What We Do Isn’t For Them

When we feel called to do or create something in our lives, it’s not always going to align perfectly for the people we love. We may be called in a direction that goes against our family’s belief system, makes our significant other uncomfortable, or causes us to butt heads with our closest friends.

That’s okay, because what we do isn’t for them.

The work we’re each here to do individually in the world isn’t about the people we may love and know. Sometimes it’s meant to pull us far away from the ones we’re closest to and most comfortable with. Sometimes it’s meant to challenge us in ways that our hearts shatter and our ties are severed. Sometimes it’s meant to push us beyond the circle we’ve come to love and trust so we can step more fully into our unique role in this life.

Our callings belong to us, and us alone. If we continue to hide behind the beliefs we were raised with and the ways of being that make other people feel comfortable, we’re never going to grow into the person we’re meant to be. More importantly, we’re never going to do the work we’re here to do.

Callings are different for all of us. Sometimes they’re big and grand and world changing. Sometimes they’re grand, yet closer to home and more personal. Sometimes it’s about starting businesses, becoming healers, challenging the status quo, or creating a movement that changes the world. Other times it’s about expressing ourselves, making art, raising a family, or moving to a new city on the other side of the country. Whatever the calling, it’s meaningful and important because it’s about contributing in our own special ways.

Yet far too often, we let the people around us interfere with the following of our callings. We let them make us feel wrong for what we do, guilt us because they’re uncomfortable, or keep us from making change through threats of withholding love or support.

FollowYourCalling

Here’s the thing (two things actually): It’s not about them… and it is about them.

Let me elaborate…

First, it’s not about them, it’s about you.

The work you’re here to do, the family you’re here to raise, the way you’re built to express, and the things you feel called to pursue, it’s not about them. It’s about you. It’s about the contribution only you can make to the world, and it’s about creating a life you love that’s built around passion, purpose, and fulfillment. You were put here to do great and amazing things, not to make other people happy or comfortable.

Second, it’s also totally and completely about them.

When I say this, what I mean is whatever their issue, it’s theirs and not yours. You’re not responsible for anything or anyone but yourself, and how someone else reacts to the choices you make says more about them than you. If someone is mad or scared, that’s their fear and belief system getting in the way, not yours. If someone is uncomfortable, that’s their issue with change and growth, not yours. If someone is guilting you or giving you a hard time, clearly they’re not an awesome and supportive person and it’s a good thing you’re realizing it.

The most important thing you can do in this life is stay true to yourself and what calls your soul.

Stop worrying about other people and focus on what you’re here to do and who you’re here to be.

The second most important thing you can do is find a tribe of people who love and support you. More specifically, find a tribe of people who totally get you and what you’re working to create. While we may want the people we’ve know the longest to be our biggest supporters, it’s simply not always going to be the case. So find your real family and your right friends. When we have the right support in place, it’s easier to follow our callings and step into our truth.

Remember, it’s about you.

Take action now!

Tell me, what’s one area of your life where you’re not honoring your needs, desires, and callings because of someone else? How can you recognize that’s it’s not about them, and how it is about them, so you can start moving forward? How will you create space so you can find your right tribe?

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How to Love Your Life, Even When It’s Hard

“Life is fun.”

This is a text I sent to my best friend last night, without sarcasm or an eye roll. I meant it, with my whole heart and soul. This isn’t something I would have said a few years ago… I would have said “life is hard” or “life sucks” and believed it with every ounce of my being. When I started on this path, life did feel hard and I did believe it sucked. I also believed I would never be happy, healthy, or whole. I just wasn’t “wired” for it.

But now I believe life is fun, even when it’s not.

Life is fun, even when my heart is aching.
Life is fun, even when I’m overwhelmed and exhausted.
Life is fun, even when things are out of sorts or in disarray.
Life is fun, even when I’m not content with a certain area.
Life is fun, even when there are bumps in the road.

