I used to love Halloween. It was a day where I could be anyone I wanted to be. A 1920’s flapper, a gypsy, a cowgirl, a man, Charlie’s Angels, anything.
The thing is you don’t have to wait for Halloween to be anyone you want. You can decide TODAY to show up as the person you desire to be, the person you truly are.
Does that feel scary? Many of us have gone through life wearing different masks. This is who I am at work, at home, with friends, in sports, etc. It is like we are always auditioning for the part, trying to get it just right so that we will be accepted, so that we will gain approval. This is exhausting because there is no endpoint. Once you discover a certain mask works, it’s hard to take it off.
The question to ask yourself is how do you feel inside? Often, when you put on a mask, you don’t feel truly seen. This leads to self-doubt as you question if people would really like you once they knew who you really were.
It can be scary to take off the mask, to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be exposed.
The coaching and online business industry world is full of people wearing masks. It is filled with pictures of yachts, luxury vacations, and designer everything. Much of it is a facade – it is the appearance of success. You don’t know who that person really is without their mask. (This can also make you feel bad if you slip into comparison-itis.)
Despite the fear, there is great reward in removing the mask. We all crave being fully seen and known. To feel a sense of belonging from that place of authenticity and realness is profound. Your belonging was not bought, it does not hinge on you being a certain way, having a certain amount of money or prestige. You belong because you are you – all of the good, bad, and messy parts of you. That is beautiful.
In the spirit of taking off the mask this Halloween, I’d like to share with you some things maybe you didn’t know about me.
I still struggle with self-doubt though I am getting better at catching it and challenging it more often now.
Though I had friends in high school, I often felt like a loner and I enjoyed time by myself. Some of my favorite memories are running alone in the mountains after school or on Sunday mornings. These times felt sacred to me.
As a freshman in high school, I would often hide in the library during lunch and eat my lunch alone, hiding behind a desk so as not to get caught by the librarian.
In fifth grade, our class spent a week in the mountains at Outdoor Lab. It was one of my most favorite experiences of elementary school. I loved being outside and learning about the stars, trees, animals, and nature. I decided I wanted to be an outdoor lab leader when I was in high school so I could experience that again and be a guide to fifth graders. I applied and was not accepted.
I’ve felt like an outsider at many points throughout my life. I have now chosen to see those times as opportunities to learn more about myself – who do I want to be, what’s truly important to me, what lights me up? It has not been easy but then again, nothing worthwhile ever is.
I say, throw off the mask. Share your struggle. Let people in. Allow people to see who you truly are. I know they will love you even more for it.
I encourage you to explore what mask you might be wearing, what its purpose is, and how can you discard it. Set your true you free.
What mask will you throw out today? Let me know so I can celebrate YOU.
P.S. Check out this amazing podcast where James Wedmore interviews Lewis Howes about his new book, The Mask of Masculinity.
This Halloween, the best costume is YOU.