The importance of being authentic for your mental well-being

When I started my coaching practice I had a vision for what I wanted to do, what I wanted to achieve for my clients and myself and a timeframe in which I wanted things to happen. I spent as much time as possible on building my practice often sacrificing time with my son, friends and my husband. As a hard-working determined person, those who knew me understood that I needed this focus to get what I wanted – and it’s working. Those who didn’t know me however, were seeing a different version of events.

On my website and social media, I have used images of me that don’t truly represent me today. I have used an image from when I was 30 and one just before I got pregnant. Both images are who I see in the mirror but of course, not what people currently see when they meet me. I felt that I would be judged because I haven’t completely achieved all that I want for myself through my health so I have been anxious about sharing how I really look with strangers. I thought that potential clients would see my flaws and then think twice about hiring me as their coach — I wasn’t necessarily ‘walking my (complete) talk.’

However, just this week, I decided to be authentic. I had some new headshots done — ones that were serious and ones that reflected my personality and they’re pretty good. As much as I am not happy with my body right now, I know that I am doing something about it so it’s a lot easier to see this (current) face everywhere.

It’s funny how when I wasn’t being authentic by way of my physical representation to potential clients, I knew that something was ‘off’ I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Now that I have changed the pictures, I feel a lot more confident and have to push impostor syndrome aside and instead use my personal successes as reference points; not only for myself to keep to my goals but also for my clients to see that I have indeed had these experiences and I have indeed succeeded. That I am just like you, with ‘issues’ and I am on a journey to a better me every day, just like you too.

At least, I hope this is what they see.

I don’t feel the need to justify myself to everyone but as a coach, I feel it appropriate to share where I am so that my clients can see that I am authentic in my coaching practice, authentic with myself and authentic with them. I’m more likely to be trusted if you can see that I am doing something about my challenges.

That is being authentic. That is being true to your own values — I don’t judge others for where they are in their journeys. Therefore leading through my own values has created a more calmer and confident me. I don’t feel impostor syndrome, just me being me.

The judgement we place on ourselves can often be confused with our values. We wouldn’t necessarily treat others the same way we treat ourselves and this is why knowing your values is so important. If you are able to revisit them so that you remind yourself of what you stand for, you might just be that little bit kinder to yourself.

In no way has my weight gain got anything to do with the knowledge and experience I have gained that I feel make me a good coach. I do lead by example but my physical health (for obvious reasons) will take a little bit longer to be where I want it to be than say my business/relationship goals. That’s what I had forgotten to remind myself.

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