If “they” leave you, let them… (Read Time: 3 min.)

srts-blog-post-72“They”… Who are “they” anyway?  Even though we don’t seem to be able to answer that question, there are a lot of “they” who seem to be keeping us connected to situations, experiences, and drama that we really don’t need… and you’d think the situation would improve when “they” leave our lives… Quite the contrary.

For many overachieving, highly successful, driven women entrepreneurs, being left feels like a slap in the face, a failure of sorts, something that they don’t know how to rationalize or recover from.

So what do you do when you’ve been left (by a client, fired from a job, walked out on by a spouse, abandoned by a friend, rejected by a family member) physically but are still holding onto the situation emotionally and spiritually?

How do you let go when everything inside you keeps fighting to hold on?

Here’s what you do:

You love it until IT lets YOU go…

 

Give me a minute here…

There are 3 things about this concept that you want to take hold of:

  1. What’s for you won’t pass you by.  If that client, job, career, or relationship had REALLY been for you, it would’ve stayed and it would’ve produced good fruit.  Anything that stays in your life but brings you down or leaves your life and leaves you feeling low is NOT something that is meant for you.  When you truly get this understanding, you allow things to be what they are without feeling the need to push boulders uphill or go kicking and screaming into the night.  You love what is, you accept what is and, as things unfold, you embrace the adventure of it.  That doesn’t mean the pain goes away; it simply means you’re unwilling to magnify it.
  2. Go with the season you’re in.  There are seasons and reasons to everything.  Rather than fighting the season you’re in, flow with it.  Allow there to be the natural ups and downs that come with life.  Embrace them.  Remember: you NEVER have to chase what’s for you.  It will come on its own.  What’s not for you will leave on its own.  You don’t have to control anything to usher in what’s for you.  You do, however, have to be open and aware of what season you’re in.  Be present in THIS season and allow it to unfold as it needs to.  The key here is trust: trust in yourself, trust in the process, and trust in the timing of your life.  If you don’t have trust, you will cling and grasp and lose everything you are trying to hold onto…
  3. You won’t get more until you stop giving space to less.  There will be no room in your life to receive what you REALLY want if you continue to hold onto the things, people, and experiences that are far below what you deserve.  The scarcity associated with clinging to anything because you’re afraid of having nothing is a painful way to live.  The second you begin to trust and know that better is ALWAYS on its way is the second you start to let things go with ease.  Why?  Because you understand it takes the act of faith of opening up space in your life to receive and embrace better in your world.  #BOOM

If you (like so many of us) have trouble letting go, listen to an episode of She Runs The Show that speaks more to this issue… how to love and let things go.

Click HERE to listen.

How to Apply The 5 Gifts of Heartbreak to Your Business (Read Time: 5 min.)

Kass Cry 1bAfter a recent heartbreak, I took this picture.  Look at it closely.  In my eyes you can see the loss, the pain, and emptiness.  I recovered from that heartbreak as I’d done from many others: a little bit wiser, a lot stronger, and definitely less trusting.

I’ve experienced the loss of love many times.  It started with my dad and never quite shifted form.  I guess that’s what happens when you allow childhood wounds to define your concept of “love.”  I’m working on that…

Until recently, I thought love was THE thing… not “a” thing or “some thing” but THE thing… the defining moment, the required experience, the ultimate accomplishment… and then love left again…

And, since then, I’ve had to ask myself, “When love leaves, what’s left of me?”  As much as I’ve read the books, attended the workshops and devoured the subject, it’s a question that hit me in the gut as I cried myself to sleep.

And here’s the answer that came:

“Everyone falls in love sometimes
Sometimes it’s wrong, and sometimes it’s right
For every win, someone must fail
But there comes a point when
When we exhale” – Whitney Houston, Exhale

The lyrics from a song of one of my favorite movies, a movie that inspired me to write my first screenplay, rediscover my love of acting and, eventually, leave the marriage that was draining the life out of me.  So many monumental moments from one song… and here it was again to teach me the things I didn’t want to learn…

So the question becomes: when your heart breaks and you’ve still got a business to run, how do you transform the feelings of grief, loss, pain, and loneliness into something that fuels the empire you’re building?

Here’s the answer…

You embrace the 5 gifts of heartbreak and you apply them to your business.

