Build Your Confidence in 3 Easy Steps

Sassy

Confidence isn’t something you either have or you don’t. Everyone has confidence in something, including your weight and appearance. It’s only non-visible when other stuff is blocking your natural confidence from coming out. I think a lot about what it … Continue reading 

The Hardest Lesson of All – To Love Thy Self

Why do we need to love ourselves? A favored topic among women’s literature and magazines, self-love advice is usually wrapped up in one or two vague and prescriptive lines, like be more confident; believe in yourself; accept who you are.

Has that advice ever helped you to? Probably not.

Love’s complexity is also its’ beauty. Healthy self-love is the full expression of the human spirit and without that sense of inner peace co-existing with the outer world, well — life would be pretty unbearable.  Continue reading

Share your 20s in six words or less

If you’re currently a 20-something, or just a little beyond, let’s play a game: sum up the experience of your 20s in six words or less. 

Here’s mine:  Found my path, now walking it

A link to a slide show from New York Magazine’s article “The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright” does a blunt job of presenting the varied experiences of the typical American 20-something, entering what’s now being called the “Post-Hope America” era.

Assumption junction, what’s your function? Wasting your time — that’s what.


Growing up, whenever I’d turn my nose to something in haste, my dad would colorfully recite “Assuming makes and ass out of YOU and ME.”

How often do you compare someone or something against a past experience? How many times have you been proven wrong in what your original assumption was? Our judgments have a tendency to blind our openness to new experiences. Typically, a judgment occurs when we’re trying to protect a part of ourselves from the memory of something we didn’t enjoy. New people, places, experiences, emotions – they are ridiculed by our judgments and assumptions before we even get a chance to experience what they have to offer. Continue reading

4 Reason why you’re sabotaging yourself…and you don’t even know it!

I will publish a series of articles detailing the “Big Four Energy Blocks” that inhibit people from reaching success. Awareness of them shines light on all the B.S. excuses that come out of our mouths on why we don’t change things we’re unhappy about. As a coach trained in calling these out in clients, and as an individual who is aware of when mine surface — let me tell you: they are POWERFUL and have the potential to remove ALL excuses. Continue reading

Generation NEXT — Why I want to coach Millennials

I chose to change tracks in life, shifting towards personal growth and development as a career, when I went through the infamous “quarter life crisis” — a time in your 20′s wrought with anxiety, uncertainty about the future and feeling like your life just isn’t where you  hoped it would have been.

Couple that feeling with being laid-off at the height of the recession and you’ve got one potent cocktail for a financial AND existential crisis.

But in my confusion, I created Undercurrent — this little notion that if you follow your interests, devote time to personal growth and share the best of yourself with others, you can make a powerful shift out of a rut and begin to create a life you’re really proud of.

What got me through that rough time was the conviction that I was capable of helping my peers better understand themselves and facilitate the personal and civic growth of my community.

I believe so much in the power, integrity and passion of my age-group, known as the Millennials.  Born between 1980 – 2000, we witnessed the changing of world order, experienced our parents devotion to making sure we had the very best, and discovered that the world, its people and issues are global. We understand logically and emotionally that change IS very possible and necessary, but that we’ve got to take personal responsibility to make it happen. And we need to get real serious, real fast. 

I want to help those who I know have incredible potential feel good about themselves. I’m a civic leader with soul and blending the two is my cause because I believe healthy individuals in their minds, bodies & spirits create healthy societies.

Optimistic? Sure.  Naive? Probably. I’m also a very pragmatic woman who knows what it takes to make real, sustainable change in life. I want to encourage, educate and unleash the power of my peers as we take on challenges and opportunities that were never taught to us in class.

What makes the quarter life crisis so fascinating is its opportunity for change. It’s a metamorphosis — you shed the old, habitual self who knew what was expected of them.  Becoming and loving WHO you are isn’t easy, but it’s what we’re all after.

This is why I want to help my incredible peers take this leap into trusting who they really are. I know it’s possible because I see it everyday in the emerging leaders, personal transformation and new opportunities experienced by those who refuse to follow a predetermined track of what’s expected of them.

