I just ran into a colleague at the airport. We hadn’t seen each other in 7 or so years and were doing the typical catch up beyond what we knew of each other on Facebook. We got to talking about authenticity and the importance of it in the work we do.
The conversation got me thinking of 3D LILA and my journey with her … and with you. When I started, I didn’t intend to let people know that “LILA” was me. I planned to hide behind her brand name and not be public about who I really was. If you listen to my first episodes, you’ll note that I never call myself by name. It wasn’t until about 6-7 episodes in while interviewing a friend that my name slipped out. My reaction — cover it up. Don’t let anyone see behind the curtain. I was still afraid to own that part of me.
If I am going to be authentic, truly authentic, then I need to own the whole story.
Then TED happened.
I stood up on the TED stage and, in front of several thousand people, confessed that I had a weight problem.
The funny thing is, the TED organizers told me that my talk (because it was a mini-TED talk) might not be published. I’m sure they expected me to be sad. Actually, I was relieved. Being vulnerable at TED in front of a bunch of strangers I’d probably never see again was no biggie. Having a video up on YouTube telling the world who I was was a whole other story. Yet I continued to hide.
A couple of months later, TED published my video after all which begrudgingly pushed me to reveal myself as LILA. Fortunately, I’d already realized that LILA was me, and I was LILA. Hiding behind LILA enforced the shame I feel about why she exists. If I am going to be authentic, truly authentic, then I need to own the whole story.
My business cards now have a photo of me with LILA on them.
This brings me back to the airport and handing the card to my old friend. As we wrapped up our conversation, I handed him my card sand said: “Here’s where you can find me.”
Like almost everyone who sees my card, he had an emotional reaction. He laughed and said, “Ha! This is so you!”
If you’ve read this blog / listened to an episode at all, you’ll know that I still struggle with this part of who I am. As I continue to struggle with my weight, this blog has become, in a very odd way, my confessional booth. My hilarious, self-deprecating, self-motivating authentic confession for all to read.
It’s time to tell LILA readers who I really am. Hi! I’m Joanna.