21 Questions with Boss Mom Michelle Dempsey, (Like the 50 Cent song, Only More Empowering)

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Meet Michelle Dempsey, my new woman and mompreneur crush. She is the founder of Very-Well Written, where she helps businesses with content and brand marketing. You can also find her wisdom all over the Internet at top sites such as Mind Body Green, Elite Daily, Huffpost, Forbes and Scary Mommy. When she’s not hustling at work, she can be found doing mom things with her adorable two-and-a-half year old daughter, coffee in hand. And during those child-free moments, cardio, binge-watching Netflix, and more coffee keep her sane.

We connected over our shared desire to use our big voices to help women find theirs, to empower them to own their struggles and live their passions, our well-developed ability to say no to people and things that don’t serve us, and the mom struggle that is indeed, very real.

1. Describe yourself in five words.

Dynamic, creative, sincere, inspirational, no holds barred

2. The moment that changed my life was

The moment I learned that my intuition was really onto something, and that it was worth trusting. It was one of those moments where everything came into focus, and finally, everything that came before it made perfect sense.

3. I found my voice when

I realized my words had the power to inspire and influence others, and that sharing my truth meant helping others to heal from theirs.

4. I’m empowered because

I’ve learned to say no and mean it. I’ve learned to walk away from what doesn’t serve me without apologizing for it. I’ve learned the power of my intelligence, my kindness, and my womanhood. I’ve learned that you don’t get what you want in life, you get what you are, so if you want great, be better.

5. I empower others because

I am as authentic as I am transparent. I say what everyone else is thinking. I choose risk over comfort. I go after what I want like it’s the last train of the night. I don’t apologize for being who I am yet I always lead with kindness. 

6. Putting yourself first is

Not selfish. At all. Putting yourself first is the single best thing you can learn to do for yourself in this lifetime yet it’s every woman’s biggest challenge. We’re mothers, we’re daughters, we’re friends, we’re wives, hell, some of us are even ex-wives, and the expectation is that we do for everyone else first, right? And then what? We burn out, lose our sense of self and live with regret and resentment. We get divorced, we hate our jobs, we can’t believe we never told that friend how much she hurt us and now can’t stand the sight of her. It took me 30-plus people-pleasing years to learn that there is no shame in advocating for your own needs before anyone else’s. Even as a mom, a really devoted one at that, I know that I can’t pour from an empty cup, and when Mama’s taken care of, everyone else benefits. We’re not taught to put ourselves on a pedestal and I’m not sure why. But what I do know is, once you get to that place where you value, and I mean really and truly value who you are, putting yourself first becomes a ritual as natural, and necessary as breathing. 

7. I take care of myself by

Taking time for myself at some point, even if it’s just a few moments, every single day. Working out helps me focus and regroup, and in the interest of being authentic, it helps me deal with being a semi-anxious workaholic. I sleep when I need to sleep, and when shit hits the fan I shut off my phone and head for a massage. I surround myself only with people who bring happiness and joy to my life, do my best to keep outside drama to a minimum, and breathe deeply through the moments that aren’t so pretty.

8. Best mom win

When my daughter first started school, at a teeny 18-months old, she came home one day with a bite mark on her arm. Her teacher informed me that another little girl in class had bitten her during a typical toddler battle over some toys. When I asked how my daughter retaliated, thinking she likely resorted to hurting this little girl for biting her, I was told that she hugged and kissed her teeny attacker and gave her the toy she wanted to play with. Sounds simple, maybe, but knowing that my daughter reacted with kindness meant more than I could ever put into words. That was the moment I realized I was doing something right.

9. Worst mom fail

Happens every morning when I lose the battle over what’s for breakfast because someone is running late for work and another someone had to be in school five minutes ago.

10. Motherhood is

The single greatest thing that has ever happened to my life. Sound cliché? Then you must not be a mom.

 11. Moms should

Reread question #6. And then stop what they’re doing, look in the mirror, and repeat after me, “Hello, you gorgeous goddess, you’re slaying this whole mom game. I’m so proud of you and damn that ass looks great.” Then try to be easier on yourself. And maybe have a glass of wine.

12. Before I became a mom, I wish someone told me

All of those little things my Mom did that annoyed and drove me crazy would become exactly my way of mothering. And that your child can and will survive even if they drink formula, and that all the things you swore you wouldn’t do as a mom would become exactly the things you do the most as a mom.

13. Women need each other because

No one knows a woman like a woman. Our needs, our struggles, our emotions and feelings. The support of other women, the powerful feeling of knowing that a group of trusted ladies have your back no matter what – that’s a big part of what I live for. As the co-founder of a professional networking group for women, I am always so intent on opening the doors to amazing women who truly understand what it means to help another woman rise. It’s vital. 

14. My last meal would be

At Il Mulino in Miami and would include calamari with extra lemon, spaghetti carbonara, and a Caesar salad. And a gin and tonic, or two. Oh and dessert, but I don’t discriminate. 

15. Three things I can’t live without are

Love, my laptop, and coffee.

 16. My perfect day is

Spent in the company of those I love, with my laptop, and some coffee.

17. The books I swear by are

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” If that doesn’t describe the turn my life has taken, then nothing ever could.

18. When life gives you lemons

Order more calamari.

19. I don’t wait for doors to open, I

Kick them the f*ck down.

20. I want my daughter to know

It is who she is at her core, how she treats others, what her passions are and what drives her, that will truly define her as a woman. Not what she looks like, who she chooses to love, whether or not she’s the most popular girl in her high school class, or if she avoids broccoli in the same way some of us avoid dental visits for the rest of her life.

