10 years ago in April 2010, almost a year after qualifying as a coach, I was still searching for my niche, so I could attract people to pay me for coaching.
I felt completely out of my depth, not knowing how to find clients, and feeling like a fish out of water.
I’d had a bad experience with a coach I worked with, who tried to suggest that I should try to find people from my previous industry – but I felt that was never going to work – I didn’t belong in that world.
I wanted something to help me feel good about myself, and to feel like I belonged.
I’ve written before about my fear of ‘business suits’.
So you know what I did?
I had a bespoke suit made.
I made several trips into London to have this suit custom fitted, choosing a beautiful burgundy fine wool cloth with silk lining, with the style I wanted.
Throughout each of the 3 fittings I had to keep pushing away the feeling of being a ‘fraud’. (and trying to pretend I had lots of suits already, and this was a world that I felt good in).
I thought this suit would make me feel special.
And it did, for a very short time.
I wore it once to a conference and I felt great.
But I never wore it again, because I had no opportunity to.
“because this suit was so smart, I actually felt ‘over-dressed’ in any situation I was likely to find myself in”
I thought owning this suit would compensate for everything that I was lacking – my low self-esteem, and my feelings of ‘not belonging’.
But it didn’t.
It just highlighted to me how much of an outsider I felt in that ‘business world’, that I’d just come out of.
That suit stayed in my wardrobe for years – a painful reminder of my ‘lack’.
I felt deeply ashamed and embarrassed that I’d even had it made in the first place.
I felt that if people knew, especially those people who feel comfortable wearing suits, they would laugh at me.
But I could never bring myself to get rid of it.
So why am I telling you this story now?
I’ve come a very long way since then.
I don’t feel ashamed of that part of my story anymore (and I tried on the suit recently , and broke the skirt zip – oops! I’ve put on weight since then!)
I’ve long since realised that I don’t need something outside of me to make me feel worthy.
I feel good about what I’m doing in my business now, and I never have to wear a business suit!!
I’ve realised that nothing you can wear on the outside will ever compensate for something ‘internal’ that you’re feeling.
And I’m sharing this in the hope that it’s useful for you if you feel that you don’t quite ‘belong’.
I’m sharing this for all those people who don’t feel ‘good enough’ as they are – and are trying to compensate for that in various ways, and failing.
You don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not.
You can learn how to feel good about who you are, so you can step up and share your gifts with those you are meant to help.
And you can choose the working environment that will feel good for you, and where you can feel in flow.
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