I feel so empowered!

This past week, I spoke with two different people who I felt were so inspiring. Both of them separately told me about how they stood up for themselves recently at their jobs – in a big way - and they both afterwards said the EXACT same thing to me:

“I feel SO EMPOWERED!”

Going from feeling like a doormat to standing in your truth will do just that.

And let me tell you they were both BEAMING. The energy from each of these women during our conversations was incredible. These ladies were (are) positive, radiant and proud of what they did.

When we take steps in our lives to feel less like a victim, we absolutely feel more empowered. And you know what? Both women also happened to mention to me that they think they could have done this sooner, but fear got in the way. (All happens in perfect, divine timing, though.) Both also said they felt both nervous and excited prior to their assertive actions.

What happens is that once we mindfully stand up for ourselves assertively (not passively or aggressively), and once we step into our truth more, things start flowing for us in our lives even more and amazing things start to happen. One action triggered a host of positive emotions. The CONFIDENCE that these ladies were projecting was nothing short of admirable.

And the truth is that the more you stand in your truth, the more authentic you’ll feel. When you are authentically YOU, the ripple effect occurs, too. People will notice your energy and many will likely be inspired by your actions.

These ladies were both feeling like themselves, even though one them said her boss was so shocked because he was used to treating her like a doormat. (Standing in her truth is the REAL her, though: strong, confident and definitely not a victim.)

Often times when we stand up for ourselves it helps other people as well. For example, in both of these situations standing up for themselves also will help other employees for various reasons.

Situations show up in our lives for a reason. Maybe the purpose is to learn something or to give us an opportunity to strengthen a skill. And often times after we learn particular lessons we’re able to teach others - either directly or indirectly - what we learned from our experience.

And of course stepping out of our comfort zones usually brings an opportunity for growth.

My clients and I talk a lot about boundaries as a part of self-care. Communicating your needs to others can also demonstrate self-respect. Reminds me of that phrase “you teach people how to treat you.” And no one can argue with how you FEEL.

There will be people in our lives who want to dominate our energy for various reasons. It is up to us to recognize this and know that it’s not about us, it has everything to do with them. It’s up to us what we choose to do with this, however.

Is there something you’ve been resentful about that is just eating you away? Decide what you’re going to do about this, even if it is working through it to heal, letting it go and releasing it.

What would your future self say to your current self right now?

How about your highest self? What would your highest self do?

If you are stepping out and would like to practice your assertiveness in a particular situation, take a deep breath and prepare how you’d like to communicate in a way that does not attack the other person. It’s not about attacking or not taking the other person's point of view into consideration. (That would fall under aggressive.) Practice first or even role-play with someone you trust.

As you step into your truth and set boundaries, the better you'll feel (and the more people you'll help! :-))

Have you experienced a situation in which you were glad you stood up for yourself?  Let us know in the comments below!

Finding Your Truth

 When at a birthday celebration dinner recently, a colleague started talking with me about how as she gets older, she makes decisions with her head instead of her heart.

Reflecting
Reflecting

I told her that I’m the opposite. Since I used to overthink things waaayy too much, I’ve learned to use my internal navigation system and trust my gut and intuition when making decisions. When I feel my heart and that internal nudge, I pay attention. I don’t need to be too cerebral about everything.

We then discussed how we’ve both experienced times in our lives where we felt one thing – even in our bones – but chose to go a different route.

Here’s the deal. We have all the answers inside of us. Some religions call our internal guides as the “still small voice within.” The answers often show up when we are silent and still, rather than listening to the noise and chatter in our heads.

When we ask people their opinions, we have to remember that the opinion they give is based on THEIR values and belief systems.

And I’ve seen it over and over. When we do something that someone else said we should do, or that we think we’re supposed to do when it’s not in alignment with who we really are, our souls will eventually feel the burden.

How can we NOT feel heavy when we are using up so much energy RESISTING and pretending to be someone we’re not?

Many people have life goals that are someone else’s. Pay attention to your own energy. What works for one person or what is recommended by certain gurus may not resonate with you. It’s not a one size fits all. I’ve seen so many people base their decisions or next steps on what others are doing. When you’re your own person, everyone benefits! The ripple effect of your energy, groundedness and authenticity is amazing. So cheers to being authentic.

