Stepping into the arena

Last night I started writing this post in the notes app on my iPhone, while laying awkwardly on my side in bed. It was almost midnight and I should’ve been sleeping because I was getting up early today to work out. But, instead I had been furiously typing away on my phone, attempting to capture the ideas flying out of my brain at warp speed.

Here’s the thing. I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t stop thinking about how I want to have a bigger impact, reach more people, help more of you feel better and live amazing lives. To accomplish these goals, I know I need to step into a bigger arena.

Bigger Impact. Bigger arenas.

So, I’ve been dreaming, scheming, and planning. In the back of my mind, most days, content is being organized, structured, and restructured. I’m simplifying and distilling down the best nuggets of wisdom and most impactful things I’ve learned over the last 10 years of intense personal development work I’ve done.

While expanding and building this business to be much bigger has always been part of the plan, it’s only recently that I’ve noticed how profoundly I’m feeling called to serve more people. Not just in a coaching and writing capacity, but also by moving into more of a teaching role. Facilitating, speaking, leading, and inspiring from the stage. In bigger arenas.

Sidenote: I’m using the term “arenas” in a metaphorical, very Brené Brown sense of the word, by the way. I’m not talking about stepping into actual arenas. Not quite yet, anyway. Then again sharing stages with Oprah and Tony Robbins are big goals of mine, and they speak in actual arenas, so hey! Hopefully one day soon!

Designing the mastermind

I want to help more people unleash their inner badass – to help them stop holding back, own who they are, and create extraordinary lives they love.

people standing on cliff looking at the view

This means a lot of things for my business but, specifically, I’m excited to build and launch my first ever mastermind: a group program that will deliver valuable personal development content in a dynamic community setting with a high level of support and engagement.

As I contemplate how to design and deliver this program, I’ve been going back through my 7 years of teaching outdoor fitness classes, my 800+ hours of coaching individuals clients, and the couple hundred of hours of coaching and leadership training I did at CTI, where they are known for their experientially based, transformational learning, as well as all the programs and masterminds I’ve participated in as a student.

I plan to take the very best of everything I’ve learned, structure it in the most effective way I can, and infuse it with my own awesomely weird and unique brand of Possingness to be an experience in extreme personal development, leadership training, and conscious community. It’s going to be rad.

For the last 5 years, aside from the random speaking gig here and there, I’ve been mostly coaching people 1:1 which, as you know if you’re part of my tribe, I love. Deeply.

The risks in the arena

Now I’m wanting to step out from behind the safety of my (virtual) coaching office and into a bigger arena. A much bigger one. It’s a risky move. Way more vulnerable. More visible. I’ve gotten good at being unapologetically me in my current life, but now I need to challenge myself to go do it out in unknown places, with higher stakes, and a much less friendly audience. I hope that my doing so inspires you to do the same in your own way.

colorful bird

I know that if i use my voice and speak my truth I will inevitably ruffle feathers, trigger people, and invite in criticism. Some of the time it will suck. I will fail. Probably a lot. I will have haters. I will feel foolish at times, doubt every word I speak and action I take, and shed lots of tears in the process.

This excites me, because I love growth, but also terrifies the perfectionist / people pleaser / approval junkie / inner critic in me. Luckily she’s not running the show anymore. Phew.

These days, I am driven by my mission, my purpose, my calling. One that I couldn’t turn off even if I wanted to. So, I have to be ready to move forward in spite of all the risks.

Crap.

My word of the year for 2017 was visibility. And I have indeed begun to dip my toes in that pond. But, to be honest, I’ve still played it relatively safe. Now, I want to practice diving in naked. Bring it on. Please consider this an invitation to call me out and hold me accountable if you see me playing small. (I’m probably going to regret saying that.)

surfer walking into the ocean

What this means for my business is that while I will continue serving my private clients with passion and focus as before, I’m also starting to work on the mastermind I’ve been dreaming about creating for years. Stay tuned for more info on that in the coming months.

Using my voice

I’m also committing to putting myself out there and using my voice, quite literally, for speaking engagements, and to do more sharing, inspiring, and teaching on platforms like fb live. Mama needs to get back on the stage! Again, feel free to give me a talking to if you see me sitting on the sidelines. For reals. If you hear of an awesome event, please suggest me as a kick ass speaker! 🙂

I am seriously so lucky to have the most amazing tribe of friends, family, clients, former clients, fans, and all the passionate rebels in my Facebook group, Freedom + Badassery. (Not part of the group yet? Join us! It’s free.) Thank you all for your support, as I grow my sassy and difficult teenager of a business into the powerful young woman she is ready to become.