I was taking a walk at the park earlier in the day and just marveling at the contrast between me now and me at the start of this journey. I was lost, lacking confidence, soft spoken, timid, unclear on what I wanted, and deeply depressed. I would waver at my core when someone brought up the “experts” or challenged my way of thinking about projects. I would lose my voice just trying to talk on the phone to people I knew well. I would try and fail, try and fail. I would cry my eyes out and journal about all the things I didn’t like in my life, over and over, for years on end. Not weeks or months, years.

But the person I am today? So different.

So deeply different, I would venture to guess that the people who knew me before probably wouldn’t really recognize me today. It’s easy to think these changes came from external things like a growing business, different relationships, working with a coach or through a program… and yes, those things all played a role in my shifts over the years. But, the only reason I’ve changed as much as I have is that I’ve done the internal work.

And I didn’t just do it once… I put some really important practices into place, completely shifted my mindset in ways I didn’t realize were possible, raised my happiness set point, uncovered what I was passionate about, worked hard and tirelessly to align my life and work, and started speaking my truth even when it was really hard. I did the work.

The way I interact with life and people is on a whole new plane, one I never knew existed. I am bold, own every part of who I am, annoyingly positive, am joyful at my core, resilient beyond belief, totally aligned with my purpose, unfazed by what other people think, present, and whole.

LifeIsFun

Life is fun because there’s always more work to do, layers to heal and release, and new ways to grow and learn.

Does that mean it’s easy? Not at all. But it’s fun because I know that what’s on the other side of the challenge, pain, struggle or failure is worth every tear and bad day. I realize that may seem easy to say from where I’m at compared to you, so here are a few tips to make this happen for yourself.

1) Never give up or stop growing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the reason I’m standing where I am today (and why I’ll be standing even more deeply rooted in myself and my happiness in another few years) is because I never gave up. Sure, there were days when I threw my hands in the air and took to the couch with some chocolate and favorite reruns, but I always got back out there. I’m not wired to settle for less than I deserve, and you shouldn’t either. All it takes is consistent action. It will be hard sometimes, and you may run into blocks, but it will pay off. My favorite saying: No one said it’d be easy, they said it’d be worth it. Take a break if you need to, but never ever give up on yourself.

2) Consistently do the work (I mean, really do it).

It’s not enough to do it once. Don’t just see the counselor or coach once, read the book and do the exercises in your head once, or try something valuable once and never do it again… Do. The. Work. Doing the work is an ongoing process and can take time. The reason I’m so positive, present and clear on who I’m here to be is because I’m always doing the work. This personal development stuff has layers, so many layers, and our work is never done. If you decide you’re done and settle into a groove, you’re going to be unhappy again before you know it. If you keep doing the work, you keep deepening your practice and commitment to your truth and purpose, which leads to never ending levels of happiness and fulfillment.

3) Enlist others for support/guidance when you need it.

While it comes down to you doing the work, it’s okay and encouraged to seek out support and guidance when you need it. Hire a coach, talk to a counselor, enlist your friends to rally around you, or buy a book or program. You can absolutely do and learn all this stuff yourself, but I don’t recommend it. I did that for a few years and it wasn’t until I hired my first coach and joined a program that I actually started making progress. Don’t be so prideful that you don’t let the people who’ve already figured this hard stuff out show you the way and give you some powerful tools. You can do it yourself because you’re amazing, but do you really want to? Would you rather spend a few months doing the work or a few years?

Take Action Now!

Take an honest look at where you’re at and see if you’re really truly doing the work. Or, do you maybe not know what that work is and need support or guidance? Have you given up completely, allowing yourself to stay stuck? Awareness is the first step to making massive changes, so get honest about where you’re at now, and what you’re going to do today to start moving forward again.

PS – Are you having trouble actually doing the work in order to feel happier, more fulfilled and in total alignment with your life and work? Do you feel like you’ve spent the last nine months of 2014 spinning your wheels, not accomplishing anything you set out to accomplish? I get it, I’ve been there and spent far too long in that frustrating space. If you’re struggling, I invite you to sign up for my FREE training call on October 1, 2014! I’ll be teaching you three simple exercises to completely eliminate all obstacles, allow you to start moving forward with ease, and prevent you from throwing in the towel at any point during the journey. Spaces are limited, grab yours now!

