This may be one of the only times you'd be happy to be called ugly.
Over the last week or so, I’ve been working on some changes to my coaching offerings. It was time to take a look at them again, make updates based on new information, and ensure the information provided was clear in direction and of value to my clients.
In approaching this project, it got me thinking about how I had come to coaching in the first place. Had the story changed or was there now more to add?
I found there was more to add, and it wasn’t what I had expected.
If you’ve read any of my earlier blogs or any of the ones that focused on my personal transformation, you know that I was my first client. Cobbling together a solution to my own personal emotional, physical, health, and career conundrums and finding a path to a place of growth, transformation and dare I say, peace.
Now, a few years and a few clients later, I wondered if I had put it all out there in the first place or had I held back.
Surprisingly, I learned that I had held back a little. Why?
Even in the throes of transformation where anything goes in the pursuit of enlightenment and change, you don’t want to put it all out there. I mean, some of that stuff is pretty embarrassing, not to mention ugly.
As I conducted my program audit, it occurred to me that the “ugly” parts of my story were what had the most impact on my clients.
Not in a cheap spectator sort of way, but in a “Wow, I experienced that and felt the same way” fashion. This leads to a “if she lived it and survived it, so can I,” perspective that helps them commit more to doing the hard work of pulling back the layers and healing. And that made me both happy and uncomfortable at the same time.
Happy because they were able to see something in my journey that resonated with them and gave them hope that they could also come out on the other side.
Uncomfortable because that information had to be shared for them to experience that realization and in looking back, some of it wasn't the most pleasant.
It was still my life, my journey, and my ugly. I felt really protective of it because there are parts of ourselves that we hide. From others, and on some level even ourselves.
In the end, it’s the parts of us they don’t see that make us who we are and become the reason why we are able to help.
That’s when I realized, it’s time to own your ugly, and I’m claiming mine.
And it’s not just me, all of us need to step up and own the parts of us we have so desperately wanted to hide. They could be what's holding us back. They could be what could move us forward. They could be of great value to someone else in their journey.
Now I’m not saying go out in the world and fly every freak flag you’ve ever owned! There’s a way to own your ugly and still keep your dignity. That’s where authenticity comes in.
We hear a lot about authenticity these days. However, you can only get to authenticity by showing who you really are and what you’ve been through, warts and all. There’s a way to do it that’s beneficial to others and helps you continue to evolve and grow as well without alienating others or ending up as the latest popular meme.
It’s about being open and honest, and no, not everyone is ready for it so there’s a way and a time to do it.
Start by sharing.
What makes you unique are the experiences you’ve had in life, good and bad. We work really hard to show only our best possible selves to others out of fear of judgement or criticism. But have you ever thought to share?
Someone with a misconception of you or a strong position about an issue or situation you’ve experienced could learn a lot from your perspective. By sharing your experience, you are providing education as well as finding relief in being unburdened by something you have likely tried to hide in the past.
When we give of ourselves to others, both parties benefit.
Help by listening.
If someone feels the need or is willing to put their ugly out there, we can help by listening. As humans, we have a tendency to listen to someone’s issues and either try to fix them or top them. Neither approach is needed here.
Additionally, if you’ve had a similar experience, let them know and continue to listen. Sometimes an ear is all that’s required.
Finally, don’t judge or dismiss.
No one puts themselves out there for ridicule or dismissal. It can take a lot just to get through a day for some. Don’t make it the negative self-fulfilling prophecy they may have already imagined it would be.
Respectfully acknowledge their admission and let them know you may not be able to understand or be the best resource for them, but you appreciate their willingness to share.
As for me, as I make my coaching program better by holding nothing back, I know we can gain so much from owning the parts of ourselves that have been so carefully hidden by carrying them into the light to help others.
It’s clear that by owning my ugly, it will make me a better coach.
This may be the only time we need a little more ugly in the world. 😊
What about you? Afraid to face your ugly? Working with Committed Change Health & Wellness can help you own your ugly and live your life with true authenticity.
Take care and be well,
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