I love it when people are open and honest with me.
So I’ll share first.
Early in my twenties I trained as a stripper . . .and it changed my whole career.
So, when I was a teenager I was PAINFULLY awkward and RIDCULOUSLY shy. I’d started college at age 16, and even though I loved my classwork, I was TERRIFIED of people. I was so afraid that someone might actually engage me in conversation that I would walk AROUND the OUTSIDE of the building . . . through service ditches and behind air conditioners . . .just so I could get to and from my classes without having to talk to anyone. I wanted to hang out with other people . . .but I was so worried I’d say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing . . .I sis the real-life equivalent of joining a Facebook Group and never commenting on anything.
My social anxiety and low self-esteem only got worse when I graduated from community college and joined the Army. I was smart, creative and a hard worker, but my ability to influence people and get what I wanted out of situations was exactly zero. I realized that there were two types of people around me. The ones that people listened to, and the ones who got thrown into all the worst jobs. I was in second group. You could just look at me and see all of my uncertainties and my fears about things I couldn’t even control. What if that girl gets promoted ahead of me? How did that guy afford that new car? Why doesn’t my boss seem to listen to my suggestions? If you’ve ever spent hours scrolling through websites of people who’ve made six or seven figures working from home and trying to figure out why you’re not them, you get how I was feeling. Ineffective. Unseen. Like I was doing EVERYTHING wrong. I was always in my head, with my fears that maybe I wasn’t good enough and that maybe I’d never be able to reach the levels of success that seemed so easy for some people.
Of course I fit right in with the rest of the people who were at the bottom of the career ladder with me . . . but there was only so much complaining, dreaming, and second-guessing I could stand. Being the introvert that I am, I started drowning my sorrows in cups of coffee at my local mega-bookstore, digging through self-help titles promising promotions or influence. One day, after reading all the sensible titles, I stumbled across a small, mis-shelved book with a flirty purple cover and a title that made me glance quickly over my shoulder to make sure no one saw me even looking at it! It was titled: “How to be a Sex Goddess,” and it accidentally-on-purpose made its way into the pile of books I bought to tide me over during another boring, broke long weekend.
That weekend I opened my mind to the idea that I HAD A CHOICE in how I showed up in the world. While the book sadly, did very poorly in reviews, it turned me on (pun intended!) to the idea that THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF, WHAT YOU DO and WHAT YOU SEE can have a major impact on how people relate to you and whether you’re seen as a person with power or not. I wanted more of this idea and it wasn’t long at all before Sheila Kelly’s book, S-factor found its way into my hot little hands.
I had dabbled with dance a little in college and I was ready to take on something creative, to do something, ANYthing differently to shake up my life. Striptease became my new creative outlet. I committed to doing SOMEthing related to strip tease every day. Some days I was picking music. Some days I was practicing my super-awkward beginner moves, which made me, feel like perhaps I had been a wire hangar in a past life. Still, I trained hard. Little by little, I started believing I could change my story if I was committed to thinking, doing and seeing differently every day. Pole dancing became a regular habit for me, and I never missed an opportunity to hone my newfound striptease moves. I went from ducking out of hallways and avoiding eye contact to dancing in cages at clubs with my friends in a miniskirt, fedora and heels, I was on a roll!
But it was only the beginning of the positive changes!
I began to find that I was becoming more affluent than I could have imagined. As soldiers, we all received exactly the same pay, but suddenly, opportunities for TRAVEL, MONEY and CELEBRATIONS started to flow to my way! I EVEN STARTED traveling the country competing in professional presentation boards . . .and WINNING!
No longer the mousey pushover, it wasn’t long before I had my own house, an investment portfolio, a private financial advisor, and my own car – totally PAID OFF! I had zero debt, all my bills were paid and I could buy whatever I wanted with no trouble, knowing that I could easily generate more money. I had changed into a confident career mover and shaker and it felt amazing. One afternoon, I was quoted a five-figure expense for a service I needed, and I paid IN CASH that day without so much as putting a strain on my budget. I felt powerful, capable and like I was doing what was right for ME. And night after night, I was learning new moves to add to my physical and mindset training, not because I needed to – but because I loved to. I never worked a single day as a stripper – the training alone was all I needed to completely unstick my career.
Those years of stripper training taught me that I could be the boss of my own money only when I was the boss of my own mind. They taught me that investing in my creativity and doing what I loved, something TOTALLY UNORTHADOX was a powerful way to BREAK FREE and embrace my potential for abundance. I overcame the fear that a low-money lifestyle would always be my fate.
But, here’s the thing though- I didn’t change my mindset and start making a SIX-FIGURE paycheck. I still got paid the same as everyone else. But because I saw myself as a person of power, value and fully capable, I was able to completely RE-INVENT THE WAY MONEY FLOWED in my life. By embracing my creativity, I was able to celebrate in a way that was all mine and create abundance to share with others. I got fully involved in my own life and stopped living in my head and listening to fear. I know now that even when life’s, “oopsies” happen, I can bounce back by embracing creativity, sticking to the right mindset, and surrounding myself with what drives me toward my goals. Now I coach others on how to get out of their own way and get things done. Because if a mousey introvert like me can create wealth in a thong and stilettos, anyone can use exactly what they have to generate the life of their dreams.
All that to say, I trained as a stripper to learn how to show up in the world as a powerful professional to be taken seriously.
That’s my story. What’s yours?