"There's just some magic in truth and honesty and openness." - Frank Ocean
I must confess: I feel like it's a bit of a cheat whenever I post these monthly themes towards the end of the month rather than in the beginning. I think it's because I have the benefit of hindsight, looking back at how this word/theme affected me during the month. The initial idea, of course, has always been to post a "focus word" to help me to move forward.
Ah well. I guess, in the great scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Looking back can also provide some great learning.
And to me, this month has been a lot about being more open.
I think that Week In The Life Project helped me to see that better.
When I came across that project again this year, I wasn't really planning on joining. But, I jumped in anyway. Even though a part of me was a bit worried about a few things. Including that part of being more open about my day, my life.
In fact, I think that's one of the reasons I didn't ever consider joining the project. I didn't think I'd have the chutzpah to be that open. I wasn't sure I wanted to show everyone parts of me that I normally wouldn't share (er, me before a shower... in my pink, fluffy dressing robe...?!).
Yet, something amazing happened.
People responded. Many of YOU responded.
In comments. On Twitter. On Facebook. And Instagram. And Flickr. By private message. On email.
I was pleasantly surprised. And very very grateful. And, yes, as I said, it made me re-think a few things.
Being more open also led me to all sorts of other things.
Like doing something different such as judging a papercrafting challenge, when I was asked by another friend (thanks again, Shery).
Or, when I opened up about my work situation on Facebook, I've received incredible amount of support AND interest from all sorts of different contacts, offering to be a part of a possible growth in my business. People, offering to help.
And yes, I believe that being open also led me to the opportunities that are coming my way professionally. Like that time I was talking to a nonprofit organisation about a possible job. When we realised that me working with them as an employee might not be the best fit, I confessed why I was interested in working with them in the first place. And, I guess, that resonated well with the Founder of the organisation, as I was later contacted by the person she ended up hiring. They wanted to explore the possibility of me working with them through my company as a contractor.
There's a similar story with another amazing technology company that I looked at working for (but ended up having to turn down the incredible offer due to a few reasons). They ended up contacting me later, asking for a possibility of working with them on projects.
So yes. It seems to be a theme for me this month. Being open. Allowing people to see us - the real us - a little bit more.
It's scary because there will always be that fear that maybe, when we show who we really are, people won't like us. But then, what was the quote? The one that says something like: "It's better to be disliked for who we are, then to be liked for who we're not."
I'm glad that people who choose to connect with me on social and on this blog want to connect with the real me. Not just the professional me. I'm grateful for clients and potential clients who has learned all about me and my work - and choose to work with me.
I guess, it's because, at the end of the day, we like it best when we know we can be who we are - and still be accepted.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.