Are you brave?
Do you fail?
Are you vulnerable?
Are you really living?
In the spirit of being ‘real’ I have something to share. I’m scared.
And I’m playing small because of fear. Fear of putting myself out there and being judged. Fear of failing. Fear of it not working out. Fear of it being hard. Fear of putting in effort. Fear of rejection. And ohmygod that fear is paralyzing.
And yet even as I confess this to you, I’m telling my kids a different story. I’m teaching them to be brave, to risk failure, to open themselves up to feedback, to learn, to be vulnerable, to try again, to be imperfect.
Because in doing those things, that’s how you live, that’s how you find the magic, that’s how you grow.
I have no problem telling you that I’m a retired attorney and that I used to be a federal civil rights litigator in New York City. It’s part of who I am but it’s also part of my ego’s story about myself. It’s a very important feather in my cap.
I have a more difficult time telling you that I’m a meditation teacher and a nutritional therapy consultant and a gratitude expert. Those titles don’t garner quite the same respect. Those titles aren’t as esteemed as my juris doctorate.
But those are the roles I enjoy. Those roles enable me to help people make better choices in their lives. Those titles mean that I’m doing something I love. And that I’m guiding people to reduce stress, lose weight, have more energy, be more present, be less judgmental, live with more connection, find gratitude and be more authentic – all things that I’ve adopted and that have made my life more meaningful.
But those things are touchy feely. Health and wellness blah blah blah. Self-care mumbo jumbo.
I didn’t get my degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill in gratitude or meditation or nutritional therapy. I got degrees in French and history. Two of them. (There’s my ego talking again, see how it pops up all over the place?) And here’s where the imposter sydrome sets in and the self-critical thoughts start to take over.
Who do I think I am holding myself up as an expert in meditation and nutritional therapy? What do I think I can offer people that isn’t already available from thousands of other people in the world and on social media?
And those thoughts can paralyze me. They can stop any forward momentum I’ve made. Instantaneously.
Here’s an example, I recently met an amazing woman who owns her own local business and we’ve decided to team up and offer nutritional therapy group classes for 5 weeks. It’s fucking amazing. The content is life changing. Working with her is inspiring. I feel energized and inspired.
BUT WHAT IF IT’S A FLOP?
What if we don’t fill the seats? What if no one comes? What if a thousand things happen and it sucks? What if people reject me? What if they criticize me? What if they don’t even respond? Gah. The dreaded silence. Crickets.
Doubt. Fear. Insecurity. Repeat. Doubt. Fear. Insecurity. Repeat.
When those thoughts set in it’s easy to stop trying. It’s easy to make excuses or bow out. It’s easy to play small and not take risks because in not taking risks there’s no way to be disappointed.
You can’t fail if you don’t try, right?
But if I don’t try, if I don’t risk being uncomfortable and vulnerable then I can’t help people.
Here’s the thing, I’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge over the years. I have the ability to help moms find more patience in dealing with their kids. I can help a dad sleep better and reduce stress. I can help you find more energy and feel better in your skin. I can help you use gratitude to become a more open and less judgmental person. I can help your digestion problems. I know how to do all of these things. And I’m good at it.
So I guess I’ll take the risk, I’ll put myself out there, I’ll risk negative comments or no comments at all. I’ll do it and I’ll fight through the fear and the insecurity and the butterflies in my stomach.
It isn’t easy and I might fall down a few more times and want to hide but fuck it, I should be showing my kids how to do it if I’m preaching it all the time, right?
I hope I’m brave enough to know failure.