risk

If you’re waiting until you’re “ready”…

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I want to tell you today, you will never be ready.
There will never be a perfect time.

That dream you have, you know the one I’m talking about, has been patient, that longing has persisted, yet there are still so many hurdles, so many shifts, so many decisions and actions and tasks and choices that will need to be made before you’re ready, or so you say.

And so the waiting continues. The dream may persist, or it may even get put on a shelf, growing dusty and forgotten, and you’ll find other things, so many other things, to distract yourself with.  There’s work, of course. Family, friends, commitments, car repairs, house repairs, moving, changing jobs, getting married or getting divorced, raising kids, and let’s not forget the PTA.

You’re just not ready yet.

Or perhaps you’re waiting until you get the confidence, feel brave enough, get strong enough, lose the weight, “get your shit together”, get the braces on or off, have the right computer, or the right software, “figure out the details” or find a new excuse… It’s just not time yet.

Is your dream persisting? Or has it ducked into the shadows, neglected and tired?

Your days of playing small are numbered.

You feel it, you know it. But you don’t know where to start. It’s daunting and terrifying, taking a dream, an invisible, intangible idea and pushing it into reality where it becomes a living, breathing extension of you.

So the excuses come in handy. And oh, they are abundant, aren’t they?

Like a box of tissues, you can pull out one, and there will be another one waiting right behind it.

Whatever your excuses are for not doing your dream, I’ve heard them all before. And I’ve also seen them smashed to smithereens by one thing and one thing only: Action.

Make one choice today. Just one little choice. Begin to move. Let your dream seduce you, engage you. Brainstorm. Take notes. Doodle your dream. Tell someone. Buy a domain. Schedule that meeting.

Something.

Anything.

Action.

I want to tell you today, you will never be ready.

There will never be a perfect time.

The only time is now.

You owe it to your dream. Your dream is your duty.

It is not an accident that you are the one that wants what you want.

You are the one with that particular fantasy. With that particular desire.

And guess what? You are also the one with the exact set of experiences, talents and abilities to make your dream happen.

It is not an accident it’s yours.

It chose you.

Now choose it back.

 

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Originally published September, 2015. Busy getting ready for tomorrow’s Burlesque Experience Bust-Out! See you there!

I Hate Vulnerability

 

vulnerability

It was a crossroads moment. I was feeling hurt. A few friends were planning a special get-together, and I couldn’t make it on the night in discussion, told them so, and hoped another date would thus be chosen. It wasn’t.

There they were… those sucky feelings from way-back-when. Even though I’ve “done the work”, they still live deep within, and sometimes, when triggered, they still show up. I know on a cerebral level that they are ancient, childhood wounds, I know they don’t apply to this situation. I know my friends love me. Yet, the hurt feelings were there.

At this crossroads, I thought of just sweeping my hurt under the carpet. God knows I’d had many years of practice doing this, it’s a most effective tactic. (NOT.) But I’m “good” at it. Or at least I used to be. I could put on my Tough Girl cape and plow through my hurt feelings and no one would be the wiser. And it would certainly be easier than my other option… Telling my friends my feelings were hurt. (UGH.)

This is how I know I am changing: I chose UGH, over “easy.” Instead of doing it the old way, I chose to reveal, to be vulnerable, to express what was alive and current for me, as messy and embarrassing as it felt to do so.  I did this because my friends challenge me to be brave. They support what is real and true, even if it is not easy or sweet, even if it is messy or ugly. And since I’ve been hanging with these particular folks, I’ve been learning to do this, too. They make me braver.

With the loving nudging of a friend, I swallowed my Tough-Girl pride (my name is Lisa and I’m a recovering Tough Girl.) I stopped pretending everything was okay, and I shared my hurt feelings with them. UGH. This happened more than a week ago and I still cringe. Because here’s the truth. I HATE VULNERABILITY. Not yours, of course, I think yours is super cool and beautiful and all that.

I hate MY vulnerability.

It’s sticky. And messy. And embarrassing. And I feel so… naked.

In vulnerable moments, my armpits sweat, my hands get clammy, my chest gets tight. I want to cry. (In fact, I did, in this instance. Double UGH.) I feel like a baby. I feel embarrassed. I want to hide. Once the reveal is made, I want to rewind.

Yet, more and more, I’m choosing it.

