Over the past two years, I have been going through a personal transformation.
Throughout my life, I’ve always been seen as a self-assured, confident leader and trendsetter. If you were to ask me, my response would have been, “I wish I had as much confidence in myself as you have in me.”
Not to say I wasn’t happy with who I was at the time. I was actually very happy with who I was and where my life was at. It wasn’t until I stepped out of my comfort zone a little that I could see that though I was content with my life, I was being complacent. True, I established my daycare at home, created my website, and I put a few products on the LGP store. I volunteered at my church and at my son’s school when I could. All in all, it was a pretty good life. Even when my husband lost his job, it was okay because I was able to make enough with my businesses to keep us afloat. All was status quo and I convinced myself I didn’t need all the other luxuries in life. Then my world opened up a little bit more for me.
I joined a band.
Music is something that has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. My journey started when I was 12-13. I signed up for choir in school and my teacher ended up having a baby in the middle of the year. So we were assigned a long-term sub. While other students turned that class into a social hour, a few of us became transfixed with her piano playing. She showed me a few exercises to try and taught me how to read the notes and staff properly. From there I taught myself how to read the bass clef and then how to sight read sheet music. But from the first moments, I told myself I wasn’t good enough to play in front of an audience. I would only play for myself. So how did I end up in a band?
Well, short answer is my friends needed someone to fill in and couldn’t find any one else. So did I end up playing the keyboard in the band since that’s the instrument I already knew how to play, right? Well, that would be just silly! I actually picked up an instrument I had never dreamed I would even WANT to play. Now I love love love it. I picked up the bass. Within a month I had my first gig.
Now everyone who knew me figured the lifestyle of being a band member suited me very well. But on the inside I was struggling. I have never been one to wear my struggles on my skin, so no one really knew I was, and still am, going through this transformation.
Every time I stepped out on stage and every time I was supposed to talk with people afterwards, I felt like a small fish out of water. There was new lingo to learn. I realized before this point in my life I had never ordered a drink from the bar by myself! I had to learn to walk over with confidence and squeak out my order that *gasp* other people might overhear me ordering.
It was then that I realized what a homebody lifestyle I had built for myself. What’s worse is I allowed myself to give excuses for why I should maintain the hermit style life. It easy to focus on the life that’s right in front of you. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday business of shuttling kids, cleaning the house, running errands, etc. It’s easy to look at the precarious balance of work and play and convince yourself that it’s all you ever needed and wanted. That’s where I was.
It took a while for me to even see that the situation I was in, though it was content, was actually a stagnant situation. Things weren’t bad, but they didn’t have any room to get better. The more I got out and experienced the world, the more I learned about myself.
I realized I had a lot of fears in me. Fear of what people thought of me, fear I would put myself out there and get rejected, and fear I wasn’t doing the right thing. Then it dawned on me.
Though I have preached my whole life about being true to yourself and doing things for yourself, I realized I was making my decisions based on other people.
I had my business but I wouldn’t really talk about it. Why? because I didn’t want people to know if it flopped.
I created my website and had it sitting in Weebly’s databases for 2 months before I published it. Why? because I was convinced my stuff wasn’t good enough and there’s be no way I could convince people to come to my site.
I only posted a couple superficial bubbly “look at me” blogs in the three years this website has been published. Why? because I felt like I had to write about stuff people wanted to hear, even if I didn’t feel passionate about it. I was also afraid that people wouldn’t like what I had to say.
I only posted a few products on the LGP store. Why? because I didn’t think people would want to pay money for my creations. I was afraid to put myself, my artwork, my ideas, my creations, out in the world because all of those pieces were a part of me. And besides I was a beginner. I didn’t have the know-how or the experienced talent to allow myself to run with the “professionals.”
Then it hit me.
I was afraid of becoming a professional.
I was afraid that if people liked my stuff they would all be sitting around watching me to create something even better. Or they saw my advice they would ask for my credentials then scoff at me when all I had was an expired nursing license and mothering battle wounds.
I created a whole unscalable wall of excuses of why I wouldn’t succeed in my ventures.
Then one day, my band mate sat me down and said,
“Look. You’re really good and can get even better if you start playing with confidence. But you can only do that if you decide you’re good enough and [screw] what other people think. If you decide you’re good enough, you are. But if you keep say you’re not, you won’t be.”
I’ve heard this said to me in different ways, but I never took it farther than skin deep.
This time I actually listened to what was being said to me and decided right then and there to actually live it.
That decision sent me on this amazing road to self discovery and confidence that I had never known.
I fully expected my life to be all kinds of out of control, but this amazing thing happened. Here I was stepping away from the comfortable excuses and exposing my vulnerability to the dog-eat-dog world, and I felt MORE in control of my life than when I was “in control” of my life. Opportunities opened up for my family. New people came into my life. Old friendships got rekindled. This lotus of self-confidence and faith blossomed inside me. And the transformation was noticeable.
I didn’t tell anyone about my personal journey. I mean they all knew I was in a band and trying out different businesses, hairstyles, and clothes. But, no one knew the inner turmoil I had gone through. However, as my transformation was happening, people around me just knew. I started getting the comments like “You’re so…. rock star!” or “Is something different about you? You’re just blooming!” I had an acquaintance I would see every week and one day I said hello and she didn’t even recognize me! She was shocked and said, “I don’t know why I didn’t recognize you, I see you all the time! But today, you just seem like a different person.” All because one day, two years ago, I decided to take control.
Of course, everything is not all sunshine and roses. I still have my good days and bad days. This wasn’t some sort of miracle rags to riches story, though I HOPE it will be one day. But gaining that confidence in me helped me reach another level of personal growth where I could be honest with myself about what I need to change in my life and to decide where I want my life to go.
My Take Aways
If I want to succeed, I have to believe I deserve to succeed.
If I want people to accept me for who I am, I first have to do the same.
If I want people to join me, I have to be some one I would want to join.
If I want people to have confidence in me, I must have confidence in myself. Not everyone will love me, and that’s okay. As long as I know I am a good person, I make good choices, not only for myself but to help me be the best version of myself I can be for others, then the rest will follow.
Follow more of my journey on www.leannepetitt.com where I tackle the entrepreneurial world!