No one is perfect

When I first started to write my blog, I asked friends and colleagues for their feedback.  I am the type of person who likes to know what people think about how I am doing so that I can grow and improve.  Overall, the feedback I received was very positive.  I did, however, receive one note that gave me pause.  It was from a fellow coach.  What he told me was that he did not agree with way I shared my weaknesses and mistakes in my blogs.  Instead, he felt that if potential coaching clients read about my trials, tribulations and self-doubts, they would not respect me as a coach.  I have to admit, his comments upset me.  I even went back and changed my blog entries.  But now, after several more months of experience and reflection, I’ve decided I don’t agree.  And here is why.

When I first started to get out and meet people to promote my new business, everyone seemed to take great pleasure in telling me how much competition there is out there.  I know that they thought that they were doing me a favour and had my best interests at heart, and yes, at the beginning, a mere mention about how many coaches there are in London would send me into a panic.  But I have learned that the worst competition is in my head.  What sets me apart and makes me different from all of the other coaches is what I bring to the table, namely my experiences and who I am as a person.  In the past, my greatest mentors were those people who had “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” and then shared what they had learned with me.  They could truly empathize with the challenges I was going through because they had been there themselves.  They had experienced the emotions, the limiting thoughts and beliefs, and the fears that I was experiencing, and had lived to tell the tale.  So, not only did I learn from what they had to teach me, I also learned a great deal about what they didn’t say.  I learned about the true meaning of strength, courage, persistence, and triumph.  I felt stronger and more optimistic because I had in front of me someone who had been where I was and survived.  Seeing them thriving made me think that if they could do it, I could do it too.  And that motivated me to succeed.  Also, the fact that they were willing to share with me their less-than-perfect selves helped me to trust and respect them more, not less.  If they were willing to be vulnerable in our relationship, I was more willing to be as well.

When I was the volunteer resources coordinator at the cancer centre here in London, one of the things I encouraged my volunteers to do, when appropriate, was to share stories of their own cancer journeys with the patients they were speaking with.  I heard time and time again from patients exactly how encouraging it was to meet cancer survivors and to hear about their experiences.  It made them feel less alone.  It gave them courage and strength to carry on.  And it helped them to maintain a positive attitude about their own futures.  These stories gave them hope.

I have yet to meet anyone who is perfect.  I’m just as fallible as the next person.  I make mistakes, have doubts, and experience failures just like everyone else.  But what I feel sets me apart from many people is that I don’t let these things stop me from doing and achieving what I feel is important.  With every mistake I make I pick myself up, brush myself off, and try something else.  I look back on each experience and look for the silver lining- the learning that comes from each.  What I want to be for my clients, most of all, is a positive role model; someone they can look at and say “she did it, so there is no reason why I can’t too”.   And if they don’t think this, I can work with them so that they see that, yes, they can.  I have had a lot of experience in this world, good and bad.  My greatest hope is that, by sharing what I have learned, I can help someone to live a better, more fulfilling life- the life they were meant to live.

So I will continue to write about my mistakes and doubts in my blog.  And I will continue to bring what I learned from the two years I spent dealing with stress and anxiety to my work with my clients.  I feel that I have information and experience that will help people with their own growth.  And I’m willing to admit, I’m far from perfect- and proud of it!