Gift #1- Surrender

Heartbreak breaks  you open.  It forces you to let go of things that you don’t want to let go of, to face emotions you don’t want to face, to simplify life in a way that’s not about what you HAVE to have but becomes about what you long to create.  You go from being someone anxious to succeed to being someone who simply wants to take a deep breath and feel at peace.  When your heart breaks, you accept the fact that very few things go according to plan and you begin, once again, to go with the flow… and that’s when magic starts to happen in your business.  No longer confined to goals, plans, strategies, and revenue models, you now operate from a softer, more intuitive place and your business begins to succeed in a different way, not because you’re not as driven but because you understand that it’s trust in yourself that drives your business, not in any plan or strategy you come up with.  Nothing teaches you that better than heartbreak.

Gift #2- Freedom

In relationships, we do all kinds of things we NEVER do outside of them.  We accept things we shouldn’t accept.  We tolerate things we shouldn’t tolerate.  We go silent when it’s time to speak and talk about things we don’t agree with.  We compromise and accept and prove all because we don’t want love to leave… never fully getting that the second we lost ourselves, love was out the door anyway.  When heartbreak comes, the freedom to be who you REALLY are returns… and now you can go into your business full throttle because the REAL you is finally back in the building.  While there are moments where loneliness creeps in, what really shows up with this freedom is an understanding you refused to see when in the relationship: you NEVER have to be someone else for someone who really loves you.  Your newfound freedom gives you full opportunity for you to love YOU… and that’s when the business starts to pick up speed.

Gift #3- Purpose

It’s so easy to get your value and purpose from a relationship.  When your heart gets broken, you can no longer define yourself by being with someone else.  You can no longer live your life based on an “us” or a “we.”  That’s gone now.  In the wake of that loss, you now have to look yourself in the eyes and say, “What is MY purpose?  What am I really about?  Who am I meant to be?”  Those questions can get easily cast aside in a relationship.  Far too often, especially as women, we give up the “I” for the “we” and while that’s noble and glorious and, in some cases, necessary, there’s a lot to lose when you no longer recall who you are or what you want or what God put you here to do.  When heartbreak happens, you finally have enough space and distance to ask and answer the question, “Who did I come here to serve?” and, with full faith and freedom, you now have the extraordinary opportunity and time to serve them.  Purpose, in many instances, is born of heartbreak.  Especially in business, if you can nail down your purpose, you can prosper your business.

Gift #4- Focus

Now that you’re not catering to another person, now that you’re not doing the “How should we… what should we… could we…” compromising thing, you are free to focus completely and totally on the desiring, creating, and offering components that come with running a business.  Not only is it freeing but it’s exciting to be able to give everything you’ve got to your business without the worry of who you need to consider or factor into the equation.  After a heartbreak, you get to put all of your focus into building YOUR empire.  All those times you wished you’d spent more time on your business?  All those moments you said to yourself, “Geez, I really have to get focused and create that product!”?  Guess what?  You now have all the time you need to focus and deliver.  Cherish the gift you’ve been given by using it…

Gift #5- Hope

Heartbreak is a beautiful message of hope when you really understand what it’s saying.  When your heart breaks, it’s life’s way of saying to you “There’s more for you and it’s not here.  Keep looking and you’ll find it… There are gifts for you in this and you can have them right now.  Embrace it… You were built to experience greater things than what you did in this relationship.  Own the fact that you deserve MORE…” and, then, the moment you begin to own your worth and your value and the fact that you deserve MORE, you start to live that way inside AND outside of your business.

You stop settling for clients you don’t want and projects you hate to have to work on and tasks in your business that you should’ve outsourced to a virtual assistant YEARS ago.  You stop doing what doesn’t work for you.  You stop accepting less than you deserve and your business starts to grow in new and exciting ways… because you are growing in new and exciting ways.  It’s an evolution that could not have occurred as fast or as completely without the heartbreak.  You needed the pain to get the point.  Hope helps you understand that EVERYTHING happens FOR you, not to you.  It is your choice to grow and flourish… and hope helps you choose growth…

The 5 gifts of heartbreak have the power to build your business to heights you cannot imagine.  When heartbreak happens to you, don’t turn away from it or make excuses about it or get angry because it’s happening again.  Embrace the experience.  Learn from the process.  Feel your way to healing and, as you do all of that, continue to put your passion, purpose and desire into every business activity you do.

