Invisible or Transparent: The Choice is Clear
One of my continuing goals in my life is to be as transparent as possible. While some may feel that this is too revealing, I am comfortable with transparency because it is a genuine way to stay true to myself. I cannot control the actions of others or right the world, but I can control what I understand about myself and rejoice in the power it restores in me.
It is this power of transparency that helped me to reinvent myself as a coach. In order to transform, I needed to be honest with myself. I believe that in order to be truly seen and heard in life, especially as women, we need to feel comfortable authentically expressing ourselves. When we are genuine, what reflects back at us from the outside world is also genuine. Prioritizing ourselves creates a deeper connection to our own values and to finding and responding to our inner child or forgotten woman. This window into and out of our souls is then open and exposed, creating a space in which we can resonate with both high energy and purpose to others.
So, if being transparent enables us to be seen, then being invisible hides us. Being invisible also hides our thoughts, feelings, and ability to grow. This invisible shield keeps us on one side and the world and opportunity on the other. Vulnerability is the kick-starter to passion and understanding, to wisdom and truth. Invisibility is a byproduct of our not allowing vulnerability to play an actionable role in creating a meaningful life.
Transparency and leadership have a surprising connection. I found this out over the past decade in my own transformation and mid-life pivot. We cannot lead others effectively if we are not authentically leading ourselves. I left behind corporate life to be at home with my kids. Although I showed up each and every day as Super Mom, I longed to embark on some major grown-up self-discovery. I was itching to create legacy in my life that had nothing to do with my kids, yet had everything to do with how I lead and guide myself. We are our children’s first leaders, yet if I was not showing up for myself, if I was not carving out my own continued evolution, was I effectively leading?
While I do not regret the many years I was CEO of my home, what I failed to realize is that it never had to be an either/or decision. Staying at home and not working was a choice, yet so was combining motherhood and career. I wanted to start my own business. For quite a while, I honestly believed that I could not “balance” both home and career. I had forgotten one very important word. The word AND could and would change everything. The word AND allowed for possibility and opportunity and transparency. I was telling myself a lot of stories as to why it was not the right time, how my children needed me, that I would not have the skills or the ability to get started or to stay with it. There were a lot of excuses. My heart was saying yes and my mind kept saying…but…but…but…maybe next year! In order to be a leader in my own life, I needed to be transparent with myself. I needed to begin the work of balancing my relationship to my excuses before I could even begin to balance motherhood and business.
In order to understand ourselves, we have to be willing, at least in part, to allow ourselves to be seen by others, as well as by ourselves. When we hide behind excuses and stories that we tell ourselves, we shut down the opportunities that present themselves due to fear or laziness or both. Knowing what we value and allowing those thoughts and values to evolve over time is the thread that connects each of us to our core and to the synergy that is necessary to refresh and renew.
Every day, we have a new 24-hour time slot to decide if we are invisible and hiding or transparent and alive. Invisible takes less work. Transparent makes authentic connections based on actions taken. Invisible allows you to procrastinate and to let perceptions color realities, which results in fears. Transparent pushes ahead, no excuses. Invisible is living in a world of can’t, maybe, should have, and tomorrow. Transparent is living in a world of yes, I can, and I am, and today. Transparent exposes. Invisible conceals. Clearly…you have a choice.
Taking it Forward:
- Play: In order to be truly transparent, we need to learn how to look back and to connect to our passions both past and present. The power of play makes us curious and ignites our creativity and spirit. Each week, find a new way to play. Maybe it is as simple as taking the time and space to color, or to learn how to do something you have always wanted to do. Play is a significant catalyst to understanding ourselves and to be able to explore and think with both our minds and our hearts.
- Shift Your Voice: We all have one, but we don’t all use it. To make our lives impactful, we need to be able to stand for something. By that, I mean that we need to believe in ourselves understand what is most true about us, and be able to stand behind that reality. What I learned is that the word AND can rewrite those excuses. Insert the word AND where you would normally put the word BUT and then finish your thought with a tweak involving what you can do instead of what you cannot.
- Create Legacy Now by Writing Your Eulogy: I am not trying to be morose…quite the opposite! I often ask clients to think about the end of their lives because it allows them to measure where they want to go. In other words, when we are busy doing the work of everyday living, we often miss the big picture. What do we want the story of our lives to be? What would we most regret never doing? If an older version of us could share with a younger version of us a few life tips…what would they be? Where can we best make our own personal connections today so that our tomorrows reflect the story we most want to share? In essence, one of the most impactful things that I learned in my own renewal has been around the concept of legacy. When we embrace our own legacy as something that we can impact TODAY, we give ourselves the opportunity to not only lead in our own lives, but to do so with intention, clarity, and transparency.
Previously published: http://www.powhernetwork.com/