Whose Path are You On?

Next week will be the one-year anniversary of my foray into blogging.  In some ways it seems hard to believe it’s been a whole year, in others it feels like the world has changed.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I wrote my first blog post a year ago, I just knew it was time to begin writing.

You see, I attended the SOBCon conference last year on a simple, gut level belief that I was meant to be in that room, and what SOBCon helped me realize was that there was a whole world of opportunity out there that I had not been allowing myself to dream about.  For years I had let the limitations of my kidney failure – and ultimately the transplant process – limit my view of the difference I could make in the world.

Getting Beyond the Limitations

My experience at SOBCon, along with the guidance of a truly wise friend, helped me to see that it was time to start expressing myself.  And when I say, “myself,” I mean the real me.

The many years I had spent successfully climbing the corporate ladder had left me out of balance.  I was clinging to all of the masculine traits that I possess that had enabled me to be successful, and was suppressing most of my feminine side.

What I had failed to consider was the possibility that by being more in balance, by expressing my true feminine side, that I might have been even more successful…that perhaps by limiting my self-expression I was actually holding myself back!

How many of us do this?  We purposefully (or perhaps subconsciously) choose to act in a particular way that we believe will enable us to be successful in our endeavors, and in choosing to act a certain way we unknowingly suppress parts of ourselves that we would share with the world if we had no limitations upon ourselves.

I realized that for years I wasn’t bringing my true self – my complete self – to the table.

So I woke up and realized it was time to start writing.

For me, the confluence of events was a message to begin expressing myself through writing.  But the message I heard was a test – to see just how deeply “I got it.”

The very first post I wrote was entitled, “What CEOs Can Learn From the Goddess of Vision.”  May I say… you can’t use the word “Goddess” in your blog post title and talk about the Egyptian Goddess Isis without tapping into your feminine side…at least a bit? The post virtually wrote itself – a feeling of true, naked self-expression.

And then came the test.

I shared the post with three exceptional bloggers who also happen to be friends of mine; gentlemen that I respect completely and whose opinions I trust emphatically: Mack Collier, Anthony Iannarino, and Steve Woodruff.

What each of them said is irrelevant.  What’s important is that I received the gift of two very different views:

  1. What took you so long? Post this immediately
  2. You’re taking a big risk by talking about goddesses…I don’t want to see you get laughed at

Of course, it was only in retrospect I realized that this was a gift – and an incredible blessing.  Why?  It forced me to understand at the depth of my soul how important it was to express myself – my true self, goddess power and all – rather than to continue to conform to a view of what was expected of me as a successful business leader.

The moment I hit “publish” on that blog post -without changing a word of what I’d written – was my moment of freedom.  It was the moment I committed to finally being myself.  And what a year it has been.

If any bit of my experience resonates with you; if you have a hunch or just know in your bones that you’re not yourself in your work, then I am imploring you to take a very close look at how you may be imposing limitations on your own self-expression.

How to know if it’s you that you’re really expressing:

Here’s the thing.  After I received the feedback from my three dear friends my gut told me to follow the concerned advice.  I took a “red pen” to my post and eliminated all references to goddesses and to Isis…and in the process the blog post lost its soul.

Now, it still had a valuable business message, but it didn’t have any of me in it.

Every cell in my body realized this and I lost all enthusiasm for the post I’d written.  I decided at that point that I wasn’t ready – I was not going to launch my blog.

Facing your own truth

When I told one of the three gentlemen about my decision, he wrote to me in a way that virtually grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes, and he gave me two critical pieces of advice:

  1. If you change the post then don’t publish it, because it won’t really be reflecting who you are
  2. You have to write from your passion, and not worry about what others think, or it will sap your energy

It was by reading his words that I understood the depth of the gift I’d been given from all three of my friends.  They’d forced me to the fork in the road where I had to decide which path I was going to take moving forward.

I chose the path that had my name written on it.

Whose path are you on?

