In the past week or two I have become more conscious of the changes I am experiencing in my thinking and my behavior. I have become self-aware of learning to be self-aware. From the outside, other people may not easily notice the changes taking place on the inside. I’m okay with that for now. I notice them and that is progress in itself.
Last night I finished a workout that resulted in sweat rolling down my face, and numerous other places, and my muscles screaming at me. I was so pumped about completing the workout and KNOWING I really gave my all and I caught myself doing a little dance to the music I had playing. This was so significant to me because I don’t typically dance openly. I usually dance on the inside where no one else can see me getting down, shaking my butt, or attempting other crazy moves – that I imagine doing perfectly, of course! I don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks when I dance on the inside.
The problem with this is that I also don’t get to be my authentic self and I am hiding the gift that I have to offer from everyone around me. Not only am I selling myself short, I am selling other people short too.
Back in March, 2013, I went to a leadership seminar where we had an amazing day playing in a redwood forest. The day started with loud, upbeat music and our team of fifty people dancing with each other and with staff members. I remember telling someone, “I don’t dance.” She never skipped a beat as she said, “It looks like you’re dancing to me.” That conversation popped into my head last night as I was dancing, alone in my sewing room, now doubling as my workout room.
How many times have I denied what I was thinking, feeling, or even doing, simply because it was something out of my comfort zone? So far out of my comfort zone in fact, that I couldn’t recognize being a part of it even when I was. As I continue to become more self-aware, I am learning to recognize when I am outside of my comfort zone, and I’m finding that while it feels uncomfortable and somewhat scary, it also feels really good!
The next step for me will be to continue this self-awareness and stepping outside of my comfort zone. The more I do this, the more I will gain confidence and start taking risks to dance on the outside. I believe the payoffs will be huge! The more I share my authentic self with other people, the more other people will feel comfortable to share their authentic self with me. This in turn will fill my need for relationships.
I’m sitting in a local Starbucks today as I write and I just listened in on a conversation in a coffee shop between a coach and a new client. The conversation was fascinating and was apparently part of an assignment for the coach. The coach was a natural at helping the client find her own answers and awareness. At the end of the session, the client said she knew this was part of an assignment, but she would like to continue coaching sessions. She wanted to know what the cost would be. The coach said she hadn’t thought about it before and asked how $15 – $20 for 30 minutes sounded. The client said she thought that $30 sounded more reasonable. The coach said she thought that was too much. In the end, they agreed on a rate of $25 for 30 minutes. What I found interesting about this is that I just listened to this client find immense value from this coaching session, and the coach sold herself short by not thinking what she was providing was worth more – even after the client was telling her it was!
This was such a valuable lesson for me. So often I discount my own value and what I have to offer. That is exactly what I am doing when I hold back and dance only on the inside. I love to help and encourage other people, and I am learning that the best way I can do that is by being me – and the best me I can be.
In what ways do you hold back from sharing yourself with others? Do you struggle with recognizing your gifts and what you have to offer? Become curious and gather information about your own thoughts and habits. Becoming self-aware is the first step in going from dancing on the inside to dancing like no one is watching.