You know why? Because vulnerability is brave. Because I am becoming braver and braver, and ironically, that means becoming softer and softer, toward myself. It means letting the people that care about me know when I am hurting. Because hiding my feelings, sweeping them under a rug is no longer the “easier” choice. It’s becoming more difficult to pull that off. And because on the other side of a vulnerable moment, with the right people, there is deeper intimacy. And intimacy cannot happen without vulnerability. And because I want intimacy.

And, of course, these friends received my vulnerability with tenderness and openness. They didn’t stop loving me, in fact, maybe they even love me a little more, because of my vulnerability. They heard me, they explained scheduling challenges they were working with, they even expressed gratitude, for being let in to what was true for me. They were grateful for my vulnerability. And so was I.

So yeah, I hate vulnerability. And I love it, too.

What about you? Where can you be more vulnerable? Where in your life can you speak the truth, even though it’s messy and uncomfortable? Where and how can you be braver today than you were yesterday?

Maybe someday, I’ll write a blog called “I Love Vulnerability.” Not yet. But today, I can say this.  I’m willing to be vulnerable.

Inclement Weather Announcement

Inclement-weather-announcement-ROTATOR

I’m not sure if you clicked and opened this link because you usually do, or if the subject line piqued your curiosity, but either way, I’m glad you did. There’s something important I want to share.

When I worked at MoveStudio as Marketing Manager, I was responsible for the community email that went out to several thousand people each week. On average, our open statistics were par with industry averages, about 15 to 20%.

Unless there was inclement weather.

In  Dallas, when it snows or ices, the city basically shuts down. Schools, government agencies, businesses, everyone wants to know, what’s open, what’s closed. We burrow and watch the world fold into itself. I love this about Dallas. Coming from Chicago, driving to work through piles of snow and ice, it’s a relief that we just don’t do that here.

So here’s what’s fascinating. At MoveStudio, if we sent out an inclement weather studio closing email, our open statistics went through the roof. Even though, I guarantee, most of those opens were not people who had planned on coming that night.

Thousands of people wanted to read about our decision to close the studio for dangerous conditions outside. We typically had maybe 75 to 100 people walk through our door each night for yoga and dance classes. Not thousands.

Then our regular studio communications would resume, most people would go back to scrolling past our emails, just like the research shows, what most people do with most weekly emails.

Why was that? What could explain this strange phenomenon?

Although I haven’t worked for the studio in a few years, this curiosity always stuck with me.

And I realize, people love inclement weather closings. Whether they are affected by them personally or not.

This week, over lunch with my wise and perceptive dear friend, Jessica, a friend who is also in the helping profession, we talked about vulnerability, revealing our truth, admitting to our struggles and the impact these brave practices have on our businesses.

I wondered aloud, does vulnerability hurt my business?

I am certain there will be more opens on this post than my average.

I have also noticed I get the most click-throughs when I am revealing a struggle, a pain or a personal issue.

Why? Part of me wants to center the explanation around about people’s love for drama, that they actually enjoy watching someone struggle. That there’s a spectator in all of us that loves to grab the popcorn and watch the show.

The other part of me wonders if it’s something deeper.

The question of how vulnerability impacts my business has become increasingly relevant lately because I am learning more and more, to be vulnerable.

I am learning to reveal what is true, what is current, what is alive in me, and that isn’t always pretty, or comfortable, and it doesn’t always fit with the image people have of me, or the persona I have created.

I’ve been meditating on this lately, because it matters to me more than ever.

Do people love my inclement weather more than they love me?

Is it okay for my business if I reveal my own struggles, my own journey, my own humanity?

Will you still hire me to support you, if you know that I’m still working through my own shit?

Here’s what I think will happen, the more I reveal to you, the more I share my vulnerabilities and struggles with you…

Some, just a few hopefully, really do just want to watch me fall, with sadistic pleasure. These are the ones that revel in other people’s failures and struggles so that they can feel superior. In today’s lexicon, we call them “The Haters.”

Some will be disappointed, and withdraw or disengage, because I am not living up to whatever they were projecting onto me, and my human flaws and frailties and struggles become unappealing, in their search for a hero, an icon, a one-dimensional caricature of what they wish I was, projections of what they wish they were.

But, I want to believe, that some, hopefully you reading this, will draw closer to me, and my work, when they understand that I am always in process, just like them. And any projection of perfection or “having it all together” placed on me was one that they created, and that I perpetuated, (and the other way around) in order to feel safe.

They are the ones that might even breathe a sigh of relief, and they will feel a little less alone in their struggles.

I am a little nervous to find out which you are. No matter what, I’ll be okay.

