Do you remember the TV Show “Prison Break” that was popular from 2005-2009? My daughter loved that show and I admit I watched it with her for a couple of seasons. OK, in all honesty, I liked it, too! But after a couple of seasons the plot got too bizarre and hard to believe, the episodes felt repetitive and, in it’s bizarre complexity it almost got predictable.
You may wonder why am I writing about the show Prison Break seven years after it’s ended. Fair question. I’ll get to that, but in my usual fashion I have to tell a little story first!
So, here’s the deal. In the past week or so several people have asked me to describe what I do in a “sound bite” or “elevator speech”. This is not the first time I’ve been asked or tried to answer this question. Fact is, I’ve been doing it for about 7 years now, ever since I began the move from psychotherapy to coaching. And it has been a struggle for me all this time.
You see, for the most part, everyone knows what a psychotherapist does. I never needed to market or advertise myself. Potential clients simply called and asked whether I was taking new clients. Easy peasy!
Building a coaching and speaking practice, however, requires a LOT of explaining and marketing. And that requires catchy little sound bites to use in marketing copy and networking events. In the seven years that I have been promoting myself as a Coach and Speaker I don’t think I’ve used the same language twice to describe what I do: Dream Doula, Midlife Midwife, Women’s Midlife Reinvention Expert, Transformational Coach and Spiritual Teacher, Passion and Purpose Coach, Women’s Trauma Expert, Emotional Freedom Catalyst, Heart Centered Psychotherapist, Spiritually Focused Psychotherapist, Energy Focused Psychotherapist! There are more but I’m sure you get the idea! None of them were inaccurate, they just never seemed to capture the entirety of what I do. And so I’ve struggled.
Part of the reason for the constantly changing language is that is that I have been going through my own deep changes all of these years and so the way that I relate to and describe what I do has changed. Partly it’s because I do so many different things that it’s challenging to package it into a catchy phrase that makes potential clients say, “Oh, I have to work with her”, which is what all the marketing gurus claim you must do.
I knew I was on to something the other day, though, when after being asked to write it one more time I welled up with tears and felt like I was going to throw up….really. So I decided it was time for a break and took myself for a walk to clear my head. Getting out and moving my body always gets me feeling better and thinking more clearly.
While I was walking a jumble of words, a stream of consciousness, began to flow. And so did the tears. I always know I’ve touched something important when the tears start flowing freely! Am I alone here?
As soon as I got home I began writing furiously to capture the essence of that flow. Here’s the gist of it: It makes me crazy to try to say what I do in a 30 second elevator speech because it’s deep, rich and complex and can’t be easily explained in a catchy phrase.
Maybe it’s my nature. I’m a deep diver, I don’t take things at face value. I always want to know more, peek under the surface, play in the complexity, honor the richness. There’s no depth, complexity or richness in a sound bite.
Trying to capture what I do in 30 seconds or less feels almost..well, sinful. It feels disrespectful and dishonoring of the transformational nature of this work, my passion for it and the tumultuous path I have taken to get to this place, personally and professionally. It skims over the immense joys and the terrible dark nights of the Soul that it has taken to arrive here.
And it feels dishonoring to you, where you are on your own journey, how you decide to seek out guidance, support and healing and where you sense that someone will “get you” and who you can trust enough to share your sacred, messed up, beautiful life and your heartfelt dreams and desires.
Your story, your pain, your most shameful moments and your deepest desires matter to me. Your heart matters to me. Your spirit matters to me. (Here come the tears.) I promise that I will hold all of you gently on this journey of healing, awakening and transforming.
About eight years ago, while on a silent walk in the woods I was “invited” by Spirit to place my hand into the scar of a tree that had healed over in the shape of a heart. “REALLY? In there? It’s nasty. YES!” As I put my hand through the cobwebs and spiders and touched the exposed trunk of the tree I heard these words, “You are a healer of hearts.” Yup, tears of recognition!
The simplicity and truth of those words resonated to my core and have stayed with me ever since. At the end of the day, no matter how I say it, I am a healer of hearts.
So where does the whole Prison Break connection come in?
Well, on my way to yet another networking meeting, once again thinking about how I would introduce myself, the following words came to me:
“I am a Women’s Prison Break Expert. I help women design and execute their unique plan to break out of their personal prison of self-doubt, self-criticism, self-sabotage and shame, so they can step into the emotional freedom of true self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love….and never look back! Since we are the only ones who can truly imprison ourselves, once you have broken free you never have to worry about being imprisoned again. Are you ready for your personal prison break?”
So there you have it. My newest response to the “what do you do?” question. Kind of catchy, don’t you think? I can’t promise how long it will last, but it’s an opening to what a lot of women are feeling, and a springboard to move into a bigger conversation about honoring our Divine Feminine, balancing the masculine and feminine energy on the planet and creating Heaven on Earth, which definitely won’t fit into a 30 second elevator pitch! And, I suppose, that is really what a sound bite should do, invite the listener into a deeper conversation.
In case you were wondering, we didn’t do introductions at that event, so I didn’t get to try out my brand new, latest and greatest intro! The Universe certainly does have a sense of humor!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about my new 30 second introduction. Would you be interested in knowing more if you heard it?
If you feel ready to break out of your personal prison I’d be honored to help you plan and execute your escape into emotional freedom, self-acceptance and radical self-love! You can reach me at Catherine@sacredheartalchemy.com.