The Four Wings of Personal Growth Lessons on self-love, self-awareness, self-care and self-empowerment

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Asking For What You Want

I just finished listening to The Aladdin Factor, How To Ask For What You Want - And Get it, by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. 

When I first bought this book, I was convinced I wouldn't like it for some reason. Something about the title rubbed me the wrong way.  Sometimes, I buy a book and can't wait to dive into it and other times I buy a book just because I feel it's something I probably should read as a coach and personal growth enthusiast.  This time, the motivation was the latter.

But, as it turns out, it ended up being one of my favourite reads in a while. Many of the ideas felt new to me and as I read the book I found myself making some pretty significant shifts around my beliefs when it comes to asking for I want.  Something I didn't realize I needed.

I love it when a book does that!!

When I was a teenager, I distinctly remember being impressed by my brother's ability to be absolutely relentless when it came to asking my mother for something he wanted.  I have this distinct memory of standing in the kitchen of the home we grew up in and watching him in action.  He would just keep on repeating his request and the words "pleeeeease Mom", until my mother finally broke down and acquiesced.  I envied him in those moments.  It felt to me like he had some kind of super power reserved only for boys.  You see, as a "girl",  I was convinced that asking, especially in an incessant way, was absolutely inappropriate.  Good, polite, people pleasing girls didn't ask for what they needed.  And asking for a want!!!  Come on!!  Selfish, selfish, selfish! No! A girl's super power lied in her ability to determine what others wanted and needed and finding ways of meeting those needs and wants. 

Isn't that kind of the way we were raised ladies?

This book made me realize how maybe, us gals need to take a closer look at this idea of "Asking For What We Want"!

I would suggest that when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we have two major challenges ahead of us.  Learning to say no, and on the flip side of that, asking for what we want.  The two, are intimately related and their relationship can be the cause of great aggravation in our lives and the lives of those around us.

As women, we are nurturers, taught to be self-sacrificing and to take care of others.  This is "who" we believe ourselves to be.  And I put forward that a patriarchal society has reinforced this belief and identity to a point that is fundamentally detrimental to our mental, emotional and physical well being. I challenge that this identity is not in our best interest and that it is our responsibility to change it.  I am not claiming we should completely eliminate our nurturing side but I am suggesting that we balance care of others with care of self.

I am convinced that this belief or sense of identity is why I was so uncomfortable with the book's title.  The idea of asking for I wanted created what James Clear calls, in his book Atomic Habits, an "identity conflict."

Identity conflict, as defined by this author, occurs when a desired or expressed behaviour is in direct conflict with a belief, perceived identity or self-image.  From the information I've gathered as a coach and self-care workshop facilitator, I feel pretty confident in saying that many women feel this identity conflict when presented with the idea of asking for what they want.

The good news is, we can change and resolve this inner conflict.  How?  First we choose a new identity.  That might seem like an insurmountable task but all it really means is answering the following questions, "Who am I?"  or "Who do I Want to Become?"
Now, in the context of asking for what we want, the answer to these questions might be something along these lines,  "I am worthy.  I am a woman who does not hesitate to ask for what I need and want."

The next step, is behaving in alignment with this new identity.  That means starting to ask for what we want and need, and doing it often!!

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear points out that "Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become."  As the number of votes in favour of your preferred identity increases so does the strength of this identity.

WARNING...when you start doing this, guilt will rear it's ugly head. And when it does, I want you to celebrate!!  It means you are pissing off your old, unwanted identity.  The one that wants you to continue believing you should put yourself last.
When we start changing our beliefs about who we are, it can cause cognitive dissonance.  We have to be mindful not to automatically assume that guilt is indicative of us actually having done something wrong.  Sometimes guilt is simply a by-product of doing something we are not use to doing or that goes against a limiting core belief, one that is not in our best interest.

So here is what I challenge you to do in the next 7 days.  I want you to find every possible opportunity to ask for something you want and need.  Make it interesting,  push the envelope, ask for things you would not normally expect to get.
Here are some questions you can answer in your journal in order to get the most out of this exercise:

  1. What feelings came up for me when asking for what I wanted?
  2. What surprises did I get?
  3. How did other people react to this new me?
  4. What challenges did I have in doing this?
  5. How can I support myself in learning this new skill moving forward?
Now, it's important to point out that you won't always get yeses to your requests.  But I guarantee that you will get a lot more of what makes you happy if you try.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

If you are interested in learning more about asking for what you want, I highly recommend Jack Canfield's book. 

