Both

Dear Strong Woman,

First of all, imma do both.
 
I bought this dress today as a symbolic representation of the problem with being me.
 
 
(And I’m not talking about the problem of what shoes to wear with this thing.)
 
What I really mean is that limiting belief I have that has me holding myself back; two characteristics of my personality that I think just can not exist at the same time; the two traits that, if I were to step into then both simultaneously, would likely create a lot of awesomeness in my life.
 
For me, it’s been a choice between being bold and embodying grace.
 
It shows up like me biting my tongue to keep the peace, and focusing the attention on others rather than on myself. Then my bold side retaliates and says the thing, only now with a hella hefty helping of resentment because I waited too long. It’s me quitting jobs, relationships, and projects because I shove down the inkling to have a bold conversation before it becomes more than I can handle. I escape, start fresh, and the cycle continues.
 
Today I’m choosing both. I’m choosing to TRUST that I can embody both grace and the audacity to do or say something that may be completely unreasonable, and not have the world – MY world – come tumbling down.
 
I can challenge a client from partnership, not make wrong.
I can give tough love to my brother from compassion, not disappointment.
I can share my take on the matter from communion, not proving.
I can stand my ground from love, not fear.
 
I can tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they enjoy the ride.
 
I saw all of that represented when I looked at myself in the mirror wearing this dress. I knew I had to buy it because the awareness had me second guessing myself. Can I pull this off? (“This” clearly meaning so much more than the dress.)
 
I can.
 
I can and I will.
 
 
 
 
 
But seriously, what shoes?

STAY

Dear Strong Woman,

Stay in it.

I’ve come to equate the journey through an intense season of change to a deep tissue massage. You know the experience will be worth it, but as it’s happening I sometimes find that pain almost too uncomfortable to bear.

At first it always feels good, but inevitably the masseuse finds my trouble spots and sets up camp there for a bit. Tapping, kneading, applying pressure. Working out the mess and the tension, what I refer to as “the crunchies” that have built up over time. (Funny, I call the crumble cookie layer on a Dairy Queen ice cream cake this same name.  Though I have a much different relationship with that indulgence.) I have to keep reminding myself to breathe through these moments, telling myself to hold on a little longer, that it’ll all be over soon and I’ll be happy I stayed in it.

Change is like this, too.

I’ve been interviewing recently for a new job, in particular one that would afford me the time and energy to dedicate to my growing coaching practice.  Time with loved ones is important to me, as is my own self-care, and both have been the first to go as I’ve been working a side-hustle on top of a full-time job.  (Perhaps it’s a similar story for you?)  So I made a list: my conditions of satisfaction for whatever came along next.  If what was presented didn’t align with them, then it was a pass. Period.  

And yet, with bills to pay and time ticking away, I could feel the crunchies starting to form.

I interviewed with an organization I really admire.  I feel in alignment with their business model and in good vibration with their people.  But the structure of the position they were looking to fill didn’t match my conditions.  It wasn’t immediate – as courage doesn’t always roar, my friends! – but I found to gumption to risk what was on the table for what I was committed to, for the way I want to do life.  They wanted full-time. I asked for part-time.  They wanted someone for the long haul.  I let them know my goal of running a coaching practice full time in six months.

Doing so left me feeling the same way I do after one of those massages – a little sick. My fears of being able to pay my bills and falling back into debt grew into a giant, crunchy knot in my chest. But I stayed in it, and as I heard myself stating what was necessary for me for me to remain inside the commitment I made, I found myself telling myself the same things: Hold on.  Just a little bit longer.  You’ll be happy you did.

In the end, they still offered me the job! How rewarding it was to take a stand for what I am worth,  what I am creating, and be validated! Finally.

I’m not saying it will always be like this.  In the past, asking for what I needed got me scoffed at, outcasted, and dumped.  As you make a change, this happens.  People will react in this way.  Just remember that these are not your people.  Their opinions of you have no bearing on your self worth.  Sure, they may shake their heads and wonder why, but keep going, dear.  Soon they’ll be wondering how.

The last thing I want to point out is this:  there is fear present in every choice you make. There is a fear that comes with risking what you have, and there’s also a fear of risking what could be.   You just have to decide which is the greater risk.

