I hope this turn of a calendar has found you with a sense of renewal and openness for what may come. Yes, this newsletter is something new. Oh wait, the newsletter I started has been turned into this blog post. Yes. It's coming mid -to-late-month-ish. And yes, all my plans for life within my universe went out the window a few hours after the calendar turned. And that's partially why you are seeing this post now. Realistically, we can start something new at any point, personally, professionally, within businesses, relationships, and more. We don't have to wait for some arbitrary moment. There is no perfect time. Which also means, there's no wrong time.
Each year, I use a reflection tool from another Co-Actively trained coach, Andrea Scher to think back on the joys, triumphs, courageous moments, and the tough things from the last year, and declare a new word to "manifest" for the year. Manifesting, for me, is the way I show up, how I choose to be and see things. For example, one year I landed on two words: fierce and pause, and that realization they had to work in tandem. Sometimes my desire to be brave, strong, and push change is beneficial, and many times, it needs the appropriate tempering through pause and reflection before I react. As my husband says, "You are like a pressure cooker. You have all these thoughts in your head and they build up, and then you've gotta hit the release valve." He knows me so well.... And those words, for that year, were the perfect tempering of the pressure cooker.
A few weeks ago, I sat down with a cup of tea, soothing music, my favorite sassafras candle from a dear sassafras friend, and started this ritual. When I got to the end, and it was time to declare my word, I had landed on a few, but none of them felt right. So I started to try them out, putting them at the forefront of my thoughts, Two weeks later, I'm realizing they still feel like that shirt I tried on in department store dressing room, brought home, and still didn't completely love. I made a decision to return those words, receipt or not.
And that's when the universe hit me again with a theme that seems to have been playing out for a while. Authenticity. Being real about who I am, how I am, and what my struggles are. Maybe it's all the Brene Brown I've been reading. Maybe it's this deep calling in my soul to be whole and to allow others to see me in all of the wholeness. Maybe it's a feeling of comfort in myself after sharing deep things like miscarriage, health scares, new budgeting, and more over the past six months.
Recently, I was piloting the Joy Journeys workshop with a group of female leaders from all different realms; finance, education, healthcare, non-profits, a retired CEO. One woman talked about a panel she had been on numerous times, but that this time, most recently, she shared something never before disclosed: early in her career, she declared bankruptcy. She talked about how she had been ashamed about this, about how it was a huge failure and she had never wanted to share it. But this time, she did. And she lit up talking about how freeing it felt to FINALLY be authentic and real.
Women have long been chastised for showing emotion, especially if they ever aspired to the C-suite or high level administration. Emotion meant weakness, and weakness meant a woman could NEVER succeed. What would our organizations and businesses look like with more authenticity, an ability to show up and be real? Because life didn't stop when we crossed the workplace door threshold. Don't get me wrong; this is not to say that our outside stresses and challenges can completely disrupt and derail the workplace. But how can we create cultures, spaces, and benefits that create space for being honored as humans, in all the messiness that comes with that? When will we have cultures where a day out of the office for emotional well-being is seen as equally valid as a day out for the flu?
And outside corporations and organizations, how do we see emotion as authenticity and the gift of being real with one another rather than running away or passing judgement? How can we all lead with love, care, and gratitude that someone trusted us with their authenticity? Recently when I was real with some mom friends about how the super fun outing they were planning wasn't in the budget, one of them responded with "Thank for the honesty" and then threw out some other plans that we could do as well. I was so touched that they not only didn't completely rearrange their plans while also throwing out other future options, but also that there was loving acceptance and welcoming of the real.
To all those people who have been authentic, brave, courageous, and felt truly seen by others, share your secrets about how you found your authenticity AND how others welcomed that . If you know of workplaces that are creating cultures where people can be real, tell us more. How do they do it?
Hope you'll be along on my authenticity journey in 2019, and thank you for being with me on this first six months of small business ownership! It has been wildly amazing beyond any expectations!
P.S. That tool? We're using it in JOY JOURNEYS this weekend. There is ONE SPOT LEFT. Are you going to snag it? Registration closes in 48 hours!