~

Join me tomorrow night as we talk about this in Leadership Chat… “How to know you’re on the right path as a leader.”

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Thank you for reading and for being part of this community – it means so much to me.

You can find me on Twitter at @LisaPetrilli and on LinkedIn. To hire me for Visionary Leadership programs, Magnetic Marketing Consulting or for the Social Media Concierge program, email me at [email protected].

Photo is The Self + The Path by h.koppdelaney.

Comments

  1. Well, Lisa, you are obviously ‘paying it forward’ because it was thanks to you (and to dear Mr. Collier) that I found the courage to put myself out there. You inspire, delight, and warm my heart with your blog (I love reading about your Goddesses!)
    I feel blessed to be supported by so many smart and caring people. I have come to accept that sometimes I’m going to sound like a dork but, occasionally, a little flash of insight from me may make someone think more deeply or smile more broadly (I know I do when I read your blog :-)).
    I also realized that I am not going to try to ‘compete’ with anyone but just aim to share, as you do, openly & honestly. Thank you, Lisa, and I raise my *virtual* glass (clink) and toast your one-year anniversary ;-)

    (and Gini Dietrich told me that the ‘hit publish panic attacks’ never go away. I was so relieved to know this ;-))
    Tobey Deys´s last blog post ..Coffee 29 Reasons you should …

    • Tobey,

      It’s truly an honor and a pleasure to know that I have provided a bit of inspiration – thank you for letting me know and kudos to you for having the courage to take the leap! Know that you will be touching others each and every day with your blog – even if they don’t let you know it directly in the comments. Keep making the difference you are meant to make!

      And it’s wonderful to see how deeply you understand that your blog is a reflection of you, and that you should not try to compare it to anyone else’s!

      Thanks so much for the toast – raising mine to you as well and toasting to a glorious year ahead for you!

  2. Lisa I am so happy this blog exists. One of the things I constantly hear people say is ‘It’s too late for me to start a blog, there are too many now’. You are living proof that anyone can start a blog IF they have a voice that’s interesting and valuable to others.

    And you definitely do :) Congrats on one year of amazing content, can’t wait to see what the next year holds!
    mack collier´s last blog post ..Why setting realistic goals for your blog is so important

    • Thank you for such kind words, Mack – and thank you for being such an important part of its inspiration and its birth! I can’t wait to see what the next year holds as well, and you helped me see it’s OK to just head down the path fully open to whatever that might be. :)

  3. Hi Lisa-

    Your story a great example of the difference between writing for SEO, traffic, popularity, “the market”, etc. and writing *to be heard*. Too often women eliminate what’s specifically female or feminist in their writing as a way to de-gender their posts so that men will read them, when the reality is that the men (and women) you really want to reach are those who are happy to hear your whole voice.

    I’ve gotten some interesting pushback on using exclamation points, describing myself as a feminist, and blending politics with business — (see my blog for posts on this) but in the end that’s what creates my Point of View.

    Your post is a great reminder that in order to put our passion into our work, we must put ourselves into our work– the goddess parts as well as the C-suite parts.

    cv
    cv harquail´s last blog post ..7 Reasons To ReThink Social Scoring Inside Social Organizations– before it’s too late

    • CV,

      Thank you so much – and I couldn’t agree with you more. I discovered that men did want to hear my whole voice when so many of them started leaving comments that were full of depth and their own souls. It was an awakening for me.

      Cheers to you for knowing and committing to your own Point of View; I respect you tremendously for being so truly enlightened. It is a pleasure to have met you – I am looking forward to knowing you better through your writing and future meetings. All the very best!

  4. Greg Hartle says:

    I’m blessed to know you, Lisa. Your posts become more insightful and inspiring with each one I read. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Lisa,

    You are doing a great job and as they say: “you were born to blog”. There is no right or wrong time to start just perhaps “your time”….. when you feel like you are ready and have something of value to share. Many of your blogs are indeed inspirational. Congrats on the 1st year!

