Conventional Coaching Wisdom:
Hiding out = bad
Letting your light shine = good
There’s no crime in hiding out unless it’s from yourself.
For Billie, a gorgeous road trip, full-press career, worthy volunteer task, or new art project might clamp her light under a bushel. Hermitting herself behind a waterfall might let her glow.*
How to know if you’re shining OR shirking:
Ask the only expert and guaranteed-truth-teller: your body. Catalog actual physical sensations every single moment. Some results may be contrary to what you THINK you like. Don’t worry. You don’t have to change anything right away — or ever. If you promise yourself you’re just noticing for now, then you’ll feel brave enough to feel things that surprise you.
If you’re trying to unwind at a full-service spa but your body aches, your heart pangs, and your brain feels tight while you’re doing it, that’s interesting information.
If your cells leap for joy and you get thrilling butterflies when you walk into Home Depot — even though you’re not “handy” — take careful note. Later you might investigate why. Maybe you like the cedar smell. Or tall ceilings. Maybe someday you’ll buy yourself an orange apron. For now just observe.
If a confrontation with a mean person actually leaves you energized in a relaxed sort of way (not that weird adrenaline buzzy way that ends with internal and even external collapse), say aha. Maybe someday you’ll be a crusader who takes the tough roles on the path toward increased peace and justice. Or maybe you won’t know why, for now. No matter. It’s simply fascinating.
If sitting by yourself in your back yard un-clenches your stomach, softens your muscles, warms your belly, and puts a gentle smile inside your face, take that too.
Your best life can look like anything. Cloistered nuns, bus drivers, poets, entrepreneurs, and activists all shape our world. They do it best when they’re feeling that inner smile.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
*”For now.” (These magic words were given to me by a wise friend. Phew.)