Third blog post
In 2015 I had no strong position about my political views. I believed it was important to vote in every election, but I felt voting was a private thing, so I “didn’t get involved” in politics.
Then, on November 8, 2016 I morphed from a quiet, non-political, let’s-all-get-along college instructor and Happiness Coach into the politically active person I am today.
I like this new, more outspoken me much better. I know more clearly what I stand for and frequently speak up on my personal Facebook page about social justice and political topics. I voice my opinion there nearly every day. I’ve become pretty outspoken, compared to the woman I remember from 2015.
And yet, I’m also a Happiness Coach. And I’d been limiting my coaching page to only inspirational ‘airy-fairy” posts with zero discussion of my own personal beliefs. When I coach, my clients and I work miracles together as we dig deep to find their true contentment and freedom. We navigate obstacles that block their fundamental happiness. My business tag line, “Everyone deserves to be happy”, is a critical part of my coaching philosophy and technique. Happiness is what I help people do.
So how does that reconcile with the out-there, loudmouth activist side of myself? When a recording of our future Liar-in-Chief surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign, revealing his great pride at grabbing women by their private parts, my Mama Bear instincts went on high alert. How could his victims begin to find happiness in the path of such uncaring abuse? How could any of the women who’ve experienced the same sort of abuse from other perpetrators be truly happy? On that day, I instantly became an advocate for women and an outspoken political activist.
But even then, the activist part of me showed up only on my personal social media platforms. And until recently, I’d tried to keep my personal and business personas separate. Activist on my personal pages, Coach on my business ones. But then I realized something. How could I be authentic and outspoken in one aspect of my life and not show up the same way in my coaching practice, where I espouse honesty, openness, and authenticity to my clients? How does the bold social justice activist reconcile with the Happiness Coach? Is it even possible to keep the two separated and stay true to myself and my clients? No. It’s not. It’s no longer possible for me.
Of course it’s OK in theory to keep the two separate; many professionals do it. It’s even necessary for some. Those folks easily segment their personal lives from their career personas. But I can’t. And I no longer do. In fact, keeping my political views out of my coaching practice has created a huge roadblock for my business over the years. I’ve played small and stayed in the shadows when I could and should have been out there actively helping more people. I’m finally seeing the connection. What I do as a coach IS who I am.
By limiting my business persona to only the Happiness Coach aspect, I was stopping the flow of energy and blocking clients who would be attracted to a more authentic coach. Showing up happy and cheerful and inspirational on my website, my business Facebook page and other social media platforms was wonderful. But without revealing who I truly am as a whole person, I wasn’t letting my clients know the whole story about who they’re getting when they work with me.
I can no longer comfortably separate my two selves. It’s no longer OK to show different parts of myself in different aspects of my life. The world isn’t the same as it was on November 7th, 2016. Neither are my clients and neither am I.