A conversation between women on telling your story unapologetically, expressing yourself (all aspects of yourself), debunking stereotypes, and the importance of thinking critically.
One of the most important shifts that I’ve made in my life recently has been to practice being present in the moment.
With all the demands of the day, goals to go for, tasks to juggle, and things to just think about, it can seem really hard to be present where you are.
Being present, however, is essential to experiencing and enjoying life to the fullest.
It’s also an incredible quality to hone for those of us who want to lead change and make great impact on the people and environment around us.
Being conscious of where you are in the moment —> heightened awareness, better listening & observation, & deepened connection with people and surroundings —-> more incisive decision-making —> more effective leadership & impact.
So, how do you stay fully present or find your way back when your mind is scattered? My go-to for gentle reminders and sharp practical insights is The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. I literally keep this book in my purse.
A few more of my favorite thoughts on present-moment living below:
“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“True joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way.” ~ Phil Jackson
“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
A few notes on intuition:
~ It is not the same thing as emotions. Emotions go up and down, and I’ve found that making emotional decisions can lead me to do things that aren’t the best for my health, relationships, or finances.
~ How do you tell the difference between your intuition and your emotions? Emotions are just that: emotions. If it’s intuition, you probably won’t be able to put a distinct emotional label on it. I find that intuition is more a force of love leading you to do something out of an indescribable inner knowing OR a physical gut feeling.
~ Fear feels like a gut feeling too. So, how do you tell the difference between intuition and fear? Watch this video by Marie Forleo: Fear vs. Intuition
~ Marie Forleo also has this lovely quote about decision-making: “Making a blanket statement that you should always do something or never do something fails to honor the nuances and complexity of life as well as the wisdom of your intuition.”
~ The amazing thing about your intuition is that, as far as I know, it is always right. So trust it, girl!
Almost three years ago in 2010, I began what would prove to be the hardest battle of my life so far. A battle of self-image: learning to love who I am and what I am; being able to look in the mirror and actually like and appreciate what I see, without worrying—“Am I good enough?”
When I woke up in the morning, first thing I would do is go to the mirror—I would size my body up and criticize.
Here’s the thing that I noticed: criticizing my body turned into just doubting and loathing myself altogether. Thanksgiving 2010 was the first time I was spending Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s family. And instead of enjoying the festivities of the weekend, all I felt was a deep sense of anxiety and despair.
All I could think about is, “What if his mom doesn’t really like me? What if she’s really just pretending to like me.” Irrational, but y’all this is really what was going on in my head. And every time, I looked in the mirror over that weekend, I’d cringe a little bit, criticize some more and think, “I need to do better.”
One thing was underlying my thoughts: comparison. Comparison is a potent joy-killer. Comparing myself to other people left me feeling empty and doubting nearly every aspect of myself.
Facebook is the pinnacle of the insidious comparison that can steal your joy, happiness, and self-confidence in the most subtle of ways. Funny how everyone of Facebook is always outrageously happy, wildly accomplished, constantly going on these exciting escapades every other day, super motivated, in these perfectly wonderful relationships, super beautiful and photogenic, deeply spiritual and grounded, and are loving every aspect of their lives. Myself included.
Ok, now here’s reality: my reality is that life is sometimes mundane and hum drum. Doesn’t mean that life isn’t still great. My reality is that I am in a loving relationship with a loving person, and we have miscommunications almost daily that we have to work through. Living in Miami has been fun, but mostly it’s been full of transition and hardship. Sometimes I feel like I’m on top of my game, and am loving life. Sometimes I’m just not- I’m a hot mess. I’m not always grateful for all that I have. Sometimes I wake up afraid because I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Sometimes I am full of faith. I laugh a lot because I am happy. I’ve been first and I’ve been dead last. I am learning how to live and how to love. It’s wonderful, it’s painful, it’s fun, it’s hard, it’s all of it. It’s real life.
Whether I am comparing my body or my life to that of someone else’s it’s really all the same.
Here’s why it matters that we let go of comparison (whether it be comparison to people in real life or comparison to the unrealistic lives that we portray on Facebook): Because every little time that I look at someone else’s life and think somewhere in the back of my mind that there must be something wrong with me because my life doesn’t look like theirs, it’s a cut into my self-confidence. And with each little cut into my self-confidence, I’m moving away from actually enjoying and appreciating my own life and I’m keeping myself from moving forward towards real success and fulfillment of my own.
It’s taken me three years to get to this place where I am finally entering into full tilt self-love. I’ve had to give up everything that I thought made me valuable and say “No—what I look like, my body, my accomplishments, how much money I have, what I do for a living, my relationship… none of it can give me my true value.” Who I am and the complexity of my life can never be summed up by any of these things.
You don’t need to live someone else’s unrealistic version of perfect. You need to live your own life. Enjoy your own happiness, and also know that it’s okay if you’re not always perfectly happy.
Question from Songbird Revolution subscriber:
My job search has been long-winded and full of rejection and uncertainty. I feel like I’m struggling with a fear of rejection now more than ever. I’d love to hear your insights into how you managed rejection and came out on top [in your business].
