Just keep showing up

“Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.”

The trainer who repeated those words over and over during a boxing class I was in several years ago probably has no idea how much he helped me that day. He helped me not just get through a grueling workout, but planted the seeds that would start blossoming into the increasingly unshakeable sense of perseverance I have today.

If you care deeply enough about something to want to get good at it, to succeed, and to have an impact, you’ve GOT to keep showing up. Over and over again. Even when it gets hard, or boring, or terrifying, or uncomfortable.

Sidenote: Just to be clear, this only applies to things that are important to you! Please don’t continue to tolerate something that is harmful or makes you miserable just for the sake of being persistent! 

As far as I’m concerned, your ability to persevere in the pursuit of your dreams far outweighs all other factors when it comes to creating an extraordinary life you love. The good news is that it can be learned, so if you haven’t already, make it a priority to get better! Here are some tips to get you started.

Be clear on the purpose
Be honest about why you’re pursuing something in the first place. Is it because you think you should or because you genuinely want to? Go for the plans and projects that are rooted in your values and light you up. It’s much easier to stay committed to something if you have a strong WHY to come back to when it gets hard.

Commit
Decide that this is important enough to put in the work. It will be hard. You will fail. Accept that from the get go as part of the process and commit to seeing it through. Make it non-negotiable. Declare your commitment to yourself, the universe, and your people (preferably the supportive ones who will cheer you on.)

Skateboarder at skatepark about to go

Confront your fears
Fear is a great indication that there is something important in front of you. It’s also a ridiculous source of energy. Feel the fear, then take action, even though you’re scared. Tap into the physical energy coursing through your body and channel it into the bravery you need to take that first step. If you let it, fear might even become your greatest ally, instead of your worst enemy.

Keep showing up
Get out there. Some days you’ll be excited, progress will happen quickly, and you’ll feel unstoppable! Other days will seriously suck. Just keep showing up. Day after day. It may feel awkward, uncomfortable, or embarrassing. You might want to give up. Don’t. Just come back. Over and over again. Remember it takes consistency to see results.

Skateboarder at skatepark

Embrace failure
Know that failure is simply part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s SO not helpful. Instead, pause and lick your wounds for a bit if you need to. Then take a deep breath, pick your ass up off the ground, dust yourself off, and climb back on the damn horse. It’s all about learning. Or as a yoga teacher of mine once said, “when you fall out of a pose, that just means you’re learning how not to fall out of that pose.”

Fall down seven times. Stand up eight. ~ Japanese proverb

One of my favorite frameworks to use when it comes to learning new skills is the conscious competence ladder, which this article explains in more detail. The middle phases are bumpy and that’s okay. You’re allowed to suck before you rock.

Gordon's conscious competence ladder

Get support
Like the stick figures helping each other in the diagram above, remember that getting support is part of the process too. It could be in the form of a coach or mentor, a mastermind group, a sports club, family, or just a workout buddy. Lean into your people and give them the great honor of letting them lift you up. We all need help sometimes.

Don’t compare
Don’t waste your precious time and energy comparing yourself to others. Cheer them on, celebrate their wins, and then go back to honing your craft. Your journey will likely look unlike anyone else’s, so honor your own timing and process.

Skateboarder in the air

Savor your progress
While the destination (let’s say mastering a certain trick on a skateboard or reaching a milestone in your business) may be an amazing reward in and of itself, undoubtedly the greatest reward is who you are becoming in the process. Acknowledge the small wins and how you are expanding as a person along the way.

 

How to have more freedom in your life

As a freedom coach, part of my mission is to help people find and create more freedom in their lives, whatever that means to them. I’m especially interested in helping people feel more free, which I believe is something that most, if not all, of us want.

What does freedom even mean?
Freedom probably means something slightly different to each of us, depending on our perspective and life experience. Today, I’m going to look at the types of freedom that people I work with are most commonly seeking – financial freedom, location freedom, time freedom, and emotional freedom – and share a handful of tips and ideas you can use to start moving toward having more of each one in your life.

