A client contacted me wishing to change the time of our session from 9:30 am to 10 am on Wednesday. No problem. Wednesday arrives and I’m preparing for my day, shower, dress, eat. At 9:25 I’m thinking, “Great I have 35 minutes, I’ll go down and make a cup of tea and drink it while I put my make up on.” I’m standing in my kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil and I see through the tempered glass front door a figure coming up the sidewalk. I’m thinking…the mailman. And then horror…. It’s my client! Cue ninja fighter stance. Sh#t! What do I do? It’s too early! I’m not ready!
I don’t have any makeup oooooooooonnnnnnnnnn!!!!!
I’ve done a lot of work on being aware of my “need to be seen as” boxes and in particular, trying valiantly to put aside the exhausting veneer of “I’m all put together”, and yet here I was with this thought. Again. The thought being that I need to look or present myself a certain way for approval or to be taken seriously.
With heart pumping, I walked to the door, in what seemed like slow motion. My legs felt weak, my brain raced “what will my client think, I’m so pale, they might think I’m sick, at least I am in nice slacks and a beautiful blouse and not my yoga pants, thank God I have a bra on….”
“Hello! Oh wow, I thought you changed the time to 10 am, but that’s ok, come on in!” (BS, clearly it matters… my saboteur was saying.) My client was apologetic and offered to go get a coffee and come back at 10. I started to make all sorts of excuses for the way I look and then I became completely transparent. “It’s actually perfect the way this turned out because I am working on dismantling the *perfection* veneer I hold for myself. It’s funny how the universe sends us just the right lessons at the time we need to learn them. So in this moment, even though my saboteurs are jumping all over me, I’m gleefully inviting you in and I will model for you what it means to be faced with your worst nightmare, (i.e. not being totally ready and feeling bare, in so many ways) and rather than feeling like a failure, I’m choosing to be with what is, accepting what is and carry on knowing I am enough just the way I am.”
To be honest, it took me about 5 minutes of chit chat and another 5 minutes into our session to get over myself and fully dive into the coaching. Inside I was chuckling every time the thought of my ninja stance flashed through my mind. However, once I made the conscious choice to let go of my inner critic and get “over there” with my client, what opened up for me (and us) was extraordinary. Maybe it was my heightened awareness, but I think it was one of the most intensely intuitive sessions I’ve ever had. I felt so in tune with my client, in flow, with ease. I believe my vulnerable state was exactly what was needed in order for some pretty incredible breakthroughs to happen. My client’s…and mine. For me, a huge wall came down that morning. I don’t need to be anything but ME. I am enough. I truly don’t have to do anything except show up fully. One thing is for sure, my client didn’t give any thought to the fact that I had no makeup on.
I learned that I can shine just the way I am.
Thank you saboteur for showing up because my inner leader was fully willing to take over and show me the way to make peace with myself. The result of this experience is that I’m even more committed to being aware of how I’m choosing to present myself to the world. I am aware that I must look what is beneath the need to show up a certain way and it’s usually perfection that is driving that bus.
Sidebar: I’m curious….why did I take that ridiculous ninja pose in the kitchen? Oh right, because I was going into combat with my inner critic. Talk about embodying my inner leader….
Feel free to share any “need to be seen as” boxes you experience below in the comments.