The Transformative Power of Authenticity

The Transformative Power of Authenticity

The Fulfilled Woman Accountability Group is a Virtual Meetup created with the intention to bring women together to express and take action toward our biggest dreams. In the process, we support each other and share our experiences of increased moments of fulfillment.

When we strengthen our connection with women, we see just how similar we are and reducing our feelings of isolation and lonliness. The pandemic has created the circumstances to eliminate what is not working for you and in some ways has simplified life and shining light on our values. Authenticity is the key to fulfillment. Authenticity is loving and accepting who you are. It is sitting with the discomfort of not fitting in or shaming yourself for not fitting in. It is seeing yourself in the wholeness of who you are, the spectrum and seeing the beauty in that realness regardless.

Power is different than force. When you force yourself do more, be more, the underlying belief is: “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH”, a feeling of being unworthy. There is power in Authenticity. It is about walking with confidence and presence and when faced with the unknown, it is about being curious instead of doubt and fear. You do not have to prove yourself. Transformation and expansion comes after self acceptance. When you are not afraid, you have the energy to grow and try new things. You free your mind to consider the possibilities of new dreams and experiences. Because your identity is not fragile, you can move between ideas without self ridicule. Stating your dream can be one of the scariest statements! It exposes what is nearest to your heart and what you dare think you can have! But stating your dream boldly gives others an example to follow.

What if you don’t have a goal right now because life feels chaotic? If that feels like you ~ Read my recent article When NOT Falling apart is the goal.  We are managing a lot and society expects a lot. But we find happiness in our capacity to shape the world so that we can bring beauty into being. It’s through our own making, our creativity that we make a beautiful life. When you express yourself, share yourself, you are able to find pleasure in life and you experience more fulfillment. Goal Attainment happens where there is Incentive and Accountability. When moments of fulfillment become the incentive and accountability is created in our relationships, you have found the recipe for a fulfilled life.

*** The Fulfilled Woman Accountability Group met on September 29, 2020 and I hosted Caitlin Donovan.

Caitlin Donovan is one of New York City’s leading burnout experts and acupuncturists, host of “Fried – The Burnout Podcast,” and author of the book “The Bouncebackability Factor: End Burnout, Gain Resilience, and Change the World”. Her master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine enables Caitlin to combine Eastern wisdom with her natural practicality.

After performing more than 25,000 acupuncture treatments, Caitlin added 1:1 coaching, corporate workshops, and keynotes for companies such as PTC and Lululemon – all with a focus on ending burnout culture.

She has been featured on podcasts and online magazines such as “Forbes”, “Elephant Journal,” “Thrive Global,” “Addicted 2 Success”, as well as quoted in Oprah Magazine.

— Whatever you want to attract into your life, believe!

7 Steps to Get on Your Path

7 Steps to Get on Your Path

“Indulging ourselves in a frantic fantasy of what our life would look like if we were real artists, we fail to see the many small creative changes that we could make at this very moment… Rather than take a scary baby step toward our dreams, we rush to the edge of the cliff and then stand there, quaking, saying. “I can’t leap. I can’t. I can’t.” ~ Julia Cameron

What is preventing you from following what is in your heart? 

 

 

Do you long to draw, paint or collage? Do you wish you could change careers or pursue an exciting hobby? Maybe you dream of lush gardens or exotic cooking or interior design!

What happens to your body when you think and imagine yourself doing what your heart wants? Doesn’t it feel good?! Likely it does! So, what is stopping you from taking action?

You don’t need a studio to be a potter or a sculptor. You don’t need to quit your job to be a writer, photographer or a dancer. You don’t need to leave your relationship to own your own business or will be considered a terrible parent to join a passionate cause. Take small steps toward your dream and witness your life transform!

Here are 7 steps to get you on your path today! 

  1. Eliminate what isn’t working!

We are all intuitive and have a sense about what is true or right for us. We all have had feelings about situations or people in our lives and received a signal that something just wasn’t right. This uncomfortable feeling happens when we go against or try to ignore our intuition. The result of ignoring our intuition is the creation of unnecessary challenge in our lives.

