My mentor Steve Mitten brought this up recently: “Ask yourself, what has been shamed out of you as a child?” What quality or skill you owned at a very young age got stolen because some person of authority declared it of no value, or worse, punished you for being like that?
Where does this shame show up today in your life?
The most powerful example came from a friend who told me her exuberance and love for jumping as high as possible in the air got shamed out of her as a child. When she finally reclaimed it as an adult, it got stolen again – just after her first on stage appearance as an acrobat, her partner of many years, broke up with her. “I did not deserve to ever do acrobatics again.”
My own discovery is something I would not have considered: what got shamed out of me was the passion for running my own business – quite odd but now I understand. Partly because people misinterpreted the lifestyle of my own entrepreneurial dad as one of stress and never being able to go on vacation – today I understand that for him it was all Play – work was just what he loved and therefore he had little need to “take a break”. Also partly because I had amazing people to work with who understood my need for independence and allowed me to prosper in a corporate environment. Special thanks to Tony, Charlie, Rim and Tanveer.
Now, let’s take that Shame to the next level: What quality of yours did you have to suppress in order to survive in less than optimal circumstances?
Working with women who want to find fulfillment in a new career shows this so clearly: in order to be the mother they aspired to be, they had to let go of a lot of things. Like kicking ass in a job, or making more money than their spouse. Like deciding how and what to spend their time with. Being footloose and fancy free is impossible when you have an infant or a teenager to watch over.
This is what we talk about in IT’S MY TURN – it’s time to reclaim what got shamed out of you.
I invite you to think about what your Shame is, and when you discover it, how about letting it back into your life?