January 13, 2022

Are you shaming yourself for surviving?

I was brought to tears this week listening to a client talk about her current situation.

Like many in the speaking and training industry, which is deeply intertwined with the hospitality and travel industries, she's had to find another source of income during the past two years.

Some of my friends and colleagues have left the industry completely, leaving entrepreneurship behind for the security of a paycheck so they can keep a roof over their head and feed their families.

Others are barely hanging on, still pursuing opportunities while taking on part-time gig work like driving for Uber or doing Instacart shopping.

The shame and embarrassment that's hanging over the heads of so many entrepreneurs for having to supplement their income during this pandemic really hit me the other day, and the weight of it all brought me to tears.

There's a lot about this pandemic to bring someone to tears, of course.

But for those who are doing what they can to keep food on the table, and pay bills and rent, I want to honor you.

There's nothing to be embarrassed about or feel ashamed of.

I know it's easy for me to say that, and it's not easy to let go of shame.

For many of us, our work is a huge part of our identity, especially when we've built a business that has our face on the front of it.

What do you say when people ask "what do you do?" and you've been a speaker, trainer, financial advisor, coach, chef, bookstore owner, tour operator or something else you've created from scratch... and you've had to close your business or find other work?

Who are you now?

It feels so heavy to hold onto the identity. To hope and dream of going back to that work. To feel ashamed or embarrassed about "failing" and being unable to keep it all together.

If you need permission to let go of it all, maybe I can give you that permission. If you can't give yourself grace, maybe I can help by seeing you, hearing you, crying with you.

You're still worthy. You're still brilliant. You're still the person you've always been. You did not fail. You're SURVIVING.

This shit is HARD. I read a post today that said "You can have a better year *just* [my emphasis] by changing the way you think about things." Gee, that sounds great, but it's not that easy.

I'm no therapist, so I'm sharing with you what I need to also do for me:

🔸Be gentle with myself.

🔸Be caring and compassionate toward myself.

🔸Stop telling myself I "should" be in a different place than where I am.

🔸Stop comparing myself to others, because I have NO idea what's really going on with them. Lots of people are good at hiding their struggles.

🔸Focus on what I CAN control in my life. I cannot control the pandemic or what it's doing to my industry.

🔸Be here now, but stay optimistic about the future, whatever it holds.

What would you add?

Sending you all love and kindness. 💗

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