If you find yourself in the last group, thank you. I’m glad you’re here.

Now let’s take care of one another.

Because I am in it, with you.

We are in this together.

I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of work this year, in supportive community and on my own. I told a group I’m in that I feel like I am dissolving. But really, upon more thought, I said: It’s my shellac. It’s crumbling off. This shiny protective covering I’ve worked so hard to maintain, it’s losing its hold. It’s becoming obsolete. I am no longer interested in presenting just that version of me to the world. There’s so much more under here.

But that’s scary. Terrifying even. And exhilarating, too. It’s a striptease of the soul. What if you don’t like what you see?

It’s not that what you’ve seen up til now, if you’ve been following my work, isn’t real. It’s simply that there’s so much more.

Just like you.

What do you show? What do you reveal? How do you decide?

This is how we do it: One truth at a time. One reveal. One vulnerable moment. One brave share at a time.

Let’s do this together. I’m committed.

So yeah, it’s getting’ real up in here. You have been warned.

Inclement weather perhaps? Maybe some. I’ll bring the flashlight. You bring the candles. Let’s take cover together, and ride out the storms.

Through it all, we’ll feel more alive, more connected, more real.

Are you with me?

Rebel Against Your Own Excuses. Do the Thing.

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Well, I did it.

I’d been avoiding it forever, I had a million great excuses why I was not “ready” to create SacredSexyU videos.

Because I was so sick of hearing myself say I needed this or that to create high-gloss, high-glam videos, I realized this morning that the only way I was finally going to get past these excuses was to blow past them.

By rebelling against my own “shoulds” and being the very opposite of what I had thought I “had” to be (glamorous), this morning, I finally did the thing.

And I did it without makeup on or my hair fixed; I wasn’t even dressed, guys.

Did I feel awkward at first? Yes.

Did I feel uncomfortable? Yes, for a little bit.

Did I feel vulnerable? Very yes.

And then guess what happened? I had a video.

And more. I feel braver now. Suddenly I am no longer afraid of video. They will only get better from here.

My excuses are gone, I did the thing.

What’s the thing you’ve been wanting to do, but your excuses have kept you stuck?

How can you totally rebel against your excuses? How can you blow past them?

DO THE THING.

You know The Thing. That thing you’ve been avoiding, staying safe in a nice cushy nest of excuses. You know exactly what I’m talking about. I dare you to tell me what The Thing is, in the comments below.

And while you’re doing things, will you please subscribe to my new YouTube channel?

Without further ado, here it is, my Thing. I did it.

The Inescapable Truth about Confidence, Self-Doubt & that Miserable Inner Critic of Yours

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“The day of unfailing, gorgeous confidence isn’t coming.
Self-doubt will always be a part of what we each work with as we take steps to play bigger.”
– Tara Mohr

Sorry to share this dismal news, but guess what? It really isn’t that dismal, I promise. Keep reading!

Almost every client that hires me expresses her desire to possess more confidence. In fact, I do not know a single person without some degree of insecurity and self-doubt, at least some of the time. And the ones that claim otherwise are faking it, I am certain.

Unfortunately, I think some of us imagine a day in the future when we will move through the world with a complete lack of self-doubt, 100% self-assured and self-confident at all times, and remember with a sweet nostalgia, those days gone-by when we used to feel insecure or unsure of ourselves. “But not anymore.”

As Tara tells us above, that day is not coming. There is some good news though, before we take to crying in our coffee and giving up the fight for a confident life of boldness and courage.

Tara goes on to say, in her profound and stirring book, “Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message”

“The name of the game is not eliminating self-doubt. The name of the game is learning how to let the inner critic do its thing, without taking direction from it. The goal is to hear the inner critic’s voice but not let that voice determine your choices.”

See, I cannot and do not promise anyone I coach the erasure or elimination of self-criticism or doubt. But what I do know how you can transform your relationship to it. I’ve done it. But let me clarify, it’s not something that gets “done” and “Bam! All finished! Glad that self-criticizing phase of my life is over!” I wish.

Living a life untethered and undetermined by my self-criticism is an everyday practice. And when I slack, trust me, insecurities and self-doubt flare up like a pain cycle.

And one more zinger I’ll share from Playing Big… “You don’t have to win the argument with your inner critic; you have to step away from the conversation.”

Step away from the conversation.

When we begin to shift our lives from playing small to playing a bigger game, we can bank on and anticipate our inner critic to jump into position, like a sleeping guard that monitors the borders of our comfort zones. Because the Inner Critic is an expression of the safety instinct we each possess. It’s just doing its job. It feels threatened when you leave the safety of your comfort zone.

