Monday, April 11, 2016

A Journey and an Announcement!

You don't have to be fearless to act fearlessly. When I was 48 years old and at a crossroads in my life, I was seeking a new path and being challenged by what I was going to do next. The thought of choosing what would I be doing for the rest of my life was almost paralyzing. I applied for many jobs and became one of the final two contestants for two of them. I convinced myself I could do both of these jobs and be happy enough. Needless to say, I didn't get them because I wasn't putting the right energy out there; I had a different path to find. 

I am so grateful to have been passed over. It's true that things always work out in the end. One day, when I was feeling so stuck that I would do anything to break through, I took my friend up on an offer to go to a seminar she had signed up for. Each paying person was able to take a guest for free. It was a seminar about living your dreams. At this point, I didn't even know what my dreams were. It was through the work I did there that involved talking to many strangers with lots of tears that I had a breakthrough. I knew that I wanted to be in a position to help people. I knew that I wanted to let go of the dream of having tons of money (this was only acting as a block that was limiting my imagination). I knew that I wanted my life to be more about being in service to others. What I really wanted to do was counsel people one-on-one.

I really enjoyed the coaching work I had been doing at the time, but I knew that most of the people I was coaching needed more help than I was skilled to give them. They really needed counseling or therapy (whichever word you're most comfortable with). Here was the problem: I had lots of excuses why I couldn't do it. All of those excuses were based in FEAR. In my experience almost every excuse is either based in fear or laziness. I may be lazy when it's time to clean my house, but I'm never lazy about something I'm passionate about and being able to help others in a knowledgeable and skilled way was something I was very passionate about. 

Here are some of the excuses I had that day: what will people think of me, if at this age I am starting something brand-new? Will they think it's because I've failed at everything else? There's no way I can afford it! What if I go for it and I don't enjoy it or I'm not successful at it? What if I can't do it? I might go back to school and find that I'm not capable. 

Can you say FEAR to the Nth degree??

All that day through the leadership of a wonderful person at this Dream University, I was able to break through every one of those excuses. Do I really care what other people think if I'm doing what's right for me? Can't I find a way to make the money work? Of course I can succeed at school, even if it's a huge challenge! Once I broke through the excuse, was I still afraid? Absolutely! But now I knew my fear wasn't based in reality. It was just a useless emotion that I could use to propel me forward.

So here we are 4 1/2 years later. I completed my Masters degree in two years and loved almost every minute of the process. I've been in private practice building my own business for almost 2 1/2 years. I have earned two additional certifications and attended many continuing education seminars. I love learning new things and honing my craft. 

Drum Roll Please......

Today I have become fully licensed! I have fulfilled all of the state's requirements. I no longer need supervision. I get to drop a letter from my title. I am now a full blown LPC. I am as legitimate as it gets, and I have never been happier or more proud of my accomplishments.

As you read this, I hope you are thinking about what new challenges or opportunities you are letting fear keep you from reaching. Think about if they are based in reality or just your perception of reality. Be rational, and break through your excuses! Don't let the residual fear stop you from trying. If you have to, fake it till you make it! You'll be glad you did. Take it from me :)

Images: M.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ditch the Resolutions!

So, here we are at the beginning of another new year. For some, it's a time of taking stock, making changes, and even setting yourself some of those dreaded resolutions that usually run out of speed by the first of February. 

Many years ago, I made a promise to myself to never make another resolution. What a path to feeling like a failure those can be. If there is a change I need to make in my life, I will try my damndest to make it. If it doesn't work out, I'll try another way or re-assess the need for the change. That's what life is all about.

What really pisses me off this time of year are the plethora of diet commercials preying on people who feel that in order to be better you have to be thinner. Have you seen Oprah's new Weight Watchers commercial? It makes me see red. It starts with Oprah, sitting in her grove saying "Inside every over weight woman is a woman she knows she can be".

Really Oprah, EVERY overweight woman? You can count me out of that group right now. My extra pounds don't keep me from being my very best self!

She goes on to say "You look in the mirror and don't even recognize yourself because you get lost, buried in the weight that you carry". I'm sure this speaks to some, even many, women, but this negative bullshit spin that she is putting on it to sell the product (Weight Watchers, which is paying her $43,000,000 over 5 years plus 10% of their stock!!) is really doing everybody a disservice.

This notion that in order to find out who you are you must lose weight, be thin, meet society's (ever less popular ideal) of beauty is pure crap and it sets our gender (and increasingly men as well) to fail and feel even crappier about themselves. It's time to stop it!

Stop blaming pounds on not knowing who we are as individuals. Stop saying, "I'll be happier when I lose.....". Stop this cycle of self-cruelty and start leading with kindness and self-love.

If we could all just get to know our inner selves (which doesn't change with the scale), learn to like ourselves as humans - thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes, passions, opinions, THEN we will start honoring ourselves out of love and stop berating ourselves out of hate. THEN we will began caring for ourselves with compassion. We will start nourishing ourselves out of respect (if your body has natural changes to make they will happen!) .

We will start having fun with ourselves, increasing our activity. We will start honoring our bodies needs with rest and rejuvenation. Then we will begin relating to one another with support and kindness instead of judgement and jealousy.

If you want to change your life in 2016 begin with self-love and self compassion, NOT with self-recrimination and self-hate, if this path sounds kinder and more inviting to you, please consider joining me and other like-minded women in my Be Body Positive STL 2016 community.

Nothing would make me happier in 2016 than helping you on this new, exciting and freeing journey.

Cheers to you!

Image: frankieleon