    Mark

  6. Lisa, thanks for sharing. The question you ask is valid for each of us: Whose path are you on? Until recently I’ve never been on my own path. I chose others’ paths for me thinking they’d get me where I wanted to go. I never even took the time to know where I wanted to go. Thanks for sharing the landmark.

    Mike…
    Mike Henry Sr.´s last blog post ..Don’t Dash Off – Give Change a Chance

    • Mike,

      You know, I never would have guessed that about you. Thank you for sharing so openly here…what a thrill to know you finally found your vision and your path!

  7. Lisa,
    Great post. Congrats on your first anniversary. I think all great writing boils down to having the courage to write from the heart and be yourself. That’s what makes your posts so inspiring to read and so rare. I look forward to many more anniversaries to come.

    • Sean, those are such powerful words – thank you from the bottom of my heart. Know that you were part of my journey…in that first blogging class with me! :)

  8. Lisa,

    it was great to meet you at #SOBcon11.

    I’d heard your name before, and I wish we could’ve talked a bit.

    Great post.

    I rarely find myself backing off of a post-I really try to let the real me shine through.

    It’s been worth it!
    The Franchise King®
    Joel Libava´s last blog post ..Why I Cant Be a Franchise Consultant or a Franchise Broker Ever Again

    • Joel,

      It was wonderful to meet you as well. Kudos to you for being courageous and committed to letting yourself shine through. I hope we’ll have the chance to connect more in the future. All the very best!

  9. I got directed here by @SeanMcGinnis and I’m glad I came. Congrats!
    John´s last blog post ..Philosopher Seeks Blank Slate

    • Thank you, John! Honored to know that Sean sent you and very grateful to have you here! Thank you for taking the time to share your well wishes; it means so much to me. :)

  10. “Whose path are you on?” Bam. Right between the eyes, and if we’re at all paying attention, that question should also land squarely in the gut.

    Thank you for having the courage to put yourself out there, Lisa. In doing so, you inspire others to be genuine as well. Our lives as communal animals means that we do draw strength from each other, and for whatever reason, there still exists the need for affirmation and inclusion when we take a risk. Having brave folks like you on the edge of disclosure creates a safe space for others to follow.

    I wish you could feel the full force of these words. Bits and bytes are poor representatives of the emotions behind the keystrokes.

    Courage whispers.
    @mckra1g´s last blog post ..mckra1g- RT @WWDr1ve- Hit a wall 7 ways to beat stress @greghartle http-bitly-k6gShB sobcon

    • Molly… I think I do. More than anything I’m thrilled to see you sharing your heart and your divine self with the world. Blessed to have you as a friend!

  11. Hi Lisa!

    I remember when you started your blog. Seems like it was yesterday. And do you want to know a secret? I was MAD at how well your first post did!

    See, when you started blogging, I had already been plodding on for about a month. I could not seem to BUY a comment. I was doing everything people suggested. I was asking questions. I was being interesting (Er, well, I thought so). Couldn’t get nothing from nobody. Then I see this post floating around, “How I got sixy kajillion comments on my first ever post,” And I thought, Man oh man, are you kidding? Should I just roll over and die now? :)

    Of course, over the last year it has become quite apparently why your blog is so successful, and I am now rather much thrilled (I thank you very much) that you decided to open yourself up to this crazy online world. You’re a woman to be admired, my dear.
    Margie Clayman (@margieclayman)´s last blog post ..The thing that might destroy Social Media

    • Margie,

      You are wonderful to be so open and honest with me about this – and now I feel badly… ;)

      As you know, though, that post about the blog’s success was all about the support of so many people that got me to that point. Yes, once there I had to jump off the cliff by myself, but without such a tremendous support system and so many people rooting for my success, I never would have had the same result.

      You have been such a blessing in my life this past year and I know we are destined to meet at some point along the way in these next 12 months. Thank you for all of your amazing support!