Your business does not need a break because you had a breakup.  In fact, it is right after a breakup that your business requires MORE of you, the REAL you that is now showing up because you’ve been broken open, broken free, and broken to the point of restoration.  Give yourself the room and the space to fully show up in your business and, more importantly, to fully show up for YOU.

That was the point of the heartbreak.  It is your gift AND your lesson.  Accept them both…

If you need help dealing with fears that get and keep you stuck, if you’re ready to go from fear to power, sign up for my Fear to Power course.  It will transform your fear, reveal your courage, and skyrocket your business.

–>CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED<– 

 

 

3 Ways to Redefine Rest (Read Time: 3 min.)

Woman sleeping on sofaThe last week has been challenging… Did I say CHALLENGING?  Between going on a nutrition cleanse and starting a new round of fertility treatments, my gung-ho, 24/7 entrepreneurial efforts were completely thwarted.  Fast forward to today, Sunday, and it’s a struggle writing this blog post… which has led me to two epiphanies:

1) I don’t do REST well.

2) I don’t know how to feel like an entrepreneur when rest is my only option.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one… As women entrepreneurs with so many responsibilities, it can be so easy to work too much and rest too little… until our bodies force us to do so and, by then, it’s too late to create harmony between work and rest; rest has become doctor’s orders.  So I’m using this new rest lesson to learn how to redefine rest.

Here are 3 ways I’m redefining rest:

1) Rest is a choice I can make (rather than an ultimatum I have to take).

2) Rest IS temporary.  This is a critical one for me.  Every time my body demands rest, I worry that the specific demand will become a permanent requirement.  It’s hard to invite over a guest you don’t think will leave.  I’m working on this one.

3) Rest is necessary to success.  Action feels and looks better.  It more logically fits into the timeline of success.  However, there’s a time for work and a time for rest.  I’m still learning how to fit rest into the equation.

At the end of the day, the ability to rest is a personal choice that we, as women entrepreneurs, can make.  The first way to choose rest comes in redefining how we see, understand and feel about rest.  I’m working on it…

I’d love to hear from you.

What’s your take on rest?

Like it, love it or wish you didn’t need it?

How have you (or are you) changing your perception of rest?

 

Do You Feel the Need to “Earn” Everything? Here’s why you need to stop that! (Read Time: 4 min.)

powerfulDo you make “earning” blessings a part of your everyday life?

Is getting something for nothing a hard concept for you to grasp?

When people give you anything freely (a compliment, a free drink, a major purchase item), do you look at them sideways and think, “So… what’s the catch?”

Deep down, do you love the satisfaction of working for everything you get because, at least then, no one can say they handed you anything?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above, you’re right in the “I-don’t-want-hand-outs-or-help-or-support-or-anything-that-looks-like-generosity-because-I’d rather-earn-it-myself” camp and I’m right there with you.

But the problem with this kind of mentality isn’t simply that it limits what you can receive… but that it denies what you really deserve.

Somehow, we’ve come to a point where we confuse what we deserve with what we have to earn.  Either we’re on the end of the spectrum where folks say “Hand me everything because I’m young, beautiful and I won’t work for it anyway” or we’re on the end of the spectrum where we’ve lived enough to say, “I know nothing comes without a catch so I’m going to work my tail off because I’d rather sweat my blessings than have you one day come back to me and slap me in the face with them by saying ‘You owe me.'”

Either perspective doesn’t work.  There are MANY blessings in life that will come to you with no hard labor, no hard work, no calculated planning.  The blessings will land in your lap and, as you enjoy the gift, you’ll remember that somewhere long ago, maybe 5 or 10 years ago, you prayed and hoped for this thing… and then you forgot that you did… and now here it is.

Your blessings will come freely if you allow them to.  

But what is it with some of us and this need to work too damn hard for every single thing we get?  Let’s stop that nonsense.

Instead of expecting the world to be a “gimme gimme” place, let’s become individuals whose arms are outstretched, ready to receive at any moment but not expecting everything to come on a silver platter.  Let’s be grateful for all that we have and let’s make gratitude a way of life and not simply a list we write as part of our daily morning routine.  Let’s look at life from a “How can I serve?” perspective and stop worrying about the costs of giving.  Let’s go for what we REALLY want without feeling guilty when we finally get it.  And let’s stop being the kind of people who limit God by telling Him that we know all of this “success stuff” is up to us and not up to Him.  He is always in the midst of what we do.  We are always on His mind.  Maybe if we stopped living like a lone wolf and started taking our rightful place in the pack, we’d get much farther much faster.

