Over time I’ve noticed a trend. When I start working with clients I create a very safe space in which they can be honest, grow and move forward. This leads them to share very personal and vulnerable things with me. I am honored and privileged to have their trust. What surprises me is how surprised they are when they get to know me a bit better. Inevitably every client will say at least once, “I didn’t know that about you. I would never have known that if you didn’t tell me. It makes me feel so much better to know you’ve struggled with challenges too!”
As I’ve been exploring my own unique voice and way of doing things in my business with my mentors and mastermind buddies I get the same reactions. “Does your audience know this about you? Seeing more of your vulnerable side would certainly attract me more to you.” And so, with the loving challenges of my support team, I want to share with you 5 things you probably didn’t know about me and how I’ve navigated them in a way that lets me thrive.
This post isn’t about taking a narcissist TMI plunge all too popular in blogs and social media these days. My intention is for you to:
- Get to know me a bit better
- See a connection in our shared struggles (even if yours don’t look the same as mine)
- Be encouraged that no matter what you may have experienced or be experiencing now that you can succeed, run your business, and live your life by your own design.
So… with all the courage I mustered to write this post, here we go!
Panic and Anxiety
I spent years suffering from a panic and anxiety disorder. I lived with a constant state of anxiousness and added social anxiety just to make things interesting. For a time, the panic attacks would get bad enough to warrant a trip to the hospital (but I would never go). While the tendency toward panic and anxiety never fully goes away I have shifted that dynamic to keep it from interfering in any significant way in my life. I didn’t do it instantly and I didn’t do it alone, but I know it can be done. I also know what it feels like to live with everything from a low-grade to high intensity amount of anxiety as you try to go about your professional duties and personal life. These feelings can often be exacerbated by the entrepreneurial journey, but the need not stop you.
While we’re on the topic of un-fun emotions. Let’s talk…
My relationship with fear has had its arcs. I have been afraid of everything from heights to the up-and-down horse on the carousel (yes for years I would only ride the ones that were bolted down). These fears were in direct conflict with my insatiable desire for loving life experiences. My coping strategies have included everything from outright avoidance to white-knuckling it. When asked, “How could you do those things (travel, adventure, whatever…), aren’t you scared?” I always answer. Yes. Of course I’ve been scared, but my desire to have an experience outweighs my fear and so I keep on showing up. As long as it is something I really want to do, I will try it (to date I have zero desire to jump out of a plane, but should that change, yes, I would try it.). I also give myself plenty of emotional recovery time if needed. As I teach to others, I seek to let fear walk beside me as my teacher instead of having it keep me stuck.
I was one of those kids that got bullied and threatened consistently. When I was a little kid I can recall getting peed on by a boy (yes, exactly like you are thinking) and chased out of the playground and down the street. Getting older never really helped matters as I was teased, threatened, and beat up through early adulthood. In high school I couldn’t even use the restrooms because they were so gross and I was bullied the minute I walked in. (It has helped me “hold it” on long trips though!) I’ve also been bullied in the workplace in that very passive-aggressive way that people who don’t fit in get to experience. Yes, even bullied by managers. It took a lot of time to heal from such things and I can still get an unpleasant physical reaction if people tease me just a bit too much if they haven’t earned my trust to be in a playful type of rapport. Thankfully that is pretty rare and I know how to enforce boundaries!
Struggles with Weight and Body Issues
Most people who meet me now only see me as a fit person who loves to eat healthy and is always up to some sort of adventure. They only see the person who has gone kayaking, canyoneering, hiking, biking or whatever and don’t see the fearful part or the person who has spent her whole life wrestling with weight issues and acceptance of her body. I was a thin kid who became a big husky kid who was ridiculed into losing weight and then back up and down and back again. After doing quite a bit of healing and inner work, I remember hearing a powerful quote from one of my favorite actresses Tyne Daly around the time she was in Gypsy on Broadway. She said something to the effect that she found acceptance in knowing her body could do what she wanted it to do rather than fight with a particular weight or appearance. I can appreciate that functional approach. Even today it isn’t always easy. Frankly it is a lot of work and conscious choice to stay fit and eat well, but I know the confidence and benefits it brings. At the end of the day I’m happy to continue to stretch the boundaries of what I think is possible to enjoy the journey because I love what I get to do and the experiences I get to have more than any preconceived notion appearances.
Highly Sensitive Person + Introvert
Clients, particularly those I’ve met through speaking engagements are usually stunned when I share that I am an introvert. I am a big high “I” on the Myers-Briggs and it is absolutely true. I also fall into the category of highly sensitive person. Meaning, I am very sensitive to noise, temperature, the energy in a room, and other little things that other people simply aren’t bothered by. Let’s be clear, I once returned a clock I received as a gift because it ticked too loudly. My parents looked at me like I was insane. Being an introvert doesn’t mean I don’t know how to be with people or am afraid of standing on a stage in front of a large audience. I love both of those things. What it means is that my default comfort zone is being alone or with perhaps one or two people. It also means that I recharge my internal fuel and energy by spending time being quiet or in solitude. I am perfectly happy hiking alone or with one friend for miles on end and not speaking a word. I don’t do “background noise”. I embrace who I am and have learned what I need to take good care of myself so that I can be of service to others and have a great deal of fun when I hit the stage whether to speak professionally or play at improv.
So, there you go… those are the top 5 things that I could think of to share. I would love to hear from you. How was this post helpful to you? Is It of value for me to share these types of stories with you so we can co-create practical application for you? Let me know in the comments or by contacting me privately.
If you’ve ever struggled with navigating your own uniqueness in a way that helps you stand out, succeed, and work in a way that works for you – I can help! Let’s set up a time to talk for a complimentary discovery session. Schedule one here: https://www.timetrade.com/book/Z9XWN
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