up in the world tomorrow, let alone 3, 6, or 12 months down the road, there are a few things I do know for sure….

I am committed to using my voice.

I am committed to speaking as I learn.

I am committed to guiding while I travel.

I don’t know the details, but I know in my heart that we can and we will change this planet.  Together.

XO,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello sabotage. Please come in.

Identities. 

I mean, I’m certain I have heard the word before…

But you know how you hear something that you’ve heard before and for some reason at one particular moment in time it lands with you in a new and different way?

That describes my relationship with identities.

I was at a coaching mastermind just a couple of months ago when I became acutely aware that there are different parts of me that show up in different situations.

Like, distinctly different people.

You see, there’d be moments where I was confident and bold and fierce in my language and advocacy for another and yet, there’d be other moments (in the same day or the same hour) where I felt insignificant and not good enough and like I needed to learn more before I could serve others and fully step into my powerful self.

Does this sound familiar?

In the past I have sometimes felt like a crazy woman, so if you’re thinking the same thing about me, it’s cool.  But, keep reading.

Here’s my truth:

I’ve spent over 25 years of my life trying to pretend these parts of me didn’t exist.  I shoved them in the closet (Think of it like what you might do when company is coming over and you don’t really have time to clean…) and slammed the door shut in the hopes that no one would see these “less desirable”, “unattractive”, “weak”, and “ugly” sides of me.  When my closet was overflowing, I began shoving them under the bed.  Shoving, and all the while, smiling at the world.  My exterior facade would say, “Everything is perfect.  I’m great.  I’m handling all aspects of my life brilliantly.”

And yet, internally I was terrified that you might see one of my “under the bed monsters”.  And if they happened to sneak out in a vulnerable moment, I would give ’em a low, hard, back kick and through gritted teeth, while I kept smiling, there was a stern, “Get back under there where you belong.  I’ll deal with you later.”  

What I’ve been able to discover is that the person shoving others in the closet and under the bed, the person who was being verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive to me was not actually me.

Not the REAL me anyway.

She was one of my identities.  Keep Up Appearances Kate.  She was working in tandem with Perfect Paula.  And if I slipped up and into fear, doubt, worry, or had a vulnerable moment where I showed weakness… Punisher Pam was ready to bring on the emotional, mental, and sometimes physical reprimand for my behavior.

And together, they were slowly crushing me.  The real me.

I was on a coaching call in 2016 when, for the first time, I shut Paula down.  I was DONE.  No more pretending.  No more acting as if my life was perfect and that I could flawlessly handle all of it.  That story was bullshit and I was exhausted and burnt out from telling it.  I wasn’t always “okay”.  I didn’t always feel “good”.  And I was tired of pretending.

Because of this new decision, the next step for me was to square up with my self-described “ugly” identities.  The ones waaaaay back in the closet.  The ones I didn’t want anyone to know about.  The unlovable, mean, fierce, and ferocious ones.  The ones no one clapped for.  The ones no one was proud of.  The parts of me that don’t love me.

Acceptance became my first real step toward attaining the elusive “self-love”.  Fully accepting who I was.

All of me.

And now?  Shit.  I meet new identities daily.  Just last week, I met Verbally Abusive Victoria, Self-loathing Sally, and I’m Sorry Stephanie.

The next day?  Overwhelmed Ola.

The day after that?  Self-Doubt Debbie, I Can’t Win Cathy, and Not Good Enough Natasha.

This week I’ve had encounters with many, many, many of my identities.  I believe it’s because I’m stretching.  I’m growing.  I’m expanding.  And with that, comes new layers to peel back, new sabotage to square up with, new identities to meet, and old ones to welcome back.

What do I actually DO when they show up?  Check out the 5 things that have been working for me lately.

 

1.  Name them.

I opened this conversation in a previous article, (See “Busting Through Your “Not Enough” Story in 4 Steps ) but it is important for you to differentiate your identities from YOU.  They are not YOU.  They are your sabotage developed by you.  Go ahead.  Give them a name.  As you may have noticed, I take what they “do” and use that in their name.  For example, “avoid”, “punish”, “second-guess”, or “busy work” turn into Avoidance Anna, Punisher Pam, Second-Guess Sally, and Busy Work Brenda.  I find alliteration to be helpful and fun.  My 2 rules?  Don’t stress about this part and don’t make them any part of your name.  Remember, they’re not you.  The objective here is that you’re able to distinguish and address them as a separate identity.

 

2.  Recognize when they’re trying to get your attention.

Notice yourself.  Become aware.  Pay attention to your urges, your head talk, your language, your gut reactions, and your responses.  Notice your habits, your actions, and your behaviors.  What are you doing?  What are you not doing?  What are you languaging?  How are you feeling?  Just notice.  Try and do this with no judgement.  Simply observe.  Stay as neutral as possible.

