Today I want to tell you a few stories about some very brave soulful creatives whom I admire tremendously.
First up, my tried and true soul sister, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and a little memoir you may have heard of called Eat, Pray, Love.
A few years ago I made a lettering piece from a post Liz wrote on her Facebook page, and it went like this:
"True power comes from standing in your own truth and walking in your own path."
Those words hit me right in the heart and I remember thinking to myself, this is a fellow authenticity-sister in arms. She stands for truth, and I respect that so much.
I've been following Liz's work for years since this post, I've read countless entries on her "public journal" of sorts (her Facebook page) and I've seen her speak at a live event. Each moment I share with her work has me believing more and more that this notion of TRUTH is a powerful one for her.
But, none of those moments has ever proven that to me more than what I read on her Facebook page just last week.
For those of you who don’t follow Liz on social media, last week she revealed some very personal news about big shifts going on in her life.
Her best friend and confidant, a fellow writer named Rayya, had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this spring. This sobering news led to a new level of clarity that made Liz realize that she didn’t just love her friend Rayya, she was in fact IN LOVE with her friend Rayya. (You can read about that touching realization in more accurate words than I can possibly recount in this post on her Facebook page here.)
Without knowing how much time she and Rayya might have together, she ran full-speed toward her truth, and unfortunately it ended her marriage.
Among SO many other scary things involved in that decision and the news of Rayya's illness, one of them I sure was the decision to reveal to millions of adoring fans that the man she fell in love with at the end of her mega-smash-hit Eat, Pray, Love was no longer who her heart truly longed for.
I’m sure it had to have occurred to her more than a few times that she might be disappointing people. Or, even though it's hard for me to fathom, actually angering people. And maybe it would all be easier if she could just keep it quiet? Keep the truth hidden for all the fallout it might create.
But this woman does not believe in burying the truth.
She is a representative of love and light and authenticity, and so she put her truth font and center (thankfully with a response of mostly overwhelming love and admiration.)
Which brings me to my next soulful-hero-writer-heart-beacon-truth-teller (yep, that's the official title that translated to "my people"). She’s the newest addition to my super squad collection of go-to inspirations, and her name is Glennon Doyle Melton. You might recognize her name from her super popular blog, Momastery, or her new best-seller popping up everywhere on Instagram titled Love Warrior.
As soon as I saw folks like Liz Gilbert and Marie Forleo and Brené Brown sharing their ringing endorsements for Glennon's book, I immediately ordered my copy on Amazon.
I’m only just a few chapters in now (mainly because I'm savoring every insightful, heart-busting word) and I have to tell you, this woman’s particular writing style is PURE TRUTH. She says things I’ve literally thought that I never even knew I thought. Ways that I felt as a really sensitive kid (and, let's be honest, a really sensitive adult) that I had yet to fully confront.
The memoir details her own journey rising from the pain of her past through an eating disorder, an abortion, and the shocking news of her husband’s infidelity. Whoa yes, heavy stuff, but the way she takes you on the journey with her, navigating each one of these “rock bottom moments” in her life is truly masterful.
As I always do, I dove head-first into an online media binge of Glennon, just hoping to carve out a few more moments with her wisdom, when I came upon a clip of her segment promoting her book on CBS This Morning. In the interview, Glennon reveals that she’s actually currently in the process of separating from her husband, though in the book she details what it was like to heal from his cheating and to find forgiveness.
Plenty of people, including the hosts of CBS This Morning come right out and say what I'm sure many people are thinking -- Divorcing now is not exactly conducive to marketing a book on love and redemption, is it? No happy ending here?
Even Gayle King asks her point blank: Did you think about waiting?
But, true to her character and her values, Glennon chose truth instead of convenience.
Finally, my own tale, though I admit my example carries FAR lower stakes than ending a marriage or potentially jeopardizing a million dollar book contract.
(That's the point though, isn't it. It's not only life's biggest crises and crossroads that challenge our values; it's all of life's tiniest moments too.)
Back in Spring, do you guys remember when I re-launched the Better Branding Course? I was so excited, I worked so hard to build a new website and perfect the content. In fact, I stayed up literally all night the day before launch to tweak and finish the e-guide version of the course so that it would be available on launch day.
So many people had voiced their excitement about the course re-opening, so I couldn't wait for everyone to see the new version. At something like 11am, I FINALLY hit send on the launch email and immediately passed out in my room to get some sleep.
When I woke up, I expected to at least have a few sales coming in, right? Maybe a few emails with questions or words of encouragement. Instead? I sold ONE course.
On that day I was honestly too exhausted to be disappointed, but over the next few days (as my creative hangover phase set in), the deflating feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only did I feel confused, but I started to panic.
What did I do wrong? Where did I take a wrong turn? Students tell me it's the best branding course they've taken, so why doesn't anyone want it? Should I have followed the “proven formula?” Should I have just done the webinars and the sales funnels and send ALL THE EMAILS?
I had made a promise to myself that I would only promote the course in the ways that felt authentic to me, and I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t need all of those things to move course sales.
Now there I was, wondering if I had wasted my time and energy. I sat down and scratched out a last minute launch plan to boost sales. It included an impromptu email sequence (that felt super forced), and all kinds of other things that just felt icky to me at the time.
And then, thankfully, I took a breath.
I remembered that the week before launch I had JUST written a newsletter about sticking to your guns and running your business the way you want to run it.
Yet here I was, ready to THROW every value and core belief I had out the window just to make a bit more money (and, honestly, feed my ego.)
I'm so glad I took that breath because I decided NOT to go through with my desperation Plan B launch plan. Instead, I took a look at what I created, I felt proud, and I reminded myself of what I stand for, as a person and as a business. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, and so I had to make peace with whatever the outcome would be of running my business the way I wanted. (And, as it turns out, it IS possible to sell courses without webinars and incentives, it just happens to take longer than A WEEK for you to see results. )
My point in sharing these three stories with you is to highlight the fact that our core values are often easy to talk about, easy to write on a website, easy to profess, but very HARD to put into practice and live out, especially when things get tough.
It’s convenient to value truth and authenticity when you don’t have any hard truths to reveal.
It’s convenient to value encouraging others when your business is doing well and you’re not feeling self-conscious and in a comparison tailspin.
It’s convenient to value slowness and rest when you’re not scrambling to pay off your credit card.
However, when living your values feels INCONVENIENT, those are the moments when you need those values the most.
Think of your best, brightest self as a journey guide that you carry within you all the time. Your core values are like the infallible compass that your journey guide holds. They are your way back to your best life in the moments that threaten to throw you off your trail.
The truth is, living your most vibrant life is often inconvenient.
It's easier to bury our heads in the sand. It's easier to hide. It's easier to let the tide of our circumstances (and our ego) carry us out to sea. That is UNTIL we finally look around and suddenly we don't recognize where we are anymore.
So, this week, my challenge to you is to write down five of your core values and think of one situation in your past when you chose what was convenient over what you knew was right and true FOR YOU.
My hope is that by spending a moment thinking about this, you can prepare yourself for the future moment when again you’re confronted with that age-old dilemma: to do what is easy or to do what you feel is true.
I’m so grateful that you all continue to read week after week and allow me to share my truth with you. It’s an evolving journey -- as it is with all of us -- but if I know anything for sure it's that these are the conversations that bring richness to our lives.
Have an awesome week!