I was a very high energy kid, always getting into some kind of trouble, even though I didn’t mean to. I tried to tone it down as I grew up, sometimes “successfully, sometimes not so much. I was an average student in grade school and high school and had both types of ADD/ADHD (although that’s not what they labeled it back then). Just putting in the bare minimum to get by because I was uninterested in the material and found it difficult to focus in the school setting…..to sum it up, I was bored out of my mind. It wasn’t until I went to college that things changed for me. It was a different way of learning and I had to be self motivated. I struggled my first semester, feeling a bit lost and unsure what to do. It wasn’t until I said “fuck it! I’m going to try to do this my way!” that things changed. I took classes that actually interested me. I wrote my papers by playing music and typing to the rhythm of the music. I re-wrote the words in my textbook, as opposed to reading them over and over again in the hopes of remembering the material, and found that I was able to memorize them word for word doing it my way. I laid in a hammock to recount what I’d learned and to mull my ideas and thoughts over before writing a paper or taking a test.
Cut to graduation – I graduated with Honors and received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Senior in Economics. Crazy! All I had to do was be myself.
So….you think that’s it, all great. No, no, no….not that easy. You know as well as I do that life has a way of keeping the lessons coming until you really understand and make the changes necessary for lasting change. After graduating college I went on to do many things in my life, including working for, and starting my own, businesses. I did not apply what I learned in college to my work. Instead, I spent years struggling…..trying to fit some “supposed to” mold, trying to be someone I wasn’t. Back came the frustration, stress and exhaustion. It would take many years and lots of burn out before I realized that I could apply what I learned in college to what I needed to do in business if I was going to survive. Back to the drawing board. What did I have to do differently to “be myself” in my business? Music, “hammock time” and, what my husband calls, zen mornings became my every day. I didn’t go into work until 10:00 AM, not because I was over sleeping or lazy, but because I knew I needed that time to reflect on the week, enjoy my coffee and breakfast, make my “want to do” list for the day and do any writing I wanted to do. I would go to work relaxed, ready for whatever the day would bring and excited to be productive. I scheduled my week to include lunch with friends, walks and mini adventures. I knew I needed these things in order to stay focused and motivated.
Good, but not yet great! Things were pretty good, but I was still trying to do things that did not come naturally to me. Was still trying to force it. I started using systems that played to my strengths, worked with my personality and helped overcome the shortcomings of my “weaknesses.” I started extending this way of thinking to the people who worked for me as well – focus on their strengths, motivate them through purpose and passion. Pretty awesome.
But the best was yet to come. My passion for helping other business owners become successful because of who they are and not in spite of it led me to becoming a business coach (something I had been doing informally for years). It was this profession that led me to meeting, my now business partner and fellow coach, Nicole. Talk about the stars aligning.
We were instant friends and, to our incredible luck, we were complete opposites in all the ways that needed to matter. Where I lacked, she excelled. Where she lacked, I excelled. It was, and still is, crazy good! This was the last missing piece to the puzzle I had been trying to put together for what seemed like decades. The final piece to “just be yourself”…Ask for help where you need it! We now work in this harmonious yin/yang bubble that is way better than anything I could have done on my own. It allows both of us to do the work that we love, have purpose and, most importantly, just be ourselves. It’s ironic, or maybe by design, that we run a business where our main mission is to continually ask the following questions:
- Are you happy?
- Do you feel loved for who you are?
- Do you have a supportive community?
- Do you have purpose?
- Are you doing what you’re passionate about?
As coaches, it’s amazing and heartbreaking how often we hear someone say “maybe you can fix me.” Well, we won’t fix you. You are exactly who you are supposed to be. The problem is you’ve been taught a recipe that doesn’t include any of the ingredients you have on hand. So you’ve been trying to figure out how to turn your ingredients into the ones you need for that recipe – only to become frustrated, exhausted and often resentful and bitter. The ingredients are not the problem – it’s the recipe! Find a new one that uses your ingredients.
Only one thing left – I’m still trying to figure out how to put a whiteboard in my shower. LOL!