For example, how did I know Overwhelmed Ola was trying to get my attention?  Well, I heard myself saying things like, “I don’t have time to get everything done…  I am so overwhelmed…”  I noticed that I felt “off”.  I was unusually emotional, easily irritated, and sad.  I noticed that I crawled back into bed even though I had things to do.  I watched myself be needy and clingy and saw that I was seeking validation.

 

3.  Welcome them and invite them inside.

This may seem counter intuitive, but they’re showing up for a reason.  Invite them in.  Literally.  I said, “Why hello Overwhelm Ola!  It’s nice to see you.  Come on in.”  It may seem absurd, but it works.  I can’t speak for you, but personally, I would rather experience the transformation to freedom and come across as a little weird if the alternative option is to stay stuck in my stories while *appearing* cool.

 

4.  Ask them why they showed up, what they need, and engage in conversation.

Again, literally ask the question.

You can do this out loud (my preferred method) or you can journal, but you’ve got to ask the question.

In my case, “Ola may I ask you, why are you here right now?  Is there something you need?” 

The important piece here is to answer the above question as Overwhelm Ola (or whatever identity/sabotage has presented itself to you).

It is important that you let THEM speak.

In my case, it went something like… “Yes!  I need someone to acknowledge that I’m doing a good job.  I have a lot on my plate and I’m juggling a lot and I’m getting things done and no one is recognizing that.  No one is telling me good job and I’m struggling with getting it all done.  I just want someone to notice and recognize my efforts.”

5.  Love them.

Love them like you would a child.  I said, using a phrase I learned from Matt Kahn, “Ola, I hear you.  And I honor your power.”  Then, I proceeded to give her what she needed.  I said something like, “Ola, you are doing an amazing job.  I’m so proud of how you’re handling day to day life as an adult, how your navigating the early stages of buying a home, how you’re writing, coaching, how you’re taking consistent effort to build your business, how you invest time and money in personal coaching and training, and how you work your job all while trying to care for your fur babies, eat well, workout, and show up as the best wife you can.  You are crushing it and I while I know it’s not always easy, you keep showing up.  You are a champion.  A rock star.  A bad ass.  I love you so much.” 

Of course, your personal language will be different, but please allow it to be loving and supportive.

You cannot and will not abuse your identities away.

I know because I’ve tried.

6. Ask for completion.

Again, LITERALLY.

I said, “Ola, is there anything else that you need from me right now?”

She said, “I’m good.”

I said, “Wonderful.  Thank you for stopping by.  Stay as long as you’d like.  You’re welcome here.”

And you wanna know what happened?  SHE LEFT!  She didn’t stay because she didn’t need to.  She got what she came for.

Please note, if she had said, “No.  I’m not good.”,  I would have repeated a version of my earlier question asking, What do you really need right now?” and I would have continued affirming and asking until she was complete.

 

 

Of course every identity is different and each one will require individual attention.  This isn’t a one size fits all approach and I don’t want to portray it like it is.  Sabotage is personal, it’s squirmy, and it takes on different forms in each individual.

But what I know for sure is that my identities want to be heard, loved, and welcomed.  They want to be celebrated and embraced.  They’re seeking nurturing and reassurance.  The ONLY reason they are yelling is because they’re trying to get my attention.  When I fulfill their desire to be heard, there is no reason for the yelling to continue.

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Let me know if this resonates, if you’re willing to begin the process of awareness and acceptance of your identities, or if you have any questions!

 

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Your “I don’t have time” story

“I’m overwhelmed.”

“I would, but I don’t have time.”

“I don’t have time to (or time for) ______________. ”

 

Go ahead and fill in the blank with all the things you SAY you want.  Fill the blank with all the things that you’re constantly THINKING about, all the things you JUDGE other people for doing and finding time for, all the things that you are intellectually committed to, but yet, you’re doing nothing about.

Let me give you some examples.  The blank is could filled with things like:  Eat healthy, workout, personal development, reading, writing, journaling, a mediation practice, a yoga practice, sleep, romance, sex, build my business, search for a new job, make the follow up calls, send the emails, make more money, market my business, take the class, do the research, learn the skill, and on and on and on….

 

Look, I get it.  Literally, earlier today I had a moment on a mastermind call where I heard myself expressing how I ONLY have 2 days to work on my business and how I CAN’T do anything Friday-Sunday when I’m at the restaurant where I work part-time and then I also NEED Monday for self care and Tuesday is my day off with my honey… How on earth can I possibly keep all this momentum going and still get everything done AND OMG NOW I’M FREAKING OUT AND I HAVE NO TIME FOR ANYTHINGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!