Create an awesome week!
Joanne ๐Ÿ’—

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Dry January

For anyone who has checked out my book suggestions for this month,  you know that they all related to the topic of alcohol. A topic inspired by what is now know as Dry January,  a public health campaign, started in the UK, encouraging people to abstain from alcohol for the month of January.  The idea has now spread worldwide and many people choose to take a break from alcohol during this period.

If you missed dry January, not a problem.  If you google it,  there are alcohol free campaigns, put on, almost every month, by a variety of organizations.  

Why is this trend becoming more and more popular?  

Alcohol has become a huge part of our culture,  80% of Canadians drink alcohol.  And while there are many articles circulating that endorse the benefits of alcohol,  more and more studies are showing just how harmful it can be to our health.  

"The best available current evidence suggests that consumption of alcohol (chemically known as ethanol) does not improve health. Previous assertions that low or moderate consumption of alcohol improved health have been deprecated by more careful and complete meta-analysis." Wikipedia

Now, my intention in writing this blog is not to encourage everyone to completely stop drinking. But I am encouraging all of us to start applying our critical thinking skills to this idea that alcohol and life are almost synonymous.  

You know what I mean:
Party = alcohol, dinner out = alcohol, weddings = alcohol, graduation = alcohol, fun = alcohol, funeral = alcohol, stress = alcohol, relaxation = alcohol... I could go on indefinitely. 

What I am suggesting is that we look at our own relationship with alcohol and really get brutally honest about wether it is enhancing our lives or getting in the way of our "Best Life?".  I know for a fact that there are many people out there, who are quietly and shamefully worrying about their alcohol consumption, and others who are simply curious about whether it is getting in the way of reaching their goals.  

Damselfly Transformations Self-Care Model
When you think about it, we live in a world where "not drinking" is "not normal."  I don't know about you but that feels really odd to me...but maybe it's just me.

So for the sake of playing the devil's advocate, today, I am going to present you with the benefits of eliminating alcohol form your least for a given period of time.

Since one of my areas of expertise as a life coach is Self-care, I will be doing that from the perspective of my Self-Care Model.

Now, I have added some secondary sources to this list of benefits but if you are interested in learning more, please either contact me directly or join me in the "28 Day Alcohol Free Inquiry".

  • Better sleep.
  • Easier weight loss.
  • Increased motivation for exercising and maintaining healthy eating habits.
  • Increased clarity, allowing us to make better decisions when it comes to our over all health.
  • Increase in libido and quality of intimacy.
  • Decrease in anxiety and depression.
There are many reasons why drinking can slow down weight loss.  One, it can lead to an increase in appetite both during and after drinking.  This is due to fluctuating hormone levels as well as decreased liver function.  Anyone, who drinks regularly or more then what is recommended, can be sabotaging their weight loss efforts without realizing it.  For more on this check out the following podcast by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind.

Annie Grace - Podcast - Alcohol Can Make You Fat

  • Increased clarity and cognitive function.
  • Increased motivation and ability to make productive, life-enhancing choices.
  • Increased ability for developing mindfulness and self-awareness practices.
  • Increased motivation for learning and growing.
Short term and long term use of alcohol, impairs proper functioning of the prefrontal-cortex, which is the part of the brain that allows us to make informed choices and decisions.  Alcohol use, can also make you prone to emotional reactivity.  It is not rare for individuals to see a substantial increase in decision making and emotional intelligence skills after just one month without alcohol.
  • Stronger more authentic connections with others.
  • Increased ability for empathy and compassion.
  • Increased motivation for connecting with new people and social situations.
  • Increased ability for conflict resolution and problem-solving.
  • Increased intimacy.
Many people turn to alcohol in social situation in order to take the edge off, relax and feel more laid back.  The truth is that alcohol numbs are senses.  Numbing our senses, actually disconnects us from others because we are less able to read social cues and more likely to behave from a place of emotional reactivity.