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The Reason No One Supported Me for Years

For the majority of my life I’ve proudly declared how independent I am. While being independent is something that will always be true of my personality, I recently had the very eye-opening realization that I’m so frustratingly independent because I believed I had to be most of my life.

After my parents got divorced, they weren’t as present as before. Heck, my dad wasn’t even home most of the time. I didn’t have a lot of friends because I didn’t fit in and didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing. My high school sweetheart was often self absorbed, manipulative and emotionally abusive. He’d tell me I was difficult and selfish if I had even the slightest of needs. The guy I had a long relationship with after that loved, to a fault, that he didn’t have to take care of me in any way… so much so that when I was sick I’d get excited to have a “day off”.

I became so independent because I felt like I had to be.

And that’s the key distinction to realize here, I thought I had to be.

I believed that no one wanted to take care of me, that I had to do it all myself, and that being so independent was a positive personality trait. I became so independent because I held a false belief and interacted with others and the world in a way that prompted them to reinforce that belief.

But, since having this realization I’ve made some changes, and I’ve learned a ton, which I’m super excited to share with you today.

The Reason No One Supported Me for Years

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1) The people who love you want to support you… let them.

When I realized I’d been so independent because I’ve had to be, I stopped and asked myself the one question that continues to transform my life… what did I do to allow this to happen? I assumed because my parents were wrapped up in their divorce that I was unlovable, too much, and not something they wanted to “deal with”. I carried that belief into a relationship that was abusive and toxic, because it simply reinforced a belief I had already created. I taught the next guy how to be “selfish and lazy” and not take care of me because I made a point to show him I didn’t need him to. I was independent and I believed (again, forming beliefs all on my own) that’s what he was so attracted to.

Since having this realization, I’ve let my guard down and I’ve stopped being so independent. I let the people in my life take care of me. I let them support me, love me, do things for me, and be there for me. I let myself unravel when I need to, because I know there is someone else who can — and wants to be — strong for me in that moment. What I’ve learned is that the people in our lives want to support us. Even the ones that don’t know us all that well, like the amazing people in my mastermind groups. Letting people support me in these last couple weeks has been life changing.

2) Being independent is exhausting, whether you’ve realized it yet or not.

The moment it all clicked for me, I got very sad and very tired. I’ve been strong and independent for a long time… and you know what? It’s exhausting. Being able to admit that I’m tired of being so strong and independent was an enormous weight off my shoulders. It also made me realize that even though we’re being strong and independent, we’re still storing all the hurt, exhaustion, and pain that comes with it. It doesn’t mean we’re stronger than others or that we can do it all on our own… it just means we’re good at stuffing things down and charging forward. A fabulous mode in certain situations, don’t get me wrong, but one that is detrimental to our health and happiness when we stay in it for too long.

So I gave myself some time to feel all the years and hurts and pains that I had “handled” on my own. To feel sad and lonely and tired. To allow myself to put the strong and independent fronts away, so I could just be the tired, sensitive, vulnerable, and the soft person I am. And I didn’t just put those fronts away for the day, they’re still stored away… which means I’m suddenly aware of how exhausting life can really be. Which leads me to…

3) Amazing things happen when you let people take care of you.

I mean, truly amazing. Letting other people be strong for me when I need to be weak, take care of me when I’m tired or down, or simply hold space and cheer me on is AMAZING. My life, happiness and business have all been supercharged by the love and support of other people. And you know what? I’m showing up even more amazingly in the world and in my work because I’m not doing it solo. I have people to bounce ideas off of, to love me when I’m down, to remind me why I’m doing this when I’m frustrated, and to bear a little bit of the load.