Our Inner Critic thinks that by relentlessly belittling us, frightening us, reminding us of our supposed flaws and shortcomings that we will stay nice and safe. Fortunately, we can begin to see this ploy for what it is- safety measures.

We can begin to observe the craftiness of our Inner Critic and separate its voice from our truth. We are not the voice.

We can begin to employ tools and techniques that will quiet the voice. Not with violence or anger, but with love and compassion. For real!

So let’s start there, with the noticing. When it turns up its volume, we can even begin to greet our Inner Critic with a certain sense of gratitude, for it surely must mean we are treading outside of the boundaries of our comfort zones, crossing the border from ideas to reality, and we then we can say “Thank you for doing your job. But I got this.” as we boldly move right through it, blowing it a kiss on the way.

 

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Wanna transform your relationship to your Inner Critic? Join me live for “Tame Your Inner Critic” October Power Circle 10/22 and let’s do it!

 

 

 

Lower the Drawbridge, C’Mon!

Helping-Others“The refusal to ask for help is a kind of sickness in itself. The refusal to ask for help is not rugged individualism but ragged individualism and it is a function of fear.

Not that there’s nothing to fear. Asking for help is a formidable art and requires that we lower the drawbridge.”

– Gregg Levoy, “Callings”

My name is Lisa and I’m a recovering Tough Girl.

Yes, it’s true.

My stubborn refusal to request or receive support has been played out in varying degrees of the pathetic, comedic or ridiculous.

Some of my “Tough Girl” gestures have included (but are not limited to)

  • Ignoring the guide words in the top corners of pages in the dictionary, because I could find the words myself, thank you very much.
  • Lying thirsty in a bed because I didn’t want to seem ‘needy’ by asking for water. After surgery.
  • Refusing to read directions on Rice a Roni, and ruining dinner, because “Directions? I don’t need no stinkin’ directions!”
  • And of course, who can forget the agonizing dark days when I have stared at the phone, deep in my despair, crying, feeling broken, longing to reach out to a friend, but immobilized. By what? Fear of rejection? Fear of appearing “weak”? Fear of being needy? Fear of vulnerability? Yep.

It’s taken a lot of inner work, some great therapy, lots of journaling, some incredible epiphanies, and some brave experimenting but yes, I am learning how to ask for support. I am learning how to risk feeling vulnerable. I am learning how to dance with danger by requesting help and receiving it, too. Ooooh! Crazy, huh?

All that tough girl stuff got boring… so now I choose to experiment in the Love Lab of risk, vulnerability and intimacy. So far, so good.

I am learning that the payoff is worth the risk: deeper intimacy, miracles and fierce support from a loving Universe and its humans that are ready and willing to show up for me (when I lower the drawbridge and invite them to show up for me. Wow, imagine!)

Yes, I’m still a Tough Girl when I need to be. And sometimes, when I don’t. But those guide words in the dictionary? They sure come in handy.

How easy or difficult is it for you to ask for help? When have you needed support but have held back in requesting it? What holds you back?

I dare you to ask someone for help. Turn to a friend, a relative, someone you’re drawn to but haven’t crossed that line with yet, and ask for help, advice, company, support. Put yourself out there. Take that risk. It’s exciting and dangerous, and I am betting you will be supported in your request.

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new front cover TODLExcerpted from my book, Truth or Dare Living: Wild Adventures for Your Sacred, Sexy Soul. Now through the holidays, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite chapters from the book, available on Amazon.com, while I revive and reignite my creative fire with some much needed rest. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Naked.

1936322_173245293472_3785284_n“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”
– Brene Brown

Last night, I began a new session of the Burlesque Experience, with thirteen brand new students. In the opening circle we start every semester with, we go around and the women share why they are there, why they have invested their time, energy and money, what brought them to the Experience.

It’s always exciting and a little anxious, there is nervous laughter and friendly banter and an opening up starts to happen… and there is always crying.

The first person who starts to cry will usually try to choke back the tears, usually apologizing, sometimes fanning her face in that gesture we do to send those unbidden, unexpected tears back into our heads.

And then I urge her… Give yourself permission to cry. When you do, you open the door for all of us.

Immediately, magically, when she gives herself permission to cry, there is deeper transparency and authenticity in the circle. Every time.

I want nothing more from my work than to create a safe place for people to get naked. I just had the soul-tingling experience of realizing that this is paramount to my life’s work. Getting naked together.

We are all scared. We all have wounds. Let’s stop pretending. Let’s stop hiding.

Let the tears fall. We all need a safe place to get naked.

I am not a sadist. I do not enjoy seeing people cry. But I have to admit, when someone cries in my presence, there is an opening that occurs in my heart, and a flood of love and appreciation flows from me, into the world.

As many of you reading this are aware, a giant part of the work I do is helping women get naked.

The Burlesque Experience is a six-week journey that culminates into a beautiful, magical show, and yes, each woman gets up on that stage in front of a couple hundred cheering people, and strips for them. As you can imagine, it’s downright petrifying and beautiful and amazing.

As they cheer and hoot and holler, she undresses, she teases, she beguiles, she amuses, she entertains.

But there is something going on that’s much deeper, it’s kind of a secret, actually…

Getting naked is healing work. Whether you’re taking off your clothes and showing an audience your glorious, amazing body, or you are shedding a mask, letting tears fall, showing your soul, revealing the soft tender parts of you that have been hidden.

Stripping for an audience the first time is a life-changing event that puts you in control of your life, your energy, your body in a terrifying and exhilarating way. It makes you vulnerable. It makes you beautiful.

I have the honor of supporting women through this process, but the more I think of it now, the more I realize, there’s nothing I love more than getting naked with people and seeing them get naked, both physically and metaphysically.

Let’s get naked.

I’m not talking about taking off our clothes. (Although you know I fully support that, as described above.)

I’m talking about taking off our masks.

I’m talking about taking off our costumes, you know… the ones we wear all the day, to get through life, to do our jobs.

To survive in this dangerously challenging world… The masks and disguises we created to stay safe, to avoid vulnerability.

So why do I secretly bask in the energy that is created when someone cries in my presence?

Because they are getting naked. And that’s sexy.

Because they are being brave. And that’s magical.

Because they are revealing their hearts, their souls. And although I love the thrill of burlesque and a good old fashioned striptease, I’m much more interested in a different kind of strip.

The stripping away of masks, of fronts, of costumes and disguises.

Let’s get naked, eh? You can leave your clothes on, but show me your soul.

Because vulnerability is beautiful and you’re sexiest when you’re real.

 

 

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photo by Dee Hill Photography

 

Warning: Some People Don’t Want You to Grow

keep-calm-and-shine-690_largeShining too bright, eh?

Not everyone likes when you grow.

When you quake, it shakes their ground, too. Especially the people closest to your fault line.

Understand this: You are an evolving creature, radiating brighter than ever before, making empowered choices. You are changing. And some people hate that. They don’t even know that they hate that, they might never admit that they hate that, but when you change, and they do not, it’s a reminder. You become a mirror of what they are not. And most people don’t like reminders of what they are not.

Quite often, the ways you are changing also have direct implications for them, and the dynamic of your relationship.  They might have to pick up the slack in the relationship, or around the house. They may need to make more effort. They might have to change their minds and let go of preconceived notions or outdated beliefs about who you are. They might have to grow, too, to keep up with you, and this doesn’t always go over well.

Unfortunately, it’s a rare and preciously self-aware person that can say “The growth and change you are experiencing is making me uncomfortable and I feel scared. So in order to not act out in a way that is hurtful to you, I’m telling you what’s going on.” Nah, hardly happens like that. Instead, there’s the acting out. The resistance, the arguments, the distancing, the gossip, the jabs. There might be snide or snarky comments or complete verbal punches in the gut, that take the wind right out of you. There might be knockdown-dragout arguments. It might even feel like the world itself is crumbling.

There might be a complete and radical breakdown of the relationship, where a choice has to be made, and it may be the most difficult, painful choice you have ever made.

No one ever said evolution would be easy.  But there’s no turning back. You can’t ungrow. You can try, in all sorts of unsavory, self-sabotaging ways, but even THAT is growth, believe it or not. No, you’re here. You are evolving, you are growing in delightful, beautiful ways, and to some people, that’s just scary. They have ideas  and beliefs about you, after all. And when you shake up someone’s ideas and beliefs, it makes them feel wrong, and feeling wrong is one of our least favorite feelings, so we will do what we need to do to stay right. Feels safer, after all. We’ve all done it. It just sucks when it happens to you. At you.  But what if it was happening FOR you?

Guess what? It is.

The distillation process gets hot. And then, there is purification.

Go ahead, grow.

