Success is the New Black: Why You Should Want Other Women to Shine
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson
This quote deeply resonates with me. It has for quite some time. I'm writing this post for two audiences: the ones who are dimming their lights and afraid to shine - and the ones who are happy about it.
I've been labeled a show-off before, so this topic really grinds my gears. Prepare for some adult language that is not in your typical Fat Loss Foodies blog post lol...
I recall being 5-years-old at my dance recital, and just flat out letting it rip: being so jazzy, so showgirl, so extra. I knew I could dance and I felt damn good doing it.
Then, in middle and high school, despite mild, typical adolescent bullying, I cheered and danced hard on the football fields and basketball courts. I even wore a one-piece halter + bell bottoms bodysuit to winter dance for Pete’s sake. Why? Because I thought that shit was cute! I knew I’d get the side-eye from all my “friends,” but I didn’t care. I liked it. I felt good in it. So I wore it, fully aware of the disdain it would draw from my peers.
No shocking revelations there. It's common school-age behavior. We were just kids, right?
But when I think back, it's still kind of sad that I was snickered at by my peers. What's even worse is that adults do this, too. We may be grown ups now, but we are still doing this shit: judging, gossiping, and laughing about other people - especially those who dare to shine a little brighter.
Turn Down For What?
When we play small and don't live up to our talents and abilities, whose acceptance and permission are we seeking? Whose snake-like tongue and two-sided mouth-talking are we trying not to trigger?
At the end of the day, we are all hard working, multi-dimensional women with kids, pets, jobs, personal challenges, and stress. So why do we do this to each other? Or - I’ll just say it (if this speaks to you): why do YOU do it? Because I don’t do this shit. I refuse.
I was out at a sporting event a few weeks ago and saw this beautiful girl, dressed to the nines. Was she overdressed? Yes. Was she extra as hell? Yes. Did I stare at her and even turn my head to watch her walk away? Yes! And I did it all with admiration and a smile. I literally said out loud, “Yea, girl. You go, honey!”
Hats off to that chick! She knew damn well when she got dressed that she’d be the fanciest girl in the place! And she did that shit anyway.
I don't know about you, but I'm proud to be just like her. I spent too many years allowing insecure women to tap me down. I'm full-force ME now.
Changing For Other People = You Need New People
Have you ever changed your mind in favor of blending in to not stand out?
“I want to wear heels but the whole crew is wearing flip flops, so I should wear flip flops.”
Screw that. Wear the heels. Even better: persuade your squad to wear heels too! Ha! I know this works firsthand because my own crew is like this. (Shout out to my squad below!)
It's time to stop fighting each other. Ladies, let's lay down our weapons, level the eff up, and knock this shit off already.
Kill the Negative Vibes and Embrace Everyone's Greatness
What we say about other people is not about them, it is about US.
Pay close attention the next time you are triggered to gossip, criticize, or mock someone else. It's shining a bright light on something that needs your attention.
For many of us, criticism often takes the form of catty gossip with friends and colleagues. It's time to shut that down. Be the bigger person and be the YOU you were born to be. There's room at the top for EVERYONE to have success, and we want to see you get there.
Here are my two biggest pieces of advice for shifting gears and embracing success - for yourself and the women around you:
1. Work On Yourself. You're Much More Interesting Anyway.
I've found that the fastest way to quiet my inner critic is to turn the light on myself and see what I can uncover. You'll see the thing you're insecure or angry about and that's what's prompting the negative vibes. But you'll find something else while you're there:
You will find that you too have an inner DIVA who has been waiting to come out and Beyoncé-herself all over the place for YEARS. Trouble is, you've been too busy worrying about what everyone else is doing and sharing your thoughts on the matter instead of being about your OWN business.
If you're ready to shift gears from being a naysayer to an encourager, from a critic to a creator, start working on yourself.
2. Find a Great Mentor
For me, the place where I get to shine brightest is teaching Group Fitness. I chose to get into Group Fitness as an adult, after having two of my three children, for one reason and one reason only: Les Mills BODYJAM®.
I never would have stayed in fitness or gotten where I am today without a truly great mentor. Her name is Lydia Haskell. Whip out your dictionary and look up the word "mentor." There's a picture of Lydia right beside it.
Lydia is a jack of many trades: She's a wife, mom, dancer, trainer, educator, and small business owner. She’s the owner of a killer gym, The Fitness Rave, in Middle River, Maryland.
This is a woman that nurtures other people. She has helped hundreds if not thousands of women and men evolve and grow through fitness. Your success means just as much to her as it does to you. She is a gem and a gift to the community. She has mentored and trained some of the most fabulous Group Fitness Instructors and top Les Mills Trainers and Presenters.
She is a ROCKSTAR performer, and you can see it when she steps on any stage. She KILLS the stage, whether she's teaching to 5 people or 50 or 1500. Rather than shrink herself down to be "non-threatening" (whatever that means), she goes full out. With every single class, she goes 100% balls to the wall. She is talented AF and she knows it. She shows it with every hair whip, body roll, and step combo she creates. And it isn’t meant to make you feel inadequate. It’s meant to inspire you. To make you realize that it's ok for you to whip it just as hard and to find your 100%, too. The way that Lydia teaches tells you to be amazing, be great, and be every bit of the ROCKSTAR, DIVA, or STAR that you were born to be.
Lydia taught me well. I have always been in the "extra" camp lol, but under her tutelage I now have all the experience and confidence I need to present what I know and who I am. If you come to one of my classes, you'll see it. It's sexy, or playful, or fun, or aggressive, or powerful, or emotional, or whatever awesome thing it is. I will make you see it - and it shouldn’t turn you off. It should turn you ON and tune you IN to what’s inside of YOU.
I learned that from her.
So listen: you being shy. Being "less than." Pulling back. Feeling awkward, or worse yet, feeling jealous or inadequate.
These things do not serve you, baby. It's time for you to let that go and GO. NOW. Find it. Feel it. You show what you can do. And if other people don’t like it? Keep smiling and shaking it in their face until they smile too.
Life is not a big, never-ending competition. We all have strengths, and they were given to us to be shared with everyone. Because guess what? Someone needs your strong. We use our gifts to make each other people better.
Your New Mission: Play Bigger. Shine Brighter.
You know what they say: "There’s no 'I' in team." But it’s the first letter of that ugly word, “Insecurity.” We ALL have them. Getting off the sidelines and into the action will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Find your passion and share it. Don’t hide it and don’t apologize for it. Don’t dumb down what makes you amazingly and authentically YOU. I don’t want to hashtag about #haters anymore. I want #sharers #supporters and #sisters. That’s what we do here. Genuinely. Join us, will you? Success looks beautiful on everyone.