How to deal with fear of rejection in your job search/business/life:
First of all, thank YOU for such an honest question. Love this and a lot of people can relate so thanks for putting it out there. I so relate to struggling with fear of rejection– both feeling rejected in a job search and by people.
I felt the pain of rejection a lot while building my business, and it is not the case that I managed rejection particularly well all the time. I certainly cannot say that I came out on top by normal standards. I hated hearing, “no” over and over again. “No” was an affirmation that not everyone likes/vibes with/connects with/hits it off with me OR that my sales/presentation skills were NOT where they needed to be. But I had to learn to accept this. And I’ve learned how to deal with rejection is a more healthy, empowered way.
The fear and the pain of feeling rejected by people who we desire to love/like/accept us is slightly different from being rejected from a job opportunity, potential sale, business close, or other similar opportunity. For this question you posed, I am going to focus on rejection from job opportunities and such.
This type of fear of rejection is being afraid to ask for something because we are afraid that we’ll be told, “no.”
Just think about that for a minute.
What does that “no” mean? It means that we wanted something, and didn’t get it.
That’s really all it is. It’s that we wanted something and someone told us that they will not give it to us.
So why is this type of rejection so painful?
Because it feels like the person is saying, “What you have to offer me [like, your talents and personality traits] in exchange for what you’re asking me for[like, a job opportunity], is not enough.”
If what you are offering is your talent, experience, personality, skills or some type of product that you created and put your heart and soul into, hearing that it is not enough can be a pretty painful experience. Because it feels like a personal rejection. And hey, in all honesty, maybe it is a personal rejection- maybe the employer/client/customer does not vibe with who you are or who they perceive you to be. But y’all, everyone is not going to like you. I repeat- every one is not going to like/vibe with/connect with/hit it off with you.
If someone tells us, “no” and we feel that pain or rejection, it can discourage us from asking again. We don’t want to feel that pain again.
Here’s what I had to learn in my business: Just because every potential client’s personality didn’t resonate with my own does not mean that there is anything wrong with me. Just because my sales skills were somewhere between rusty and non-existent did not mean that the world was over and I could not improve.
We have to learn that just because we get a “no” doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with us.
Sometimes it’s just not a good fit, and the universe graciously protecting you from things that are not meant for you and lovingly pushing you towards the very things that ARE meant for you. Sometimes people cannot see your worth. Sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with you personally. Sometimes, you just need to ask again- asking only once for the job/client/opportunity isn’t always the way to go.
Next time you are going to a situation where rejection is a high possibility, try this:
- Admit that you really want this. Wholeheartedly admit to yourself, “I would really love to have this opportunity.” Fear of rejection can cause us to try to protect our egos by saying “Oh I don’t really want this that much” or “It’s not a big deal, it’s whatever” before we even go into the interview/ask for the sale/send in the resume. But the problem with that is, this causes us to give a half-hearted effort when we’re actually in the interview/asking for the sale/putting together the resume.
- Assume they will say, “yes.” Even if it’s probable that they’ll say, “no.” Assuming that they’ll say, “yes” puts you in a more confident state of mind and you’ll be able to present yourself and ask for what you’d like more confidently. And a lot of times interviewers/clients respond more favorably to confidence.
- Put your best foot forward. Be sincere. Sometimes, I’ve gotten upset that I didn’t get a job, but when I look back on it, I realize that I didn’t even give it my best effort. If you give it your best shot, what more can you ask of yourself?
- Do not go into the situation seeking approval. When you send in your resume or go into an interview, you should not be looking for someone to affirm who you are or your worth. You have to already know who you are and your worth for yourself. Getting a particular job will not give that to you.
- Take a long-term view. Even if you get rejected from a particular opportunity or even multiple opportunities, in the long-run you’re still going to be successful. Sometimes, we can’t see how things are working out for us, but if we stay true to our purpose things will align for us at just the right time.
- If you get a no, say, “That’s okay. I’ll try again.” You can try again.
- Rumi reminds us, “What you seek is also seeking you.” Imagine, your soul (the true essence of who you are and your unique purpose) knows much better than your logical mind or even your emotional heart what opportunities and experiences you desire. Imagine, the very job opportunity that is meant for you, the one that you desire and may not even consciously realize that you desire, is also seeking you. Be open to it, and it will come to you in time.
Want more on how to have a more peace-filled job search? I have more thoughts on love, purpose, and abundance for you here.
Is your job search filled with fear, anxiety, discouragement, uncertainty, rejection? I’ve been there. Man, have I been there. Here’s what I’ve found that has helped me to have a peaceful job search this time around. If you are starting a job search or in the middle of one, this is for you.
In a nutshell:
Get clear on what you desire, put purpose and love first, be in the present moment, put out positive energy, express gratitude, live a life of love, choose courage. More lovely, juicy details below.
