By: Rachel DeAlto
Eating disorder recoveree.
Mom at 20.
Toxic relationship survivor.
These aren’t my typical go-to descriptions when I introduce myself. I tend to lead with: relationship expert, TV professional, entrepreneur, coach, or former attorney. Those are the titles that make me look good, right?
The truth is, ALL of those titles define me. Yet, those initial descriptors are what made me. I may not lead with them, but they are always a part of my story.
Overcoming an eating disorder is what led me to love and accept my body – and myself. Having my son at 20 was a crash course in prioritization and selflessness. Removing myself from a toxic marriage allowed me to discover my worth, and true self.
These times in my life were far from easy, but they were essential to building the strength and confidence I have today.
I am proud of my past, and I share it intentionally. I share these aspects of my story so people know I am far from perfect. I share so that people can identify with and relate to me. I share it because I am proud of what I have accomplished, how far I have come, and know that others are capable reach this destination as well.
Being vulnerable about my story allows me to be a better leader, speaker, and connector. So often, we wear masks. We believe that giving the impression of perfection increases the likelihood of our success. We think that sharing our flaws or the parts of ourselves that are less than amazing will cause our failure. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. The world is in dire need of authenticity, vulnerability, and real connections – especially from our leaders.
You may not have had the same experiences, but you too have a story. You have chapters that you may have been afraid to read out loud – for fear of judgment, or because you believed in some way your past makes you “less then”.
I urge you to take off your masks, and share your past. Tell me your story, and show me how your past has shaped you. Allow yourself to use your vulnerability to connect – to colleagues, students, and friends.
I assure you, everyone has a story. It’s time to share yours, so others can connect with and learn from you.
Rachel DeAlto’s new leadership workshop explores what it takes to be vulnerable, authentic, and to tell your story. To learn more about Rachel DeAlto and her programs, visit campuspeak.com/dealto