For as long as I can remember, I’ve been telling a story that doesn’t serve me.
At least not any longer.
The story is this: I’m a behind-the-scenes type of gal who gets her kicks from supporting others. In other words, I’m not a leader.
In high school my best friend decided to try out for cheerleading and, being like any other teenage girl, I followed my friends like a good little lemming. I showed up to tryout practice every day with my 80’s hair swept up in a banana clip and yet I. just. wasn’t. getting. it. I’ve blocked out most of this memory, mainly the fact that I looked like Steve Martin in The Jerk trying to snap his fingers, yelling “Grandma, I got it!” when he clearly didn’t have “it” = an ounce of rhythm. Here’s what I do remember: a feeling of abject dread as I stood in the very back and watched the girls doing herkies and pikes. I promptly left the gymnasium and cried. For days. And I never went back. My friend made the team.
The next year my friends tried out for Drill Team and went on to become President and Vice President of that squad. During games I would show up in the locker room and help them with their costumes, pinning their Elvis hair with bobby pins and shaking the wrinkles from their spandex. I truly felt in my element – valued, of service and appreciated.
I could tell you a million other stories just like that one that occurred over the years, but let’s fast forward to 2009 when I took a job managing Lissa Rankin’s first book tour for What’s Up Down There? Over a period of a year or so I began to manage the behind-the-scenes of her entire online empire and in 2011 she referred me to another client Mike Robbins. On our first phone call he asked me why I wanted to work with him and I said something along the lines of “My passion is to support and lift up online business visionaries.” Mike never told me in that moment, but he didn’t quite believe me. We’ve talked about this a number of times over the past few years and each time he’s told me that he knew that there was something more for me than being behind the scenes supporting others. Truth be told, when I helped him with his third book Nothing Changes Until You Do: A Guide to Self-Compassion and Getting Out of Your Own Way, he’s the one who gave me the initial inkling for my Book Shaman practice.
Just last week I was hiking with my dear friend & Good Vibe Coach, Jeannette Maw, and we were having a conversation about my experience on Martha Beck’s ranch with horse whispering. I told her of how I had just instinctively taken charge and rounded up some wild horses and we got to talking about support roles versus leadership roles. In that short chat, Jeannette had given me permission to look for evidence of where my old story was no longer true and that there was plenty of evidence of my own leadership over the years – in college, in work situations and in my own business.
Ever since I started noodling my Story Shape Shifting & Memoir Writing program, I’ve been questioning every story I’ve ever told; every story that comes up for me through my thoughts and my future-tripping and I’ve realized that I can find evidence on either side of every story. The question is which one will serve me in my life for my highest good?
I’ll tell you… right now it feels a lot more scrumptious to find all my evidence of leadership over the years, than to look at all the support I’ve given. Don’t get me wrong, being of support to others certainly served me for a long while and now, as I step out onto a bigger entrepreneurial stage, it doesn’t any longer. Just like that. I get to choose which story to tell now.
I’m an amazing leader.
Which stories are you digging around looking for evidence to support? Is your current story truly serving you? And… if you’re longing to become a master storyteller, do check out my new program, applications are piling in since I’ve extended the deadline and I’m so excited for myself and the women who are saying YES! I could pee my pants.
P.S. If you’d like to hear me and Kristine Carlson, of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff fame, dish on the power of story and legacy, click here. It was such a power hour and a deep and beautiful conversation.