How To Socialize Without Alcohol

  • Increased ability and motivation to align our behaviour and goals with our core values.
  • Increased ability to identify those core values.
  • Increased ability and motivation to find purpose and meaning in our lives.
Have you ever realized, after a night of drinking, that you had done something that went against your core values and beliefs. (or maybe someone reminded you because you blacked it out)  Have you ever used alcohol in order to feel numb enough to do something you otherwise would not have done?  We will often jokingly, blame the alcohol, and say it's no big deal, but in the end, we often feel a strong cognitive dissonance concerning our alcohol induced behaviour.  That, it my opinion, is worth looking into. 

  • Increased motivation and time to focus on financial goals.
  • Increase in ability to prioritize spending.
  • And obviously, the money spent on alcohol can be spent elsewhere.
If your drinking a bottle of wine a week, you are spending anywhere between 12$ to 30$ a week, which adds up to 48$ to 120$ a month.  Might not seem like much, but if you're drinking more then that or drinking a more expensive type of alcohol, it can add up.  The question to ask is "Would spending the money elsewhere increase my quality of life?"
Watch the following video and notice what people are saying when justifying the amount they spend on alcohol.  Many of them mention, that it allows them to have fun and spend time with friends.
My question would be...why can't they hang out with friends and have fun without spending 300$ on drinks??  Just a thought!

  • Increased ability to develop strong emotional intelligence competencies and skills.
  • Increased ability to manage emotions, recognize emotions and work through challenges.
  • Decrease in anxiety and depression.
  • Increased ability to find pleasure through other activities such as hobbies, creative projects, reading...etc.
When we drink our brain's reward circuits are flooded with dopamine.  This creates the high we are reaching for when we reach for a drink.  Unfortunately, when this effect wears off, it causes a rapid decrease in dopamine, leaving us feeling depressed and miserable, motivating us to have another drink.  This is what can lead to addiction and the jury is still out on who is actually more prone to this then others.  What we do no for sure is that alcohol is an addictive substance.  
Also, when we drink regularly, our brain adapts to this strong surge in dopamine.  This actually, over time, decreases our ability to find pleasure in other activities other then drinking.  That's why at some point, our brain might give us a very strong message that it's a better idea to stay home and drink instead of going for a walk on the beach with a friend.  

This Naked Mind - Dopamine and alcohol

You might be thinking....really?  come on!!!  ALL those benefits from not drinking?
One: I've done quite a bit of research on the subject.
Two: I can vouch for this from my own experience and that of others who have shared their experience with me.

Here's a challenge.....TRY IT!!  Try going alcohol free for 29 days!
Wether you consider yourself a low, moderate or heavy might learn a few things!!

Have an awesome Sunday!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Damselfly Effect

Why Damselfly Lessons Along The Way?  

On my website, I tell the story of the day I met a damselfly quite coincidently and it's significance to me at that particular time in my life.  If you haven't yet read my tale of this serendipitous encounter, I invite you to do so @ Damselfly Inspiration

Now, what I don't mention in my story is that I was so excited about what had happened on this trip that when I returned home, I dove into google and started doing a bunch of research and the dragonfly and damselfly.  For those of you who are not aware, the dragonfly and damselfly are very similar.  Often what we think is a dragonfly is actually a damselfly.  They look very similar to the untrained eye.  For the sake of simplicity when I refer to a damselfly, I am referring to both.

My meeting with the damselfly was very inspirational for me and I was super excited about what I found out about it's symbolism.   The meeting coupled with the information I was uncovering was truly life changing for me.  I was convinced that the universe had conspired to send me a message of hope and courage. 
This is what I discovered about my friend the damselfly:

  • The damselfly symbolizes change, emotional maturity, adaptability and self-realization.
  • It's incredible wings make it the most powerful navigator among all flying insects. It can fly in all directions, fly backwards and through rough winds.  For this reason it is associated with direction and purpose through challenging and difficult times.
  • Damselflies have incredible eye sight.  Hence, it's connection to curiosity, mental agility and the ability to view experiences or problems from all angels in order to decide the best life has to offer.
"An encounter with a damselfly can mean that she is sending you a challenge, to trust in the experience and to open yourself up to what life has to offer."

