You see, it used to say “Hey! I’m Annika Stahlberg, a young gym instructor based in Auckland, New Zealand.” – and well, I’m not a gym instructor. Sure, I trained as one, but I don’t work as one and never have. I worked in corporate hospitality for the better part of the last 18 months, and have been doing various forms of waitressing & catering since I was 15.
So why did I lie? For the same reason we all do sometimes – because I thought I “should.” I felt that to do what I do: helping people to eat well, exercise and look after their bodies, I felt like the kind of person that does that, is the kind of person that works as a gym instructor.
That’s what I said online. I find it very hard to lie to people face-to-face, so when I met them in person I’d claim to work in corporate – only letting on that it was the hospitality side of corporate if they asked. I thought waitressing was only for out-of-work actresses; until recently I’d never heard of a coach or entrepreneur that successfully made the leap from waiting tables to entrepreneur. But women made the jump from corporate to self-employed all the time, so that’s what I tried to make it sound like – because that’s the kind of person I “should” be, to help people properly and for them to trust my work.
I’ve probably just gone and destroyed that trust, (if it was ever there at all), but I feel better for it. This most recent rewrite of the site has been the most open and accurate representation of me to date, and I love it. I don’t have to be careful how much I tell people, I can just be me. I know what I do & I’m good at it – check out the photos from my most recent workshop here. I’m proud of who I am, and proud of my past.
We all fudge the truth a little sometimes; it’s just so much easier to go along with people’s expectations of who we should be, or what we should be doing.
Do you actually like the gym, or did you sign up just so you could chime in the conversation?
Do you agree to catch up with people even though what you really want is to have some time alone?
Do you do certain things because you think they are things a proper woman should do?
Are you a stay-at-home mum even though you quite liked your career?
Do you go on a diet, or complain about your weight, even though secretly you actually quite like your body?
If any of this is resonating with you, there are definitely parts of you that you hide because you’re worried about what people will think.
Looking back, there was never anything worth hiding. Working for the company was probably one of the best things to happen to me. I’ve left there with a ton of experience, and the confidence to go it alone as a coach & an event manager. (I still love doing formal functions, and now freelance with caterers around Auckland.) Good friends, some of the biggest supporters of my business & some of my very first clients were all thanks to working at the firm.
Most importantly, I never would have met the stressed & frantic women that were desperate for me to fix the coffee machine. And it never would have occurred to me to help them. Now, I successfully run a “Me-Time” workshop, and can confidently offer my 1+1 coaching program: create quiet space in your life & allow yourself to be the real woman you know you have inside you: quietly confident in your body & your life.
I feel so much better for having put the truth out there, and I continue to aspire to be the most authentic version of myself. And I like challenging others to be their true selves as well (ask me what happens when I tell people I don’t drink alcohol!).
So let me know in the comments, or via email, What do you do, even though you know it isn’t entirely what you want? What part of yourself do you hide from the world?