A Little Bit about Truth

It’s been almost three years now since I left my engineering career for good. While the perks and the salary were amazing, for years I longed to shine in my own way. After many years of feeling unseen and unheard, I decided to take a leap and work for myself, my “real self”. I was tired of working for someone else and I really wanted to help others succeed. But more than that, I wanted to be me.

The “real me” was tired. She was tired of playing in the box. She was tired of having to monitor her words to be politically correct. She was tired of playing games to get the job done. She was tired of trying to be a man. She wanted to be who she was physically, a woman.

It was time. I had been peeling off layers of myself for over four years and it was becoming harder and harder to contain my real self. She wanted to be free and she wanted to be seen, and so, there was only one thing left to do. I had to leave.

I honestly thought it would be easy to bring forth the “real me” by simply leaving the corporate work environment. It seemed I had made significant enough changes to my beliefs and identity to carry me forward. And I had evidence I had changed; I no longer fit in the corporate world.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately), for me, it would be hard to let go of my life as a man. Parts of my corporate self, the man, would not die and the “real me” hadn’t enough road time in the real world to know what to do. If I had known back then what I know now, I would have hired a coach or a mentor or someone to help me learn how to behave in the world as a woman.

But, come on, why would I? I was independent and strong. I’d been the provider in my personal relationship for years. I knew how to get things done. I’d always been the lone wolf and besides, I was willing to change, so I would just do it. I would set my mind to it and I would make it happen. I always had before, how hard could it be?

It was hard. I thought I would easily step out into the world as a business coach and bring the “best of” what I’d learned about productivity and efficiency to a female enterprise. I would embrace the feminine in me and in the others in the new environment and we would all sing around the camp fire and celebrate our accomplishments.

Oh, we accomplished some amazing things, but it wasn’t pretty at times. The old habits I had were still alive and well. The new environment offered twists and turns I had not handled before as a woman. So as you can imagine, the man in me had to take over to get the job done and, well, let’s just say his style was very different from the culture he was coaching. And his attempts at softening the situation seemed to make things worse sometimes.

The worse realization I had as the “real me” was that I was still valuing my performance of my work using old standards left over from my life as a man. This meant there were times the job was done and fabulously done but with some unexpected costs.

For nearly ten months I struggled with one foot out of one world and one foot in a new world. It was hard, yet I still insisted on doing it on my own. I was so tired and worn by the end of the contract, I made no plans to replace my income in enough time to save me from hitting rock bottom financially.

Oh, I knew I only had enough money to pay the bills for two more months. I knew I had to make money to keep me and my two kids afloat. But it seemed the commitment I made to shed the old self was a bigger priority and that part of me didn’t care about what I knew. It seemed the “real self” was fighting to keep things real, (and me honest), by showing me the cost of pride. You see, the man in me was too proud to ask for help and would rather sink the ship than admit defeat. He did.

But the “real me” would not cower. She was not afraid. She knew the only way to embrace her was to face her. She wanted me to see I was not being kind nor true to myself. I hadn’t really embraced myself fully and there was no way my business would succeed without her.

And so for the first time in my adult life, I had to ask for help. And the moment I did was the most painful moment of my life. I felt so beaten down and exposed. And it would be on that day, finally, that I would begin my journey to find my authentic voice. With no “value” in the world, I would have to rebuild from nothing, well almost nothing.

I still had a few private clients, thank God. And each client session would be an opportunity for me to show up and meet my real self. And I could, because I had nothing more to lose. It would take five months to battle the prideful man in me. Oh, he’d show up every once in a while and throw a fit at what was going on. But the “real me” knew that only the truth would set me free.

And it did.