“It’s your responsibility to share the gifts God put inside of you. To ignore them, makes you selfish.”
I looked around the room and what I saw on the faces of her attendees shook me.
We were all there to learn new skills, forge new relationships and fly back to our one-Woman-Show headquarters (that’s fancy talk for bedroom office) fired up for our next entrepreneurial adventure but instead...
Every face I could detect from where I sat carried the heavy weight of shame.
They couldn’t seem to look one another in the eye, let alone the stage where her finger - still pointed straight at her attendees - lingered, like a fire breathing laser.
It’s as if we had all instantly turned into 10-year old girls and were being told how disappointing we were for not living up to mothers expectations.
I flew back home feeling unsettled.
As women that (for the most part) work alone...
who invest their hard earned money to hop a plane...
pay for a mediocre hotel room...
and tussle with their fear (and excitement) of hanging out with strangers for 3-days...
...was being stage shamed the best kind of support we could hope for?
There’s this notion in the motivational space that sometimes people need a jolt - no matter how shocking - because growth and change come after being made uncomfortable.
It’s totally true by the way and here’s what I’ve come to learn...
...if you don’t posses the skills to jolt people out of their assumed stagnation without also making them feel like losers (that’s the shaming bit) then you need to work on your gorilla tactics and treat people and their journey with the reverence they deserve.
What I witnessed at that event 10-years ago and what I see happening again and again today are good people, with good intentions mimicking what they see someone a few rungs above them do.
That is not skill. That is a monkey-see-monkey-do tactic that will blow up in your face like a banana shooting out of a muffler.
Not everyone needs to be on stage, making 6 or 7 figures, or landing on the best seller list in order to realize their life mission. It’s true for some but all goals, missions and life purposes aren’t created equal.
Sometimes, we make our difference and do our selfless work in 1:1 settings, in volunteer groups or inside the tiny communities we nurture.
Babe, don’t allow anyone to shame you for not living up to THEIR expectation because while you were in line waiting for your pumpkin-spiced-latte, you may have blessed a stranger with your mega watt smile (p.s., one of your many gifts). I call that a good mother-humping day. #DoYou