Archive for Empowerment

01 Feb 2013

My Oprah Moment

1 Comment Empowerment, Live your best Life

George S. and Oprah

I scratched Oprah off my bucket list the day before my 40th birthday last week in Vancouver.  It was spectacular and I thought oh so fitting for me to spend the last day of my 30s with the fabulous Lady O.  Even though there were 16,000 people there, I couldn’t help but feel like she was talking to just me the whole time!

Everyone keeps asking me what did she say!?  What was it about!?  That is completely impossible to answer, because there was so much!  Much of it was familiar because really Oprah has been talking about the same things her whole career.  Most of the time I sat there bobbing my head in agreement, “yes, that’s right, Oprah, you are so right about that“.

The messages, as familiar as they were, also had a new sense of power behind them.  I will be clear, I was over the moon excited to be seeing her live, so it all seemed amazing, but really there was a power and presence there that was palpable.  First off, the energy of the crowd was so unique.  It was awe inspiring, (and awfully funny!) to be in a giant arena with 14,000+ women.  There were men, but they were far far out numbered.  Not just any women either.  The room was full of the kind of women that will spend $200+ a ticket because they want to get inspired, enlightened, centered, or learn.  Believe me, that in itself was awe inspiring. (The bathroom line ups created quite the look of awe too).

The atmosphere was not the one of major hype, clapping, and hysteria like scenes from the TV shows, but a very calm, relaxed, soak it all in vibe.  Oprah literally had everyone hanging on her every word for the two hours she was on the stage.  She was completely natural, no big production going on around her, just a wicked sense of humour about many things, including Canada.  More humble than passionate, she wowed me with her ability to just talk.  No notes, no teleprompters, just her talking about life as she sees it, and what she has learned to be true ~ we are all what we believe we are.  Period.

For me it was a very life affirming experience.  It gave me a boost to stick to my path.  It reminded me to get quiet and listen to my true inner voice.  The one that speaks in whispers, the one that Oprah has helped to shape. She made me laugh when she spoke with my other media hero George Strombolopolis who took to the stage at the end for some Q&A time with her.  She said, “I raised most of you people in here!”  She told George she decided 25 years of her show was enough when the second generation of kids started writing her.  ‘Mom’s cooking supper with the Oprah show on’, is an experience that so many my age have had.

Thanks for coming for my birthday Oprah, it was an unforgettable way to embrace turning 40, and a gift to hear from you, that I am okay, I got this.

Life affirmed.

19 Jan 2013

Ready for a Blissful New Year?

No Comments Empowerment, Goal Setting, New Year

If you read my last article and were kind enough to yourself to ease your way into the new year, then good for you!  The next step now is to work with the intention you created for yourself for 2013.  We used kindness as the first step in moving ourselves into action, and now it’s that time, taking action!

Recently, I worked with a client that reminded me of something I think is key to  making your resolutions real, and that is having the discipline to take action.

In our exchange, she gave me a new favourite word, “Blissipline”.

We were strategizing ways to embrace and practice using discipline to empower her to take action on the goals that she had for herself.  She understood that having an intention was the pathway for her to realize her dreams.  Her stumbling block however, was actually getting to it.

I understand this very well.  For some people discipline is a natural.  For others it feels like a constant struggle.  For the people who struggle with discipline, I believe it is useful to think of it as a skill.  Like any skill, you need to practice and diligently work on it.  Figuring out how to do this in your own authentic way is something a lifecoach can help you sort out.

My client shared that she thought disipline was a yucky word that she didn’t want to like.  She liked being free, disipline was a downer!  I asked her to consider another perspective and think about discipline as a great tool to handle the many pressures in life. This is particularly true for entrepreneurial personalities who can have 10 good ideas  a day and easily get distracted.  These are the people with too many things going on at once – they eventually end up overwhelmed.  When overwhelmed, you become ineffective, which leads to beating yourself up because you never accomplish anything.  This is a vicious cycle that many smart, capable people find themselves in. Eventually you may even subconsciously stop trusting yourself, and your confidence erodes.

The truth is that following your bliss takes discipline.  Bliss isn’t really about doing anything you want when you want to.  Real bliss is following your dreams, feeling accomplished, and creating and nurturing that thing which you hold dear.

Pretty hard to live your bliss with eroded confidence and a constant feeling of overwhelm.

We all have enough life experience to know that confidence increases after completing things.  Think of your top 5 most confident moments in life.  I am willing to bet that most of those five are related to finishing something. Completing that which you set out to do.  Knowing that when it comes down to it, you have the discipline to get the task at hand done.

Remember and remind yourself:

Following my bliss takes discipline.  Bliss isn’t really about doing anything I want when I want to.  Real bliss is following my dreams, feeling accomplished, and creating and nurturing the intention that I hold.

Get beyond the illusion that bliss just shows up.  Go out there and make it happen for yourself.  Use discipline as your means of getting it. Embrace discipline, and true bliss can be yours.

COACH TIP: How are you willing to embrace being more disciplined?  Here are three techniques that I recommend using daily to keep yourself on track, on course, and committed to your  intention.

