Let It Go and Open Your Grip on Expectations

SageFrozen

Warning: The following post focuses on Disney movies and magical singing princesses. If this type of content offends you, please click away now. Seriously, go watch some cat videos or see what Kimye are up to.

Good? OK, let’s go.

 

It’s already April, and I’m still humming the songs from a movie musical that came out nearly 6 months ago.

Of course, I’m talking about Disney’s Frozen. This is no surprise to my loved ones because they all know I’m a huge Disney fan.

Before you roll your eyes and mutter something about how that movie is freakin’ EVERYWHERE and there are a hundred million blog posts, tribute videos, parodies, and fan art clogging the web…just hear me out.

Would you believe that this kids’ cartoon is a lot like my business? It’s true.

There are no talking snowmen in my office, but the themes in Frozen relate to how I run things around here.

 

I joined Molly’s Elevate Mastermind to improve my life coaching business. While my business wasn’t hopeless, it wasn’t exactly thriving either.

My little startup was moving forward, but it was definitely more of a limp than a solid stride.

Molly helped me see that much of my struggling was caused by my tight grip on expectations.

In other words, I couldn’t let it go.

 

I wanted a hundred comments on each blog post, for everyone on my subscriber list to sign up for a free call, for everyone who had a free call to sign up for my most expensive package, and more and more.

You know, I felt like a scheming villain with a curly mustache who was always plotting how I could make everyone I encountered become a paying client. Except I don’t have a mustache. (OK, I do have a little one. What can I say, I’m Italian!)

But every time I got turned down or launched a product that no one would buy, it was like hearing Hans’s sinister voice in my head, “Oh Sage. If only there was someone out there who loved you!”

 

My business was getting no love. And it was my fault.

I can see now that I had unrealistic expectations about my business and how to get clients. Like Anna being so desperate for love that she expected to meet “the one” and get engaged the same day, I thought that people would hear about my services and immediately open their wallets.

Nuh uh. Real life doesn’t work that way.

And it’s sad because entrepreneurs are often told the fairy tale that you’ll start a business and instantly be making millions of dollars. Hey, if that big shot could do it, so can I!

But those situations are one in a million, just like finding “the one” on the dance floor. Hmmm…well, that is how I found my husband, but that’s a story for another day.

 

The harder I held on to those unrealistic expectations for my business, the more things slipped through my fingers.

 

For the Elevate Mastermind, we’re supposed to choose a word for the year. I chose OPEN because it was completely out of character for me, but I was so tired of trying to force my business to be a success.

 

Like the ice queen Elsa, I had to “let it go” and stop caring what people thought and stop doing things the way I was told I had to. I couldn’t be the good girl or perfect coach.

I had to be open to being me…and be OK if people didn’t like me.

(click to tweet)

 

Slowly this year, I’ve shifted nearly every aspect of my business. I dropped products and services that didn’t feel good to me and I rebranded my business to align with my true personality.

It felt amazing! Like singing on a snowy mountain top.

I also started writing about who I am as a person, including my anxiety attacks as I mentioned in my previous Stratejoy post.

 

By March, I let go of even more expectations. I gave away free calls just to be a helpful coach—without any ulterior motives or expectations. I promised myself that I would let things unfold naturally.

And I think that’s what my followers had been waiting for me to do all along. I’m now almost fully booked with clients, and there’s a new sense of joy in my work.

 

Like they sing in Frozen, “love is an open door.” But my business is an open heart.

 

PS, I’m Sage and I like warm hugs.

 

Sage-GraysonWITH LOVE FROM

Sage, Life Editor, Wife, 2014 Elevate Sister

Sage Grayson is a professional Life Editor who helps ambitious career women edit their habits, routines, and mindsets to balance their happiness at work and home. On lazy Sundays you can find her reading her more than 30 magazine subscriptions and enjoying cups of jasmine green tea. She lives in the suburbs of San Francisco with her husband Chris and pit bull Skyla. You can find Sage at SageGrayson.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

What If There is a Life More Beautiful than I Dreamed?

CreativeDreaming

I can’t remember a time I didn’t know in my gut I wanted to be a writer, or that just as ardently, I wanted to be a wife and a mother.

Sure, as a child I also thought I might be a ballerina or a taxi driver, but even so, in my imagined future there would always be a pad, pen, husband, and brood of children awaiting my return.

As a child I was also a dreamer, a questioner, and a deep thinker. At three, I wrote my first story (a morality tale), attended my first West End musical (Starlight Express), and engaged in my first theological argument with a playmate while swinging from the tree in his backyard.

My parents often shook their heads, wondering, where did this child come from, but indulged my imagination as I re-enacted musical numbers on my Fisher Price roller skates, expounded on theories of what my stuffed animals did at night while I slept, and asked questions like “What does it feel like to kiss a boy?”

But somewhere along the line I started believing the lie that I couldn’t be fully me, fully in relationship, and fully loved. At some point I decided the only way to survive was to carefully hide the deepest parts of who I am, giving myself and others only glimpses of that creative, imaginative, insightful little girl.

Guess what? I’m tired of hiding. I’m ready to be me.

(click to tweet)

In November, when we Elevate girls were sending around initial introductions, Molly asked us to respond to the question “Where would you like to see yourself in 14 months?” Here’s what I wrote:

I would like to be writing creatively every day (or at least 5 days of the week). I’d like to have a solid blog with posts that I’m seriously proud of. I’d like to be able to say “I am a writer” and know that there’s substance to back up that claim. I’d like to either be enrolled in a master’s program or know definitively that it’s not the right time to go back to school. I’d also like to have begun a family or be pregnant – but there’s only so much planning we can do for that (yes, yes, the fun is in the trying…)!

In November I felt very clear about what I wanted: to be a writer. To make a decision about grad school. To be a mama.

Fast forward to January at the Elevate retreat, and I’m struggling to really own these dreams.

I have applied to and interviewed for a master’s program in theology, arts, and imagination (that I am so in love with, because it is so me), and I’ve started training for a half marathon in late August, but I’ve thrown the blog idea out the window (I’m still working on my voice!). I’ve pushed pause on the idea of immediately starting a family. Sure – my husband and I still agree to have fun trying, but we have decided the stress of ovulation strips and monthly devastation is taking a toll on our relationship, not to mention my sanity.

The word I claim for 2014 is “Flourish.” To grow, to create, to thrive. I declare I will renew my commitment to creative pursuits, to boldly step out and pursue a theological education, to train myself physically to be strong and fit and in the best shape I’ve ever been. I barely mention my dreams of having a baby.

