A little over a week ago I was up in Kelowna BC at an event called Shine Live, an incredible experience ran by the incomparable Chantelle Adams. I felt honored to have been there to share space, to expand, and to witness so many powerful women show in vulnerability and growth.
I also had some serious growing pains and “holy shit” ah-ha moments.
You see, Chantelle asked me a month or so ago if I would facilitate one of the lunch time VIP mastermind workshops. Of course I jumped on the chance with a resounding “YES!”. I had a signature workshop that I knew like the back of my hand and I felt confident I could do it in my sleep at this point.
Then a couple of weeks ago I started getting downloads for a new topic/conversation that I’m being called to share. About to depart on a tour where I’d be speaking or facilitating in two countries and three states over the next two weeks…I couldn’t ignore that this new message needed to be birthed into the world. So…I went for it. I told Chantelle the topic of my workshop and spent the next couple of weeks battling my inner dialogue and old belief system that I might be crazy for trusting my intuition and throwing together new material before three big events.
Shorty after arriving I found out that two other women would be facilitating workshops at the same time that I was and attendees were directed to sign up for whichever one called to them. Despite this – I was feeling pretty confident. I had worked on the material, I had plenty of time telling myself positive affirmations, visualizing the outcome, and beating down my inner critic with a proverbial baseball bat. Then…I read the topics that the other women would be presenting. They both looked far more interesting than mine. Chill out Rach, I told myself. The right women will come.
I avoided going back to look at the sign up sheet all morning – terrified of what I would see (or not see) on the page. I lasted as long as it took for the first break. Nonchalantly, I walked by the table where women were signing up. Sheet #1 (not mine) was FULL of names. Sheet #2 (not mine) also…FULL of names. Sheet number 3…you guessed it…was mine. There was one singular person signed up for my workshop. Can you guessed what happened? In the blink of an eye confident composed speaker Rachel went in to freak out mode. Here are some of the thoughts that went through my head:
Well. There’s your sign sister, nobody wants to hear from you.
Your intuition isn’t always right – what else could it have been wrong about?
Should you even BE a speaker? Hell, why are you trying to teach women anyhow. Who do you think you are?
Should I pretend to be sick? Hide? See if I can catch an earlier flight home?
God, I bet everyone is walking by that sheet wondering who poor “Rachel O’Rourke” is…
I bet that one woman is regretting putting her name down once she she’s that she is the only one. I’ll give her an out and tell her to go to somebody else’s workshop. Maybe I can slip her a hundred as an apology..
Obviously I’m out of my league.
This is just a small fraction of the insane dialogue that was racing through my head. The event began again and I sat back down in my seat trying to decide if I should sneak out or suffer through the humiliation when Chantelle had us do an exercise. She wanted us to stand up and yell out loud as a group what we are “so done with”. Her example was “I am so done being nice!”. I was at a loss for words. I was too caught up in my own pity party to focus, but I tried to stand up and participate best I could. What was I “done” with? Cellulite? Chin hairs? When the time came for all of us to yell out together the unexpected words that poured out of my mouth were…
“I AM SO DONE WITH SEEKING OUTSIDE VALIDATION!!!”
Holy shit, where did that come from? I don’t seek outside validation…do I? And then, of course it all was so very clear. I was tying my self worth…and my LIFE’S WORK into one experience of feeling unvalidated by the number of people who wanted to hear from me at that moment in time.
It didn’t matter if I just had a SOLD OUT event three weeks ago with over 300 women. It didn’t matter that I get invited to speak in front of audiences of hundreds – sometimes thousands – of people. The fact that I built two highly successful multi-six-figure businesses in an insane short amount of time was thrown out the window. Did it matter that I have a top 100 podcast in iTunes personal development? Just launched a personal development school for women? Who cared….
I was seeking validation that my worth as a speaker, as an entrepreneur, as a PERSON…was a direct reflection of this one experience.
Holy shit balls.
I sat down in and did some really hard reflection. How else have I sought outside validation over the years?
In SO many fucking ways.
It was one of those life-altering breakthrough “holy-shit” moments people. The only validation I need is from one person…and she was the last person I had been seeking it from.
It was me.
Here’s what I do know to be true…
I KNOW my inner guidance doesn’t steer me wrong. It never has.
I trust my intuition and know deeply that if I fail…I can love myself through anything.
I am a bad-ass fucking woman and I have ZERO time with my big ass goals to seek anyone’s approval to go after my big dreams.
WTF was I doing acting so…small?
I decided right then that I was going to give that one person who signed up for my workshop the best fucking experience she’d ever had in her life. I was going to give it all I had and know that…even if she walked out in the middle of it…I’d still be ok. I’d still be ME.
It ended up being a full table of 8 women who came to my workshop…and I shared with them my emotions around the whole experience of feeling embarrassed and ashamed. It was unbelievably amazing and opened up the conversation for all of us on what areas we are looking for validation from others. Three days later I shared this very story at another conference in front of 300 real estate agents. SO many women messaged me afterward saying “Thank you for sharing! I have felt this way too.” Why would I be so vulnerable sharing this with others you ask? Because WE ALL have moments where we are seeking someone else’s approval or permission. Where we want to be seen, to be heard, to feel that we matter. Take a moment to think about a time when you tied your self worth into how many people like your social media post, gave you a compliment on a new haircut, or even smiled at you in a social situation.
We are human. It’s ok to want to be liked. But it’s NOT ok to not move forward on your dreams because everyone isn’t cheering you on. It’s not ok to hide and dim your light because you are afraid others don’t like how bright you shine!
If I’ve been bamboozled by my own old belief system…then you may have been too. I’m working on this and let me tell you friends – awareness is the first HUGE step to making any change. I’m going to continue showing up the world because I am determined to make difference. Even if only one person is in the room listening. Hell – even if there is none. Because real change cannot happen if we give up when our expectations are not met. There is going to be disappointment along this journey for all of us. DO NOT LET IT HOLD YOU BACK.
If I would have given up when Spark Chico 2017 sold far less tickets than anticipated and I went nearly 20k into debt…I would never have gotten to experience a sold out venue this year and it growing into the fucking convention center next year!
If I would have quit coaching when my first group program sold only 4 slots – I wouldn’t have grown to see my masterminds selling out before they even go public.
If I would have let every rejection keep me at a stand-still…I’d be a completely different woman living an entirely different life. We’re all in this together my friends. Recognizing the bright shiny wins and the also times where we fall flat. Let’s celebrate it all! Because it’s all a part of this beautiful journey and we are all far more alike than we are different.
PS…I launched a new in-person workshop today called “SPARK Your Business” and we’re already 1/3 of the way sold out! Find out more HERE.
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