  12. Lisa,
    If you spend enough time on social media platforms and/or twitter chats, you’ll hear a lot of talk on “writing for your audience”, SEO, keywords, authenticity and transparency (oy!). They think if they blog the right things with the right keywords at the right length, they’ll soon be able to give up their day jobs and blog for a living. Castles made of sand, I say.

    Now for those that write for their companies, this does not apply as they have certain restrictions to their freedom of expression (regardless of what they tell you). Then there are those that write on their expertise (filmmaking, video producing, social media marketing, cooking, etc). Their audience visit their blog for that particular information. This is what “blogging” is.

    Ah, but how wonderful it is when we are free to “write” as an artform; to express ourselves. When we are not at the mercy of an “audience” and the only expectations from those visiting our site is honesty; our truth. I don’t write for my audience, I let my writing create the audience. Writing is an art still, is it not? It’s still about expression, no?

    Congratulations on your 1st year. Keep bringing the truth – there ain’t a whole lotta that to be found on social media…
    Dan Perez´s last blog post ..Authenticity- Transparency- &amp Hypocrisy- An Observation

    • Thank you, Dan – this comment means a lot to me because I know how fully committed you are to truth and simplicity and cutting through the BS. We are two, very fortunate souls to be able to write without any limitations – I’m honored to be on a similar journey to your own! I’ll try to keep bringing it if you promise to hold me accountable when I don’t! ;)

  13. Lisa,
    Thank you for the inspiration. I can’t believe that you have “only” been blogging for a year! You are one of my favorite bloggers/tweeps and I always look forward to your posts. Your content always hits home for me. I began blogging a month ago and you are my inspiration. Keep putting yourself out there!

    • Susan, that is so very sweet of you to say – thank you. I’m honored to know that it resonates with you and all the very best with your blogging efforts! I hope you find it as fulfilling as I have, in every way!

  14. Kathy Manweiler says:

    Oh Lisa, congratulations on your first anniversary of blogging! Your blog has been such a source of knowledge and encouragement for me since I dived into social media about six months ago. I’m in the process of developing my own blog, and writing about your passion lets your heart show, which can be intimidating. But as I’ve followed many bloggers (including you) for a few months, I realize now that using their unique voices and passions is what makes their posts so authentic and helpful. I really love what you said about following the path that had your name on it. That’s exactly what I needed to hear today, and believe me, I’m taking this to heart. Thanks, Lisa. @kamkansas

    • Kathy,

      Honestly, that feedback makes it all worthwhile – knowing that one particular sentence was what you needed to hear today is very fulfilling – and I know you’ll feel that as well when you are ready to launch yours! (And you’ll have to keep me posted!) Thanks for being here with me along my journey, and for all the kindness you bring here in the comments!

  15. Beth Collier says:

    Hey, Lisa. I love how this post, especially, and all your posts provide a glimpse into the ‘real you’. I always feel like I know you a little better every time I read one. I’m so glad Mack introduced us because you’re a shining star in the darkness to me. You truly inspire me and today you opened my eyes to the fact that I, too, have been guilty all of my life of putting on a mask that I thought was what others preferred to the real me. What a wonderful release you must of felt by ‘letting go’ and being yourself. And what a wonderful self you are! Congratulations on your one anniversary and here’s to many more!! Love you! :)

    • Beth,

      That’s such a beautiful thing to say… I’m so happy to know you and so grateful to know that I’ve inspired you in some way.

      What a gift to know that the post resonated in such a way that you can see the mask! Now you just have to commit to putting it in a closet and never bringing it out again. It’s not easy, but the world isn’t the same without the true you. There is a divine light inside you that needs to shine…and I’ve learned that mine cannot shine when I put filters over it or suppress half of it.

      I hope you’ll let yours shine each and every day moving forward! And thank you for the sweet words of encouragement. :)

  16. Lisa…I am so glad you are writing and inspiring others to express their thoughts openly and freely. Most importantly, I believe in writing with passion.