Two days after the retreat, I’m holed up in a Starbucks bathroom in Laguna Niguel, peeing on a stick, partly because I’m a week late, but mostly because I want to know if it’s safe to drink the bottle of wine I’ve just bought to bring to my best friend’s house where I’ll be staying the next two nights.

And there, in the Starbucks bathroom, I see my future blooming in two very distinct, very bright blue lines.

I call my husband. Laughing. Crying. We’re going to have a baby.

I’m going to be a mama.

A trip to the doctor and I discover our baby will be arriving in September. Just five weeks after that half marathon I’ve been training for.

Well, then.

On Valentine’s Day I get the call telling me I’ve been accepted into the grad school program I’ve dreaming of. I’m in! The director tells me I’m brave and impressive and they want me. They are confident they can learn just as much from me as I can from them. Giddy, my husband and I pour teeny tiny glasses of champagne to celebrate life, love, and the dreams for which we are designed.

But I’m going to be a mama. And the baby is due three weeks after school begins.

So this is where I sit for a good month: fatigued, nauseated, and completely FULL of emotion.

One of the intentions I set for myself this year was to “be humble.” When asked my reason for choosing this way of being, I responded it was because I wanted to have a realistic viewpoint of my capabilities – I don’t want to be puffed up, but I also don’t want to be so deflated I lose confidence. Humility is a personal value I have; it’s also, in my belief, a fruit of the spirit of someone walking closely with God.

After our January retreat I scratched out “be humble” and replaced it with “be strong.”

So now here I am, almost forced into humility – because really, which one of us can ordain the timing of the creation of new life? But I’m also called to be strong – and now it’s not just for me, but for the little life growing inside me.

I’ve always said God has a great sense of humor.

With barely a baby bump, I’m already feeling the need to protect and arm myself in a mother bear fashion, ready for the opinions of others. To some, like my grandma, from the beginning the obvious answer was to keep moving forward:

“Women have been having babies and going to school for decades now. Why should you be different? Don’t give up your dream!”

(Love that woman.)

To others, the obvious answer was that having a baby trumps personal ambition. And honestly, as much respect as I have for women who seem to do and have it all, at first I agreed the latter plan was the best choice for me.

I generally do best with only a few important things in my life – I’m a deep diver, an all-or-nothing introvert who needs time and space to process and practice new things. I always pictured myself as the new mom who holes away for the first few months, learning all there is to know about this new tiny creature who requires so much time, energy, and care.

But then I thought: what if?

What if I could be the mama student with the baby sling and bag full of books? What if I could still pursue all I dreamed of this year? (Okay, with the exception of the half marathon. At 8 months pregnant? No way. Not happening.)

What if I could be an example to my child, showing him or her how important it is to pursue our passions, to get clear on our values, and synchronize our lives with what we know to be real, true, and holy?

What if I could still complete the program in the two years I have left here before my husband and I are relocated?

What if there was some creative option I hadn’t yet imagined?

So I decided to be bold.

I contacted the school and explained my situation. Within a week, I had chatted with my very encouraging admissions counselor and met with a warm and welcoming registrar, who helped me set up what seems to be a manageable schedule.

I enrolled. And I start classes this May.

In one month, I’ll be driving my pregnant self to Seattle three days a week to study theology, art, and imagination, with a personal focus on creative writing. I’ll be getting a head start on the studies I’ll put on hold next fall as I welcome my sweet new baby (to hole up and process and practice to my heart’s content). The plan is to pick those studies right back up where I left them at the beginning of 2015.

But as I’ve been reminded in this season, a lot of life can happen when you’re making plans. As I keep walking forward through 2014, I pray I will do so with an open heart, open mind, and open hands, ready to receive whatever comes next.


WITH LOVE FROM

ECurlettElevate (1)

Erin, Adventurer, Storyteller, and Army Wife

Erin grew up in three different countries, leading her to embrace her role as a third culture kid: she loves airports, hates small talk, and feels more at home in a book than in any specific place. Lover of peppermint tea, alpine slides, Stephen King novels, hot yoga, Cadbury chocolate, and karaoke; devoted yet sometimes reluctant follower of Jesus; she lives with her husband, Tim, and their crazy ragamuffin cat, Opal, in a charming blue house in Tacoma, WA. Watch out: she’s bitey (the cat, not Erin).

 

A Love Letter to Myself

LoveLetter

Dearest, dearest, lovely Carly:

You’ve come a long way, my dear. While to you it may seem like time has stood still for the past five years, the truth is you are a much grander, authentic version of yourself. Don’t worry about what hasn’t changed yet, but focus on what has. And especially focus on how much better things are because of those changes.

You were lost for a while there. Things didn’t turn out how you thought they would and you felt as if you were stuck with nowhere to go. As someone who always knew the next step, not having direction threw you off your kilter. But you found your way.

Serious introspection saved you. You didn’t know you were capable of knowing yourself any more than you already did, but you were pleasantly surprised.

 You saved you.

Now here we are. There’s still work to be done and that’s okay. You’re on the right path and taking it one step at a time. You’re no longer a secret, overgrown garden, closed off from the world by lock and key. Instead, you’re figuring out how to spruce the place up and the best way to share your beauty with the world.

 You can do thisYou have done this. Just keep doing it. Digging into yourself to bravely state what you truly want and don’t want is fucking hard. We’re surrounded by thoughts of what we should be doing and seeing examples of what we could be doing. Just remember to do you.

Life is an adventure. But it’s your adventure.

(click to tweet)

 

During your journey I hope you… Be adventurous. Be creative. Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous. Be loving. Be careful. Be smart. Be lovely. Be happy. Be authentic. Be you.

 

Be you. Beautiful, radiant, you.

 

Love,

You


CarlyHeadshotWITH LOVE FROM

Carly, Do-er, self-push-er, and Elevate 2014 Sister

Carly is a do-er and activator who lives by the phrase, “Don’t you ever wonder how far you can push yourself?” She pushes herself daily by working towards her concurrent MA/MBA degree, leading the Pittsburgh Local Levo chapter and competing as a flourishing tenor drummer in a competition bagpipe band all while holding down a full time job. Her free time (haha!) is spent snuggling with her doggie-child, Nessie, connecting with others on Twitter (@carlyraepgh) and binge-watching HBO and Netflix with a glass (or bottle…) of wine..

