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.

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

Create your own reality

Are you the author of your own life? In the driver’s seat? Mindfully choosing what to think, do, and say? Intentionally designing the life you want to live? Taking action (and course correcting as needed) on purpose, consciously moving toward your goals and dreams?

Unfortunately, so much of our conditioning teaches us to be victims of circumstance, to just react and deal with whatever lands in our lap. And that’s supposed to be the life we live.

To that I say “Oh, HELL no!”

I will go my own way and design my own life, thank you very much. And I hope you’ll do the same. You do NOT have to live your life the way other people expect.

I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul
~ William Ernest Henley 

Take a moment right now to be still, get quiet, and check in with yourself. Are you creating your own reality? If so, to what extent?

Where in your life are you going unconscious, and consequently being swept along with whatever inertia your family, friends, jobs, bosses, roommates, and the rest of the world around you has sucked you into?

(Not that any of those things are inherently bad. They’re not good or bad, they just are. The question is are you aware of where you are and what you’re doing? Do you want to be there, doing that?)

So, go ahead. Check in with yourself right now. If you were completely in charge of your own life, would it look any different than it does right now? If not, congratulations you are large and in charge!

If so, I challenge you to start exploring where you might step it up and start taking more responsibility for yourself and your impact. If you were completely in your power, what would you be doing differently? Since you always have a choice, you might start asking yourself this:

What are you choosing? And what are you creating, for yourself and for others?

Here are a few of the things I’m choosing: to honor my purpose (which is all about freedom), to chase my dreams, to be fearlessly authentic, to practice gratitude, to embrace the shit out of failure and my own imperfections, to live by my values, to have fun and be playful, and to spread joy wherever I go.

What about you? Comment below or send me a note if you feel like sharing or have any questions.

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?

How to (Finally) Stop Beating Yourself Up

Do you find yourself beating yourself up when you fail? When you were good, but not great? When you are progressing, but not fast enough?

This is a recurring theme among some of my clients – those with perfectionist tendencies in particular. If you are someone with big dreams and high expectations for yourself, I bet you know what I’m talking about. Beating yourself up is challenging habit to let go of, to say the least.

Some of us hold ourselves to impossible standards and then tear ourselves apart when we fail. This focus on our inadequacies also prevents us from celebrating our strengths and accomplishments. Maybe we understand, at least intellectually, that it’s not serving us. But how do we actually break the cycle?

Edward Norton punching himself in the face

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years. This is not a specific 10-step process, per se. It’s more of a collection of strategies in the approximate order I would use them. Feel free to use any or all of them in whatever order works for you.

HOW TO (FINALLY) STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP

1. Take responsibility
If you made a mistake, admit it. If you made a mess, clean it up. Whatever the problem is, own up to it. It feels great and it’s the right thing to do. Once you’ve taken responsibility, there is no need to dwell on it.

2. Let it go
Admit that, quite frankly, beating yourself up is a huge waste of time. It doesn’t actually accomplish anything for anyone. Kind of like holding a grudge against someone else. Remember that you always have a choice and decide to let it go and move on.

3. Feel your emotions
In order to move on, I believe we must go through our emotions, as opposed going around them (by ignoring or denying them), which may lead to dealing with the uncomfortable emotion in an unhealthy or unnecessary way. Find a healthy way to express your frustration / anger / disappointment to get it out of your system.

4. Forgive yourself
There is incredible power in forgiveness. There is also plenty of research that backs up the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of forgiveness. Make a conscious choice to forgive yourself (and others). It’s good for you.

5. Choose self-love and self-acceptance
Know that you are intrinsically valuable. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone to be worthy. You simply are. So, decide to love and accept yourself in spite of your failures and imperfections. Or, take it a step further and decide to love and accept yourself because of your failures and imperfections. They are part of what make you unique.

6. Practice self-compassion
Many of us are capable of showing incredible compassion for others, yet struggle to show that same compassion for ourselves. Try this. Remember a time that you felt compassion for someone else. Recreate the emotional state you were in. Imagine it vividly. While feeling this way, you certainly wouldn’t beat them up, would you? No. You would treat them with the love and respect they deserve. You’d be warm, gentle, and understanding. Now, take those same emotions and direct them at yourself.

7. Shift your perspective
Realize that every “failure” is actually an opportunity. Every time you fall, get back up, and dust yourself off, you gain something – like strength, experience, or wisdom. As they often say in yoga, “every time you fall you’re simply learning how not to fall.”

8. Embrace failure
Once you’ve shifted your perspective, you can go one step further and actually embrace failure. Celebrate the chance to grow! If you’ve ever taken an improv class, you may have learned the technique of following up a failure by throwing your arms in the air and yelling “TADA!” (If you’ve never taken an improv class, I highly recommend it.)

9. Have a sense of humor
Take your dreams seriously, by all means, but know that it’s really about the journey. The journey will always be full of surprises, challenges, and “learning opportunities”. Cultivate the ability to laugh at yourself so that you can recover quickly from those hiccups and bounce back with enthusiasm. Plus, you’ll be a lot more fun to be around.

