Women have a love-hate relationship with mirrors: We are often hyper-critical of the reflection that looks back at us, yet, we feel compelled to scrutinize ourselves to ensure we are OK. Is my hair out of place? Does my make-up look okay? What is that red blotch on my face?
The minute we look into the mirror, the self-judgment begins, and we fail to see what lies beyond the reflection.
We are so hard on our own body images and appearances that we can’t see the beauty within. We pull back and play small; we don’t give ourselves permission to fully show up for our lives.
My goal as a coach and is to help women show up 100 percent as who they are, and not apologize for it.
So-called flaws and all.
Recently, I participated in a workshop called “The Revelation Project” that promised to help women reveal their true essences through photography.
Sounds fun, right?
We began the day with setting intentions and creating a safe space. My intention was simple: I was there to be open to whatever happened, open to being fully myself and open to the experience.
Monica, one of the co-founders of the project, began by doing my hair and makeup.
What better way to ensure we won’t be judged by our appearance?
When she was finished, I got up to find a mirror. I wanted to make sure I looked OK before the photo shoot.
“Oh, no,” Monica said. “You don’t get to see what you look like.”
She explained that part of the project was an exercise in being seen and feeling vulnerable: The photo shoot would take place without me having a chance to check myself in the mirror. I had to trust that I was OK being completely myself, with no judgment.
The photo shoot was such fun! I changed clothes, changed shoes, and had a blast being fully open and fully myself.
When we finished, I immediately told Kim, the fabulous photographer, that I wanted to see the photos.
“You see them when the world sees them.”
I’m sorry, what?
I thought for sure I heard her wrong.
When she saw the look of complete shock on my face, she said, “Welcome to the Project.”
The photo shoot was only the beginning of the project. The real work was examining and dealing with the feelings on the inside.
I was surprised by what came up for me when I realized that I wasn’t in control of the outcome.
Talk about feeling vulnerable! All I could think about was that I would be “seen” and judged by everybody. I gotta tell you, it was a tad scary!
About two weeks later, I was on Facebook and I saw my face come up on The Revelation Project’s page.
The photos were out for the world to see.
I quickly clicked on the image and looked though the 19 pictures that were part of the album. There were a couple of photos that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen, but the truth is I loved the majority of them.
Another revelation moment: I couldn’t believe the photos were me! ALL of me. They captured the real me. The me that I don’t always show; the me who secretly wants to live out loud every day.
Yes, even coaches are always working on themselves!
The next part of the project required me to introduce the photos on my own Facebook page, as well as the Ignite The Next International Facebook page.
Oh, boy! That was another gulp moment.
As much self work as I’ve done over the past three years, I thought this would be a cinch. Not so much! It was actually hard.
All those old self-doubts and mean voices crept in: What will people think? Will they like them? What will they say behind my back?
Some of the shots were outside the “normal” scope of a photo shoot—would everybody still take me seriously?
All my hyper-critical, judgmental voices took over in my head.
Then, I remembered that those voices no longer describe the woman I’ve become. I know better than to listen to them anymore.
I remembered the amazing women I coach every day on ways to step into and own their power. The Revelation Project was giving me an opportunity to lead by example.
It was time for me to show strength through vulnerability and step into this next transformation in my own journey.
I had to trust my own TRUE voice: The voice that knows who I am. The one that is the REAL me. The one that knows that my opinions are the ones that count.
Then, it was easy to let go: I let go of caring what others think and of needing anyone’s approval or permission.
I took a leap of faith and posted the photos.
This experience helped me claim a new appreciation for the range of who I am: I am a powerful, smart, intelligent, professional AND I am also feminine, gentle, sassy, fierce, soulful, and vulnerable.
And all of it is OK.
The Revelation Project had a profound impact on how I view the world and how I view myself.
I recommend the project to any woman who wants to step into the richness of releasing self-judgment, and who is ready for a transformational embrace with how she sees herself.
Are you ready to define yourself on your own terms instead of allowing others to do it for you?
I believe you’ve earned it. Let’s talk about how we can work together so that you, too, can embrace the true you who is waiting to shine!