My all time favorite advice came from Grandma Bushka who told me, “Never let anybody tell you who you are!”
It’s perfect, because I’ve never liked being told who I’m supposed to be. But in a world that demands we “be the best” or be expert at our chosen profession, it’s tough to acknowledge that many of us are multi-hyphenates: Renaissance women.
We all have a deep need to be accepted and feel included. As a coach, teacher, writer, and artist, I’ve been told along the way to specialize, or pick a super small niche to write about, or “brand yourself as X.”
And I would try, but it was like wearing a tight, itchy wool sweater.
It always felt wrong, just off.
It’s all around us:
Define yourself by how you eat, how much you weigh, how you look.
You are your politics.
Define yourself by what you teach (and only one thing, please).
In my 19 years of being a coach and pro-creative, I’ve seen this focus on specialization lead to fragmentation, both personally, within ourselves, and professionally, in that we feel like we’re only supposed to do, teach, or BE one thing.
And this just kills off the richness, subtly, and wide array of tools that we all have to offer!
When you go out for a fine dining experience, do you want a one-note meal of only bread or just salad greens?
For real, rich feasts, we go to master chefs who have learned to blend and mix an entire range of ingredients. We want the full meal.
Over the years, I began to see a way to integrate and blend passions, skills, strengths, and a wide array of education in a gorgeous treasure hunt that leads to a big, rich, powerful body of work:
- I was a vegan health coach for years after Super Size Me came out. But then I realized that the plant-based diet was too restrictive for most people, and even dangerous for some of us. (I’m still healing the impact of chronic anemia)
- After 10 years of health coaching, I got itchy. Just focusing on people’s eating and food choices wasn’t serving people in the deepest way I knew was important, and that they were asking me for. It was like putting a bandaid on a pinched nerve. It wasn’t providing the deeper levels of healing I knew were necessary for my clients.
So I started adding tools and teachings that I was exploring in my own life:
- Positive Psychology became a foundational aspect of my work with clients. Finally, I could help women understand and stop the Imposter Syndrome that plagued their minds with Growth Mindset tools and strategies. Mastering the art of post-traumatic growth became a cornerstone of every client’s success plan.
- I started teaching Embody dance classes to my retreats and group courses, after seeing that connecting with our physical selves was profoundly healing. It also had the bonus side-effect of growing our confidence, self-love and intuition, and reducing stress.
- Then, after years of hiding it from the world, I finally declared myself an Artist. I had believed that because I didn’t go to art school, and didn’t make my living selling paintings, I wasn’t really an artist. Then I began to teach watercolor to my clients and retreats, began to sell paintings, and developed a regular practice of creating.
Every step of the way, with each skill, passion, and healing I experienced, the fears and lack of clarity have dissipated.
As we allow ourselves to explore ALL our passions, and integrate all our tools, we grow our intuition, Inner Authority, and self-trust.
Every step of the way, with each piece of ourselves that we gather and connect, like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle, we become whole, and the self-doubt grows quiet, more faint.
True confidence requires that we own all parts of ourselves. When we begin to celebrate all of our sides, we finally feel seen, known, and content.
We know ourselves as the whole beings we are.
Integrating all of these pieces and aspects, passions, and skills is the most profound path to self-satisfaction and personal success I can teach.
I believe our world needs more Renaissance Womxn who own and utilize their many talents, skills, and abilities. And I’ll just bet you are one, too.
In my work with clients I help achievement-oriented women:
- How to integrate your strengths, skills, and passions into a cohesive life and work strategy
- Mastering Change (it’s safe to evolve, all the answers are inside you)
- Success Energetics + Habits
- Community is KEY
- Growth Mindset (end perfectionism and welcome your evolution)
There’s nothing I love more than witnessing a womxn reclaim her full self, from her dark secrets, to her proud moments, and totally integrate into a new, stronger version of who she truly is.
It’s about owning and sharing all of who you truly are.
It’s not a simple, clean path to integration.
There is messy, tough stuff along the way.
There will still be moments of self-doubt. (I still have them, they’re just fleeting and expected.)
AND there are practices, habits, and community to help us get unstuck and onto our path of creative leadership.
So that we can keep on building this life, sharing this work, and helping each other to grow, heal, achieve, and create lives and work that matters.
This is about sharing yourself, your perspective, and the experiences that have made you who you are, in a unique, gorgeous, never-to-be-seen again package that is YOU, and is ever-changing.
Photo Credit: Sam Joseph
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