On Shame and the Healing Power of Honesty

For this installment of Superhuman September, I want to share something that’s been on my heart:

Aiming to be “superhuman” isn’t all about green juice and planning for your goals.

It also includes being honest with yourself about what’s not working, what’s frustrating you, and what’s not so great.

I’ve shared a lot in recent months about the challenges I’ve faced over the last year; about my move, and ending my relationship, and the challenges of bringing an entire life and business to a whole other country.

I’m currently also facing some obstacles I can’t talk about quite yet — the biggest I’ve ever faced due to some unexpected events. And on top of all that? I’m also a bit shamefaced to admit: everything I had planned as part of our rebrand (our new website, my series with Entrepreneur Magazine, and more) has been delayed.

The hardest part? There’s no real reason why besides “It’s just taking longer than it needs to.”

I have an excellent team who are working hard around the clock. But technology and timelines haven’t been where we need them to be.

These things happen. It’s part of the journey of entrepreneurship, and the lesson I keep learning is that sometimes we just can’t force the universe to pan out the way we want it to.

It doesn’t feel great. It’s definitely not fun. But sometimes things have to fall apart to fall into place, even if it doesn’t seem as if they will.

I think a lot of us carry guilt and shame about something, especially as entrepreneurs — we worry that our website isn’t good enough, that our ideas aren’t good enough, or that we’re not good enough.

But part of being superhuman involves being able to face the darker stuff.

Right now, I know you might be harboring some frustrations. Maybe you’re trying to launch too, or develop a new concept, or switch up your business model.

And maybe it’s not going as well as you hoped.

There’s no instant solution. But in my experience, the best thing you can do is…?

… Talk about it. Share about it. And be open. #NameYourShame and I promise it will lose its power.

They say “sunlight is the best disinfectant”, and that’s especially true for digital entrepreneurship. When we’re open about our difficulties, we give ourselves space to learn, and teach others the lessons we absorb along the way.

The more clandestine and quiet we are? The harder it is to hurdle over our challenges and love ourselves.

It would amaze you how much can happen when you choose to be vulnerable and open about whatever it is you’re facing. It’s all part of the journey.

Our transparency allows us to shine in the light of our self-love and acceptance, and turn our challenges into even greater teachers.

That’s why being superhuman isn’t just about health or productivity. It’s about being vulnerable, and allowing ourselves to be exactly who we are, in the experiences we’re having.

Make no mistake! We’ll jump back into planning and more “technical” superhuman stuff. But I wanted to share this with you first.

If you find yourself in a hole of “entrepreneur shame” feeling like nothing’s going right, and nothing will get done? There are two things I love to do:

First: Write down all the things that are making you feel ashamed on a sheet of paper. Allow yourself to feel and acknowledge them.

My @#$% site still hasn’t launched…
I haven’t had a day off in months…
My signature program I worked so hard on isn’t selling well…

Then, head outside (emphasis on this part!) with your favorite candle and a lighter, and set the piece of paper on fire. As you watch your shame burn, repeat positive reminders to yourself:

The site will launch when it’s ready.
I commit to taking off this Saturday.
I’ll take a breath from marketing my program, then come back and revisit my strategy.

Then the second part: Share about it.

Head to Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or your blog, and be open. Talk as openly as you wish about what you learned, and what’s ahead for you. Share what’s on your mind and heart.

Then… watch what happens.

Be vulnerable. Be true to your journey.

Be superhuman.

And before you go, I’d love to know:

Do you have a favorite way to overcome frustrations when everything seems to be going wrong? A ritual or method that helps to heal your heart?

I invite you to share it with me and your fellow readers in the comments below.

I’ll see you next week!