21. You can find me at

Target, screaming toddler in cart, grande latte in hand, hoping for a BOGO on the Lysol wipes and veggie sticks.

BIO: Michelle Dempsey MS, CPRW is an entrepreneur, internationally published writer and marketing guru, girl gang leader, radio host, and above all things, a mother. Michelle Dempsey turned a passionate hobby into a thriving career. Internationally published and known for her ability to connect with readers on a deeper level, Michelle launched her own business, Michelle Dempsey: Very Well-Written, offering content marketing and consulting services to businesses of all kinds. Michelle partners with all clients in a collaborative process that allows her to write from the point of view of her client, a winning strategy for success. She speaks to female audiences regularly on topics including empowerment, personal development, and business success, and last year, co-founded one of South Florida's fastest growing networking groups for professional women, ProFemmes.

This article originally appeared at Mogul.

Why As a Mom, I Don’t Believe In Living a Child-Centric Life

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“The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.” –C.G. Jung

I'm putting a different spin on this year's Mother's Day themed post. For Mother's day, I'm discussing what I will NOT be doing for my child, what's NOT my job, and why.

I know many of you are gasping just from reading the title of this article, but if you would put the pitchforks down for just a minute, I can explain.

I love my child. I love him so much it can be overwhelming, even scary at times. So much it keeps me up at night as my mind races with all the “what ifs,” hopes for his happiness, and prayers I’m not screwing him up. So much that I want him to always be successful and have whatever he needs and wants.

But as I reflect on my son turning 4 this past month, I’ve realized he can’t just have everything handed to him, and certainly not by me. That’s not my job as his mother. My job as his mom is to love him unconditionally, make sure he feels safe, that he belongs, and provide him with the coaching and tools he needs to learn to advocate for himself and what he needs so he can create his own path to happiness and success.

I can’t and won’t make my child the center of my world and wrap my entire identity around his accomplishments. Placing the entire responsibility of his happiness and success on my shoulders is an enormous burden for one woman to carry.

It’s not always easy, especially because I more than like to be in control, but there are so many reasons for why I am choosing to live this way.

First, when I give everything I have to my child, over-involve myself in his academics and activities, and obsess about his achievements, I have nothing left for myself or my husband. How can I give my son a happy family where he feels safe and secure when my marriage is hanging by a thread resulting from the stress of over-parenting?

Having two tired, overwhelmed, disconnected parents who fight and are starved for affection benefits nobody and our child will suffer for it. I would rather model what a healthy, balanced, fulfilling relationship looks like. That includes regular date nights and taking trips whether they be romantic getaways with my husband or girls’ weekends while he stays home with a with a family member or babysitter.

I have also learned that I can’t do motherhood by myself. And honestly, I don’t want to. When I struggle with something, I speak up. If I don’t know the answer to something, I ask. If I need help, I admit it.

I want my son to see there is no weakness in asking for help. That advocating for yourself and asking for what you need makes you strong.

One day when my son is older, I will tell him about how I battled postpartum depression during the first year of his life and needed help to take care of him. I will share with him how I fought my way to get better and came out stronger, braver, and happier on the other side. And most importantly, how I learned to ask for what I need, accept my imperfections, share my struggle with others, and not feel ashamed about any of it.

I want to be the adult I’m teaching my son to be. A strong, independent, compassionate, hard-worker who lives life with passion and purpose. An individual who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, struggle, and fail. He needs to see his parent fail and rise up again so he understands that failures are unavoidable and necessary parts of life that can be overcome with a positive attitude and resilience.

These parts of life where we fall down or suffer tragedy are where we grow and learn. I won’t protect him from everything because I know that I can’t. Doing so would cause him a great disservice because he would miss out on the growing and learning. He needs to know that he will fail and make mistakes and that’s okay because he is human. The accepting of his failures, taking ownership of his mistakes, and finding the lessons in each is where integrity and character are built.

One day my son will be an adult and leave the house to travel down his own path. What will I be left with if my whole identity has been the acting supervisor of every single aspect of his life? How would I hold a conversation with my husband if all we have talked about for the past several years is our son? How would we remain connected when we put our marriage on the back burner to do his homework, write essays for college applications, and obsessively focus on the schools he needed to go to, sports he needed to play, clubs he needed to not only join, but lead and create? And all in preparation for the top tier college we decided he would attend (while forgetting to even ask him is that’s what he wanted in the first place).

On that day, I know I will cry all the tears I have, but I will also feel proud from knowing I raised my son to be a man who can depend on himself. Because when he comes home with a bad grade on a test, we will talk about why that happened, if he feels he deserved that grade, and what he could do differently the next time. I won’t blame the teacher.

If he feels the grade was given unfairly, I will coach him to have his own conversation with the teacher. When he decides he needs to drop a class, I will listen to his reasons and let him make his own decision, even if it’s hard to let go of what I believe is best for him. I will let him make that choice. When he leaves his term paper until the night before, I will bring him a snack while he stays awake to finish it, but I won’t write it for him while he goes to bed. When he forgets his science notebook with his homework in it at home, he will have to take the incomplete. I will not immediately stop what I’m doing to bring it to him.

When he gets benched during a sports game and doesn’t know why, we will practice what he will say to his coach to find out why. I will not show up to the field screaming in the coach’s face that my kid doesn’t deserve such treatment. When he has a disagreement with a friend, we will also practice what he can say to resolve it. I won’t call the friend’s parent and fix it for him.

