Thoughts from Me, on Being Fearless.

Consistent, Confident, Vulnerable, Persistent.

These are the first four words scribbled across the top page of my notes from my trip to Phoenix last weekend, where I attended Beautycounter’s L.E.A.D. conference.  We were tasked with writing down attributes that come to mind when we think of a fearless leader.  (Mine was Gwyneth Paltrow..if you’d like to know why, I’d love to answer that for you offline, so message me!).

People that know me intimately know that I have been on a self-development path for the past couple of years, which happened to dovetail with, and has quite possibly been spurred on, by my decision to build a business with Beautycounter.  NOT just become a consultant – but build a business.  Let me be clear: these are two very different things – one is somewhat passive (“yeah, sure, why not, I’ll sign up and see what happens…”), and one is intentional (“I have a 6 month, 1 year, and 5 year plan, and here is the work I’ve mapped out to get me there”).  As it turns out, when I decided to really “go for it”, I was met with resistance.  By putting myself out there, I had unwittingly opened myself up to criticism and judgement.

It was really quite painful at the time – but now I see that this adversity was a gift.  An opportunity to take inventory of my life.  Why was this so painful for me?  What were the things in my life that were serving me and helping to lift me up to be a better person?  And what are the relationships and obstacles that weren’t?  I needed to hit the pause button, unpack the answers to those questions, and make some decisions.

One of my favorite take-aways from this past weekend is “What will get you there isn’t what got you here”.  So true, right?  I have had to release what wasn’t helping me become my best self in order to make room for what would.  This wasn’t easy, and it was certainly more difficult and painful in certain situations than I would have preferred.  But I have also made the decision to release the guilt and shame over that, too.  There simply isn’t enough time.

If you really knew me, you would know that I am a validation-seeker.  (And if you don’t know this, that’s totally cool and it doesn’t mean you don’t really know me – I just figured this out about myself!).  I guess I am better at wearing masks than I may have realized.  So there it is – I realize now that I have historically looked to outside sources to validate my choices.  I have finally found that I really just need to look in the mirror and validate myself.  What do I want?  Who do I want to be?  Why would I expect anyone else to answer that for me?  It only took me almost 40 years to figure this out.  I believe in what I’m doing – my work happens to intersect with what the world wants and needs.  How awesome is that?  So what if my best friend unsubscribes from my newsletter?  So what if members of my friends and family (you know who you are, LOL) dismiss the information I share with them as “alarmist”?  I have very firmly held beliefs, rooted in science, so why on earth would I allow someone watching me from the bleachers to influence my activity and how I feel about it?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This quote flashed up on the screen during our opening session this past weekend, and it took my breath away.  It also happens to be the opener of the book I am currently reading by Brene Brown: “Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts.”  Every time I read this quote, it brings tears to my eyes and puts a lump in my throat.  Do you think that the universe is trying to send me a message?

Listen, I am aware that I am not curing cancer, discovering the root cause of unexplained infertility, solving a famine crisis, or helping to release the wrongly accused from death row – I get that. But what I AM doing is pretty important, too, and I think it is easy to occasionally lose sight of that because the impact of the work we’re doing at Beautycounter is very big picture and long-term – we are not focused on the little wins.  We go BIG.  I am sharing important information with everyone I can get in front of that IT DOES MATTER what you are putting on your body every day. This is not a matter of opinion, it is scientific fact, and 80% of the population is totally oblivious to this information, as well as the fact that there is no industry oversight to prevent harmful ingredients from being in the products you use on your body everyday.  And what we are doing now at Beautycounter to change that – educating people about the issue, providing a solution, and advocating for more health-protective laws for overdue change – well, we likely won’t be acknowledged for the lasting outcome for generations to come.  I have made the decision to be okay with that, because it is not the critic who counts.

I realized this weekend that I already have everything I need to do what I need to do.  I have been telling myself for some time that I have everything I need to succeed. But I walked away from this meeting feeling it, too.  A powerful energy coursing through my body, KNOWING that I have it.  The intersect of heart and mind – it is a pretty powerful experience when it happens.

Consistent: acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.

Confident: feeling or showing certainty about something.

Vulnerable: susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.

Persistent: continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Yeah, I think that those words accurately describe me.  At least the new me, after my “software update”.  Chances are, they describe you, too, if you dare to let them.

xx,

Virginia

 

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