28 March, 2013

Do as I say, not as I do

As a consultant, I've designed and taught several courses about marketing, in particular, about marketing your services.  After all, there's not much more personal in sales than selling yourself, your thoughts and abilities and personality and style.  It's not easy.  You may be a brilliant consultant because you understand your clients, they trust you, you develop insight, and you tailor your approach to each individual client and their specific needs.  You may be a brilliant consultant because you are an expert at what you do - leading your city, country, or even the world.  But unless you're able to

a) explain your value in terms your client understands and values, or
b) actually put yourself out there in front of potential clients, put yourself out to be seen (and yes, judged),

then you won't get the work.

I'm terrible at the above.  Well, no, let me qualify that.  I am skilled at knowing how to do it, but point b) gets me every time.  Call it fear, call it a lack of self-belief, call me shy, or call me a coward.  I wish I was better at self-promotion, at acknowledging what I'm good at (and I'm very good at that), and at convincing others.  Heck, forget about convincing, saying it (or believing it) in the first place would be a good idea.

I think this blog is the same. I know what I need to do, and how to do it, to live a good life, to embrace my future.  And I think I'm more succesful with this than I am at my own self-promotion.  But just because I think I have some of the answers, or sound as if I might know what I'm talking about, doesn't mean it is always easy.  It doesn't mean I always manage to embrace my life, to shrug off negative comments as if I'm coated in teflon, or to always be happy.  I can't.  And that's okay.  And I think I need to acknowledge it here, that I have moments or even days of sadness, that I often take a step back before I can step forward again, that I don't always follow my own advice.

Coming to terms with our life-style will be a life-long issue.  But our lifestyles - whatever they might be - are a life-long issue - whether it's coming to terms with not having children, or a partner, or the career we wanted (or not being able to figure out what career we wanted), or not having the health, the friendships, the body, the partner, or the money etc we wanted.  All these things are our issues.  And too often we focus on what we don't have, rather than what we do have.  That's natural and normal.  But sometimes, if we focus to an excess on what we don't have, it is neither natural or normal.  But unfortunately, too often, it is encouraged by the societies in which we live.

And in this focus on what we don't have, we open the door to feelings of disconnection* and we invite in shame.  I think that that stops us reflecting on what we do have.  And so often, and certainly in my life, a lot of what we do have, the good things in my life, are a direct result of not having something we wanted.  And you know, that's not a bad thing.

Yes, I'm referencing Brene Brown and her thoughts on shame again.


  1. It's only been in the last few years that I've been able to truly see all that I do have. It's a process, as with anything, that we get better at the more we do it. I'm also grateful for the women without children in my life (you included Mali) who have helped shape who I've become. You're extraordinary in many ways.

  2. Hear, hear...the journey is a long and a winding one indeed and there are always good and bad days, but it's true (just like you wrote in my blog before) that the bad days are less than before (and less pitch dark and menacing and overwhelming) 'coz I think the longer we are on the path AND the more we are able to let go and move away from the point of pain and embrace the life that is in front of you, the more able we are in focusing on what we have instead of what we don't have. It's like when we're drowned in the middle of all the pain/sorrow, it's so hard to see around us 'coz our sight is so limited. We need to take a few steps back to organize ourselves, our thoughts, our hearts, our minds.

    It's easier to be more "enlightened" when we're "outside of the eye of the storm" or at least a few steps away from it. It's easier to see things more clearly when we're not "too emotionally involved" in something (just like a detective who is always told to back off a case that's getting WAY too personal 'coz then he/she can't "think straight" anymore).

    But yeah, on some bad days it's like we get "sucked in" again in the middle of the storm and it gets hard to see things clearly again. I think on those days, it's important to be our own best friend - letting us spend some time there BUT after some time, we should pull ourselves out again 'coz that's what a best friend would do. OK, enough rambling...you inspire me so much that all these thoughts just came tumbling out of nowhere he he he...