It's come to my attention that I’ve been doing a really great job making it seem like my life and business are kinda perfect. I’ve been showing everyone all of the good parts and leaving out the mess. I’ve shed light on everything beautiful that I’ve created, from babies to businesses, but haven’t painted the full picture of the turbulent, chaotic, abusive and wildly disastrous path that got me here.
Read: I’ve hidden my “hot mess” factor pretty well.
Well, let me take a bow… and then exit stage left and lift the curtain for a moment:
My life was and still is very messy.
Being in a leadership role, I don’t like to show the mess much. Plus, having an ego and a desire to avoid judgement definitely keeps me quiet about a lot of the pain that’s tinged my life from an early age. I am a very private person when it comes to my personal life and have literally only let a select few people in on what really goes on in the past 30+ years.
(Is there a prize for that?)
But, also being in this leadership role I have to tell you the truth. I have to address this absurd idea that you have to have a perfect upbringing, joyous childhood, easy life, etc. in order for people to trust you and hire you as a coach.
I was leading coach training the other day and one of the women said, “Yea, but Olivia, I’m not like you. My whole life has been a series of disasters. It’s easy for you to run a coaching business because you have it all together.”
Truth is: I’m actually pleased to hear that it looks like I have it all together. I’ve been perfecting the whole, “make everyone think everything’s okay and that I’m normal” since I was about 8 years old. I’m not going to lie though, these last 5 years as coach, entrepreneur and partner in a non codependent relationship have been some of the easiest and most “normal” in my life. But, that’s all because the 25ish before were like a never-ending roller coaster of anxiety, codependency, abuse, mental illness, alcoholism, rage, blame, shame, guilt and anger.
It wasn’t until I found coaching that I FINALLY got off that roller coaster (mostly).
See, I am the product of a very broken home. Most of my childhood memories have been erased, presumably by my survival mechanism which is most likely protecting me from remembering all of the abuse. I can’t really remember the full stories, but I do remember flashes of anger, constant worrying and being curled up in a ball under the covers plugging my ears.
My college and young adult years were more of the same. But this time, most of the chaos was self-created. Alcohol, abuse, anger, anxiety and the creation of more codependency, of course. As much as I wanted to feel normal and be normal, I was recreating what I knew as a child. If someone loves me, I have to pick fights with them and have anger-fueled altercations, right?
It wasn’t until a fateful encounter brought me to coaching that I would start to see these patterns and start taking action to breakup with the anger, anxiety and chaos that I had brought into my adult life.
Sometimes I still question why this is my life; why me? Sometimes I still create chaos, anxiety and resort to anger. Sometimes I still entertain the codependent relationships with family members, because I am afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. Sometimes I still communicate from anger, because there is some strange comfort in the familiarity of it. And, it was literally only this past Christmas, at my childhood home, that I was hiding upstairs under the covers trying to drown out the fighting downstairs.
I do NOT have it all together
I do NOT have a “normal” life
Sometimes, I am a huge fucking mess.
My messy childhood which I have held onto, even only in bits and pieces as an adult, is still a mess. I haven’t actually escaped all of the pain and the chaos, anger and dysfunction still trickle in.
And here’s a shocker: starting a coaching business hasn’t miraculously made everything okay in my life. Better? Yes. More equipped to handle the pain? Yes. More likely to choose to NOT experience the chaos? Yes.
Erased the mess and turned me into a superhuman, fully enlightened woman? Hell no.
Makes me a better coach and businesswoman? Absolutely.
If it wasn’t for living in the dark for so long, I would not know how valuable the light was. If I hadn’t been knocked down, hopes let down or left hurt over and over again, I would probably not be able to handle the failures in business as well. If I didn’t have so many experiences with loss, abuse, pain and tragedy, I wouldn’t connect as deeply as I do now with clients and students.
Having it all together is not what makes coaches great. It’s their ability to take the shittiest of situations and move themselves, move their clients, out of them. It’s to keep going, despite one obstacle after the next and to trust that your version of fulfillment is available. It’s understanding that no matter how bad it gets, we have the power to do something else, or take a small step forward.
I actually think my “hot mess” factor is one of my best assets. And so is yours.
Don’t bring me your perfect life. Don’t show me all of the “on paper” reasons why you would make a great coach or entrepreneur. Show me all of your messes. Show me all of your pain. Show me everything that you made it through to bring you to this course, this business.
Your ability to be in the mess is what will make you the best entrepreneur and your messy path to get here will be someone else’s inspiration to get to where they want to go.
I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear about this in my other posts.
I’m sorry if I made you feel like your imperfect messiness wasn’t part of the recipe for success as a coach.
I’m sorry if I ever made you question your ability to coach, because I’ve been showing you only the “best parts” of my life.
Your biggest messes can be your biggest assets in this business, trust me.
If you're ready to bring your full self (mess and all) to the table as coach, the world needs you more than ever. Click here to learn about Inner Glow Circle's Coach Training program, and snag one of the few remaining spots for fall 2017. I'd love to see you there!