Natalie MacNeil's Signature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

7 thoughts on “On Shame and the Healing Power of Honesty

  1. Stellar superhuman-ness! 🙂

    Personally, I like to take some deep breaths & figure out what exactly is ‘vital’…. I remind myself that often what really matters is in place – (I have love [including self-love], health, food, shelter, etc.) Next, I decide what small action I can do right now to feel like I’m still making some progress toward my goal, while then allowing the rest to have the opportunity to *fall* into place (aka: Letting Go of the details/ hows/ whens & precise outcomes)… Aka: Dropping a stone into the pond and allowing the ripple effect to bring about the needed momentum – with Uni’s help. (The Universe is usually pretty cool like that, and more often than not – the pieces magically fall together!) Shifting our energy toward “it’ll work out the way it is supposed to” helps us shift the energy to where we can allow in the good we’re seeking again.

  2. Wow – yes, vulnerability and being real in our human becoming. I have been on such sharp learning curves ever since leaping from employment to entrepreneurship. And one of the biggest learnings is that everything takes longer than I imagine it will. And I so I am learning to be open to this reality. Despite how frustrating this may be for me at times. Such a different world from being within the corporate programme transformation machines.

    I have a variety of things that help me move beyond the frustration and ARGH place but will choose just two.
    a) I will get up and walk away … outside where possible. But I will change my scene for 15 minutes. And do something totally unrelated to what I am trying to ‘get done’. Sometimes this means sitting on my couch (I work from home) and watching the birds in the garden. Sometimes it means going for a brisk walk. Always it has nothing to do with my work.
    b) I stop focusing on what is getting in my way and start focusing on something totally different that needs to be done that I know will be quick and achievable because it is 100% within my remit. And I spend between 30-60 minutes achieving that thing. This allows me to move into a space where progress is being made.

  3. Natalie thanks for being so open and transparent about your currently challenges! I love that you are doing these Superhuman segments because as entrepreneurs we get so wrapped up in launches, timelines and tech but forget about slowing down and not obsessing over being perfect.
    I’m currently facing a challenge as well trying to get my beta course up and going and feeling the pressure. I decided to just throw everything down and spend a day at the beach last Saturday. Summer finally arrived in Toronto Canada so wanted to soak it in! Giving myself permission to take a day off was hard, but felt I was on the brink of burnout if I didn’t. As a wellness professional I need to give back to myself first before I could be of service to others and this post was an important reminder of that. Just wanted to let you know that I look forward to these posts.

    Take your time in getting back to the techy stuff!!
    P.S Good luck with the re-branding and congrats on the Entrepreneur magazine opportunity!

  4. Dearest Natalie! I love following you and have for a few years now. I love how simple, short to the point your messages always are. They are always just perfect. Just as everything always is. You know the universe has a divine timing. Do your part and then just breathe (or light a candle…etc. 😉 ) I run a successful graphic design business and have for a few years, among holding various other positions in organizations. I have had so many challenges-it would take a long time to share them. I bring that up to let you know I understand your frustration. I also have realized after feeling the same way-is that people don’t care that much about how we look as we do. Generally, most people are in the same boat in some form or another, and many don’t even realize when something was intended to be published or was late launching. (there are always the few that remind you…lol) But if I ask myself have I really done the best that I can in my current circumstances (short of going crazy), and if my answer is yes, I’m good. So, to conclude-its all good. Be proud of yourself-it sounds like you are working through much more than you are giving yourself credit for. So take your time with your new products-enjoy making even better stuff! Your tribe loves you-we are not going anywhere. xoxo

  5. Oh Natalie,
    I think many of us are facing similar problems right now. I know I’m trying to refocus my blog to a totally new group of readers with a totally new message and am suffering a touch (really a whomp) of overwhelm at the present. I have a poster on my desk that keeps me going. It reads: I can’t But God Can and it reminds me to ask Him daily, hourly, minute by minute to help me. I also have a stack of scripture quotes and shuffle through them to find the one that touches my soul at the moment. Reading your trials I immediately thought of Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you hope and a future.”
    Will be praying that things fall into place and you see why the delay was needed – both for the new site and for you and your team. Love, Hugs, and Prayers, NanaPennypockets

bite-sized wisdom to read & share