As I continued on my personal journey and began my training and interest in personal growth coaching, the significance of what I now considered my spirit animal became stronger and stronger. 

I became inspired to create a coaching model that would allow my clients to thrive in the face of adversity, challenges and change.  Allowing them to ultimately view all of life experiences as precious opportunities for learning and growth.   
Hence The Four Wings of Personal Growth.

What I came to realize on my own journey was that just as the 4 wings of a damselfly work together in a dance of agility and strength,  the qualities of self-love, self-care, self-awareness and self-empowerment when explored and developed, can create a synergy within us that propels us towards self-realization. 
This is what I have now coined "The Damselfly Effect".

The following image further illustrates this dynamic.  Although, I would point out that the circles should all intersect.  When working on one "wing" or "area of personal growth", all others are influenced and enriched.  I will be modifying this chart in the future in order to underline this relationship. 

Hence, all the references to my friend the Damselfly. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ˜Š

So, for all of you interested in learning more about these 4 core areas of personal growth, I invite you to subscribe to this blog.  I will be sharing many resources, stories and damselfly lessons I have learned along the way.

Joanne ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’š

Sunday, August 4, 2019


Last week I wrote about setting boundaries and this week on my facebook page I explored connecting with our values.   Being real and true about what is important to us is crucial when setting boundaries.  If I don't know what's important to me, I won't know what I want and need,  and I certainly won't be able to communicate those wants and needs to anybody else.
So what are values?
They are the driving forces behind our search for happiness and they are continuously reflected in our behaviour. If, of course, we are behaving from a place of integrity.  That is to say, in alignment with what is important to us.
Sounds rather obvious doesn't it.  "If it's important to me then of course I will behave accordingly!"
Well that is not always the way it goes.
Honesty, has always been one of my core values.  Being honest with myself and with others, is in my opinion essential to living a quality life.  But there was a specific time in my life, when I completely ignored this value. I won't get into the details of this experience, suffice it to say, it was an experience that taught me a lot about myself and others.  But, the point I am making now, is that for that period of time, I was not living in alignment with my value of honesty, and as much as I tried to push that truth aside it impacted my health, physically, mentally and emotionally.  We can deny our truths but our soul or higher self will not. And that denial will end up eating away at us in one form or another.
Were do these values come from?
We develop them over time through our experiences and how we interpret these experiences based on our innate characteristics.   They can definitely shift and change but there are some core values that remain relatively consistent throughout our lives.
Here is a list of possible core values from Brenรฉ Brown's book "Dare to Lead".
List of core values - Brenรฉ Brown
I invite you to pick your top 10 from the list and then use a worksheet similar to the following, to observe and consider how your values are reflected in your everyday life.  You can create your own worksheet, use a journal or email me at My email for a printable copy.
You can fill this out at the end of everyday, once a week, whatever works for you.  The important thing is to walk away with an idea of how your values align with your lifestyle.  You might want to change some behaviours or you might even decide that some so called values are not as important as your thought.  Just remain open and honest with yourself throughout the process.

What are some examples of how my behaviour was in alignment with this value?
What are some examples of how my behaviour was not in alignment with this value?
What changes would I like to make?

