“This little light of mine – I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.”
I’ve done a lot of talking about using your innate gifts to powerfully change the world – like the story of my friend with a diabetic son who created a booming business out of her knowledge and know how.
This time, I’m going to shift gears because something extraordinary happened this week; Monica Lewinsky stepped out of the shadows after 17 years (those are her own words, actually) and gave a Ted Talk.
She took the stage in Vancouver to discuss a few issues that usually don’t get the spotlight; cyber bullying, internet harassment, and public shaming. For half an hour, the very famous mistress of Bill Clinton discussed how she fell in love…and learned a very difficult lesson.
She told a captivated audience that while we had all – every single one of us – made a mistake in our 20s and done something we regretted. (More than one mistake I’m afraid. How about you?) The difference, of course, was that our mistake didn’t lead to life under a microscope, legal action, and impeachment.
Our mistakes also did not send us scurrying from paparazzi, and effectively end our professional lives before they even began. Nor did they give us worldwide name recognition, or publically label us a slut, whore, hussy, etc (ßHer words again!)
Monica went on to open up about a boy who had recently ended his life because he was so exasperated with being bullied at school…and how, during the epic trials of 1998, her own mother made her leave the shower door open because she was so terrified Monica might take the same route to ending the reign of terror.
By the time Monica finished speaking, I had goosebumps. How brave of her, I thought. How courageous and brilliant to use your story of shame to support a cause that is near and dear to your heart.
I realized that the chills going up and down my spine were because I so strongly admired her conviction to stand up for what she believed in. She pulled the most horrendously public affair in history into the limelight and rose up from the ashes like a fiery Phoenix.
If you, too, have been through a difficult time, there are several lessons you can take from Monica to help you launch a successful business (I can mentor you through the business modeling, but these points will help give you some clarity on the business focus):
- You can insist on a different end of your story. Monica has chosen to rewrite her story and reinvent herself. She decided that she isn’t going to live in the shadows anymore, but come out in a big way, instead. She’s going to shine.This doesn’t mean you change the facts, but that you speak positively of the lessons you learned from your experience and how you were able to overcome the demons that were lurking in your head – or your heart – or, in her case, around every single corner the second she stepped outside.
- You can use your story to influence others and create change. In doing so she is making it possible for others to overcome their mistakes and also informing others on the real impact that virtual bullying has.Monica is using her past to ignite the fire behind a national issue, as well, – cyber bullying. She is turning her shame into a successful campaign to stand behind something she believes in, another huge way to bring your incredible journey into a space where it is able to serve people.
- Your audience awaits you – people are starving for this depth of emotion, truth and transparency around the tough times you’ve passed through and the lessons you’ve learned.
We are not alone. We are surrounded by a community of women that want to support our mission. All we have to do is reach out and embrace the opportunity to turn this sharing, and connecting, into a story that serves others. That’s how you enjoy business success; by sharing the gifts only you have to give the world.
Monica received a standing ovation and, personally, I could feel her in my heart. I could feel the pain and also the power of her story turned around, flipped on its head, and emanating a positive message to the world.
I could feel her pulling deep, looking so nervous and beautiful and alone up on that stage, so that she could share her message with all of us. And I could see her standing strong beside a message she truly believed in.
You see, no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or the mistakes that you’ve made, you have the power to turn your story into a success story. You can turn those lessons and the wisdom that evolved into a business that supports you and your mission, and helps you touch so many lives you won’t even believe it!
I know that if you start to think it through, you, too, can find an incredible success in yourself to move forward and do great big things – just like Monica. If you need a few more examples, do an internet search of Piper Kerman from Orange is the New Black, or solo-hiker Aron Ralston, too.
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