During some recent work with a client, one thing became crystal clear. She’d been dumbing herself down for most of her life.
This behaviour started during her childhood. A few separate incidents made her fear failure. She also felt very different from her family and friends. Her fear of failure and dislike of not fitting in turned her into a people pleaser. Before long, she was shape-shifting to become whatever was demanded of her. This behaviour was completely sub-conscious, and the changes she made soon became her persona.
Her true amazingness – the kind, creative, courageous, resilient and fun leader she really is – remained, for the most part, buried in her. Flashes of this person were occasionally visible to those closest to her, but the person she saw herself was the hyper organised, efficient, productive people-pleaser.
I found it so easy to recognize this in my client. Because it was true for me, too.
I’ve spent much of my life dumbing myself down so I could:
- fit in
- be understood
- be liked
- be seen
- be loved
- feel safe and secure
- feel stable
I even dumbed down my successful 28-year marketing career, where I was a serious game-changer. I’ve hardly referred to it at all in my last four years of doing life purpose coaching.
I was afraid it would cause people not to like me, because they’d view me as unethical. I consider much of what goes on in the marketing world as unethical, therefore I must be, too, if I’ve worked there.
Wow. That’s quite the admission. But I was completely unaware I was doing it. I’d just gloss over those 28 years and hope that no one asked me about the work I did then. That they’d focus instead on the ethical work I was doing now.
You know what?
The SAME person worked in marketing and in life purpose coaching. I did.
- has the same values now as when working in marketing
- has spent the last 30 years learning how to live a purposeful life
- left organizations routinely as a result of being asked to do something unethical
You know what else?
My 28 years of game-changing in marketing taught me a lot. They made a huge contribution to the person I am today. They helped give me my voice.
My business career has given me some incredible skills that I now use to help my clients. My journey through that part of my life is now helping me let my amazingness shine.
If you want to let your amazingness shine, try this!
- Understand who you REALLY are. The whole you – don’t leave parts of yourself out, as I did for years.
- Learn to manage your inner critics – the voices in your head that want you to be liked, to fit in, to be understood, to be loved, to be seen, to feel safe and secure, to feel stable.
- Create daily practices that reinforce the key life truths of presence, acceptance, forgiveness, letting go, non-judgement, maintaining your boundaries.
- Understand that it’s YOUR life and that no one is coming to save you. You can choose what your life looks like.
- Have personal goals that reflect the whole you – your emotional, spiritual, mental, physical and financial health, what gives you self-esteem, what makes you self-fulfilled.
- Take action. Dreams without action remain dreams.
Whenever you feel less than whole inside or are struggling to imagine what a dream life might look like, pay attention.
That’s a sign your amazingness is trying to shine through.