1. Honesty

I told my husband the truth about what I was feeling today and did it in a constructive and respectful way.
I lied to the telemarketer about someone being at the door.
I would like to be able to assert myself with telemarketers without compromising my value of honesty.
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries....two words...easy to say, not necessarily easy to do.
Of course, some of us are better at setting boundaries then others but most of us have some areas that need some attention.
I became pretty good at setting boundaries at work.  Sometime in my 30's, I identified my priorities and was able to say no to things that were not important to me, and yes to things that were.  (most of the time ๐Ÿ˜) Learning to do that was a process.  I think my upbringing and my personality made it easier to accomplish setting boundaries at work.  But, doing the same in my personal relationships, that was a bit trickier and still is a work in progress. 
For a long time, I did a lot of what I thought other people wanted from me and then resented the hell out of it.  So I can tell you with certainty that, if you find yourself doing things and then bitching to your spouse, or friends or even to yourself, after the fact, You have boundary issues. 
Learning to set boundaries, is by no means a one step deal.  Like every other area of personal growth, it involves a process of self-discovery, courage, action and commitment.  But if you are at all interested in creating the life you want and the one that is absolutely yours to have, it's an essential step.  And well worth it!!
Here are a few strategies to support you on your journey towards setting boundaries:
In what specific areas in you life do you feel a need to set more boundaries?
This is different for everyone.  Take the time to journal and reflect on this question?  Check out my facebook page for some journaling prompts to support you in doing this.
Know what is important to YOU!
Were do You want to be spending your time?
What's important to You....Your time? Your freedom? Your relationships? Your Health?
Does what you spend your time on at work or at home reflect your values or someone else's?
How could you change that?
๐Ÿ’—You can't set boundaries if you have no clear understanding of your own priorities.  
If you are not sure, give yourself time to think about it!
If you are in the habit of often saying yes to things and then regretting it, start by developing the habit of saying "Let me think about it and get back to you."  One, this helps you break the habit and two, it gives you time to properly assess whether saying yes really aligns with your priorities. 
Avoid saying yes when...
You are stressed, tired or sick.
When you would be dealing with something that is not your responsibility.
When saying yes, makes you feel used or not quite right. (listen to your gut) Better to say no and reassess, then to betray yourself. 
Believe you have a right to communicate your wants and needs and learn to do this in an assertive, direct, non confrontational manner.
This might require a bit of work.  First of all, you have to know that you are deserving of what you want and need.  This might necessitate a bit of work in the self-love and self-worth department.  Then you have to develop the skills that will allow you to communicate your needs effectively.  Might sound like a daunting process, but absolutely doable!!
๐Ÿ’—These are but a few starting points. If you are interested in exploring, with the support of a coach, how you can better learn to set boundaries in your life, please feel free to email me at
Create an awesome day!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Update on the Eighty Four Day Experiment

Ninety eight days ago I started the Eighty Four Day Experiment with the following question.
"What happens when I set clear action steps around specific goals 
and hold myself accountable by blogging about the experience for 84 day?"
Well, for starters, I did not blog everyday for 84 days. I modified this action step by blogging every week.  And, for those of you who have read all my blogs, the topic has varied.
As for the other action steps I set for myself:
Improving my nutrition by cutting out unhealthy carbs. (sometimes)
Journaling my progress, challenges and successes on a regular basis. (never)
One hour a day spent working on my coaching model. (some days less, some days more)
One hour a day spent working on my workshop series. (sometimes)
One hour a day spent working on marketing strategies. (sometimes)
One hour a day working on my talk series. (most days more)
So here I am a self proclaimed "Life coach" and if I were to give myself a grade on how well I did with these goals, it probably would be "below average."  Luckily, coaches don't assigned grades! 
Recently, I had a client get really down on herself because she had not accomplished all the actions steps she had set for herself between our sessions.  I recommended that she focus on what she had accomplished.  A little self-compassion and a shift in mindset can go a long way. So, I am trying to apply this wisdom to myself.  Why?  Because I know that criticizing my actions or lack there of won't in any way shape or form be helpful.  
Asking myself some important questions will.
  1. How can I make my goals SMARTer?
    1. Specific
    2. Measurable
    3. Achievable
    4. Relevant
    5. Time bound
  2. How will I make a distinction between my goals and relevant action steps?
  3. What was more important then accomplishing these goals?
  4. What limiting beliefs got in the way and how can I transform these into empowering beliefs?
  5. What is me overall vision and how can I move towards that vision in a SMARTer way?
  6. What support and resources will I need to accomplish this?
It will be important for me to take some time and ponder these questions, as well as any others that come up.  I have a few coaching sessions coming up with my colleagues and I will definitely explore these with their support.
So what is my biggest take away from this experiment?
That moving towards my goals is an ongoing process of action, assessment and reflection.  
And that, that process needs to be experienced within a context of compassion, perseverance 
and self-awareness.
Create an awesome day!
Joanne ๐Ÿ’—

