“Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.”
That’s my favorite quote. The other week, I was asked on a podcast to share why.
My story, like yours, has ups and downs. In the middle of the most difficult time of my life I came across this quote and it really helped me.
By design, I don’t share personal details about my life in public. This interviewer unprofessionally pushed for me to divulge. Which I declined and explained:
One of the most important vocations anyone can take up is teacher. I consider myself a teacher with Pivot Adventure. As a teacher, I don’t use my own personal story by choice because I don’t want to convey a message to our students that “I did it so can you.” Instead, we want students to write their own stories. (Note: some professionals use their story and that is okay but there is certainly an art to it and it never a go to in my experience.)
Everyone is a hero in their own story. And what we need is a guide. Someone to help us point us in the right direction on our journey to victory. At Pivot Adventure, we are guides for a reason.
I also explained how I am not a guru. That we want to build something bigger than ourselves and in order to do so that students don’t have to meet me for it to work.
This person went on to chastise me about how I was making a fatal mistake not sharing the deepest, darkest part of my life. Sadly, the interview won’t be airing. Clearly, I triggered something in this person and we wasted a great 24 minutes because she was stuck on our approach. As frustrating as it was, I did walk away with some lessons learned. I am reminded:
Vulnerability is about taking risks, facing uncertainty and emotional exposure. Like giving a presentation or entering a singing contest or introducing yourself to someone you are attracted to (or going on a podcast for that matter). It doesn’t mean sharing the most depressing part of your story. It might be. And you do need to share it with someone. But settings matter. There is a reason why we don’t tell someone you love them on the first date. Because vulnerability is about connection, it is about taking a leap of faith and hoping the person that is listening will catch you.
Another important note: Professionals in the mental health sphere don’t need to share their personal stories to in order to do great work. When I hire a plumber I don’t need them to tell me their life story of how they got here. I need them to unclog the drain. The same goes for mental health professionals or teachers. The good ones know how to separate their personal and professional life. That doesn’t mean you don’t ever share anything about yourself. Of course, you do. It does mean that if you are going to really difference, you better know how to be able to walk with someone rather than in their shoes. Sympathy and empathy are not the same thing.