In order to find our truth we need to stop struggling and take a step back from what we are doing and listen. Listening and gaining awareness is real progress but in order to harness change and follow our hearts we need to not only get quiet enough to hear but we then also need to be honest with ourselves about what we find and accept ourselves, exactly as we are.  If we look back throughout our lives, we will likely recognize a pattern, and see that the same issue and the way we cope continue over and over again.

Reflection: What is in your life that isn’t working? What or who are you ready to let go of?

Get real with yourself and examine any patterns that aren’t aligned with your potential – the YOU, you know you could be.

 

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”– Lao Tzu

 2. Create your vision – visualize daily!

Now that you have eliminated what doesn’t work, the next step is to get clear about what it is you really want.  Whatever it is that you want in your ideal life, you must become the person that would attract all of these things.

Reflection:

  • When you dream about the perfect way to spend your time, what are you doing?
  • Imagine that you are completely exhilarated and focused, what are you doing?
  • Imagine having all of the material things you want now. Describe using your senses what it is like having them.
  • When you feel completely competent, proud and rewarded, what are you doing?
  • What qualities does your ideal partner enjoy in you?
  • Describe your closest friendship.

Create a clear picture of what you want to manifest in your ideal life, take it a step further and create a collage of what you want to attract into your life.

 

“The way to choose happiness is to follow what is right and real and the truth for you. You can never be happy living someone else’s dream. Live your own. And you will for sure know the meaning of happiness.”– Oprah Winfrey 

  1. Be Mindful! Live with Purpose!

The more we identify with our ideal picture of what we want and feel good about it, the faster we will see the change take place in our lives. Our behaviours will change and we will let go of things easier because they simply do not fit. Whatever is not aligned with our deeper values and goals begin to drop away.

Activity: Create a safe space for reflection, contemplation and inspiration! Visit your sacred space every day and reflect on the day’s events and the choices you made.

Commit to your transformation: Develop a regular practice of yoga, meditation, nature walks, daily journal writing and share your experience with an accountability partner, friend or coach.

Be aware of the choices you make and choose only what feels good. I’m not talking about fleeting, superficial “feel good”, I am talking about goodness deep down in your soul. You know when there is an ache in your heart or giddiness in your stomach.

Develop your gifts, talents! Uncover your passions and interests – commit to exploring all of what lies within you.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha

 

  1. Remain focused on yourself!

It is important not to push your new lifestyle choices on others. When you change your behaviour it impacts your primary relationships. Friends and family may become inspired by your commitment to self-growth and jump on board or they may feel completely put off, hurt and rejected. They may have different ideal pictures and start moving in other directions or aren’t interested in examining their behaviour and are simply happy with the way things are.

You cannot force people to change or make them want something different; as you are on your own journey, so is everyone else. Just like everyone else’s way isn’t right for you, nor is your way the right way for everyone else.

There is a way to stop all of this endless, mindless responding to other people’s reactions and that is to trust yourself and make sure that your voice is the loudest voice you hear. Let that voice, your voice guide you in the right direction!

Reflection: What does your intuition tell you? What messages are you receiving? Have there been any synchronicities? What insights do you have about your life and who you are as a powerful individual?  What has come into your life to support you during this time of change?

“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.” — Raymond Lindquist

 

  1. Celebrate YOU and what is happening NOW!

Look for what is working! Throughout this change process, you have made the decision to change the things in your life – all of this action required great courage! Celebrate!

Recognize your success! It is very common to overlook events dismissing them as luck or coincidences; I urge you to avoid minimizing your progress and include even the slightest change that is aligned with your ideal life.

It is important to recognize all of the success as this is evidence for how the Universe is acting in your life. The ability to receive is a critical new skill to develop that will attract more success to you; I encourage you to list all of the successes – no matter what size!

Activity: Let go of others’ input, feedback etc. This is your time to shine! You really deserve to take a moment to relax, look around and have pride for what you have started just for yourself! Reflect on these questions:

  • How can you practice savouring your success alone?
  • What fills you up or brings you joy? What can you do for yourself to celebrate you?
  • How can you incorporate this joyful activity into your celebration today?