- What’s your desire? – Underneath the job, what is it that you’re really looking for? Do you want to feel successful? Do you want to feel like you have security? Like you are directly impacting people? Do you want to feel like an artist? Like a boss? Like you’re apart of a team? Is having that job going to give you what you desire? Possibly, but maybe not. I’m asking this because sometimes we get so upset when we didn’t get a job, but it’s not even the job that we most deeply wanted. What do you really desire underneath the job, and is this job the only way you can get there?
- Purpose takes precedence over a job. Let your number one focus be to live a life of love and purpose, not a getting a job. When you are committed to living a life of love, service, and doing your purpose, the right opportunities will come your way.
- Going along with that, Be HERE. Your present moment, not the moment when you get your dream job, is your most important moment. Tomorrow is not promised. You have an assignment/purpose/lesson right here and right now. Jobs come and go. But you will always have a purpose, even right now as you’re searching for a job. Who are you supposed to be encouraging right now? Who are you supposed to be serving? Who are you supposed to be learning from? Is this your season of rest? Of being creative? Of doing all the things we complain we can’t do because we’re too busy because of work? This life, is like being student in a classroom… you’ll be able to move on to the next thing (i.e. possibly that job you’ve been wanting), once you can learn the lesson that you’re supposed to be learning right now.
- Check your mindset/energy when you’re applying and interviewing. Do you have a mentality that it’s all about you and you getting a job OR that it’s about you using your talents to serve the needs of an organization? Are you exuding love, abundance, and confidence or are you exuding desperation? The energy that we put out there is key. Send your next application with love. Go into your next interview with confidence.
- Not clear on how to cultivate a mindset of abundance (the mindset that you have what you need, not that you are lacking a job or anything else)? Gratitude is the answer. Gratitude will open your eyes to all you have and it may also open your eyes to what your purpose is. If you get a rejection letter, express gratitude: “Thank you for this opportunity that I’ve had to apply/interview/learn/grow and thank you that the right thing for me is in store and on it’s way.
- Embody love. We often hear that love drives out fear. Well, don’t wait for love to come to you like a force coming out of the sky to take away the anxiety or fears that you may feel in your job search. Again, commit to living a life where you are showing and exuding love even in something as simple as putting together a resume. Then the fear you feel, will become less relevant.
- Sometimes people get discouraged or give up in their job search because they feel this fear or rejection. But beyond rejection, what are your fears? Is it just the pain of getting rejected from a a job opportunity or is there something else tied to it? Are you afraid of what other people think if you don’t get a job soon or a certain type of job? Are you afraid that you are not good enough for the jobs you’re applying for? Are you afraid of being left behind while your friends and peers are moving forward? Of not being able to pay your bills? I have struggled with all of these. I’ve learned that overcoming fear isn’t necessarily about getting over the feeling of fear immediately. Courage isn’t NOT feeling afraid. It’s feeling the fear and deciding to act in opposition to what the fear would lead you to do or not do. For example, expressing gratitude , even when it looks like nothing is working out, is acting in opposition to fear and is an act of courage. And embodying love, even when everything feels like it’s falling apart is an acting in opposition to fear and an act of courage.
You got this. Don’t give up. The right opportunity will come.
I’m sharing several insights and tips on Tough Decision Making starting next Tuesday. It’s going to be very helpful for all of us who are in the midst of making some hard choices related to work, relationships, and all the other crazy adventures life brings us.
From something as simple as, “What do I wear to make a good impression?” to something as complex as, “Which career move do I make and when?” life is full of little and big decisions that we are making everyday.
To me, good decision-making isn’t about getting it right every time. And sometimes, there isn’t one single right answer any way. Decision-making is about being able to make a choice with peace of mind. It’s about being able to sleep at night, to smile and to rest, knowing that your decision was the right one for YOU to make. And to know that even if it wasn’t, this is another opportunity to learn and make a different decision next time.
Some of the most emotionally taxing decisions that we can face are ones involving meaningful tradeoffs. A trade-off is simply the exchange of one thing for another. But it can be painful to feel like you have to choose between family and career, for example. We’ve heard about personal and professional trade-offs from:
Anne-Marie Slaughter: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
Karen Sibert: Don’t Quit This Day Job
Ann Friedman: The Real Lesson of the Opt-Out Generation
Courtney Spence: How to Prepare for 20s to 30s Changes
Sheryl Sandberg: Why I Want Women to Lean In
We’ve seen it, as we’ve watched our moms/aunts/older sisters/mentors make difficult sacrifices.
And we are experiencing it ourselves now: back to school or keep working? stay local or work internationally? stay on this career path or make a switch? financial security or passion work? co-habitate or live separately? when to get married? buy a house or travel the world? when to have a baby? and then possibly more babies? stay-at-home mom at any point or climb the ladder? build a life close to home and family or venture out?
For our own well being, it’s important that we get in the habit of redefining what it means to have a fulfilling life, making peace-filled decisions in our quest to create that fulfilling life, and learning to appreciate our lives for what they are, not for what they “should be.”
Starting on Tuesday, I’ll go over some very quick, simple-to-implement ideas that will help you to make decisions with more confidence and peace.