Designing your unconventional life. On purpose.

Designing your life, intentionally, is more than possible. And yet, most people don’t do it.

Who designed your life (career, lifestyle, social circle, where you live…)? Was it you? Or did you sort of stumble into it?

So many of us charge forward, living by default. We do what our parents counsel us to do, copy our friends, and are heavily influenced by the borderline brainwashing of the media, TV shows, upbringing, religious communities, peer groups, or whatever our strongest influences were.

We rarely pause and ask ourselves who we really are. What we actually want. Or what we want our lives and lifestyles to look like.

So many of the people I work with actually have really “great” lives on paper. They checked all the boxes, did all the things, but deep down they are not fulfilled. Yes, they have created a proper, “successful” life, by society’s standards.

But what they’ve failed to do is to create a meaningful life. One that is an expression of their particular set of talents, gifts, and characteristics. A journey that allows them to spend their time on what they value most and what makes them come alive. A reflection of their unique perspective on the world.

That’s where I come in. I want you, yes YOU, to have not only a successful life (but by YOUR standards of success, not anyone else’s), but to also have a life that is meaningful, whatever that means to you.

Don’t waste anytime lamenting your past, or regretting past choices, because we can’t change them anyway. (Although if you do want to spend some time forgiving yourself, honoring, and letting go of your past, that’s a great use of time!)

Instead, start where you are today, and commit to designing your life from here on out. On purpose, instead of simply reacting to whatever life throws at you.

So, how the hell do you go about doing that? It’s not easy, but it can be simple. Here are 5 great strategies to get you started.

1) Cultivate self-awareness

The more you learn to be present to your own experience, the more power you have to shift it into what you want. We can’t change what we’re not aware of, so start training yourself to notice, in real time, where you’re at. Listen to how you’re talking to yourself in your head and notice how you’re feeling in your body. This will help you become the conscious creator of your life.

2) Get yourself some damn clarity

A lot of people aren’t chasing their dreams for the simple reason that they don’t actually know what they want. If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s gonna be pretty hard to get there! So start by asking yourself what you want. In every area of your life. If you’re extra disconnected from what you want, it may take time. Be patient. Be bold and dare to admit your truest desires. At the very least to yourself. And if you’re able to, share it with some people who believe in you and can support you in heading down that path.

3) Start taking action

Once you start figuring out what you want, you can start moving toward it. Don’t worry about having it all planned out first. Just start somewhere, because you can always course correct as you get more clear. If you already know what you want, but are too terrified to make any leaps (say quitting a job or leaving a relationship), start with  the tiniest baby step and go from there. Action creates energy and momentum. It gives you more clarity and confidence, and feels super satisfying to boot!

4) Get support

As you start designing your life more intentionally, you’ll need support. Most likely, you’ll have critics and people who doubt your dreams. (Maybe because they resent you for having the courage to pursue them, which highlights their own inability to do so themselves. Or because they simply have a different perspective.) Let them doubt and criticize you. That’s their story, not yours.

Instead, seek out support from people who are living the life you want (as mentors, coaches, teachers) or who believe in you and your dreams and will cheer you on no matter what (colleagues, peers, fans, friends.) Fear will come up. Failure will happen. Shit will inevitably hit the fan. So, have a support network in place that can catch you when you fall and affectionately slap you on the butt after you dust yourself off and get back on that big, unruly horse you’re attempting to ride.

5) Keep tweaking

Look for opportunities to take big leaps and inspired action, when appropriate, but more than anything, keep tweaking. Every day, every week, look for the small shifts you can make that will create just a little more alignment in your day to day experience. Make the helpful baby steps that inch you closer to your dream part of your regular routine; make them habits. Rituals. Infuse every moment of every day, every choice you make, and every thought you think with intention.

Live your life on purpose and be designing and redesigning a life that inspires you and fills you with joy and gratitude. 

Ok? You do NOT have to live your life by a bunch of tired, outdated, unspoken rules that are followed by most people, because they’re just living by default.

Break the rules. Break that mold.

