2 days ago, I decided to put myself out there, like really: I launched this website and announced it to the world. Because do declarations even matter if they’re not on the world wide web? (Hint: absolutely). But still. For me, it was essential to launch this site and to make my dreams public because I was absolutely terrified, like Gloria Gaynor levels petrified, of what people would think.
Similarly to a lot of people out there, my saboteurs live on social media. What’s a saboteur? It’s a term we use in Co-Active Coaching to refer to those inner voices that get in the way of our fulfillment. They’re the inner critics, the front row hecklers trying to beat you down with eggs and tomatoes any time you’re about to take a risk, make a choice, or act on something that gets you one step closer to being the realest, most authentic version of yourself. It’s fear trying to convince you that you don’t actually need to go for that promotion or have that tough conversation with your partner or pursue that creative project that makes your heart flutter every time you think about it. In my journey to being a coach, my saboteurs have always lurked nearby like the dementors surrounding the gates of Hogwarts in the 3rd (and arguably the best) Harry Potter book. They’re lurking under the surface like a stress zit, and their message is always the same:
“Who do you think you are? What makes you think you’re good enough? What do you really know about life? Why would anyone take you seriously? This is a joke. This isn’t legitimate at all. You want to help people? You should probably get your shit together first!”
And… they have a point to a certain extent. I’m not special. I haven’t led any Fortune 500 companies. I didn’t go to Harvard. I don’t have a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Hell, I can barely remember to put the garbage out on Tuesdays. But I do have experience in what Brené Brown would call “Daring Greatly”. I know what it’s like to feel like I’m living in the wrong skin, like I chopped off some pieces of myself to suit an expectation set by society, like I can’t spend one more minute doing something that doesn’t feel true to me. I know how confusing the conversation can be between a heart that says, “I want that” and a head that responds, “I can’t… I’m scared.” I know what it’s like to rush through life, purposefully avoiding any introspection or exploration of myself because I don’t know how to honor my values or even what they are.
I also know what it’s like to be given the time and space to explore my darkest valleys and highest mountain tops, accompanied by curiosity, empathy, and courage. I know what living aligned with my values feels like. I know how I can show up in my fullest self and what that person has to offer. And I also know how it feels to surpass that fear, to overcome my harshest, meanest, loudest saboteurs and press “PUBLISH” on WordPress’ backend only to be flooded with the relief that is earned from daring to dream.