{cue self-induced overwhelm and dramatic meltdown}

You want to know what’s most insane about all of that?

I know that none of what I verbalized is ACTUALLY true.  In fact, it is complete bullshit.  I was pretending that in order to continue taking action on my dreams and goals I needed to have a totally clear schedule, this massive open space in my planner, this space in my life where all of the proverbial lights are green, and some big booming voice will declare, “ALL CLEAR!!!!” 

And, unless that happens, I obviously can’t do anything.  {massive eye roll}

Sounds ridiculous, right?!  That’s because it is!

In fact, that time will probably NEVER happen.  Not for me.  Not for you.  And, by me pretending that it’s a required element for me to achieve success,  I get to stay stuck in my “I can’t ever win and no matter what I do it’s never enough and I can’t get ahead.” BULLSHIT story.

You have one too.  The details may be different, but you have a story.

Thanks Michelle.  You’ve clearly identified the problem.  WHAT DO I DO ABOUT IT???

 

1.  Identify

 

Become aware of the story you’re telling.

How?

Fill in the blank from earlier.  Really fill it out.  Get out a pen and piece of paper and write the following…

I don’t have time to/time for ____________. 

If multiple things would go in the blank, write the sentence multiple times.  Complete it for each and every thing that resonates with you.

If you want to experience a shift, it is imperative that you are HONEST with yourself.  What is true for you?  What do you believe you don’t have time for?  If you get stuck, simply spend a few days in observation.  Listen to yourself.  What are you languaging?  Your language is a CLEAR indicator of what you believe to be true.

Notice without judgment.  You don’t suck.  You’re not worthless or stupid or incapable or a loser or anything else.  You’re human.

Awareness is the first step on the path to freedom.

 

2. Call bullshit on your stories

 

Recognize that what you’ve written are stories.  They may be stories you’ve repeated for a loooonnnnngg time, they may be stories that you think are true, they may be stories other people have told you are true, but they are stories.  Made up stories.

If you really desire the things you say you want, if you really want to live and experience a life of freedom, you are going to want to read these stories out loud and call bullshit on each one.

Stop lying.

Stop pretending.

Stop the excuses.

Stop all of it.

You’ve got to accept that if what you’ve written and what you’re languaging isn’t UNIVERSALLY TRUE, then your story probably, just maybe, is a little teeny tiny bit BS.  You have to be willing to look at what’s real and call yourself on your stories.  I’ll admit, it’s not easy to do on your own.  I recommend you get support.  I have accountability partners, mastermind groups, and coaches.  Today my coach boldly called me on my shit.  And when he pointed out what I was doing, I said something to the effect of, You’re right.  That’s bullshit.  I’m lying.  I’m pretending like I need a large chunk of time to build my business, I’m pretending that small progress isn’t progress, I’m lying when I say that I’m incapable of doing things on the days I work, and I’m creating my own overwhelm by speaking this way….

Listen, here’s the real deal:  If your kids or your spouse or yourself were in danger… if their lives or your life were on the line and the ONLY way to save them from death was to do the thing you swear you don’t have time to do, you would do the thing.  Period.  If that’s true, then the issue is probably one of the following:  Either the stakes aren’t high enough to push you into action, you’re behaving like something is more important to you than it really is, OR you’re pretending that the “thing” takes much longer and requires more energy than it ACTUALLY takes.

 

3.  Take SMALL action steps daily

 

The truth is, I don’t have all day everyday to devote to my business, but I do have a few minutes every day.  There are always minutes.  Can I spend an hour journaling daily?  No.  But I can spend 3-5 minutes.  Can I write workshop proposals and follow up with speaking opportunities every day?  No.  But I can spend a few minutes researching who I want to follow up with and adding to my list of prospects.  Can I spend a WHOLE DAY every week in self care?  Probably not gonna happen.  But, I can find moments every day to read or listen to healing music, or move my body, or play with my dogs, or be in nature.  I meditated for 4 minutes today because that’s what my schedule allowed for.  Some days I workout for 45-60 minutes.  Other days 15 minutes.  And other days I do squats and leg lifts while I brush my teeth.

 

 

We spend so much of our time talking about and thinking about how we don’t have time to do the things we want to do.  I propose if we simply used that SAME TIME to take ACTION, we’d see and experience progress.

 

Let me know if this resonates with you!

 

 

Image via quotesvalley.com

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Busting through your “not enough” story in 4 steps

I realized today that I don’t trust myself.

F*ck.