You get to create an UNCONVENTIONAL, meaningful, amazing, and exhilarating life – one that is aligned with the absurd combination of traits that is you, and whatever it is that is most dear to you.

Do it. I believe in you. And I hope you do too. (If not, or if you need help with this, you know where to find me!)

 

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.

7 Simple Confidence Hacks

Confidence is one of my favorite topics. It’s a fascinating subject that we could dissect for days, but in this post I just want to give you a few quick tips that I have found to be very effective in my life. My clients have reported similar results.

Let me clarify that by confidence I mean that quiet, humble self-assuredness that you see in someone who knows who they are, what they stand for, and what they want. It’s NOT the same as arrogance, which stems from feelings of superiority over other people. In fact, it has nothing to do with other people, because it’s not about comparing yourself to anyone else. It’s about simple straight forward self-acceptance, self-love, and self-esteem.

Building a deep-rooted sense of confidence takes time. Especially if you’re coming from a place of self-doubt or insecurity to begin with. The good news is that it’s like a muscle and we can train it to be quite strong. I’ll address ways to grow your confidence in a holistic long-term way in many future posts. For now, though, here are some quick hacks to sample increased confidence at least temporarily, which can 1) help you get through a tough situation and 2) give you a taste of that delicious experience of truly, madly, and deeply believing in yourself.

1. Stand tall
Body language is hugely connected to our emotions. Even when you’re not feeling mentally, emotionally, or spiritually strong in any moment, you can choose to give yourself the gift of good posture. Simply stand tall, distribute your weight equally between both feel, relax your shoulders down and back, imagine that you have strings attached to the crown of your head and are being lifted up, and open your chest (this helps you give your lungs more room to take in more oxygen too.)

2. Make eye contact
Whether you’re doing it consciously or not, and whether it’s a reflection of your emotional state or not, as soon as you divert your eyes or avoid making eye contact with whomever you are interacting with, you will appear to be less confident. Train yourself to have the courage to look people in the eyes. Let them truly see you. Not only will you convey confidence, but you’ll also feel more confident, and will connect more easily with the other person. Obviously, there is a point at which prolonged eye contact becomes either aggressive or creepy! Use your judgment and figure out what works for you.

3. Breathe deeply
When you are scared or self-conscious, your body is most likely going into a stress response and you aren’t breathing deeply anymore. Simply pausing and remembering to breathe, and to breathe deeply if possible, will slow the stress response and start to trigger the relaxation response in your brain.

4. Speak up
Literally. Just speak louder. So many of us (women especially) have a tendency to trail off or mumble when we’re feeling insecure or unworthy. Until your inner confidence catches up, practice simply raising the volume of your voice. Again, you will not only appear more confident, but you will actually feel more confident. Plus, when you speak up, people will listen, which will in turn start to support your beliefs that your voice matters. In addition to volume, you can play with other aspects of your voice, like resonance, pitch, intonation, and tonality and notice both how you feel and what the impact is.

5. Slow down
This applies to both your internal and external behaviors. Internally, this means pausing to observe your thoughts, beliefs, intentions… it means practicing self-awareness. With external behaviors, such as your physical movements and how fast you talk, notice how people who talk fast or move quickly often come across as frenetic or flustered. Slowing down gives your brain and your heart a chance to guide your words and actions. What you say and do will be more mindful and aligned with who you are, as opposed to simply default behavior based on years of conditioning and often influenced by limiting beliefs and fear.

6. Smile
It’s so incredibly simple, but it works wonders. Don’t do one of those fake for-the-camera smiles where your mouth is smiling, but your eyes look dead. Smile with your eyes first and your mouth will follow suit. Much like how answering the phone with a huge smile on your face changes the way your voice sounds on the receiving end, smiling is a bit of a trick to short circuit your system. There are so many benefits. Not only will you get a little release of positive chemicals in your brain, but smiling puts other people at ease, which makes them feel more comfortable around you, which will put you at ease and boost your confidence.

7. Get curious
Most often, when you notice that you are lacking in self-confidence, you are focusing on yourself. Turn the focus outward onto someone else and get wildly curious about them. It’s almost impossible to judge anyone (including yourself) when you are being genuinely curious. Ask questions. Be hungry to learn more.

Use these simple tips as needed for a quick confidence boost in the moment or use them often as a way of starting to reprogram your mind with the ultimate intention of growing real authentic confidence and inner power.

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.

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?