    Writing/blogging I think is truly and entrepreneurial experience. It is taking that leap of faith in the hopes to touch an innovative opportunity, and scale with passion. Blogging is so personal and many times parallels the entrepreneurial experience of starting our own business(es). The chair on my graduate work is currently studying how entrepreneurs communicate and I believe that blogs are the hidden pieces of communication that charts our path of innovation and exploration.

    So why do I bring this up, because leaders like yourself have learned to step out and write….write with focus and passion. You have also expressed your interest in a way that drives business for you, via your blog. You have a great way to articulate your thoughts, very few possess.

    It was great to meet you at SOBCON and I am looking forward to connecting again!

    Best and thanks for sharing!
    Bobby
    Bobby Rettew´s last blog post ..What is your passion

    • Bobby,

      I so appreciate your kind words and your insights about how entrepreneurs communicate. Fascinating given that’s what so many of us are… I was thrilled to have the chance to meet you as well and hope that in the future we’ll have more time to sit down and really connect. All the best and thank you for being along with me for the ride this year!

  17. Lisa, this year was my first at SOBCon and I came away with the same feeling you express here – I’m not being my true self in my business and blog and it’s time to do that. Thanks for this post and confirming my decision to go “true.”
    Susan Giurleo´s last blog post ..This Video Has Nothing and Everything to Do With Business

    • Susan,

      I couldn’t be happier to hear that… Go rock the world in your own, true way! And thank you for sharing your SOBCon experience. Hope to see you there next year.

  18. Lisa,

    Congratulations on finding your voice, reaching so many with your great work, and reaching an endurance milestone. I started down the path of writing about 3 months ago, and while my art of expression is mostly for me, choosing a new path “makes all the difference”.

    http://marketingbard.com/2011/02/15/the-path-less-traveled/
    Bill Strawderman´s last blog post ..Mad Hatter Marketing

    • Thank you, Bill – that means so much to me! Kudos to you for starting down the path…I hope it’s as fulfilling for you as it is for me. Wishing you all the very best with it!

  19. Thanks – I think I discovered your blog and you shortly after you started and treasure your writing. It may have been Mack Collier posting a link with a Tweet about it.

    I’m so glad you made this decision. It’s helped me crystalize a lot of what I’m thinking – in conjunction with #LeadershipChat. Dan Perez actually provided similar advice to me about expressing thoughts that are more out there – more real. He’s pushing me to write more provocatively, and thus deliver more meaning. It’s advice I’ve been thinking about and consider a gift. I know I personally have a tendency to hold back to what I think people expect from me while knowing that’s not always the best thing to do!

    In the book “Are You Ready to Succeed” by Srikumar Rao he talks about mental models we use to create reality – a reality – but recognizing that there are others. You’ve broken through and demontrated the power of changing your reality.

    Thanks again!
    Patrick Prothe´s last blog post ..Bobblehead Leadership

    • Patrick,

      You’re on a truly powerful path – and getting brilliant advice from Dan if what it leads to is you being more truthful and “real” about who you are. You should write provocatively if that’s what best expresses you…but you’re the only one who can judge what “real” looks like for you.

      I’m honored that you found me, however that happened, and so grateful that you’ve been on this journey with me. I wish you all the best as you find your own path…it will be the one you feel completely comfortable walking on!

  20. Happy Anniversary Lisa! You continue to be an inspiration to me through your writing and our friendship. A heartfelt thanks to you for all you give of yourself in each and every post. -Lisa

  21. Hi Lisa,
    Congratulations on your first anniversary! I’m just over six months in and loving the journey! (Did I just type “loving the journey”?!)
    I can relate to your hesitation to put yourself out there. That’s the hardest part, isn’t it? And yes, as you say, without the “you”, there’s nothing of any value.
    I sometimes mention my “Reiki” work which isn’t yet mainstream, but I take a chance and it goes OK. What’s blogging without risks?
    I think the important thing is to keep your goals in view – the reasons you started blogging in the first place. It’s so easy to become sidetracked out here in the Blogosphere! Stay the course! You certainly should – seems you’re on a good one!
    Lori

    • Lori,

      Thank you so much for the beautiful wishes and yes, I believe you did just say you’re loving your own journey! How wonderful!