Asking for support is a lot easier than you may expect, really. All you have to do is state the truth of the moment, “I’m tired. I need help. I don’t know what to do. I’m feeling ____.” Sometimes letting others support us means simply being in our truth in that moment, and allowing them to do the rest. We don’t have to have all the answers, we just have to show up truthfully.

4) Learning to balance the two is certainly an art form.

I’m only a couple weeks into this new practice, and it’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But that just means it’s more than worth it. I’ll always be independent to some degree, that’s absolutely a part of who I am… but learning to be true to that and allow myself to be supported, well that’s an art form. One I don’t have a lot of insight on just yet, but I do know it’s about going inward and getting really honest with yourself about where you’re at. Asking, “is this something I need to do for myself, or is it something I think I have to?” There are always going to be things we need to do ourselves, but there’s a difference between that and believing we have to. Understanding that makes all the difference.

Take action now!

Take a moment to check in with yourself and your beliefs about independence and doing it all alone. Are they really serving you? Is it true that the people in your life don’t want to support you, or have you trained them to be that way? Is it true that you’re all alone in this, or have you believed that so deeply and for so long that others have had no choice but to fall in line with that belief? And lastly, what’s one way you can allow someone else to support you today?

PS – I’m hosting a FREE training call on Wednesday, October 1st! Learn the three simple exercises to completely eliminate all obstacles, allow you to start moving forward with ease, and prevent you from throwing in the towel at any point during the journey. It’s smooth sailing from here! Plus, the one thing you’re doing that’s kept you feeling stuck, isolated, overwhelmed, and completely unsupported, while also slowing your progress to a crawl (and what to do instead). Space is limited, so click here to claim your spot now!

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August Was…

august

Creative and inspiring adventures like the art museum.

Beautiful sunsets and ample balcony time (I so love my balcony).

Getting back to the gym and my favorite routines.

Hot tea on crisp mornings and iced tea with new mastermind friends.

Loads of insightful and inspiring reads while cozying up with my guys.

Delicious vegan kabobs handmade with love for me.

Several trips to beautiful Bouldershe’s courting me and I’m loving it.

Homemade avocado chickpea mash and stuffed sweet potatoes!

Managing to carry my body six miles without stopping, twice.

Getting to pick up my bestie from the airport for a weekend of fun!

This, and getting to introduce old friends to new in beautiful Boulder.

Mountain goats while visiting the top of Mt. Evans. Absolutely amazing sites!

Checking the fantastic and amazing Casa Bonita off my bucket list.

Beautiful flowers, foggy mornings, and loads of yummy hot tea.

Work at beautiful lunch spots on a super exciting new offering!

Pretty Piggy nails, last melons of the season, baby blossoms on my plants.

Life changing books. And this one (I mean, LIFE CHANGING).

Sunflowers, Thai massages, and late nights working with my guys.

Hugely transformational aha moments.

New beginnings and much needed fresh perspectives.

New, inspiring friends who challenge me.

Growth on so many levels.

Enthusiasm for the changes to come (in season and self).

Love. So much love.

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I Used to Be a Liar.

Seriously, I lied all the time.

I lied every day about what I really desired, regardless of how big or small. I lied about who I was to my friends and family. I lied to my bosses and clients. I lied with every breath, word, and action, and especially with every smile plastered to my face. I lied every time I tucked part of myself away for being “too much” for someone else to handle. I lied every day that I stayed with the men who weren’t right for me and every time I took a step further into a life I didn’t really want.

I’ve always valued honesty, and yet I lied day in and day out for years.

The reason I was such a constant liar is I never realized I was lying to myself. I lied with every word and action, to every person I loved and cared for, because I was completely out of alignment with my own truth. But sadly, I didn’t even know my truth existed at the time… I simply went through the motions based on what others wanted and what I thought I should want. I tucked parts of myself away over the years, held back, and conformed to what I believed was expected of me.

And then, at the start of this year I chose truth as my guiding word. This simple word has shaken me, my life, and my relationships apart completely.

Choosing to live, speak, breathe, and be my truth every single day is one of the most powerful choices I’ve made on this journey to date. Instead of hiding out, putting other people’s expectations first, or trying to dial myself back in order to keep the peace or make things easier on someone else, I speak my truth.