When he decides he wants to quit a sport to make more time for a club, I won’t push my agenda on him. I will listen to him and let him have the final say in what he wants to do. When he decides to study abroad in a foreign country, he will get all the information he needs, fill out all the applications and forms himself and ask me for what he needs. I won’t call and ask about parent orientation because obviously there is no parent orientation.

If I’ve done my job as his mom, he will always know he can tell me anything and ask for my help and support. When he faces any obstacle that might present itself as he gets older, he will have learned the tools to face and overcome them. When he makes the mistakes that he will definitely make as he ages, he will understand that we are not our mistakes, but we learn from them and move on.

Also, I refuse to be that mom who accompanies my son to job interviews, negotiates his first contract, calls his boss to request his cubicle be moved away from the co-worker he doesn’t get along with, and ask if he can take more vacation time because he seems stressed and overworked. I won’t have to. He will be able to do all of that for himself!

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post.

From Handel Group Founder & Life Coach Lauren Zander: "Here's The Good News. Maybe It's You."

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Hi there!

If you read my last blog, you know that my book, Maybe It’s You, is being published by Hachette Book Group on April 4, 2017.

Yes! The Handel Method® is heading to bookstores and Amazon!

Pre-order Maybe It’s You today, and get 50% off of HG’s no nonsense digital coaching course, Inner U. And discover there ain’t no maybe about any of it.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Two of my book on how much our theories––in this case, our theories about dating––inform our current reality.

I know, not yours …

“Let’s say for the sake of argument you have a theory that all men want to date younger women, and well, it just so happens that you fit in that other age range––OLD.  How’s your dating life going to go? Do you even have to get off the couch? And, if you do bother to get up and out, do you even have to care or, for that matter, shower? Do you even have to really like the guy you’re going out on a date with? And, if you already can’t stand him via text or phone, know it won’t turn out anyway, can you, at least, have a drink before you go and, what the hell, read one more email. I mean, it’s okay if you’re a little late; he’s not going to like you anyway. You’re old, after all. 

Can you see how much a theory, no matter how cockamamie its logic is, informs your entire world? It directs what you think, what you see, what you do and even, in this case, whom you date or don’t bother dating.”

Sound sneakily familiar? That’s the idea! Take a look at any area of your life where you’re not happy and, I swear, a theory lives there.

Love, Lauren

Click here to preorder your copy of Maybe It's You and get half off Lauren's digital coaching series, Inner.Ut! 

You will not only wake up to your dreams, but get into the right actions to once and forever realize every last one of those dreams.

Happy Valentines Day! #ThisIsLove Is All Of This

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Love is my close mom friend putting me in bed, rubbing lotion on my feet, and staying until I fall asleep after the exhaustion of postpartum depression and anxiety have set in for the day. Love is my mom who always answered the phone each morning so I could walk laps around my neighborhood, sobbing to her that I would never get better.

Love is my husband coming to therapy with me so he could better understand what was I was going through and how to support me.

Love is my husband sending me flowers just to tell me he is proud of the fight I am putting up.

Love is my sister crying on the phone to me because she is worried and just wants ME to be okay.

Love is my sister holding my hand in person and from afar because she knows what it’s like to feel how I feel.

Love is my best friends talking and emailing behind my back because they want me to get healthy and happy.

Love is my best friend celebrating when she realizes the old Jen is back.

Love is speaking out, asking for help, and accepting treatment so I can be the best possible mom to my son.

Love is overwhelming when I think of how much I have of it for him.

Love is when he kisses my lips, tells me he loves me, that I’m pretty, his best friend, and melts me into mush.

Love is what fills my heart every night I watch him sleeping.

Love is your friends who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, call you out on your bullshit, even when it’s hard, even if I want to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Love is the same friends who accept you as you are and never judge or shame.

Love is my dad telling me have big balls because I’m not afraid to ask for what I want and need.

Love is being able to save a friend’s life by just being there to listen and tell her she’s not alone.

Love is my husband knowing what I’m going to do before I even do it.

Love is sometimes not having to say anything at all.

Love is a weekend girls trip to reminisce, catch up, and take some time off from adulting.

Love is the connection I feel to the incredible tribe of Campowerment women.

Love is my husband sharing me often with these fabulous women.

Love is my husband taking our son to Chuck E. Cheese so I can sleep late (and because I hate Chuck E. Cheese).

Love is when he lets me have the last sushi roll and piece of chocolate cake.

Love is wandering the streets of New York City and Paris.

Love is the Soul Cycle class that ends with me crying.

Love is Peter Lugers steak dinner for 2 with hash browns and creamed spinach.

Love is a 2 AM pizza delivery because…I drank too much.

Love is an endless bowl of pasta.

Love is a warm chocolate chip cookie with coffee ice cream on top.

Love is treating myself with respect, compassion, and kindness.

Love Is learning to put my happiness first and how to live in authenticity.

Love is learning how to pay it forward.

Love is being a trench buddy for other moms.

Love is all those moments from the entire movie of your life you wish you could bottle, hold on to, and remember forever—the friends who always show up, never judge, always support, and never out your skeletons. The family members that love you unconditionally and the men who lift us up and make us better women, and our children who show us the world all over again from a unique perspective of wonder and lots of silliness.

This post originally appeared on Mogul.

Not 1, but 2 Ways to Cut The Crap! An Amazing Offer From From Handel Group Founder & Life Coach Lauren Zander

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I just got a sneak peek of my friend Lauren Zander’s new book Maybe It’s YOU: Cut the Crap. Face Your Fears. Love Your Life. And you know what? Life is tough. And the things you really want in life often seem impossibly far out of reach.