How do I know?  Well, let me share my (old) pattern.  First, I take a step into something new.  This could be a new group, a new training, a new entrepreneurial endeavor, or a new ANYTHING where I am unfamiliar.  Subconsciously I say, “I don’t know how to do this…” and my actions are to ask for help and or research.  As my coach pointed out to me today, neither of those things are necessarily bad, but my pattern of “I don’t know how to do this…” needs to stop.

Why?

Because if it doesn’t, I can (and I will and I have) stay stuck in preparation mode.  Not acting.  Not launching.  Not producing.  Not sharing.  Not teaching.  Not empowering.  Not living out my purpose of transforming the planet.

Here’s what’s crazy.  It’s been so much a part of who I am for so long, until it was pointed out to me today, I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  My sabotage was literally on auto-pilot.

In this post, I want to teach you what I’ve learned about how to move from your “not enough story” into action.

 

1.  Set yourself up with a support team.

We all have our blind spots.  It’s as if our heads are stuck inside a box that sits on our shoulders and we cannot see anything outside of our box.  All of our problems and struggles are inside the walls of our box, while all of our solutions are on the outside.  So, we need support in seeing what we cannot see.  From my experience, a support team has 5 elements: an accountability partner, a mastermind group, a private coach, live events, and a mentor.  We need these people to help us become aware of the things we’re simply unable to see.  Without my coach and my mastermind, I wouldn’t have come to recognize this pattern today.  And, if I remain unaware, I stay stuck.

 

2. Identify that this sabotage is part of you, but it’s not the real you.

Something that’s really helpful is to name the parts of you that are sabotaging your success.  I’m made up of Never Ready Nancy, Not Good Enough Natasha, Insecure Ingrid, Too Stupid Stephanie, Need To Learn More Naomi, Student Sabrina, Perfect Paula, Punisher Pam, Seeking Approval Astrid, Validation Val, and many more… Once I recognize these people as PART of me, but not the REAL ME, I can distinguish when one of them is taking the lead.  It’s okay that they’re all traveling with me in the van, the important question is, who is in the driver’s seat?

 

3.  Honor and accept these parts of you with love.

Recognize that while there are these parts of you that are sabotaging yourself, it’s all in an effort to protect the real you.  Think of them as different identities that were developed to keep you safe and love them for that.  Love them hard.  I love Never Ready Nancy and how she makes sure that I’m prepared for whatever I am doing.  I love Not Good Enough Natasha and the fact that she causes me to practice again and again in an effort to perfect my craft.  I love Insecure Ingrid and how vulnerable she is.  I love Too Stupid Stephanie and how she causes me to work hard and study more and make sure that I’m knowledgeable.  I love Need To Learn More Naomi and Student Sabrina for the same reasons.  I love Perfect Paula and how she wants me to put my very best foot forward.  I love Punisher Pam and how she ultimately just wants me to be excellent.  I love Seeking Approval Astrid and Validation Val and how much they love receiving praise from others and how the yearning for that praise pushes them to work so hard.  I love the little girl who makes up all of these identities and how she’s afraid of being wrong, afraid of making a mistake, afraid of speaking up and saying the wrong thing, and afraid of not being good enough or smart enough to figure things out herself.  I know that these parts of me that pretend not to know what to do are all acting from love and protection and I love them for that.  I love them so much.  They are doing a phenomenal job.

 

4.  Identify what’s most important and take an action step.

What’s the ONE THING that will give you the biggest leap forward if you took action on it?  What’s the ONE THING that you KNOW if you did it, would get you closer to your goal?  Start there.  With that one thing.  Stop pretending that you’re going to execute 100 things and then using that as an excuse as to why you can’t do anything and simply focus on the ONE THING.  For me today it was to make calls about booking speaking engagements.  I decided to move Never Ready Nancy to the back of the van and put the REAL ME in the driver’s seat.  Once I did that, it was easy to pick up the phone and dial.  When I felt doubt creep in, I reassured Need To Learn More Naomi that we already knew enough and reminded Perfect Paula that even if we “messed up” we were still moving forward and that it was safe to take this step toward our dreams.

 

The truth is, this work isn’t easy.  I won’t lie and say it is.  I cried today as I unloaded all of my overwhelm on my Mastermind sisters.  But then, after the awareness, I came to this beautiful place of acceptance.  After that came the overwhelming love.  And after that, came incredible clarity.  Clarity in my message as I picked up the phone and called for more opportunities to speak.  Clarity in the words to share here in this blog to teach and empower you.  And clarity for a program I want to launch in the new year.

This shit is awesome and hard and amazing and it works and it’s worth it.

You’re worth it.

Let me know in the comments if any of this resonated with you and if you’re willing to name your sabotaging identities!  

 

 

Image via Pinterest. Quote by Rebecca Ray.
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Stuck to freedom in 3 steps

Have you heard the saying, “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance”?
It makes sense, right?
Do your research and be prepared.
I get it.
But when you’re a (recovering) perfectionist, you change the PROPER to PERFECT.
And when you do that….

