Gurus & Gimlets

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.


Sharing. How Much Is Too Much?

When it comes to sharing your truth, how much is too much? It depends on you. In this wild world of social networking, transparency isn't for everyone. 

Some are into heavy weightlifting, flexing their power to explore the edges of their physical prowess. I like to push the bounds of emotional exposure in order to build power and strength. It's a personal high of mine. And it helps me to walk my talk and serve my clients better. Not everyone digs it though.

Of course, at times I question my way in the world. Is it safe to so publicly share myself and my musings, given how they are prone to an endless evolution? Is it really wise to tell my clients about my own moments of raw rip-roaring pain? Is it naive or narcissistic to think that someone out in cyberspace might even care about my latest ah-hah?

Hell if I know. I can't be bothered with such questions. I've just gotta do me. 
Teetering on the edge of things-best-kept-private suits my sensibilities. If cultivating a willingness for shameless self-disclosure is a bit nutty... it's nutty in the same way as skydiving, painting a 20-foot canvas, or traveling to every country on the globe. Unfiltered expression for the sake of itself may indeed be my artistic madness; commit me if you must, just make sure I have a pen and paper. 

However, I can't help but notice that liberated voices foster a culture of acceptance. When any of us openly express ourselves and our unique take on the world, we indirectly advocate for the silent among our tribe.
I have come to believe that taking ownership over your own unique brand of crazy is how you can most effectively touch lives and affect change. 

Yes, you may feel vulnerable and sometimes pained when critics cock their heads, perplexed by the way you walk (and talk) in the world. But it's
way worth it when you discover that your exposed truth had the power to make another person feel less alien. One touched life will make it worth all the times you've risked (or shared) too much.

And when people just don't get it (or you)? . . . 
Thank them... for they call you toward greater clarity and power. Be humble enough to ask yourself why you are feeling unsettled by the response you are getting. Is it because your message isn't clear enough? Okay then... tighten that baby up!

Yet sometimes the opportunity may just be to leave things as they are. Perhaps your expression has led you to fall out of favor in someone's eyes. It is then you must ask: Does the path to their understanding require that I shrink or alter my truth in any way? If so, I invite you to reconsider the edit, my dear.
You are not responsible for how your YOU-ness makes others feel. 

In the same regard, being validated for your experience or perspective doesn't always mean others' agreement. In fact, far too much expressive energy is wasted trying to convince others... when in reality, the need beneath the need is to simply be seen and honored in a viewpoint. 

Practice honoring people in their beautiful ugly duality, even when it's not yours. Life expresses back at us what we most need to see within ourselves. Hold space for endless vantage points and perspectives, and allow for others to hold their truth apart from yours. 

Oh, and btw... someone out there thinks it's hella sexy when you act a little crazy. I'm just sayin'.