No person makes it alone.  And, yes, there are still generous people in the world who will give to you with no expectation of receiving.  Be open to all of it.  Be open to receiving your highest good.

Are You Playing It “Safe” in Life? (Read Time: 2 min.)

back turnedYour job is good… but not great.

Your relationships are solid… but not exhilarating.

Your health is decent… but not vibrantly amazing.

When someone asks you how you’re doing, you say, “Fine” or “Okay” or “Alright.”

What if you woke up today and decided to stop playing it “safe” in life?  

What if you decided to begin living an extraordinary life right now?  

What would have to change about how you live in and react to your world?

You could easily start by changing your response to the question, “How are you?”

Next time someone asks you how you’re doing, give them an extraordinary answer, “Amazing”, “Awesome”, “Unstoppable” cause guess what?  You’ll surprise them and you’ll amaze yourself.

Playing it “safe” is the easiest way to not live your life.  Focusing on security and having things be “ok” is the fastest way to grow old before your time.

If you want an amazing life, start living one.  Act as if everything that happens today is brand new, something you’ve never seen before.  Treat the people you come in contact with today like the rock stars they are (even if they aren’t) and give yourself the star treatment of kindness, care, and respect as you move through your day (not rushing but basking).  Try it for 24 hours and see what happens…

What to Do When You’re Tired of Doing EVERYTHING… (Read Time: 3 min.)

School 8I was reading Brene Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’ and, in the book, she says the following:

“Going it alone is a value we hold in high esteem in our culture, ironically even when it comes to cultivating connection.” 

For the woman breadwinner, the “going it alone” myth is even stronger.  Combine the overachiever title with the breadwinning role and the fact that most women breadwinners still do most of the housework and you have a situation where a woman breadwinner is often telling herself, “Here I go again… handling EVERYTHING…”  What’s even more ironic is that the same studies that show that women breadwinners still do most of the housework also so that it’s not due to a lack of willingness on the part of male partners… but an unwillingness on the part of women breadwinners to relinquish control… which leads me to an important question:

What do women breadwinners do when they’re tired of doing EVERYTHING?

5 simple steps:

  1. Get over the need that your way is the “right” way; there are at least 250 different ways to do dishes  and AT LEAST 1000 ways to get any one thing done.  You don’t have the market on the “right” way so let it go and be okay with good.  Perfect isn’t for anybody.
  2. Separate what you’re great at from what your good at and let other people do the “good” stuff.  Far too often, we try to do everything, even the things we suck at and the reason is borderline ridiculous: we want the street cred of saying, “I did it MY  way.”  Yeah, the glory doesn’t outlast the burn out.  Stop that…
  3. Resign as Manager of the Universe.  You do not know everything, cannot predict all things, and you do not have a magic ball to predict what will come next.  Decide today that you don’t need to know everything before delegating or making decisions.  Decide, do, and repeat.
  4. Take a day off.  24 hours.  A full day… and not because you have the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, or broke your leg.  Take a day off voluntarily so you don’t have to experience something that forces you to take a break.
  5. Be okay with not getting everything off your To-Do list.  Love To-Do lists!  I have many calendars and reminders.  But if it all doesn’t get done today, what’s the big deal?  There isn’t one.  Be okay with doing all you can and carrying things over to the next day… and the day after that… until it all gets done and you develop a new list.

At the end of the day, when you’re tired of doing everything, you have to be willing to both ask  AND receive help.  The only way you do it is by relinquishing control.  Don’t worry about things not going as planned.  They never do…

Is Your Pride Hijacking Your Health? Why Women Breadwinners Need to Stop, Look, & Listen… (Read Time: 4 min.)

School 8I used to insist upon doing it all: myself, right, and perfect the FIRST time.

I used to expect, on the rare occasion that I asked for help, that people did it just like me, right, and perfect the FIRST time.

I used to shake my head in absolute knowing when people let me down, didn’t show up or didn’t do what I wanted to my super high standards.

And then I experienced serious, prolonged, and seemingly never-ending burnout… and I was left with no other choice but to ask AND accept help… REAL help.

Women breadwinners know what I’m talking about.  99.9% of all moms know what I’m talking about.

You want help.  You desperately wish people would psychically know that you need help… but you refuse to bow to the level of needing to ASK for help.

