Recently I have been speaking at weight loss groups to give short talks on body confidence, mind-set, the language we use when we communicate and how having a better conversation with ourselves sets our intentions in ways that allow us to practice and achieve different outcomes.
When I arrived at my first meeting I only had a rough idea of what I would be talking about, however as I had never attended any meetings like these before I wasn’t sure what to expect and therefore did not want to go in with a set or rigid approach. This tested my need for certainty and planning and I was a little unsure of what the outcome would be. Would I be effective? Would I come across in the right way? Was trusting my intuition and knowledge of my topics going to be the right approach? Was being a little unprepared unprofessional? Or was going with my gut and passion accepting that I had more self-assurance and confidence than I had been giving myself credit for?
All a bit dicey right?
Well, I need not have worried because as soon as walked in this is what happened.
At the back of the room there was an older gentleman sitting with a cup of coffee waiting for his weigh in, and as I was setting down my bag and taking off my coat he took one look at me and said this:
“Why are you here? You’re so slim. Are you here to make us all feel bad?”
I looked up and saw a kind face with an impressive handlebar moustache and beard, with a smile, yet a concerned look on his face, and I have to admit I was a little stumped as to how to respond. I smiled at him and was about to say something when the representative stepped in and said “No, she actually here to make you feel better about yourself.”
I will admit that I was grateful for this intervention as it was completely perfect and far better than anything that was probably going to come out of my mouth at that time in the morning. He looked surprised and didn’t say anything so I simply said “That’s right, I’m a life and body confidence coach”, to which he nodded and looked a little unsure of what that was.
I then got caught up in familiarising myself with how their programme worked, read some of the material they have for their members and was ruminating a little about what had just happened. My sub-conscience started to get curious. As I was reading, I noticed that the mind-set literature was very aligned with what coaching is about and I was pleasantly surprised by this. I also noticed that I was feeling self-conscious due to my body size and weight which I was aware of before arriving; however this had been a little amplified by the gentleman’s comments. This got louder in my thoughts around what I would choose to speak about first and how to introduce what I do and why I do it. I then decided to tackle my shyness that I experience in large groups and joined a conversation with two ladies who were sitting in front of me, who eventually looked at me in the same way and made similar comments. It was then time to stand up and speak and it came to me right in that moment.
There I was, coming as I am, standing up in front of a large group of people who were going to take one look at me and start making comparisons, assumptions and judgements about how I look, how me, being the size I am in this moment makes them feel about themselves and the resentment this possibly would cause, not so much towards me, but more towards themselves and their reasons for being there. Here was my topic – Judgment and Comparison.
I was still stuck on how to introduce this topic when I noticed that the gentleman who had initiated this thought process had left and this sparked the idea of using the experience as the introduction. I could see that they were all a little unsure of the reason for me being there and I could sense that I needed to “warm them up” a little. So I decided to be vulnerable and let them know that I was unfamiliar with what the group was about and that I had a rough idea of what I was going to talk to them about, but that this had all changed when I experienced the interaction with the gentleman. And it worked. I could see heads nodding in agreement with the words comparison and judgement and I knew that I could relax and ease into speaking from the heart and be unconcerned with not having a plan or a script to follow. I kept my eyes on them and what they were responding to and took my lead from them and their reactions. I could have stood there all day thinking out loud and bringing their experiences in to the conversation. Sadly, I only had 15-20 mins, which flew by and before I knew it I was sitting back down and watching the representative wrap up the meeting with cooking ideas and healthy choices.
My experience was a welcome reminder that over planning or over controlling a situation runs the risk of being stagnant and uninspiring. It was a reminder that it is good to be flexible and adaptable, because when we are in this mind-set we are open, we allow ourselves to become more observant and curious and real in the process. This is what engages me when I listen to someone speak. Watching them think on their feet, admiring spontaneity, vulnerability and feeling the natural flow of being in the moment – being present; Trusting the process, our knowledge and abilities and most importantly allowing ourselves to speak from the heart in a way that is right for any given situation. Speaking from the heart!
This is the action that gives clarity. Intimacy is vulnerability. Vulnerability is showing up and being seen, being open to the possibility of not getting it right all the time, and in doing so acknowledging the gifts of imperfection and having the awareness to learn from these perfectly designed opportunities to grow and expand who we are and how we connect with life.
Does it have to be all perfectly planned and just “so”? No, because when it is there is no risk involved. There is no stretching or growing. An expansion of our experiences must be present in our lives in order for there to be movement, healing and transformation. Courage and creativity is the birth place of love, light and connection.
Courage breeds confidence and resilience. Being open to the possibility that things may not go according to plan affords us flexibility, humility and makes us human. When we show up in this way, others will respond to us with compassion, encouragement and support. It fosters an attitude of willing someone to do well and it affords us the opportunity to display empathy. And this is this crux – empathy. Without it, all we do is judge, make assumptions and compare. There is no intimacy or vulnerability in that space. There is no connection or courage. We live are lives disconnected and resentful and never get curious about ourselves or others. It is where our self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth gets lost.
So let’s not get lost. Let’s all stay connected through all our imperfections and recognise that we are all in this life together. We are all connected and all vulnerable and this is where our strength lies. In showing up, being seen, being heard and being supported through our acts of courage and our willingness to fail or succeed. We are in this together. Let’s hold this close to our hearts and remember that our love is there to be shared and nurtured so that we can shine our lights, be brave and true to whom we are.
I am a transformational coach who helps people to connect with their true selves so that they can live confident lives as they are from a place of truth and compassion.