Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Being New and Sucking At It

When I went through coach training 6 years ago, one of the first things we were taught was that we would never succeed if we couldn't make peace with sucking. In order to be good, we had to first embrace being bad. As a new coach, this was the last thing I wanted to do.

But the truth is that making peace with stumbling is what can help you soldier on.

If you can't be comfortable with the suck factor, you'll quit—or worse, just drive yourself crazy amidst the discomfort. This reminder ended up serving me endlessly as I cut my chops as a new coach, but as time passed and I hunkered into familiar roles where I excelled, its importance drifted out of my mind.

At the beginning of August, I started a new freelance writing job for a big tech company and the feeling of being new threw me so off balance you'd have thought I was wearing banana peel boots. I was used to being an expert—the go-to girl for smart answers. That's how I'd been operating for years at my previous job and I was so comfortable in that role.

I had forgotten how to be the new guy. 

I had forgotten how to be ok with sucking. How to treat myself—and my new job—with grace and understanding that this state of discombobulation was only temporary. Instead, my instinct was to think, "Oh man, this is so hard. It's not really fun either. It might just be a terrible fit for me!"

But that wasn't the truth. I was working with old friends, writing interesting stuff that really wasn't so hard, being paid nicely, and enjoying the flexibility to dash out to my garden in the middle of the day.

What was hard was being new. What was not fun was being new.

Until I reminded myself (with the help of my life guru ex-boss who is a total rockstar) that everything I was feeling was normal for a newbie, I felt stuck and really uncertain about my future in the new gig. But I'm learning to walk and I'm going to get better at it. Soon I'll be running and at some point I may even be back to being an expert.

Imagine if babies quit when new things felt hard or not so fun. The first time they face-planted when testing out their feet, they'd be like "Well I guess it's back to crawling for me!" How many adults would spend their time on hands and knees just because it felt more comfortable than learning how to move upright?

It all reminds me of a client I had who kept bouncing from one job to the next. The client claimed that everything was the wrong fit, but now I have to wonder if it was just the feeling of newness that felt wrong. Maybe, all along, the real key to finding the right fit was making peace with stumbling for a while.

There's power in learning to suck at something. 

And I'm so grateful I've had to relearn that firsthand.

Monday, August 20, 2018

You Matter: A Love Letter

Nearly 5 years ago, I launched a free monthly email love letter program aimed at sending kindness, encouragement, a little guidance, and a lot of love at whoever was willing to read. I hoped that it might brighten readers' days—or maybe give them a gentle and needed nudge to make change. I was awed when, each month, someone (or many) would write back to me and tell me the letter was exactly what they needed to hear that day.

I've decided to retire the letters but plan to repost many of them here for those who weren't subscribers at the time they went out. As always, I hope that maybe they'll make those who read them feel understood and adored.



I was at a party recently when someone started telling a story about a baby with a minor birth defect. A question came up about it, and a friend who was sitting next to me rattled off a bunch of answers under her breath, but when I encouraged her to share them with the person who brought up the story, she shrunk like a wilting daisy.

When was the last time you hid your greatness?

It’s funny how sometimes you know you have something truly valuable to contribute but fear of judgment, or seeming like a know-it-all, or maybe just the sound of your own voice stops you dead in your tracks.

The thing is, what you have to say matters.

What you do matters. Who you are matters. Out of the 7+ billion people on this planet, you are the only one with your exact mixture of smarts, talent, insight, beauty, and wit. When you don’t share what you have to offer—when you dim your unique light—you’re doing the world a disservice.


Kidding. Sort of…

This world needs what you have. And your spirit needs the world to have it. You need to be yourself and use your voice, or else you’re not living what Brene Brown would call a “wholehearted” life.

Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t make yourself small. Step up and step into your power. Speak up and speak your truth. Give us all you’ve got.

And we’ll love you even more for it.