What Lies about Yourself have You Made True by Believing?
Photo courtesy of Robert Couse-Baker.

What Lies about Yourself have You Made True by Believing?

Written by Emilie

Topics: Confidence, Speaking

Greetings Multipotentialites! First, some exciting news.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 23, we’re going to be opening up the doors of the Puttytribe and welcoming in a new group of 50 Puttypeep. The spots usually fill up very fast, so make sure to get on it if you’d like to join our multipotentialite playground. We’ve got a lot of amazing events on our calendar for November, including huddles, workshops, NaNo groups, and our second 24 hour Puttython event.

Here are a couple of videos that will give you a better sense of what the Puttytribe is all about: The Puttytribe Backstage Pass, a Clip from a recent Huddle (huddles are optional, but totally worth it).

Sign up here to get an email notification as soon as the Puttytribe doors open.

See you in there!


Okay, now on to today’s post…


I’ve been out of commission for the last couple of days.

I always need some time to collapse emotionally after a massive project ends. After a few days of feeling lost, dodging emails, and trying unsuccessfully to be productive (which is hard for me), I’m starting to feel like myself again.

Since you’ve all been asking, my seminar on Tuesday went very well. We had an overbooked room, mostly made up of college students and recent grads, which was exactly the audience that I was hoping would turn up. It was exillerating, standing up there, seeing sparks of inspiration in their gaze, watching them scribble down my words, and hearing laughter at the right spots.

This was my first attempt at serious public speaking– and this is after 21 years of schooling, during which time I NEVER raised my hand, and was absolutely petrified of being called upon.

The Quiet Girl was a label that was given to me when I was about eleven. I internalized it, making it true for myself for so many years. It was only in my last year of law school, nearly fifteen years later, that I began questioning this mythology I held about myself.

Was I only the Quiet Girl because I believed myself to be? There was only one way to know for sure. I began raising my hand. Bit by bit, it got easier.

All to say that my new add-on career as a public speaker feels important. It’s not just that I have a message that I believe needs to be shared, I’m proving something to myself here…

Your Turn

What mythologies did you use to hold about yourself, and how did you disprove them?


  1. Ginger says:

    Emilie, I was just talking with my friend/client Kevin Hanrahan about how helpful your book is to us–I just recommend it to anyone who is building an online business–such an elegant way to be complex!

    This too is a great post. This weekend I was beating myself up at a writing conference for not being more assertive–selling my book, my services as a book coach, getting an agent. Then I heard someone read a poem about her mother’s sewing–about how it took patience, work, a vision to make a dress out of a flat piece of cloth–and I let myself breathe. By the end of the day, I’d gotten two offers from agents to read my query, approached to conference organizer to be a presenter next year, and handed my card to at least 4 potential clients.

    Your post contributes so nicely to that conversation!

    I have had followers of mine thank me for sharing your posts because they offer such a different interpretation to how we normally think of our multi-selves.

  2. Denise says:

    Hi Emilie,

    I had the same label after about 14 yrs old. Before that I wasn’t quiet at all. I think high school social pressures made me turn a little insecure and I stopped being outgoing. But, till this day, people say I’m quiet. Even though, I’m really not anymore! Labels are hard to break from when people around you still want to hold you to them.

    • Emilie says:

      Yeah that’s very true, Denise. I think someone once defined love as accepting someones change. Also, this is why it’s nice to make new friends as you shift into new roles. People won’t know who you “used to be,” only the person you present as now.

  3. Anna K says:

    This is a very insightful post, Emilie. I think often times people believe that things can’t change for them, because their self-concept and habits are so ingrained, they can’t see the light. This reminds me of your other post about taking small risks. I believe that is what it takes to break away from said labels.

