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Get off your own back… it’s time to roar!

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We are women. Hear us roar.

Some days.

Other days, not so much.
In fact, on many days we’re more likely to be second guessing our decisions, talking ourselves down and beating up on ourselves for falling short of the high bar we set for ourselves.

Too many actually.

If you’re like me, and an awful lot of other women I meet, you’re probably pretty hard on yourself and often focus more on what you have not done, or did not totally nail, versus all that you have done and did nail!
That’s not to say some men can’t be tough on themselves also. However, when it comes to honing in on our shortcomings and mastering self-recrimination, women reign supreme. It explains why, despite our best intentions to ‘forget perfect’ and live our ‘best life’ (and all the other platitudes that pepper our social media feeds), we often feel like we’re falling short. Way short. So short in fact that we’re constantly waiting for other people to cotton on to the fact that we’re ‘not all we’re cracked up to be’. #impostersyndrome

If you relate in any way, rest assured, you’re not alone.

In fact, you’re in the company of a legion of other ‘flawsome’ women – many of them immensely capable and incredibly accomplished – who often wrestle with a lingering sense of inadequacy, as though they are not ‘enough’ of something.

Not successful enough… organized enough…confident enough… funny enough… slim enough… talented enough…experienced enough…disciplined enough… thoughtful enough… capable enough… worthy enough.

Let’s face it, we live in a society that celebrates perfectionism even as it censures it. Bombarded 24/7 with messages and imagery urging us to step up, shape up and live up to some idealised image of success, brilliance, beauty and ‘got-it-all-togetherness,’ it’s little wonder we often feel like we’re just not cutting it. Or if we are managing to keep it all together (including abs to die for, a killer career and adorable kids), that at any moment, we will fall behind.

Of course, as an intelligent woman, you intellectually understand that no one can be at their all-time best, all the time. Yet despite our intellectual grasp of this idea, we are still masters at using our fallen moments as a baton to beat up on ourselves. This means we beat up on ourselves often. Of course, if you’re a new mom, double it. If you’re a working mother, double it again.

As the author of several books often placed in the ‘self-help’ shelves, no irony is lost on me as I advise that the very best self-help will always begin with self-compassion… cutting yourself some slack and getting off your own back.
Counter intuitive as it may sound, when we are kinder to ourselves, embracing our fallibility and not over-personalising our failures, we don’t lower the bar and retreat to our sofa to binge on ice cream or down our favorite bottle of red (though such therapy has its place). In fact, just the opposite! We expand our courage to take on bolder goals and grow our resilience to bounce back faster when our efforts fall short of the mark.

So if you often feel like you are not measuring up and have grown a little (or a lot) jaded by the endless advice on how to be your ‘best self’, then my best advice for you is to give yourself permission to be fabulous and fallible, innately worthy and wholly imperfect… all at the same time!

Countless times over the years, raising my four kids, supporting my husband, taking care of sick siblings and aging parents, I’ve fallen short of being the forever loving-generous-organised-patient woman I’d love to be. I’ve also mad more than my share of missteps in pursuing my passion outside the home. But along the way I’ve learnt that our greatest growth doesn’t flow from the times life is easy or the parts of us that are flawless. It flows from those part of us that we’ve been wrestling with our entire life; the vulnerable parts that dial up a notch or ten when plans go awry or life presses in on us.

In the end, we are not so much human beings as we are ‘human becomings.’ It takes our whole life to peel away the layers of fear, self-doubt and self-consciousness to become the full quota of the woman we have it within us to become. We help that process along each time we look our fear in the mirror and make the conscious decision not to let it call the shots. Each time we do, we dilute the power fear can wield in our lives and amplify our own.

It’s in the space of giving up on the idea of ever fully ‘arriving’ that we open a window to a deeper dimension of living. One in which we can savor more moments of wonder and gratitude for the magical mystery tour that is life. One in which we are able to love ourselves for who we truly are, and not the idealised image of the infallible super woman we think we’re supposed to be.

Just imagine what possibilities could open up for you if, every day (or just as often as you can manage it), you stepped out into the world from the deep knowing that you don’t have to be more or less of anything in order to be ‘enough’ —
To be ready enough, good enough, accomplished enough, smart enough, worthy enough.
Imagine, if instead of continually striving to be the woman you think you should be, you embraced the innate adequacy of the woman you already are?

As the problems in our world seem to grow larger, I believe it’s paramount that we women stop talking ourselves down and step into our power as change makers, beginning with stop short changing ourselves.