It’s this kind of pride that winds you up in one of three states:

1) Crazy

2) Sick

3) Mega-resentful

And, very often, in all three at the same time.

So here’s the question:

Is your pride hijacking your health?

Is your wanting to do it right, do it perfect, and do it yourself the FIRST time exactly the thing that is keeping you annoyed, frustrated, exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed ALL of the time?

It might be… and if you are the woman who’s bringing home the bacon, the financial provider of your household with all of the responsibilities that this role entails, what will it take for you to release, relax, and replenish so you have the health you need to keep bringing home the bread?

Here’s what it will take:

  1. Honesty.  Pull out a calendar and see how far your 24 hour day will take you.  When you’ve got 50 things on your plate, guess what?  It won’t take you that far.  In fact, you’ll be lucky if you get 3 MAJOR things done in one day.  When you get honest with how little time you actually have in a given day (yes, subtract out bathroom time, commuting time, and all the other 5-20 minute tasks we love to forget we actually have to do throughout the day), you start to realize that, no, it won’t all get done today but at least two or three big things will get done.  When you get real about your time, you begin to use it better (and criticize yourself less about all the things you didn’t have the time to do).
  2. Vulnerability.  I don’t like this word.  It sounds fragile, weak and painfully open but it’s clearly the thing you need when you have to open up your heart and ask people to REALLY help you.  I don’t mean the “let-me-give-you-the-small-tasks-that-you-couldn’t-really-mess-up-if-you-tried” kind of help.  I mean, “Can you watch the kids all day Saturday?” or “Can you cook all the meals this week?” or “Can you stay with the kids while I take a weekend away?” kind of help that requires the vulnerability it takes to say, “As much as I’d like to do this all on my own, I’m not an island.  I’m tired and I need help and your help is absolutely necessary to my success.”  That kind of vulnerability is scary but VERY necessary if you’re going to stay healthy and sane.
  3. Vigilance.  There comes a point where you have to become a master of two words: Yes and No.  Creating and keeping healthy boundaries are critical to keeping your life in harmony.  Forget about having balance.  The problem with balance is that it can never be maintained.  The moment you add one thing to one scale, you throw the other scale out of whack.  What we’re going for is harmony, different things taking a different level of priority at different times but all of it blending together to make beautiful music.  Sometimes, work will take 70% of you and family 30%.  At other times, family will be the 80% and work the 20%.  Be okay with harmony and forget about balance.  The best way to do that comes in being vigilant about creating and keeping your healthy boundaries.

Having all three is a work-in-progress lifetime process.  Don’t worry about getting it perfect.  Just get it going.

Here’s your first step:

Delegate a major responsibility that annoys and frustrates you to someone who you know can and will handle it…

and then don’t micromanage how they handle it…

for the next 14 days.

Yeah… not easy but oh so worth it…

Whose baggage are you carrying? (Read time: 6 min.)

School 7I was reading an article about female breadwinners.  It talked about the way in which the husbands of these breadwinners felt emasculated and, as a result, the breadwinning wives carried around with them unspoken guilt about their husband’s loss of identity… and it left me wondering:

Whose baggage are you carrying?

I get the mommy guilt, the woman breadwinner resentment, the wanting Superman and finding bliss with Clark Kent.  What I don’t get is why we continue to have this dialogue about how women breadwinners have tougher marriages, greater divorces, and spend less time mothering their children… all because they make at least 60% of the annual household income.

How do you win in a society that says “Damn you for being successful!” on the one hand and “Damn you for being dependent!” on the other?

How is it that women have come so far and still they carry with them other people’s baggage, other people’s issues, and other people’s guilt?

Is it not enough that we carry and bear children, that we’ve spent thousands of years being dominated, treated like property, and tossed aside like trash?

Isn’t it time we put away the old paradigm of expecting men to be bullet proof and women to be soft as silk?

The answer is yes.  But if women breadwinners continue to carry their spouses’ baggage, their boyfriends’ hangups, and their partners’ insecurities, don’t we keep sending the message that women breadwinning is somehow wrong and that the women who do it are, in many ways, committing a societal sin?

Women are breadwinners because they can be, because they want to be, and, in many instances, because they HAVE to be.

This is a sign of forward movement, not a symptom of societal decay.

