Growing up as the perpetual "new girl," I developed a chronic habit of fragmenting myself. While I have come a long way around this: allowing my authentic voice to emerge, valuing my time and energy, learning to express my no, etc... today it occurred to me that I'm still for the most part living a double life.
I got to wondering... How many of you out there know that I work part-time as a cocktail waitress?
Probably not enough of you. And why? Because I've kept it a secret. Not consciously, mind you... but a secret nonetheless. Having this financial supplement to my coaching and writing endeavors is something I have kept largely under wraps.
Why? I guess some part of me carries shame around the fact that my business isn't cash flow central. I love my work, and I want to keep on loving it. I purposefully haven't elected to fill my schedule with 1:1 sessions or constant deadlines. I like the rhythm of the unexpected and the freedom it allows me. And as such, my finances reflect this free-flowing spirit.
Yet even the acknowledgment of choice hasn't been enough to fully turn the tides within me. Even now I feel trepidation in the overt admission to you all that I moonlight as a cocktail waitress. A stern voice in me warns me that my credibility hinges on you seeing me solely as my professional persona. That somehow my message will be watered-down by the truth.
Let me be clear here... I wholeheartedly believe that waitressing is just as noble a profession as any other. There's an art to truly great service and it's no small thing to be damn good at it. I hold servers in very high regard (just ask anyone who goes out to dine with me!). It's not about that. Not at all.
As a coach, I have been greatly influenced by my peers - the countless empires of "experts" and self-help gurus that seem to emerge daily. Standard business practices put polished personas front and center, rarely if ever are there revelations of this sort. I suppose that I have inadvertently internalized the implication that, in order to be seen as coach-credible, I must continually project an air of financial abundance.
But the truth is this: after writing all day yesterday, I donned my trusty black apron and ran my ass off, slinging drinks until 1am. It was a pleasant and lucrative shift. I was surrounded by great peeps who have become like family to me. No pity party necessary; I enjoyed my after work gimlet with a wink and a smile. My double-life has served me well, thank you very much.
AND yet, like every Sunday morning, I'm freakin' exhausted... not because of the "shameful" fact that my livelihood is complex and multi-faceted... but because I haven't been humble enough to own the tremendous significance of the big picture. Living with one foot in each world has led me to overcommit (likely in an unconscious effort to compensate for my shame) and repeatedly I fall out of integrity with the deadlines I set in my business.
It's time to lay all of my cards out on the table. This is yet another opportunity to demonstrate what I stand for: the right to live transparently and express a life as you see fit.
I'm betting that many of you rendezvous with a persona you largely keep hidden. Perhaps in some cases it is better that way. But what if it's not? What if "the secret" isn't to project anything at all.
For some of us, the secret to happiness may just be not to have any. I have found again and again that something (anything) only appears dark when it is cast into the shadows.
Feel like exposing *your* secret double-life? You have my attention. Pop me a message; I'm all ears.