Let. Lisa. Out.
I first heard that more than 10 years ago. I don't remember the exact day, but I remember how I felt when I heard it. I was going through a particularly tough time and he just looked at me and said three simple words: let Lisa out.
And something shifted.
He was reminding me that I could only be happy when I was truly myself. That someone was my husband.
Let Lisa out. Those three words have stuck with me. Whenever something just doesn’t feel right, when I’m trying to be what others want me to be, when I’m not feeling particularly happy, those three words have centered me. They have been a reminder to me that I wasn't being myself.
Being true to myself circled back to me a few months ago. I was laid off. For the first time since 8th grade, I didn’t have a job and I went through every kind of emotion ...
Sadness: Why didn’t they like me? What did I do wrong?
Anger: WTF? You laid ME off?
Fear: Oh my god, how the heck am I going to take care of my family?
Acceptance: Okay, let’s see what’s next for me.
Happiness: Yay! I get a few months off to relax. (Ha! Anyone who’s been laid off knows that relaxing isn’t part of the equation.)
Yep, every emotion. But mostly fear. Fear took control of me.
Since that day, I’ve done a lot of soul searching to conquer that fear. I think my biggest a-ha moment came during a retreat I attended soon after the “incident.” A wise and wonderful woman, Stacy Davenport (stacydavenport.com), pointed out to me that fear often tries to mask your true self, "Fear fades when you are living your true self, when you are not trying to hide, not trying to prove anything, not trying to cover up. When you are simply being you."
Truth be told, I had a lot of fear while I was working at that last job. And it really confused me when it surfaced. Small, random things I’d done all my marketing life suddenly sent me into panic.
A-ha moment again! Towards the end, I couldn’t be myself in that job. Not the job’s fault. Not the company’s fault. The job just didn’t fit my soul anymore.
Me being laid off was the universe tapping me on my shoulder and SCREAMING, “Let Lisa Out, dammit. Let Lisa Out.”
During my last year at that job, while trying to find my happiness there, I discovered I was at my happiest when I was helping others try to find their happiness. I started immersing myself into what positive work cultures do, such as Google, LinkedIn, IBM and more, thinking how great it would be to help our employees get happier.
But, being laid off kind of changed that plan.
So, those three not-so-little words — Let Lisa out — are what led me to launching this business, or what I prefer to say, launching my dharma. Rather than looking for a “real” job, I want to help others find their happiness at their jobs. Whether helping companies create more happiness and positivity in their culture or helping individuals let their true and authentic selves out where they work and in their everyday wonderful lives ... that's what I’m gonna do. Yep!
And along this journey, I’ve named my fear. His name is Jack. (Don’t ask me why Jack. Stacy asked me to name it and that name popped up.) Jack and I are friends now, but I put him on a plane to Hawaii, so he’ll stay away for a while.
But he'll be back. In fact, I think he keeps calling me from Hawaii. Every now and then, I still think, "How am I going to take care of my family." I just smile and hang up. I'm trusting that the universe is going to rise up and meet me. So each time Jack tries to send Lisa running back into the closet, I thank him and send him on his way again. Jack/fear will pop up now and then… but I'm beginning to understand him, and understanding him takes his power away.
So, thank you, Jack. Thanks for the lessons. You can go. Now. Hit the road.
I'm coming home to my happy place. I’m coming home to my true self.
Let’s launch this puppy!
And in celebration of my launch, I’m asking you a favor. For the next few days, be real. Let your true self out, even if it's just opening the door a little and peeking out. Put on a superhero cape and run wild through the halls if that’s your true self. Speak up. Step out of your comfort zone.
Name your fear. Friend him (or her) and tell him to hit the road for a while.
Be you. Let yourself out.
Let’s both live fearlessly happy!