It is not a woman breadwinner’s job to “make” her partner feel more like a man nor is it his role to become her maid, her housekeeper, or her babysitter.  We aren’t talking about two people who happen to be roommates.  We’re talking about two people who signed up for the same journey, who agreed to enjoy the ride, and who decided that they were stronger together than they were apart.  That means you love who you’re with.  It means you support their highest potential.  It translates into focusing on what makes the relationship work, not what makes the parntership suffer.

We’ve come so far… and, yet, we haven’t.

I remember in college, as women, we were told, “You can have it all!”

What “they” didn’t say is that “having it all” isn’t always a win.

Sometimes when you win, you lose… and, sometimes, when you lose, you win…

So what do you do when you’re tired of carrying around other people’s shame, guilt, anger, frustration, and resentment?

1) You let other people’s  baggage go.  You do this by not making anyone else’s emotional hang-ups, opinions, or concerns your own.  Be very clear about what you think of your woman breadwinner status.  When someone comes your way with negativity, separate their issues from your beliefs.  Say to yourself, “I’m not taking them or that comment personally” and then move on to something more positive.  Change the topic of conversation.  Focus on your goals.  Ask them to stop the negativity.  Walk away if you have to.  Someone can attempt to hand you their baggage but you get to decide whether or not you accept it.

2) You stop defining your life by your role.  You may fill the role of a woman breadwinner but a woman breadwinner is not who you REALLY are.  People like labels because they like to arrange their worlds in neat, tidy categories.  You don’t have to be one of those compartments.  Nobody is their title.  You can decide here, today, that while you might fulfill the role of a breadwinner, you are so much more than that.  You are not your stuff and you are certainly not your breadwinning title.  Begin to define your life by  WHO you are, not WHAT you do… and the title (woman breadwinner) loses all stigma and all unnecessary pressure.

3) You start enjoying your life AND your role.  Bask in the freedoms you have that your great-grand mothers didn’t.  Enjoy what it means to experience financial and professional freedom.  Give thanks that you’re a woman who lives in an age where your influence, freedom, and power have never been more available to you.  Instead of making this role your job, see it as ONE of your callings. Be present to all the gifts and blessings that come with running your own show.  Forget about the cost.  No matter how you slice it, it’s better on the side of financial, professional and personal freedom.

4) You continue to speak the truth about your experience of the journey.  No more shame, blame, or guilt about days when you don’t love your role.  Some days you won’t.  No more apologizing for being brave, brilliant and daring.  You were born that way.  Why apologize now?  No more acting as if you wish it were the Leave it to Beaver decade.  Talk to your grandmother.  You don’t.  Tell the truth about your experience of this role and don’t shy away from being candid about both the ups and the downs.  Our daughters and granddaughters will either benefit from your wisdom or learn painfully from your silence.  You get to choose…

And, above all, NEVER believe that your power costs anyone else their own.

 It is the most insidious lie society has ever told and they tell it so strongly about women.

Men don’t apologize for being brave.  Why would we ever apologize for being strong?

Run your show, own your value, and speak your truth…

#sherunstheshow

What to do if you don’t REALLY love yourself… (Read time: 5 min.)

woman 32Do you REALLY love yourself?

Not the “I’m okay, you’re okay” self esteem movement or the “I LOVE ME!” overly exaggerated, let’s-fake-self-love-til-I-feel-self-love self-help technique and sure as hell not the “Once I lose 20 pounds, I’ll love myself” future self idealization process.  No… you… right where you are… right as you are… right now.

Do YOU really love YOU right here, right now?

Tough question, isn’t it?

I myself go through periods of self love (sometimes flashes of it) and then, just when I think I’ve got this self-love thing down, something happens and I’m right back at square one (i.e. self criticism and self judgment) and then I ask myself:

Why am I learning this lesson AGAIN?

Well, my dear, it’s a lifelong lesson.  Take your lifetime pass and enjoy the ride…

So… if you’re in  a spot where you recognize that you don’t love yourself, where you know that you’re always comparing yourself, criticizing yourself, expecting more, demanding more, focusing on your deficiencies, berating yourself for the last stupid thing you said or did wrong, wondering why you haven’t gotten it “together” by now, there are simple, strategic, EFFECTIVE things you can do to REALLY love yourself.