[Sidenote: This post is not about freedom in the sense of freedom from slavery, oppression, or discrimination. Those are obviously much differenent conversations (and also not my areas of expertise). I look to other inspiring and knowledgeable leaders and activists to guide us in those conversations.]

Many of these suggestions may seem obvious. But that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to actually act on. They may take courage, a willingness to get uncomfortable, or the persistence to keep going when shit hits the fan and things get hard. Look for the tips that speak to you and that whisper in your heart and do those. Even the tiniest baby steps can make a difference.

Financial Freedom
Okay, so financial freedom obviously means wildly different things to different people, but for the sake of simplicity let’s say it probably entails increasing your income, lowering your expenses, or generally having more access to better resources and more opportunities in your life. Let’s assume it’s mostly about having a choice. Having options.

For me, for example, the kind of financial freedom that I’m fiercely determined to create for myself includes being completely debt free and having predictable, sustainable income that far surpasses my family’s needs, enables me to contribute (both time and money) to causes I care about, and to have a kickass positive impact on the world.

While I don’t care much about material belongings right now, I cherish relationships, experiences, and travel, so financial freedom means being able to prioritize those in my life. It also means having a healthy and helpful relationship with money, and cultivating an abundance mindset that feels aligned with my beliefs and values.

What does financial freedom mean to you? And would could you do to move toward it? Here are some ideas you can steal:

  • Ask for a raise at your current job
  • Apply for jobs with a higher salary
  • Learn new skills that will qualify you for a higher paying job
  • Start your own business where you are in control of your own income
  • Take on a side gig(s) like driving for Lyft or teaching on Udemy or Skillshare
  • Rent out a spare room on Airbnb
  • SPEND LESS. Everywhere possible. Obviously 😉
  • Come up with a plan to pay off your debt more aggressively
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have on crap you don’t need
  • Move to a cheaper part of town, cheaper country, or cheaper apartment
  • Eat (and drink!) out less, cook at home more, grow your own food if possible
  • Take money you normally put toward escape and entertainment and invest it, save it, or invest it in your personal or professional development (best ROI!) instead
  • Believe in yourself and your self worth. Know that money is not inherently good or bad; it’s the value and meanings that we assign to it that determines that
  • Be curious about your relationship with money, and start shifting your negative limiting beliefs to more empowering, helpful ones

I’m not a financial expert, but I have come across a ton of great resources over the years. If you want recommendations, I’m happy to share some of my favorites with you.

Location Freedom
You don’t need to be a digital nomad like me to have location freedom. Location freedom can mean that your employer allows you to work remotely part-time so that you feel less tied to your desk. Or being your own boss so that you can work from home and wear yoga pants. Or simply having a shorter commute. Think about what environments you thrive in, and which you don’t. What kind of setup will help you be productive and happy?

For me, for example, location freedom absolutely means being my own boss, setting my own hours, and being able to work from home, a coffeeshop, or whatever hotel or Airbnb I happen to be staying in. But it also means the freedom to create a space that’s conducive to feeling grounded and peaceful and inspired to do my work, by having a sunny and open room, inspiring music in the background, and to be dressed comfortably.

What does it mean to you? How could you move even just one step closer to creating that for yourself? Here are some ideas:

  • Ask your employer for the option to work remotely one day a week to start and go up from there
  • Find a job that allows you to work remotely. There are tons of companies that offer remote jobs. Here’s another list. And another. Ok, just one more.
  • Start your own location independent business
  • Move. If your commute is making you miserable, move closer to it (or leave the job)
  • Check out companies like Remote YearUnsettled, or Hacker Paradise that help you work like a digital nomad, but minus all the DIY headaches, and plus a built in community. Or Roam for coliving and coworking spaces.

If you want to know more about living and working as a digital nomad, this is one of my areas of expertise, so I’m happy to answer any questions you have or send you resources that might help.

Time Freedom
Ah, wouldn’t we all love more time? Yes, of course. But instead of just whining about not having enough, why not take responsibility and do what you can to create more time. I believe it’s a matter of optimizing where we can, and then prioritizing where we put our energy based on what’s actually most important.

For me, time freedom means being in charge of when and how much I work. And making sure I have the time and space for what’s most important to me, like family, friends, exercise, travel, adventure, reading, and endless personal growth.

What does time freedom mean to you? And how can you create more in your life? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Stop saying yes when you mean no. Notice where you give of your time too freely and end up feeling resentful. Practice setting boundaries. It’s best for everyone.
  • Plan ahead and intend to stick to your plan as much as possible (knowing that you can always adjust as needed). Instead of just reacting to whatever comes your way, treat your most important projects and priorities as non-negotiable appointments. Put them on the calendar. And show up.
  • Put like with like. The best way I know to clean, simplify, and organize is to start by grouping like with like. Do the same with your tasks like email, phone calls, errands, etc. so you do them all while you’re in that mode, before switching gears.
  • Conventional wisdom, and most productivity gurus, tell us to do the most important (and sometimes most unpleasant) tasks first. You’ll feel accomplished, relieved, and can then relax and do the little easy stuff later. This can be really powerful.
  • And, I’ll be honest, for me sometimes doing the exact opposite works even better. I usually do all the easy, little stuff and then when I feel like my brain is clear, I am more ready for the big, hard stuff. Choose whatever works for you.
  • OPTIMIZE! Look for ways to automate (like using an online scheduler instead of lots of emailing back and forth), outsource tasks that you don’t need or want to do (e.g. hire a cleaner or a Task Rabbit), or find sneaky ways to be productive during downtime (like taking public transportation instead of driving to work, so you can read, work, or even do a little mobile morning ritual during that time instead.)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are SO MANY brilliant time management and productivity hacks out there. I geek out on this stuff, so hit me up if you want more tips.

Emotional Freedom
This is by far my favorite one. Emotional freedom is a highly personal one, because it depends largely on our background, upbringing, conditioning, fears, etc. It may be more about want freedom from something (e.g. self-doubt or fear) or craving the freedom to something (e.g. do work you love, be yourself etc.) I love helping people with the practical ones, but working toward emotional freedom is what I’ve found to be most impactful, because it’s so foundational. It’s our personal development.

It’s where we get in our own way, self-sabotage, and settle for lives that are not ones we love. Nothing gives me more joy than watching another human untangle themselves from what’s been holding back them, start to cultivate a deeper sense of inner peace and inner power, and then go out and intentionally design and build a new reality based on who they really are.

For me, personally, emotional freedom is mostly a feeling – that sense of lightness that I get when I’m giving myself permission to be and own who I am, express myself openly and unapologetically, and when I let go of worrying about what other people think. I feel incredibly alive and awake when my external life is an expression with who I am on the inside. It’s unleashing my inner badass, and being the powerful creator that I am. That we all are, when we get out of our own damn way.

What does emotional freedom mean to you? And how can you move in that direction? Here are some of my favorite tips:

  • Constantly ask yourself what you want and how you want to feel. Learn to be more and more honest with yourself. Then use those answers as your guide.
  • Read and watch less negative stuff; instead, consume more empowering, uplifting stuff. Like this blog 🙂 Or the many amazing books, articles, and podcasts out there.
  • Seek out supportive communities. Distance yourself from the people who drag you down. You don’t need to cut them out of your life completely, just make sure you also have some supporters that want the best for you and will cheer you on. Don’t know where to find one? Join my online community Freedom + Badassery!
  • STOP TAKING EVERYTHING SO PERSONALLY. This has been my biggest struggle, and the more I let go of it, the more free, light, and expansive I feel.
  • Listen less to what others and society think you should do. Listen more to what your heart wants and what gets you excited and makes you happy.
  • Take radical responsibility for your life. All of it. Your thoughts, your actions, your impact. Don’t give your power away to anyone or anything outside of yourself. Create your own reality, because you always have a choice. If nothing else, you can choose how you respond to what life throws at you. And it makes a huge difference.