1)If your current to do list, (either written, or being carried around in your head) is longer than 12 things, get a pad of paper and write down the three most important tasks you can complete today.  These will be more minor tasks, or parts of larger projects that you can tackle and complete in one day.  If you are working on a big project, break it down into tasks, and focus on 3 things in a day.

2)Tell a family member or friend what you are working on. Saying something out loud helps you to become more accountable to it.

3)Ask yourself… “if not now, when?”. Get clear about when you can do something, and schedule it in.  Putting things off with out getting clear of of when you will get back to it, is a trick of procrastination.

13 Sep 2012

Don’t take this personally, but…

No Comments Building Confidence, Empowerment, Fearless Living

Don't Take It PersonallyStop.  Please make a promise to yourself that you will never utter this phrase again.

Everything is personal.  Most of us feel our emotions.  We don’t logic our way through most things that are personal, we usually feel them first.  When you say to someone, ‘don’t take this personally but…’ they immediately begin trying to figure out how they should feel about what you are sharing.   I bet we can all relate to being told something, and being okay with it in the moment. But then we go home, and upon reflection, start to feel badly about it.  That’s because we get into the feeling of it, and off we go into self-doubt, making up scenarios of how to rebut this unfounded statement, shame and self loathing around the thought that it could be true… on and on…

If you can catch yourself in this trap, this is good news!  It means you can work on getting OUT of this trap.   To get OUT of the trap of feeling BAD all the time, ask yourself this question.


What? I just asked you to never utter that phrase again?! Not quite!

The key to not taking things personally is to get into the habit of asking yourself,

Am I making this personal?

The reason all the feelings come up, as in the scenario above, is because many of us have the bad habit of taking things personal.  This is a natural tendency.  Essentially we want to be able to control what people think of us and we don’t want any of those thoughts to be bad.  We yearn to be seen as we really are, the whole picture, not just parts of ourselves, and we mistakenly think we can actually control our image to accomplish all that.

When we stop and ask, ‘Am I making this personal?’ it gets us out of our fear mode that tends to come up when we need to be right, or defend, or set the record straight etc.  When those feelings are present, it is usually the absolute worst time to respond to whatever it was that triggered those feelings. When you get into the good habit of stopping, and asking, ‘Am I making this personal?’ You can start to dismantle how those feeling want you to re-act, and instead be who you want to be.

Don’t let your reactions to life define you.   We all always have the choice to be who we want to be in this world.  Seriously, even if you have the worst boss, had the worst slight from a friend, or have the most tragic luck story going, those things need not define who you are and how you are showing up in the world.

Instead, choose not to make up stories in which you are responsible for something negative, or disrespected, or whatever is making you want to re-act.  Instead, decide to actively own what you discover IS personal (we could all use a little feedback from time to time after all), and dump the junk that isn’t yours to take on.  That worst boss in the world you have, might just have the most horrific home life you can imagine, and that slight from a friend wasn’t at all about you, but about her wanting to be seen somewhere else, and your tragic luck story isn’t about you at all if it actually really was just random bad luck.

Things happen, and humans behave badly all the time.  But it isn’t about YOU.  You are about you.  Take care of your person, and don’t insert yourself into places you don’t need to be.  After all, truth is, no one is thinking about you as much as you are thinking about you.

28 Mar 2012

Fear of the Unknown

1 Comment Empowerment, Fearless Living

One of the more common tricks of fear is how it manifests for us in the fear of the unknown. It’s usually situations we are attached to, and often relates to circumstances in life like:

“Am I ever going to get pregnant?”
“When the house sells…”
“Am I going to get a call about that job I just applied for?”

The uncomfortable part of those kinds of life questions is the unknowing-ness that they bring with them. This fear of the unknown is uncomfortable and difficult to live with. The expression, “Patience is a Virtue” is famous because it rings true; waiting is hard to do!

Think about a waiting room. Have you ever had a great time in a waiting room? Trapped in the Doctor’s office that is running 40 minutes late, or anxiously waiting for the delayed flight to arrive so that you can get on your plane home to your family. Waiting rooms can be excruciating places to be.  This common frustration triggers fear of the unknown responses.  In these moments we are forced into the unknown zone because we lack control.  This temporarily dis-empower us. You are stuck. Your ability to take action becomes dependent on forces out of your control. For most people this is a very uncomfortable place to be at.  Fear of the unknown = lack of control.  No one likes that.

The key to conquering fear of the unknown is to notice that what you’re feeling is dis-empowered. In that moment of recognition, it is important to know that just because you are feeling dis-empowered doesn’t me you have to believe it. Feelings are just feelings.  They come and go.  Focus on the truth – you can always find ways to empower yourself.  Conquering the fear of the unknown is done by your willingness to empower yourself, even when you temporarily have no control over a situation. Here are some strategies for shifting the “pain” of waiting into something more empowering.

