Last night I had a networking meeting with a colleague. She's an entrepreneurial dynamo in the entertainment industry. I LOVE her energy and excitement about the numerous projects she's working on and how open to new ventures she is. What drives her (new ideas, risk, accomplishment) are the very things that threaten my core need of safety. So, while I find her fascinating, I'm simultaneously intimidated by her because I want so much to be like her and I'm not (yet).
So we had an appointment last night, and for the first time in a LONG time, I showed up as a person I barely recognized. I was stiff, nervous, not particularly open and VERY hard on myself. I made it through the conversation, but I wasn't happy about it when I got off the phone.
So, just as I coach my clients to do, I reached out to a friend for support. I had thought that all I needed was to ground myself by talking to someone who loved me and who I wasn't intimidated by, but it turned out that what I actually needed was something different.
After telling my friend what happened on the call and how angry at myself I was for being so stiff and unlike myself, my friend (who's also a coach) said, “So you were scared and you acted scared. What's wrong with that? You were just being human, weren't you?"
Her question stopped me dead in my tracks.
"Yeah, but I'm not supposed to be THAT human!" I said.
I hadn't even realized I'd been harboring this belief that there were limits on how human I could be. The truth is, I'm as human as everybody else: I'm mistake and intimidation prone and when I'm afraid, I act afraid. Yet, I'd been holding myself to a standard of “being human" that wasn't allowing me to be human at all.
My friend suggested I consider what it would look like for me to accept that when I'm nervous I'm probably going to act it and to look at how differently I would feel about the situation if I EXPECTED myself to be scared and to not judge it.
I actually burst into tears.
The idea of LETTING myself be intimidated was mind blowing to me. What a relief to let myself BE nervous and tongue-tied without judging myself for it! I don't like being either of those things, but they're actually FAR better than being those things AND beating myself up for it at the same time.
Over the coming weeks I will have at least a few more interactions with the dynamo woman and my goal is to let myself be whoever I'm going to be, without any nasty judgment on myself. My intention is to go into every interaction with her being as real as I can be, even if that means showing up tongue-tied and floundering. I want to come out of every interaction with her acknowledging myself for showing up and for doing the best I can, even if the best I can do is ridiculously stiff and awkward. I want to be compassionate to myself and love myself even AS I'm being stiff and awkward.
Do you have situations in your life like this one, where you're expecting yourself to be different than you are? What could you do to take those expectations off of yourself? How would it feel to let them go? What intention would you like to have so that you can feel good about any and every situation where you realize you'll be acting SUPREMELY HUMAN, even though you want to be SUPER HUMAN?
This week, I challenge you (and me!) to be compassionate to your (our) humanity. To honor your feelings, act on your commitments, and love yourself no matter what. To err is human. So the truth is, if we're erring, we're actually doing a great job! We're out there being what we are: human. And we're doing it beautifully!
(c) 2008 Rebecca P. Soulette
Life Coach, Rebecca Soulette, CFLC III, is a senior level coach certified through the Fearless Living Institute. She is an expert in helping her clients to live fulfilling and balanced lives packed full of inspiration, joy, and freedom. She offers FREE ecourses, resources, teleclasses, private 1:1 and group coaching. For more information or to sign up for her FREE email newsletter, check out
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