I have Multiple Sclerosis; Multiple Sclerosis Does Not Have Me

MS

It was an oppressively warm Saturday afternoon in July 2012, the second hottest summer on record for Washington, DC. I couldn’t tell which direction I was heading, my head still foggy from the three hour infusion that just ended.   My brother was next to me, asking me if I was feeling ok when I started to cry. “What’s wrong? Are you sick?”

“No, it’s just he should be here. He’s supposed to be here.”  I blew my nose and continued walking. Who was I talking about?

The man I broke up with two months earlier.

Broken hearts are nothing new in the grand scheme of things. People end relationships every day, and the sun still rises. And me? I wanted what many 30 something women want:  A funny, smart, and confident man.  A guy who loves his family and wants to share his life with a nerdy, passionate and stubborn Midwestern girl. How hard could that be?

Except in my world, that guy has to enter an unfortunate three-way: the guy, me and Multiple Sclerosis.

What is MS?

It’s an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system. MS is a fickle mistress; it rarely speaks but cannot be ignored. Especially the kind I have, relapsing-remitting MS. Most of the time, I’m healthy and I can feel my arms and legs. Other times, during relapses, I can’t.  I remember the beginning of this relationship. I felt the connection instantly and it made me nervous. What if he doesn’t want me because I have MS?

I hid my anxiety and my illness for three months, resulting in some crazy stomach issues and weight loss. (If only I could lose 15 pounds like that again)

When I finally disclosed the MS, he didn’t say anything. I took his silence as tacit acceptance and I didn’t question it. He couldn’t tell I was sick, but with MS, no one can. He heard my busy travel schedule for work and probably thought that anyone who is sick couldn’t visit five countries in three weeks. He saw an active twenty-something with beautiful eyes and alluring curves.

That’s the trouble with MS, it’ll be quiet until you’ve pushed it too far—then it’s a bitch.

The idea of facing the world alone with Multiple Sclerosis can be unbearable and my insecurity blinded me to red flags.  I pushed my frustration aside when he decided to go out of town while I was having a relapse, leaving me stranded at home with an IV full of powerful steroids in my arm.

I hid my feelings about his willful ignorance, and I could tell he was tuning me out when I brought up my symptoms. Selfishly, I wanted another person to help me carry this diagnosis around. I wanted someone to love me despite a potentially difficult future. But in the end, he was only being the person he knew how to be. I walked away from the situation. I couldn’t blame him for not meeting my expectations if he just couldn’t do it.

Except on infusion days, then I fracking hated him. Sitting in the clinic with a needle in my arm, feeling the medicine flow through my veins and the wave of fatigue crashing into me, I only saw isolation. Who would want to sit there with me? Who would want to help? Why would anyone want to sign up for this?

After a year of self-reflection and amazing support from the DC Stratejoy community (hi ladies!!), I dipped my toe back into the dating pool.

Instead of trying to change myself into something I thought guys wanted, I was just me: brain spots, sea otters, belly laughs, etc.

I experienced the highs and lows of being single in a city full of type-A, wanna-be politicos and painfully shy but sweet IT specialists. I went into each date with a glimmer of hope. I repeated “it’s supposed to be fun” during my walks from the metro to each bar or coffee shop. I smiled, took a yoga breath, and went on ‘stage’.

First dates are exhausting.

You have to be cute but not trying too hard, funny but not overpowering, successful but not domineering.  It wasn’t always easy or fun. Sometimes, after a stressful day at work or if it was exceptionally hot outside, I would be fatigued, which felt like carrying around an oversized, heavy backpack. It was difficult to feign interest in a guy’s fantasy baseball stats while wanting to crawl under the table for a nap. Also, bar mangers frown upon women sleeping under their tables with or without MS.

If I had time, I would come home and take a quick nap before meeting each suitor. I would limit myself to one drink since I can’t feel my left foot after two. While I didn’t set a time limit for the night, I would only have energy for 90 minutes of chit-chat. Sometimes much less and definitely less if the guy tries to sell you a time share or shows you a selfie where he’s dressed as Spiderman but it wasn’t Halloween.

I would wait to disclose my MS until I felt comfortable with each suitor, usually around date three or four. By then, I physically couldn’t hide my illness.

There were numerous scenarios for MS to cause a problem. For the nature lover, I would have to let him know that a four hour hike in the middle of summer wasn’t an option.  For the beer enthusiast, I didn’t want my first stumble make him think I can’t hold my booze. For the sports fan, I would have to disclose my future marriage to Ryan Zimmerman (Washington National’s third baseman and founder of ziMS Foundation to raise money for MS research) or Brooks Laich (Washington Capitals player and previous co-chair for MS Achievers fundraising group).

Weeks went by; a few month-long relationships came and went. During that time, I paid attention to my emotions and my MS. All those sometimes good, often weird, mostly benign dates were both educational and frustrating.

When a seemingly good guy disappeared, I often wondered if it was because of my MS. When I was still single after nine months of dates, I spent far too much time listening to Fran, my inner critic, telling me I disclosed too early or I was too demanding. Yet, I learned what I wanted from a relationship and what I wanted from myself. I was funny, sarcastic, smart, successful and silly. I was not timid, weak, ashamed, or fan of NBA basketball. I wanted the same from my future boyfriend.

In December, I was ready to pack it in and go into hibernation, biding time with work, running and raising money for WALK MS (April 5, 2014 in DC). I had one last date scheduled for a Tuesday night and then I was calling it a day on my social life.

As I walked to the restaurant, I wondered if he would be able to tell I just woke up from a nap. I decided I didn’t care if my make-up was smeared or my hair was flat from my pillow. Instead, I decided to see if this guy was as funny in person as he was in his well-written emails (correct usage of there, their and they’re–swoon).Mostly, I just thought “this might be the last date for a few months, keep it light and fun.”

When I found him standing out front of the restaurant, he looked handsome and a bit nervous. He had a firm hand shake (lame, I know but I’m ever the DC professional) and striking blue-gray eyes. Suddenly, four hours went by and I felt electric. This funny, smart, confident man, who talked warmly about his childhood and his relationship with his family, was actually sitting in front of me.

During our next date, full of hand holding and witty banter, I threw down the MS card after a particularly genuine dinner conversation.  This time, though, instead of silence, I was met with questions on treatments, awe of my energy levels, and overall compassion.

The next week, when I mentioned my fatigue was bad and I was feeling depressed about not being able to train for my half marathon, he let me know that I was doing enough and to rest. The following day, I found flowers at my door when I got home from work.

Looking back at that long, hot summer of infusions, I’m thankful that I experienced one of the most trying times of my life on my own. Those experiences laid the foundation to find Stratejoy, to apply for Elevate, and to date with a different worldview.

