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Archive For May 30, 2015

The Benefits of Being Vulnerable

The Benefits of Being Vulnerable

Brene Brown caused a big stir when she stood up and started talking about her own vulnerability. As she candidly put it in her TED talk, she did not think that she was supposed to feel vulnerable. Only to discover, that she actually was missing out on some of the best of life—namely intimacy—by being unwilling to surrender to being vulnerable. I am so grateful for her efforts to make the world a little more real and a little more humane.

It takes a lot of discipline to open up when you feel threatened but that is just what vulnerability asks us to do. It asks us to let go of our pride –our need to be right—and open to the greater truth of ourselves, the other, and the situation. When we are vulnerable we loose the stranglehold of our lesser selves. Vulnerability requires that we are able rely on a much deeper and stronger part of our self –one that is not caught up in our ego.

Let me describe the process:

It happens all the time! I get myself into a situation where I can feel myself armoring up. I feel judged, disrespected, misunderstood. It does not matter what the specific situation is, really. Just that I can feel it coming on. This intense desire to protect myself -sometimes, at all cost. My heartbeat goes up, my muscles tense, my thoughts start running away, taking my rational self with them.

I know that nothing good can come with this approach but, it is so automatic sometimes. Can you relate?

It takes everything I’ve got to remember that my reaction is causing the problem not protecting me from it. I remember I have nothing to lose but my pride and I let go. My breath deepens. My muscles soften. I can feel my heart open up. NOW, I can make something good happen.

Now let’s break it down step by step:

  • Recognize that you are triggered (i.e. having a reaction)
  • Stay conscious enough to minimize your reaction and not escalate the situation
  • Remove yourself if necessary
  • Let off steam if necessary. Vent but recognize that it is not the truth of the situation.
  • Look for the real reason you are upset. (hint it has little to do with the situation)
  • Give yourself love, understanding, and acceptance.
  • Tease out the parts of your experience that are blame, victimhood, and denial. Simply name them for what they are.
  • Give yourself love, understanding, and acceptance (You need to keep doing this ☺)
  • Remember what you really truly want to see happen with this other person.
  • Re approach from that perspective

Why is this important?

I am going to give you two reasons why this is so critical to our overall fulfillment in life. First, we are unable to develop real relationships that are deeply caring and intimate if we do not allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Second, if we need to pretend that we are not vulnerable then our whole life becomes a charade. We have to work all the time to keep up appearances and in short that makes us miserable.

Short and sweet summary: If you want to be happy, learn how to be vulnerable.

Tune into this weeks Real Answers Radio for more on how to create meaningful relationships through vulnerability. The show is always live and your questions are always welcome!

Tips For Being Your Personal Best

Tips For Being Your Personal Best

I learned after years of working my tail off that if I did not take care of myself one of two things was going to happen. Either I was going to lose my health or I was going to lose in terms of my results. Self-care became my battle cry where as before I would sneer a little bit at people that talked about self-care thinking “How bourgeois!” Little did I know that I would be biting my tongue!

Not only did I learn the merits of self-care but I also learned that it was not as easy to get and keep on track with as I thought. In other words, the biggest tip for being your personal best is: Self Care, Self Care, Self Care!

Self Care is an investment in our personal resources. Whether what you demand of yourself is large or small you need to take care of your most important tool – you. Here are a list of 10 self care tools that you can use to be your personal best:

  1. Move your body/ Feed your body. Both movement and nutrition in balance create optimal self care. Learn to lovingly and joyfully move your body. Dance, do yoga, stretch, walk or even exercise. Feed yourself everything that your body needs to be healthy. If you are not sure what this is start by drinking more water and eating more greens.
  2. Take time in nature and with animals. Both of these experiences have a wonderful effect on us. It helps us destress and relax. If you can’t get out in nature, go to a local park, or get a plant (or two or three!). As far as spending time with animals, their playful and loving ways are a particularly healing form of self care. While there is little substitute for the real thing, you can always supplement with some photos or videos.
  3. Unplug and watch less TV. We are wired 24/7 these days. We go to sleep and wake up with our first things being smartphones and TV’s. If you have not already adopted a technology diet, putting one in place can have a fabulous effect on you.
  4. Be less negative and be around negative people less. It takes two to tango and if you are negative then chances are the people you are around are too and vice versa. Take some time to work on yourself first. Change the way you think and speak and then start making choices to be around people who reflect that.
  5. Let go of grudges. Nothing pulls you down more than uncleared anger and resentment towards others. The only person you are hurting with your negative thinking is you. People can be short-sighted and make mistakes but holding on to the mistakes is the biggest one of all.
  6. Spend time with awesome friends. Spending time with people you love and especially doing fun activities and laughing is a wonderful way to relax and connect – two important elements of self care.
  7. Mental Hygiene. Obsessive thinking and worry are so commonplace that people think they are normal. While common for sure, these are not healthy patterns. Learn to stop yourself when you are on a tear. Simply say “Stop” and focus your mind on something more pleasant or productive.
  8. Make A Difference. Being of Service in the world is a powerful way to feel better. It gives us a sense of meaning and we get the benefit of making other people happy. Take a weekend to volunteer at a food bank, Habitat for Humanity or any other cause that calls to you.  Put some good energy in the world.
  9. Emotional Hygiene Sometimes you just need to clean the pipes. If you have a lot of built up emotion or if you have been dealing with a lot of stress, the best self care might be throwing a fit. Lie down on your bed and kick and hit with your arms and legs. Scream if it feels right. It may sound silly but after you will feel like a million bucks.
  10. Gratitude Nothing changes your attitude like gratitude. Take a moment every day to write or state at least three things that you are grateful for. So many of us have so much to be thankful for. Remember this is a form of self care.