So, tell me: how free do you feel right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts. (Comment below or email me directly.)

Feeling inspired to take more responsibility for designing your life? You can go a little deeper with my online training: How to Create an Extraordinary Life You Love. And of course, if you want to seriously uplevel your life and create more freedom, especially emotional freedom in your life, ask me about coaching.

5 Ways to Create More Time

Wish you had more time?

Ever feel like life is just speeding by, and you can barely tell the difference between one day and the next? Or that there is so much you want to do, but you’re too busy just making it through your work day and you couldn’t possibly fit anything else in?

image of busy intersection with buses speeding by

image of busy intersection with buses speeding by

You’ve probably heard someone say something like “We all have the same 24 hours in a day” or “Beyoncé also only has 24 hours in a day”. If someone said that to you on a particularly busy and stressful day, perhaps you considered punching them in the mouth. Or yelling back that Beyoncé may indeed have 24 hours in a day, but that she also makes like 24 million dollars a day and can hire 24 personal assistants to help her every day.

It’s frustrating, I know.

But, let me remind you that you are the powerful creator of your own life.

That means you always have a choice. And when you stop blaming other people and circumstances (including time, or your lack thereof) you are already on your way to creating more time!

1) Stay in the present

We waste an incredible amount of time and energy worrying about what’s going to happen (playing and replaying endless “what if…?” scenarios in our minds), or dwelling on mistakes or regrets about the past (“how could I have been so stupid to…”)

You can’t control the future or change the past, and hanging out there isn’t helpful, so take your power back by catching yourself in the act and then dropkicking yourself back into the here and now.

One of my favorite mantras for when I feel stressed or catch myself frantically multi-tasking is “this is the only thing I have to do right now”. Another good one is “I am right here, right now.”

Take a deep breath, repeat one of the above, and focus on the now, on what’s right in front of you.

2) Batch similar tasks

When we constantly shift from one thing to another, we are interrupting our mental focus and that wastes a ton of time. Instead of reading and responding to emails every time you get a notification or happen to look at your phone, for example, you can process all your emails for the day in one or two sittings. And during that time, ALL you do is email.

Same goes for running errands or making phone calls. Look at your to do list and group similar items together, then knock ’em all off the list at the same time.

3) Cut out (or manage) the time wasters

I know, I know. You need your 30 minutes of Keeping up with the Kardashians to wind down after a hard day at work. If that really is your thing, own it and do enjoy the heck out of the 30 minutes, but then tear yourself – kicking and screaming, if you have to –  away from the TV when it’s done. It’s not the time wasters themselves that are inherently bad. It’s when we give into the addiction and suddenly lose 8 hours of our day to them that it’s not helpful.

Don’t deny yourself all the little pleasures that make your day more bearable and enjoyable, but participate in them mindfully, not like a goddamn zombie. Set a timer if you need to. Get one of those apps that kicks you off of Facebook after 15 minutes if that’s what it’s gonna take. Schedule your “relax and unwind” time (whether it’s a soothing hot bath or playing tetris on your iPad) the way you would schedule an important meeting, honor that you’re giving yourself the gift, do it, and then move on when the time is up.

4) Meditate

“But I don’t have time to meditate!” scream the busy masses. Well, I hate to break it to you, stressed out high level executive, but science these days has gotten all caught up to what ancient wisdom has been telling us for thousands of years. In short, that shit really works! Meditation takes time, sure, but the ROI on that time you spend is amazing.

Taking some moments to breath deeply, slow down, be still and quiet your mind will make you more grounded, more calm, and help that busy brain of yours function more efficiently. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, dear reader, but are you actually applying it in your own life?

5) Declutter your world

Take inventory. Do a super honest audit of your physical environment, your online banking, and your social calendar, while asking yourself what you can let go of. I’m betting if you take a long, hard look at the stuff in your home, there is a large percentage of it that is no longer in alignment with what you actually care about. Perhaps there are subscriptions you are paying for every month that you don’t use. And events you’re saying yes to that don’t actually add anything to your life.

Be honest. Say no. Let go of stuff. The more you declutter – whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually – the more you’ll feel spacious and free, and be better able to focus on and prioritize the things you truly care about.

These changes don’t all have to happen at once. Pick just one or two of them to practice or a while and see what changes you notice in how you feel.

The Possquivel Wedding Report

When my husband and I started planning our wedding, we decided we wanted to do things a little differently.

Everything about it was intended to be a reflection of who we are. We’re big on authenticity and adventure in our daily lives, and saw no reason for our wedding to be any different.

bride and dog after the wedding ceremony

This is the story of how we pulled it off.

First and foremost, we refused to subscribe to the silly notion that wedding planning has to be stressful, and decided to make it fun and laid back instead. It totally worked, AND the end result was even better than we had anticipated!

The most crucial agreement we made, by far, was to be intentional. We wanted the whole experience to be simple, meaningful, and fun.

Here is how we approached the planning.

Six months before the wedding, we started having weekly check-ins. Admittedly, many of these check-ins happened in the hot tub while drinking wine, which definitely set the tone for not taking ourselves too seriously.

Early on, we let go of things being perfect and embraced the idea of them being perfectly imperfect instead. We placed a higher value on our communication and connection than on getting all the details right.

Throughout the planning process, we stuck to our guns and didn’t do anything we didn’t want to do, were willing to break the rules, and made sure to stay true to ourselves and our relationship, regardless of what anyone else had to say.

I decided I would have the most fun if I showed up as a badass bride, which meant staying grounded and calm, being playing and unapologetically me, and seeing it as a creative and fun challenge.

Since community is important to us, we created a Facebook group for our guests, so that our family and friends could meet each other, we could introduce our vendors, and everyone could share their excitement for the upcoming event.

screenshot from wedding facebook group

Here are a few of the highlights from the weekend that stand out to me, either because they felt unique and a bit unconventional, and others were simply SO much fun.

At my bachelorette party, instead of wine tasting, a spa day, or hitting the bars, my sister rented us a house and we had a sleepover, which included a Fierce Goddess ceremony, facilitated by an incredible spiritual teacher. Also, one of my girls brought me a mermaid tail. A MERMAID TAIL! (In case you didn’t know, I am obsessed with mermaids.)

silhouette of bride in mermaid tail

Despite weeks of shitty forecasts practically guaranteeing rain, we insisted on hosting not one, but two outdoor events, much to both our mothers’ chagrin. Friday’s party was in a park by the water, and the ceremony on Saturday was in the backyard of my in-law’s house. Both days, the rain cleared just in time. Thank you, rain gods!

The welcome party on Friday was in lieu of a rehearsal dinner. We had a wood fire pizza oven food truck, beer, and lawn games. And customized beer koozies.

beer koozies at welcome party day before wedding

Here’s an aerial view of the last group of stragglers at the welcome party taken by our friend Conor’s drone (his first day playing with it – not bad!)

We each had five people in our wedding party. But one of my bridesmaids was actually my fabulous, gay bridesman, Graham! He came to the bachelorette sleepover too.

My mom walked me down the aisle. Since my father wasn’t there, but my two stepdads were, I wanted to both honor my father by not putting another man in his place, and also acknowledge my mom for her primary role in my upbringing. It felt so right.

We wrote our own vows for the ceremony, which was led by one of my favorite mentors, who talked about Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energy, called in the spirit of those who couldn’t be there (including my dad in Sweden), and acknowledged our ancestors.

