Living Authentically: In Life + Business

You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.
— Brené Brown

When I started Inner Circle I was super pumped about blogging and building a presence on social media. For one, I really love to write. I have since I was a kid. I find that I can get my thoughts across more effectively via written word than I can verbally sometimes. And despite some of the negative parts of social media, I really enjoy posting unique images and content. Something about blogging and social media really tug at me. It feeds my creativity.

So, it came to me as a surprise that after my first blog post and the first few social media posts I shot out for Inner Circle, I suddenly stopped. I felt this resistance—a block. For awhile, I dismissed it as just me being busy, not having enough time, etc. Then I stumbled upon a post in my Instagram feed, from a well-known business and life coach, highlighting the importance of using your authentic voice when marketing a business. People connect to your story.

Hmm…

I’d always seen myself as one to live pretty authentically. I’ve worked for years on consciously showing up more authentic in many areas of my own life after not doing so for far too long. I mean, this is one of focuses of my work with clients—how to empower yourself by living authentically. However, for days I couldn’t shake what she said. And I began asking myself, am I showing up authentically in Inner Circle’s marketing? Am I sharing my true voice?

The answer that appeared was a hard “no”.

Well, maybe a “yes and no” but definitely closer to a “no”. I recognized I have fear around taking full ownership of my own business, which stems from some of my own core wounding and beliefs. I have fear of sharing my story and my voice. The more I thought about it, I began to realize how misaligned these negative feelings and beliefs are with why I even started Inner Circle in the first place.

I started Inner Circle because I want to share with folks the tools and practices that have so deeply impacted my own healing. Every single component I incorporate into a retreat are techniques, skills, practices that I have personally used and have had positive influences in my own journey to heal. My dream for myself and my career is to share these with people--to show people no matter how deeply hurt, broken, misunderstood, they may feel or believe they are, that there are ways to heal themselves. That they can find the true light, beauty and acceptance within themselves.

Because I did. And trust me, I came from a place of believing I was inherently wrong. I have experienced trauma and suffering. And through dedicated, committed work to heal, I truly feel I have rose above my old story.

Coming to this conclusion about my own misconception of myself and how I thought I’d been showing up in the world reminded me of an experience I had during my yoga teacher training. It was the last week of our month-long training and we were to co-teach a yoga class to our peers in small groups. Very long story short, I completely blanked out when it was my turn to teach. Which is really unlike me.

Naturally, my perfectionist side did not like this.

I held it together for the rest of our class but as soon as it ended, I cried. And I was mortified. Also, very unlike me, because those close to me know, I can cry pretty easily and I’m comfortable with that. When we were dismissed from our class and walking back to our rooms, a dear friend of mine approached me.

I will never forget what she said to me, because it completely shifted how I see myself in relation to others and how I carry myself in the world now. She said something like, “You know what Kelsey, I’m really sorry that you experienced that but it felt really good to finally see you break down like that. I felt like I got to see the real you. Because if you messed up, then we’re all screwed.”

Mind blown. Shift of consciousness.

I’m smiling as I type out this story, not only because blanking out as a new yoga teacher seems so minor to me now in hindsight, but also because my dear, wise friend forever opened my mind and my heart that evening. Life is too short to act like we have everything together. People like realness and rawness. We are beautiful, imperfect humans. I realized maybe I'm not always as authentic as I believe to be. It shed a light on where more of my own healing needs to happen. Not to mention I cringe I hear people say they think I have it all together—I sure as hell don’t. And I'm happy about that!

This is one of the downsides of social media that we sometimes forget about—we often present the parts of ourselves we want the world to see. And sometimes it doesn’t always match with what’s happening behind the screen.

I want the people who already know me and who I meet, whether that’s through Inner Circle or in my personal life, to know that I have my struggle. I have bad days. And I have also worked really hard to find healing and inner strength. And I make a conscious choice, daily (maybe not always gracefully) to cultivate that part of myself.

So, this post is my first step in being more authentic when running my business, showing up in my career and more in my personal life. I vow to be more vulnerable, use my voice, share my story, in hopes to shed light onto those of you who are looking for guidance in deeper healing in mind, body and spirit. I will never claim to have all of the answers (never trust anyone who says they do) but I do believe I can provide guidance to those from the path I’ve been walking.

After all, in the words of Ram Dass, “We’re all just walking each other home.”

Kelsey Ullrich