Imagine someone you admired had just dropped by unannounced to your home. But you know the kitchen is a mess. So what do you do?
Truthfully? I'd make my excuses, rush into the kitchen and quickly stash the messy stuff out of the way. I'm no neat freak but I wouldn't want anyone seeing that messy, unkempt kitchen.
What will they think of me? They'll think I'm a messy slob. They might tell other people what an awful person I am. I love cooking - will they think my kitchen is unhygienic? Maybe they won't want to eat here. What if they tell others? What if no one ever wants to come and see me ever again?
Of course, not all of this is logical. Most of our fear isn't.But it feels real. Risky.
Way too risky to not hide the mess.
And that's what I think happens online. We're so afraid of what people might think that we hide the mess.
But the crazy thing is, everyone has mess. Everyone's kitchen looks messy sometimes. So why hide it?
SOME Of My Mess:
I'm not great at hustling. In fact, I often want to hide. I love to write and teach. I adore coaching. But if I'm honest, I'd rather stay home than go to a networking meeting, call a prospective client of even send an email that hasn't been asked for.
I'm pressure prompted - meaning I'm a pretty crappy at planning things in advance. I thrive busy (I think I'm addicted actually - it can easily become a 'problem') and I have major issues with relaxing (I practice mindfulness regularly - but like a toddler being made to eat their vegetables - begrudgingly and with a lot of resistance.)
I want certainty and surety even though I know it's an illusion
I stress about stuff I know isn't important
I worry I'm not enlightened enough for you
I worry I'll let you down and that you won't like me
Sometimes I feel I can stare fear right in the face & refuse to buy its sh*t
Other times ...
I have sensible parts
Part of me wishes I'd run off and joined the circus when I was young
Part of me denies that part exists in me.
Part of me is kind, benevolent and oh so wise.
I wish that part was in charge most
But part of me is petty
Part fear filled
Part spiteful & nasty: fights first, asks questions never
I'm filled with ideas but part scared to follow them
I've got cellulite & my teeth aren't as white as they appear in my photos
I've thought my thighs were fat ever since I was 6 years old.
Sometime I feel I'm never going to be ready to be a grownup.
Sometimes I feel like a massive fraud and a failure. OK - there's always a part of me that feels like a fraud and a failure and I accept that part as a normal part of the journey but there are days when that particular part of me takes over and runs the show. Those days are not the greatest.
I'm human and muddling through.
I talk a lot about self kindness but I struggle with it myself.
('Everything before but is bullsh*t', as the saying goes)
I'm not happy all of the time. There's still many a day when I feel crap and down on myself. The highs and lows of the entrepreneurial roller coaster can be extreme.
Why Am I Being A Debbie Downer And Sharing All This?
(Believe me, it's NOT because I'm comfortable being vulnerable and sharing my stuff!)
I'm telling you this because it's too easy to convince ourselves that everyone else has it together.
That if we were only less us, and more something else, we'd be happy and richer or content or more successful (not to mention kinder, slimmer and a damn sight sexier.)
There's also an important re-frame here - we ALL struggle at times.
There's beauty in knowing we're not alone.
It can mean everything in the world to hear someone say:
"I get it. I've been there" - and really, truly know that they mean it.
It can mean the world to see someone being really, truly authentic and vulnerable - without the pretense and the glitter that usually accompanies this strange online world.
The beauty of the internet it we can reach so many people. And we can choose what we reveal to those people. So it's pretty easy to construct a facade. And it's important to know that it's not real.
I'm a screw up. I screwed up my coaching business. I've needed 3 goes at this. I lacked the patience, the finances and the balls to make it work that first time.
I did a better job after that.
I'm now in a place where this is really, truly working. I've got a business. It brings in money (for a long time there was no money but a LOT of work figuring stuff out.)
My husband didn't know what I was doing - just that I was working hard.
My friends and family had no idea why I was spending so much of my limited and therefore precious time and money on a 'business' that showed such scant returns.
Many, many, MANY times I wondered if I was crazy the whole internet marketing to build a coaching business was a scam. I just kept thinking,
'Can this really work?'
And do you know? It can. It does. It's not that easy but it's totally possible. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes hustle and a willingness to learn, pivot and forgive the shit out of your imperfect, human self.
I talk a lot about self kindness and I struggle with it myself.
(I can do both)
I talk a lot about self kindness because I struggle with it myself.
(And this is the real key: I teach what I do because I struggle/d with it myself. I speak from experience and from the heart. It's not always (often) shiny and perfect. And that's OK - that's real.)
Here's the truth:
The human, messy, imperfect parts of you are EXACTLY what your clients need to hear and see in you. Not only do you not need to be perfect - pretending you have it all figured out will place a barrier in between you and your client that will keep them in their pain and without the hope of knowing that someone can help them - someone who's been there.
Share you struggles
Share your journey
Share your lessons
Tell your clients how much you see them.
How much you get them.
Be the human.
Be the pathfinder.
Share your messy bits. You never know who might be needing to see that they're not alone.