So if there’s anything you get from reading this article, it’s this:

Doubt yourself less, back yourself more and own your ‘enoughness.’

As you do, decide you will not wait until ‘one day’ to decide that you are ready enough, deserving enough, brave enough or together enough before you dare to try.

Only by daring to pursue the highest vision for your life right now, to defy the voice of that critic in your head, can you ever come to realise how little reason you ever had to doubt yourself to begin with.

Not only that, but when you embrace your humanity, own your fallibility and choose to show up fully, authentically, as the ‘flawsome’ woman that you are, you give other women permission to do the same. To roar… unapologetically.

What greater gift there is?


About the Author

margie-warrellMargie Warrell is an perfectly imperfect mother of four, bestselling author, coach, and international speaker who is passionate about emboldening women to live bigger, braver lives. She will be running her Live Brave Women’s Weekend (near Washington DC) this October 25-27. To learn more visit www.LiveBraveWeekend.com

Visit her website at www.margiewarrell.com


How to Be Free, Fulfilled and Live the Life of Your Dreams

How to Be Free, Fulfilled and Live the Life of Your Dreams

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We all want to be free, to feel fulfilled and live the life of our wildest dreams. But every day, we deal with limiting beliefs, fears, and negative thought patterns that keep us from living our best life. However, what we need to remember is that we ALWAYS have the power to break through any obstacles that stand in the way, even when that obstacle is temporary darkness of your own mind also known as depression.

“I don’t believe in magic; I rely on it.”

Through the darkness, the light can rise.
Through the challenge – the power can be uncovered.

This is a story about a girl who lost herself in the darkness of her mind and then rediscovered her light and let it shine bright. This is the story about being free, fulfilled, and living the most amazing life imaginable.

It’s exciting to be “metacognitive” – the fancy word we use to describe thinking about what you are thinking.

The whole buzz about the power of the present is based on this very skill. So here is how it looks in my life.

I was born and raised in Siberia; it’s a cold place with the most warm-hearted people you could ever meet.

Ever since I was a child – everyone would note and be slightly surprised by my innate confidence and never-ending happiness I was emitting day after day after day. I knew with my whole being that life is fantastic and it’s designed so we, humans, can enjoy it to the fullest.

I carried this positive attitude deep into my college years.

With no connections and formal education, I had been landing the most extraordinary opportunities that I could have ever imagined. From becoming a TV host of a business talk show at the age of 18 to presenting to the president of the Russian Federation, to going to EU without a visa. The opportunities that were coming my way were endless, and I was seizing them as fast and as enthusiastically as I could.

But then, a drastic change took place in my life. I had to relocate due to family reasons. And so I left my perfectly planned life in Russia, left all my close friends and favorite people behind, and ended up in San Francisco, a glorious city I knew nothing about.

During the first year, I didn’t have all my documents properly sorted to work freely, and it was a painful experience to sit and not being able to do anything; to have no purpose at all and struggling to even get out of bed in the morning.

I wasn’t ready for that. I didn’t want it, but I fell into a deep depression. One day resembled the next; I was crying in the bathroom, and I listened to sad songs on repeat. Suddenly, I realized that something was wrong. I found myself thinking negatively more often than before, thinking that somehow I was a failure despite the previous successes in life achieved so far.

All of a sudden, I became convinced that I couldn’t build a career of my dreams in the US.

I kept thinking that there will never come a day when I could genuinely understand American culture and find fascinating, like-minded friends. My mind was marinating in negative thinking patterns; I thought I could never break.

The thing that was bringing me down the most was that I had no good life events serendipitously happening for me. And then one day I caught myself thinking that I was living a very ordinary, mediocre life. And to tell you the truth, the last thing I wanted is to settle for ordinary life. Why? Because I believe that every single human being on the face of the Earth is extraordinary, and we all have gifts that can shine and make the world better than we first found it!

To uncover those innate superpowers, some deep inner work should be done first.

How to Live the Life of Your Dreams

One morning I realized that I couldn’t be in this dark state of mind anymore.

I can’t be this depressed, self-isolating, and angry person. It’s not who I was, and it’s not who I wanted to be.

I have to admit; I was embarrassed to tell my husband or my parents that I was not okay and needed help.

Luckily for me, my mother is a practicing medical doctor, and she always taught me to dig deeper and search for a root cause of an imbalance rather than just treating the symptoms. And the hit-parade of my symptoms included this utter disbelief in my abilities, feeling of profound inadequacy, never-ending negative self-talk, and lack of synchronicity.

