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I love to hear the inspiring powerful presence you have.  Keep up the amazing work, women need you!

~ Lisa Nichols

It was a breath of fresh air. I began to realize that the freedom I felt/experienced on the coaching call was something I was created to enjoy and able to have in my life on a daily basis.

~ Chantel C.

Vasavi has a compassionate and caring style of coaching with the perfect level of toughness that allowed me to push myself toward my intended outcomes.

~ Melissa R.

money.

what happens when you read that word?

or:

green paper. benjamins. moolah. bills. cash. bucks.

what happens inside of you?

here is the interesting thing about money.

If you find yourself wondering why there just doesn’t seem to be “enough” of it, take a look around you.

do you respect money?

like totally respect, honor, cherish the energy of money?

(more…)

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Yesterday my father called me up wanting to learn about my “rules” for the art of conversation. Of course, there are no actual “rules.” My “rules” of conversation are simply different ways of being with people. Similar to my experience with art, conversation can go one of two ways: 1)You’re left wondering “WOW, that was beautiful,” or 2) “Man, what the heck was that about?” Of course, I’m not an art expert by any means. This is merely my interpretation. So, here’s what I shared with my lovely dad last night:

1. Not interrupting

Not cool. I get it. We all have brilliant thoughts and ideas. Interrupting is just not acceptable. One way of being with another person, is simply to listen to them. Notice when you are formulating your response instead of listening to the other person. I know that when I am interrupted, I feel that my words don’t matter. Consider that  there’s an opportunity to LEARN from the other person.

2. Being fully present.

We all know what active listening looks like. Direct eye contact, leaning forward, saying “Mmm Hmm” and “Ahh, yes” and “Tell me more.” What I’m pointing to is being fully present. What does that mean? For me, being fully present means that my ego is out of the picture. I’m not sitting there passing judgement. Instead, I have a natural curiosity about what the other person is saying. Now, Im not saying to kill your ego. We need our ego. Its function is to protect us. All I’m saying is to notice when that little voice in your head is passing judgement. The judgement is what’s keeping you from being present. No need to kill it off. Just notice it.

3.Noticing when you are compelled to say something.

You know this feeling. It’s that feeling where if you don’t say the thing that you HAVE to say- you will explode. It’s normal. We want to add value, or we want to get our point across, we want to be appreciated, and more often than not- we want to be RIGHT. Simply by noticing the compulsion to get your words out is a great way to practice truly being present. You’ll find reasons as to why you HAVE to say the thing that you HAVE to say. But, I promise you this, simply noticing the compulsion to say it- will slow down the process and allow you to more present in conversations with people.

4. Adding too much value

According to Marshall Goldsmith’s book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” successful people have twenty annoying habits. I love Habit #2: Adding Too Much Value. This habit refers to the overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion. Listen, we all love to look good. We all love to seem like the smart kid in the classroom. But in conversation- it’s rude. I’m not saying you have to zip your lips. I’m pointing to the fact that it isn’t always about you winning.

5. Relatedness.

Ahhh. My favorite. I’ve recently taken on being human with other people. What that looks like for me is just BE with the other person. It’s not about looking good. For me, the value in being human is CONNECTION. No matter where we come from and where we’re going- we’re all humans. Unbelievably so, we’re much more similar than you think. Yes, even the person that you can’t stand and talk about behind their back. If you take the time to suspend your judgement and simply relate to one another- you’ll notice a shift in conversation.

6. Mentally checked out.

I love this quote by Richard Moss “The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” When I’m on a coaching call with my  client, I sit facing a wall. Why? So, I can focus and be present! Next time you “check out” when someone is speaking- notice it. What had you check out? At what point did you decide that the other person’s words weren’t worth listening to?

The 6 “rules” are meant to make you wrong or judge what you may or may not be currently doing in conversation. It’s simply a place to practice and notice how you are being with other people. I suggest that you also apply these rules to how you converse with yourself. I’d be interested to know what shows up for you.

 

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In his book, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Nathaniel Branden outlines the practices that are necessary to truly feel good about yourself. The one that stands out for me is Pillar #2: The Practice of Self Acceptance. Branden beautifully articulates, ” We can run not only from our dark side but also from our bright side – from anything that threatens to make us stand out or stand alone or calls for the awakening of the hero within us…”

So, what is the greatest crime?

“The greatest crime we commit against ourselves is not that we deny or disown our shortcomings, but that we deny and disown our greatness – because it frightens us.”

Are you guilty of this crime? I know I am. I have spent the majority of my life denying who I know myself to be – my true self. It’s easy to do that when you have spent your life justifying who you are and yearning for approval from everyone. We grow up believing that we cannot trust ourselves, that putting our needs first is selfish, and that it is our responsibility to take care of others before us. And, that we have to trust other people, especially authority figures. We forget ourselves and we spend most of our life with an “others oriented attitude”. Having this attitude typically leads to suffering and resentment.