In her new book, Lauren Zander uses her proven approach to resetting your life by facing your fears and saying yes to even the most difficult-seeming challenges. You will be left inspired to make major changes in all areas of your life, from your career to your love life to your health to your family, and more.

Are you ready to get at the helm of your own life, at your own pace, with the play button literally at your fingertips? Pre-order Maybe It’s YOU and gain exclusive access to Inner.U, her 11-session digital course, at half the price. Talk about the ultimate interior design!

Check out today's guest post from fabulous life coach, Lauren Zander.

Hi there!

If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely the type that digs our subtle (cough, cough) approach to life–– scaring the bejesus out of yourself, dreaming HUGE, and tackling whatever is in your dreams’ way.

Guess who was The Handel Method’s first guinea pig? ME!

Talk about fighting for your dreams! 20+ years, 8 ghostwriters, and several agents later, my first book is being published this April by Hachette Book Group! You see, if you care, believe, and walk your walk––all the while staying steadfast and true to your mission––your dreams (like mine) get realized.

If you’re ready to cut the crap, face your fears, and love your life, pre-order my book, Maybe It’s You, today. But be forewarned: this book is not for the faint-hearted. It’s for the fed up, fueled up, and ready for change.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Inside each of us is our ideal life: our true north. But what happens as we get further along in our journey? We lose sight of where we’re going and how we want to get there. We get distracted––by a crazy job, or a health crisis, or a new kid, or a divorce, or a Netflix series, or one of the countless other bumps in the road. And slowly, bit by bit, we find ourselves veering off course or never even calling our course. In Maybe It’s You, you and I are going to course correct––we’re going to ride full throttle toward those ideals. And we’re not just racing toward one or two of your deepest desires––we’re gunning for all of them. Buckle up. I call shotgun. You drive, while I bark directions at you so doggedly, so much more invested in your dreams than you are, that you can’t but release the autopilot button you didn’t even know you pressed long ago.”

You coming? Love, Lauren

Preorder Lauren's new book, Maybe It's You and get half off her Inner.U, her digital coaching series! Don't miss out on this sweet deal!

Written For Suburban Misfit Mom: A Letter to My Pregnant Self

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Dear Pregnant Jen, There is so much I wish I could tell you before you go into labor on that first night of Passover, March 25, 2016. Yes, you will go into labor during the first night of Seder while sitting at a table with 30 of your closest Jewish family members. Papa will be asking, “Why is this night different from all other nights,” and it most definitely is as you simultaneously death grip squeeze your sister’s hand under the table, time your contractions on your iPhone, text a close mom friend who informs you to “call the fucking doctor,” and realize that not only do your contractions not conform to the 5 minutes apart pattern you learned about in birth class, but nothing about labor and delivery is anything like you’ve seen on television or in the movies.

I regret to inform you that you won’t sneeze and gracefully pop a tiny human out of your vagina like Brooklyn Decker in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. You also won’t look pretty, perfect, and polished like Brooklyn Decker during and after the delivery of your baby. Swollen, stoned, and sleep-deprived is more like it.

Let’s start there. Labor is unpredictable and doesn’t always go according to plan. In fact, the word plan really has no business being in the same sentence as the words birth and baby. Your baby is going to do what he wants. He gives zero fucks about your plans, not while he is in your belly and not when he comes out. He doesn’t care that you want his bris to be after Passover so guests can enjoy their lox and cream cheese on bagels rather than matzo. It won’t matter to him that the best mohel in town might be on vacation (although he should because…it’s his penis getting snipped). And he really doesn’t give a shit that you want to do everything in your power to avoid a C-section and have him the old-fashioned way.

You think you will need to do whatever you can during labor to avoid a C-section. This won’t be a concern beforehand because your baby will never be breeched. You make this decision based on advice and information from a close mom friend. Don’t listen. You will labor for 24 hours, push for two of them, and end up in the operating room where your baby will be evicted from your belly anyway.

The next morning, when another slightly older and wiser mom friend comes to visit you and baby, she will inform you. “I knew you were having a C-section two hours in. Look on the bright side–all your lady parts are still intact–nothing wrong with a C-section.” She is right and you will come to love your C-section. It will never make you any less of a mother.

Your future therapist will tell you that a long, difficult labor is a risk factor for postpartum depression. Remember early on in your pregnancy, when one of your best friends asked if you worried about any “postpartum depression stuff” and you replied without hesitation, “Of course not. That would never happen to me. I’m so excited to have this baby.” Well it does happen to you, almost the minute you get home from the hospital, and you are anything but excited about having a baby.

You will spend the first 6 months of your baby’s life fighting what seems like an insurmountable battle. You will think you made a terrible mistake becoming a mother, experience paralyzing anxiety, attend weekly therapy appointments, take anti-depressants, cry, and sleep…a lot. But you will also find a strength in yourself that you didn’t know existed. You will fight and at 6 months, the Jen everyone knows and loves will start to return. By a year, you will love your son and have kicked postpartum depression’s ass. You will continue to go to therapy and take medicine, but that’s okay because both make you a better mom. You feel no shame about this. You learn to accept yourself as the mom you are, not the one you thought you would be.

You will spend pregnancy envisioning this mom that you think you will be–a fairy tale where you transform into a supermom, domestic goddess, breastfeeding champion, professional baby food maker, and lover of all Pinterest projects. I wish you I could tell you that your fairy tale comes true. It doesn’t.