Let those old skins peel and fall from you. Become the next evolutionary version of you, without apology, without shame, without regret.  Trust your path. Claim your power. Own your shine. And know that there is a place, a world, a reality, where your shining brightly does not diminish the light of others, where you are invited and encouraged to be your most amazing, fabulous, beautiful, radiant self, with others being their most amazing, fabulous, beautiful, radiant selves. I know this because it’s the reality I live in. It’s my address, and I won’t settle for living elsewhere.

When you shake things up, things get shaky.  Hold on to something stable, ground your feet, and keep growing. You’ll be okay. I promise.

“There is a Brilliant Path Within You” An Interview with Tama Kieves

When you begin reading a new book, and one of the first things you read is this, you know this book’s gonna be a game-changer…

“Let’s face it. There aren’t many voices in the world that will encourage you to follow your inner rock star or anointed one and get out there on the window ledge of ordinary life, mock gravity and fly.  We won’t succeed through traditional means because force, fear and standard projections do not motivate us. We are moved by bold ideas, big love and intuitive, flawless direction… We did not come here to do what’s been done before. We came here to expand, inspire, heal, express create and realize the exhilaration of being everything we are meant to be.”

A game-tama1changer it was, “Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Exceeding in Your Life’s Work” by Tama Kieves. It rocked my world. So much that I couldn’t stop talking about it, posting about it, prescribing it like medicine to my visionary clients, buying extra copies as gifts and quoting from it in my blog.

One such inspired blog post got noticed, by Tama Kieves’ publicist from Penguin Publishing. Imagine my overwhelming delight, awe and wonder when I was invited to interview Tama for my blog. Pinching myself, I dove in to the opportunity.

Funny (incredible, magical, wondrous…) how things happen. I’m delighted to share the interview with you now. And you should run, not walk, to your nearest Amazon.com and grab a copy for yourself. And a few extras for your friends. It’s that good. And no, I have not been paid for this endorsement. Enjoy!

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Photo courtesy of Jason Coviello

Me: Tama, you’re no stranger to leaving what feels like security and jumping into the unknown. There are so many who tolerate misery five days a week, 8 hours a day, living for the weekend, praying for the days to go by faster. What advice do you have for the “gainfully-employed”, yet mostly-miserable?

Tama: You are meant to succeed in the work you love. I am sad that so many put so many hours of their lives into something they don’t love, and so little attention into what they do love. I believe this needs to be a paradigm shift.

If you knew what living an inspired life could be, you’d put every waking second into it you could. You’d run toward this joy. So meanwhile… I always suggest that you start doing something that you love right now. Do anything you love. It will change your brain chemistry, make you feel more relaxed and happy, open you to creative ideas and brilliant insights. It will make you feel spiritually connected. You will remember that you’re not alone. You’re not small. You’re not limited. And that you do have an element you belong in. Once you taste this kind of love, you won’t settle for anything less. It doesn’t mean you have to quit a career. I just want you to follow your passion now, maybe on Wednesday nights, maybe on the weekends. Let it begin to heal and compel you. It will transform you. And you will know your own next right steps.

Many people I know are finding themselves almost “thrust” into the unknown, perhaps after getting laid off or quitting their 9-to-5s. What’s the first thing people should do when trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives?

Do not try to figure out your whole life. Find a way to decrease your fear. This is a spiritual journey. Find a way to get in touch with a Love and Power that gives you strength. You are not alone. There is already a path for you. I tell my clients, “You’re not going to figure this out. You’re going to let it out.”  When you think about what you want to do with your life, don’t think in terms of a job or a definition. Blurt out crazy desires. The soul speaks in the language of hunger and joy. The mind craves the known. The soul will lead you to the unknown—the infinite strength and freedom you already have and you most want to experience in this lifetime. This isn’t going to be a linear path. It’s going to be a path of following the bread crumbs, one moment at a time. Just stay in the moment.

In your book, you talk about how following our calling has little to do with our mood or feelings, and that often, pushing through when we’re not in the mood offers us growth and opportunity. What tips do you have for pushing through on those days when we’re feeling low or uninspired?

It’s taken me a long time to realize that my work is medicine. I don’t feel good before I do it. I feel good after I do it. I always tell my coaching clients, “You do not empower the gift. The gift empowers you.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven up to a speaking engagement, thinking ‘oh my God, how can I say something inspiring right now?’ And then I start speaking the truth, I start falling in love with the participants, and I’m carried on a stream. I leave feeling high and strong and totally convinced of my mission. Same thing with writing. I don’t always feel inspired to write that day. But I know that if I write, I’ll be stronger. I’ll stir the magnetic forces. So over the years, I’ve learned from contrast. On the days I avoided my calling, I had a rotten day. On the days when I did anything towards it, I felt great. In my first book This Time I Dance!, I talk about giving something 300 seconds of devotion…as in commit to showing up for at least 5 minutes and then let the activity take you in.  The work will make you feel like working.

I’ve noticed that many on the verge of great things will somehow invite self-sabotage into their personal or professional lives, perhaps as a way of staying small or safe. I’ve done some of this myself. Why do you think this happens, and have you had personal experience with this?

Sometimes I think we call things sabotage, when perhaps we’ve been doing the absolute right thing all along. I don’t believe we can ever sabotage our good, for real. I think we can beat ourselves up an awful lot. There are times when I “blew” an opportunity or it didn’t come through. But I now believe that everything is in right timing. There is nothing but grace. I may not have been ready for that opportunity or it may not have been the opportunity I thought it was. I also believe the Universe is an Unlimited, magnificent force of endless good. It doesn’t know lack. So I can “blow” an opportunity, and there will be a thousand more. More importantly, there will be the astonishingly perfect one for me.

In the book, you quote frequently from your personal journals. I’ve also been an avid journaler since I was a teen, and it’s been a fundamental tool for my development, my soul, my healing path.  What’s interesting is that many of the things I have since learned are journaling techniques were just innate tools inside of me. Did you have a similar experience? What role has journaling played in your life? And how can a non-journaler become a journaler?

I journal to explain life to myself. Also, as you know in Inspired & Unstoppable, I teach the journaling technique of Inspired Self Dialogues, as a way of helping someone tap their most brilliant direction, guidance and the counsel of their own inner success coach. It’s a technique I’ve used for years and it’s saved my life. It pulls me out of the darkness and exhaustion of my everyday limited mind. It reminds me of my mission, my power, and all the wonder that has already taken place in my life. Writing helps me tap back into feeling and knowing. It’s different than just thinking about something. It’s knowing something on paper. My journal is the best therapist on the planet.

As far as non-journalers becoming journalers…I’d say two things. One, drop the fears of journaling. Don’t think about it as writing. Talk on paper. The other thing I’d say is that if journaling isn’t your thing, don’t make it your thing. You have your own inspired way to find your voice. You have your own divine way of listening and receiving. Maybe it’s meditation or mountain biking or yodeling in the shower. It doesn’t matter. Just pay attention to how you connect with yourself, how you receive your best ideas and shifts. That’s what you’re looking for.

What advice do you have for someone who is overwhelmed with choices and possibilities of directions, desires, opportunities. How can we release the fear of making a wrong choice and just choose?

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Photo courtesy of Tama Kieves

I deal with this question in every one of my retreats and workshops. I have a thousand things to say. But I’ll just spit out some quickie thoughts for now. I would always say, stop trying to define your path, and start discovering it instead. Follow the energy of what speaks to you in this minute. Please don’t think you need to define it, brand it, franchise it or dismiss it because it “doesn’t make money” or so you think. There is already a brilliant path within you. Just follow what you want to do right now. Your head has a thousand ideas. Your soul or heart does not. If you follow what you really want to do right now, it will lead you to a next step and then another and then another. Your calling will emerge and evolve. It’s not something you define immediately. You have to play, explore, and then allow yourself to be hooked. You will be guided every step of the way, if you stop trying to analyze it and fit it into a box and a guarantee right away. Also, please give yourself permission to change your mind at every turn. If you do not have permission to change your mind, then you are not following guidance, you’re following will power and that’s a different path.

What are some of the greatest changes you’ve experienced in your own inner life between writing “This Time I Dance” and “Inspired and Unstoppable”?

I think the biggest thing that happened is I found my own inner authority. I used to have a really strong aversion to being called an expert in my field. I didn’t want anyone to feel as though they needed an expert, because I believe they have their own inner genius. But really, I also think I felt uncomfortable owning my authority and talent. Something has really shifted that way for me. I think in writing Inspired & Unstoppable, I took in how strong and brave I really am, and how much I have accomplished through inspired and unconventional means. I’ve also now worked with thousands of people and seen the same results every single time and something has finally gotten through to me. So…I finally feel like I truly am a leader and visionary. I finally feel as though I’ve got this fire and knowing within and that I’m not just “making it up” or getting lucky. I’ve got a track of record of success, and more importantly, I’ve got a track of record of dealing with my own uncertainty and fears and a faith that has grown through years of staying true to my heart and instincts.

