New to this adventure? Start here.
I recently sat across from a good friend who is the type of person who can rock a grandpa sweater and somehow have it be both sexy and playfully ironic. (Pause: HOW?!). His heart is solid gold, his demeanor warmest-of-warm and his talents would leave anyone gobsmacked yet he goes about his humble way, truly caring for each soul he encounters. He's a gem, and I consider myself lucky to be able to spill what's on my mind about what's going on in my life. On this particular occasion I fiddled absentmindedly with whatever was in my hands, telling him about recent developments in my personal and professional life and talked about how being with the unknown - all this new territory - can be so exciting and scary.
His advice? "Play it cool."
I took one look at him and was like: EASY FOR YOU TO SAY MR. STRATEGICALLY LOCATED DIMPLE AND PICTURE NEXT TO "CHILL" IN THE DICTIONARY. But, I told myself, I would give it a try.
Here's what that looked like: I would find myself in a position of waiting (for a professional appointment, a phone call, a meeting), my friend's mantra repeating itself in my mind as I remembered to breathe. But it inevitably (every time) turned into me re-enacting the scene from West Side Story where they are snapping their fingers in underground parking lots. It took every effort to keep myself from slicking back my imaginary greaser hairdo and doing weird shuffle steps. I may-or-may-not-have snuck in a silent snap or two, fingers hidden from view.
Nurturers, I am many things: competent, talented, capable, passionate, disciplined, creative - but I am not, nor have I ever been, 'cool' (erm, see above).
This weekend, at my third Nurture: A Retreat, I spent a magical weekend with amazing like-minded women - talking, laughing, sharing, eating, creating. I'll be uploading the beautiful pics that Sara took to the website soon so you can re-live the weekend with us and start planning to join us in the spring!
This weekend I was doing what I do best - holding a space, cooking elaborate hearty meals from ingredients and components that I nerdily made from absolute scratch, facilitating workshops, nurturing and supporting others on their journeys, sharing my own story.
Essentially, 'warm' things.
My heart spills over doing this type of work. I have to pinch myself often because I feel so happy and purposeful and content to show up fully in this way, for others, for myself.
While I respectfully hold some parts of myself as sacred and for my eyes only, the rest of it (a taste of the whole mess of it) I am only too keen to share with others to say: THIS! This is the way life shows up for me in all its glorious chaos and intensity.
Hiding my passion or sensitive feeling self has only ever gotten me into trouble and made me feel small and self-pitying (ew) so I choose to share instead of play the game of "let's pretend we're put together and then get disappointed when we find out we're real people with flaws and feelings and unhealed bits."
Interestingly, in connecting deeply to the feeling of 'rightness' in my warmer approach, I feel less inclined to worry about the waiting, the unknown, the in-between. It makes me feel strong and solid in my offerings as a collaborator, a friend, a business owner, a woman. What you see is what you get - transparency, passion, integrity, mistakes and real feelings and deep caring. There is nothing I love more than doing business and connecting with others in this way. This approach is what Nurture is all about:
Show up as yourself. Fully. Be seen. No apologies. CARE HARD.
Thing is, I used to write myself off because of my lack of 'cool.' I figured I didn't have the body/confidence/wardrobe/elusive 'it-factor' to contribute to the world in a compelling way. Thank GOD I know now how wrong that thought process is. It is harmful to all of us who are trying unsuccessfully to adhere to some sort of mold or socially-advocated structure and failing because our hearts beat to a different tune.
But, honestly, has there EVER been anything more compelling than the heart? I don't think so.
It tells the truth and that truth can move mountains, stir souls, awaken sleeping dragons, and alter the course of history (individually and collectively). We're in a time now where leading from our hearts counts for more than it ever did before and if I can be a part of that then I am honoured and unashamed to be doing so.
There is room for my friend to lead from his heart in that effortless way - it's who he is and I love him for it. There is also room for me to lead from my heart in a way that includes buttery baked goods, crying at baby animals, and secret musical numbers in my mind to get me through the inevitable palpitations that accompany any big (ad)venture. I'm starting to recognize I am loved for it too.
There is room for YOU to lead from your heart however it sees fit.
I, for one, am excited to see what that looks like. What lights you up? What evokes your passion? How do you get through difficult or uncertain moments? What scares or excites you about where you are in life right now? Let's connect in the comments or send me an email! The more we talk about what's ACTUALLY going on in our hearts, minds, businesses and relationships the more agency we have to do something about it.
I will, affectionately, and with zero irony, leave you with THIS, because it really is brilliant.