Sunday, July 21, 2019


This past week my facebook posts have been about adding more fun into our lives.  The timing was good for me given that I spent the week at one of my favourite places, the beach.  There is something about being near water that soothes and calms me.  Looking out at the water hitting the horizon makes me feel connected to something bigger then myself. 
I love to grab a raft or tube and just float around for hours.  Sometimes the water is calm and I just enjoy the feeling of freedom I get from looking up at the blue sky.  Sometimes, there are waves and then I turn into a little kid, laughing and enjoying getting thrown about. 
I think fun can be a very personal thing.  I love organizing anything that can be organized, closets, cupboards, storage spaces.  I completely lose track of time when I'm putting things in order and purging.  Some people might call that work, for me it's fun.
What is the difference between work and fun?
Work : "activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result."
Fun : "enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure."
They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  I tend to believe that every person has to define fun for themselves depending on factors such as strengths, talents, character and preferences.  What is fun for one person is not necessarily fun for another....and that's ok.
So how do you figure out what's fun for you?  Try new things, old things you did as a child, things you would not think to never know. 
I'm wanting to try one new thing this week. 
So here's a favour, write down your ideas and I will pick one and report back at the end of the week on how it went.
And, do the same.  Try something new and let me know how it went.  Would love to hear from you.
Create an awesome day!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Living Our Passion

My favourite courses in university were my psych courses.  Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by human behaviour.  I have this deep hunger to understand what makes us tick, why we do the things we do?
Why are some people more successful, happy, ambitious...etc then others.  Why do we hate?
Why do we love?  Why is there random violence and why do we hurt ourselves and others?
To me, it seems that uncovering the mysteries of our own psyche is what will allow us to rid the planet of pain and suffering or at least to lessen its effect.  Ok, I know that we are complicated and that this might be an impossible task.  Who knows, maybe humanity will become extinct before we find answers to all the questions related to our darker side.  I don't care...I want to learn as much as I can about us while I am around.
I realized this subject was a passion of mine somewhere in my twenties.  And from that point on, I became addicted to books on philosophy, psychology, self-help, growth and development and spirituality.  From that addiction developed a conviction that each and everyone of us, has a potential that is often left untapped.  I think that more often then not we accept our status quo, not realizing that we could have a lot more joy, peace and love in our lives.
In my 30 year quest for knowledge and understanding of our human nature and capacity, I've discovered of few ideas that resonate with me.  I try to live my life in alignment with these, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.  Here are two of them.

As long as I am living and breathing, there is room to learn, to grow and to move forward and to succeed I have to learn to do that without judging myself.

       I consider myself a life coach.  Not because I do life better then everybody else...far from it.  I have screwed up big time and my guess is that I will again.  But, I think I've learned to try to look at myself honestly and consider my weaknesses without judging myself.  That allows me to improve on what is not working so well.  As I write this, I think of the many shortcomings that I have yet to overcome, maybe out of fear, maybe because there are things I still need to learn.  But giving up is not an option.  When I uncover one layer, something else shows up and that's ok.
As a coach, I want to give my clients the non-judgmental space to do exactly that.  As a school leader, I learned that a problem can not be solved until it is clearly identified and defined.  Well, we cannot improve or overcome our own challenges and problems without being able to honestly look at ourselves.  When we judge ourselves we make it often impossible to do just that.

There is no innate meaning to life.
We are the creators of that meaning for ourselves.

     This I learned from Mr. Victor Frankl.  I think one of my mentors suggested his book "Man's Search for Meaning" and I read it quite of few times, once for an assignment when I was completing my Masters.  When we give ourselves the sole responsibility of creating meaning in our experiences it gives us immeasurable power.  If Mr. Frankl could do this in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, I think I can do it in my own life.  I believe that when we look for meaning in all our experiences good or bad, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow through that experience.  If I see the end of a relationship as an opportunity to learn about myself or to learn how to be more independent,  I will still feel the pain but I will not feel victimized by the experience.  The meaning is highly individual and can differ from one person to another.  It will depend on where the person is on his or her journey.  This is another role I play as a coach.  I help clients create meaning in any and all experiences.  This creates a growth mindset rather then a fixed mindset.  For anyone interested in learning more about growth mindset, I highly recommend Carol Dweck's book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.

