What I Learned About Being Different (Inspired By A Frog)

In grade school, the wise and lovable Kermit the Frog introduced me and my fellow Gen X’ers to the challenging and wonderful aspects of being your unique, authentic self.

It most certainly isn’t easy being green, Kermit.

Striking your own path, being different than others means standing out and often not conforming to standards and expectations of your family or society generally.

How many of us became doctors or lawyers or took over the family business because that is what our parents expected of us? My dad, thankfully, didn’t pressure me to follow him into his dental practice. When I asked him, he replied, “You didn’t show a lick of interest.” I consider myself very fortunate that he held that perspective – being a dentist held zero appeal for me.

I started my career as a lawyer, a choice I made on my own. My dad was very proud of his lawyer daughter and actively engaged in conversations about the law with me. When I transitioned into software development and then electronic discovery during the early days of both industries, my dad’s interest waned. They were careers that he didn’t understand and couldn’t relate to – forget about him trying to explain what I did to others! They were also not as prestigious by societal standards.

However, when I later chose to get certified as a professional coach and energy healer, I’m pretty sure my dad thought I had jumped off the deep end. While he never verbalized it as such, it was apparent that he certainly didn’t understand it and judged it as not socially acceptable. As a result, any time I tried to talk about my practice, he invariably changed the topic of conversation even when I was mid-sentence. Ouch.

Similarly, I was afraid to tell my network which was largely folks in the legal world, that I was going in an entirely different direction, one that didn’t follow the rules we all felt comfortable living by. There was a certain status associated with the level of professional success I had achieved in eDiscovery. Reactions ranged from “why are you giving this up?” to “I wish I could, too.”

On the one hand, I didn’t have the support at home. That was incredibly disappointing and unsettling. On the other hand, I was afraid to be rejected or judged harshly by the network I had spent years building if I showed up as my true self, unmasked, and as a beginner (Holy fear of failure, Batman! We’ll save that for another post).

As I mentioned in my last post, I chose to limit my marketing to personal contacts and avoid online marketing. I chose specific people to contact to limit the rejection – a common trauma response is to control your environment. I was petrified to surrender to what could or would happen if I shouted out to my network, “this is who I am!” and rolled the dice.

This experience taught me numerous valuable lessons.

One lesson was that our families and friends might not support us in major life changes. And that’s ok. We simply need to find our new tribe that will. I found myself spending more time with fellow lightworkers because they understood me at the deepest levels and accepted me for who and what I am. Those relationships have been incredibly nourishing.

My second lesson was the importance of finding of our own inner strength and belief to go after what we desire. Simply because family and friends don’t support us doesn’t mean our new direction lacks value or that their opinion governs our decisions. We all have free will and the power of choice. We determine our futures. We can follow our hearts and build a fulfilling life, or we can let others’ opinions dictate our actions and wonder why we feel unfulfilled. This has been and continues to be a big part of my healing journey.

My third lesson was that we tell ourselves a lot of false narratives and base our actions upon them. I had been operating under the limiting belief that my entire legal network would reject me because lawyers tend to gravitate to their peers and view other professions as beneath the law. I was blown away when several people in my network admitted that they worked with an energy healer. This was a relief because hiding behind a mask takes a lot of energy and doesn’t feel very good.

My fourth lesson was actually another reminder that I wasn’t alone – I met other lawyers who became energy healers and coaches, and like me, were stepping into their new identities. What? I’m not the only one attempting this massive transformation?! What a relief.

My fifth lesson walloped me when the realization hit. I had been so afraid of rejection and hiding behind a mask that was no longer me, that it never occurred to me that the person I allowed others to know and accept not only wasn’t me but was also the lucky recipient of my energy. I certainly didn’t want to continue funneling my energy, a precious and limited resource, into something I didn’t want. Talk about a newfound sense of motivation!

Layer into that how I hadn’t given myself credit that I am terrific just as I am or give others credit that they were capable of adapting to these new aspects of me. Suddenly, I had so much more energy to direct towards what I did want to create in my life and business.

My sixth lesson (and final lesson I am sharing in this post), is I am not for everyone – nobody is. I want to attract more like-minded people to me so if people deselect themselves from my life, then Darwinism is working properly. Thank you, Charles. I am finding and creating my new tribe, my new family and the more I do, the more at home and fulfilled I feel.

I am DONE wearing a mask and wasting my energy hiding.
I am DONE looking to others for validation of my direction.
I am sharing my message more so that I will increasingly attract members of my tribe.

Kermit, thank you for the valuable life lessons that only took decades to really learn and embody.

What about you?

  • What lessons have you learned along your journey?
  • Which of these lessons resonate with you?
  • What are you done doing?

Keep on learning, my friends.