Well, PERFECT preparation doesn’t prevent, it actually LEADS to piss poor performance.
Or, even worse, no performance at all.

Allow me to explain.

When I was in college I was taking an improv class.  An EXTREMELY challenging class for a perfectionist like myself.  I was too tense and always trying too hard to “get it right”. Improv requires trust, confidence, and presence.  If you’re in your head the whole time {Raises hand}, you won’t be connected to the team, you’ll care too much about how you look, and the comedy won’t land.

I was awakened by an unexpected phone call the morning of my improv final.  A collect call from my boyfriend.  He was in jail and needed me to come get him.
Lovely.

I fled my dorm room in a frenzy, drove to bail him out, and raced back into town.  I arrived only minutes before my final.  I threw down my things and within moments we were in the middle of the room performing.  Truthfully, I only remember one thing about the final.  My personal feedback was extremely positive.  Not only did my group crush it, my teacher said that I had my best showing and commented that I should do whatever I did THAT morning moving forward.
Great.  {Rolls eyes}  
I need to bail my unstable boyfriend out of jail in order to “be in my body”.

Frankly, I don’t know that I really got the big lesson until a few weeks ago.

You see, that morning, I didn’t have time to practice.  I didn’t have time to over-think.  I didn’t have time to perfectly prepare.  I didn’t have time to do anything.

I simply had to be present and go for it.

I see this same thing showing up in my life right now.  It’s so much easier to remain in student mode.  Always believing that I need to learn more, study more, prepare more, and practice more before I will be perfect and officially ready to GO FOR IT.

Here’s what’s up for me right now:

  • I am certain that don’t have the perfect blog.  I mean, am I supposed to have pictures? Should I be writing more often?  How often?
  • I’m confident that my video setup is unprofessional.  I’m either sitting on the floor with my phone leaning against a vase, I’m standing with my phone balanced on a pile of books on my bookshelf, I’m shakily holding my phone “selfie-style”, or I’m outside on my patio and my “AV set up” is my cell resting on a plant stand.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m not actually “doing Instagram” right.  For example, what are stories?  I’m playing with them, but am I doing it wrong?  Do people really care about what I’m posting?  And how do people have SO MANY followers?!
  • I don’t have a website for my coaching business. Should I?  Do I “need” one?  If so, how do you even begin to set that up?
  • I don’t have my speaker pitch nailed down.  I’m just over here trying to talk to anyone who’ll listen.  What if I suck and people laugh and make fun of me?
  • I am still awkward when it comes to “closing the sale”.  I mean, I’m selling ME and the breakthrough I can facilitate.  Do you wanna discuss how THAT is bringing me nose to nose with all of my shit???

And, let me be extra real…

There is ABSOLUTELY a part of me that stresses about all of those things.  I’m concerned about not being perfect.  I can sometimes obsess about your potential judgements and how I’ll handle them and I’m afraid that I won’t handle them well.

That’s my truth.

What’s also true, is the fact that there is a part of me that is screaming to be seen. However, I have to be really quiet to hear her.  Her yells are muffled, almost as if they are coming from really, really far away.

She’s screaming, “HEY. F#%K PERFECT!!!!”
She’s screaming, “GIRL.  Get your message out!!!!”
She’s screaming, “JUST TRY!  It’s the only way you’re gonna get good.”
She’s screaming, “GET IN MOTION!  You’ll get better the more you practice.”
She’s screaming, “JUST DO YOUR BEST!  People don’t want perfect, they want REAL.”
She’s screaming, “DO THE DAMN THING!  You’re not going to really learn any of this by reading online articles and watching YouTube videos.”
She’s screaming, “CHILL OUT!  Nothing you’re doing has human lives at stake. YES.  The work you do has the ability to impact and shift and transform the planet, but no one is going to DIE because your IG story sucks.  Your imperfect blog, unprofessional videos, Instagram, website, and sales/marketing pitch aren’t THAT F#%KING SERIOUS!!!!!”

And, I hear her.  And, I notice that the more I listen, the louder she gets.

The real deal is:

  • I am more comfortable if I have time to rehearse and I don’t like it when I am unable to do so.
  • I’d prefer to know all of the answers to your possible questions before we even start our conversation.
  • I wish I could speak fluidly and not stutter or say umm when I talk.
  • I like it best when I look pretty and my hair and makeup are done to my standards.
  • I frequently doubt that you’re going to read what I write or listen to what I say and I wonder if you do, if you really connect with my message.
  • On that note, I wonder if my message is even relevant…
  • I desire to be different, but I get uncomfortable when I think about boldly standing out.
  • I would like it MUCH better if I could immediately propel myself to mastery level.  At all things I try.  I do not like not being good.
  • I get nervous thinking about dialing a cold lead call.
  • I freak out at the thought of sitting down with people who are deciding if I’m a “fit” and if they want to book me to speak.