10. Be patient
Changing old patterns takes time. It’s not a light switch that you can switch on and off. It’s more like a dimmer switch. Every time you bring your awareness to the old unconscious behavior (beating yourself up) and decide to replace it with something else (self-compassion) you are rewiring your brain. It takes time.

10 Things I Used to Hate About Me

I am celebrating imperfection today. And so should you. “Perfect” is a rather outdated (and boring) concept, don’t you think? Not to mention nonexistent.

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist… Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.” – Stephen Hawking

And yet here we are, chasing the unattainable. We are buying into the media’s idea of what perfection looks like, smells like, talks like, walks like, dresses like, and acts like. We know it’s unreasonable, but we run after it slobbering like a bunch of idiots, staring glassy-eyed at the photoshopped models on the covers of magazines, fantasizing about what it would be like to look like them, be them, or be with them. On some level we know that they’re not real people, we know they’re edited versions of real people, and still we compare ourselves to them. We hungrily flip to the section about that latest diet craze, glancing furtively around us to make sure no one saw that we’re buying into what is obviously pure bullshit thrown together to sell copies.

Obviously that doesn’t apply to all of us… But the essence of it is alive and well in many of us on some level, isn’t it? Are we maybe buying into some of it unconsciously, even if we aren’t consciously buying into any of it?

The concept of beauty is an incredible part of the human experience, albeit one that lies in the eye of the beholder. Naturally, ideals of beauty vary greatly from culture to culture. But when society and the media constantly shove unrealistic ideals down our throats, it has an impact. The pressure to attain these ideals leads to everything from bullying and body shaming to eating disorders and suicide. Especially among youth. Especially among young women. We know this now and we still let it happen. That is NOT ok. Please let’s step up our game and make a change.

I do think that things are beginning to shift and I’m ecstatic about it. I’ve noticed a significant change in the voice and tone of cultural messages about beauty in recent years, haven’t you? Definitely in social media. Less dramatically in traditional media, but it’s happening. I’m cautiously optimistic and my heart is filled with hope every time I see an ad or video that rises up and instead promotes more useful things to strive for like self love, self acceptance, strength, self awareness, respect, and an appreciation for different body types.

marilyn monroe

There is nothing sexier than a person who is comfortable in their own skin, no matter what they look like. <<Tweet this>>

As individuals we can take responsibility for building our own inner power and confidence and letting go of comparing ourselves to other people (and photoshopped people.) We can learn to own it, whatever “it” is. In addition to the attention and intention we focus inward, however, don’t we have a responsibility to move the collective consciousness forward and past this nonsense?

I want to do my part in promoting authenticity, truth, and vulnerability. I believe that our beautifully imperfect human bodies (and minds) deserve to be acknowledged and loved as they are. That doesn’t mean we can’t strive to improve ourselves. But, let’s make sure we understand that our worthiness as human beings doesn’t have anything to do with being any particular size, weight, race, gender, sexuality, or shape.

stevemaraboli

So, here are 10 things about me that I used to hate – 10 things I could easily continue to criticize, compare to others, hide etc. that I have instead chosen to not only love and accept, but to share and celebrate. Enjoy!

  1. Long arms. My arms are disproportionately long and I used to be super self conscious about them. Now I celebrate the awkward gracefulness of them (as well as being able to reach things in really high places.)
  2. Long fingers. I never knew what to do with my long alien fingers and used to hide my hands in pockets or behind my back. Now I let them dance and play as they wish. It doesn’t matter how they look.
  3. Small breasts. My lack of boobs used to make me feel like slightly less of a woman and, admittedly I sometimes longed for a nice C-cup that might actually fill out a top. Now I cherish my (small and perky!) girls because they make me feel and move like more of an athlete.
  4. Narrow hips. I used to hate that I couldn’t fill out a pair of shorts or jeans the way a curvy woman could. Now I embrace the fact that my curves are not in the traditional places. My curves, which I love, are my shoulders and my nice big ass!
  5. Small head. Yup, I used to bemoan the small size of my head (in comparison to the rest of my body.) Now I simply identify with my spirit animal, the giraffe. Big strong body, long graceful neck, small head, warm eyes, feet planted firmly on the ground (the part of me that is practical) and head in the clouds (the part of me that is a visionary) and I rather like it.
  6. Open bite. My malocclusion evolved as the result of a tongue thrusting tendency. It presents some functional challenges (I can’t bite through anything thin or flimsy) but mostly I was bothered by how it looks. Now I’ve let that go. There are much more important things to focus on.
  7. My lisp. Didn’t know I have a lisp? Yup, I do. It’s subtle and comes and goes. I used to try in vain to hide it (which of course made it worse.) Now I just consider it part of what makes my particular speech patterns and voice unique and recognizable.
  8. My shyness. It used to manifest itself in things like people pleasing, being quiet, avoiding conflict, and generally trying to fade into the background. It made me feel small and insignificant. Now I accept my shyness as a natural part of being an introvert and I’ve learned to work with it (e.g. by making sure I get lots of alone time to charge my batteries) instead of letting it control me. Now I know I can embrace being an introvert and still show up as the fierce, fun, loud, and powerful version of myself when I want to.
  9. Melasma. This charming form of skin discoloration basically looks like you have dirt on your face. I know because people have quite literally tried to wipe it off. I’ve had it in varying degrees on and off for 10 years and it used to be the only thing I saw when I looked in the mirror, especially during the times when I had it on my upper lip. Now I just think of it as no biggie and a great reminder to wear sunscreen and hats.
  10. My sports injuries. I used to compare myself to the runner I potentially could have been, had I never torn my ACL or developed achilles tendinitis. I’d get angry at my body for not being able to keep up with me and hampering my success. Now I do my best to accept my injuries and simply work from wherever I’m at each day. I savor the accomplishment I feel on a good day and humbly sit with the disappointment I feel on a bad day. I am grateful to be as able-bodied as I still am. If anything, my sports injuries have been a blessing in disguise. They’ve taught me to respect my limits and train smarter not just harder.

