Living under a coat of bright, shiny nail-polish

19 July, 2018

Yesterday, a client and I spent 20 minutes discussing nail polish.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

Bright and shiny on the outside, but gosh, what’s all that formaldehyde doing to us on the inside?

Just like the fixers, the healers, the life-coaches, the manifesters, the gurus, the wealth coaches, the master-minders, the copywriters, the other personal branders, the mushroom growers, the dog whisperers, I’ve been known to muster bright and shiny. It’s what you do when you’re in the online space and your business depends on it.


Here’s the unsurprising truth. More often than not I’m not bright and shiny. Most of the people I work with aren’t either. However, when someone employs a coach/mentor/consultant on any level, they want to be reassured that this person has their life together, they know how to cut it in the world, and the reason they’re employing them is that they want a piece of it.

Sometimes it’s all just too much.

I don’t want to promise that by working with me you’ll be a leader. Change the world. Make an impact. Transform your life.

Instead I want to promise that,

  1. Life is tough
  2. Motherhood is tough
  3. Marriage is tough
  4. Menopause is tough
  5. Healthy eating is tough
  6. Work is tough
  7. Physical fitness is tough
  8. Financial stability is tough
  9. Families are tough and especially
  10. Mothers-in-law are tough.

In that way, between us, we can manage expectations and then the real work of acceptance can begin. Because this, my friend, is what life is actually all about. As Jordan Peterson puts it in his book 12 Rules For Life:

“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open… It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality.”

In other words, life is not easy. The pain and suffering you feel, we all feel. Even the gurus. The poison – the formaldehyde – is expecting life to be smooth, and worse, pretending that it is. Our only job, as human beings, is to willingly stand up straight and not let it bring us down.

As I admire my freshly painted nails in the colour Raisin The Bar (irony not lost), I realise I’m morally obliged to take care of myself in the same way I would take care of someone else. In the same way I encourage my clients to represent themselves honestly and authentically, it’s essential I do the same.


Without overthinking it, I’m marking this random day, 19 July 2018, as the day I carefully rub off the nail polish and little by little show more of what presents itself underneath.

White spots and all.

You with me?

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.