All throughout your pregnancy, you tell people you are going to try breastfeeding your son. You will pretend to have no expectations, but really you picture yourself becoming a breastfeeding master—one of those moms who loves the bonding time feedings bring, whose baby latches with ease, and whose weight melts off because, well, “I’m breastfeeding.” What you don’t know is that these moms are basically mythical creatures. Just because you know one or two moms like this out of millions, doesn’t mean that those moms don’t have their own struggles too.

Initially you think you will be one of these unicorn moms because your baby latches and eats like a pro right after delivery. That’s the only time he does. He will struggle to latch and when he does he won’t stay that way, resulting in cries and screams of frustration from both of you. Your naked boobs won’t be off limits to anyone—lactations consultants and family members included.

You will stop breastfeeding after five days of motherhood as a result of the intervention of your own mom, mother-in-law, and a coalition of their Northern mom friends who bluntly tell you to, “Fuck breastfeeding. None of us breastfed our babies and they were all healthy children and are now thriving adults who also decided not to breastfeed their babies. You need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your baby.” For a few days you will feel like you failed at something that was supposed to come so naturally to a woman, but eventually you will realize these moms are right. And you will come to understand and preach that there is no point in a mom making herself miserable to do something that makes her feel miserable. Formula is more than acceptable. Your son will still be intelligent, have no allergies, and less than one ear infection by the time he is three.

Nothing about breastfeeding and certainly nothing about motherhood comes easy to anyone. Listen to your mom when she tells you that those that say otherwise are “full of shit.” As you learned above, postpartum depression will lead you to realize that motherhood nothing like what you thought it would be.

As I finish up this letter, I’m wondering if I really do want you to know these things after all. Because not knowing them has made you who you are today—the authentic, courageous, strong, independent, warrior mom of the most incredible almost four-year old boy who you love more than you thought you could ever love anything in this world.

You don’t get your fairy tale of motherhood, but what you become is so much better. You are a fierce, confident, loving, compassionate mom. A fighter. A woman who feels empowered, knows who she is, discovers her voice and uses it to help others. Someone who isn’t ashamed of her mental health. Someone who doesn’t make apologies for the choices that are right for her. And an advocate for other moms to be the same. I don’t think I would have it any other way.

With authenticity, gratitude, and love,

Jen (almost four years later)

This post originally appeared at Suburban Misfit Mom.

P.S. Want to share this? I'd be honored! Copy and paste this link: https://wp.me/p7MrIL-qN and thank you! Sharing my work is the nicest compliment you could possibly give me. ~xo, Jen

A Weekend with Handel Group Or How I Realized I Wasn’t As Bad-Ass As I Thought, But I Can Be…

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I recently attended a Design Your Life (DYL) Weekend with Handel Group in New York City. I went in thinking how easy it would be for me, that I would rock it, make it my bitch, if you will. I mean, I’m pretty evolved, aren’t I? I’ve battled and overcome a year of postpartum depression. As a result, I’ve found my identity, purpose, and a level of authenticity many people lack. I decided I was going to become a writer so I did-- and in under a year I have started a blog, grown a fairly decent-sized Facebook Community, been published on over ten online publications, and did a guest spot on my first radio show. I make time for self-care, self-growth, and I read tons of self-help books. According to Jen Sincero, I’m a bad-ass bitch! And on that first day, I still felt pretty bad-ass. I was already familiar with some of Handel Group’s method from attending Campowerment retreats where one of the experts is a Handel coach. I knew about the three voices in my head that prevent me from designing the life I dream of. The weather report that tells me I can’t lose the weight because it’s just too hard to do around the holidays because you know, latkes and donuts. The brat who convinces me I would rather go back to sleep after I drop my son off at preschool over going to a coffee shop to get my daily writing finished. And the chicken who is just too scared to want to do anything at all because what if the end result is failure or rejection?

And then day two happened and yeah, not so bad-ass anymore. I showed up still feeling pretty confident and in just under an hour’s time, I was knocked off my self-imposed pedestal. Did you know that each and every one of your personality traits comes from one of your parents? Even if you think there is no possible way a particular trait was inherited from your mom or dad, in some way or another, it was. I always believed that I was nothing like my parents, especially after how they conducted themselves during their long, dragged out, nasty divorce. That my own marriage has everything to do with my parents since I most likely chose my husband because he provides everything I never got from their relationship. That I couldn’t possibly be like my “avoid anything emotional and hard” father and my “it couldn’t possibly be me” mother. They say we all turn into our mothers eventually. I found that out when my cmy coach suggested I was playing the “innocent victim” card.

To say I was surprised by the coaches’ assessment of me would be an understatement. How could I possibly be an innocent victim with everything I had transformed into and everything I had accomplished in the past year? And then I thought more about everything I had been doing, or not doing in this case. I focus on certain areas of my life because I don’t want to deal with the ones that really need the work. Hello chicken because I’m obviously afraid of what the outcome of diving into those areas would mean.

Everything in my life that couldn’t possibly be my fault is actually on me. I’ve gained so much weight. Maybe I have a thyroid problem or insulin resistance. And who do you think told me to call the doctor about it? My mother of course. It couldn’t possibly be because I just need to put the fork down, could it? I don’t love the city I live in because it’s boring, but have I really tried to experience all it could offer? Not really. I could be having more sex, but do I ever initiate? Not so much. I want to be a best-selling author, but am I writing every day? I think you know the answer.