And so right then I decided to learn how the brain works because it’s the main organ which is responsible for producing emotions.

I enrolled and completed a cognitive neuroscience extension program at Stanford University and participated in in-depth programs by Dr. Joe Dispenza, Tony Robbins, and other much-respected self-help professionals.

I practiced every single tool that I encountered and had in the box. And it worked. I erased depression and now am back on track with serendipity, synchronicity, and harmony with this world, no matter what life brings next.

The in-depth knowledge about the inner working of our mind (backed by scientific research) and the real-life experience changed everything.

A couple of years into this deep work, I saw real results in my life:

  • My career leveled up; I got countless unique offers from very accomplished people from around the world
  •  I got randomly invited to do public speaking at the coolest Silicon Valley companies
  • Serendipitously met extraordinary people that I’m so honored to now call my friends
  • Hosting events around the world and even appearing on TV shows to mention a few
    I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, I also know how to erase depression, get out from the darkness and lead the best life possible; I intend to help as many people as I can.

Many people who knew me ever since I moved to the US saw me grow exponentially and started to get more curious and asked how am I doing this. This is why I decided to put together all tools in a 35-day online program “The Dream Sprint,” which is designed to help you create a life you desire, get crystal clear on your dreams and see them unfold in reality. I host it live every two months. It’s accountability-based – so you need to do the work to move ahead.

Originally published on havingtime.com


About the Author

Daria TsvengerDaria Tsvenger is a mindset expert and host of the personal growth accountability program “Dream Sprint” which has helped hundreds of people tap into the power of the brain to gain clarity and move from stagnation to action.

She has inspired hundreds of people on stages all over the world for clients including Robinhood and MGM Law. She has also shared her expertise on science-based personal development on TV Shows such as “Good Morning LA-LA-LAND” and “Simulation” while having a loyal following of over 20,000 people.

Daria completed a Cognitive Neuroscience Stanford University extension program and had a chance to learn from top experts like Dr. Joe Dispenza, Marisa Peer, Dr. David Eagleman, Tony Robbins, and Dr. Loretta Breuning. Learn more at
www.dariatsvenger.com


Expectation vs. Reality Blog

Expectation vs. Reality

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How to adjust expectations, avoid resentment, and live a life of joy and contentment.

We’ve all been there: a friend who always comes to you to share her problems but never seems to reciprocate when you need her most; a loved one who continuously lets you down; working hard in the gym for a few weeks and the scale doesn’t budge; you don’t receive the promotion you really thought you deserved.

Sound familiar? These situations are an all-too-familiar part of life. And they leave us feeling disappointed. Hurt. Let down. Resentful. These feelings can be toxic and influence the way we view ourselves, our future decisions, and the way we see the world.

These are all expectation we set for ourselves and others. There’s a saying: “Expectations are pre-meditated resentments.” We humans have a tendency to fall into the if/then mindset that happiness is dependent upon fulfilment of our expectations. We often don’t realize that we have developed expectations of others until they aren’t met: it’s as if we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Unrealistic or unexpressed expectations – even the ones we set for ourselves – can lead to resentment, disappointment, and failed relationships.

Setting high expectations for ourselves is an important component to accomplishing our goals and dreams. It’s when we develop a dependency on these fulfilled expectations that things can go south: a reliance on not just the future to fulfill our happiness, but a particular future scenario. This becomes especially complicated and convoluted when we set expectations of others and place our hopes and dreams of happiness, joy, contentment, and fulfillment into the hands of another person.

How can expectations be both helpful in creating healthy relationships but also harmful if those expectations are unrealistic, immutable, or uncommunicated? Bob Levesque, LCSW, a mental health counselor and clinical social worker in Orlando, FL, has a unique perspective on this.

“When I hear the word ‘expectations’,” Levesque says, “I often hear my clients really saying ‘preferences’. We all have preferences. John Gottman says that the primary predictor for success or failure in relationships is in the area of conflict; navigating preferences is one of the primary contributors to conflict.”

“In a healthy relationship,” he continues, “I need to communicate my preferences and boundaries in a way that expresses my inner truth. Often, knowing and expressing our own inner truth is a challenge. So, I encourage those clients to build self-awareness and explore their inner truths by practicing expressing themselves more often in the smaller moments—choosing what they want for dinner when they go out or articulating when things bother them in the day-to-day.”