I learned that I am not alone, that friends, family, and even complete strangers are around to help me if I let myself ask.  I am more than the MS, and I can share my life with it. All of this led me to that wintery Tuesday night in December.  Maybe I just had to come to peace with the MS before allowing another person to share my life? Any way you slice it, it comes down to this:

I have Multiple Sclerosis; Multiple Sclerosis does not have me. 

 

moe headshotWITH LOVE FROM

Maureen , soon-to-be marathon completer, 2014 Elevate Sister.

Maureen is a hopeless optimist, reformed tomboy, and has a strong and snarky voice of reason. She roots for the underdog, which comes in handy being a Notre Dame fan. When not discussing U.S. foreign policy, Maureen organizes fundraisers for her favorite charity, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, attempts to hold crow pose for more than two seconds, and is still trying to figure out who talked her into running a half marathon this spring. If not at work, yoga, or running, you can find Maureen watching shows about handsome vampires or discussing how cute sea otters are.

Making Changes in Your Life? Here’s the motherload of resources to help.

Making Changes in Your Life

Making change in your life is no easy task, but I believe honoring your life and your strengths means honoring your day-to-day actions and the personal choices you make with your time, energy and creative power.

You can do all the visioning, desiring, action planning and big-hairy-goal-setting you want, but without the daily choice, habit or ritual to support those endeavors you are no closer to your vision.

The day-to-day can be decidedly unsexy.  I get this.

But for those of us who geek out on self-awareness, systems, experimentation and personal transformation –

The process of sustainable change (of using our day-to-day in honor of a larger goal) is fascinating! 

I want YOU to take your dream of writing a book, healthfully losing 50 pounds, being joyfully present for your family, discovering your goddess, getting your side hustle off the ground, starting to date again, or connecting to your higher power and actually make it happen.

Maybe not perfectly.  Probably with some bumpy starts and stops.  Definitely with some twist and turns and revisions.

But I want you to make it happen.

I want you to make it happen consciously and deliberately. With your own personal mix of flexible grace and edge-pushing. Kindness and ass-kicking. Big leaps and little actions.

I want you to experience your day-to-day in a way that feels empowering, sustainable and just fucking good. 

Making Changes in Your Life?
Here are 4 Things to Consider.

(click to tweet this article)


Whether you know it or not, habit loops automatically unfold in your daily life.

At one point, all of these loops of cue-choice-reward were deliberate decisions you made. But most of the day-to-day action in your life has faded to a stimuli response as the choices become familiar.

Some of these habit loops are helpful.

The driving engine and greatest challenge in any long-term creative endeavor is to act daily, especially in the face of great uncertainty, fear, risk and anxiety.  – Jonathan Fields

Some of these habit loops are not.

You don’t want to be a passive observer in your own life — letting things happen to you at a whim, without feeling like you have choice or control.  Unfortunately, that’s what has happened to many of your daily routines.  You act out dozens of familiar loops each day that take you in the opposite direction of growth and change, and instead keep you stuck in the same old, same old.

It takes conscious reprogramming to change these loops and make different decisions.

It’s not impossible, but it does require attention.

You must get actively, perhaps uncomfortably, involved in personal choice to use these loops to your advantage.

Kate Courageous: What’s your commitment: to overwhelm, or to change?
Mara Glatzel: Spring Cleaning
Chelsea Latimer: On habit-breaking, tough love, and hard sh*t that looks like easy sh*t
Amber Rae: How Letting Go Leads You to Discover What You Really Want
Joel Runyon: Better Than a Lab Rat

Here at Stratejoy:  Self-Care vs Self-Comfort. What Do You Really Need?


Whether you know it or not, your deep-seated beliefs about your capability and worth affect your ability to change.

As cliche as it may be, your belief in your own capacity to transform predicts your success and your susceptibly to self-sabotage.

Do you believe you can make this change? Do you believe it’s possible for you to achieve your end goal?

What would it take for you to get on board with this new version of you?

What I like most about change is that it’s a synonym for hope. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, “I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.”  – Linda Ellerbee

Luckily, you do control your internal belief systems and can shift them with enough self-awareness, guts and work.

You may need to find mentors who believe in you. You may need to practice doing things that scare you.  You may need own up to the ways you’re holding yourself back. You may need to extend your deadline by 6 months, by 2 years even.

But whatever it takes, claim the belief that change is possible for you.

Nicole Antoinette:  It’s Only Impossible Until You Do It
Sally Hope: Rage Against the Machine. And How to Create Long Lasting Change.
Sarah K. Peck:Why You’re Not Getting There. (Clue: It’s You, Not Them)
Sean Ogle: The Year of Confidence

Here at Stratejoy: 12 Rules of Inner Confidence


Whether you know it or not, willpower is a muscle that can be strengthened through practice.

The ability to make decisions and take action in support of your greater goal (instead choosing short term satisfaction) must be practiced.

It’s that simple.

Your willpower muscle gets tired, worn out, stressed, and out-of-shape if you refuse to acknowledge it’s existence or learn it’s quirks.

The muscle model is at once reassuring and discouraging. It’s nice to know that not every willpower failure reveals our innate inadequacies; sometimes they point to how hard we’ve been working. But while it’s comforting to know that we can’t expect ourselves to be perfect, this research also points to some serious problems. If willpower is limited, are we doomed to fail at our biggest goals?  – Kelly McGonigal

Luckily, like any muscle, your limited resource of willpower can be built up through proper training.

That training can include small challenges of self-control related to your larger goal, becoming aware of risky willpower times of day, tuning into energy depletion and learning the difference between mental resistance and true exhaustion.

Really understanding the research on willpower +  true dedication to the “why” behind your goal + daily action =  a powerful combination of success factors.

Nicole Antoinette: The Myth of Motivation
Mara Glatzel: Motivation and Permission to be Human
Shenee Howard: How To Deal with the Fear of Sucking at Things You Love

Here at Stratejoy: A Love Letter to Fear and Courage


Whether you know it or not, love is more powerful than fear.

Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance. — Tara Brach

Critical self-talk, undermining ourselves, or using punishment as motivation are all ways you use fear as the whip. It may have short term benefits, but condemning yourself goes against the very idea of true transformation.

True transformation means engaging in change to become more ourselves, to shine more vibrantly, to engage in our own life with more meaning, purpose or joy.

When fear is the motivation, you are treating yourself as broken, bad, or wrong.

And none of this is true.

