The Secret Shame Obstacle

Shameis a soul eating emotion.

There is shame in my game. Like you, I’m a WOBO professional woman who has worked hard my entire life to maintain the façade that I have everything under control. I can figure anything out. I can get it all done and get it done right. That is what I believed and wanted everyone in my life – family, friends, colleagues – to think of me.

Despite all of the progress I have made throughout my wellness journey I am still ashamed to admit that I am not the face of perfection. I can’t do it all and I can’t do it alone. [Cringing, holding breath, heart racing]. I have come to understand that this secret shame is what keeps the WOBO woman from truly healing her mind, body, and soul and living a joyful, fulfilling and truly successful life.

I’ve moved through several stops on the shame spectrum. One was when I first began to realize how out of control my life had become. I was 14 pounds heavier than I’d ever been in my life – for the first time I couldn’t get into my favorite jean shorts from high school. As a lifelong fitness fanatic this was mortifying. So I finally decided to get “healthy”. I went vegan and removed all processed foods from my diet. It was a radical approach and it worked…for a while. I had taken my high achieving, controlling mindset and applied it to my diet switch. There was no balance, no self-care, and no recognition that real healing takes time and support. It was one more thing I had to do and do it right and it only increased the speed to which I moved towards hitting-the-wall.

To this day I struggle with these ridiculous notions of perfection and productivity, despite being happier, healthier and more balanced. There are still moments when I come face-to-face with my shame. Most recently, the launch of my new brand focused on the WOBO professional woman was my coming out. My admitting to the world my own “failings” that I was faking it a lot of the time, it wasn’t as easy as I tried to make it look, and that keeping up the illusion came at a great personal price. I hate to OUT you, but I suspect you know what I am talking about.

Recently I chatted with two wonderful women who have been hit with some negative health news. Though they both read my posts and newsletters, nod their heads in recognition and agreement, and identify with the WOBO woman, they are both still on the path to hitting-the-wall. Although their health issues are clearly linked to many aspects of the WOBO woman’s lifestyle, the diagnoses have only sparked them to work harder (in these cases on their nutrition). While this approach will probably bring some short-term benefits – weight loss, lower cholesterol, more stable blood sugar, lower blood pressure – they have approached these changes with the shame of not having it all together. How could I have these problems? I do what needs to be done and I do it well. I don’t know how I got here but I’m not havin’ it. So let me take care of this right now! These kinds of thoughts inspire drastic changes that can be overwhelming to the mind, body, and spirit and can lead to more issues than no change at all.

What I have learned from my own experience and those of my clients is that in order for the WOBO woman to wholly heal and get back into the game, stronger, bolder and smarter than ever is to soothe the soul while she’s nourishing the body and mind. In her awesome book, Daring Greatly, Brene’ Brown identifies 10 guideposts for Wholehearted living. Here are the ones I think most affect the WOBO woman. Truly they all are great, but these are a good place to start.

  1. Cultivate Authenticity – letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivate Self-Compassion – letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivate Calm and Stillness – letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  4. Cultivate Play and Rest – letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth

As a health coach to the WOBO woman, I can’t eliminate what is a necessary journey, but I can help you emerge from what Linda Kavelin Popov calls “the fog of energy depletion and joyless hyperactivity” with the excitement and vitality befitting a vibrant and accomplished woman.

Ready to restore your health and reinvigorate your life? Contact me.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Feel free to ask questions too.


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