Not unlike most newborns, the first thing I did on this planet was cry. Little did I know this state would be one I would wrestle with throughout much of my life. As a kid I don’t think people outside of my family would have described me as “sensitive”. I learned pretty young that you had to be tough on the playground. But at home, I would free the dam and let the waterworks flow. I’m sure out of loving concern that my sensitivity could not possibly serve me in this often cruel world, my parents would plead with me to “stop crying!!” This of course, only made it worse. I remember at times working myself into such a frenzy, I thought I might pass out. What’s meant to be a release felt more like suffocation.
In my teens and early adulthood the tears continued but mainly behind closed doors (and usually fueled by Air Supply). I desperately wanted to be seen as strong, smart, and mature beyond my years with a “you can’t mess with me” vibe. I noticed on the rare occasions I cried in front of people, primarily boyfriends, my emotions would quickly turn to anger. Terrified I might have to actually figure out what these emotions meant I would use my tears to fuel the flames as a convenient way out . I would storm off leaving the other person convinced they somehow were the cause of my fiery state.
It wasn’t until I was almost thirty that I began to understand what was happening. At the time I was a mom with a toddler and had just started my retail business with one store in my home town and visions of expansion. My personal growth journey was clearly underway as I devoured self-help books, attended seminars, and took any personality assessment quiz I could get my hands on. Every single test confirmed the same thing…I was extroverted and assertive, placing high value on achievement BUT I was also intuitive, feeling, compassionate, and empathetic, placing high value on connection. I…was…SENSITIVE. What the hell?? I shit you not, I was totally surprised by this. Up until now I had myself convinced I was a badass business person, period. Clearly I lacked the virtues of self awareness and still had a long way to go on this journey of personal growth. It didn’t occur to me that you could be BOTH badass and sensitive.
The struggle to be a sensitive person (especially a woman type person) in the business world was real. One night I was at my parents for dinner and we were discussing the ever present tragic news stories, most recently being the horrific murders at Columbine High School. I shared that I was considering taking a break from the news as every time I read one of these stories I would end up crying, often inconsolably. My dad shook his head and said gently but firmly “you will never survive in business with a bleeding heart.” Wanna take three guesses as to how I responded? Yep…queue the tears.
This became a defining moment for me and how I chose to show up in my business over the next twenty years. I knew my dad came from the corporate world in an era where tears were a sign of weakness and quite frankly, not tolerated. I also knew that more than anything his comment was intended to protect me from the pain I might endure as a sensitive and often emotional woman in business. And finally, as was proven in a personality assessment workshop we both later attended, we were simply different when it came to how sensitivity plays out in our lives and in our behaviours. My dad was and continues to be someone I go to for advice and guidance but I realized that in order for me to survive in business I not only had to embrace my bleeding heart, I had to wear it emblazoned on my sleeve.
Does any of this ring true for you? Do you feel like you’ve been keeping your sensitivity hidden behind closed doors? Afraid that if you express this side of your personality people won’t take you seriously? Or worse, not respect you? Do you believe the success of your business is dependent on showing up only as a tough, achievement focused, driven leader? Do you sometimes feel yourself shifting from emotional to angry in order to not appear weak? My friend, I see you.
The struggle is so real and it has never needed to be shifted more than NOW. Let me tell you why your business, your life, and the world is calling you to show up in all your beautiful, sensitive, open hearted glory:
- If your desire is to be Real and Authentic (and I know it is!)…we need you to give us ALL of you.
- As our world becomes more automated, the need for people to share their gifts of intuition, creativity and empathy becomes so much greater.
- You are more attuned to others feelings and have a unique ability to create environments for everyone to flourish. The people will want to work with you!
- You are aware of subtleties in your surroundings and can catch tiny details that others might miss. You will see the problem before it’s a problem.
- You are a wonderful, compassionate listener. People need to share their story with you.
- By showing up open, vulnerable and unapologetically sensitive…you give others permission to do the same.
- Goals and plans for the future begin to feel exciting and attainable as you are guided by your head AND your heart.
- Anger and fear are replaced with acceptance and love.
- Imposter Syndrome?…no more!
- Tears make your eyes look super pretty.
Please join me my beautiful Sensitive Comrades…let’s step out of the shadows of shame and passionately lead with our hearts. It might feel a little uncomfortable at first and it’s highly possible you will stumble a little as you get your footing on this new sensitive terrain. Remember to speak to yourself with love and compassion in these unsteady moments. And if the tears come, scratch that, WHEN the tears come…allow yourself to enjoy the sweet release of emotion without judgement or pain.
When babies cry out for the first time it shows they have healthy working lungs, your tears show you have a healthy working heart. I might also add… that you are BADASS and Strong AF!
As always, I’m here for you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your FREE 30 minute consult.