The whip can provide enough scary consequence and guilt to make change, but fear-based motivation isn’t sustainable in the long run. Change born from clenched fists and shame spirals will never blossom into transformation because it’s not in your best interest to align with fear.

And trust me, your highest self knows this.

Practicing love and self-compassion through the inevitable ups-and-downs of change gives you permission to keep moving forward, no matter what failure, distraction or road block occurs.

Liz DiAlto: Who Do You Think You Are
Jennifer Louden: A love letter to numbing and distractions
Jonathan Mead: If it’s a Good Idea, Don’t Do It
Amber Rae:  You are Enough

Here at Stratejoy: Self-Love: I am Enough. And Also, You are Enough.


MORE FREE RESOURCES

General Awesomeness on Change
(also Creation, Habits and Willpower)

Ash Ambirge: Faith. All it’s Cracked Up To Be.
Jenny Blake: Be Agile & Antifragile: How to Find Strength & Happiness from Chaos
Rachel Cole: A Sweet Middle Path
Alexandra Franzen: Keep Marching
Marthe Hagen: Dealing with Change: How to Hold On When the World is Spinning
Susan Hyatt: Trying to do too much, too fast, too soon?
Chelsea Latimer: On Habit Breaking, Tough Love, and Hard Sh*t that Looks Like Easy Sh*t
Jennifer Louden: 15 Radical Ways to Get Unstuck
Sean Ogle:  Why You Should Stop Working at Noon Everyday
Andrea Owen: 6 Reasons You’re Afraid and What To Do About It
Sarah K Peck: Less is more, imperfect is perfect, and done is done
Joel Runyon: A Beginner’s Guide to the 80/20 Principle
Michelle Ward: How to Really, Truly, Actually Initiate Change

Here at Stratejoy:

6 New Ways to Honor Your Time
The Trick to Saving Your Own Life
10 Ways to Get Your Act Together

Personal Stories of Change

Nicole Antionette: How to Change Your Life
Liz DiAlto: Getting Naked and Falling in Love
Mara Glatzel: Who I Am, Today: Change + Radical Self-Responsibility
Tiffany Han: Confession. My Dreams Changed.
Mike Hrostoski: Sex, Booze, Masturbation and Cold Showers
Nisha Moodley: How to Hustle Through Heartbreak
Michelle Ward: I Quit My Day Job. Are You Next?
Parrish Wilson: How to Destroy Your Family (and then fix it)
Meg Worden: You Need Love Like You Need Oxygen. It’s Fundamental.

Here at Stratejoy:
I’m Learning to Trust the Unknown
That One Time I was Lost and How I Got Found


Hoping these concepts gave you something to ponder in your own world of activating change, honey!

To your beautiful life, beautiful self, beautiful goals, beautiful habits.

XOXO

Molly-Sig211

On Food, Self Care, and That Time I Cried Looking At A Picture of a Cupcake

Chocolate_cupcakesThere’s nothing worse than being betrayed by a friend, especially one that you thought always had your back. I was recently betrayed and it has left me feeling sad and distraught. I’m talking, of course, about my friend Food.

Food, why you gotta treat me so bad?

Food and I have had so many good times in the past. He was always there for me: we laughed together over late-night pizzas and shed tears over a couple of pints (of ice cream, that is). If I was lonely, brooding, or just bored, Food was my companion.

In the last few years, however, Food has become an increasingly fickle friend. A frenemy, if you will. Things will be going along fine, and then BAM. Food takes his revenge, for no good reason!

I’ve had a challenging relationship with food ever since I can remember. Despite growing up in a house with two talented chefs and access to delicious food, I was exceedingly picky. Eat-a-grilled-cheese-for-dinner-every-single-day picky. But it didn’t really seem to matter – I was happy, I was healthy (enough), and I had a high metabolism.

No problem.

Until the problems started to snowball.

What started as an upset stomach after too much dessert eventually became a near-constant malaise and the more-than-occasional bathroom emergency. At least one attack was so painful it landed me in the hospital the day after Thanksgiving.

It wasn’t so simple as cutting something out of my diet or isolating a food allergy, because it never seemed to be the same thing that made me sick. Rather, it was a combination of too much processed junk, not enough produce, and an infamous sweet tooth that I never denied.

To make matters worse, the fact that I couldn’t predict what would bring on an attack left me crippled by anxiety, afraid to leave the house for fear of my shameful secret being exposed.

Every single time I would say to myself, “Never again.” I was done making excuses, and I was going to change dammit.

Cut to me, horizontal for 36 hours after yet another binge.

At the end of last year, the ground beneath my feet started to shift. I can’t say I had a lightning bolt moment of clarity, but I decided I couldn’t go on living my life like this – indulging my every food whim, in exchange for my health and sanity. Someday I want to start a family, and I can’t be responsible for a child – let alone carry a healthy pregnancy – if I keep failing to care for myself.

It’s a big part of what brought me to Elevate.

The journey has not been easy.

After some diagnostic tests and a heroic dose of antibiotics to clear my system of bad bacteria, I was told to spend six weeks on an elimination diet that basically cuts out any foods that might be problematic.

Starting this weekend, I will add foods back one at a time. If that item does not cause any negative symptoms, I can assume it is probably safe for me to eat. If not, I have to come to terms with cutting it from my diet permanently, or risk a flare up.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been pouting like a grounded 15-year-old.

Meal planning is exhausting, eating out at a restaurant with friends is next to impossible, and even a picture of a cupcake brings me to tears.

But I’m doing it.

I’m doing it because sooner or later, I have to stop giving in to my emotional eating patterns.

I have to stop using a pint of ice cream as a reward on a good day, or a pick-me-up on a bad day.

I have to stop believing that I am being deprived of the foods that I love in favor of the belief that this diet is the most loving thing I can do for myself.

At this moment, I’m stuck somewhere between feeling good and hating my diet versus eating what I want and feeling anywhere from vaguely ill to miserable.

But I know there’s a middle ground, and with each step I’m closer to finding it. 

 

LaurenHeadShotWITH LOVE FROM

Lauren, Gender Studies Buff, and current Elevate 2014 Sister.

Lauren is a lifelong learner, a Broadway musical enthusiast, a chocoholic, and a recovering perfectionist. She is also a Women’s and Gender Studies buff and building community with like-minded ladies is her jam. She is thrilled to have the privilege of participating in Elevate 2014 and to cheer on this group of truly impressive individuals as they kick ass and take names. You’ll find her on Capitol Hill with her husband Sam and her spunky Cavalier Bess Truman.


