Today is my birthday.
I was so excited to be able to celebrate with all of you last night by doing a live webinar aimed at helping you make a graceful career transition. Although I was nervous, I was truly excited to share my knowledge with you on such a worthwhile topic.
But, life had other plans.
I had to cancel the webinar after being unable to get the webinar platform to work. I did a Google search, followed steps outlined in the help section, and had no luck. I just kept getting a message that I was blocked by my domain administrator. I find this kind of funny because my domain administrator is Google and I was using Google Hangouts on Air. So Google blocked itself? I then had to send out a cancellation e-mail . . . and later a second one after my e-mail system sent out a reminder e-mail. I felt embarrassed and unorganized, not to mention unprofessional. Not the best way to make a good first impression.
Although I was upset, I was not crushed.
And this is important for me. In the past, something like this would have knocked the wind out of me. I probably would have cried and slept for weeks. I would have proclaimed that my whole world was over, my business was dead on arrival, and I would have to return to the practice of law because I simply was not cut out for this type of thing.
But today, things look very different.
First, I acknowledged my feelings about this: shame, fear, and disappointment. Then, I allowed myself to be vulnerable. Was I happy about cancelling the webinar? No. Was I happy that I had to send out not one, but two cancellation e-mails? No. By acknowledging these feelings, though, I allowed myself to be imperfect. I allowed myself to be human. I allowed myself to be vulnerable.
I also allowed myself to deliberately make a choice.
In the past, I probably (who am I kidding, I definitely) would have turned my whole Sunday upside down trying to make this webinar work. I would have gotten angry at my husband for not understanding and not given my full attention to my kids. I would have taken the-day-before-my-birthday celebration and turned it on its ear. I would have done anything lest my audience see me as anything less than perfect.
Today, though, things are different because I’ve learned that I prefer to be vulnerable rather than perfect. And because I allowed myself to be vulnerable, I opened myself up to make a choice guided by love, intuition, and wisdom. I chose to talk about my feelings and honor them. I chose to be fully present with my kids and my husband and enjoy the unseasonably warm Minnesota day. I chose to open the lines of communication with my support team so I could be better equipped to make this happen on another occasion. And, I also acknowledged that I needed a little reprieve from the world, so I chose to enjoy a nap.
Today is my birthday. Today, I am so grateful for my beautiful family and my loved ones. But, today, more than ever before, I’m so grateful that I choose vulnerability as a way to connect, build resilience, and most importantly, corrode shame. And this is the biggest gift I can share with you.
Happy Birthday! And, have some cake!
Photo Credit: Journey Photography