For the last 5 weeks, I’ve been traveling abroad to Australia, New Zealand and Bali.
I wasn’t exactly on vacation, and I wasn’t exactly there on business. It was both.
Running an online fitness and nutrition business allows for me to work from wherever and oscillate between writing, reading, creating, enjoying the gorgeous scenery, eating delicious meals and meeting plenty of amazing people I wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise. Not to mention a few nights of complete debauchery with one of my girlfriends … on nights like Sunday and Tuesday because honestly, when you run your own personal brand, every single day is the exact same.
I work, I don’t work. I grind, I play. I do all the things every day.
I’ve been living this #travellife for the last few years, and admittedly it’s been incredible. I am a huge nature nerd, and as evidenced by my Instagram account, sharing photos of incredible landscapes and outdoors is a delight for me. I swear I travel just for the scenery.
And I have been lucky enough (and worked hard/smart enough over the years) to have created a life where I can work from wherever there’s an internet connection.
But as I was sitting by the infinity pool in Bali, I had some insecurities pop up and I want to share them with you, as well as my thought processes.
I started to feel a bit of travel shame.
I started to feel a little bad for sharing this life I have created.
I think it began when a post on social media triggered me: “If I see one more glass of wine against a beautiful backdrop, I am going to scream!!! Where are the pics of morning traffic? How about when your sick kid wakes you up at 2am? Or going to a job you hate? GET REAL.”
I understand and sympathize with this person. And I am sure that many others have felt the same way. But I can’t empathize because I don’t have (sick) kids, I created a job that I love out of thin air, and I don’t travel to work in traffic.
Should I feel badly … for not sharing the bad stuff??
Should I feel badly for sharing a life that not only brings me extreme joy, but that I have worked incredibly hard for?
All of this got me to thinking …
First, obviously I can never control how I am perceived by others. And chances are, the photos hit some kind of button with that woman (and whoever else) that makes her feel badly somehow. And while I hate that, there’s absolutely nothing I can do short of not posting photos.
And honestly, I can’t not post photos of my travels or whatever else I am doing, because a) it’s out of my integrity and it’s not authentic to my journey, and b) my aim is always to share HOW I have created that life. I am always trying to give educational insights and tools, and have worked with many women for whom they have impacted. I can’t regret that.
The woman’s post was met by a very pissed off version of my husband who said what I most-likely wouldn’t have, which was, “Jill has busted her ass for years to get where she is. She woke up at 4am every day for years, grinding it out at the gym 70–80 hours a week, and giving everything to her clients. Not to mention, the thousands of dollars she’s spent on personal development and business education over the last 10 years, much of which went on credit because that’s how determined she was.”
And it warmed my heart because that’s the truth (and there’s nothing like a true friend standing up for you ;)).
Admittedly everything I am sharing here makes me feel super vulnerable! Yes, sometimes even I worry about how I am received! I worry that I am over the top. I worry that I am turning people off. I am worried that my posts won’t inspire people, and instead will make them feel badly.
But then I let it all breathe for a bit and I come to some resolutions:
My chief aims as an entrepreneur are to learn, relate, share and teach.
I learn something, then I teach it. I have the experience and then I talk about it. I share my stories of struggle because I want people to know they are not alone. I educate on the things I have spent time and money learning myself, so that others might glean some insight for their own lives. My life is about learning and sharing. It’s how I derive meaning. It’s everything. In fact, it’s so critical to my wellbeing that I don’t know any other way to be. Wouldn’t want to.
What someone thinks about me is not my business.
Byron Katie says it the best: “What I believe about me is my business. What you believe about me is your business.”
I can never hope to control how I am perceived. And I will make myself miserable trying.
I can even take it ever further to say that everyone deserves the right to their own opinion and process, and my trying to change someone else’s authentic experience is actually manipulation! Ha! I see that I would be doing people a disservice by trying to control them.
This is an exercise in trust and authenticity.
Do I trust myself enough to show up authentically and let the chips fall? Or do I try to please and placate and as a result, become someone I’m not, in an attempt to not upset anyone? Real talk: people get upset or not, based on their own sensitivities, not me.
And what about the people who are showing up and love the shares?! They’re my priority, they are my tribe, they’re the ones who give a shit. I want to be doubling down on them.
And finally, this is a matter of priorities, isn’t it?
Plenty of my friends have families and children and that is their choice and their joy and where they derive their sense of meaning. And I love that for them, it’s amazing. But I don’t have that. So couldn’t I just as easily look at them and get upset and choose to feel less-than?
It all comes down to perspective.
No choice is better than another. It’s just different. And owning our choices is key to happiness.
When we can feel gratitude for the things we have created in our lives, there is no sense of less-than or lack or discord, because look how fucking dope our life is!
Gratitude is a game-changer and owning your choices shifts your perspective to one of appreciation and abundance. There are plenty of warm fuzzies to go around :)
So, thank you for allowing me a little space today to explore some insecurities in real time with you. It doesn’t feel comfortable, ha! But it’s a practice in vulnerability and honesty and self-compassion. I am grateful for you!
And also, goodbye from Bali, lol: