You have to be your own best advocate. Know your worth and don’t settle for anything less. This International Women’s Day stand up, speak out, and shine. You were born for this.
Today I looked into a camera and said my weak things in a strong voice. I told my story about my intense struggles with PTSD after my apartment building fire, and how that recovery turned me into an author. I told my deepest, darkest secret, and I feel fierce and free. Link to video will be live soon.
If you commit to following your curiosity and passion, the opportunities will be endless. The universe rises up to support bold visions and those with the courage to turn dreams into reality.
“I wondered about the explorers who’d sailed their ships to the end of the world. How terrified they must have been when they risked falling over the edge; how amazed to discover, instead, places they had seen only in their dreams.” ~Jodi Picoult,
Sometimes we don’t know what we’re driving toward. We just have the insatiable desire to try something new, to explore, to discover. Don’t worry that it won’t work, that you won’t be right for an opportunity. Leave yourself in the running to have a new experience. Trust that who you are in this moment is enough to become who you want to be in the next moment. Take a chance. Be an explorer. That’s the only choice that fosters change and creates a new reality out of dreams.
“Say your weak things in a strong voice.” ~Carrie Fisher
Confession session: I have a fear of public speaking. Yes, I’m a storyteller, host, and writer. I do a lot of interviews on both sides of the table. And yes, I get stage fright every single time. I’ve been known to get hives, get sick to my stomach, and not eat for a day before I have a speaking engagement.
I’m scared and doing it anyway. It’s the only way we get better.
Why would I ever admit that? Because I think it’s important to help each other along. I think it’s important to help each other do difficult things. And that begins with honesty.
What fear do you continually face down?
Here’s a lesson we should adopt from Olympic ice skaters: they receive more points for attempting a difficult jump and falling than they do from downgrading the jump to something easier and landing perfectly. Why isn’t that the norm in our entire society. Let’s reward and celebrate one another for daring greatly and failing rather than taking the easy path.
I haven’t written poetry in a very long time, and as I was walking to work this one popped into my mind. I don’t know where it came from, but I felt empowered as I wrote it down. I hope you feel empowered reading it.
Do not mistake my kindness for weakness,
or my desire to collaborate as an inability to lead.
I have been through the intense pressures of life and emerged bright, shiny, and polished.
Like clay in a kiln.
Like a buried diamond, now free.
Believe me when I say I stare into the fire and smile.
Do not underestimate me.
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” ~Josephine Hart
My friend, Tony, wrote this quote on his Facebook wall and it immediately brought a smile to my face. People who have been knocked down and rise up, again and again, can never be beaten. They will find a way up, out, over, and through any and every difficult situation. It will take time, courage, and a significant amount of effort but they will do it. They are the people I admire the most—the ones who persist against any and all odds, determined to live the life they imagine.
If fascist, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, sexist extremists think for one second that I’m going to be intimidated by their displays of hate, especially in a town like Charlottesville that has served such an important part in my life, they have another thing coming. I am not ceding a single inch of my country that my ancestors, family members, and friends have fought to secure so that all people can freely and passionately pursue their dreams.
If the events in Charlottesville have done anything, they’ve strengthened my resolve to continue to stand up and fight for justice. I am sick and saddened that people can be so hate-filled and I flat-out refuse to allow anyone to make me feel helpless or hopeless. What happened in Charlottesville can happen anywhere. There are constant intimidations, micro aggressions, and open displays of intolerance across our country and the world every single day in every community.
This is my promise: I will not retreat and I will not be silent. I will continue to rise and speak up with every breath and every ounce of energy I have, in all circumstances, for all people who wish to be a part of Team Human. That’s the side I’m on, the side of goodness.
“You have gorgeous skin.”
That’s what a woman at a networking event said to me last night. I would have dismissed the comment except for the fact that she followed up that statement with her business card. She’s the Secretary General for the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists. She knows skin.
I’ve always been very self-conscious about my skin. When I was in my early 20s, I developed horrible acne due to extreme chronic stress and it left some scarring on one side of my face. I still think of myself that way even though that time is nearly 20 years in my review mirror. I am constantly examining my face for flaws out of habit.
This woman’s comment reminded me that we often tell ourselves outdated narratives about who we are based upon our past experiences and circumstances that no longer apply. I carry around a number of these stigmas, none of which are true anymore but they’ve created such a deep groove in my brain that it’s hard to let go of them. Like a car that’s stuck in the mud, I keep spinning those same wheels to no avail when what I really to do is get out of the damn car and leave the mud behind once and for all.
Recently, I’ve been telling myself new narratives about strength, resilience, and courage to replace the ones about weakness, inadequacy, and fear. It’s going to take some time to erase the old patterns but with a little TLC and a hefty dose of patience I think I can turn it around. If you’re battling these same types of demons now, let’s build each other up. Face it—this world needs all of us at our best and the only way we’re going to get there is by raising up one another. With me?