  4. Jonathan says:

    My myth about myself, wasted potential. I don’t see that now since I started applying myself in digital media, social media, & across the internet & in my own hyper local community. Am I famous? No, but what people remember about me is either my character, passion, or if I’m lucky the business card I gave them to find all my information online. Something physical. Am I in a career that pays for me to be applying myself the areas I am making my name in? No, but like a previous comment of my pointed out I’m currently in a long slow transition with my “Cult of Multipotentiality”. It’s off shoot music reference in case you don’t totally understand where I’m pulling that out of, not just thin air. Funny thing is this past weekend I went to the local hang out where typically I have my camera for a disconnect & got called out on it. Reminds me how one track minded this society sometimes gets, whether or not its ingrained or taught. Kind of made me think, he doesn’t get the putty philosophy though he’s doing some of the same things I am in the local area. Okay, I’m going to stop typing now or I’ll carry on into infinity.

  5. Denise says:

    This post struck a chord with me. I, too, was the quiet girl during my years in school. It’s not until after I graduated I started a teaching career I started to be more outspoken because I have to be. I always thought only extroverts can be teachers (and I suppose it’s true to a point), and then I went to teacher’s conferences and saw many introverts can be good teachers as well. Now I no longer consider myself as the quiet girl. Yes I’m quiet when I need to be, but I am not shy to express my opinions when I want to.

  6. Julia says:

    Ha ha! Glad I didn’t show up at your seminar, since I graduated from college in 1978. (Wait, wasn’t that just yesterday?) It is a tickler to read your posts and your readers’ responses. Really. Gives me chills. Start early! Be yourself! It’s OK! My response to generalissimoness is to raise my hand too much. Learned the hard way that sometimes people mistakenly assume you’re a specialist in their favorite specialty. I often found myself neck deep in in things I just happened to have a passing interest in. So, to add to your list of encouraging advice: It’s OK to say No! Glad your seminar went well, and looking forward to reading about your adventures in putty.

  7. Thea says:

    I’ve got a bunch of labels that I’ve recently figured out I was applying to myself: forgotten, left out, meek and mild, ignored, unimportant, overlooked, worthless.

    Let me just say that, if anyone ever tells you “You’re not ____” and you immediately start crying, that’s because they’ve just addressed a wound in your heart that you’ve been carrying for years thinking that it was the right thing to do. The tears are tears of both pain and joy -pain because of all the memories and beliefs surrounding that wound, and joy because you recognize the freedom and truth in what the person has just said to you.

    Those labels I’ve applied to myself I now view as enemy strongholds, which I am systematically destroying to make way for new cities built out of love and united under the flag of truth. I want so much to love others, but I cannot do so as well as I desire if I cannot first love myself just as well.

    So, there you go. :) Also, I can’t wait until you can come up to Alberta to speak! Because I totally know you’re going to come at some point, and you’re going to rock! :D

  8. Hi Emilie,

    Thank you for this post. Quiet Girl… I can relate to that. Such a title. And with some folks, I never even got so far as to have that title; too busy staying so far below everyone’s radar, I was probably underground. :) But it’s interesting to me how those titles do form how we think about ourselves, and how we relate to others. How sometimes, they can form almost a security blanket too, a sense of identity in a scary or uncomfortable situation, and yet, ultimately, we really need to let them go to enjoy all that life has to offer past the things that scare us. Thank you for writing this. It’s given me something more to think about.

  9. Livia says:

    Same here – quiet girl, reserved person, distanced or shy, timid … that’s the way I labelled myself. While others had many many friends I tended to have one or two true friends to talk about anything and everything. While others seemed to get in touch with anyone very quickly I was the one who needed ages before breaking the ice with someone. This has changed over the years – I now talk to people I don’t even know, at the bakers or in the tram for instance commenting on the weather. I want to open a path sometimes and not having all this anonymous sitting or standing side by side anymore. I look into their faces and smile – and you get back these smiles and the mutual acknowledgment as a human being.

    • Livia, that’s so great that you’re connecting with people in that way. You’re so right; having people smile back… it makes all the difference in continuing to encourage ‘quiet girls’ to push past the scary and smile at even more folks.

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