      You’re absolutely right about how easy it is to get sidetracked, and how critical our own goals and motivations are. I am doing my best to be true to my path – wishing you the same on your own joyful journey!

  22. Hi Lisa,

    This is a great post. I had the worst anxiety when I launched my blog a few weeks ago. The support I have got has been overwhelming.

    When I edit myself to death, and take “me” out of a post, I feel it. The most challenging posts are the ones that I do not edit that much. The ones where I talk about not having a lot of faith, and about surviving abuse. They may not get a lot of comments yet, but they will.

    I am always encouraged when I read something like this, because it reminds me not to lose focus. Following my heart is not such a bad thing. I need to remember that censoring myself because I am afraid of my essential truth is a bad thing.

    Thank you for being you. Now I want to be a Goddess!
    Nancy Davis´s last blog post ..Getting My Voice Back

    • Thank you, Nancy.

      I’m so happy to hear that you’ve received overwhelming support with the launch of your blog – it means you’re making a difference and it’s of great value to others.

      The fact that you’ve already tapped into the truth about how editing your words sometimes edits out your soul means you’ve done the hardest work already.

      Don’t lose your focus, follow your heart and most importantly – know that you are already a goddess… You already have your own divine light within you, it’s simply time to embrace it and let it out into the world. Wishing you great joy…

  23. Lisa,
    It was fun coming by here today and reading about how your first post developed. Do you remember I commented on that post and I think I might have been the only person that questioned you about the goddess reference! LOL…I remember trying to phrase my question so that I wouldn’t hurt your feelings, so I settled on: “One last question, can you provide a point of reference for Isis being the Goddess of Vision and Insight?”
    You see, everything I read(admittedly not a lot) indicated Isis was the goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility! You assured me that you had found a “cheesy” link that referenced her vision and insight! Cheesy was your word.

    What an interesting year it has been. You and I have had a lot of good talks here and there. And for that I thank you.

    Judy
    Judy Helfand´s last blog post ..Whats all this about comments

    • Judy,

      Yes, I remember and I believe you found me through Chris Brogan’s tweet that day. :) And yes, you asked me about Isis – which was beautiful because I knew you were really engaged with the post!

      And yes, she is goddess of all of these wonderful things and so much more – she is all that is feminine and divine in complete balance. I’ve learned so much about her on my own journey and it’s been fascinating to travel this path with you during these last 12 months.

      Thank you for all of you encouragement, support, and insights, and for sharing so much of yourself with me here! Hugs and hoping we’ll meet in person sometime in this coming year…

  24. Lisa,

    This is exactly what I needed to read today! I have been feeling this pull to begin blogging. Lately this pull has turned into, WRITE a BLOG ALREADY! I have now written two, one that I felt I had to write, and one that just flowed from me. But fear has kept me from pushing the publish button! The advice you left us with was exactly what I needed to read! I hope I can be writing a similar one year Anniversary blog next year! Thank you so much for the final nudge:)

    • Stephani,

      I’m thrilled to know that this was what you needed to hear most today. I encourage you to hit publish and start down a beautiful new path…you will discover so much about yourself and about others along the way. Be open to the journey and it will fulfill you in ways you cannot imagine! All the very best to you and please let me know when you do hit that publish button!

  25. Lisa – First congrats on your one year! I have attempted and stumbled at starting a blog and now committed fully to two. It’s helpful ready your journey/path and all the wonderful comments from others that reassures newbies that it will all work out to follow your own way.
    Shannon´s last blog post ..Take a Walk and Get Paid for It

    • Shannon,

      Thank you so much! As I said to Stephani, you will discover it’s a beautiful journey and you will learn so much about yourself along the way. I’m thrilled to hear you say you’re “committed fully” – I love it! Go make it happen and see how your life starts to unfold in beautiful new ways! All the best of success to you!

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