What’s different for me now, is despite the fact that I am deeply feeling all of my worries, doubts, and fears, I am taking action.  And, you can too.  And, it’s not as hard as you are imagining it to be.

3 steps to shift from stuck to freedom:

Awareness

You have to become aware of the problem.  If you’re pretending that it doesn’t exist or that it’s not that big of a deal, you’re going to stay stuck.  This is your “come to Jesus” moment.  Look at your life.  What’s NOT working?  Are you struggling with the same things you were struggling with a year ago?  Are you perpetually unhappy in your relationship, business, body, or career?  What about your finances?  Are you ALWAYS broke?  Look at your reality… REALLY look… and without judgement, write down what’s going on.

 

Acceptance

Here’s your chance to own your shit.  The only way you can be the solution is if you’re the problem.  Stop playing the role of the victim and accept your responsibility in the creation of your current circumstances.  All of them.  This isn’t about resigning yourself and giving up.  This is about accepting your reality so that you can use it as a launching point for transformation.

 

Action

You have force yourself to take baby steps and then you have to celebrate each and every one you take.  I know you want to go from 0 to 10, (I do too!) but it’s completely unrealistic.  Get a coach and a mentor to help you create your PERSONALIZED game plan.  You’re an individual and you’re going to require individual support.  Figure out WHY you want the thing you say you want.  That WHY has got to be bigger than your fears because (spoiler alert!) your fears aren’t going anywhere.

 

Look, I’m not gonna tell you to stop trying so hard to be perfect.  I’m not gonna tell you to stop being nervous or freaked out or concerned about doing it wrong or messing up.  I’m not going to tell you stop any of that because in my experience, there’s no switch you can turn off.

What I want you to do, just for today, is act in spite of.  Go ahead and feel every single one of your worries, doubts, fears, AND …
Write anyway.
Post anyway.
Record the video anyway.
Speak your truth anyway.
Make the pitch anyway.
Go to the meeting anyway.
Dial the phone anyway.

I need you to know that there are people waiting for YOU.  There are people longing to experience YOUR unique gifts.  There are people waiting to learn what only YOU can to teach them.  There are people longing to hear YOUR message.

And those people, the ones waiting for YOU and longing for your message?

They don’t care if it’s perfect.
In fact, they hope it’s IMPEREFECT.
You wanna know how I know that?
Because I know they’re afraid of the same things you are.
And if YOU’RE perfect, that means they have to be perfect too, and the thought of that terrifies them.

I fully believe that if you are judging me for my imperfect blog, if you roll your eyes at my messy and unprofessional videos, and if you shake your head at my Instagram feed, I am not the coach, the speaker, or the teacher for you.
And, truth be told, I’m (mostly) good with that.

Either way, I’m patting myself on the back for acting in spite of.
It’s a big friggin’ deal.

I’m perfectly imperfect and finally proud of it.
Most days.

 

Image via thinkwealthmagazine.com

 

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My head talk is the co-author of this blog

Permission to be a work in progress.

This week I was on a call with my coach where he asked me directly, “What growth activities have you been doing since we last connected?”

Me:  “Um, what are growth activities?”

Him:  “The activities that are going to launch your business forward.  There really aren’t that many.  It could be 1:1 coaching calls, speaking, or calling people to book 1:1 calls and/or speaking opportunities.  What percentage of your time are you spending here?”

What followed was a lot of stuttering and a big ol’ lie.  I said 10%, but after really thinking about his question, I think the right answer is somewhere around 1% or less.

{sigh}
Lovely.
I’m over here talking about how I’m building my business and I’m simultaneously doing practically nothing that is actually going to build my business.
Great.

Then, I proceeded to do what I do so brilliantly.  In a matter of 5 seconds or less I went to the complete opposite extreme.  I began languaging things such as:

So, wait…
What does this mean?
Do I stop everything else?  
Do I no longer write in the blog I’ve just set up?  
Do I stop connecting on Facebook and Instagram?  
What about videos?  
OMG.  
Have I been wasting all of my time?
Am I doing everything wrong?

My coach interrupted my downward spiral to remind me that I am a solopreneur.

{facepalm}
Oh yeah.  Duh.  It’s just me over here.
The engagement on social media and the videos ARE important.  Obviously.
The writing is a good idea.  Check.
Keep going Michelle.
But remember, you’re responsible for everything.
You’re the one building the foundation so, there simply has to be MORE growth, more networking, more exposure.
It’s not an either or conversation.
It’s BOTH.

But then I slip back onto my old tracks.
It’s quite impressive how fast I can move into overthinking, overanalyzing, and scrutinizing every activity.

Is it necessary?  
Is it moving me forward?  
When is the best time for the necessary maintenance?
Am I just avoiding?
Maybe I should start blocking my time?  
Should I get up earlier?
Should I stay up later?

My head hurts and I want a nap.

All of this growth and stretching and expanding is bringing me face to face with my sabotage on a regular basis.  It’s requiring a close up look at my life, my habits, how I structure my schedule, and it’s forcing me to evaluate what’s working and everything that is not.
UGHHHHH.  
Who loves that?
{no hands raise}  

So now here I am.  Lying on the couch, eating tortilla chips, typing this article.
Recognizing that I spend the bulk of my time on maintenance activities and very little on growth activities while simultaneously wanting my business to grow.

Houston.  We have a problem.  

After an inspiring call with my coach I made a shift.
Go me! {pats self on back}
I made 10 reach outs for speaking gigs.
I left 9 voicemail messages.
I sent 3 text/Facebook messages which created engagement.
I made a post.
I asked for more feedback.
I held 1 conversation.
As of now, 2 people have called me back and given referrals.

Nothing booked.
Yet.

{Cue head talk}  

“Can I really do this?  Do I have what it takes?  I suck.  I talk too much and sound stupid.  I don’t sound confident.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Are people really going to respond?  What if they DO??? Then what?!  No one is answering.  This is a sign.  This is hard.  Marketing yourself sucks.  I’m not good at this.  No one cares about my message.  Who is going to say yes to me anyway?  I don’t know these people.  I’m not ready.  I should quit.  Well, at least slow down.  I need to learn more.  This is uncomfortable.  I don’t like this!!!!!!  This isn’t fun.  I’m sleepy….”

And now here I am.
On the couch.
With the chips.
Maintaining.
Not calling anyone.
Not growing.

Sabotage, I hear you and I honor your power.
Fear, I hear you and I honor your power.
Head talk, I hear you and I honor your power.
Procrastination, I hear you and I honor your power.

Here’s what I know for sure.
I’m stepping into a new territory.
And new territories will ALWAYS bring you face to face with your dark side.
There’s literally NO WAY I can experience the new territory without experiencing all of my fears, doubts, limiting beliefs, head talk, and sabotage.
So, instead of trying to avoid them and pretend that they don’t exist, I’m honoring their power and inviting them in.  I’m asking what they want to tell me and I’m hearing what they have to say.

And indulge me for a moment.
Allow me to be EXTRA real.
The thing I’m MOST afraid of is my own damn head talk.
I’m afraid of what I’ll say to myself when it doesn’t work in the way I’ve planned out in detail in my brain.
I’m afraid of how I’ll beat myself up if I say the “wrong” thing.
I’m afraid of how crappy I’ll feel after I fuss at myself for how I could have done better.

Why?
I’m the worst.
Well, actually I’m the BEST.
I’m the BEST at beating myself up.
I’m the BEST at making myself feel like shit.
No one does it better.
I am the #1 self punisher.
In fact, there is no one better or more qualified to beat up Michelle than me.

And there it is.
What I’m really afraid of.
ME.
Well, that part of me.

So, I honor the headtalk and I keep dialing.
I acknowledge what’s real, accept what is, and tell myself, “I can make 1 call.”  That’s all I have to do.  1 call.  And then, if I feel like it, I can make another.

I can take it one step at a time.
I can keep practicing.
I can remind myself of WHY I’m doing this.

Wait.  Why am I doing this?

I am fiercely passionate about transforming the planet.
I am ALL IN on being a change agent.
I am committed to delivering REAL TALK, no bullshit tips, on how to move from hopeless and stuck to joy and freedom.

But this is all new.
My coach has said, “Knowledge is just a rumor ‘til it lives in your body.”
This is still a rumor.
It’s not fully “in my body” yet.
And that is okay.

I can give myself grace as I walk out this new territory.
I can remember that I’m building a business and not a get rich quick scheme.
I will remind myself that while great things can happen quickly, there is most often A LOT of work that goes into an overnight success.

And I’m committed to showing my work.
Showing the ups and downs.
Sharing the real moments.
Expressing my fears and how I act in spite of.
Giving you an insight to how I celebrate and honor the stereotypically less loveable parts of myself.

I am not a hype-y person and I won’t pretend to be.
I will speak what is real.
I will share my truth.
I know you are out there struggling with the same things that I’ve struggled with.
I am speaking to you.
I am speaking for you.
You are not alone.

