I admit it, I’m a fraud
January 11th, 2013 by Agent Kevin Miller
Lately I’ve been facing a personal struggle with being in the ‘self-help’ industry and ‘selling a message’. And I’ve come off a helluva year, business wise and personally. Had some big successes…and some big failures.
Which is much…the point of this post today. By definition of what I’m expected to be as a leader, influencer, coach, guide…I’m a fraud. So if you’ve been reading or listening to me for a while and wondering, now you know.
Let me explain. First, I have a tendency to disdain a majority of speakers, authors, experts, authorities, coaches, etc…who I deem are mainly trying to make a buck and aren’t really committed to deeply caring for people. Plus, they are usually not the kings-of-the-universe they try to come off as. Having one area of wisdom does not make you wise in all areas. And two, I don’t ‘have it all together’. I mean…I really don’t have it all together.
The public expectation from anyone leading and influencing others in an ideal is they ‘have it all together’. And if a serious flaw is ever revealed, there is often in fact, a fall-from-grace in public opinion.
So if you are communicating a message and an ideal and endeavoring to influence people for the better, you feel the pressure to come off like you do in fact…have it all together. And back to the first issue I sourced, I know a lot of leaders and influencers who have some serious struggles and flaws and weaknesses that would surprise you.
That said, most of them do in fact, have an area of expertise they can deliver great value in. And thus, they shouldn’t be discounted due to their downfalls. It would be better to view ‘self-help’ purveyors like star athletes or celebrities. They can deliver on the field or court, or on stage or the screen. But they may be having struggles with health, relationships, finances or even mental stability in their own lives.
My platform is helping people take their natural talents and abilities, marrying them with their values, then applying them to their work…with a primary focus on owning that work, i.e. self-employment. And…being free from the confinement and shallowness of cultural norms. That’s my platform. And my personal expertise is inspiring and influencing people to take action towards these ideals. I’m good at this and can deliver on it.
Further, the platform I espouse, I have in fact, achieved. I have work that harnesses my talents and abilities and fully lines up with my values. I’d do it for free. And I own it! My lifestyle is wrapped around my values and convictions and we lead a very countercultural life. If I had $10 million in the bank, I don’t have much I’d change circumstantially. So in that sense, I’m calling people to something I’ve authentically achieved.
But if you audited my daily and weekly life with the expectation that I ‘had it all together’, you’d easily see my deficits. And I’m not talking just losing my cool, like I did yesterday morning when my two little ones were playing tug-a-war with a toy and one of them started screaming…and I yelled at them and swatted one on the butt in anger. I hate I did that.
There are much bigger issues. I made some really bad decisions this past year and hurt my business and personal finances significantly, even as my message and audience grew significantly. I can’t believe I was so blind, and after getting a clue we made a massive turnaround for the better in a mere 60 days. But holy moly…I stressed a lot of relationships with the financial dive.
Next? The aforementioned business stress wasn’t the cause of…but was a catalyst, to stress my marriage and open pandora’s box on some unhealthy areas in our relationship. So we’re in marriage counseling, and I’m going to get some personal counseling to help me work through some bad patterns I’m not overcoming personally. I just had a Life Plan done by great friend and amazing coach Jonathan Pool. It’s been daunting to look at the truth of some unhealthy tendencies in my life…
Let’s see…amidst all that comes some decent self-doubt which feeds into a less than jovial attitude. I wouldn’t say ‘depression’, but I’ve had more than one close friend attest that the glimmer of my spirit has had some significant fading.
From all this, I’ve done some retreating. If you’re a long-time reader and listener of my blogs and podcasts, or seen me speak or present recently or in the past year and this all seems hard to understand, it merely attests to my ability to perform. You think the chipper newscaster you watch every day doesn’t have any problems? They do, they’re just able to compartmentalize and perform.
What’s the point of all this? Part of it is me finding grace with my place and my peers in the ‘self-help’ industry. They have areas of expertise that we can all get great value from, even if other areas of their lives are in ill health. Just as I can help people discover purpose and apply it to their work and become self-employed, amidst the downfalls in my own life.
But another is just salving my own self-worth issues. I care what people think. And I assume plenty are sitting back wondering if I’m worthy of listening to. Am I for real…or am I a fraud?
As self-help purveyors are defined and expected to have it all together, again, let me assure you: I’m a raging fraud. I have significant areas of struggle in my life. I’m a great guide in my area of expertise, just as you have areas of expertise where I could use YOUR guidance. But I do not…have it all together.
What about you? Ever feel like a fraud? Maybe it’s just me…