The only reading during the otherwise short and sweet ritual, was the first three verses of “Nothing Else Matters”. I have to assume most of our guests thought it was just a nice poem until the end when my bridesmaid Nikki, with her sweet British accent, revealed that it was a song by the (heavy metal) band Metallica.

When the DJ announced our arrival at Guaymas, the Mexican restaurant where we held our reception, we walked in to the theme song to Game of Thrones. Our DJ’s response when we asked if he could play it was “anything for the realm.”

The seating arrangements chart listed our guests’ names under tables that were named after countries we plan to visit. The tables themselves? They had only flags.

Given our upcoming travel adventure, we urged guests to please not bring any physical gifts and created a page on Zola, so that they could contribute to our travel adventure if they wished, instead.

Our first dance (which I don’t think anyone saw coming except maybe a few people who knew that I used to do be obsessed with Lindy Hop) was a playful swing dance routine to Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”.

Our DJ was ridiculous. You can read my Yelp review for him here for the full breakdown of the musical journey he took us on. One of the highlights of the night was when Chris and his dad, Carlos, had a dance off to Silento’s “Watch me” (or “Whip the Nae Nae” as Carlos calls it). Enough said.

Obviously I’m biased, but I seriously think it may have been the most EPIC wedding weekend of all time.

I hope this story inspires you. While it could be read as just a recap of a fun party weekend and the planning leading up to it, it’s really about something much deeper.

It’s about the power of intention. It’s about our ability to stay grounded and aligned with what we value most. And it’s about the importance of clear communication and deep human connection, rather than attachment to details and perfectionism.

Are you an undercover rebel?

I love working with rebels. Interestingly enough, most of my rebel clients had NO idea they were one when we started down their path. They don’t identify with that part of themselves. Yet. They’re still in hiding.

That’s why I call them undercover rebels. 

I was one too. Big time. I had NO concept of rebellion. In fact, had you told me that when I was younger, I would have laughed in your face, because I was basically the opposite of a rebel.

I was a good girl – great at following instructions, following the rules, following… well, basically anything and everyone. Great student, stellar athlete, dedicated musician, girl scout, etc. I got pretty far by following the rules, so truthfully it never really appealed to me – or even occurred to me for that matter – to break the rules.

I naively assumed that the rules, guidelines, and authority figures out there guiding me were not only well intentioned, but logical, helpful, and meaningful. Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong.

Fast forward a few decades – and a shit load of soul searching, some pretty wild experiences, and the world’s most random work history – and here we are.

SW_Colby Schenck344

I now not only accept, but embrace, the idea of being a rebel. It’s a crucial part of my identity. I can’t imagine not honoring that part of me. It’s exhilarating. It’s me, when I’m being most real.

I am a rebel.
I am a non-conformist.
I am a rule breaker.
I am a trouble maker.

It should go without saying here that I’m not talking about rebellion in the violent sense of the word. It’s not about breaking rules just to break them. Or making trouble just to be an asshole. I know you get that.

It’s about challenging the status quo. Questioning everything. Thinking for yourself. It’s about making up your own rules for how you want to live your life, rather than following some predetermined formula about what you’re supposed to do.

SW_Jordan McQueen25

Now that I’ve “come out” as a rebel, I am eagerly searching for the rest of my tribe. I’m growing the beginnings of a community of undercover rebels who are ready to step into the arena and start living the wild and adventurous life they secretly want. Is this you? Let’s find out.

What makes you an undercover rebel?  

You have a little trouble maker in you, but you’re not owning it yet. Other people often see it in you, even when you don’t. Family, friends, and colleagues often come to you for guidance, or even look up to you as a leader, even when you feel you have nothing to offer.

SW_Josh Felise44

On some level you feel unsatisfied, restless, unsettled… it’s like you’re yearning for something. You’re craving more meaning, depth, purpose, passion… or something. You  feel frustrated, like you’re holding back.