I know many of you are reading this and thinking, “But how do I accept myself? I’m flawed!” For a moment, consider that there is NOTHING wrong with you. That you are perfect, whole, and complete as you are right NOW. That the only thing getting in the way of you falling in love with yourself – ALL of yourself – is your past waiting on the sidelines to remind you that you are less than perfect.

Your relationship with yourself is where you start. To have a relationship with yourself is to know yourself well. What has worked with me as early as the age of 12 is to engage in a process of self-observation. WARNING: This does not mean getting caught up n “analysis paralysis.” Instead of trying to avoid your feelings, get curious about them. If you are feeling sad, don’t run to the fridge and get something to eat. Sit quietly and observe what is taking place inside of you.

Listen, a lot of stuff is going to come up for you. It’s going to be painful. I would be lying if I said it would be as easy as heating up a microwave dinner (Thanks Tara, for that amazing insight).

What would it look like for you if you unconditionally accepted yourself? What would there be more of? Less of? What would you be able to create in your life? With others? In your career?

This week, practice noticing every time you rate  yourself as either “good” or “bad, “right” or “wrong.” AND, consider that each time you rate yourself – you are denying your greatness.

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Did you know that 90% of the population will complain about one aspect or another of their life, but… they won’t take responsibility for their lives being that way?

On the flip side, only a very small percentage will actually take control, designing the life that is truly desired.  So– what is the difference between these two groups of people?  What is the trait(s) that the 10% possess that allow them to take control and action?

I believe that for many it’s the realization that things do not happen to them, but rather that they make things happen. And when someone recognizes this, she has taken the first step in the journey of developing self-awareness. She will begin to explore and become aware of what drives her, and what she avoids. Self-awareness can mean many things, and as you continue developing self-awareness, that definition may change depending on where you are in your life.

Self-awareness can be thought of as a journey of understanding more completely what your belief systems are.  As such, you are learning about beliefs that empower you and beliefs that prevent you from achieving what you desire. Self-awareness can be about understanding what you value most, and learning about what is most important to you and why it’s important to you.

There are also sets of rules for how you live your life.  These rules can be thought of as an internal compass– there are things that you will and will not do. Things that you will or will not allow. Whether you are consciously aware of these things or not, these beliefs, rules and values determine every action that you take. As you progress on this journey of developing self-awareness, you will find that it is like peeling layers off of an onion. Each layer that you peel off will reveal more of who you truly are. And as that happens, you may find that you develop a deeper connection with yourself and with other people.

Developing self-awareness is a very spiritual journey. It connects you to yourself, to your family, to your community, to the world. My journey of developing self-awareness began when I found myself in a place that I didn’t like. My life had become a mess and was nothing like what I envisioned for myself while growing up. I realized that where I was at that particular moment was the product of the all of the decisions and choices I had made up to that point.

At that point in my life, most of my decisions were based on trying to avoid things:  the truth, responsibility, even avoiding looking at myself because I didn’t like what I saw. And this led me to a place of total “inauthenticity” where I had no connection to myself, or to anyone else. I was running on a self-destructive “auto-pilot” and had no idea why I was having such a miserable life.

Developing self-awareness puts you back in the driver’s seat. In this position, you get to decide where it is you are going, and you have more control of your life and your circumstances.  You are taking ownership of your destiny–creating and owning it.

To do this takes a lot of honesty, open mindedness and willingness. At times, it’s not an easy journey, but it’s definitely worthwhile.

So, I invite you to embark on this journey of self-awareness.  As Coach, I will do my best to give you ideas, spark your thought process, and even build a community around you. This community will be one of unconditional support, offering ideas and feedback while helping you find ways to become even more self-aware, and ultimately discovering ways to make the choices that help you become the person you desire to be.

So, where to begin?!?  Simply grab a pen and a paper, or turn on your computer, and take a moment to just capture what some of your beliefs are, just on the surface level, that first layer of the onion. Some questions to consider…

  • What do you believe about yourself?
  • What beliefs about yourself do you have that empower you or dis-empower you? i.e.) You are good at X; you are not good at Y.
  • What are your beliefs about other people? “People are…” and then fill in the blank. People are… good, compassionate, untrustworthy, greedy? What is it that you honestly believe about other people?
  • What are your beliefs on a global level… The world is messed up? The world is a great place? The world is in trouble? The world is on a new course? Your choice. Ask yourself…  1) What’s important in your life? Family? Friends? Finances? Health? Power? Fame?  2) Why is that (those) important to you?

And now the tougher questions are…

  • Who do you desire to be?
  • How do you need to begin living, right now… to become that person?

Record these answers because over the following weeks I’ll offer ideas to help you discover answers to these questions and more. Welcome to your journey of developing self-awareness!

* image courtesy of h.koppdelaney / creative commons

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