A little over two years ago, I quit my corporate job to go full-time in my coaching business with bright-eyed optimism. I had my shiny certificate, had undergone a significant life transformation through a devastating breakup, and it seemed like the Universe was conspiring to make all of my dreams come true.
I had about three months of savings, and I got a side hustle, but I felt confident that soon I would need neither of these resources.
Turns out, I would need even more.
Within six months of quitting my job, I had run out of savings, gotten fired from that side hustle, and had signed exactly two clients. I didn’t realize it at the time, but deep-seated fears of what people would think of me, being rejected, and seeming too “out there” were keeping me hidden in my apartment, while I was simultaneously wondering where the heck my clients were?!
Literally, my thought was – I leapt, Universe!! Where the hell is my g-d net?!
I realized that if I ever wanted to make this business thing work, I was going to have to get over my fear of rejection. Fear of what people would think of me. Fear of not being liked, or thought of as nice, or seen as pretty, or all the myriad of things women are programmed to value more than our own emotional independence.
It wasn’t until I realized that my fear of what “other people” were going to think was really just a mirror of my own self-judgment and self-rejection that something shifted. I was able to see where I was still thinking of myself as “out there,” unlovable, or not good enough. I was still judging myself for not having it more together, so of course, no one would want to hire me to help them. I was rejecting myself because I was letting these fears keep me hidden, instead of claiming what I wanted to be doing and getting visible.
And once I finally turned inward, and saw that everything I was afraid of from the outside world was really just a projection of my own inner world, I was able to do something about it.
Integrating your shadow is some of the most painful work you can do. But it’s the only way to true freedom.
First, came the getting visible part. As a former binge eater with a history of body issues, being seen – getting vulnerable for my “audience” – literally made me want to cry, so I started small. I gave a talk at my yoga studio. Then, a corporate workshop. So on, and so forth.
Then, came the self-worth piece. It’s one thing to market, it’s another to actually get paid for your services. I charged my very first client $60 an hour, barely enough to pay for groceries. I started working on healing my relationship with money and showing myself having money was safe.
Lastly, came the fear of what other people would think. I realized I couldn’t actually control what they think, and I still can’t. What I could do, however, was make sure that everything coming out of my mouth and onto the Internet was in full integrity with what I wanted to be sharing – even if the butterflies in my stomach threatened to revolt when I hit “publish.”
It took consistent action over time, often accompanied by lots of tears and breakdowns. And gradually all of these things started to shift, and get easier. And finally, I looked at myself and said: I like you.
I leapt, and the net did not appear. Instead, I grew wings.
Natalie Ann Taggart is a leadership + business coach who helps intuitive, empathic women get over the fear of putting themselves out there to create lives + businesses that feel like magic. Sign up for her free five-day Confidence Course here.
Image courtesy of Redd Angelo.Redd Angelo.