You wish you could just LET GO, shake off your inhibitions (or fears or doubts or whatever) and BREAK FREE.

If that sounds like you, I want to help. I want to show you what it’s like to unleash your inner badass, embrace your inner rebel, and own who you are. I want to show you how powerful you are when you’re true to all of you, including the feisty little trouble maker in you that wants to go do cool shit.

SW_DominikMartin3456

Many of my fellow undercover rebels, once they’ve come out of hiding and into the light, realize that they’re ready for bigger things. They’re no longer able to be the luke warm version of themselves they were. They’re not just rebels either. They’re much, much more. They usually start to level up every area of their life and are often surprised and delighted when they begin to see what they’re actually capable of.

Let me take it a step further and ask you this. Do any of the following ideas resonate with you on some level? Is there a whisper in your heart when you read them?

You are a creator.
You are a visionary.
You are a leader.
You are a change maker.
You want to have an impact.

You want to create a meaningful life full of passion, purpose, and adventure.

SW_Zak Suhar33

If this sounds like you, regardless of how far along you are on your journey out of the cave, I’d be honored to have you in my tribe. We are only at the beginning stages of this movement. We’re finding each other, supporting each other, building community.

Stay tuned. There is much more to come. In the meantime, sign up for my mailing list if you’re not on it yet, to keep up with what we’re doing. You’ll get a free gift (“How to Unleash Your Inner Badass”) and my kickass weekly newsletter. For those of you here in the bay area, you can join my Meetup group San Francisco Undercover Rebels too.

I hope you’re ready to stop holding back, start letting go, and go kick some serious ass. Let’s do this.

Do you trust yourself?

For years, I was consumed by what everyone else was doing and thinking. I looked outside of myself for the answers. I constantly searched for external validation to confirm that my thoughts, decisions, and actions were ok.

It was exhausting. I hadn’t learned to trust myself yet.

Does this sound familiar? I can’t emphasize enough how important it has been for me to learn to trust myself. It hasn’t been easy, and I definitely still fail, but my default settings and behavior have changed for the better.

So, how DO we learn to trust ourselves more? Here are 3 strategies that have helped me do so. Maybe they’ll help you too.

1. Challenge your current set of beliefs
Most of us have a pretty rigid set of beliefs (due to conditioning, cultural influences, family, friends, our own experiences etc.) and our brains are constantly looking for evidence to support those beliefs.

Guess what? Many of those beliefs you have are total bullshit! They do not represent your actual reality or some sort of absolute truth. Rather, they are simply the stories you tell yourself. Sometimes they’re not even your stories. You may not agree with them at all. You may have just inherited them from someone else and not thought to question them.

If your current set of beliefs don’t resonate with you, challenge them! Ask yourself what stories are more aligned with who you really are and what you really think. The more your thoughts and actions are aligned with what you truly believe deep down, the more you’ll be able to trust yourself to make decisions according to those deeper beliefs.

2. Get out of your head
Do you think with just your mind? Or do you tap into something more? Unfortunately, our western culture doesn’t do a whole lot to teach us how to think in a more integrated way. Unless you’ve got some eastern influences, practice meditation, do yoga, etc. you might not be in the practice of getting out of your head.

One way to do that is to get out of your head and into your heart. Learning to pause, breathe, and check in with yourself on a deeper level can be a great start to trusting your inner wisdom and intuition. Your heart/soul/spirit has access to a lot of information and quiet knowledge that your mind does not. Plus, your mind is usually too busy squawking loudly about anything and everything to allow you to hear that deeper wisdom. To access it, you must learn to quiet your mind and listen from a different place.

3. Listen with your whole being
As long as you’re getting out of your head, you may as well start to tap into the wisdom of your body. Your physical intelligence. Practice noticing what kinds of information each of your senses is taking in. Here are some examples of questions you might ask.

