I once worked a room all day, like I had twenty-five cents in my pocket and six children to feed.
I was at a professional women’s conference, of course.
It was early in my journey as a coach and given that most people don’t really know what a life coach even does or should be paid for, I recognized that I was standing at the foot of a proverbial Mt. Everest - which meant I needed to step back, take one giant runner’s lunge, and charge my way to the top.
So naturally, I laced up my best pair of shoes (a well heeled ankle boot, of course) and started working the tables.
And, things went really well until I realized I’d spent most of the day making friends and connections without ever actually uttering the words I came to say: “I’m here to support women in designing the life they really want - I am a life coach, and I’m taking new clients.”
Because, yuck. God forbid I sell myself.
Still, I was SO disappointed that I’d worked a room all day and night and did not actually close a single deal for myself.
Why was I so terrified to express that I had something people in that room wanted - and probably needed? What made me judge myself so hard every time I even considered showing off my stuff?
I laid down on my hotel bed, boots hanging off the side with pangs of pain racing up balls of my feet, through my legs, stomach and chest and straight into my heart.
Frustrated, I did what any normal woman would do: I started scrolling the ‘Gram.
Cute outfit. Adorable quote. Another adorable quote but funnier. Another dance challenge that I lazily try to do with my arms while watching, until I get mad because I can’t really dance. Fine man with a man bun. Cute outfit. Cute outfit. Someone with a design business. Cute outfit. Meaningless meme. Cute outfit. Someone with a DJing/fitness business.
The last shot of pain ran from my now completely squashed pinky toe straight to my brain.
Oh snap. Everyone on Instagram is selling themselves.
Meanwhile, I’d been playing the sidelines, silently judging and possibly being jealous that they are all so bold as to show off their bodies, their things, their jokes, their talents, their words.
Just like that the pain in my boots hit me upside the head. I wasn’t climbing at all. I was just silently following behind people the whole time judging them while they actually worked the room.
For so long, I’d been conditioned to be in judgment of people who are proud of what they have and what they can offer the world. Whether it be women who can offer the perfect pop, lock and twerk on a stage (or IG page), or those who can offer life-changing inspiration or just a really cute outfit idea. And that judgment kept me from having the heart to climb to my own mountaintop and shout out loud to the world about my own offerings.
I quickly learned that it serves me better to uplift every woman or man who is selling something they are proud of. And while it doesn’t matter if you agree with what everyone is selling, what matters is that we recognize that we all have a little light to give and there’s no shame in serving it.
So screw it. Stop judging. Share your selfie. Show off your designs, dance moves, and dreams. Sell with your soul. Work the world like your life depends on it.
Because quiet as it’s kept, it does.