This week I held my first workshop on 'Starting Over - Healing after Heartbreak'. Whilst I'd run workshops in my corporate career previously, I'd never run a workshop like this before. This was a workshop where we dealt with matters of the heart, where we allowed ourselves to be truly vulnerable and where there was a level of sharing like no other.
In the lead up to the workshop I felt a range of emotions. When I first published the event I felt excited to be doing something I cared deeply about but I also felt fear of judgment. I feared what people would think of me running this workshop.
My transition out of a long career in finance is leading me to explore my passions in so many different ways, it's opening up my frame of thinking and being in a whole new way. I'm unconstrained and as I result I'm following where my heart is leading me to explore. I've not lived a life like this before - it's scary and exhilarating at the same time!
But as navigate this new path I still have the frame of my past self, the one that spent many years in corporate not being so open and vulnerable. I had stories I was telling myself that running this workshop would confuse how people would see me, that it could adversely affect how I'm perceived in the corporate coaching and leadership arena.
The truth is I don't know what people are perceiving, nor do I really know what impact is in respect of my corporate standing, if any, but I'm following my heart - the heart that desires making a difference in this world.
I went into the workshop with this in mind......
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them" - Mother Teresa.
It was magical. There was courage and bravery and open sharing, it was reflective of a room with no judgement just love. There were tears and laughter, encouragement and gentle invitations to challenge ourselves to think differently. I was blown away by the generosity and trust in the room and it warmed my heart to see such richness of conversation and support. Each one of us experienced breakthroughs and saw things that we hadn't been able/or allowed ourselves to see clearly before.
I say 'us' because in leading this workshop I had many personal breakthroughs, unintended realisations that I'm forever grateful for.
I felt connected to real people and real lives. I saw the hearts of beautiful people and I was touched by how much impact could be made in such a short amount of time through our open sharing. It was a powerful experience.
We all spend a lot of time worrying about the judgement of others and often we don't realise how much we are judging ourselves in the same process.
I realise now that prior to the workshop I was judging myself based on what I perceived others would be thinking of me, I hadn't allowed myself to fully embrace my love for this space of helping others heal through storytelling.
Imagine now how enriched our lives would be and how free we would feel without fear of judgement. We can't control others but what if you could allow yourself some of that freedom today by letting go of any judgment you have for yourself and just loving?
I see clearly that the quote above doesn't just apply in respect of other people it applies to myself too.
If I judge myself, I have no time to love myself.
I'm taking up the practice of non-judgment and to extend love to myself (and others) daily - I know it won't be easy but it will be worth it! Will you join me?
P.S - I'll be running another workshop soon - watch this space!