Recently, I was honored to be invited to speak at Rich Litvin‘s Extraordinary Woman Intensive event.
Going into my talk, I thought I was there to talk about financial liberation, using credit wisely and living your life now.
But as he invited me onto the stage and introduced me, it turned into something entirely more… and different than I had expected.
You can catch the talk here:
If you've followed me at all, you may have noticed I use two different names – Alexis Neely and Ali Shanti. These two are wholly different expressions of all of who I am. Yes, they both live in this body, but they are not the same. Though they are integrating, more and more.
Alexis Neely is the bad ass, get-things-done lawyer and business genius who built two million dollar businesses.
And Ali Shanti is the muse, the priestess, the creative and the way I prefer to show up in my personal life, almost all the time these days.
By fully stepping into Ali, I was able to break free of the traditional financial advice paradigm and discover what true financial liberation looks like and how it works. (Read more on the evolution of Alexis + Ali here.)
Alexis? She never would have been willing to do it. It was way too edgy.
I've constantly been told that I had to merge the two; I had to become one. What's this two people thing? It's so confusing. Stop doing that. Why are you doing that? they said.
One well-known coach (David Neagle) even told me I should kill of Alexis Neely altogether.
Kill off Alexis Neely, what? Really? That couldn't be right. And, it wasn't.
Today, there is quit a lot of integration. I have found a way to bring through both Alexis and Ali. But it wasn't always this way.
When in law school I felt a lot of conflict. I didn't know how to be THIS way (the sexual, spiritual, creative – Ali Shanti) and do the things that Alexis does (coach lawyers and entrepreneurs and build million dollar business). I almost gave up. I serve lawyers and I didn't think that I could serve them and still be all of me.
I tried to be the best law student, the best lawyer, but really, the only thing I could actually be the best at was being me.
And being me means showing up fully and freely as all of me. It means sharing exactly what's happening for me as it's happening.
It means sharing my story. All of it. Unvarnished. Unedited. And, often, before it's really ready.
And if you've read any of my Facebook posts on my personal profile, you know this is true.
But the standard advice that's out there says Wait until it's all resolved. Don't share it when it's messy. It's not helpful.
Danielle LaPorte says, Don't share it as it's happening. But I have to!
Brené Brown says, Be vulnerable. But, what you might not have heard Brené say is, don't be too vulnerable. Sharing too much too soon with the wrong people is what Brené calls floodlighting. (Think of when you shine a floodlight in someone's eyes and they put their hands up and begin backing away.)
At the Emerging Women event in Boulder, after Brené spoke, I left in shame. Oh, the irony!
Maybe I have shared too much, too soon, with the wrong people. Maybe I should have kept Ali a secret, hidden away, and never talked about the slutiness, the bankruptcy … the split personalities. Maybe I floodlighted the world, hurt my message.
Maybe, I've fucked it all up.
I'm here with a message of financial liberation, a new perspective on personal finance decisions, and who will ever listen to me now? And, of course that got reinforced back to me by various people who just didn't get it (because everything we see outside of ourselves is a reflection of our own internal consciousness – Tweet this!).
But what I discovered, standing on Rich's stage … my truth is that I have to share it as it's happening.
In fact, I made a big error back in 2010 when I first started letting Ali out (and posted about getting married at Burning Man), got some seriously “negative” backlash on my blog and began a long slow descent into hiding out. It turns out that was the major mistake. Not posting too much and over-sharing, but withdrawing and not sharing enough.
I have to take a stand for all of us over-sharers and those who would be if we knew it was not only okay, but welcome and right and good, and be the kind of vulnerable, open, honest, direct, messy and raw that might just be floodlighting, because, well, that's the thing I can be best in the world at. And, so can you.
Sharing my story is the reason I am here.
Sharing YOUR story is the reason you are here. It's your purpose.
And, maybe, THIS is the message I'm actually here to bring.
And guess what? The right people, the people I'm actually meant to serve? They (you!) are drawn to me as a result of this over-sharing. You don't feel floodlighted (or if you do, you are strong enough to handle a little bright light and it draws you in closer.)
Now it's time to share your story with us, right here in the comments.
(Heads-up, if you use the Facebook comments, it'll post on your Facebook. I didn't know that and I basically came out as bi-sexual by posting a comment on a friend's blog. He was coming out to his son and I wanted to share my story of talking about my sexuality with my kids. Little did I know, that comment would be public on my FB wall until a couple hours later when I hopped back on FB and there it was in all its' glory. And, I decided to leave it up and commented that I was doing that, even though it was edgy. And, yep, one of the lawyers in my program saw it and she wasn't scared off. In fact, she welcomed it. Here's another example of a lawyer who saw more than I was ready for and gave me the best feedback imaginable. So be willing to share more than you think you can.)
What is the piece of your story that you're leaving out? What is it that you don't want to talk about? The weight? The pleasure? The debt? The failure? The secret desire?
What is the one thing going on in your life RIGHT NOW that you're not talking about?
Listen in to the part of my talk where I help several audience members discover and share their stories: