My story on how I learned to release my fear of judgement and show up authentically and unapologetically in all that I do. Plus tips and journal prompts to help you learn how to do the same!
There is power in walking through life authentically -- something I have really honed in on and prioritized the past few years. I've learned that you truly don't know what you don't know, and that includes what you don't know about yourself. Until you force yourself to take a deeper look at your beliefs of who you are and identify where they stem from, you will never really know yourself at your core - who you were before the world told you who to be.
Retiring as "Erica the Cheerleader"
From the Spring of 2018 up until the Spring of 2021, I was a cheerleader for The Washington Football Team (formerly known as the Redskins). When my time cheering came to an end, I wasn't prepared for how difficult it would be to show up simply as Erica, not "Erica H. the Cheerleader". It became more apparent to me than ever, that those who only knew me from school or through social media, were under the impression that cheering was my full-time job - and my entire personality. I also realized that many people used my title of 'Cheerleader' as my identifier, when describing me to others. I came to expect the first question I would be asked, when meeting someone new, to be "How is it cheering for the NFL?". For three years my identity was wrapped in this label, though it was only a piece of who I am at my core.
So, a little less than a year ago, I embarked on a journey to shed the layers of my identity that no longer fit. Becoming a cheerleader for the NFL had been a lifelong dream come true for me. I am eternally grateful for the opportunities it brought, and the doors it has helped to open, as I stepped off of the sidelines and into this next chapter of my life. This desire to be seen as Erica versus Erica H. the Cheerleader, was not about wanting to erase my affiliation with the NFL, but to re-establish a sense of independence and reintroduce myself - to allow others to get to know the real me behind the pompoms.
Let’s talk authenticity - staying true to your own personality, values, and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you're under to act otherwise. Being unapologetically you, honest with yourself and others, and taking responsibility for your actions and mistakes.
If you've ever been part of a team, club, or organization that required you to fit within a certain mold or abide by a strict code of conduct, you may understand the challenge of blending into the group while still maintaining your individuality and freedom of self-expression.
We are all made up of parts - pieces - a variety of identities and personas. This is not to say that "Erica H. the Cheerleader" was not an authentic part of who I am. It was just that though -- a part of the whole me. I knew that by sharing all facets of my individualistic self beyond the cheerleader persona, that most came to know me by, my journey and story would be more relatable. That it had the power to be impactful for those of whom I work and interact with. That I would get to experience more joy and alignment, knowing I was free to simply be me, without being required to uphold a certain image.
This season of growth has allowed me to break out of the box that I was unintentionally hiding in. A box that, while labeled with a singular truth of who I was, may also have been riddled with assumptions – preconceived notions of how I ought to show up in this world. Throughout this process, I've learned that those who have been witnessing my growth and transformation, could now better relate to the real Erica -- the unfiltered and multifaceted me, more than ever before.
According to the Law of Attraction, the energy that you put out is what you attract in return - or as the saying goes, your vibe attracts your tribe. This realization has brought about even more power and alignment in my connections and relationships. It has opened the door for deep understanding in my work, my personal life, and within my own soul.
Breaking free has genuinely allowed me to do more of what I am meant to do in this life, and it is my goal to help others learn to do the same. In the wake of my rebirth beyond my previously labeled self, I have become even more passionate about helping my clients navigate their own transformations -- allowing them to step fully into their own authenticity.
If you're looking for guidance on how to discover and show up as your authentic self, reach out today for a free consultation and let's talk about how holistic health coach can help you to live your happiest and healthiest life yet. Not ready to sign up just yet? Below you will find a few journal prompts that I like to share with clients -- they have been immensely helpful for myself as well.
Write a journal entry dated three years in the future. Imagine that you are living your dream life and explain exactly what you're doing at that time (work, hobbies, how you spend your mornings and evenings, etc.), what your home looks like (who you live with, location, your room, etc.), and any other details you'd like to include -- like what you've accomplished in the past few years, what you're working towards at the moment, etc. This will help you to get clear on what is important to you. By clarifying what you want in your future, you are able to make more intentional steps towards achieving those goals.
What values do you consider most important in life (honesty, justice, altruism, loyalty, etc.)? How do your current actions align with those values? What actions/habits/thoughts do you currently have that are not in alignment with those values?
Do your goals truly reflect your desires? Or do they reflect what someone else (a parent, partner, friend, etc.) wants for you? List out your current goals and identify where they stem from.
What does success mean to you? We all have different definitions of success. How would you describe your most successful self?
Are you 100% yourself around others? Do you put on a persona or mask to blend into the crowd? Do you know who you are? How can you take action to be more yourself in all areas of your life?