This morning I found myself hosting an unexpected party in my
own head. I was a reluctant host, as the
guests that showed up (or perhaps I should say gatecrashed) inside my mind were
pretty much every doubt and demon I’ve ever had. I rolled from side to side in the vague hope
of returning to sleep but the cacophony was too loud. The work-related gremlins were particularly
raucous. They launched a two-pronged
attack, trying to undermine me on both a micro level and a macro one. This ranged from ‘If you can’t think of a
title for the blog post you’ve drafted then that is a sure sign it’s total
rubbish and should never be read by anyone ever’ to questioning even the
possibility that I can forge a career path that allows me to combine being a
historian and a life coach (the fact I’ve been doing so for the last eighteen
months did nothing to quell this fear, because of course rationality has no
role when you’re in this kind of mindset).
These cunning tricksters then launched a new offensive, one
that played on some of the uncertainties I carry round even when I’m in the
best headspace. ‘Is anyone even bothered
about what you have to say?’ loomed large, closely followed by taunts of ‘Who
do you think you are?’ and ‘Why do you think anyone would trust you enough to
pay you to help them?’ (again, the fact that people *have* paid for my coaching
services was conveniently left out of this reasoning). This was quickly followed by a resume of all
my solopreneur weak points. Technology
topped the list (*still* cannot figure out how to get comments enabled, thus
failing Blogging 101). Next came marketing;
‘You’re too embarrassed and awkward and British to ever promote yourself
effectively’, the mocking voices rang in my ears (You know it’s bad when your
nationality – a chance of birth – is used against you by yourself). My commitment
to getting support with these areas (Susannah Conway’s The Inside Story and
Sas Petherick’s support for
coaches have both been, and continue to be, super useful) again summarily
In the face of this self-created onslaught, I decided to be
gentle with myself. I write that
sentence as if it were the most obvious statement in the world, whereas it
actually represents a complete 180 degree turnaround from my typical
approach. Previously I’d have actively
joined in with the berating and allowed the day to descend into a quagmire of
self-recrimination and wallowing inaction.
However I’ve come far enough in my own journey (wow, I got to 433 words
before I used that cliché!) to know that there were other options available to
me. So I chose gentleness.
The photographed list shows the form that took. My soul already soothed as I got into that
hot shower, an idea came to me. ‘I need
to share this truth of myself. I need to
share my feelings about this morning’, I thought, ‘because this is me and my
life. This is my real life’.
As I stepped out of the bathroom excited about the emerging
vision that was stirring within me, I was greeted by the glorious stream of
light coming through the door (pictured at the top). I took this as a sign, confirming that the ‘This is my real life’ whispering was one
to listen to. I knew I had to capture
this moment to share as part of this idea – complete with the debris of last
night’s Chinese takeaway hanging on the door handle, because that is my real
So what is ‘This is
my real life’?
Every day for the next week, I will share a short blog post about
an idea or action that I’ve found useful since rebuilding my life after my
breakdown in late 2007. Like Brené Brown, I had a breakdown
spiritual awakening. Since then, I’ve been incredibly
self-conscious about life and how we live it, trying to observe and document
and refine in order to create a way of being that felt truly right for me. Indeed, that is how the whole A Life Of One’s Own concept came about.
Some of what I’m posting you may have seen before if you’re
a regular reader. Other tips will be
new. All will be small steps that are
easy to incorporate into the life you already have. Alongside these daily posts, I’ll be sharing
other aspects of my real life on social media.
These will be unedited glimpses into how I live. They’ll be things that either feed into the
useful and soul nurturing stuff or, conversely, things that strike me as amusing
because they don’t fit into the image that I (and I’m sure others) have in my
head of how a life coach’s life is. The
imperfect, the undone, the unfinished – they’ll all feature.
The purpose of ‘This is my real life’ is to give an insight
into my A Life Of One’s Own philosophy
and how I practice that in real life – and I truly mean real life. There will be mundane
stuff involved, although I prefer to use the term quotidian (from the French
for daily) as it is in our everyday existence that our life happens. Making changes on that level can be hugely
powerful because that is where we live in our real lives.
‘This is my real life’ is also about authenticity on my
part. I’m not some polished shiny guru
type figure. I’m a slightly plump
thirty-something living in the suburbs of a somewhat boring town in the English
Midlands. I’m trying to juggle my
existing career and this fledgling life coach practice. I know I’m a bit prone to publicising the odd
moments of vague glamour that I’m fortunate to have come my way whilst tucking
away the more humdrum elements of life in a box marked ‘Do not share because
you are your brand and you have to behave like you are A Brand’. So this week turns that on its head. Here I am in my real life. All of it.
I fear that as a result of this you’ll think I’m rubbish, or
worst still, ordinary (as a coach but
also as a person too). I also fear that
no-one will actually read any of this (and because I’ve still not figured out
enabling blog comments can only rely on social media or email feedback to learn
otherwise. I do have analytics, but that seems to indicate that every reader is
a spambot hence I refuse to believe it. That can’t be true, can it?!).
Actually, my biggest fear is that no-one will read this followed
then by the worry that you’ll think I’m
rubbish and/or ordinary. However I hope
the opposite is true. I hope the spirit
in which ‘This is my real life’ is shared resonates with you, and that you find
it inspiring and useful (perhaps amusing too).
I also hope that it nurtures a bond between us – that you’ll feel you
know me more, that you’ll trust who I am and what I am trying to do with my
work. Then, if and when the time comes
that you need support and encouragement, maybe we can coach together – because I’m
sharing my real life and I’d love to share in yours too.
Look out for the first ‘This is my real life’ post later
today, and for social media sharing too.
If you’d like to share with me then (seeing as the comments don’t work!)
there’s Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or
the A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page – or you can email (firstname.lastname@example.org).