Here are 5 ways to start:

1) Be willing to change.  Lots of people say they’re willing to change… and really aren’t.  Being willing to change means a number of things:

  • you are open to looking at your life and your choices in a variety of different ways
  • if something in your life isn’t working, you’re open to changing things up
  • if you feel wronged by someone, you’re willing to see the situation from that person’s perspective (doesn’t make that person right or the relationship good but it frees you from the need to blame or resent him/her)
  • accepting that you screwed up and putting your whole mind into the actions necessary to clean up the mess (rather than complaining about the mess)
  • seeing your decisions as provisional (not permanent); knowing that, in any moment, you’re free to choose differently and doing so without feeling like other people will say “I told you so” or will mock you for making the wrong choice; other people still might do that but when you’re willing to change, you’re more sold of having change than you are afraid of making a mistake
  • drastically altering how you run your life- I’m talking you’re ready to renovate the house of you and you’re willing to let go of WHATEVER needs to be let go of in order to do that

When you’re truly willing to change, there’s no such thing as “Oh, no way!  No matter what, that is not an option I’d even consider.”  Willingness means you’re open to everything.  You don’t have to choose it but you’re at least open to delving into it, seeing if it will work for you, and making a conscious decision about what to do next.  Closed minds aren’t allowed when you’re in the space of being willing to change.

2) Wake up to the self abuse you do.  Write down all the ways you show a lack of self love to yourself and, for each one, write down what self love would look like for that self abuse action (the positive opposite) AND implement it.  Check out the FREE Self Abuse vs. Self Love worksheet I’ve put here on Scribd.  Download it, print, and use it.  Here’s the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/136704813/Self-Abuse-vs-Self-Love-Worksheet

3) Do a criticism detox for 21 days.  In other words, be super-vigilant and VERY conscious of when you are moving towards the realm of criticizing yourself and others.  Stop yourself in that moment and say, “I am willing to release the need to criticize or be criticized.”  Even the smallest criticism counts.  Be a drill sergeant in your mind for 21 CONSECUTIVE days and see what happens.

4) Watch one You Tube video a day that reminds you of how fabulous you are.  Five to ten minutes a day can revolutionize your life.  Carve out that time daily to watch a video that will remind you of who you REALLY are.  If you aren’t a You Tube/video watching kind of person, read an empowering book or listen to an empowering audio.  But do SOMETHING daily to remind yourself how fabulous you are.  Here’s a great place to start- Watch the movie ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise L. Hay on Vimeo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NjUzNP-u_o

5) Quit eating junk.  Junk food = a junk mind = a junk body.  There is no way you’re seeing, thinking or living clearly if you’re eating crap.  There’s no nice way to say it.  And here’s the truth about overeating or eating the wrong foods as expressed by Marianne Williamson in her book, “A Course on Weight Loss”:

“The experience everyone yearns for is love, and you have come to experience eating as an act of self-love, even when you are eating unwisely. 

Even when you overeat- an act you know better than to think of as actual self-love, given that it is inherently self-destructive-

you experience yourself as emotionally nourished, even if its just for a moment. 

A subconscious effort at self-love turns into an act of self-hate.  As you transform-

as you learn to be fed love by love itself- you will stop looking to food for what food cannot feed you.”

The above five steps are simple, strategic, and absolutely doable on a DAILY basis.  Repetition makes the master.  Start today and let me know how it goes.

Which of the above 5 steps have you implemented and how is it going for you?

Comment below!

Why Women Breadwinners Apologize For Being Powerful… and 7 Ways to Stop Doing That (Read Time: 5 min.)

powerful woman 1Women are powerful.  They are incredibly strong and, yet, superbly nurturing.  They are resilient to a fault and expressive to the nth degree… and even when a woman describes herself as NONE of these things, she still has what it takes to do the job of five people, sleep on less than 3 hours, and still keep it moving.  Maybe it’s the ability to give birth.  Maybe it’s the necessity to continue on with life through thousands of years of oppression and abuse.  Whatever the reason, women bring a level of power, intuition, and grace to the table without even trying.

So it amazes me when I observe how we (and I mean WE), as women, find ourselves in situations, relationships, jobs, careers, and raising children who we, in some way, shape, or form, feel the need to downplay our power to.

How do women downplay their power?

They apologize for being who they are.  They do it subtly.  They do it subconsciously.  And, unfortunately, sometimes they do it completely.

Apologizing for being brave, brilliant and daring is kind of like having someone give you the greatest gift of your life and throwing the gift right back in their face: it’s ridiculous.  And, yet, from time to time, we do it.  We’ve been taught how to, not because our power wasn’t seen but because it was felt… and the recognition of it to those who didn’t know how to possess it or contain it was a scary proposition.

This “scary” proposition is especially true when it comes to women breadwinners.  In the year 2013, it’s amazing how many stares, jeers, and back handed comments women get when people discover that:

1) They have powerful, high income careers that require neither the support nor the approval of their husbands.

2) They hold the health insurance, it’s their IRA, and they can talk a good bit about investments.

3) They don’t need to ask ANYBODY’s approval to make or spend money.

4) They don’t go to every soccer practice, PTO meeting, and do every bake sale associated with their kids’ schooling.  Oh, and heaven forbid, they missed one or two recitals last year.

And the WORST one for people:

5) They had a baby and not even two months later went back to work FULL time.

To people, this is the equivalent of a purple cow that they have no idea to what to do with… and that’s when we see the apologies come in:

“Well, I…”

“I wish I could but this is how things got this way…”

“I feel guilty about it sometimes but…”

“I really do try to…”

“I don’t know as much as my husband…” (blatant lie and devastating apology)

“I do alright…”

“He’s got his strengths, I have mine and we make it work…”

“I could never be with someone as ambitious as me…”

“I’m not a stay-at-home kind of person…” (let’s get real: are you a work-all-the-time-while-other-people-do-nothing kind of person either?)

Why don’t we just wave the white flag already?

The problem with apologizing for power is not simply that it denies your power but that it actually diminishes it by your own words and deeds.  Women who know they’re powerful but pretend not to be wind up making excuses, living a lie, and pretending that things are okay when they’re not… and then feel resentful about doing so which leads to all kinds of passive-aggressive moves that wind most people on a therapist’s couch or in a divorce court.  Regardless, when powerful women apologize for their power, what they’re really pointing to is their fear: the fear that they cannot be BOTH powerful and loved at the same time.  It is an unfounded fear and what it winds up doing is keeping love and acceptance from both the woman with the power and the people with whom she shares it.

So… what do you do when you realize that you spend far too much time playing small in the world so other people can feel big?

You stop it.  Here are 7 ways:

1) Own your strengths to everyone, everywhere, and feel good about it.

2) Boost other people’s self confidence sincerely and never to your self-esteem’s detriment.

3) Be okay with being different and let people know clearly AND succinctly why that works for you.  If they feel bad walking away from that conversation, that’s their problem, not yours.

4) Let go of the fantasy that you’re required to be the best at everything all of the time.  It’s not going to happen.  The sooner you let go of trying to be Molly Homemaker at the same time that you’re Emily Executive, you’ll feel much better about yourself.

5) Have standards when it comes to others and use those standards to teach them how to treat you.  We’re getting into a place where people are afraid to expect some of the most basic things from other people.  I hear all of this Buddha talk about “No expectations.”  While there’s a lot to be said for not being attached to goals or outcomes, there’s something to be said for knowing how you will and will not be treated and teaching other people consistently and persistently what that looks like in your world.  Standards are key and you need to not only set them but enforce them.

6) Release the fear that people will leave you.  Maybe they will.  And the people who do weren’t really with you anyway.  Their bodies showed up but their souls never did.  Rather than have a bunch of people in your corner who want the you they’d prefer to have around, why not liquidate those people and find an inner circle who really want who you are?  It may take a little time and there may be some opportunity for aloneness (alone and lonely are not the same thing mind you) but, in the long run, it’ll be worth it.

7) Remind yourself, everyday all day that you are loving AND powerful.  In her book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”, Susan Jeffers talks about this:

“A self assured woman who is in control of her life draws like a magnet.  She is so filled with positive energy that people want to be around her.  Yet it is only when she has become powerful within herself that she can become authentic and loving to those around her.  The truth is that love and power go together.  With power, one can really begin to open up the heart.  With no power, love is distorted.”

She offers a mantra especially for women that she encourages women repeat at least 25 times each morning, noon and night:

I AM POWERFUL AND I AM LOVED.

I AM POWERFUL AND I AM LOVING.

I AM POWERFUL AND I LOVE IT!

Try it.  You have nothing to lose.

FINAL POINT:

Your power never comes at any one else’s expense.

Not using your power or downplaying your power will: yours…

In the next 7 posts, I’m going to go into detail on each of the 7 ways you can stop apologizing for your power.

In next week’s post, I’ll talk about Owning Your Strengths.