 

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” ~ Wayne Dyer

  1. Don’t give up when you numb out!

When old negative thinking arises, so do old negative coping patterns. Negative coping behaviours are usually excessive behaviours that are distractions from reality. They are harmful ways of dealing with doubt and fear associated with adapting to change and satisfy immediate gratification – over-shopping, exercising, drinking, eating etc… Choosing these behaviours will surely move you further away from what you want.

Knowing your old patterns of coping and being honest with yourself is the first step in breaking the pattern. Watch for the old coping mechanisms as they arise during moments of stress, doubt and fear. Get really familiar with that part of you who is experiencing pain – ask that part of you what “its” message is and what “it needs. Listen for any messages and record the insights.

Trust yourself.  You have overcome many obstacles to get to this point in your life, this too shall pass.

Reflection:

  • What coping strategies have you used in the past to deal with stress and anxiety?
  • How did these strategies work for you in managing your stress?
  • How do you want to deal differently with boredom, fear, doubt? Devise a plan and implement when in critical moments.

 “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi 

7. Evolve! Expand! Embrace your life!

Keep adding to your vision of what you desire! Keep expanding, developing and utilizing your power. Create more of what you want!

Wanting more does not mean that you are selfish or incapable of being satisfied, it means that you have uncovered something inside of you that wants to blossom and flourish! You have released your inner truth and it is spreading! Don’t hold back, just follow your heart!

Activity: Create a list to achieve in 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, 10 years. Keep this list with you.

 “Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” —David Whyte

You deserve to receive goodness in life. You are the only person in the entire world who has the unique combination of experiences that creates your individual perspective. No one else is exactly like you.

Live your Purpose! Write your own story!

I hope that whatever you are facing, or however you feel about your ability and deservedness to create a life of purpose, you will be able to find the courage and inner strength to overcome!



If you would like to read about how to make and accept change in your life, consider purchasing my book, Follow Your Heart to Discover Your Life Purpose. I would love to sign a copy for you! Click here for more details on how I can help you. 

 

 

If you need assistance or guidance on how to begin your journey, I also offer one-on-one coaching services at Embrace Your Life coaching. If I can be of any help to you, I would love to schedule a complimentary session to discuss your goals. 

 

 

3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Inner Strength

3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Inner Strength

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

Christopher Reeve

We all have ideas about what it means to be strong. When you think about strength, what qualities are important to you? Do you think of a physical body? Or about mental fortitude? 

How do we define strength? 

There are several types of strength. We might initially think of physicality – the kind of strength we get from exercising and using our muscles. 

But our bodies aren’t the only parts of us that can be strong. We can also have strong hearts and minds. 

We define this type of strength as “The emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with difficult or distressing situations” (Lexico, powered by Oxford). 

In everyday conversation, we actually discuss mental and emotional fortitude more than physical strength. We say things like

So and so is such a strong woman

or

How is so and so dealing with all those hardships so calmly? I would be torn apart! Now that’s strength!

When you admire someone’s mental & emotional strength, what do you think about? What actions are they taking? What characteristics do they display? 

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.

Anna Freud

What kinds of strength are we talking about? 

Work Ethic & Preparation When we view someone as strong, we often think of them as “put together” or that they have all of their priorities in line with their goals. This doesn’t happen on accident – it’s a matter of hard work and preparation! 

When we see strong people who are facing obstacles and handling them gracefully, it’s not because they naturally handle bad circumstances better than the rest of us. More than likely, these people have encountered obstacles before and have worked to respond in a productive way rather than lashing out. They have worked on themselves enough to be able to control the natural response we all have about panic: 

What am I going to do now?!

These graceful responses also come from preparation. No one wants to think the worst is going to happen. We prefer the good parts of life; however, we the reality is that the bad parts exist. So we must prepare ourselves for the times when we know we will face hardship. When people respond calmly in the face of these obstacles, they have not only acknowledged that the obstacles will arise, but also how they need to deal with them to be successful. 

