Learn by doing

For the last few years, I’ve been intentionally hermitting, focused on going inward so I could finish my memoir about my Dark Night of the Soul. My debut book is about my spiritually guided journey to heal past wounds, mend important relationships in my life and rekindle my marriage after I lost my job unexpectedly. Now that the first draft of the book is complete, I’ve started coming out of my shell to offer the world my wisdom and healing from my Dark Night through a variety of means such as this newsletter, workshops and private 1 x 1’s with clients.

A 2021 goal of mine was to start guest-appearing on podcasts to share my messages of forgiveness, healing and love even further. Although I was nervous to put myself out there over the airwaves (especially after the hermitting), I began listening to podcasts with audiences I hoped would connect with my message.

That’s when I came across The Quantum Shift podcast and noticed a friend of mine had been a guest. I listened to her episode and knew I wanted to be a part of that heart-centered energy, an energy filled with curiosity, support and empathy. I reached out to my friend to connect me to Shawna Pelton, the host. Next thing I knew, I was filling out forms to be featured on her show. I swear it was meant to be because Shawna connected to my message and invited me on.  

On the big day to record Episode 40, I felt prepared for our Zoom session. I made sure I looked the part (hairspray to tame my crazy fly-aways, foundation powder to control my oily face). I ensured there’d be no distractions (Thank you, Puppy Palace, for taking care of Charlie!). And I tested my equipment ahead of time.

During the podcast, I was in heaven. Shawna created a comfortable environment, asked thought-provoking questions and beautifully added her own wisdom and touch to the conversation. But by the end, I had mixed emotions.  I was proud of putting myself out there. Proud of speaking my truth. Proud of doing what I could to help people navigate their darkness to find their light, but…

I was also embarrassed. Among many things I could have done better (note to self: don’t clap into the mic and don’t overtalk about yourself) I interrupted the calm and patient Shawna at least twice.

For the next few days, all the ‘good’ my message would achieve didn’t matter to me. Instead, I walked around with a yucky feeling in my stomach. Even drinking my favorite tea couldn’t settle me. I gave myself pep talks in hopes of finding calm, “Danielle, this was your first podcast appearance. Brush it off! Shawna knows your heart. The two of you left off in a great place. The audience will understand your enthusiasm.” Although I was saying the right things to myself, the messages weren’t hitting the spot.

Finally, after mulling around my disappointments for days, I finally pieced together the pep talk I needed thanks to Dan Blank’s podcast episode ‘Why I Create and Share’ that focused on the importance of learning by doing. The words of wisdom I finally gave myself sounded like this, “Danielle, you went in with love, not ego. You interrupted out of excitement and inexperience (and being a hermit for a few years). You were a kid in a candy store, jumping for joy, elated to be speaking to a like-minded individual… Your intention was pure.”

Once I reminded myself of my intention, my mistakes no longer mattered as much, and the self-judgement melted away.

What are you beating yourself up over? Was your intention pure?

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Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to encourage you to “live and learn”, to enjoy and reflect on what brings you happiness without falling into self-doubt: “I am trying new things and creating a brighter reality; I believe in what feels good to my soul, and I am intentional in all that I do.”

PPS – It’s so easy for us to hyper-focus on our mistakes and fixate on what we could have done better in the moment. Here’s a journal prompt to shift your focus a bit and put you in a positive growth mindset: Think about some of your most recent accomplishments and write them down. These could range from winning an award at work to adding an extra mile onto your daily walk. Then, consider the efforts that went into achieving these things and jot those down. Did you work late a few nights a week? Did you give yourself daily pep talks? Did you sacrifice TV time? While you’re journaling, do your best to not let self-criticizing thoughts pop into your head, such as ‘I could have done better.’

Annnnnnd – Don’t forget to support my first ever podcast appearance and get to know the talented and soulful Shawna. Be sure to listen to Episode #40 Move Beyond the Dark Night of the Soul on The Quantum Shift.

Believe In Your Worth, Not The Numbers

After I write an article and share it on social media, I find myself all too eagerly awaiting the likes, comments and shares. I know I shouldn’t need validation that I’m putting out meaningful work, but it usually takes my ego 15 or so (okay, more like 30) minutes to remember that.

During that ‘window of ego’, sometimes I’ll spin out in a mental frenzy. Are people reading? Do they like it? Will I make an impact?

When I finally stop obsessively checking my social media stats and come to, I breathe in and remind myself of a few important things: what matters is sharing my truth and connecting with others; that the numbers will never matter more than the lives I impact. Some days, pulling myself out of a social media spiral seems impossible, my worry about trying to make a difference sends me reeling. And some days, the ones who pull me out of that spiral are exactly those lives I’ve impacted (and nine times out of ten, I had no clue I’ve made a difference in these people’s lives).

Last week, when I least expected it (i.e., when I wasn’t mid-frenzy and desperately refreshing my social media apps), a long-time friend posted a raw, vulnerable, unconventional post on Facebook. This person, who usually doesn’t go deep on Facebook, spoke about his grief and mental health struggles over the last few years and how 2020 was the year to give him love, healing and happiness. My friend wrote about how he went inward and got to know himself in a new way. He also bought a house in a community he loves and spent precious time with his wife and his dog. All of these helped him to move forward from his trauma and darkness. But although my friend had a beautiful year and a desire to share his experiences, he hadn’t because he felt guilty because many others had a difficult year.

Reading about his brave ‘coming out’ of sorts – the courage to share his story with others – gave me hope for deep healing in the world and reminded me of how much I love him. With happy tears in my eyes, I responded to his post, telling him how proud I was of him. I let him know that his words were beautiful – and I mentioned that I’d known him for close to 20 years and never knew him to be a writer.

He responded, saying he thought of me as he wrote his post thanks to the amount of vulnerable sharing and writing I’ve been doing lately. I was shocked to learn he’d been reading my work. I don’t recall getting a like or a comment from him in the past, but perhaps I have. I was honored to know that the work I’ve been creating spurred someone else to create meaningful work. With every new piece I write and choose to share with the world, more people will be thinking about the world differently, healing, bravely telling their stories and perhaps creating their own work too.

Take this as a reminder that while “Atta girls” (or boys), awards and social media love are important and feel great, they are not the whole picture and they don’t define your worth or impact. You’re creating value. There are many lives you’ve impacted that you don’t even know about and there will be more too.

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Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to remind you of your worth when putting your ideas/work out there: I trust my work can and will make a difference. I believe that it will be received by those who need it most; I can feel my impact taking place.”

PPS – Do you want to kick your insecurities to the curb? Spend a few minutes journaling. Here’s a prompt: Think about a piece of work you’re putting out into the world: your food, your coaching, your writing, your music, your artwork – whatever that work may be. Imagine a few different people taking in your work: an older man with cancer, a young girl whose parents are moving through divorce, a mother of four suffering from depression, your ideal audience. How does your work help them? If you were with them 1×1, what would they say about how your work has impacted them?