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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Day 11 - Self-awareness

Today I was inspired to revisit my story of Shayna the warrior princess from earlier this year.

Shayna is a very strong and courageous warrior.  She is persistent and never gives up in the face of adversity.  When faced with a challenge, she works hard at finding a solution and boldly moves forward in order to act on that solution.  She is independant and knows that only she can reach her goals, and does whatever it takes to do so.

Despite her strengths and her skills,  Shayna continues to have lessons to learn.  And in this particular story, the lesson is about becoming conscious of the unconscious. Her dragon, represents the things we are not always aware of that stand in our way.  They are habits, behaviours and/or beliefs, that have become automatic and unconscious.  And yet, these can often be the one thing that stands in our way of reaching our goals. And all of us, no matter how strong, smart or courageous we are, have these dragons standing in our way, at one point or another.

But, the truly courageous I would say, get really curious about uncovering these unconscious elements and don't shy away from facing them head on.

This, I would argue, is a life long process.  Especially for those who value growth and learning, and who are passionate about finding meaning and purpose in their lives.

So how can we become better able to recognize these dragons of ours?
  • by cultivating a compassionate, non-judgmental attitude towards ourselves and others.
  • by confronting our emotions and getting curious about what messages they have to offer us.
  • by being open to other's opinions and, avoiding assumptions.
  • by getting in the habit of asking questions and being less preoccupied with being right.
  • by being vulnerable.
  • by being curious.
  • by making self-care a priority.
  • by developing the skill of self-awareness. 
Shayna shows us that there is no shame in recognizing our weaknesses because it is only through this awareness that we are able to learn and move towards our true potential.

Here is a link to the story, if you have not read it!

The Dragons in our Way

Create an awesome day!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Day 10 - Happiness

Yesterday, I wrote about self-care and one of the areas of self-care is emotional well being.

Today, I chose to write about happiness.  Many books have been written on the topic and I have read quite a few of them.  And in researching for this blog, I found a few more....note to self...add to reading list.

Here are some things I have learned so far:

  • Our happiness depends on us.
  • Our happiness depends on how well we take care of the 6 areas of self-care.
  • Our happiness depends on whether we have well defined values and whether we live in alignement with those values.
  • We are not always going to feel positive emotions, negative emotions are important, they guide our lives and our actions.  They are also part of the awesome experience of life. 
  • The more gratitude we bring into our daily life the happier we will be. 
  • Waiting for someone to MAKE us happy is a bad idea.  There is a name for  Trust me...I have tested this one. 
  • Happiness is a long studied topic and a long sought after state.
  • We are more in control of our happiness then we might think. 
Here are some ways to bring more happiness into our life:
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Find meaning and purpose.
  • Figure out what we love doing and do more of that.
  • Connect with nature on a regular basis.
  • Cultivate positive, supportive relationships. 
  • Set goals for ourself that are in alignement with our values.
  • Get physically active.
  • Stay away from negative social media..
  • Listen to uplifting music and watch inspiring movies and documentaries.
  • Create a beautiful, relaxing home environment for ourself.  
There are surely many other ways to cultivate happiness.  I would love to hear some of your ideas!

Create an awesome day!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Day 9 - Self-care

I have been working on a workshop on Self-care for a series of workshops I am facilitating at Gilda's Club here in Barrie.

Given today is Sunday, a day many of us associate with "rest", I thought I would write about self-care today.

Self-care is often thought of as simply eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep.  But, it's a lot more then that.  It's about taking responsibility for your own well-being in ALL areas of your life.  

When you take a look at all the categories we need to personally attend to, it becomes evident that self-care is a journey in and of itself.

It's about not expecting anyone else to meet our needs in these areas, and figuring out how to do it ourselves.  In the end, it's a huge part of becoming a mature adult. 

I would argue that the opposite of self-care is codependence, which is expecting someone else to handle these areas for us.  And somewhere in there also, is the idea of ignoring them all together.  

What self-care categories should you be attending to?

Create an awesome day!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Day 8 - Dealing with discomfort

One of the things I struggle the most with when I am working on achieving a goal, is not giving up when I start experiencing uncomfortable feelings.

When we are trying to change, or reach a goal, less then desirable feelings are going to show up.  Depending on our goals, our bodies, minds and emotions will be in the process of adapting and learning a new way of doing things.

This means were sometimes going to...

  • feel vulnerable
  • crave that thing we are trying to give up
  • feel cranky
  • feel moody
  • feel disappointed
  • feel discouraged
  • feel rejected 
I sometimes interpret these feelings as meaning I'm not on the right path and that I should automatically rethink what I set out to do.  But that is often not the case.