Character & Values Being mentally and emotionally strong includes maintaining your character and values in the face of whatever or whoever might try to change you. While we might be influenced in small ways, hopefully for the better, we want our character and values to be steadfast. 

Think about the people you admire. How would you describe their character? What qualities do they have?

Think about the people you admire. How would you describe their character? What qualities do they have? Chances are, you might consider things like being candid, empathetic, open to new ideas, and listening without assuming.

On the other hand, you probably aren’t thinking about someone who is selfish, someone who quickly bows under pressure, or someone who is so self-conscious that they make their decisions based on what others think of them. 

Our values help us decide what is right and wrong. They’re what we most strongly believe to be true. We must include values when we think about emotional & mental strength because the strongest people are the ones who stay true to their character, and what they’ve designated as their guiding values. Much like a tree in a storm, strong individuals may bend, but remain rooted in what is most important. 

Voice It’s one thing to be strong internally. To fortify ourselves and dig deep to find our inner strength. It’s quite another thing to do something about it. 

How many times have we seen an injustice, no matter the size, but have been too afraid to stand up for what we feel is right, even when it’s something we deeply believe? 

Using our voices to stand up for what’s right, and to be a voice for others who may not have a platform shows great strength. The strongest and most admirable people are those who are not only firm in their character and values, but voice their ideas to make change with their strength. 

Our voice can also encourage others who need it, and ourselves when we feel our strength giving way. It is one of our most powerful tools because it’s a unique representation of our preparation, hard work, character, and values all wrapped up into a message others hear.  

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mahatma Gandhi

How do we develop our strengths? 

Self-reflection To stay true to what we believe, we must first have a clear vision of what it is that’s important to us. We know ourselves better than anyone else, which can be a tricky advantage. It means that we have a pretty good idea of what we believe (or want to believe), and we generally know how we act (or don’t act) on those ideas. 

It also means that we have blind spots to things we believe we’re acting on that we are actually not. 

To develop ourselves into stronger individuals, we need to reflect honestly and critically on our character, beliefs, and actions. We don’t need to share these thoughts with others, especially in areas we feel might be lacking, but we do need to be transparent with ourselves. We can’t grow if we don’t know where we are. 

Practice Why do people say “Practice makes perfect”? – because it’s true! None of the strong people we admire got that way overnight. Once we are honest about our starting point, we can begin to practice the qualities we view as strong. 

Do you want to be a better active listener? Or remain outwardly calm in the face of hardship? 

These are goals achievable through practice and self-reflection. Will they be difficult? Absolutely. Will you miss the mark sometimes? Definitely. But they are goals that you can practice and grow every day. 

Persistence We have reflected and practiced the characteristics we feel display mental & emotional strength. But what happens when we fail? When we completely “blow it” and feel that we have to start from scratch all over again? 

When we fail, we must get back up and try again. 

Take a moment and think about what that looks like in your life. 

Failure is inevitable. It’s not something we can go through life hoping that it won’t ever happen to us because there is no way around it. When we work on building our strength, we need to consider that it requires persistence. If the strongest people gave up after a failure, the world would never grow and learn! 

Albert Einstein tried to invent the lightbulb 1,000 times. He didn’t give up after 10 times, or even 500 times. He didn’t consider the 999 times before the success failures, but steps in a learning process. Persistence is key to developing our strength and learning how to use our voice. 

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.

Orison Swett Marden

What do we do when we don’t feel strong?

Question & Doubt Ourselves When we don’t feel strong, we question everything about ourselves: our character, our values, our decisions, and what we want. 

Imagine a terrible day at work. Your clients screamed at you about things you couldn’t fix. Then you arrived home to find out that your dog vomited on the carpet, your spouse got a flat tire on the way home, and several kids in your child’s class at school have the flu. 

In the moment when all of these things are whirling around your mind, it would be easy to think:

What did I do to deserve this?! 

How could all of this happen to me in one day? Is the universe trying to send me a message?

While these are all terrible things that have, unfortunately, happened at the same time, it does not mean that you are being punished because of something you did. These nagging doubts are dangerous because they prey on your inner strength and leave you feeling more hopeless than before. 