Enough is Enough

Enough Is Enough

 

In the world of science and physics, “potential” energy is energy stored in a system of forcefully interacting physical entities.

Doesn’t that sound absolutely explosive?

The idea of all of my potential is what gets me out of bed in the morning and is, in the same token, what makes it so difficult for me to get out of bed on other days.

There is all of this energy bubbling up, the potential energy that is ready to explode into something kinetic. I know it’s in there and I feel the pressure of it. I feel the pressure to blow the door wide open and use all of the potential.

I, like many women I know, have a totally bananas, pathological fear that I am just not doing enough. Not living up to my potential. “Will I ever get there?” “Will all of this work towards self-improvement ever manifest?” “What will it look like when I’m there?” And, yes, even, “What if this IS my fullest potential?” “Can I be okay with that?”

“A sobering thought: what if, right at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?” – Jane Wagner

It’s sometimes an exhilarating journey and also sometimes a fucking scary journey, especially when I consider that there may be no end to this sometimes abusive cycle of unrealistic self-expectations. It’s at once exciting to think about the potential and terrifying to think of wasting it. There is a real overwhelming confusion about how to find that balance between striving and relaxing.

I know I’m not alone. I see it clearly in the women I’m connected to through Elevate. By all means, these clever, talented, beautiful women should be radiating with self-satisfaction. They are so dynamic. Looking at their lives, I do sometimes feel less than, that I could be doing more and doing better.

But we are all bananas. And we expect the best from ourselves. As we should.

But, we all have a dizzying number of talents and opportunities and we must remember that.

None of us has it figured out. Not a single one. None of us is using every last molecule in our bodies to it’s fullest potential.

I don’t know the answers but maybe that’s exactly what this is all about. What the trying and the doing and the planning and the failing and the yearning and the dreaming and the trying and trying and trying is all about- not reaching a place where it’s all in perfect order and everything is aligned. But reaching a place where we can be okay and comfortable knowing that just maybe this is all there is. ‘

The place where the striving relents and an ease sets in.

A place of enough.

We are all going to disappoint ourselves and disappoint others and not do everything on the list and feel inadequate.

I guess I should tell myself what I want to tell every woman I know: My God, you’re doing enough.

Tweet This Gem

The potential will sit and it will not rot and it will grow and it will wait for us to come to a place where we’re able to use it up. We won’t use it all at once but we must protect it as a precious resource and also protect ourselves from the crippling expectation that we will lose it if we don’t use it right away.

As long as we are participating in our lives, actively and deliberately, that is enough.

If this is all there is, let that to be enough.


DeeHeadShotWITH LOVE FROM

Dee, 27, a former Stratejoy blogger and current Elevate 2014 Sister.

After exploring many, many options, Dee’s settled in sunny Orange County, CA, where she can see the ocean from her window, hears the waves crashing at night and takes long walks on the beach with her boyfriend. Literally. She’s a Media and Content Manager by day and a Napa Cab drinker by night who thinks cheese is usually the answer and that yoga is all it’s cracked up to be. She is hooked on her new life. It’s not all figured out. It never will be. And that’s become the best part. Shout at her on twitter @deebuzzing.

6 New Ways to Honor Your Time (and Live Your One Wild and Precious Life)

6 New Ways to Honor Your Time

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

Those last two lines of Mary Oliver’s poem are classic.  But how often have you seen the first two lines?

When I read the widely quoted lines alone — they speak to me about dreams, authenticity, action and cherishing our uniqueness.

But when all four lines are coupled together, I clearly hear –

“There’s only so much time!”

Limited time. Precious time. Time that is up to me to us to use wisely, to use wildly.

Working with my Elevate Mastermind women over the course of a year has given me intimate knowledge that what we do on a day-by-day basis makes up our weeks, and our weeks make up our months, and our months make up the years of our lives.

There’s no getting around it.

Our day-to-day is our life.

I’m not being blunt to scare you or spread shame, but to shake you up a bit.  When you think back to what you did today or yesterday or this weekend, are those days representative of the desires you hold for your life? Are they snapshots of the kind of woman you want to be? Are they examples of the kind of life you want to live?

Honey, what I want you to hear is this –

Honor your time as if your life depended on it.

‘Cause it does.

(click to tweet)

And here’s a few ways to do just that…


6 Ways to Honor your Time

1. Accept the Season of Life You’re In.

If you’ve seen me lately, you’ve probably heard me utter “season of life” with air quotes when answering the question, “How are you, Molly?”

I’m not going out for wild nights very often, because I’m up with Max at 6:30 am and I’m 7 months pregnant with crazy sciatica pain.  There are tiny balls, marker scribbles, stuffed animals and board books all over my house. I’m not launching new programs because my work time is committed to fulfilling the wonderfulness I’ve already created/sold.  I’m not putting a lot of effort into marketing, because I’m learning to balance my desire to grow my business with my desire to be a present mama, wife, friend, and woman.

Right now I’m a work-at-home mama in the midst of buying a fixer upper beach home with an active almost 2 year old, another on the way, and a thriving business. This exhausting time of diapers and Itsy Bitsy Spider and answering emails 2 weeks late and signing escrow papers and writing blog posts in 20 minutes chunks between coaching calls is my season of life.

I chose it.

And I want to be here!  

Your season of life may be single girl out on the town who can only afford party dresses at H&M and uses your ridiculous Match responses as fodder for your blog. Awesome. Don’t waste your time coveting snugly nights in with a husband and adorable toddlers. Or pine for Helmut Lang dresses, table service and minimums of Veuve to be ordered.

Accepting the season of life you’re in doesn’t mean you won’t ever move to the next one…

It just means it’s not your current reality, so stop wishing things were different.

Live it up where you are.

2.  Stop Doing Stuff You Don’t Care About Just Because You Think You Should.

I’m pretty sure my friend Nicole said this to me once and it totally stuck.

Whether it’s a clean house, posting pictures to Facebook, putting make up on, baking adorable cupcakes, getting married, running a marathon, going to concerts, walking in heels or eating paleo –you don’t have to enjoy something or devote yourself to learning something just because everyone else is doing it.

No need to waste your precious time worrying that you’re missing out on something magical.  You’ll never have time for everything, so just make damn sure you actually WANT to be doing what you’re doing.

Stop overcommitting your mental space and your actual time to things that feel like shoulds.

Concentrate on the electrifying wants instead.  

And yes, a lot of the time this means letting go of unfinished projects, invested money, and old dreams that you’ve outgrown.  It’s okay — your life is a series of changing wants. It’s your job to tune in and honor where you’re at.

