Last week a client of mine told me they were grateful that I had done a recent video on an area of my life where I was struggling. Up until then, they said they thought I had my life all figured out and that I was kind of “perfect.”
While I’m proud of the work I’ve done on myself and in my life, the last impression I would want to leave anyone is that I’m perfect. That’s an impression that doesn’t allow people to get close to me or have them wanting to share with me their deepest insecurities and dreams.
And more than anything, as a teacher for a life coaching certification program, the LAST thing I want is students thinking they have to be perfect to be a coach because that is complete and utter BS!
So, let me take a few minutes of your time to share a few of my shadows, imperfections, and failures with you.
I earned an F in my high school AP English Class.
I didn’t go to college after high school. I went later in life, but I missed the typical college experience of youth.
I married someone that I knew I shouldn’t marry because I didn’t want to disappoint him or his family.
I walked into a regional employee meeting with over 200 people in attendance with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose (remember those?) wearing no underwear.
I stayed in a job where I was unhappy because I didn’t believe I could do anything else.
I stayed in a 14-year relationship (not the same man I married) because I didn’t want to hurt his feeling only to have him fall in love with someone else.
As a performer, I’ve been booed off the stage
As a speaker, I’ve had a room turn on me and question my credibility.
I’ve delivered workshops that failed and left both the participants and me wondering what the hell we’re doing with our lives.
I’ve been removed from an on-going job after delivering preview workshops for a client and then have them decide I wasn’t a good fit.
I’ve delivered keynotes to rooms that couldn’t care less and were more engaged with their dried chicken.
I’ve had coaching clients feel that my coaching was such a poor fit that they ghosted after paying.
I’ve had friendships that have ended without me knowing why.
This last year I’ve felt more depression, shock, and rage than I have ever felt in my life.
I’ve fallen asleep on the couch with the TV blaring more times than I care to admit.
After hiring a private investigator last year, I found my birth mother and wrote her what I thought was a beautiful letter. She never responded.
Can I let you in on a little secret?
This list was fun to write. (Well, that last bullet point still has a slight sting to it.)
I can reflect on these times and recall many of these incidents’ deep embarrassment and emotional pain. But the fun part is knowing I’m not there any longer.
Every one of these moments taught me something, and I am GRATEFUL for those lessons.
Maybe that’s what my client meant when they said it appeared that I had it all together? Because I know that these incidents don’t define me, they inform me. They’ve taught me how to be a better speaker, a better facilitator, a better friend, a better student, and a better coach. I’m far from perfect in any of those categories, just better.
I don’t live in a cloque of shame; I wear these things like a cape of HEROISM. Every hero has a messed-up back story. If they had been perfect, we wouldn’t care about them.
I’d love it if you would be brave and share your list of shadows and failures with me. Send your list to firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to hold them in the deepest of confidence.
Think of it as a way to swap out that cloque for a cape because things brought to the light and shared can no longer hold shame.