Creating your life’s vision

What is the vision you have for yourself, your work & life? Where are you on that path now?

Lofty question, but there are great benefits to crafting a vision for some area of your life. Visioning is the realm of the imagination and creative — it’s where great ideas and inspiration originally stem from. Leading a life of vision is tied with a person’s sense of purpose and passion.

So many of us have amazing pictures of what we want our lives to be — but how come so few take the steps necessary to have those ideas become reality?

Self-doubt is the poison of our vision. It drains you of energy, self-esteem and distorts all the very achievable goals in life. Challenges become impassable mountains.  I know — I’ve let self-doubt ravage great goals and accomplishments I set out to do.

Undercurrent was a vision I had a few years ago and one that rocked me so much to my core, that I couldn’t ignore it. I had to do something about it — I wouldn’t be fully myself if I didn’t go after whatever this idea was. I debated a long time against become a coach out of fear that no one would find it valuable and that I’d fail at it.

Then a shift happened — I realized that whatever belief I fed, that one got stronger. I could continue to feed the self-doubt and let my dreams actually be impossible — or I could feed the vision, the creative part in me that knows whatever I put my heart and soul into does transpire.

So I fed the vision of being a  coach, an author on personal development, of creating my business, and leading a community of people who where inspired, creative and driven to understand themselves and share their gifts with others.

So, how do you construct your vision? Ask yourself these:

1. What do I believe my purpose/role/passion in life is?
2. What steps do I need to take to be more in-line with that vision?
3. What’s stopping me from taking that step?
4. If I was exactly where I wanted to be, how would that feel?
5. What am I feeding more: my self-doubt or my self-esteem?

I’ve a few documents I created to help people flush out their vision ideas. I created one of them about a 1.5 years ago, where my main goals were find a stable job that I was happy at while I attend coach training and built my practice slowly. Having that vision laid out before me kept me accountable — it was all I really needed to focus on.

I’m a visual learner and like to write things out, see it in the big-scale and conceptualize an idea before I take action. Here is a mind-map I made when I was brainstorming Undercurrent’s grand-vision:

Having a vision isn't just imagination -- it's persistence and developing the architecture to your life that will support your values and purpose.

A vision is ultimately what you want your life to be — it’s all your loves, strengths, ambitions, success & pleasures  rolled into one, awesome picture. Just thinking about it makes you smile and feel fulfilled : )

Take care,

Rachel

[Meaningful Monday's] Forgiveness

To begin each week with a fresh mindset, I will write about something that I learned, paid attention to or thought about during the previous week, with the intention of being more mindful of it during the current. 

My intention for this week is to be at peace with the ‘less-than-ideal’ choices I’ve made, as they are all learning opportunities.

Underrated for certain, forgiveness is more than just saying that you’re “sorry” – it’s about acceptance, letting go and renewing the commitment to your higher, best self and its possibilities.

The first weekend of my coach training program we were given the statement: “There are no mistakes.”  For many of us, this was a difficult pill to understand and swallow. “Huh!? How can that be true? There is obviously a right & a wrong way to do something…”  Even I have difficulty grappling with this one, but here’s the Rachel explanation: Every choice we make is built upon what we’ve experienced so far. We take an action because we think that’s what we have/need/should/are able to do. ‘Mistake’ is a judgment about the action, perceived as “bad” when the outcome wasn’t intended or left us feeling less than. Remove the judgment and you’re simply left with an action, its cause & its effect. Take it a step further and you understand that this process of cause & effect is really how we learn about ourselves and what areas we’d like to improve upon.

I can beat myself up for just about anything. Mood, weight, finances, dirty dishes, what I said to someone, what I didn’t do “perfectly” – the list goes on and on. But you know what? It’s exhausting and such a waste of time and energy to dwell in my perceived lack.  And when I release the need to control, I’m releasing the expectation of the outcome and it feels more like I’m actually living, rather than just reacting to what’s going on for me.