Basically, these blogs are about those lessons that I have learned in my 30+ year quest of attempting to understand myself and others a little bit better.  Hence, the title Damselfly Lessons Along the Way.
Ant the quest continues....

Create an awesome day!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Day 71 - Yes I'm crazy....and???

So...I have been working on my talk for July and I have been trying to get in as much practice as I possibly can.  One of the things I love doing is walking first thing in the morning and it just happens that mornings are my most productive, creative times of the day.  So, for the past few days, I had been debating practicing my talk while walking.  You can see were this is going right. Awkward!! 
"Crazy Barrie woman, walking around town, talking to herself!"
Well, you know what?  This morning I decided, I don't care....I feel like practicing my talk while taking my morning walk and that is exactly what I am going to do.  So what if people see me talking to myself as a walk by their house.  And people did.  It was kinda funny.  At one point, I looked up and some woman was staring at me with this weird look on her face.  I just laughed and kept on going.  What exactly is the problem with talking to ourselves anyway.  Come on, admit it!  You do it all the time right?  We just normally avoid doing it in front of other people. 
So, if you see me walking around Barrie talking to worries.
One, I'm just giving everyone the permission to follow their natural urge to talk to themselves when they want to.
And two, I'm not crazy, I'm productive and creative!
That's my story...and I'm sticking to it.
Create an awesome day!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Day 64 - Self-talk

This week, on my facebook page, I have been exploring the concept of self-love. 
One of the four key aspects of my Damselfly Coaching Model.
Self-love isn't a luxury and it is far from self-indulgent.
It is 100% essential if we are to move forward, face challenges and live our very best life.
But, how do we love ourselves? What does that even mean?
Well, first of all, it's important to remember that love is a verb, not a noun. 
It's an action, not a feeling. 
So, self-love is first and for most about how we behave towards ourselves.

How do you talk to yourself?
What kind of words do you use to describe yourself?
Are you kind and gentle or mean and judgmental?
When was the last time you thought about your self-talk?
Are you more cautious of the tone and words you use towards others than towards yourself?

Self-talk can be an act of self-love or an act of self-betrayal. 

According to research we have anywhere between 50 000 and 80 000 thoughts a day and 80% of those thoughts are negative.  Have you ever taken the time to notice how many of those negative thoughts are related to what you think and feel about yourself? Now trying to notice every single thought we have is obviously impossible and I am certainly not suggesting you try.  But I am inviting you to become a little bit more aware of which of your thoughts support self-love and which don't.
How does that relate to self-talk? Self-talk includes anything and everything we say to ourselves throughout the day.  Sometimes we might say these things out loud but more often then not, they  come up as a thoughts.  Often, we are not even aware that these thoughts are present even though they may be impacting both our mood and behaviour.
So how can we become more aware of our self-talk and get a sense of what messages we our giving ourselves on a daily basis.
For example, what do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror every morning?
"I am looking fine today!" or "Crap, look at those ugly bags under my eyes!"
Can you guess which of these is loving and which is not?  Now, for those of you who are saying, I don't think anything when I look in the mirror, well, dig a little deeper my friend.  Chances are you are thinking something.  If you are thinking about the weather fine, no worries, but make sure there are no lingering negative thoughts going on deep down in your unconscious.  These thoughts play on your self-esteem and your ability to be the empowered woman you are meant to be. So make sure they are not sneaking in there without your permission.
Here are some strategies to support you in developing your self-awareness around your self-talk:

  • Journal about a particular event that might have brought up strong feelings and emotions during the day.
  • Notice strong emotions and feelings that come up and try uncovering what thoughts preceded these emotions. 
  • Slow down and be present.  
  • Meditate.
  • Spend time in a relaxed environment on a regular basis.
  • Get curious about what thoughts are coming up when you are:
    • doing the dishes
    • driving
    • taking a shower
    • sweeping the floor
    • taking a walk
  • Basically, use any opportunity you have to examine and get curious about your self-talk.  The more you practice doing this, the better you will get at it.  
When you start noticing that your self-talk is not so positive and empowering, you can change it. 
Talk to yourself as you would someone whom you truly love and care about.  Someone you want to support and encourage, like your child or your best friend.  
At the end of the day, loving yourself is your responsibility my friend.
Create an awesome day!