Compare Ourselves to Unattainable Standards In moments we feel weak, we compare ourselves to expectations and standards that are not realistic. 

Imagine you’ve been eating healthier and exercising, but can’t yet see the results. You feel let down. You flip open a magazine in the grocery store check-out lane and see the celebrities in high fashion. You ask yourself:

How does she do it?

Why can’t I just look like her? 

The reality is that many tabloids are full of photoshopped images, which means that the picture you are comparing your body to isn’t even the real thing! It started out as a human body and got erased to create a “more beautiful” woman. 

We are constantly inundated with these ads and images that try to get us to purchase products that will make us so much “better” than we are. This is dangerous for our mental & emotional strength because it leads us to believe that we aren’t good enough in our own skin – which is absolutely untrue!

Compare Ourselves to Others When we feel weak, we look at others and compare ourselves and our lives to theirs. This is especially true with the current social media craze! 

You’re scrolling through Facebook and you see that one of your friends just went on a fabulous vacation. The pictures, and their family, are gorgeous and you consume as many as you can find. Meanwhile, you’re comparing your own life to theirs:

I haven’t been on a real vacation in years! 

We don’t have a house or kids yet. 

They’re so lucky! I wish I had the money they have. 

While you’re making these comparisons, you leave out the fact that you continued your education and got a higher level degree. You don’t have a house, but you pay double on your student loans so you can pay them off early. You live frugally, but work at a job you enjoy. 

Comparing ourselves to others is a natural part of life, but it can be dangerous for our mental & emotional strength! We can wind up thinking that everyone else has it so much better than us when the fact is that we rarely have anyone’s whole story.  

Minimize Our Successes When we don’t feel strong, we minimize the successes we have achieved. 

You’ve just graduated college, with very good grades thank you very much! You’ve been faithfully searching for a job in your field for months, but have gotten nowhere. Your faithful searching turns to frantic as your savings run low. You finally reach desperation and take the first job offered to you. After all, you have to eat & pay your bills. During the soul-sucking job hunt you consider: 

Maybe I picked the wrong career path. 

I’m never going to get a job I like. 

While these are legitimate concerns, they completely ignore the fact that you went to and graduated from college! You succeeded in holding down a part-time job during your college years, while maintaining your grades. You put in the effort to go to what felt like a thousand interviews, which honed your skills so that you could get that first job offer. 

Minimizing our successes can be dangerous for our mental & emotional strength because it focuses solely on the negatives – what’s not happening in our lives. Even small successes change our perspective, and it’s important to remember that. 

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Mother Teresa

How do we access our strength when we feel it is lacking? 

Take time to be with ourselves Taking self-reflection time to be alone with our thoughts is powerful when we aren’t feeling our strongest. 

It is a time to remind ourselves of our progress, our circumstances, and where we want to be. It is a time to calm our fears and be ourselves. 

I highly recommend keeping a journal of these thoughts, as you can review it regularly when you need some inner strength. Who better to boost your inner strength than you? 

Develop a personal strength mantra Science has shown that we can positively alter our success by speaking to ourselves! This practice is called self-talk.

This is a powerful tool when we feel our strength waning because we can access it anywhere – nothing extra needed! 

Taking this a step further, I recommend developing a personal mantra that boosts your mental & emotional strength. This will allow you to have a quick, positive self-talk with yourself when you need a boost in strength.

It could be something simple such as 

You’re doing great, [Your Name Here], keep going! 

Or it could be more complex like:

You’ve got this, [Your Name Here]! You’ve overcome [Obstacle] and succeeded. This is just the next obstacle. 

Review current & previous successes Another great strategy to boost your mental & emotional strength is to think about where we’ve been and where we are right now. 

A journal would be a great place to record your thoughts on what you’ve done successfully before and what you’re doing right now that’s working. 

Make a list! No success is too small. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a life-changing to be a success. 

Self-acknowledgment boosts your emotional and spiritual immunity, giving you the strength you need to release the past and rise above fear, doubt or resignation.

