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Read this if you're afraid of getting "cancelled"

Why your fear of losing people sabotages your success...

Story time: Grab a cup of coffee and settle in, because this is a long one.

 


I’m going to share a vulnerable fear with you.

I am desperately afraid of losing my friends. Why? Because truly I have the best people in my life - people that are beyond family to me.

I think this is a valid fear that all of us have to some degree - we all just want to be loved at the end of the day.

When you speak to older people, they only care about how everyone else around them is doing. Take my grandma, for instance, her whole life is about relationships. She’s 85. She has a husband who is close to the end of his life, and she’s been widowed twice.

So what does she talk about on a regular basis? Not how much success she had in her career. She talks about how her friends are doing, old stories of hitchhiking in Yellowstone park when she was my age with her…FRIENDS!

Friendship is everything to me. This deep fear comes from 2 (and a half) experiences in my life where I have been “canceled” that are STILL impacting me.

 

The first time I was canceled I was 14 - before it was cool.


I had just gotten my braces and one day, at the lunch table, the 6 girls I considered my “best friends” kicked me out of the friend group. It was so cruel. I pretended to be sick and went home crying.

The second time I was canceled was 2020.

The reason I bring this up: I recently made a new friend who is a total sister - you know what I mean when you meet those people and you’re like, you’re MY people!

We were getting to know each other over cocktails the other night and she was expressing her fear of being canceled (she’s an entrepreneur too).

I was sharing about the experience I had in 2020 that re-triggered that awful feeling of being “kicked out” of the friend group again.

The short version is when I started facilitating personal growth spaces I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was mostly leading guided meditations and including processes like movement and journal exercises to help New Yorkers live more mindfully.

The spaces I held at the time were usually donation-based (I think the most I charged was $55 for a workshop). I did this because I firmly believe that personal growth should be accessible.

I was “new”, inexperienced, and experimenting with what it felt like to be a leader.

One day I noticed some Instagram stories from two of my best friends talking a lottttt of sh*t about the wellness industry (this was during the 2020 wave of the Black Lives Matter movement).


The thing is, I couldn’t help but notice that they were speaking to one particular person (anonymously). I was like, nahh that couldn’t be me, but why does it feel like it is?

At the time I had just returned from an incredibly expansive 2-month trip to Latin America where I was living with a bunch of circus hippies. To afford it, I got another job and pulled 80-hour work weeks (even though I was granted a scholarship) so that I could have this experience.

 

I came back to New York fully committing myself to my business - I was actually going to break up with my live-in partner too - and then Covid happened. Sigh.

Like clockwork, the next day I received about 5 novel-length text messages accusing me of being a racist Nazi, not accessible, and a BIG part of the “problem” in the wellness industry. I had 1,000 followers. 60 reads on average on my blog posts. Yet suddenly I was the culprit of everything wrong with America.

And who was leading this little gossip movement? My "best friend" - a white girl from Vegas - who decided that very day to be THE social justice leader of the Black Lives Matter movement.


There was nothing I could say or do to stop the gossip and before I knew it, another good friend heard the news of my Nazi accusations and blocked me. 3 friends were gone in 24 hours. Great times!

I can laugh about it now, but when I read those text messages my body was shaking, my heart felt like it was going to EXPLODE, I temporarily lost my hearing, my palms were sweating rivers, and I blacked out for a few minutes.

What's worse, my partner shook it off like it was no big deal and thought, she's just being "insert name", forgive her.

Are you kidding me?

It was like I was back in middle school, sitting at that lunch table, getting kicked out for wearing braces. I thought we were past this.

It wasn't so much as about my "image" so much as it was an incredibly hurtful betrayal. I helped this girl get hired at the company I was working for, supported her through boy drama, gave her all my classes for free, spotted her when she couldn't afford drinks at the bar...


Fast forward and I’m sipping an Aperol spritz, in Mexico City, telling this story like it’s no big deal.

 

So how did I get here?

Sometimes we forget how hard we had it - we don’t see how easy certain things have become once we’ve gotten used to rising from them.


It took me months to feel comfortable sharing online again. Of course, I went headfirst into conversations with people about race, took a good look at my business, got honest with myself about where I can show up BETTER as an ally, and how I can contribute to a more equal world.


The next thing I did was get this girl fired from my company due to harassment. I have no shame in that.

Then I was afraid for my safety for a few weeks - because my ex-bestie made various threats.


I was terrified. I thought - no more business, no more friends, no supportive partner, nowhere to go.


Then I started throwing shade at the wellness industry too. I considered quitting. I felt like I couldn't speak to ANYONE about this because tensions were so high (and rightly so).

But from the human part of me...

I was grieving multiple friendships. That sh*t is worse than losing your career.

But this isn't about "poor me" -- I am unafraid of getting canceled again because I know I can handle it.


I know there is always more to learn.

 

This is about validating some very real fears that appear when we decide to share our gifts with the world.


Yes, you might get canceled.

Yes, you very well may lose friends.

Not everybody is going to support you or agree with you.


By saying YES to carving your own path, you do make yourself vulnerable to hurt (this is why mindset is EVERYTHING!)


But you have to remember that if YOU are in INTEGRITY with yourself, it truly doesn't matter what people think. Your business will be fine. You will always be fine.


Did getting canceled impact my business?


I wasn't "big" enough for that. Now would it? Maybe a little, but it's MY business, and nobody can take that from me.


Criticism comes with the territory - and being criticized is out of my control. Therefore, I don't put my energy there anymore.


My clients at the time stuck around and invested even MORE in my spaces, some of them are still around. This includes people of all races, genders, and sexual preferences.


I developed a thicker skin that I believe has largely contributed to not only my success, but my ability to KNOW right away when something or someone is a NO.


And guess what? In January of THIS YEAR the same girls were doing the same thing and attempting to "cancel me" AGAIN. I heard through a friend.


Do you know how I responded? I told my friend, thank you for sharing, I would rather not know next time. And that's how I knew I had moved on.


So how could I possibly be afraid of losing my friends? How does this impact my success NOW?

 

We know healing happens in spirals. The deeper layers of this lately for me are more in the context of how I am perceived as my business expands and grows.

Can I handle it? Will my friends think I'm a sell-out.

I'd be lying if I said "I'm unafraid of what people think of me!"


OF COURSE, I CARE. Because I'm in the business of transformation to serve you - and I want to provide that in ways that will actually benefit you and honor the very real things we struggle with in this world.

Let me tell you…the more we dive into the mission-led lifestyle, the more we’re tested, and the deeper the lessons swirl into every aspect of our lives...

Relationships...worthiness...our relationship with our body...our home life…

Saying yes to living mission-led is an initiation into our own healing. Read that again.

This is why I share ALL of this.

So I leave you with this invitation:

In what ways is YOUR fear of what others think actively impacting your success?

Because honey, you're not for everyone, and that's a damn beautiful thing.


Sign up for my Weekly Love Letters for more personal stories, lessons, mindset hacks, and personal growth tips to get you from surviving to thriving as an artist of life.


Keep going,

Kelsey


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