Over the last few months, I’ve been giving some serious thought to just what the hell I’m doing here. If you start poking around the archives on this site, you’ll discover that I’ve been writing Bailey WorkPlay for just over 12 years. In internet years, that feels like a lifetime and a half. I started writing back in September 2004 as a way to build an audience for a budding career coaching business. Since then, so much has changed. Our family has uprooted and moved twice as I’ve tried on different careers in different industries (and supported my wife as she has done the same).
But perhaps the greatest change has been with me. You’re thinking, “No shit?!? Twelve years is long enough to change anyone.” Yet, I have to admit the one constant that didn’t change throughout this time was the uncertainty and self-doubt about my Voice. The one writing to you right now. The one that has given presentations in front of hundreds of people. The one that has tried to sell my entrepreneurial business ideas to executives. The one that was quiet for months at a time while I struggled to climb out of the dark hell known as depression.
Perhaps you can relate.
Now I don’t know if it’s because I’m on the other side of 40 or whether I’ve just gotten more ornery (probably a bit of both), but I’m coming to a place of clarity about my Voice. It’s a place I like to call: “This is Chris…in all his beautiful, fucked up, mischievous, loving glory.” Yes, I enjoy being snarky and cantankerous and crude. Yes, I am constantly awed by the astonishing wonders of this universe. Yes, I’m a flawed and creative and strong human who believes that Love is the force that holds us all together. As Walt Whitman astutely wrote, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
In the past, I would have been scared witless to write this. It didn’t feel “professional” or “proper” to admit that I am a fucked up human being full of love, fear, strength, and doubt. But when I put this out there to you, I feel a freedom that is indescribable. Because here’s the thing…if I don’t have confidence in my own Voice, how can I expect you to have confidence in it? I know I have a Voice that can inspire those who need an uplifting moment as well as a Voice that can call bullshit on the stupidities of modern work and life.
And if my Voice with all its salty language and quirky personality and heretical beliefs make you feel uneasy…that’s cool. I’m not meant to be everyone’s cup of tea. Please don’t get me wrong. I’ll still struggle at times to fully speak with my Voice. I will always hear my protective ego whisper, “But Chris, what if no one likes you or your Voice?” So I may need help from you to keep me honest. And in return, I’ll do whatever I can to help you clear through the muck to fully claim your own Voice.
So here we go. If you’re still with me, thank you. Our work is too important to do half-assed. And our workplaces need some serious retooling. Let’s see what kind of shit we can stir up.