Imagine what we would all accomplish if we didn’t listen to the negative voices in our head. You know, that part of the brain that feels like the guy looking in from the outside and just spouting off negative commentary like “you can’t do it”, “you’ll never be good enough”, or “you’re bad at that.” For me, my subconscious gets the best of me. I grew up thinking I was shy, letting my parents tell people I was shy, letting everyone believe it (including me) mainly because I had that little voice telling me I was just a shy kid. I used the word shy as a crutch to mask the voices in my head telling me that what I have to say or share “isn’t good enough”, “it won’t resonate with the people around you” or “people are going to judge you.” I have had these experiences all too often in both my childhood and adult life.
Since September 2013, I wanted to share a 30 day blogging series of how I found my niche. However, between my subconscious holding me back from sharing some of my most personal experiences, mixed with a touch of procrastination and hectic schedule, I kept putting it off. Whether you have been following along or not, from January 2013 thru May 2014, I have accomplished a lot of great things with The Niche Movement that I am proud of including:
- building a contributing editor base and community of movers and shakers,
- hosting several #NicheStory interviews,
- providing workshops and keynotes for schools like Steven’s Tech, University of Illinois and not to mention a TEDx talk this past winter,
- growing a tribe that has reached 1,500 unique views per month to The Niche Movement website.
There was something still missing and my subconscious was holding me back. Over this entire 18 month journey questions like “am I good enough?” or “will people care what I have to say?” all too frequently popped into my head.
Today, July 8th 2014, I can say those questions can be put to rest.
How did I get here though? It wasn’t some magical pill or quick fix. It started with a conversation with my good friend Stacy Rinaldi Campesii. Stacy and I worked together at Centenary College where I also attended graduate school in 2006-2008. Stacy also works in students affairs but the one thing we have in common is our passion for leadership.
When I met Stacy, she had recently been hired as the Coordinator of First Year Programs and led a group of first year student instructors at Centenary College. She was a great mentor to her students, and created processes and programs that were innovative and engaging. However, her role at Centenary was only a stepping stone that led to a greater vision that I have been so fortunate to see unfold.
Since she left her job at Centenary in 2009, her and her husband Chris took new jobs and moved outside of Washington, DC. She has held two different jobs in education, but there was still something missing. This past fall, Stacy decided to push her comfort zone and start taking classes to receive a certification and become a professional life coach.
Courtney and I have visited with Stacy and Chris quite a few times over the last year, but the trip we had to DC over Memorial Day weekend is where Stacy unleashed her new knowledge of being a life coach and put her passion for leadership to the test.
The subject: me.
Over dinner at their house, we started with our usual small talk, sharing recent stories about our dogs and quickly moving onto the unfulfilling stories of both of our jobs. Sure enough The Niche Movement came up and I politely shared some modest updates, but was still not super excited to be talking about it. That’s when Stacy’s life coach hat was put on and started asking some powerful questions.
See before this conversation, I always had a limited view of my work with The Niche Movement that if I took this “full time” I wouldn’t succeed or I would not be able to make a living from it. Since I was a junior in college, in Professor Singh’s class, I would always tell myself I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But, I never believed I had it in me to actually do it.
Through Stacy’s questions and advice, we started to identify my vision and what I value. Stacy helped me start to recognize that I need to be in an environment where I can carry out my own vision. I also started to realize that a lot of my values like being flexible, honest, hard working, genuine, authentic, autonomy, leadership, and loyal didn’t match up to my current environments. Too often than not, I didn’t believe in myself or stick up for my vision. I also realized that I was making a lot of assumptions in life. Those voices in my head would comment on an interaction with a friend or colleague and always make me think the worst of the situation. I can’t tell you how great it feels to not let those assumptions control me anymore.
I left that conversation with a refreshed look on life and The Niche Movement. I had motivation and drive like I have never had before. I decided that now more than ever is the best time to start writing everyday and put myself out there. Throughout my life, especially the last 8-10 years, I’ve had so many great people around me that I needed to thank and share how they influenced me.
Stacy, is by far one of the biggest catalyst for every post that I have published since June 5th. Since our talk in May, she has continued to encourage me and help lay out a very detailed plan for me to be able to listen to my own advice and achieve my own happiness. Stacy has helped quiet my subconscious to the point where I now feel invincible. Prior to this, there has only been a handful of times in my professional and personal life where I have felt this way. With her help, I felt like this since May 24th and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.
Tomorrow, you will read my 30th blog post that will reveal how I found my niche and how I am going to achieve my own happiness.
What they taught me:
Stacy has taught me how to silence the negative voices and comments I was creating in my own subconscious. By teaching me how to cope with this she has unlocked great potential I never knew I had. Stacy has also taught me that it’s ok to talk it out. We have this culture that makes you feel shameful for talking things out with someone. Particularly, men are told to keep their mouths shut and keep it in. My experience with Stacy has taught me that it is much better to let things out.
How they inspired me:
I always knew Stacy was a rockstar, but it wasn’t until she found her passion in coaching that I got to see her true potential. Not only is she teaching me how to better handle my negative assumptions, but she is inspiring me by showing me what happens when you match your skills with the right career.
I’ve said it plenty of times, the whole career development process from job searching to dealing with colleagues to getting the next promotion, it is not easy. We often go at it alone, and when we are alone we are more prone to the negative thoughts creeping in telling us we’re not good enough. If you want to live the life you love in the career you love, you need to be open to getting help. Whether it’s getting help on a project or finding a helpful listener, seeking help is not just ok it’s recommended.