Stop trying to hide the fear, bury the shame, cover up the guilt, and pretend that your sabotage doesn’t exist.

Just stop it.
Pretending to be perfect.
Pretending everything’s okay.
Pretending you feel great all the time.
Pretending you love your business everyday.
Pretending that you’re never afraid.
Pretending that you don’t have negative head talk.
Pretending that it’s not hard.
Pretending that it doesn’t take focused and deliberate effort.
Pretending that you’re not scared.

Here’s what you do instead.
Cut yourself some slack.
Love on yourself.
Celebrate how far you’ve come.
Celebrate what you DID do.
Celebrate the calls you did make.
Celebrate the new contacts you do have.
Celebrate that you’re growing.
Celebrate your head talk and that it means you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. Celebrate your willingness to act in spite of.

And that ain’t easy.
None of it is.
Stop pretending that it should be.
It’s delusional and it keeps you stuck in shame and judgement.

Here’s the truth.
I am a work in progress.
I am doing a great job.

And so are you.

Comment below if any of this resonated with you!  I’d love to hear from you!  XO

 

 

Image via Pinterest – PictureQuotes.com

 

 

 

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Stop Pretending

I am sitting here at my desk, listening to YouTube play “Tibetan Singing Bowls Chakra Healing Meditation Music”, all in an attempt to open my 5th chakra and allow myself to speak my truth, while simultaneously over-thinking what I’ll type for my first ever blog post.

Here’s a backstage pass to my head talk…

I’m worried that I’m “not ready” to write for you, I am concerned about saying the “right” thing, I’m wondering if you’re even going to read this, and if you do, what judgements you’ll make, and I am beating myself up for spending a large amount of my afternoon sabotaging myself by focusing on dumb shit like what my title, tagline, theme, background, or widget (WTH is this anyway?!) should be…

Procrastination, I see you and I honor your power.

I’ve recently returned from an incredible Mastermind in NYC where one of my coaches asked me the following, “What if you believed you were enough right now?”

Sucker punch.

What IF?

What if I stopped pretending that I need to learn more or study more or rehearse more and I simply decided that I am enough?  As is.

Then what?

Then I’d be forced to answer the uncomfortable question, “Michelle, if you owned that as your belief, if you decided that you were enough right now as is, what would you be doing that you’re not currently doing?  What would you be creating that you’re not currently creating?”

Whoa.

That hurt a little.

And by “a little” I mean a lot.

Squaring up with the truth of how I wasn’t showing up made me sick to my stomach.

The truth is, I had become comfortable in “student” mode.  It was easier for me to cling to the belief that I wasn’t enough.  I was stuck in “not ready”.  I was desperately holding onto this twisted “truth” that I didn’t have anything of value to say.

There was more to learn.

There had to be.

More to study.

More to practice.

It was as if I was waiting to hear this booming voice shout down from the heavens, “NOW YOU ARE READY!  YOU HAVE LEARNED ENOUGH.  YOU ARE WORTHY.  YOU MAY NOW STEP FORWARD.”  It sounds absurd when I put it like that, but it’s how I had been showing up, or rather, NOT showing up.

Until now.

Of course, I believe in continual personal growth.  That’s my passion!  I’m in a constant state of learning, self-reflection, growth, and expansion, BUT I was using all of those things as an EXCUSE to stay stuck in inaction.

Pretending I wasn’t ready.

Pretending I needed more.

Pretending I wasn’t enough.

Pretending that you wanted me to be perfect.

It’s actually pretty brilliant sabotage because it’s never-ending.  I will never be “enough” according to those standards.  In fact, I’m not even able to define “ready”, “more”, or “enough” so how are they actually achievable?

It was with that awareness that I made the decision to call bullshit on my story, to stop pretending, and to start taking action.

I believe, the more you do something, the more it becomes a part of who you are and the better you get.  The more you swing the bat, the more you’ll find your rhythm and the more likely you are to hit the ball.  The more you perform, the more the words and gestures become your own and naturally flow.  The more you dance, the more connected you become to the music and you find your own groove.

And for me?

The more I write, the more my message and personal style will evolve.

The more I speak, the more I will grow into a stronger and more influential speaker.

So, I’m unleashing myself.  Reins off.

I am Michelle Moore.  I am perfectly imperfect.  I am scared and excited to be throwing my ass over the DOING THE THING line.  I am the essence of fierce determination and persistence.  I am courageous.  I am a kick ass coach, a teacher, a writer, and a speaker.  I am still walking out my own personal journey, but I am obsessed with guiding others as I travel.

I’d LOVE to hear from YOU!  In what areas of YOUR LIFE are you pretending to “need more” before you move forward?

 

 

Image via Pinterest – themetapicture.com

 

 

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