Debbie Ford

On our journey through life, we all face change. Some good and some bad. We face obstacles that seem insurmountable. And yet, we survive. We face our fears, do the things that scare us, and succeed. We are almost always stronger than we think. 

I hope that whatever you are facing, or however you feel about your mental & emotional strength, you will be able to find the courage and inner strength to overcome! 


If you would like to read about how to make and accept change in your life, consider purchasing my book, Follow Your Heart to Discover Your Life Purpose. I would love to sign a copy for you! Click here for more details on how I can help you.

If you need assistance or guidance on how to begin your journey, I also offer one-on-one coaching services at Embrace Your Life coaching. If I can be of any help to you, I would love to schedule a complimentary session to discuss your goals. 

Be Open to the Magic!

Be Open to the Magic!

This afternoon I listened to my aunt who was visiting from Nova Scotia talk about a trip she made to the Northwest Territories and her adventure when she tagged along with my uncle to attend business meetings one afternoon.

They flew into the tiny settlement by air and when they walked off the plane, almost immediately she was whisked away by a chaperon. She bubbled with enthusiasm as she remembered the feeling of being offered a cozy spot on the back of a snowmobile or to ride the contraption or sled being pulled behind.

She pulled on her weather gear and recalled her excitement as she tentatively stood behind the snowmobile being lead off into the snowy white terrain. Her body moved slightly back and forth as she remembered the shifting of her body on the sled. She described the crispness of the cold air and the blueness of the sky.

She spoke of the snow sparkling and how up until that moment didn’t really grasp the trueness of those words – “it was like a dusting of diamonds.”

She didn’t know how she was going to spend the time that afternoon when her husband, my uncle was in his meetings, and it didn’t matter, the chaperon had it all planned.

There is nothing more spectacular about the excitement of surrendering and being in the wonderment of the unfolding of each moment. My aunt took me there with her words and I felt her exhilaration – I could almost see her breathe in the frigid air and the lightness she felt throughout her being.

And as my coaching client succinctly said this evening, “When you say yes, the world opens up!

How wonderful and true!

Enjoy the process! Embrace your life!

Kelly MacLellan M.Sc.

Write it down…

Write it down…

Quick Action Step:
Sometimes you read something that radically changes the way you think. In one instance, the world shifts, aligns and the reason that things are makes sense. You are on the right path again.
  1. Take a look around, what books do you have piled beside your bed?
  2. Why were you drawn to them?
  3. Or rather, why were they drawn to you?
  4. Flip through a book and highlight some of the passages that spoke directly to your heart, write them down those exact words that touched your heart.

Those words are meant to guide you, soothe you, heal you, inspire you… just for you.

Enjoy the process and embrace your life!

Love Kelly

Feeling frantic or depressed? Surrender!

Feeling frantic or depressed? Surrender!

“Beginning is easy – continuing hard”  ~ Japanese Proverb
It can be very exciting when we decide to change our lives. We feel an adrenaline rush as we dream and consider all of the possibilities! Our mind freely imagines all of the wonderful events that will transpire – it can be a euphoric feeling.
However, when these results don’t happen the way or as fast as we expect them to, we become impatient, angry or restless and often give up. Old behaviours begin to creep in based on old uncomfortable and condemning beliefs that take over and we berate ourselves for even setting out on the journey. Our dreams seem out of reach, yet again. We are left deflated and tired.
During these low times, surrender.
Surrender to God, the universal energy. Say, “this is too big for me to carry. Please take over. I release it to you. I trust you. I have faith in your plan for my life.”
Sometimes, we think we need to work out all of the details. Sometimes, we think we need to plan, plan, plan or else all will fall apart. This is not true.
Return to what urged you to follow your heart and dreams in the first place. That dream is your gift, intended only for you.

Ask yourself, what was your initial purpose? What was your vision? Quietly return to this intention, clarify it into one statement and focus on this statement by writing it out in your journal, reading it frequently to yourself.

Your job: Focus only on what you want and not on how it will come about, surrender the how to God.
All will be well again.
Kelly MacLellan M.Sc.
*Please feel free to email your feedback, questions, ideas to me directly at: kelly@embraceyourlife.ca