I’m not sure if any of you have noticed, but the featured posts we put on OwningPink.com’s home page lately have been pretty much ALL LISSA, ALL THE TIME, when we have 30-something killer bloggers who write for Owning Pink.
Because that’s what you all are asking for -- both directly and through Google Analytics. My least read blog posts still get double the traffic of any other blogger on Owning Pink, even bloggers whose blogs have way more traffic than Owning Pink. In fact this post got 2.5 million hits in one freakin' day! I so want to showcase the writing and work of people who are doing awesome work in the world to empower women. But the reality is that the Owning Pink community wants me to write more. Period.
And this TOTALLY bums me out.
I don’t like to be the center of attention. I took my photo off the Owning Pink banner for more than a year because I didn't want to stand in the spotlight. I only had six people at my wedding because I didn’t even want to be The Bride. And yet you -- the Owning Pink community -- seem to want me to stand tall and BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME, at the helm, in a position of leadership, with my mug on the banner (as it is now -- there's me! Say cheese, Lissa!) and my blog posts front and center.
I was hoping I could become invisible.
Well, maybe not invisible, but I hoped that one day soon, I would just be one of 30-something writers who brings her mission to Owning Pink in service to the collective whole. I wanted this site to be about YOU, not me.
So why did I start blogging and launch into such a public career? When she did an intuitive reading with me, Caroline Bobart told me I made an agreement with the Owning Pink community. After lifetimes of feeling unseen, the agreement was this:
I’ll love and accept you. I’ll SEE you. As long as you SEE me and validate me.
And yet, I cringed when she said that. What? Are you kidding? I don’t want to be seen!
When I look at your spirit, I see that you have a huge capacity above your 7th chakra to take in spiritual energy. You connect easily to your higher self, and that’s what others sense about you. They see a lot of spinning, lovely energy, which is nurturing, healing, and validating to others. The growth for you lies in coming to terms with the effect you have on others. There’s a shyness you have about this. Part of you recognizes the effect you have on others, while another part of you thinks, “Holy shit.” You feel some trepidation about the role you are playing in the lives of others and your ability to affect their lives. You ask yourself, “What do I do with this power? Who am I?” You struggle to label it and aren’t sure what to do with this. Your growth comes in realizing that labels are being exploded -- you’re not just a doctor or artist or writer. But the dust hasn’t settled yet, leaving you in this in-between place. You’re still exploring where you belong.
Whoa. That was a year and a half ago.
Once upon a time, a mentor told me, “Owning Pink will tell you what it wants to become if only you get out of its way.”
And yet, I am still doing it. Every day, I’m working through it, because I’m realizing it’s a spiritual practice, not something you do once so you can start resting on your laurels.
Today, one of the Owning Pink bloggers wrote to ask why the featured posts on our home page have been mostly me lately. And I read the email with a sense of panic in my gut. ACK! We’ve been found out! How was I going to tell these bloggers that we’re doing an experiment and posting mostly my writing in the feature box for a while because Owning Pink traffic had stalled out. And because, when it comes to running an internet business, it’s all about traffic. And as Marie Forleo so aptly reminds us in her B School, “If your business isn’t making money, it’s not a business.” On the internet, traffic = money. So I’m owning my place at Owning Pink. This is where I belong. This is MY home -- and you are MY tribe. And you have no idea how hard it is for me to write that. To OWN that.
And our experiment is working. Owning Pink's traffic has tripled since we started posting my blog posts every day and featuring the other bloggers on the side.
This is good news. I should be rejoicing, and yet, part of me is bummed out. I think this all harkens back to my childhood and is so familiar that it’s challenging to articulate. I’ve often felt the loneliness of being “special” (a word others apply to me that I’ve always hated). In fact, when I had a daughter, my one prayer for her was that she would be ordinary. I’m not kidding. And of course, since The Universe is crafty that way, she’s not.
Even back when I was a kid, I wrote this pitiful poem about being the tall tree among all the smaller trees who the kids climbed on (you can read it here). I’ve often been hoisted up on pedestals by others, and I speak from a lifetime of experience talking to people who have accomplished great things when I say that nobody wants to be on a pedestal. It really is lonely at the top.
I know. Poor me. The struggles of being special. (You say as you roll your eyes there in the back).
But this is what’s up for me. And I’ll betcha anything I’m not alone in feeling this way. (Right? You over there in the front row. Yeah, you. The one looking down. I’m talking about you.)
It’s only recently that I’ve started to make peace with how to rise to the top of what I’m meant to do without shrinking away from it. I’ve met Succulent Wild Women who lift me up and alleviate the loneliness, and they’ve been a salve on a long-weeping wound.
But the scab got ripped off when I had to tell the Owning Pink bloggers that the community wants me to step it up a notch.
I was so resistant to this idea that I thought about starting my own blog -- off Owning Pink at some other URL like LissaRankin.com. And then my mentors told me I was crazy. “But Lissa. Owning Pink IS your blog. The others are just visiting.”
But still, telling the other writers about our experiment left me feeling this knot in the pit of my gut. This closing down, this shrinking. Because it’s not what I want. I want to shine a light on our writers so you will read what they write -- and love them as you love me. I want to lift them up so they can heal you as they heal me. I want this website to be about collaboration and community, but I also want our traffic to grow so the site can be financially solvent and viable.
But it’s not about what I want. This is a business. And I am here to serve the ministry of Owning Pink. And this is my calling. And I have to listen to the guidance that is leading me forward.
I have to overcome the loneliness of leadership.
I know I’m not alone. I have an incredible support team of staff members at Owning Pink. I have incredibly powerful rock star friends and a loving family. I have all the Owning Pink bloggers lifting me up. I have all the Succulent Wild Women in this community.
But it makes me so uncomfortable.
And then I think about Barbara Stanny’s Most Important Financial Advice You’ll Ever Get. And I remember that stepping into your power and doing something big isn’t hard. It’s easy. It’s just UNCOMFORTABLE.
So here I am. Sitting with the discomfort. Allowing myself to be seen. Seeing you. And asking you to bear with me while I struggle through this process.
I think I’m getting there. Things are afoot. So stay tuned.
Have you struggled with this stuff? Do you shrink from your “bigness” and diminish your power? Do you find it lonely at the top?
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Woman coach, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
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