Your Untold Story

Maya Angelou once brilliantly noted, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” And never has that quote, albeit one that I’ve often read and enjoyed, meant more to me than it has recently.

You see, earlier this week, I was invited to speak to a group of about 120-130 entrepreneurs from the Pennsylvania, Maryland and South Jersey region. After my keynote address and lunch, there was a panel discussion, in which the moderator leaned over to me and said,  “Until this afternoon, I never knew you were a Buddhist monk and Franciscan priest. How on earth did I miss that?!?

And in that moment, I realised that I’d allowed pressures and fears to compartmentalise my life.

It started in the early days of facebook, when there were only about 750 of us on the platform. I had one profile under my Buddhist monastic name, and a second as Dr. F. Gianmichael Salvato. The second profile was a “sanitised” version of me. That second profile made no discussion of spirituality, social justice, politics or human rights. It was purely holistic medical information and discussion of entrepreneurial opportunity.

Over time, each profile developed about 3,000 followers. And there were about 150 overlap between them.

Then, in 2009, facebook started shutting down profiles that were flagged by their facial recognition software, and my Dharmacharya Gurudas Śunyatananda profile was retired. So I faced a huge challenge.

Do I keep the remaining profile sanitised or allow people to get to know the “real” Gianmichael/Gurudas?

For the first seven years, I handled it by creating friend lists within facebook, and circles in Google+ and published my posts with audience-specific content. And that was really satisfactory until 2015, when facebook’s algorithm began to change, and no one was seeing most of my stuff anymore, regardless of what list they were on.

Around that time, a few of my downline and upline leaders began to tell me that they thought I would have twice the income I was blessed with, if I just “tempered my posts to be less controversial”. What they were saying, of course was that my posts embarrassed them, and they wish their people didn’t see them. And I understood that. So I tried once more to compartmentalise my postings. And I watched my reach drop from 40% to 15% to 2.5%.

Interestingly, when I had begun merging my two profiles together, I made the decision that on all other social media platforms, especially twitter and Google+, I would never compartmentalise my posts again. And my readership and followers on those platforms increased by 72%.  What’s more, 47% of my enrollments in my business began to come from Twitter and Google+, compared to 24% just two years earlier.

So it seemed that my untold story did have an impact on the whole of my life.

Many of those who work with me, for example, have no idea that among my business ventures, I do private counseling and coaching — not just business coaching, but actual psychological coaching and counseling. There are many who don’t know that I maintain partial ownership in a travel company, and a company that prepares up-start authors’ books for publication (I used to own a publishing company for seventeen years). They don’t realise that when I left the traditional network marketing field, in 2015, to pursue the consumer-direct distribution channels model of business, eventually deciding to partner with a company that will transform the entrepreneurial market worldwide over the next 24 months, I also began looking at companies involved in eco-sustainability projects, and am actively developing a national sales team in that industry. Few who read my Buddhist dharma books and blog had any idea I was a naturopathic physician, and almost none of them knew I help people cultivate greater financial independence through the entrepreneuerial movement. In short, it was insane.

I was allowing others to hold back the hand that was writing my story.

And so I made the decision at that luncheon that I was no longer going to edit or hide who I am… no longer interested in conveniently compartmentalising the parts of me that the world sees.

My untold story will be heard and seen by all those who are interested. And it is my hope that yours will as well.

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