Sometimes what our internal guide is telling us does not seem logical. And that’s okay.

In regards to my colleague, she ultimately explained that what she has changed is that she stops to think first before making knee-jerk emotional  decisions.

There is no wrong way of making the decisions, so what may be right for my colleague may not be right for me. The truth is we’re all wired differently, personality-wise. Some of us naturally use our feelings and some use logic. Using our internal guide takes practice.

The key is that I think we have to find our own balance while not ignoring what that voice inside us is whispering to us. Pay attention to the messages and when something inside is tugging at us, giving us the nudge.

So how do you make decisions?  What works for you?  A pros and cons list? By looking within and meditating / reflecting on it? By relaxing into it and seeing what you’re guided to next? By determining what it feels like in your body?

Try your options on for size and see how your body feels energetically. With each option, determine if it feels draining or energizing to you?

And most of all, go ahead and trust yourself. The Universe has our backs.

One crucial component of success

  “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” - Babe Ruth


Ok, I'll get right down to it. One characteristic I’ve repeatedly observed in my clients and others who are successful in making positive changes in their lives is CONSISTENCY.

It’s a simple concept. Not always easy…although with anything it comes down to dedication, choice and conscious decisions based on your intentions.

You will indeed get to where you want to go with consistent steps. Although sometimes the universe has a different outcome in mind, being persistent with your action (and open to what comes to you along the way) will pay off. There is a saying that one thing people successful people have in common is that they did not give up, despite “failed” attempts or (perceived) defeats. This is true regardless of your definition of success.

I don’t really like the term failure as there is always something to learn from each experience and every opportunity is an outlet for growth. There is no wrong path.

We don’t lose weight by going to the gym once or by eating well for one day. However, with consistency, our small steps lead to big changes. Healthy people are well because of a series of small steps they’ve taken with daily choices. Successful people choose their actions based on what gets them closer to their goal. Athletes and musicians improve their performances with consistent practice.

Do you remember when Diana Nyad made the news? At 64 years old and after five attempts, she swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. Ms. Nyad is a perfect example of perseverance.

She kept reaching for her dream, without making excuses or giving up.

There are thousands of stories like Ms Nyad’s. Work by best-selling authors were repeatedly declined by agents or publishers; famous artists had their work rejected; and award winning actors were turned down for roles. Thomas Edison had over 1,000 attempts when creating the light bulb. He allegedly once told a reporter, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." (How’s that for perspective?)

Sometimes it’s easy to make excuses, blame others or stay in our comfort zones, even when it doesn’t serve us. Our ego can sometimes keep us stuck in our stories that prevent us from putting forth the effort it takes to succeed. Or we listen to others who want to squash our dreams.

Each decision counts, even the seemingly small, daily ones. If you do something half-assed, you will get just those results. What you put into it is what you get out of it.

Remember, you can always start again and it’s never too late.

My question for you this week is this:

Is there something in your life with which you could be more consistent? Think about something that you REALLY want in life. What small steps can you take on a consistent basis to get you closer to that?

Be sure to share your insights below as your story can help others as well!


And on a related note: The beauty about coaching is that clients and I speak on a consistent, weekly basis to help ensure action is taken each week (and preferably daily action :) to make positive changes in their lives. Just click "contact" at the top of this page if you’re ready to take action in order to live a more fulfilled life. There’s no obligation with a “get acquainted” call.

carpe diem, peeps. (for reals!)

  So I woke this morning to find out of a sudden and unexpected passing of a friend, Larisa. Although we have not spent time together on a regular basis in a couple of years, she still had an impact on me, even through her Facebook posts. I originally met Larisa several years ago while working on a contract position having to do with depression in pregnant and post-partum women. Turned out we had several friends in common – she was just one of those people. A connector. She is one of the most INSPIRING people, and the words I write are not a “well – she passed and let’s think of something nice to say.” She was TRULY a remarkable person.

 

Larisa had an impact on everyone she met and EVERYONE liked her instantly.

 

Oprah says that we are all responsible for the energy we bring to a room, and I fully agree with this concept. Larisa LIT UP a room. She’s the kind of person who called everyone dollface and sunshine. She had the biggest SMILE, was usually LAUGHING and fully enjoyed life.

