What do you think your life would look like if you lived in an unapologetically truthful way?
Let’s stop for just a moment and ask ourselves these questions:
How truthful are you in the way that you live, the way you show up in the world, and the way you communicate with those around you? How often are you really, truly speaking your truth?
I’m not talking about hesitating or tiptoeing around other people, wondering how they are going to react. I am talking about unapologetic living. A Life by Design must be based in your truth. Let me simplify that: Say no when you mean it. Learn to say yes. Learn to say you don’t know if that is your truth!
There are so many ways to say it, but it comes down to being confident enough in yourself to speak your truth without the fear of someone else’s reaction shutting you down. We so often don’t speak our truth, because we’re too afraid of what might happen next. It’s time to stop pretending—stop wearing a mask that covers up your truth!
And I’m not talking about cruelty or evil intent—I’m talking about speaking your truth based on your own values. Let’s take a look at the ways in which I’ve applied and lived my truth, unapologetically.
In the corporate world, I spent a lot of time merging companies. The first thing I always did was assess the culture at each company, then I decided—along with other executives—how to create a culture for both companies combined. I broke down the values gap and clarified which values I wanted to see in the employees and listed them out in a way that created a kind of checklist for company culture. But that’s not what we do in our own lives or homes, is it? We don’t sit down with ourselves and think, “Hm, what are my personal values? I’m going to list out all the behaviors I’d like to see in myself aligned to those values then start tackling them one-by-one.” A rare occurrence.
So, a few years ago, as my family and I were redesigning our own lives, we made tons of changes that affected just about every aspect of our realities. In the midst of all that, my husband and I realized that we simply didn’t work best as a couple anymore, and we separated. So during all of that craziness, where my attention needed to be focused in a whole new way, I had to reprioritize what was important and give up something that was incredibly important to me: my love for volunteer work.
I am the type of person who gives and gives, even to my own detriment sometimes. And I’m not saying that to brag, but to share my self-awareness. What does and doesn’t serve me. So during this period in my life, while I was trying to figure out my new Life by Design, I just simply did not have the ability to give my time in a way I usually liked to. Something had to give. I had to make the difficult decision to step down from all my volunteer opportunities and focus on myself, my kids, and my life. I was entirely depleted by the emotional roller coaster this life decision invoked, so any extra energy that I found in life had to be devoted to those three things.
I had to hit pause. I had to figure out where my energy needed to be in that season of my life, and I had to live my truth aligned to my values accordingly. What mattered most to ME? No one else.
I knew it would mean stepping away from my volunteer work. Even though I knew I got a lot of fulfillment from those experiences giving back and even though some people may be disappointed. I had to live my truth—there was just no other way around it.
I learned during that time that until I was whole and healthy and loved myself enough, I would never be able to give to the other people and other areas of my life in a fair, equitable, satisfying way. Honestly, truthfully? You can’t have it all, at least not all at the same time. You’re only human.
So, Simply speaking, my attempt at maintaining all of my efforts and attention in activities in all areas of my life was just too much.
All of this begins with saying no. Now, sure, sometimes, it begins with saying yes, or it could just comes down to letting yourself admit that you just don’t know. And, it’s okay to ask for help!
We have to stop being afraid of speaking our truth for fear of what others think or for fear we aren’t living to a standard we’ve set for ourselves. What served me before was no longer serving me. Learn to be direct and unafraid of facing what is happening internally. You feel it—I know you do, because I feel it, too. That inner voice always knows what you need to do. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut. It’s usually right.
So let’s bring this story full circle. I spent three years intentionally saying no. I said no to all the things that drained my energy and left me with nothing leftover to give to myself and my kids. And I said yes to the house that I love, to my kids, to making sure they were in a good environment, to kayaking, to napping, to eating intuitively, to relaxing more and doing less, and to investing in me by exercising, doing everything I truly cared about and that felt good to me —which sometimes included doing absolutely nothing at all. And guess what. I am whole because of that. I spent three years doing what I wanted, remembering my wholeness along the way.
Here I am now, able to give my love and energy and time back to the volunteer opportunities that give me so much fulfillment and gratitude and peace. But guess what, not in the same way as before. Not in a fuller way but in a balanced and what feels good way. I took the time to give to myself, to replenish myself until I was overflowing with energy to share. And now it’s time to take some of the good that I have and spread it around.
My values start with the love that I give to myself, so that I can then give love to my family and friends. My values are to laugh and to say yes to the things that fulfill me. My values are about learning and opening myself up to new experiences. My values are about presence and giving myself fully to the moment. My values are to live and love and laugh along the way as Matt Hartke says in one of my favorite songs “Sign Me Up”!
Take some time to write down your values. Then give yourself the love and attention you need that can allow you to make the choices that coincide with those values, with your own unapologetic truth.
What can you let go of? What do you need to believe to ensure you are speaking your truth? If someone asks, “Hey, can you volunteer this weekend?” and your first thought is “Wow, I really just can’t do that right now,” then it is okay to say exactly that! Thank them for asking you, then tell them you simply can’t give your energy to anything outside yourself and your priorities right now. That is not selfish. It is self-care, and it is living your truth unapologetically. Trust me, those opportunities will come around again—they always do. And the people you’re afraid of offending, well what if I told you you were actually role modeling for them to do the same in their lives?
Go and live your truth today! Start small if you need to. You’ll find the right path, and your truth will never lead you in the wrong direction. Remember, It is your life by design, no one else’s. So that means you can’t get it wrong!