On my first coach training weekend, we did an exercise which changed the way I thought about myself for ever, and in the biggest way.
Picture the scene:
Sitting in a circle of about 6 people who met less than 48 hours ago.
Each person takes a turn for the others to tell them what they see in them, and then once that 'round' feels complete, what the others sense is possible in them, but not fully expressed right now.
We end up with a badge which had that word on it, and then went into another exercise where we (all at the same time) had to act that out - really being in the energy of the word we had on our badges. Throughout our coach training, we were often called to be more of that word.
Picture 25 people, acting as strippers, studs, leaders, poets, storytellers, the sea, the sun, grandfather time, wise sages, princesses, kings, queens, bastards and clowns. All at the same time.
You're curious what my word was, right?
Mine was METEOR.
It was about bright light, power, stars, magic and massive impact.
Just like that, I recognised a part of me I had not been owning up until that point. But I knew, with every cell in my body, that what they were seeing was there in me.
I also learned a really powerful lesson about how I experience other humans, and this is it:
We can intuitively sense the truth of each other.
My beautiful coaching comrades had seen in me, an aspect of me that even I wasn't fully aware of (but had spent most of my adult life trying to hide).
Even when we have been covering up or hiding, the person we really are, or editing ourselves to fit in, or please, or keep others at an emotional distance, other people can already recognise the qualities in you, that make you, you.
Who you are speaks more loudly then what you are doing to cover up who you are, for fear of judgement, separation, or disapproval.
And from my facilitation of the Daring Way workshops I've realised we can not only feel the truth of a person, the qualities that make them who they are - but we also sense it when they hold themselves back, and are hiding or editing themselves.
We don't know what is being hidden, but we feel the dissonance of a person, we sense that there is more, or that the person being represented is not necessarily the person who is inside.
And that prevents true connection from happening.
Because which edited version of you, is connecting with which edited version of me?
The belonging that we seek through presenting a more pleasing version of ourselves, isn't actually available until we stop editing who we are.
And when we stop trying to belong, and show up just as we are, seeking to give, and contribute, we suddenly find we belong in the places where we really fit.
With the people who feel more like 'our people'.
That's 'cos they can see us, for real, and we feel the integrity inside.
And when we stop hiding, stop editing, and allow ourselves to be seen, it can feel risky, because we fear disapproval or disconnection, yes. But what happens when you take that risk is that people feel the truth of you (that they already sensed) and true connection can happen, because the true you is meeting the true 'them'.
We can already feel who you are. Let us have more of the full-on, unapologetic version of you - it's already more amazingly genius than any kind of editing could accomplish.
Does this idea land with you? Do you recognise where you say or do things which aren't really aligned with who you are? What happens? What would be on your badge?
Want to come and explore more topics like this? There are a couple of places left on the next Rising Strong™ workshop in Penrith, Cumbria, on 3+4 March 2017. We'd love to welcome the real you.