Coming out of my shell: my year of visibility

"Hermit Crabs on Howland Island NWR" by USFWS Pacific is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.


A hermit crab without its shell. 

This was the overriding feeling of my year of visibility

I felt dangerously exposed and uncomfortable, which meant it was hard to sustain long periods of visibility. Yet playing bigger was exhilarating.

I love extended metaphors, so bear with me on this...

The Hermit Crab

A hermit crab will live in multiple shells throughout its lifetime and it can’t grow to its full size if it stays in the same shell for its whole life. 

When a hermit crab needs a new shell, it will leave its shell and wait for up to eight hours. Other hermit crabs will approach and have a look at the empty shell and if it’s a better fit, will move in. 

More than one hermit crab can join the house chain, and often, many crabs will form long lines so that they can upgrade to shiny new shells. 

The hermit crab tail has evolved to curl naturally to fit the shape of the chosen shell, so that it effortlessly grows into its new home.  

What if the crab can’t find a new shell? 

If a hermit crab can’t find a suitable shell, it won’t leave its current home or if it leaves it behind and realises that the new one isn’t such a great match, it will attempt to move back to the old one. 

Sometimes a hermit crab will be left homeless. It will try to make a home out of flotsam washed up on the beach - a poignant reminder of the crab’s adaptability. Sadly, if the crab doesn’t manage to find a new home in time, it will perish. 

Lessons to be Learned 

Like the hermit crab, I struggle with prolonged periods of exposure, but short, regular bursts of visibility are necessary if I’m to grow and adapt. 

At the tail end of 2021, I launched The Key to Your Year, a free guided workshop on choosing a word for the year. I found it nerve wracking but exhilarating, so early in 2022 I set my intentions to plan, write and launch the first of my hygge workshops. 

Behind the scenes, much of 2022 was spent shaping ideas, planning and writing workshop materials and laying the foundations for my hygge mentoring services. I hosted two online Key To Your Year workshops and on the run up to Christmas, launched a Christmas decorating ebook and outlined a hygge habits course. 

Throughout 2022, I spent stretches of time in my shell, quietly procrastinating over offering mentoring and coaching services and it mostly boils down to imposter feelings and a bitchy inner critic. 

Over the summer, I decided to face this head on by writing down a list of skills and experience that qualifies me as a hygge mentor or coach - a hygge CV of sorts. 

This flicked a switch and helped me to put my inner critic in check. One of my limiting beliefs was that I needed a coaching qualification before I could offer mentoring or coaching services. 

After some deeper conversations with a friend who is a coach and even taking part in a research project on the concept of imposter phenomenon, I came to the conclusion that 10 years’ experience coaching students as a teacher and two foundation counselling qualifications is a solid basis. 

In September, I started studying for a diploma in counselling and all being well, I should graduate from that in a couple of months. I’ll be talking in a separate post about coaching, mentoring and counselling and the differences between them, but for now, all three approaches sit under the umbrella of talking therapies and all share the aims of encouraging self-discovery, supporting you to reach your full potential and creating a confidential space of trust and support that is free from judgement. 

In 2023, it’s time for this hermit crab to find a bigger shell to grow into.


Image credit: "Hermit Crabs on Howland Island NWR" by USFWS Pacific


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