“Do you have the courage to stand inside yourself and be who you really are?” Oprah Winfrey
I had the absolute pleasure of being able to train this week with the best life coaches in the world, including arguably the most successful life coach there is – Martha Beck. I was inspired and challenged, encouraged and motivated. I gained insight from life coaches that have been helping people live out loud for more than 10 years. It was, in a word: amazing.
One of my takeaways from the training was the reminder that it’s important as coaches that we use the same tools and principles in our own lives that we use in our coaching practices to help others. So in order to help other people live authentically, I actually have to do it myself. Shocking! Who knew? (Insert smirk here). I thought that after writing my memoir…surely there was nothing left to share, no story left untold, no part of me that wasn’t “out there” for the world to hear. As shocking as it is, not everyone has read my book, Life, Love, Lies & Lessons (the comedy continues) and I don’t share every aspect of my life on Facebook. So, the challenge that was given to me at this training was:
“What are you, as a coach, still scared to share about yourself?”
For a life coach, this is a big question. Because by living authentically ourselves, we give others permission to do the same. So, if I’m holding back, then how can I become my most effective, most inspiring version of myself for my clients? I can’t. So here are my no-holding-back, from-the-heart truths:
My personal truth is that I was married for 11 years before that ended and I started on my own journey toward peace and fulfillment. I spent several years discovering who I really was and letting go of my own layers of fears in order to live a life that was truly my own – both personally and professionally. I had reached the top of my profession as a marketing executive and then that had to be released as well if I was to live authentically. I had to let go of a lot in my life in order to make room for the joy that was waiting for me.
The truth is that every experience I’ve had has brought me to this point right here, right now…exactly where I am supposed to be. I am madly in love with my husband. I have a deep spiritual connection with our Creator. I am a recently published author of my memoir that chronicles that journey and the lessons learned. I am an aspiring life coach and speaker. I am simultaneously flawed and fabulous; I am powerful and peaceful.
But wait, I’m not done. In the spirit of the challenge, there’s more that I’m ready to share:
The truth is that our relationships with others – with our family, our friends, our partner, our weight, our money and our work – are really just mirror images of the relationship we have with our self. Therefore, we have to heal ourselves first. There’s no shortcut in that.
The truth is that we all have worn a mask at some point in our lives: some will do it through excess weight as a physical manifestation of the wall they’ve built around themselves for fear of rejection, while some will hide who they are by losing themselves in their children and family or job, so there’s nothing left for themselves. My mask of choice has traditionally been my unique ability to appear as though I have it all together, all the time.
The truth is that God has been at work in my life all along, as I believe He is in yours. He never promised it would be easy; He doesn’t always give us what we want, when we want it; but I know that every time I thought I knew, He showed me that His plan was so much greater. And when I thought surely He would give up on me, He did not. He doesn’t judge me or anybody else; He’s just pure love and that’s how I try to show up in my life and in my relationships.
The truth is that we are all enough. All those voices in our heads that try to hold us back by telling us that we’re not good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, or talented enough are noise. The truth is that if we can get to a place of stillness, that noise will quiet, and we will be able to hear our own inner voice and our own inner wisdom. We will find the beauty, talent, intelligence, resiliency and grace that I promise you is alive and well in each of us.
The truth is that everyone that comes into our lives is there to teach us what we are here to learn at that point in our lives. Everything gets used. I believe that once you find the truth and the lesson in each difficult relationship, there is never anything left to forgive – because in the end, it’s all a gift.
My truth and belief is that we are all here to help one another. And I hope that by sharing this much of myself it helps you along your path and propels you forward to find an open, honest, authentic life for yourself.
- Doing so takes courage (to go to some pretty dark places and ask yourself some difficult questions),
- self-awareness (to be honest about who you are and who you are not), and
- self-love (to be patient and forgiving of yourself in the process).
It is not easy but there is only one way through this forest of finding joy and meaning in our lives, but I’ve always believed in the light on the other side.
Along our journey to peace and authenticity, we find out who we are at our core and with any luck, we fall in love with that soul we uncover. We discover both the power and the peace that lives within each of us. We learn about our beliefs and values and we begin to live our lives from an unapologetic place. When we can do that, we live in freedom.
My friend: Have the courage to go on that journey, find out who you really are, fall in love with what you find and live authentically. Do that. Be that. Stand in that.