Self-forgiveness is the first step in the shift towards growth. You’ve got to be at peace with all the choices you’ve made up until this point because they are part of who you are. Each moment, you get to consciously chose who you want to be and hopefully, a bit wiser.


Handle with care

Self-doubt is a confusing aspect of human nature.  It’s unfairly perceived as a negative, counter-productive, selfish trait and the hallmark of low self-esteem. Just as easily as we can laugh, we can feel down about ourselves. I argue that feeling in a funk and “less than” is healthy in manageable doses, because it’s actually a key component to growth and personal change. But aren’t we supposed to be happy, fulfilled and complete 24/7? Our culture shuns self-doubt and is quick to label it a disorder or dysfunction. This assumption then perpetuates the belief that something is wrong with me. While self-doubt is really uncomfortable,  exploring it is one of the best opportunities to learn more about ourselves.

As a coach, a majority of what I help people with is their inner judgement about themselves, which typically boils down to a feeling of not being “good enough.” The process to understanding and accepting ones self-doubt  can be intimidating and is often met with resistance, anger, fear, hesitation and even denial. A sense of inadequacy is felt by each and everyone one of us at some point in our lives. We’ll do whatever we can to distract us from feeling that pit of despair. Whatever habits we’ve created to ignore it, our doubt doesn’t subside for very long. Left unchecked, that gnawing sense of inadequacy chips away at all the things we’re proud of about ourselves. At its worst, the self-critical voice tells you to not even try because it’s just not worth it. Not to yourself. Not to anyone. We guard our hurt selves with anger, with self-sabotage, jealously, self-hate and try everything in our power not to come face-to-face with what we fear most. So what is this voice trying to do? It’s actually serving a really important purpose: it wants to protect the most tender and vulnerable parts of our being.

I’ve had 25 plus years getting to know my inner-critic and the lines between that voice and my own were often blurred. Years ago, mine cautioned me to keep people, especially those I really cared about, at an arms distance. The [inevitable] rejection would be too painful. The intense longing to be close to people was repelled by the underlying belief that I couldn’t risk being close to anyone. This voice got so powerful and strong, that by the time it reached a climax, I genuinely believed I was incapable of loving anyone. And more heartbreaking, I was incapable of loving myself. As I became engulfed with an overwhelming anxiety about being fundamentally flawed, something shifted. I’m not really sure how it came into my mind, but in that moment of utter despair, I learned the difference between fear and truth. I faced what I was terrified of and saw the fallacy in it. I wasn’t incapable of loving, I was afraid to because I didn’t want to lose something special to me.

It was incredible to sink that deeply into the darkest part of yourself and discover what you had long assumed down there too terrifying, was actually trying to hold you together and help you survive. My fear was based upon not wanting to feel rejected and alone. So simple, yet it became embedded into various parts of my life that I am still untangling today. All my fear wanted was to be acknowledged and validated. The ignoring, denying, and avoiding only fueled it. It simply wanted me to visit and pay attention to it. It needed the love I was afraid to give.

This single realization opened up a whole world to me, and I knew instantly that I wanted to travel along the path of self-development. Before, I felt helpless, victimized and powerless again my inner-critic but I now had something to work with. I became a significantly more confident and affectionate person and made a great effort to show the world all the love I had to offer. I was Rachel 2.0. I’d love to claim that I’ve permanently put this voice in its place, but I’ve not and that is missing the point. Self-doubt isn’t anything to be ashamed of and a major reason why I became a coach was to help others understand and explore their inner-critic. I’ve accepted that this tender part will always be with me –  it’s an aspect of who I am. It’s just as real as my charisma, intelligence and courage. The difference is I’m not afraid to explore it and when it flairs up [which it often does] and I’m able to meet it with compassion and learn from it. It helps me be a more loving person.  Knowing where your boundary lies is powerful because it becomes the doorway to your freedom.  Self-growth isn’t only nurturing the best part of yourself; it’s knowing how to hold the fragile parts too.

And who better to sing about the topic? Duh, Peter Gabriel.

Take care,

Rachel