On the flip side, however, Levesque says that it’s important to bring awareness to when our expectations violate our partner’s boundaries or “preferences”.

“We need to do our best to communicate our inner truth while at the same time seeking to know and encourage our partner’s world and inner truth,” he says. “These are necessary building blocks toward long-term healthy connection.”

And what about those expectations that are communicated, and someone still lets you down? What are we to do with those moments which can lead to disappointment and resentment? Here are three suggestions on how to manage unmet expectations: both the ones we set for ourselves and the ones we set for others.

#1 Respond, Don’t React. First, take a few deep breaths and bring yourself into the present. Come to a place of responding rather than reacting. Ask yourself: Is what I expected of him or her (or myself) in alignment with their/my values and inner truth? Was it a realistic or unrealistic expectation from my perspective? From theirs? Did I clearly communicate my expectations of this person?

#2 Forgive. People won’t always live up to our expectations, and that’s okay. Forgiveness can be a powerful tool for healing and relationship building, and it’s good for you. When we practice forgiveness, we experience elevated moods, decreased stress, better long-term health, and better relationships. Forgiveness married with healthy boundaries and clear, consistently conveyed “preferences”, can also help prevent future unmet expectations.

#3 Choose Happiness Now. We have a choice to respond with disappointment or unhappiness when life doesn’t happen in the way we expected. Our happiness is not dependent on others fulfilling our expectations or on the expectations we set for ourselves. Though it’s okay to feel disappointed and sad when things don’t turn out the way we intended, it’s equally important to remember that happiness isn’t an if/then concept: happiness is decided in the here and now. Stay present and grateful in the moment; stay in harmony with your inner truth; focus on the smaller joys and accomplishments happening right now; happiness is decided in the moment.


About the Author

Dr Lauren HodgesDr. Lauren Hodges is a facilitator, researcher, speaker, and content creator in the corporate wellness and performance space. In addition to her corporate training and consulting business, she is the co-founder of Grasshopper Training, a leadership and team development company focused on the psychology of performance and leadership. She lives in Satellite Beach, Florida, with her husband and two boys. Learn more at www.drlaurenhodges.com


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So many hats, so little headspace.

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I’m a hat person. At least I’d like to be. (We gotta have goals, right?) I like big floppy beach hats and pretty little crocheted hats, preferably in yellow. I even like my messy bun beanie that looks like it’s supposed to keep my ears warm, but we all know it only comes out on a bad hair day. Nobody’s ears get that cold in Louisiana. Trust me.

But I’ve decided that this business of plopping a different hat on my head for each role I play is for the birds. I mean, who has time to take the “work” hat off and grab the “momma” hat when you get a call from the babysitter that your daughter has fallen and broken her arm? I don’t.

I think, in reality, we as women wear one, big, multicolored hat at all times. Because the control we have over which role we play can change in 2.3 seconds flat at any given time.

But I have found what I do have control over, and that’s the amount of stress I bring to the table with that 2.3-second role change.

I realized that whether I’m fifteen minutes early for an appointment or five minutes late, my commute time is the same. I can choose to spend that time with my fingers clenched around the steering wheel, wishing the traffic could move faster or I can deliberately relax my hands and shoulders and use that ill-timed red light to remind myself to breathe.

Lately, I’m happy to say, I’ve been choosing the latter. (It also helps to compliment myself on the cute outfit I’m wearing or remember something someone told me that made me smile.) Granted, sometimes I have to remind myself four or five times during a twenty-minute drive. But I’m consciously choosing less stress. And it really is making a difference in whether I show up rushed and scattered or if I walk in like I was five minutes late on purpose.

It really is all in your perspective. Women have stress. Women have many, many roles. Tons of research has been done on the way men separate all the aspects of their lives into neat little (read: boring) boxes, and how everything in life is connected for women. We’re not boring and we don’t have boxes.

Bring it. We’ve got this. We’ve just got to remember to not let it get us.

Unclench those fists and relax those shoulders.

Plop that colorful hat on your head, girlfriend, and rock that floppy brim.

We may have to be busy, but we don’t have to be hurried and stressed. Deep breath in, deep breath out. We were made for this.

 


About the Author

Julie JohnsonJulie Johnson is a writer and editor, and a women’s and music ministry coordinator, but she spends most of her time with her husband Jeff and their four children and five grandchildren. She loves to travel, mostly because it opens up the opportunity to meet new people.