What are some ways that you care for yourself? Please share below!

Alignment and Resonance: Finding your way to your purpose

Alignment and Resonance: Finding your way to your purpose

The day that I reached the 300k mark in my business I didn’t feel happy. I had been frequently attending fancy events staying in fancy hotels –you know the kind with really large water features, perfect gardens, and extremely polite staff –the kind who say “can I do anything else for you miss” right after they have done anything for you. I had a book published. People were seeking me out for my expertise daily. I was on my way to the big time!

I did not feel happy because it was not in alignment with who I am. I love healthy organic food, funky boutique hotels, intimate and powerful events. I love things that feed my soul not just my wallet. I am in business so that I can go to a balmy tropical island in the winter and feel the sand on my bare toes, so that I can continue to learn what is going on on the cutting edge of my field. I am in business so that I can create quality. I truly believe that business can have the power to change the world and what is more, I know some key things that entrepreneurs like you are missing when it comes to creating your very own business.

I was not paying attention the way I needed to be. I was too busy doing. The answer to fix this problem is coming back into alignment.

Alignment is when who you are and what you are about is unobstructed by thoughts, emotions or experiences. A simple way to say it is: You are thinking, feeling and doing what is right for you. Not right based on what your ego might want but right for you from the place deep inside –the deepest truest part of who you are.

A definition of alignment is a position of agreement or alliance.

It is also possible to describe alignment by the saying that the inner and outer are in agreement. They are mutually supportive. One of the ways that we can tell if there is alignment is through the experience of resonance.

While resonance can be used to direct ourselves in other ways, it can help us now if we are on the right track by giving us that feeling of “home” or “rightness.”

In physics, resonance is “A phenomenon that consists of a given system being driven by another vibrating system or by external forces to oscillate with greater amplitude at some preferential frequencies.”

Again, another way to put this is that when you are in the presence of something or someone that is resonant there is an effect that happens.  Something on the outside of you resounds with something on the inside of you letting you know that there is an agreeable relationship.

You can use this experience to help you make choices in all parts of our life.

Here is the trick. Often, we do not have contact with the deepest and truest part of ourselves and so we need to develop that as well. Here are some ways to listen to what is truly important about who you are and what you are desiring:

  1. Meditate: Learn to see your mental and emotional chatter as simply that and not who you are.
  2. Pay attention: to what it feels like to be in an environment that you at least guess is ideal for you.
  3. Know with more than your mind. Your heart and your gut are great resources for staying on track.

  4. Watch what happens: Be an observer of your life. You will learn a ton!


As with most consciousness skills, observation is the starting point. They require that you pay attention to what is often overlooked. Slowing things down or taking pauses throughout your day can help immensely when growing these skills. And these skills can help immensely in growing a more successful and fulfilled life.

Like this topic? Join me for more on alignment and resonance on this weeks Real Answers Radio. The show is live and I would love for you to call in with your thoughts and questions!

Deep Self-Acceptance – The Key To Happiness

Deep Self-Acceptance – The Key To Happiness

I am not on top of the latest and greatest news the way that some people seem to be. I have a tendency to get things a little later than hot off the presses. However, I happened to watch the Bruce Jenner interview pretty much as soon as it was available. It was a fluke really. While I am very concerned with equality for and understanding of all types of issues especially those related to gender, I was relatively oblivious to all of the press. Yup, that is the truth. I don’t watch reality TV and my consumption of media is low.

The night of this interview I was looking for a something to watch on Hulu and I stumbled on this interview. After watching 10 minutes of it, I knew I needed to bring it to my coaching training program, which was having an intensive the next day. There was so much in that interview that made for rich discussion when working with people. But, what struck me more than anything was that it reminded me that people –all of us—struggle with knowing and being our full selves and that this challenge causes us so much pain.

We can’t be happy if we do not truly accept ourselves. But, what does true self-acceptance look like? Let me see if I can put it into some more concrete terms.

You are either OK with who you are or you are not. You are either on your own side or you are not. And, what this feels like, when you accept yourself, could almost be described as weightlessness.