I speak my truth when it’s incredibly hard, sometimes having to repeat the word over and over to myself until I can muster up the strength to dive into the conversation. Truth, truth, truth, truth, GO. I speak my truth when it’s uncomfortable, trusting that if someone can’t handle it (handle me and all that makes me who I am), then they don’t belong in my life. I speak my truth when it means losing money and risking security, because I know if I don’t I’ll be going against my values.

More importantly, I do everything I can to fully embody my truth.

Our truth is more than just what we say, it’s how we show up in the world and our relationships.

It’s in showing up fully, and showing the parts of ourselves that may be too much for someone else. It’s in how we communicate, love, connect, and experience each other. It’s in honoring our needs and desires, even when that means we don’t cater to someone else. It’s in every breath, action, and expression. 

Living a lie isn’t always a conscious choice, but if you know you’re not happy and you’re not doing anything about it, then you’re consciously choosing to continue with that lie. Not only are you choosing to lie to the people you love, you’re choosing to continue lying to yourself, and that’s just unacceptable.

It’s unacceptable because this world needs more people living, breathing, speaking, being, and sharing their truth. We need more people willing to get uncomfortable so they can start loving more deeply, living more fully, and sharing the gifts only they have to give.

I Used to Be a Liar

How to start living your truth:

1) Stop lying to yourself.

If you’re not joyful, in love with every moment of life, or feeling fulfilled in your relationships or work, you’re lying to yourself. You’re either not taking the time to acknowledge how you really feel or you’re  unwilling to admit the truth to yourself and others. When we acknowledge and admit the truth, we’re forced to not only face it, but to do something about it. That’s scary, I know. I absolutely get how scary that is. But continuing to live a lie because it seems easier? That’s even scarier. Because that means one day you’ll wake up in a panic and wonder why you wasted so many years of your life not being true to yourself. Don’t do that. It’s not fun and it doesn’t serve anyone.

2) Stop lying in everything you do.

Once you acknowledge what’s true for you, you have to start living, breathing, speaking, and being it. You have to dress to fit what you love and how you feel, not in the ways you think will impress someone else. You have to share what you believe and feel in the moment, regardless of who it will hurt or offend, or who will disagree with your taste or opinions. You have to do the things that align you with your truth… buy the book, take a step towards the goal, end the relationship, or quit the job. Do the things that move you towards living a life of truth and alignment. You have to be truthful in your every action.

3) Trust in yourself and the process.

This isn’t easy work at all… truth telling is hard stuff. Truth telling means getting uncomfortable, vulnerable, and exposed. It means admitting that you’re not perfect, you messed up, or you don’t agree with everyone else. It means making changes, big and small. It’s hard. But it’s one of those hard things that’s so, so, so worth it. At first it will feel like you’re shaking yourself and your whole world apart, because you are. Stepping into your truth shakes things up, and more importantly, it ensures only the things and people in alignment with your truth will stay. When we align with our truth, we become rooted in it, and the people and things that are right become firm and steady. The parts and pieces of our lives that are tapped on with avoidance and lies, they fall away.

This is a messy process, absolutely. But once you’ve aligned with your truth and are living and breathing it every day, amazing things begin to happen. The right people, opportunities, and experiences just show up. You begin to feel happier and more fulfilled. Life is amazing, just like it should be.

So today, take some time to pause and check in with yourself. Where are you avoiding or refusing to acknowledge your truth? Where are you actively lying to yourself and others? And where can you begin to create more alignment right now?

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If you asked me two months ago what topic I wanted to base my business on, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. With her guidance and support, my business is up and running and I have created my Individual Coaching Package and two Transformational Quick-Guides. I’m currently coaching my own clients and there are several other products and packages in the making. The best part is that, by working with Stephenie, I have been able to overcome my own mental blocks so that I now feel so much more in-tune with my own creative flow. — Jennifer Twardowski