This might seem like very bad news, but it’s actually good news--because I have 100% control over all of it. Yes, I’m my story, my traits, the bullshit that my parents put me through, and the voices in the head that get in the way of the life I truly want, but it’s MY story and MY life. I can evolve my behaviors and choose the ending. I don’t have to live that story because I’m the author and I get to rewrite it.  I hold the solutions to every one of the problems I want to fix in my life. And how empowering is that? To know that with the right tools, you can design everything--your relationship, career, body, and more. That was the most powerful take away from this weekend. That while I clearly have been playing the part of the innocent victim, I can make a choice to switch my role and become the “connected crusader” (my new nickname for myself that I received in the class) in every area of my life.

So what’s next? Hiring a coach and doing the work to become the woman I thought I already was when I first walked into the room on day one of the Design Your Life Weekend. Because it’s not that I’m not as bad-ass as I thought I was. It’s just that I’m just not as bad-ass as I thought I was, YET.

For more information, schedule a 30 Min Consultation to learn how Handel Group’s coaching programs and services could benefit you. And check out HG's new book, Maybe It’s You for a roadmap on how to cut the crap and design the life of your dreams. Pre-order TODAY.

The Everything I'm Grateful For From 2016 And What I'm Looking Forward To In 2017 Post

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I can't believe it's already been a year. I know it's been a year because tomorrow I will find myself back at Chuck E. Cheese, exactly where I was one year ago on New Year's Day, when I launched this blog and posted it's first post. Oh, good old Chuck E. Cheese, where a kid can be a kid...or really where the dreams of parents go to die or at least be overtaken by every nasty germ living on this planet, cold, soggy pizza, and useless, plastic prizes that your kids will cry over because they don't have enough tickets to buy them. You can clearly guess my feelings about Chuck E. Cheese, but now, I'm getting off topic... 2016 was a big year for me. So much has happened since I decided to launch this blog on January 1st—things that I could have never anticipated happening in just a year’s time of declaring myself to be a writer. But rather than write a long, boring blog about this year's accomplishments and next year's resolutions that I probably won’t keep, I’m going to list what I'm grateful for from this past year and what I’m looking forward to most in the year to come.

I'm Grateful For (In no particular order):

This life.

Family and their health and happiness.

My son's spirit, imagination, and silliness.

iPads and Disney Junior for those times when mommy needs a time out.

My therapist.

My amazing nanny.

So many engagements and weddings.

My husband who puts up with me leaving often for sleep away camp.

So much Campowerment, and its founders, experts, and campers who have transformed my life in the most profound ways.

My blog and social media followers.

The incredible feedback and messages I've received in response to writing so openly.

Becoming an influencer at Mogul and a regular contributor for The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Suburban Misfit Mom.

The acceptances and rejections I've received when sending out article submissions.

The bravery of women, who I both know and have never met that have shared and trusted me with their postpartum stories and motherhood struggles.

The opportunity to be a trench buddy for moms battling postpartum depression.

Finally realizing that I need to stop trying to make not my people, my people and that your people should be by you, for you, and with you.

Finding more of my people!

The ability to say NO.

Old friends and new friends and one friend who told me I make her want to be a mom. WOW!

I'm Looking Forward To (Also in no particular order):

Starting my book...stay tuned!

Watching my son continue to discover the world around him as a four-year old.

More family time.

More Campowerment!

Watching my little sister get married.

Empowering moms to be themselves without the fear of being judged or shamed.

Continuing to be a trench buddy for women battling postpartum depression.

Keeping promises to myself and others.

Making time for self-care, self-growth and self-empowerment.

Treating myself with more grace, love, and kindness when I mess up.

Too much travel.

Friend reunions!

And whatever comes next. Bring it on 2017!

Tomorrow on the first day of 2017, you can find me sitting in a booth at Chuck E. Cheese handing out hand sanitizer and baby wipes to parents as they pass, because that's just the kind of mom I am, one who is grateful to be sitting down and not having to chase after my son every minute because I know he will be at the ski ball machine for the next hour. And one who is by you, for you, and with you, handing out those wipes and sanitizer because I don't want your family to contract any illnesses when you take your Chuck E. Cheese infested children home for their naps.

Happy 2017! What are you grateful for and looking forward to most in the new year?

Dethroning Your Inner Critic With Joanna Kleinman – Is The Queen Of Chaos Driving The Bus?

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Do you ever wish that you could just take a vacation from your mind?

Do you wish that you had an “on-off” switch on the side of your head that you could turn off your worry about the future, your regrets of the past, the things you keep telling yourself over and over that you need to work on or change?

Our mind, the Queen of Chaos, can literally drive us crazy.  We live in a culture that fosters an overactive mind, that creates worry, frustration, dissatisfaction, sleeplessness, and a feeling that no matter what life we have, something (or many things!) about our life needs to be different. It is as though our minds create a war inside of us, and we think that the way to peace is through continuing to examine what we need to change, how we need to improve, or we fixate on changing or improving someone else, like our spouse or our kids!

The bottom line is this:  We will never feel the content, joy, love and satisfaction that we want to feel in our lives by remaining at war with ourselves.

So, how then do we stop the war? There is one simple answer: We have to practice not listening to the chronic chaos of the mind.

Peace will never come from losing those 10, 20 or 50 lbs. It will never come by finding the perfect mate. It will never come from finding the perfect career or raising happy kids. Rather, all of these things that we think will be the key to our peace and contentment, are actually all CAUSED by first and foremost, finding the inner peace and love first.

No matter what life looks like now, and it may look chaotic, the first step always needs to start with ending the war within your mind. It is only when you learn how to stop beating yourself up for life not looking the way you want it to, that you can actually find some clarity to change what you want to change.