If you wonder whether you accept yourself ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I at peace with all my decisions?
  • Do I love myself –even the not-so-great parts?
  • When faced with information that supports a less than noble view of myself can I love myself and also challenge myself to be more?
  • When in a disagreement, can I respect my own view while respecting the other person’s view?
  • Do I know that no matter what I discover about myself that I am good?

If you answer “no” or are not certain, try some exercises taken from my book Real Answers to help you work on fully accepting yourself:

Powerful questions: With these next statements, you have the opportunity to become more aware of any areas of your life where it will benefit you to come to terms, as well as what you might be afraid of.

Complete these statements about yourself:

  • One thing I have a difficult time accepting about my life, but deep down know is true, is:
  • Some of the things I feel I need to accept about my life that may be difficult to accept are:
  • The reason I know these things are difficult to accept is:
  • I will know that I have fully accepted these things about my life when:
  • This stops me from accepting these things about my life:
  • I would accept these things about my life if only:
  • I am afraid that, if I accept these things about my life, then:
  • What I need to do to accept these things about my life is:

Speak your truth: One of the ways we can move into a deeper level of acceptance is to speak the truth about our lives, making it more real. This increased sense of reality just naturally works to increase our acceptance of what was. For example, I have an event in my life where I had a fight with a close friend of mine. After this fight, I begin to slip into some story around it. For example, my friend was really unfair or my friend overreacted. You can see that these are judgments, and as I was mentioning before, judgments are about the mask. If, instead, I am able to state the data about what happened, this is the actual sensory information. In other words, “What I saw was …,” “What I felt was …,” “What I experienced was …” If I am able to break down the information as truthfully as possible, I will begin to see the situation for what it is.

Talk to someone who was there: This is why personal growth groups and therapy groups work really well. If someone has gone through a similar experience―or, as is the case sometimes with family members, the same experience―sharing that experience with someone who can understand helps us accept that experience. We come to know that this is what truly happened and these are the effects it had. As I was saying earlier in this book, when people go through a trauma, they often minimize the effects or don’t recognize the effects. They do not see that what happened to them directly affects their life. For example, that their depression is related to the trauma or that their angry outbursts are related to the trauma. It is education, which allows us to see all these experiences connect inside of us―how we live them out. This is another example of how we can use acceptance to help with our awareness.

Bringing acceptance into your personal experience will radically change the way you approach almost every aspect of your life and ultimately will bring a lot of benefit to the world.

Like this topic and want to learn more? Join me for Real Answers Radio this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm EST. Real Answers airs live and your questions are always welcome! Tune in here

Bringing The Passion Back To Your Life

Bringing The Passion Back To Your Life

You have probably heard me say this a bunch by now but your life is what you make it. If it is lacking passion then, it is your job to bring it back.  Sometimes, this requires a mental shift. Sometimes, this requires taking action to create more of what we want in our external life. A little of both can go a long way.

Recognize that passion wears different faces:

Pay attention to what a passionate life really means to you. Maybe it looks different in different parts of your life. Maybe passion at work looks different than passion with your lover, or passion about a topic. How do you know you are passionately engaged with each aspect of your life? Write it out so that you can clearly see when things are what you want them to be.

Be vulnerable:

It is hard to feel passionate when we are under lock and key. If we are afraid to be vulnerable, we lose out on feeling connected to ourselves and really known by another person. Sometimes, showing love and showing joy can be as vulnerable or even more than when we need to show weakness. Are there places where you have a hard time being vulnerable? How can you open up those parts of your life?

Clean up your messes:

Baggage weighs us down and holds us back. When we live with a lot of unresolved stuff it stops us from being present and passionate in our lives.  What grudges are you holding onto? What pain from your past is it time to let go of? Find a way to clear your past so that you can be in the present.

Let go of limiting beliefs about what is fun and what is not:

Work is not fun. Vacation is fun. Even if we don’t totally buy into that idea the vestiges of it –like I was mentioning in my note- are there nonetheless. If we think more about an attitude of passion or joy instead of an experience giving it to us then we might be a lot happier. What does an attitude of passion or joy mean to you? How can you cultivate it?

Express your anger:

Anger and passion are on the same continuum. If you have totally shut down your anger, it will be very hard to experience a passionate life. This does not mean that you should be ranting and raving all the time. It just means that if you tend to say that you “never get angry”, you might want to take a look if what you are really saying is you don’t let yourself feel angry or that you are actually being apathetic.

Make time for it:

Everything important deserves its time. If you want more of something in your life, make a point of scheduling time to bring more of it in. Just by answering these questions and making some quick changes you will see a passion infusion in your life.

How long has it been since you leaped out of bed and excitedly entered your new day? Have you stopped thinking that was even possible? Being passionately connected to our lives is possible and here are some practical ways to do it. Join Dr. Kate along with special guest Sexual Empowerment expert and thought leader, Amy Jo Goddard as they discuss ways bring passion to every area of how you live on this weeks Real Answers Radio.