(This piece is a guest post from the amazing Ronna Detrick).
I live with no illusion: the thing I talk about, write about, and frankly, preach about, is the very thing I most need and want for myself. And this is good news!
Believe me: I haven’t always felt this way.
I spent years convinced that I needed to have my own shit together before I could possibly offer anything of value to anyone else. Sound familiar? And though it’s true that professionalism, training, and expertise are of extreme importance, to wait for them to magically appear, somehow make you feel “ready,” and ostensibly give you permission to speak and serve is not only naïve, but super-frustrating.
We’re never ready. We’re never complete. We’re never experts.
But we’re always trying. We’re always growing. We’re always learning. And this reality, this truth, this “edge” is the VERY best thing you could possibly offer anyone else – in business, in love, in life.
Your vulnerabilities are exactly what you most powerfully and compellingly offer the world.
Not Providing “all the answers”
A personal example: I talk to people about their spirituality, about their beliefs (or lack thereof), about their desire to live a life of integrity and alignment and “connection” with a bigger story and even the Divine. I wish I could tell you that my life is always deeply spiritual, that my beliefs are rock-solid, and that I have a direct line to God. I cannot.
Here’s what’s I can tell you: I long for all these things which is the very reason why I understand them in my clients.
My hungers are the same ones I hear echoed in the voices and hearts of those with whom I have the privilege of working. And yes, my very weaknesses are the place from which I speak with the most passion, the most commitment, and the most energy because they are what I’m most passionate about, committed to, and have the most energy around – in and for myself!
Nope, no justifications
Does all of this sound slightly narcissistic? Like some kind of justification that any-old-person can talk/coach about any-old-thing whether qualified, or not? I hope not!
But the other end of the spectrum is just as dangerous and costly: you, me, any of us holding back all that we have to offer the world because we somehow think that just one more class, one more training, one more certification will give us the skill and qualification to finally provide what others need.
I’m sure of this: you already have what others need and want. How do I know? Because it’s what you need and want.
Do I merely work from my hunger and longing; my own desire for growth and development? No. These are, of course, intentionally partnered with my education, certification, ongoing training, and amazing peer support (not to mention a catalog of books that is ever-growing on my Kindle). It is when I work – and risk – from both my expertise and my vulnerabilities that I step into places of wisdom and genuineness that cannot be taught in a skill-based context alone, but through the honest lessons of life. I have to practice what I preach, as well.
It’s not (only) about being fully qualified; it’s about recognizing that your desire is what fuels the wisdom you offer others. It’s not (ever) about being perfect; it’s about being honest.
It’s (always) about “Preaching to the Choir” – saying what you most want, you most believe, you most long to have be true and trusting that those same words, that exact perspective will be exactly what someone else has been waiting to hear.
Our willingness to act – and risk – within the context of our vulnerabilities is the very thing that makes us strong, amazing, and exemplary.
It is grace, indeed, to realize that we have the capacity to receive and give simultaneously, to offer joy in the midst of our own pain, to provide insight in our own confusion, to see ourselves as capable and strong and competent even as we ever-strive for more of the same.
Ronna Detrick M.Div. transforms women’s sacred stories. A Spiritual Director (or “Evocator,” as she likes to call herself) for more than 10 years, she loves inviting deep, passionate, and rich conversation about things that matter: faith, hope, desire, and what it means to be a woman of voice, impact, and strength. She blogs . She offers products and courses. She speaks, including a recent TedX talk. She does Sacred Readings. And she’s recently signed a contract with a literary agent who is talking to publishers even now about her book in which she re-imagines the ancient, sacred stories of women in ways that invite us to do the same.