3. Don’t Make Things a Bigger Deal than They Really Are.

Making endless to do lists, shuffling your mail from pile to pile to pile, not calling the dentist to schedule your cleaning, avoiding taking that stack of stuff to the Goodwill…

Sometimes we spend more time whining /worrying/wallowing about what we have to do than simply taking care of it.

This rule is simple.

Just do it.

4. Choose to Connect Where it Matters to You.

Our social and professional circles are ever widening in today’s world — between social media, frequent job changes, less permanence in the places we choose to live — many of us have dozens of people we might consider close friends in the world by the time we are 30.  We might not live near any of them, or have any single person whose home we could drop by unannounced in our neighborhood, but we’ve got many, many friends to keep tabs on.

In some ways our living our lives online make it easier.

I know what your baby looks like. I know that you just changed jobs. I know that he finally put a ring on it.

What I don’t know is how you feel about it deep down — what sacrifices have you made? Who’s got your heart in their hands? How do you feel when that tiny human snuggles up under your chin?

There are a lot of reactions to superficial interconnectedness: spreading ourselves too thin trying to be a best friend to everyone, isolating in real life while actively engaging online, refusing to engage at all.

There is no right way to do it to feel connected and maintain strong relationships, but start by thinking about who you truly care about and how to give them the most of your limited attention.

5. Narrow Down Your Choices.

Did you know that having less choice makes us happier?

This was one of the driving forces in moving our family to a small town 3.5 hours from LA and 3.5 hours from SF.  Here there are 4 nice restaurants for date night, 3 yoga studios to choose from, 2 nearby beaches to swim at, 1 natural hair salon, and unfortunately for us — zero good mexican restaurants.

Are we bored?  Nope.

We find enough novelty in our lives through travel and creative, fulfilling work.

Are we satisfied with our choices?  Yes!

We’re not constantly thinking about what we didn’t choose or didn’t get experience or if we could have made a better decision.

You can always change your mind or your routine when you get bored or feel constrained but consciously limiting your shopping color palette, the amount of time you spend comparison shopping, or the places you take your kid to lunch will free up brain power for better use!

6. Embrace Your Need for Downtime.

Getting shit done feels awesome, especially when the “To Do List” is a true reflection of what you want to be doing with your life.  But getting shit done at the expense of self care or connection or rest is a slippery slope. You have worth as a woman that is not connected to you de-cluttering your closet, staying at work the latest, or hammering out everything last item on your list.

We cannot value our worth based on productivity or we’ll be inextricably linked to doing, not being.

And sometimes we need to just simply be.

Say it out loud — I am choosing to watch this TV show.  I am choosing to nap. I am choosing to putter around on the internet. I am choosing to sit on my balcony, drink wine and people watch.  I am choosing to take a walk. I am choosing to play blocks with my kid.

We all need downtime to comfort or care for ourselves.

Give up the guilt and you’ll be able to truly enjoy it.


There you have it, my amazing Tribe!

6 new ways to honor your time, in service of honoring your precious life.

(click to tweet this list)

Be deliberate with each day, wild one, and the rest will follow.

XOXO

Molly-Sig211

p.s.  I’m opening up registration for The Willpower Council next week!  Woo hoo!

Willpower Council with Molly Mahar of Stratejoy

The smartest investment to make in your 20’s…and again and again the rest of your life

It’s the start of new blogging goodness here at Stratejoy!

We’re bringing back real time stories from real life women.

This time I’m tapping the incredible ladies of my Elevate Mastermind group to share their dreams, fears, successes and failures with the Tribe.  Not all of them will be writing (since it’s totally not a requirement of Elevate!), but as I found out at our retreat — over half of them identify as writers!  And after getting to known their sassy selves and incredible stories over 4 days in Ojai, I knew we’d all benefit from hearing the ups and downs of their year of ELEVATING!

We’re going on a introduction binge this week — getting you familiar with with the ladies you’ll be hearing from this year.

After that, I’ll be writing early in the week and we’ll be featuring an Elevate Writer each Thursday.

Please join me in lovingly welcoming each of these brave souls!

They are going to be cracking their hearts wide open for us, to remind our entire Tribe that we are never alone.

XOXO

Molly-Sig211


Mallory200x200WITH LOVE FROM

Mallory, soon-to-be-mama and current Elevate 2014 Sister.

Mallory is a dreamer, a seeker of inspiration and curator of life’s beauty. A researcher by day, professional pinner by night, she’s often distracted by shiny things and has marked 2014 as the year to end her 90% completion streak starting with giving birth to Zee Shrimpress and launching the first addition to her multrepreneur portfolio – a luxury baby boutique – because who doesn’t love ridiculously cute, tiny things?  When not honing her mad visualization skills with Zee Hubs, she can be found celebrating a circular life in Los Angeles with Puffin Muffin (puppy) and Skittler (cat).

 


 

MalloryCollage

Molly’s going to laugh at my application. If I haven’t launched YET, do I even have the right to sign up for another one of her programs? I’m just going to wait…NO! I’m just going to do it. If I don’t get in, I don’t get in. Life stays the same. But if I do…Well then…

 

And with that I made the most deliciously selfish decision to invest in myself.

 

Since meeting Molly as one of her first Lifestyle Design tribettes (later to become Joy Equation) and many a Council later, I’ve known her programs are exceptional for connecting with a supportive tribe. But Elevate is more than that for me. It is a public declaration. My own Jerry Maguire moment. A commitment to believe in myself and show some money to prove it’s business time.

 

It is a financial investment in my personal stock – and really, that’s the only stock with low risk and high reward, so why not invest?

 

Elevate also resonates with my core belief in circular living. That our lives are not meant to be laid out in a straight path, one goal to the next. Instead our goals are ever evolving as we do. That it’s never too late to become who you might have been. That we should never lost sight of the small child we once were. The one with big dreams and an infallible spirit, before the world said who and what we ought to be and do.

 

Admittedly much of my life was lived counter to this belief. I was the typical straight A, Type-A, overachiever who suffers from people pleasing perfectionism. And that worked for some time. It got me the grades, the scholarships, the connections and jobs, the friends, the guys. It nearly got me through college. Then life happened and kept happening. Slowly but surely I found myself right smack in the middle of a quarter-life crisis, where – as so many of us say – everything looked great on paper, so why am I unhappy? Why did I feel burnt out at the ripe age of 22 years old? What was wrong with me?

 

Turns out absolutely nothing.

