Yesterday I was reminded of a conversation I had in 2010, just after I had first launched myself upon an unsuspecting universe as an NLP coach and Reiki Practitioner.
The conversation in question took place during an initial meeting with a business mentor. Having heard the story of how I came to want to be working in this way, she blinked a bit and asked me if I thought I might be “too vulnerable to be in business?” Ouch.
It is amazing how a single comment can sow a seed of self-doubt, isn’t it? Even though I knew I was strong and healthy in everyday terms, part of me wondered whether she was right and I wasn’t fit for this new and slightly alarming space, this “being in business”. And so, in many ways, I kept myself invisible – I played small, just in case… Just in case I “shouldn’t” really be doing this work. In case I’d got it wrong, somehow, and it wasn’t really for me. Just in case I couldn’t measure up. Can you relate?
So many of my clients are living with a “reality” that is not truly theirs. A fear-based framework, that is likely to be rooted in beliefs formed when they were very small and that have absolutely no relevance to who they are now.
It is my greatest joy to see clients understand who they can become as a result of re-examining and, where necessary, rewriting or just completely ditching those beliefs. It’s not an instant process, of course, but we work together carefully, gently, peeling away the layers of misunderstanding and false assumptions until they can just be – themselves.
Fast forward to Spring 2015, when I began to work with a very different kind of business mentor – the delightful Lisa Barber (read about that process here). One of Lisa’s biggest challenges was to persuade me that it was safe to be visible in my business, which she did beautifully, both with kindness and understanding and by shining example.
I came to know the truth of the saying that “Your deepest wound may be your greatest gift to the world”.
There is a beautiful practice in Japan whereby a broken vessel is not merely mended for reuse but the damaged areas are highlighted with gold, the mended areas shining out clearly and unapologetically.
This method, called Kintsugi, demonstrates that the knocks and bumps of life and the changes they can bring are just another life event. And there is a full and compassionate acceptance of imperfection.
For me, this acceptance has a deep resonance with the Reiki precepts – in particular the opening “Just for today: Anger not, Worry not…” It chimes with the “kindly acceptance” encouraged in the practice of mindfulness – and it is also central when working with EFT.
So, I no longer feel that my past slog through depression and great sadness is a handicap or something that I need to disguise. In a way, it has become part of what I can offer to clients, not least because I really, truly “get it”. And I can share, with complete authenticity, the tools that have helped me to move through that darkness into a much lighter, freer way of being. Of course, I won’t be the right coach for everyone and that’s fine; but it needn’t prevent me from standing up and showing who I am and what I do. The right people will see.
And, as ever, I know it is absolutely OK to be a work in progress…
Have you found it hard to stand up and be seen? Your experience could add so much to this post, so do leave a comment below and share what made a difference for you.
Or, if you would like to rethink some of your beliefs about yourself and your world, you can get in touch here for a chat or to book.
Images courtesy of Morty Bachar, Lakeside Pottery Studio