If you could pare down your mission, your message, into one juicy statement, what would it be?

I can’t! So I’ll just blurt out a few things. I want you to know that your dreams aren’t frivolous. They are instructions. They are imperatives. They are what you came here to do in this lifetime.  You have more strength than you know and you will only know your true expression by following what calls you.

I am also here to legitimize creativity and spirituality. I am here to help build a new mainstream where everyone is doing the work they’re meant to do—and following their inspiration instead of their fear.

Thank you, so much Tama, for your time, and inspiring me to be Inspired and Unstoppable! What a gift!

Lisa, thank you so very much for supporting “Inspired & Unstoppable” and my work in the world. I am so grateful for the strong, intelligent, creative souls this work reaches. I am grateful for YOUR work in the world. I know how much courage it takes. And I want you to know I am rooting for you all the way.

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Wow, do I feel blessed and lucky. This is one of those blogs I’ll need to read over and over. So much deliciousness!

If you love what you’ve read, you can get continuous on fire support with Tama and her tribe at TamaKieves.com where you can download a FREE “Unleash Your Inspired Power” tool kit, to help them find their true direction and let go of fears right now. It also includes a subscription to her monthly e-newsletter. And also join us on Facebook and Twitter daily.

A Daring Adventure or Nothing

LifeDaringAdventureWhen I was in seventh grade, awkward, uncertain, and incredibly restless, my unsupervised class Christmas party ended up being a giant circle of Truth or Dare.

While our tired and disengaged teacher flipped through the newspaper, oblivious to our activities, thirty pubescent, horny boys and girls circled up and began to play.

Oh my God, I thought, this is it, my opportunity to BE KISSED. I hadn’t yet, up til then, in spite of the colorful yarns I spun at recess sitting on the school steps, with a couple of my friends, sharing exotic, made up tales of various ‘bases’ of sexual experience with imaginary boyfriends they would not, not surprisingly, ever meet. So excited I was that Truth or Dare day, I went to the girls’ bathroom, feathered my hair, applied a fresh coat of Bonnie Belle lip gloss and returned to the circle, nervous, adrenalin pumping, ready for action.

“She can’t play!” Someone nominated my exclusion. “She’s too young.”  I was a tender eleven to their twelves. I wasn’t THAT young, for goodness sake.  “No, you can’t play!” Others chimed in. I was devastated. I pretended not to care, I would just watch, fine, whatever. I didn’t want to play anyway.

Perhaps this explains the beginnings of my lifelong love for the game of Truth or Dare.  I grew out of my awkwardness, but not out of my desire to be titillated, challenged, amused and entertained. As an adult, I’ve spiced up many a dull party with a good game of Truth or Dare.

I love the idea of daring others and being dared out of comfort zones, of speaking truthfully, intimately expressing what might have never been revealed otherwise. Boldly stepping out of the mundane and into a wilder, more adventurous version of ourselves.

In fact, that’s what my life has become. I look at life as a laboratory of sorts. A playground, an improv stage, that we make up as we go along, where each and every moment we have the opportunity to test our boundaries, to dare ourselves to play bigger, be bolder, live courageously, love wildly. Sure, we can stay folded up inside of ourselves, cozy and “safe” within our comfort zones. Plenty of people do. I can’t live that way.

By some magical, awesome twist of fate, I have become the type of person that would rather risk than stay safe. When faced with a conflict or challenge, even the desire to retract and contract, I choose to go deeper, even if terrified, instead of folding up inside myself. It’s scarier, riskier, out on a limb. But as the old saying goes, that’s where the fruit is.

How are you living your life?

As a laboratory, where you get to experiment with opportunities, choices, combinations, testing things out courageously, not knowing what you might get, but risking anyway?  As a playground, where new scenarios and adventures can be imagined and created, always new and colorful, even if you’re playing with ‘the same old swings’?

And what will it take to move you out of the mundane into the wild, daring adventure your life can be?

I dare you to take that leap, whatever that leap may be. Take that class, make that move, commit to that relationship, dive into life, let go of that old story that holds you back, ditch your excuses, jump in, arms raised, heart open and say YES to the life that is calling you.

I dare you.

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Have you heard about my new program, The Truth or Dare Club? I invite you to explore, and obey the stirrings your heart is expressing. It’s time. You ready for this? Join the Club. The only thing you’ve got to lose is what’s been holding you back.