brene brown

I am walking tall and proud, owning my imperfection, and I am calling on you to join me in choosing every day to model authenticity, truth, and vulnerability. Let’s lift each other up and celebrate what’s raw and real for the sake of both our own aliveness and our connections to each other.

My Top 10 Core Values

When I honor my core values I feel grounded, vibrant, and alive. When I don’t honor my core values, I feel imbalanced and uneasy. Sometimes even physically uncomfortable. 

I believe that getting clear on our core values and honoring them is an integral part of the journey to living a happy, fulfilling life. In order to honor our values, of course, we need to know what they are. In an effort to become crystal clear on my own values, I finally compiled a list. 

Here are my top 10 core values (in no particular order) and what they mean to me:

  1. Clarity – know who I am, what I want, what I’m about, and why I’m here
  2. Self awareness – know myself intimately (strengths, weaknesses, passions, quirks)

  3. Authenticity – be unapologetically me, vulnerable, raw, and real and own it completely

  4. Personal freedom – be in charge of my own experience, know I always have a choice

  5. Radical responsibility –  be 100% responsible for my thoughts, actions, and impact

  6. Radical honesty – say what I mean and mean what I say, be direct, and be clear

  7. Respect – let go of judgment, be curious, be compassionate, accept others as they are

  8. Connection – seek out, embrace, create genuine connections with others, soul to soul

  9. Simplicity – let go of what isn’t serving me to create space for what’s most important

  10. Adventure – choose to make my life an adventure every day, spread joy, be playful

This list will continue to evolve as I do. But understanding what I deeply believe guides me to actively create a life aligned with who I am. When I take a wrong turn, I simply refer back to my core values, reevaluate, then course correct.

Through this process, I am learning to 1) quickly recognize when my values are being stepped on,  2) calmly set boundaries and stand up for myself, and 3) be true to myself most, if not all, of the time.

OWN IT.

Own it.

My tolerance for conformity has gone down. Being like everyone else is boring. Living a life built on “I should” or “I’m supposed to” is tragic.

Luckily things are changing out there. More and more people are flying their freak flag. More and more people see the value of being who they (truly) are. Boldly and unapologetically.

I have a vision in which this is the norm, rather than the exception to the rule. Where people feel free and inspired and trust their inner wisdom, rather than seeking approval from external sources.

Where people OWN IT. Or want to learn how.

Learning to own it has been a recurring theme in my own personal growth journey. As I’ve jogged, sometimes sprinted, and often stumbled down this path, I’ve fallen in love with the concept. Hopelessly, madly in love.

It informs how I live my life (authentically), how I treat others (with respect), and it’s one of the main tenets of my message to the world.

What does it mean to own it? This picture sums it up pretty well:

Image

I’ve had this picture as the wallpaper on my iphone for probably over a year and it still brings me to my knees every time I look at it. I didn’t even know where it came from until I looked it up today. THANK YOU Karen. Your little girl has become an icon for me.

“There is nothing more badass than being who you are.”

This quote, attributed to Darren Chris, is the essence of what owning it means to me. Knowing yourself. Accepting yourself as you are. Being proud of that uniqueness. Being vulnerable and real and imperfect.

Back in April I put on a two day workshop for women with my dear friend and fellow coach, Nikki Armytage, in London. We called it Powerful Woman. Own It.

The difference between the women who walked into the room on Saturday morning and the women who walked out on Sunday afternoon was all it took to convince me that people are hungry for this.

Nikki has sinced launched Electric Woman, a campaign created to inspire women to embrace their Electric Woman. Badass.

Now that I’m paying attention, I see such a huge difference in people when they’re owning it vs. when they’re not. It’s inspiring when someone trusts their inner wisdom and goes for it. When they have the courage to be wrong and be okay with it.

I really like Rachel Wilkerson‘s Fourth Rule: “Thou Shalt Own It.”

ImageSo, go ahead. Own it. Whatever it is. Be yourself, do your thing, take responsibility for the consequences and hold that head high.

I dare you.