I have had thousands of clients come to me because they want to fix some aspect of themselves, their relationship, or some other chronic issue in their life, hoping that if they fix this part of their life, they will finally feel the way they want to feel. But, this approach is backwards. It is only when we recognize that it is the internal response to our life circumstances that determines how we feel and think about ourselves and our lives, not the circumstances themselves.

Just like you brush your teeth twice a day, every day to keep your teeth clean, so too must we have practices every day to keep our minds clean from chaos. If you miss brushing your teeth even once, the grime starts to grow. The same goes for the chaos in the mind! Here are some daily practices to keep the chaos at bay:

1.    The Morning Questions: Every day, as soon as you wake up, ask yourself this question: “What do I need to let go of right now to be calm?” In other words, what are the thoughts I am having that are causing chaos in my mind? Ask this question over and over for five minutes (set a timer on your phone), and write down the responses that come to your mind. Then ask yourself the second morning question: “What do I have to be grateful for?” Set the timer for another five minutes and write down the responses. These 10 minutes have the power to change your whole life!

2.    Be Aware of Your Addiction to Thinking by Noticing Your Body Sensations Throughout the Day: Every thought that we have creates some sort of physical response in our nervous system, and emotional feeling in our bodies. Yet, we just allow our mind to go wherever it wants to go, and never take control over the direction that it goes in. The definition of addiction is being enslaved by a habit. So when we are habitually and unconsciously thinking, we are literally addicted to this pattern of thought. Start to pay attention to the emotional and physical responses in your body when your mind goes to that habitually negative place it always goes. Does your neck get tense? Do you have knots in your stomach? Do you feel run down? Cranky? Pay attention to the physical reactions to your addictive thinking.

3.    Notice Your Attachments to Outcomes: When we have a strong attachment to producing a particular outcome in our life, we become fixated on trying to control aspects of our lives that we really don’t have any control over. This causes fear and anxiety, because the more we try to control something that we can’t control, the more out-of-control we feel. Then in order to try to feel more in control, we try even harder to control what we can’t control in the first place! Does this sound insane, or what? Ask yourself who or what you are trying to control, that in truth, you don’t have any control over?

4.    Choose to Let Go: Sometimes we are afraid to let go of the thoughts that our minds fixate on because our fixations actually become a part of our identity. I often hear my clients say, “I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t keep trying to fix or control that part of my life.” We focus on past mistakes because we think that if we keep feeling the shame and regret, it will prevent us from making the same mistake again. We focus on worrying about the future because we think if we spend our energy worrying about it, some how we can control the outcome of our future. A daily practice of letting go of past regret and future worry, and consciously directing your mind to right here, right now, creates an immediate sense of calm and peace within.

The bottom line to managing your internal chaos and creating a peaceful mind is to PAY ATTENTION! Pay attention to where your mind automatically goes, and don’t blindly follow it. Be in the driver’s seat of your mind instead of being a backseat passenger and giving the Queen of Chaos the keys.

BIO: unnamedJoanna Kleinman is a psychotherapist and founder of The Center For Extraordinary Relationships In Cherry Hill, NJ. She has been in private practice for over 20 years, inspiring individuals across the country to live lives they love. The philosophy of her work is that the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our relationships with ourselves and others. Through in person counseling, online virtual counseling with people across the country, and her nationally acclaimed workshop series “Dethroning Your Inner Critic”, Joanna has helped thousands of people to transform the quality of their relationships, the confidence by which they live their lives, and to create a permanent shift in how they experience themselves. These shifts are the result of an innovative and transformational approach in which stress, overwhelm and dissatisfaction can be altered, by learning to separate oneself from what she calls the “Inner Critic”; the voice in the mind that has been speaking to all of us all day, every day, for most of our lives. In understanding how this voice keeps people stuck in old identities, beliefs, patterns and behaviors, she has helped countless individuals, couples, and families let go of the past, redefine the future, and create breakthroughs in the quality of their relationships and their lives. Joanna has been a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, Courier Post, South Jersey Mom Magazine, Parent.co, and Parents.com. She has been sought out as an expert motivational speaker for companies including Campowerment, Virtua Hospital’s Annual Women’s Conference, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Joanna also served as a crisis intervention specialist and has worked with major corporations including Cigna Behavioral Health, Kantor Fitzgerald, Commerce Bank, Fleet Securities, and the U.S Navy. Joanna lives in Cherry Hill, NJ with her husband of twenty years, and her 3 children.

Dethroning Your Inner Critic With Joanna Kleinman - The One You Feed

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There is an old Cherokee Indian legend that illustrates the battle between US and our INNER CRITIC beautifully. An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” 

He continued, “The other is good–he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith." 

"The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In our culture, high self-esteem is something that has received a lot of attention.

  • We want to feel talented, smart, accomplished and successful.
  • We want to feel that we can accomplish anything if we put our mind to it.
  • We want to feel special and important.

Yet insecurity, anxiety and depression are more rampant in our culture than ever before.

The problem lies in our unrealistic expectations about who we are supposed to be and how our lives are supposed to look. 

Unfortunately, most of us don’t recognize that the expectations we place on ourselves are completely unattainable. Most of us feel that there is something inadequate about us or our lives, whether it is:

  • How we look,
  • How successful we are,
  • How we parent,
  • How our children are doing, or
  • How our life goals are developing.

We are constantly comparing ourselves to an ideal version of ourselves, and always falling short.

