I recently left corporate America after 34 years to focus full-time on something very important to me, my own company.
If you’re an established or new business owner, or someone who’s currently employed and has a big dream of your own, you’ll know what a big deal this is.
So, what do you when the worst possible thing happens to you, after you commit and go for it?
My biggest fear
The ghost in the back of my mind was getting trolled.
I knew I could potentially encounter the perils of social media, about how the internet can bring cruelty that stems from depersonalized accountability.
This was an especially vulernable spot for me because I had to expose myself openly due to the nature of my work: Life purpose and all the secrets it holds.
So when I completed by premiere offering after a tremendous amount of work to record, edit and upload the 55 videos, you can imagine how happy and proud I felt.
My heart did a happy feet dance for a few minutes until…
My Troll, my worst nightmare appeared…
My Troll made her appearance by declaring in detailed CAPITAL LETTERS how my service was wrong and that her way of thinking was the ONLY way to the end goal of life purpose.
…it felt like…
I was stunned.
Secretly, it felt like the deepest part of my exposed, trusting self, got kicked in the soul.
It was even more terrifying and awful than I imagined it would be.
For a moment, I left my body.
In seconds, I cycled through my options. I could:
- Turtle in: Command the ground to swallow me up and pull the covers over my head, and hide…forever.
- Use this as a proof point that I was stupid and reckless: Leaving a good paying job, especially in my Prime Time was delusional.
- Sling the Bandini fertilizer right back at her: I could shred her to peices.
- Walk the talk: Use the tools that I teach to quickly calm down, get clear, and assess next steps.
Since I’m still running my company, I chose the last option. Here’s what happened in the 10 minutes that followed my choice.
1. I felt into the discomfort instead of running away
I knew if I didn’t, her poison would stay with me forever, making me second guess myself going forward, even at a subconscious level.
Each of the below were intense, I won’t lie, but didn’t last longer than a minute or so.
- Shock, Disbelief: “What just happened? Why couldn’t she just have “changed the channel,” by leaving my social media page, if she didn’t like what she saw?
- Humiliation: A bonfire of Bandini, lemon juice, gasoline, and pepper spray poured into my heart. And, everyone was watching.
- Anger: I know regrettable actions can happen here when people bite, without a concern of perpetuating negativity. So, instead, I sat…in..it.
- Clarity: After the above churn, my rational, analytical self returned.
- Epiphany: “If you wrestle with a pig (and she’s not a pig, just a random person on the internet), you get dirty and the pig has fun.”
2. I took action — “Awareness without action is hollow.” Marissa Tomei
- I did what most internet experts say not to do: Rather than ignore her, I deleted her comment, removed and blocked her from that social media page.
- I reverse engineered how she got into my space on that platform and found:
a) I boosted my post but forgot to use the filter criteria.
b) The troll joined my page in that campaign.
c) I’m the one who invited this troll into my space. OOOPS.
3. I made room to accept The Troll’s gifts
Since I was responsible for the drama, which is usually the case, I was able to come to these heartfelt conclusions.
- All of us are more alike than we are different. The Troll and I actually have something in common — we want people to live their best lives.
- There is room for everyone in this world and each person will have their own opinion on how to get there. Be generous and give everyone space.
- Choose to act according to your own integrity…even when wounded in your most tender spot. People can be pretty polarized from a distance and if it bothers you, sometimes the best thing to do is not feed the machine by responding in kind.
- No setback is the final score — They’re meant to inspire you to keep going and head towards some point of liberation.
4. I shared my experience
- I normally would have hid my shame and pain but I learned in my corporate professional life, the sooner more people who know about something unexpected, the faster everyone can pivot together to address it.
- I wrote one of my best blog posts with the undercurrent of gratitude and received support from people, including those who usually amplify wrong-doings.
The biggest gift
I now understand when people say, stay in your zone of genius.
Circumstances and support can change in an instant but knowing who you are and why you’re doing what you do can help filter the unexpected, including the worst possible thing.
What’s your biggest fear and how did you deal with it?