 

Her last post on facebook happened to be a link to a Harvard Review blog about purpose in life. Very appropriate.

 

So here are a few lessons learned that we could all learn from Larisa:

 

She lived life to its fullest. She was creative and fun loving. Went to Mardi Grås if she wanted.  She took every opportunity to wear glitter, a costume, a pink wig or tutu just because.

 

She took risks. She held two master’s degrees, sported a few tattoos, and ran her own baking business for a while.

 

She was compassionate. She worked in healthcare and she was also there when anyone needed a listening ear and caring soul. Her master’s degrees were in counseling and public health (she and I had the public health degree from Emory in common).

 

She shared her talents and gifts with the world in every regard. She was a teacher to all without meaning to be. She was smart and creative, and was an amazing baker.

 

She was her true AUTHENTIC self with no apologies. Her Facebook page is filled with tons of LOVE, memories and crazy fun pictures of Larisa being Larisa.

 

In my opinion, she took action and made things happen. In 2010, she invited me to participate in a book club she decided to co-create, which was a breath of fresh air for me at the time.

 

She was a great example of the ripple effect. It was practically impossible to not feel happy when in her presence.

 

She was resilient. If something went wrong, she would deal with it and move on.

 

So all of this said, I’d like to ask what LEGACY would you like to leave?  Something to ponder.

 

I’ll end with this excerpt from Tony Robbins that ties everything together nicely.

 

“Live life fully while you're here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You're going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don't try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.” ~Anthony Robbins

 

Prayers, healing thoughts of love and light to her family, friends and long-term boyfriend would also be appreciated! Go forth and enjoy your weekend, friends.

 

As always, please be sure to share any insights below!

 

 

Guided imagery and healing = an excellent form of self-care

Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. – Lucille Ball

Guided imagery and healing = an excellent form of self-care

By Nancie Vito, MPH, CHES

My clients often ask me for guidance on relaxation and stress reduction techniques, and I wanted to share one with you that has been in my toolbox for several years, since my days of leading workshops for people with chronic health conditions. Participants would absolutely love being "walked" through a peaceful country garden, for example.

Guided imagery is one of many different types of relaxation techniques that can produce a relaxation response. All relaxation techniques have a common goal: to produce physiological changes in the body order to lower blood pressure, decrease pain and reduce effects of stress or illness. Basically, with guided imagery, individuals visualize pleasant images in their mind in order to replace negative, stressful or unwanted thoughts and feelings. This process and “reprogramming” of the subconscious mind often results in an overall sense of calm. Imagery combines all senses, not only “seeing” or creating images in the mind, but truly feeling, smelling, etc. When we create images that we find pleasant in our “mind’s eye,” the process can also be meditative in nature since it goes deeper than the level of consciousness in which we operate in our daily activities. Memory is one example of a form of imagery. Dreams are also a good example of images being created in the mind, as the subconscious and unconscious are communicating with our conscious mind. (A main difference with guided imagery is that individuals are purposefully and consciously creating desired behaviors or situations in their mind.)

Individuals can learn guided imagery a self-directed exercise, with a “live” facilitator, or by using CDs, DVDs, MP3s, phone applications, and online programs. Fortunately, guided imagery is much more accessible in recent years that it once was.

Research has come a long way in developing evidence for the effects of guided imagery as in last few decades, as thousands of studies have shown guided imagery to have positive effects on cancer, depression, anxiety, pain, asthma, PTSD, chronic tension-type headaches, addictive behaviors, menopausal symptoms, and host of other conditions. It has been shown strengthen the immune system and even have positive effects on pregnancy. Some hospitals are starting to use it to help patients relax before surgery.

So here’s the deal: guided imagery can be beneficial for just about anyone and any situation where positive outcomes are desired. The bottom line of how it works? It helps to decrease stress as you can turn your focus towards something that is pleasing to you.

Some people use imagery to help make a personal goal a reality. This is also super duper helpful, for example, before public speaking. Really FEEL how you want to feel upon reaching the goal. The key to visualizing the desired outcome of a goal is to be sure to take action along with it. :)

SO…for positive outcomes for your health and overall well-being, this week why not check out some of the tools out there that are available to us online or via apps? Let me know how it goes by posting your insights below! I love to hear from my dear readers.