Just please keep in mind…

No pressure. No diamond.

ENERGY

Dear Strong Woman,

Back to zero.

Juggling a lot at the moment, so much so that I almost let celebrating this pass on by. How often do we do that? Fail to give credit where credit is due because we’re just on to the next thing.

Well there’s no “credit” due here, honey! Because as of yesterday morning, this girl officially paid off all her credit card debt!

I took out a consolidated loan in November of 2016 and set myself up on a five-year track to get back to broke. AND THEN I CRUSHED IT IN HALF THE TIME. I hired a life coach who held me accountable to a project I designed to get me out of debt. Nothing went to plan – really, when does it? – and yet I STILL got there. While paying for a coach. And quitting my job. And traveling more in one year than I’d done in the five prior.

My biggest takeaway is this: money is nothing more than an exchange of energy. The more “energy” I put towards improving my life, the more energy compounded in my favor.

PLEASE CONSIDER THIS the next time you don’t want to spend the money on your own growth because it’s “too expensive.”

Compared to what?
Your dream life?
Your worth?

Stop seeking discounts when you are nothing short of priceless. Whatever it is, you CAN afford it.

Trust me.

ACTION

Dear Strong Woman,

Don’t get it twisted.

Stop waiting to have confidence before taking action.  Take action in order to feel confident.

Read that again.

Let’s break it down:

Where is waiting getting you? (Nowhere.)
What is waiting giving you? (Anxiety.)
How is waiting serving you? (It’s not!)

I recently reconnected with a friend who is going through a job transition.  She said she is grateful for every place she’s been because it’s led her to where she’s going.  Every situation she’s experienced has presented her with a learning opportunity, a change to grow and become a better version of herself.

With this mindset, you don’t wait to feel confident because you’re confident that whatever choice you’re about to make is a necessary step in the process to create a better you.  When you adopt that notion, there is no right or wrong choice.  The only wrong choice is stalling to make a choice at all.

The only wrong choice is stalling to make a choice at all.

Confidence isn’t knowing something will happen in your favor; confidence is knowing you’ll be fine regardless of the outcome.

You are what you do, not what you say (wish, daydream) you do.

So go surprise your doubts…with action.

NOTE TO SELF

I did a thing.

In an effort to raise my vibration around writing, I decided to surround myself with some like-minded souls who are also working on creating art with their words.  Thanks to Meetup, I found myself braving D.C. traffic this past Tuesday night after work to sit on a couch with strangers, in a stranger’s home, hoping to bring new energy to my craft.  

It was beautiful.

We did a handful of writing exercises that resulted in a momentum and flow I haven’t felt in a while.  One of those exercises was to write a letter to yourself from a future version of yourself.  Below is word-for-word what came out of the tip of my pen – which of course naturally started with my usual salutation – unedited and perfectly raw.  My favorite part? As I wrote the final two words, our host and timekeeper for this exercise said those same two words out loud.

It’s those little idiosyncrasies when the Universe is nodding at me, confirming that I am right where I need to be.

Sharing this in honor of the magic that comes from strangers uniting to create something beautiful.  I hope that magic finds it’s way to you, or better yet, that you go out and create it for yourself.

As my future self will tell you, act as if it has already been done.

Thank you for being here.

.

.

.

 

Dear Strong Woman,

Everything you can dream you can create.

Just know that it has already been decided.  Just know that yes, that small voice telling you to keep going is right…and it’s not your mother.

It’s you.

Your voice matters.  Your story matters. Not just because it is yours, but because it is simultaneously ours.

We belong to each other, and our stories, collectively, are what make for a beautiful light in a sometimes dark world.

So don’t you stop shining.
Don’t you stop writing.
Don’t you stop letting you voice be heard.

GET LOUD. Do you hear me? Turn up the volume and share what is true.  Because what is true for you may very well be true for others.

How will you ever know if you remain small and silent?

You were made for more.
You were placed in this world that is missing something because it is your job to create it.

For you.
For me.
For us.

Be our lighthouse. Blind out the dark with your brightness.  Be the light-worker you are called to be.

Setting yourself free will set others free in the process.

IT’S ALL CONNECTED.
IT ALL MATTERS.

And quite frankly…

          it’s time.

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