Over the last few weeks I've had a blast speaking to students at Hough High School, a gym full of moms near Lake Norman, a group of new parents, and a classroom full of couples who were expecting their first child.
I absolutely love getting to speak with so many people at different phases of life. The opportunity to connect with others and hopefully help them in some small way is one of the things I love to do most.
In speaking and teaching classes I am so excited to hear the questions, the feedback, and in some cases just the honest insight that people are willing to share.
I find even though I’m there to speak and hopefully impart some insight or knowledge, I’m often the one that leaves having learned something.
Before being introduced to the moms group near Lake Norman one of the members of the group was asked to speak. She stood in front of the group of her peers clearly uneasy about the entire situation. Her voice cracked as she struggled to start talking. She said how scared she had been about talking to the group. How worried she was that everyone would find out the truth about her.
As I stood there I wasn’t sure if she had committed some serious crime, was about to divulge that she had been stealing money from the group, or worse.
She continued. “I’m just so scared that you all are going to figure out the truth. I’m a total fraud.” She paused… “I'm petrified that I’m not a great mom and that I really have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just trying to keep my kid alive and the vast majority of the time I don’t even know if I’m doing it right”.
She continued through deep breaths and tears to share just how hard it was to be a mom. That there were days that she didn’t even feel worthy of the amazing gift of parenthood. There were days where she was overwhelmed with love of her child, and days where she wanted nothing more than to go back to her pre-baby days where she could binge watch TV, lay on the couch, and not feel one bit of guilt.
I stood there listening and could feel my eyes welling up. I wiped away the tears and looked around at all the women in the room. Hands over their mouths, others wiping away tears, feeling and knowing exactly what she was talking about.
The woman speaking felt alone, like she was the only one who didn’t have it all together. Just then, a mom from the back of the room yelled “You are an AMAZING mom!!!”. As soon as the silence was broken it was an overwhelming outpouring of love and support. For some reason she didn’t know the real truth. She didn’t know how many other women in the room felt the exact same way. The cheers, support, and laughs from comments out of the group made her start laughing and crying even more.
As the only man in the room I stood there and was so overwhelmed by it all.
I was up next and after I was introduced it was all I could do to stay composed because of what I heard and saw. It was something too few of us see.
Unfiltered vulnerability coupled with true bravery.
With all of the people in our world who are put up on pedestals for doing nothing, this is the type of person that needs to be celebrated.
The woman who has the courage to tell the truth of the life she is living.
She didn’t just tell everyone she was “living the dream” and “loving every moment!”
She had the nerve to do so much more.
I left that night happy with my presentation.
More importantly, I was the one who left inspired.
I guess sometimes we think that the amazing messages or stories can only come wrapped in certain packages. We forget that it takes the person next to us to step up, move out of the shadows, and have the courage to speak the truth to what is really going on.
ANYONE can be that stone thrown in the water that creates ripples of change to the world around them.
It’s just amazing she was willing to take the risk thinking she was the only one.
Little did she know, everyone else was waiting for someone like her to speak the truth so they could share their story, struggles and fears too.
People like her give others the courage to live in their truth too, without fear of the fancy dressing we think our lives constantly need to keep up with everyone else.
I think we can all agree the world needs more of that.