What do you see around you when you really pay attention? What other smells can you detect beneath the most obvious ones around you? What can you hear beyond the chatter in your own mind, traffic, your colleagues, or the tv… wind blowing, birds chirping? When you savor the taste of a favorite food, what are the emotions it brings up? Can you read between the lines of the words your friend is actually saying? What is your skin letting you know about the situation you’re in? Are you having a physical reaction that might shed some light on what’s happening for you emotionally? Can you pick up on the energies around you? Those coming from other individuals, groups, or places? Get curious. See what you can tap into.

I like to think of our bodies as these incredibly sensitive balls of energy that are constantly taking in and processing valuable information. Why the hell would we not listen to them?! They are giving us clues all day long!

Your body is a compass. If you learn to honor its wisdom and truly listen to it, it will let you in on all sorts of delightful magic.

Your whole being, actually, is the compass. Work on sharpening the listening skills of the different individual aspects of it, as well as integrating it all and listening with your whole damn self. You might just find yourself being pleasantly surprised with the secrets it shares.

 

Fearlessly Authentic

Who would you be if you weren’t afraid of being judged? I love that question. It points to what is a very real struggle for many of us who, over the years, have developed different parts of ourselves to fit into different parts of our lives.

Recently I was listening to a call where a coach I don’t know was talking about her deep desire to integrate her two identities. Her one identity is the professional coach who helps Silicon Valley execs grow their teams and develop their leadership skills. Her other identity is a highly creative free-spirited woman who runs around at Burning Man in a corset and tutu, pole dances, and gives talks on the law of attraction.

She was struggling with her fears about people from either world finding out about her other identity and judging her for it. The business world wouldn’t take her seriously if they knew what she does in her free time. And her alternative friends would think she was crazy for working in Silicon Valley.

[Side note: some of you who are familiar with bay area culture are probably wondering what the problem is there, because you know there are actually a ton of people from Silicon Valley who go to Burning Man. And just as many Burning Man regulars who have “normal” corporate jobs. But that’s not the point, of course. Regardless of what the reality of any situation is, the stories we create in our minds are the powerful ones that can really hold us back. THOSE stories are the ones I want to encourage all of us to move past.]

How many identities do you have? Do you hide parts of yourself for fear of being judged? Have you created elaborate facades that you put up while interacting with certain groups? We all do it to an extent I think. While I’d love it if we could all be 100% ourselves all the time, I believe that sometimes it IS actually helpful to be able to tone things up or down, given the situation.

At the end of the day, I’m not arguing that being a slightly different version of yourself in certain situations is inherently bad or good. Things are rarely inherently good or bad. They just.. are. We are the ones who assign a value to them in our minds, usually due to our conditioning and deeply ingrained beliefs.

Really, the question is whether it’s helpful, effective, or healthy in any given circumstance. Should that coach show up to work at a big corporate gig wearing her Burning Man gear? Probably not. But should she have to hide either or both of her identities and live in fear of judgment? I say no.

I think it’s more a matter of learning how to honor the different, beautiful, unique parts of ourselves fully, to mindfully choose how to show up when, and to take full responsibility for our impact every time.

I often wonder who the fullest expression of me is. She’s constantly evolving of course, but as of right now, here is who I am when I’m completely owning my true self, and not worried what anyone will think:
– I dare to speak up, have strong opinions, and stand my ground
– I am brave, vulnerable, and courageously show all of my real raw self to the people I trust
– I don’t ask for or seek permission from others, I simply trust my own judgment
– I freely show my quirky, goofy side, laugh easily, hug everyone, and smile often
– I approach strangers easily, embrace awkwardness, and create warm connections
– I embrace my woo woo spiritual side in my business just as much as my practical side

What about you? Who would you be if you were fearlessly authentic? If you were sure you would not be judged, OR were sure you wouldn’t care? What is the fullest expression of you?