Even after I had my awakening into authenticity, I still struggled with truly believing that what I had to offer was valuable, was enough. Shortly after I returned from New York I met with someone from a professional organization to discuss giving a talk for them.
The topic of the talk was on finding your passion and creating success in your career life. This is something that I’ve been doing with individual clients for the past few years, but I felt like I needed some “experts” (someone who had been published and was well known) to back me up.
Having just returned from the workshop with Robert Holden, I used his book Success Intelligence (recently renamed to Authentic Success) to jot down a few points about success and organize them as talking points for a presentation.
When I met with the education director for the organization, I started by telling her about these ideas from Robert’s book – although I didn’t say I got them from a book. She was polite and seemed to understand the points I was making.
Then she asked me about my own story of why, and how, I had changed careers. I launched into my story of a horrible final few years of my previous career, how I had awakened to the change I needed to make, and what I did about it.
I could visibly see her interest in me and what I was saying change; she was engaged in my story. She leaned forward in her seat and watched me intently. When I finished she told me how inspiring my story was, and it was just the thing that their members needed to hear as many of them struggled with finding their own passion and right livelihood.
I was astonished, and extremely gratified at the same time. You mean all I had to do was be me and tell the truth about myself? All these years I’d struggled with making myself what I thought I needed to be in order to provide what others expected of me, and in reality I just had to show up as me?
I’ve had many people tell me that the story of my career change is inspiring to them, but I never really took it in. I think because it was so obvious and necessary of a decision for me, I discounted the risk that was involved in it. I knew without a doubt it was the right decision for me and it didn’t feel particularly risky. So when others would give me kudos for the big change, it just didn’t feel like that big of a deal.
It felt really good to be able to take in that something that was so natural for me could be inspiring to others. And that it was inspiring enough that I would be asked to speak to a professional group about it. I was the expert because of who I was, not what I learned from a book.
Over the weeks after this meeting I still struggled with self-confidence and believing that I am enough. I still do sometimes. But remembering this interaction always helps me to relax and remember that I do have something unique and valuable to offer: me. And just being me is enough.