As a professional story guide, most of the magic of telling a great story (which I do to help professionals turn their resumes into dynamic narratives, helping them share their gifts with the world) comes down to making yourself human.
Your humanity is the essence of why anyone meeting you actually cares to know more about you, or to remember you, or to give you a chance in any professional capacity.
And yet, there’s a huuuuuge difference between sharing a sense of vulnerability for the sake of an authentic human story, and “over-vulnerabling” yourself into appearing bewildered, insecure and reeking of self-woe.
The line can be alarmingly thin.
But, since the words we use become the scripts for the stories we ultimately live, I want you to ask yourself if you’re guilty of using these statements of over-apologizing in your words or work lately.
Be on the lookout for these two sneaky scripts that you ought to avoid — especially when you’re telling your story online.
They may reveal a deeper shadow that is holding you back from living your truth and your purpose.
Shame Script #1: That you’re imperfect.
You are. I am. It’s a given. So leave it aside!
I can’t tell you what a big red flag it is when I read someone’s bio or resume and see, “Although I’m still a work-in-progress like anyone else…”
It’s an innocuous thing to say, but it’s also completely unnecessary, because no one is perfect. No one ever will be! And no one who is meeting you or reading your story expects you to be, either.
The warning sign I see in “I’m a work-in-progress” statements comes from the underlying expression of fear and insecurity.
Even if you try to frame up a statement of imperfection with a positive spin (i.e. “I’m perfectly imperfect”) or poetically (i.e. “My life is one full of beautiful flaws”), the expression of imperfection is one that opens the door of doubt and shame.
If you feel a “work-in-progress” disclaimer cropping up, turn it around into an opportunity to examine what is going on in your head and heart.
Are you expecting yourself to be perfect? Projecting unrealistic expectations on yourself, and others? Do you think that other people whom you admire (online or in person) are actually “works of perfection,” themselves?
So, turn the lens on yourself and simply observe where this shame script is originating.
By understanding the root of the script, you’ll take pressure off yourself and get a better sense of why you may feel held back by your own natural imperfections.
Shame Script #2: Bewilderment / What You Don’t Know
Let us see what you do know.
No one meeting you or reading your words online is eager to know what you don’t know.
And yet, often times, expressing what we don’t know sneaks out in our language and stories. Why? You could consider this an act of “throat clearing” or sorting through the unwanted and undesirable on the path of discovering the heart of the good stuff that we do want to share.
Avoid scripts like “I’m not sure how I found the path that I’m on today,” or “How did we get here? Well, that’s an interesting tale.”
These are clear signs of throat-clearing which reveal that you’re still trying to figure out what to say and how to say it.
If you see yourself over-emphasizing what you don’t know or haven’t learned, try to let it go.
Delete the bewilderment. Self-edit the unknowing out of the stories you’re sharing.
Get into the heart of what you need to say–because that’s what the reader wants and needs to hear. Take the clean space as opportunities to share what you do know, have learned, and thus can teach others from your first-hand experience.
Being a teacher, a healer, a giver or a servant is a lot easier than we make it out to be.
You aren’t required to be wealthy, famous or to have all the labels and titles in the world. All you need to be is yourself: to take what you have learned and experienced and to imagine sharing those lessons with someone who was like a younger version of you and is trying to learn them for him/herself.
Ignore what you don’t know. Tell us what you do know.
There’s a difference between sharing your humanity and leaking a sneaky script of inner shame.
The essence of vulnerability is to bravely exude your desire and capacity for love, giving, serving and uplifting others.
To risk feeling vulnerable is to be open — willing to invite others in.
And you have to be confident within yourself to genuinely serve others from love.
How can you tell if shame, insecurity or worry are obstructing your ability to uplift those around you?
Pay attention to the words and phrases that you instinctively share. If you spot a shame script, turn the lens within and examine it. Don’t let the shadow hold you back!