A simple example is when I am trying to give up carbs.  The first few days are though.  I feel tired and sluggish and my cravings are over the top.  But, I know from experience, that I just have to get through those few days and then I will start feeling better.  

How can you support yourself in pushing through the discomforts and move towards reaching your goal?

Here is a tool I've created to help you do just that.  

I have filled out the document to give you an idea of how to use it.  It's super important to be very honest with yourself when completing this exercise.  

You can refer to it anytime an uncomfortable feeling starts weakening your resolve. 

More often then not, just going through this process will help you face and conquer whatever discomfort is showing up for you.  And the more often you do this, the more automatic it will become.  And you will notice that you can transfer this new skill to any goal you set for yourself. 

Michael Neenan and Windy Dryden, authors of "Life Coaching - A cognitive behavioural approach",  have named this skill, HFT - High frustration tolerance.  

They argue that it is one of the most important "determinants of increased personal effectiveness".

If you are interested in a free, downloadable, copy of this tool, send me an email at:

Create an awesome day!

Joanne :)

Friday, April 26, 2019

Day 7 - Vulnerability

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine suggested I watch Brené Brown's Netflix talk on vulnerability. 

Brené defines vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure" and shows how essential it is to living our best lives.  

It's an interesting thing vulnerability.  Sometimes, it's nothing but I feeling we can't define, but that quickly stops us from moving forward on achieving a particular goal, or reaching out for something we want.  That's were self-awareness and curiosity become super important.  We have to take the time to own the feeling and understand were it is coming from.  

Maybe it will be a little voice that comes up when we've been training for a 5k marathon, that says "My body is just not made for this kind of physical endurance".  And we decide that that little voice is right and we stop training. When what is actually going on is that as we train and move closer to accomplishing our goal, we become increasingly afraid of failure.

Or maybe someone you know expresses doubts that you will accomplish something you have been working on, and instead of risking criticism you decide to give up on even trying.

Or maybe you want to start painting, because you love it, but are afraid people won't like your paintings.

Or maybe you want to write a blog, but are afraid people will think that what you write is stupid.

Or maybe you want an intimate relationship, but are afraid of rejection.

Basically, anything we do that takes us out of our comfort zone can bring up vulnerability.  And what that looks like, is different for all of us.

One thing I realized, after watching Brené's talk, and through all the research I have done on success and reaching our goals, is that becoming comfortable with vulnerability is essential.

And maybe the things that we want the most, the things that we are passionate about, are the things that make us feel the most vulnerable.....? 

I strongly recommend taking the time to watch her Netflix special.  She is a very talented speaker.

Here is a link to one of her Ted Talks

Brené Brown - The Power of Vulnerability

Create an awesome day!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Day 6 - Revisiting our goals

About a month and a half ago I set a goal for myself from a place of fear and panic.


As I have mentioned before,  when setting goals, think....

SMART = Specific + measurable + attainable + realistic + time bound.

Now because I was in a state of panic about a certain issue in my life, I set a goal from an emotionally reactive place...and....when we do that, more often then not, the goal, and or action steps to reach that goal, will not meet the "realistic" or "attainable" criteria.

In this particular case I had set a timeline for myself that was unrealistic, and in doing that, had also created a plan and action steps, that were also, unrealistic.

As the days went by, and I put my plan into action, I started becoming stressed, angry and resentful of the people around me.

I have come to know, that when I start feeling resentful about "anything" it's time to get CURIOUS and ask myself some questions.

So I decided to visit a friend and had a discussion with her about what other "choices" I had around reaching this goal.

How could I adjust my timeline?
What were my options in terms of action steps?
How could I reach my goal in a way that made me feel enthusiastic instead of resentful?

The great thing about talking to some one when you are wanting to plan out how to reach a specific goal, is that it can give you some new insights and open up possibilities you had not previously considered.

By the end of the evening I had set a new, much SMARTER goal...and I woke up this morning feeling a renewed sense of enthusiasm and positivity.

So,  a few important things to remember when setting and moving towards your goals.

  • Don't set goals and action steps from an emotionally reactive state.
  • And don't be afraid to revisit and adjust you goals and action steps should you think it necessary. 
Create an awesome day!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Day 5 - Curiosity

Image result for quotes on curiosity

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend and fellow coach and the idea of curiosity came up. And I woke up this morning curious about what it means to invite curiosity into our lives.

To me this is the idea of entering into an experience or an interaction with another person, with an attitude of openness.   It's about letting go of preconceived ideas, expectations and judgement and staying open to learning about ourselves and others.  It's about attempting to view things from a fresh, non biased perspective.