 

As I came to find out, it wasn’t that I was broken. I had merely lost sight of myself, my spirit, my passions. My voice.

 

I had lost my way and just needed to remember the map has always been with me – more to the point, within me. It’s always been kept safe with that little girl. The one with the big dreams, who believed she could do and be anything she wanted. The one who sang (read: screamed) ‘Part of Your World’ with every intention of being Ariel some day.

 

And all it took was remembering who she was and trusting that sometimes what seems like going backwards might be the biggest step in moving forward that you need to take.

 

So here I am 7 years after the break down, 5 years after finding Molly and deciding to launch a baby shoe boutique, 2 months into Elevate. I don’t have all the answers, but I have a couple things that are more important.

 

A commitment. The commitment I made to myself, family and Elevate sisters that 2014 will be the year to stop making excuses.

 

And a baby girl. Before she’s even born, Zee Shrimpress has become more of a catalyst than any other motivation. And thanks to her, priorities all the sudden seem so much clearer.

 

Somehow I think another little girl is winking her approval.


 

Mallory200x200WITH LOVE FROM

Mallory, soon-to-be-mama and current Elevate 2014 Sister.

Mallory is a dreamer, a seeker of inspiration and curator of life’s beauty. A researcher by day, professional pinner by night, she’s often distracted by shiny things and has marked 2014 as the year to end her 90% completion streak starting with giving birth to Zee Shrimpress and launching the first addition to her multrepreneur portfolio – a luxury baby boutique – because who doesn’t love ridiculously cute, tiny things?  When not honing her mad visualization skills with Zee Hubs, she can be found celebrating a circular life in Los Angeles with Puffin Muffin (puppy) and Skittler (cat).

 


Taking a Risk, Showing Up, and Having My Own Back

It’s the start of new blogging goodness here at Stratejoy!

We’re bringing back real time stories from real life women.

This time I’m tapping the incredible ladies of my Elevate Mastermind group to share their dreams, fears, successes and failures with the Tribe. Not all of them will be writing (since it’s totally not a requirement of Elevate!), but as I found out at our retreat — over half of them identify as writers! And after getting to known their sassy selves and incredible stories over 4 days in Ojai, I knew we’d all benefit from hearing the ups and downs of their year of ELEVATING!

We’re going on a introduction binge this week — getting you familiar with with the ladies you’ll be hearing from this year.

After that, I’ll be writing early in the week and we’ll be featuring an Elevate Writer each Thursday.

Please join me in lovingly welcoming each of these brave souls!

They are going to be cracking their hearts wide open for us, to remind our entire Tribe that we are never alone.

XOXO

Molly-Sig211


LeighWITH LOVE FROM

Leigh, Lover of Leg Warmers and Zumba,   2014 Elevate Sister

Leigh is a native Texan physician living in Houston.  She is a proud aunt to two smart, amazing and sweet little girls and a mama to a very naughty but charming 10yr old beagle named Jackson.  Currently practicing in an academic setting providing mental health services for a busy county health system, she has a special interest in treating eating disorders.  When she is not working, you can find her swinging her hips doing Zumba, stretching them in yoga class or trying to decide between her favorite beverages: green juice, coffee, and wine.

 

LeighCollage

 

I have been on a seemingly determined course my whole life.  I decided rather early on that I wanted to be a physician.  Step by step, I did what was needed to make my goal a reality.  Although my course had its twists and turns of life, I finally finished my graduate medical training last year, completed all required certifications and licensing exams and started my career in July.

I felt a great sense of accomplishment, and yet, I wanted more.

I had spent so many years focusing on my career goals but had left myself and my soul somewhere along the way.

I believed in the value of therapy and self- development long before I ever chose psychiatry as a field.  And I had invested time and resources into my own growth, but not consistently, through the years.  During the last part of 2013, I made quite a bit of dedicated progress because, as I am truly my father’s daughter, when I get good and ready to do something there is no stopping me.

Through this work I grew to know what it truly means to be in a relationship with myself, learned more about self-care and began valuing relaxation and reflection more without feeling guilty or selfish.

I developed a sense of deserving that invoked a craving for truly remarkable life instead of a good-enough life.  I became truly ready to claim all I could finally see for myself.  And I accepted that life could no longer exist in my comfort zone.

One of my carefully crafted “skills” throughout my journey, has been hiding and playing small in many areas of my life.  

Despite my credentials and accomplishments in life, I have attained much from the shadows of my safe haven.  I’ve never really been one to take a risk, to raise my hand, to speak up, or to ask for what I want.  The fear of being truly seen has held me back from fully embracing life time and time again.

I knew it was time: to finally show up for myself- bravely, fiercely and unapologetic. 

I knew it would be uncomfortable.  I knew there would be growing pains.  But I knew that on the other side of the discomfort would be the invaluable reward of living an authentic life.

I was finally ready to emerge from my seemingly safe but stifling cocoon.

After I returned from our first Elevate retreat I was buzzing with energy and my soul and heart had never felt so full.  I walked with the confidence that I was on the right path to living fully in alignment with my values.

My first step to a new life was tough.  I recently had the courage to end a long term relationship with my best friend of many years.  It has been a difficult transition and the healing is a process, but I know deep within my soul it was the right choice.  Truly, sometimes the right choices are the ones most difficult to make.  And, in speaking my truth, I felt myself open further to the possibility of more.

I’m so thankful to be a part of this group because I’m able test my new wings again and again with 13 awesome gals who are on the same wavelength of going after the awesome they crave for themselves while nurturing that which is developing in others.

And as I embark on the other major goals I have for myself this year (health and dietary changes, adding to my local tribe of soul sisters, feeding my creative heart and mind, and growing a spiritual practice), I feel much more capable just knowing that I am no longer standing by silencing my inner voice and desires.

I have my own back.

Today, this is my truth: My amazing life is happening during the beautifully simple and sometimes messy moments, and during all the breaths in between.  I’m so grateful for it all and I know it’s going to be a thrilling ride!


LeighWITH LOVE FROM

Leigh, Lover of Leg Warmers and Zumba,   2014 Elevate Sister

Leigh is a native Texan physician living in Houston.  She is a proud aunt to two smart, amazing and sweet little girls and a mama to a very naughty but charming 10yr old beagle named Jackson.  Currently practicing in an academic setting providing mental health services for a busy county health system, she has a special interest in treating eating disorders.  When she is not working, you can find her swinging her hips doing Zumba, stretching them in yoga class or trying to decide between her favorite beverages: green juice, coffee, and wine.