Last fall, I took one the most daunting steps of my life and made a public declaration about my life-long struggle with obesity. It was to date, the most hurtful, scary, stressful, liberating, exciting thing that I have done publicly (perhaps privately too). I never dreamed that my “naked truth” would land me on a nationally syndicated talk show with Bishop TD Jakes and later in Essence Magazine. But I also never dreamed that I would have so many people proclaim to be INSPIRED (even those that don’t struggle with weight). But the biggest shock of all was that I never in a bazillion years expected this experience to grow my online following or send me clients. Whew!!! What a story, right?!
I never really had a desire to be highly visible (not really). I only had the ambition to be very successful. For nearly 10 years, I hid behind my brand with pretty graphics and amazing headshots hoping that no one would notice or comment on just how FAT I was. I mean, I KNEW I was fat (boy did I know)… I just had never allowed that to limit me professionally. Working in marketing for nearly 2 decades had taught me to show people what they could tolerate. As Americans, we don’t like to LOOK at fat people, no matter how common they are. So I learned to only show my pretty little face in order to make myself more acceptable.
That all worked well for me until I wrote what turned out to be a controversial blog post for Essence.com, and that’s when it happened. They were calling me FAT. Not one or two people… but hundreds of readers felt inclined to tell me just how fat and unattractive I was. I can’t even count the number of times I read the words “you fat b*tch”. And BOOM!!! There it was my biggest fear times 10. I don’t want to go too deeply into that part of my experience since I’ve already blogged about it (see links below). I’m going to jump right to the good sh*t.
So basically I figured out how to move past the haters, and join in the dialogue they were having about my weight. I mean thousands of people were having input about me, yet they knew nothing about me. So the only way to take back the conversation was to speak out on my OWN behalf. And THAT is what catapulted me onto this journey that allowed me to sit at the feet of Bishop TD Jakes.
FOLLOW MY TD JAKES JOURNEY BELOW:
- Essence Magazine: Where It All Started
- The Announcement
- When The Show Aired
- Show RECAP (video clips)
- FULL episode on HULU
- After the Show Interview
Now I’m sure you’re wondering how this personal crap helped me to build my business. Welp, here it is. The TV Show was broadcast only a ka-jillion times across the globe. And apparently my story was compelling enough to get viewers to Google me. And being that I’m sooooo SEO (search engine optimization) friendly, my website, blog posts, social media accounts and contact details were all easy to find. Some people followed me online with a loud “I saw the show” declaration. Others followed quietly because they just wanted to observe me for a while before reaching out. And still others came straight to the source to make direct connections.
Now here’s the kicker. All that Googling got them to see that I was far more than the “fat chick” on the television. They also realized that I am a Badass Brand Coach, a Brazen Blogger and Terrifically ReTweetable Twitter addict. So now I’ve got folks from London England to Lawrenceville, Georgia that are coaching or training with me (no sh*t)!! Now, why do you think that is?
1. They decided they could trust me based on my level of authenticity.
2. They decided they liked me based on my personality.
3. They decided I was qualified based on my brand.
I know that not everyone is willing to share as deeply as I did, but just consider this. Your vulnerability could be the gateway to undiscovered tribe members. Just think on it! If you think my story is unique, check out my friend Kirty Spraggon of Kirsty TV
Jai Stone (Emotional Nudist & Master Brand Coach)