Or, part 3 of my adventures in coaching
So far, you’ve heard a lot about what Tim told me and what I thought about it, but now I’ll tell you how what I’ve learned and practiced so far has had real results. It’s all well and good to say that it made me feel better but the proof of positive change is in what happens when the chicken plops out of the can, so to speak.
After our last coaching session, I felt like much of the conflicting emotions I was having dissipated greatly. We spoke about obliterating undermining beliefts and reframing situations, which helped me enormously in my tendency to second guess decisions. I’ll quote the most helpful bit from Tim’s follow up email to me:
Any beliefs that hold you back from achieving your full potential need to be eradicated. Too many people think that they are being realistic by worrying about stuff that may never happen! It’s neither realistic nor helpful.
I think my husband would very much like me to have that tatooed on my hand, because I might, just maybe, sometimes indulge in disaster scenarios. That’s not a completely bad trait though as it shows I have great imagination and will serve me well if I ever decide to write thrillers.
The other thing Tim helped me with was feeling comfortable in saying I am fairly good at this writing/entertaining thing and should keep at it and see where it goes. That in mind, I decided to invest in myself and told my husband that instead of Mother’s Day/anniversary/birthday gifts this month (May is Tracy month!) I’d like to use that money to get some design work done on the blog. Then, and this is the crucial step I often leave out, I contacted a designer whose work I liked and asked for a quote and started things in motion. It felt good taking myself seriously and taking steps to present a more polished appearance to the world, even though I knew tens of thousands of people wouldn’t be visiting my blog in the next week.
But then they did.
If you didn’t see it, my whole chicken in a can post took off and was linked in Food Network Humor and Gizmodo plus dozens of other blogs, forums, facebook pages, Metafilter, Stumble Upon, Digg and Reddit. It was simply amazing how it took off but it wasn’t without a certain amount of stress.
The most obvious problem was that my site simply wasn’t up to handling that sort of traffic and soon ground to a screeching halt. I should have installed a super cache plugin but never bothered, because my daily traffic is normally measured in the hundreds, well spread out across the day. I’m okay at basic Word Press stuff, but trying to install a rather finicky plugin while only intermittently able to access the site and taking care of four kids was a bit of a challenge. Technical issues aside, this is also the point where I’d normally beat myself up for not having a NASA grade server and not knowing the php and thinking that the entire world was tsk-tsking me and vowing to never return to I Hate My Message Board again, as clearly the owner was not up to snuff.
Instead I took a deep breath, reminded myself that this happens to all sorts of sites, decided to order Chinese food and started to do what needed to be done step by step. And it worked. It wasn’t easy, but I kept my cool and didn’t get into a tizzy or have hissy fits or twisty turny tummy. I was a little nervous, but by the next morning, we had the plugin installed and after that the traffic was no problem.
The second problem was that I was curious and read some of the comments on the various sites. A few of them weren’t very nice and implied that I must be stupid or unimaginative. Buzzfeed referred to me as a nasty woman that ate an entire chicken in a can. I admit, there were moments when I felt like I should step in and offer proof that I am smart, creative, well groomed and did not eat the whole chicken but for the most part I laughed it off. As Tim said in his email to me:
We no longer care about people that want to hurt us, because they don’t care about us. If they aim to hurt, then we don’t help them out by allowing them to do so, right? It’s our choice
What bothered me more was a few comments about my son’s dirty face in one of the pictures and somebody saying he had an unfortunate haircut. I think all of you parents can understand how much I wanted to set the record straight on that, but ultimately decided doing so would be counterproductive. I did decide that this was a lesson learned and from now on I won’t include photos of the kids in my blog posts.
The third problem was very mixed feelings about my first toe dip into getting huge traffic was a post of pictures of me pouring a chicken from a can. So, I thought about it for a bit and realized why the heck not? I enjoy doing those sorts of posts and it seems like many people want to see them. I would like to eventually be known for my other kinds of posts, but until that happens, why not be tickled pink that a lot of people saw my gooey chicken? I know who I am and what I’m capable of, so why worry what other people might think? The thing is, I was crippling myself with worrying about how I thought I should feel about things, but how I feel about things is just fine. There is a place in this world for a blog about hating message boards, high school memories, life coaching journeys, neurotic observations and odd foodstuffs and I am quite happy occupying it.
I told Tim in our last session that I was anxious because this is the part where I usually get overwhelmed and freaked out and give up. Then after we spoke, the perfect opportunity came for me to do just that, but instead I plowed through and am here standing tall and plotting out my next move.
Being coached was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself . I was managing without it, but this has helped me reach into myself and pull out the same resolve and confidence that was always in me, I just couldn’t find it. I said something I thought was corny at the time in response to this post at the Rat Race Trap: Develop the Courage to Take Risks
Watch a child learn to walk. They struggle and they fall. Then they bounce back up with a smile on their face and they try again. They are not afraid to fall and somehow intuitively know it is part of the learning process.
And I commented:
That was always one of my favorite parts of having a small baby. There is something just so life affirming and energizing about watching them try, fall down, try again and finally that triumphant beam.
Hokey alert: We were born to be plucky and determined, weren’t we? It’s a skill some of us lost, but we can regain it. We weren’t born quitters!
My work with Tim helped me internalize that and put it into action. That’s what coaching is about, I think, showing you that you have the skills already, you just need to practice them.
I have one more session left, I’ll miss talking with Tim but I think I have progressed enough to take it from here. If you’d like to benefit from Tim’s wisdom yourself, take a look at his blog, The Discomfort Zone.