Tip #1 – Keep your eyes on the big picture
When waiting for important life events to come through, like a job offer, it helps to think about the big picture and use your power of visioning. Waiting during times of uncertainty can be a painful experience because you are deeply attached to the outcome. Detaching can be nearly impossible, and your mind will naturally start to play out scenarios that create anxiety. Conquer this trap of fear by shifting your focus to the big picture. Ask, yourself empowering questions like “where do I see myself a year from now?”, “what kind of life am I going to be living?”, “who do I want to be when I get there?”  If you can focus on the vision of your big picture, you will be better able to shut out the chatter associated with your dis-empowered feelings.

Tip #2 – Avoid the trap of details
You are not using your big picture skills when you become trapped in the details. These are things like obsessively checking emails for a response you are anxiously waiting for, or a reluctance to leave your house because you are waiting for a phone call. Notice if you only have one topic of conversation with your friends, and whether it relates to your unknown. Know that the details are important, but also use trust in yourself to allow you to carry on with other aspects of your life. We miss the gifts that come with being in the unknown zone when we get consumed by details. Dig deep and acknowledge the silver lining that often comes with waiting. Maybe it is time off, more alone time with your spouse, or a chance to catch up on some reading. If your silver lining is unclear, then go ahead and make one up! It can be equally as probable as the worst case scenario trap that happens when our fear of the unknown raises its ugly head.

Tip #3 – Make your “waiting” plan of action
Sitting in the Doctor’s office waiting becomes more palatable when you remember to bring a good book. If you know or have a hunch that there might be some “waiting” time in your future empower yourself  by making a waiting plan of action.  Do you set yourself up by assuming everything will run by a particular schedule? We all know that life happens, Doctors run late, babies come on their own schedule, and sometimes we have to wait weeks  to hear back from people. Empower yourself by deciding how you are going to wait it out. If you approach it like it is a pain in the butt, then that is exactly what you will get! Shift this by asking, if I am going to wait, how do I want to do it? Choose to let your empowered self win the battle of the unknown rather than helplessly allow fear to run the show. At the end of the day both paths lead you to the same place. I would rather work on empowering myself  rather then allow my fear of the unknown to control all of the “in the meantime…” space.

08 Mar 2012

Go Ahead, Jump on the Band Wagon

No Comments Empowerment, Social Responsibility











Warning:  The following is a Rant.

I am fired up.  Excuse me while I pull out and stand on my soap box for awhile.

At 9PM on Monday Night I clicked on a link that some of my FRIENDS were going nutso about.  I participated in the 27 minute experiment.  I got so fired up during those 30 odd minutes that I couldn’t sleep that night.  It wasn’t because I was horrified and having nightmares about the extremely disturbing images and tales of the most evil man on earth Joesph Kony.  It was because of the infinite power that captured me at the thought of over 750 Million connected people all coming together and identifying a problem that clearly must be stopped.  Imagine a world were one by one, we come together to collectively work on correcting such a seriously insane heinous situation.  The people of the planet all proclaiming at the same time….. NOT freaking cool!

The next day I got up inspired!  My one little job so that I could be a part of over 750 million voices was to tell my Friends to check out the film. And I did.  With gusto!  I sat and looked in inspired awe at the 2000 people from my own little community that had already signed up to participate on April 20.  They came together within 48 hours?  That is remarkable in this town!  Seriously that many people want to peacefully demonstrate?  Here?  In my home town?  You mean that actually a large majority of the people agree that this insanity should be dealt with now?

Wow, momentum feels good!  Wow, it is so cool to link in with like minded people.  Wow, that was an amazing film.

Within hours of this high, the naysayers started showing up.  Instantly the conversation became flooded with tons of banter about the organization that produced the film. They are not reputable.  It is a simplistic solution.  Their proposed means of capturing Kony IN 2012 are with the support of the corrupt military in Uganda.  That interference in Uganda might actually make things worse… Blah, blah, blah……

The basic counter message to the inspired hopefulness that was central to the message of the film.  YOU ARE STUPID FOR BELIEVING THAT THIS COULD WORK.  You could feel the shift.  Now the rhetoric floating around consists of… you people are so dumb for jumping on the band wagon, naive, uninformed, faux-activits, wannabes……

Here is what I have to say to that.  Yep, I am Jumping on the Band Wagon!  If you don’t want to join me up here, then just get out of the way.  If you think Kony2012 is crap, then go and figure it out in your own way.  But don’t call me stupid because I am idealist.  Don’t judge my level of activism.  Don’t deny my feeling of wanting to make a difference, but having no idea where to start.  Please, just go away.  Leave me, and the 100,000 of other people who want to believe that if we all start talking about it in a collective productive way maybe we can shift political will to be more representative of what the majority of people actually know is true justice.  Maybe if we all jump on some band wagon together we will begin to see our planet out of the conflict that it is in.

Wasn’t the point really to make this evil individual so famous that he can’t continue to be empowered by our collective apathy? To the naysayer critics of the Kony 2012 movement – go find your own solution.  Please stop trying to throw people off of this bandwagon.  Go and create your own.  When you have a better solution, let me know.  For now, I am sticking here and banging my drum.