Okay, you may already have heard the story, but here’s the deal. As you may know we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to launch our new website and the website for our sister site for the chronic illness community, Chronic Wellness Tools

Anyway, it’s been months in the works, and we were proud and excited to finally launch – but  within minutes I received some heavy feedback.

A reader commented that she felt my use of “xo” in signing off on the website was insensitive to the chronic illness community.  The panic that ensued was kind’ve amazing in retrospect. It’s incredible how one little nugget of feedback poked at my personal triggers (adrenals, insecurity, doubt, fear???). My initial impulse was to just delete the “xo.” Instead, I found myself reaching out to my community for feedback and advice — to unexpected results.

Amazingly, the feedback I received was 100% positive and supportive. I heard things like:

“I vote for keeping the XO…I use it all the time!”

“Your site is great! Personally, I think that chronic illness is a place where your humanity should show through even more. Go for it! xo”

“You keep doing what you are doing! I have Wellness Disease and would have loved to find a site like this in my journey before I got better and became a health coach. “XO” shows you care and that is a big thing for someone that has been through years and years of doctors misdiagnosing, telling them that it’s all in their head… etc. You let your XO flag fly!”

What was interesting was that the feedback had a lot less to do with whether or not they liked my use of “xo” and instead asked whether or not using “xo” was authentic and true for me.

The people who responded challenged me to ask deep questions of myself about how I want to show up in the world, what is authentic and congruent for me, and whether or not it is in alignment with our tribe?

It’s also interesting in light of the fact that I have been using a model for guiding authentic communications for awhile that I call “ACAR.”  It stands for

A – authenticity
C – congruence
A – alignment
R – resonance

Where ACAR = A + C + A = R

Basically, the idea is that how you use your voice affects how you are received by the world.  The goal is to not only show up authentically, but to also know your audience, and to align your message in a positive way because your “resonance” — how you are received by others — is not just the actual words you choose, but the energy, tone and intention behind those words.  Totally amazing that I called in both the criticism and the validation to really experience the power of my own model for authentic communication. It’s crazy to even write.

And then, wouldn’t you know it – another little comment on the Facebook page said it all:

“It comes down to the age old question: Can the author ever really control what the reader hears?”

The truth is you can never control how what you say is received by those who read it. So at the end of the day the most important thing is that you said what you came to say in the most honest and open way you could.

It comes down to whether you choose to show up in the world as yourself, authentically.  If you aren’t, how does that impact your life?

So there you have it – all that to remind me that it’s okay to let my “xo” flag fly.  I wonder where else I am censoring myself from my full authentic message.

I wonder where you might be too?

Asking these questions is a good place to start. Glad to be on the journey with you.

In gratitude and more (and of course “xo” too)


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