So I decided to do a bit of research on the subject.  Here is what I discovered.
Some reasons why curiosity is considered important.

  • It cultivates a proactive mind.
  • It strengthens our higher thinking skills.
  • It opens us up to new ideas and possibilities.
  • It cultivates enthusiasm by creating a childlike view of our world.
  • It makes us stronger learners.
Here are a few studies that have shown how curiosity affects our lives in positive ways.

So how can we bring more of this important element into our lives?

  • Focus on understanding rather then being right or having THE answer.
  • Try seeing things as you did as a child....from a "First Time" perspective.
  • Ask TONS of questions.
  • Do something you always do, in a different way.
  • Try an activity you have never done before.
  • Ask others to share their opinions and perspectives on things and, REALLY listen.
What are you going to be curious about today?
Joanne :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Day 4 - Reflecting on accountability

Today I am giving some thought to accountability and what it means in terms of achieving our goals.

The past three days have been very productive for me.  I have accomplished more than I thought I could and I have to say, I have ended the day feeling pretty proud of myself.  I know a big part of that was the fact that I wrote down my daily goals and held myself accountable by committing to the entries in this blog.

Accountability supports us in getting things done, even if and when we don't really feel like doing the work.  It's basically a motivational tool.

Here are some ways to use accountability when in the pursuit of your goals.

  • Make a list of what you want to accomplish during the day.  Check off each item once it's completed and review the list at the end of the day.
  • Write a personal mission statement.  What do you want to accomplish in the next year? Who do you want to be?  What are the things that are most important to you?  Once you've created the mission statement read it every morning and put it somewhere were you will walk by it everyday.   For ideas on how to write a personal mission statement go to
  • Work with a coach or mentor.
  • Share your plans with a friend who will encourage and motivate you.  (Be careful to choose wisely as some people, consciously or unconsciously, will sabotage your efforts.
  • Use some form of accountability and goal setting app:
    • Goal Setting Successfully
    • Goal Setting & Daily Planner
    • goalmap :  SMART goal setting
  • Set up a reward system that you will get excited about.  What kind of treats do you like?

Now, on the subject of accountability,  I was really tempted to bail on my hour walk today.  But I am going to have my dinner and put on my running choose and "Just Do IT".

If you are interested in setting up a FREE 30 MINUTE CONSULTATION to see how coaching can help you set and achieve you goals, you can do so by clicking the following link.

Have an awesome evening!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Day 3 - Revisiting my action steps and daily goals

Today I am going to review the actions steps I set for myself three days ago.  After a couple of days and some reflection, I've realized that some of them are not as SMART as they could be.

The following chart describes what setting "SMART" GOALS looks like.  I feel it is just as important to think "SMART" when identifying ACTION STEPS.  The Smarter the action steps the more chances are that you will get them done.

Another way of doing this is by asking the questions Why? When? Were? How? and What?, when establishing each action step.

So, here are my reflections on some of the action steps I established for myself for the duration of this Eighty Four Day Experiment.

·       Improving my nutrition by cutting out unhealthy carbs.

    Well, first of all, in the spirit of complete transparency, I had a Flaky and potato chips

What was more important to me then reaching my goal of eating healthy?  I was tired
I wanted to treat myself?  I will have to take some time to look at the why of
this action step and change my mindset around what constitutes treating myself
because I know the effects of unhealthy eating on my physical, emotional and mental
well-being.  Here are some questions I will ask myself around this particular goal…
    • How will I support myself in making this action step a priority every day?
    • How can I clearly define “Improving my nutrition”?
    • What are unhealthy carbs and why am I cutting them out?
    • What other aspects of my well-being will be positively affected when I reach this goal?
    • How can I define a more specific and SMARTER action step that will allow me to reach this goal?

·       One hour a day spent working on my coaching model.
·       One hour a day spent working on my workshop series.
·       One hour a day spent working on marketing strategies.
·       One hour a day working on my talk series.

These four action steps are in the “Work” category of my life. 
I was very enthusiastic when I wrote these down three days ago but now, I’m
questioning just how realistic they are.
I neglected to factor in the fact that I will be working part time during the week.  
In order to make these action steps more realistic and attainable, I will adjust them in the
following way.

- On the days I am working I will devote two hours to these action steps (30
  minutes per goal).

Feel free to comment in the comment section below.

Do you have any questions on setting your own goals and action steps?

What would be the goals and action steps you would set for your own Eighty Four Day
Experiment....or just in general?

Create an awesome day!
Joanne :)