Not only do we look at our own idealized versions of what our lives should look like, but we also make assumptions that other people’s lives actually DO look like this. We get standards of beauty from media and magazines, standards that the models and actresses themselves can’t measure up to, as they are “digitally enhanced,”or in other words, fake. We see our children trying to be the perfect student or the best athlete, leading to a dramatic rise in anxiety and depression among our them.

When we don’t meet our unrealistic and “perfectionistic” expectations that life should go exactly the way we want it to, we feel insecure and inadequate and as though we are not winning at the game of life. We beat ourselves up and take our frustrations out on the people who are closest to us.

What we fail to recognize as a culture is that being a human being means that, in many ways, we are all only average. We all have faults, flaws and limitations. But when we listen to our Inner Critic’s running commentary all day long about where we are inadequate, and what we need to improve, we automatically fall into the trap of continually judging and criticizing ourselves for our human inadequacies.

The more our Inner Critic makes us feel inadequate, the more different and separate we feel from others. This is a major source of anxiety and depression--the feeling that we are separate and different from others, and that we will be rejected because we are so different. Our inner critic makes us feel these feelings because it only focuses on the undesired aspects of our lives. We feel helpless, hopeless, and frustrated about how to change these aspects of our lives and think that our image of the way life “should” be is the correct perspective.

Transforming your relationship with yourself is about recognizing that we are all listening to the unrealistic messages of our inner critic, telling us that we are inadequate because our lives don’t match our ideal picture. We suffer because we want things to be different than the way they are right now.

If we stop feeding our Inner Critic, the power to make us feel that we need to fix, change or improve ourselves or our lives, we have the ability to feel the peace, joy and gratitude for who we are and the lives we are currently living.

Which wolf are you feeding?

At any given moment, the choice is yours.

Don't forget to subscribe below so you don't miss Joanna's post next week about calming your mind, also known as the Queen of Chaos, and also to get your free copy of THE HAPPY MOMMY MANIFESTO!

BIO: unnamedJoanna Kleinman is a psychotherapist and founder of The Center For Extraordinary Relationships In Cherry Hill, NJ. She has been in private practice for over 20 years, inspiring individuals across the country to live lives they love. The philosophy of her work is that the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our relationships with ourselves and others. Through in person counseling, online virtual counseling with people across the country, and her nationally acclaimed workshop series “Dethroning Your Inner Critic”, Joanna has helped thousands of people to transform the quality of their relationships, the confidence by which they live their lives, and to create a permanent shift in how they experience themselves. These shifts are the result of an innovative and transformational approach in which stress, overwhelm and dissatisfaction can be altered, by learning to separate oneself from what she calls the “Inner Critic”; the voice in the mind that has been speaking to all of us all day, every day, for most of our lives. In understanding how this voice keeps people stuck in old identities, beliefs, patterns and behaviors, she has helped countless individuals, couples, and families let go of the past, redefine the future, and create breakthroughs in the quality of their relationships and their lives. Joanna has been a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, Courier Post, South Jersey Mom Magazine, Parent.co, and Parents.com. She has been sought out as an expert motivational speaker for companies including Campowerment, Virtua Hospital’s Annual Women’s Conference, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Joanna also served as a crisis intervention specialist and has worked with major corporations including Cigna Behavioral Health, Kantor Fitzgerald, Commerce Bank, Fleet Securities, and the U.S Navy. Joanna lives in Cherry Hill, NJ with her husband of twenty years, and her 3 children.

Written For Suburban Misfit Mom: I'm Not That Pinterest Mom

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Some moms spend hours every day searching on pinning on Pinterest. I’m not that mom. Some moms pin their own recipes, crafts, and décor with their own photos from their own lives. I’m not that mom. 

Some moms make cute little signs for their kids’ first day of school. I’m not that mom.

Some moms cut their kids sandwiches into shapes like stars or monsters. I’m not that mom. 

Some moms make eyes, noses, and mouths on said sandwiches. I’m not that mom.

Some moms pack their kids’ lunches full of colors so it looks like the bento box threw up a rainbow. I’m not that mom.

Some moms pin organic, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, flour-free, nut-free, egg-free baked goods. I’m not that mom.

Some moms pin healthy recipes, workout tips, and motivational posters. I’m not that mom.

Some moms pin creative ways for their little ones to play with food. I’m not that mom.

Some moms look for non-screen related activities to entertain their kids when school is closed. I’m not that mom. 

Some moms host holiday-themed playdates like gingerbread house or Halloween cookie making.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms pin busy binders to keep their children occupied during long trips. I’m not that mom. 

Some moms seek out tips for how to deal with tantrums and meltdowns and be a better parent. I’m not that mom.

Some moms live and die by their Pinterest boards. I’m not that mom.

Here is the mom I am. I’m the mom who pins clothing and hair and makeup styles, even though on most days I rock the yoga pants, messy hair, don’t care look. I pin adorable crafts on Pinterest all the time—crafts I will never make or epically fail at if I try. I’m the mom who outsources to those who are way more creative than me—Etsy people I can pay to craft for me. I’m the mom who saves the most delicious looking recipes to my food board—recipes I will make my husband cook for my child and me. I’m the mom who loves and owns too many cookbooks and serving platters, but sucks at cooking and really doesn’t enjoy it if I’m being entirely honest. I’m the mom who is not above cereal for dinner. I’m the mom who is awesome at the microwave, takeout, and delivery. I’m the mom who had a celebratory glass of wine when Postmates came to her city.

I’m the mom with a three-year old who thinks maybe there is something wrong with me because I haven’t done one of those “1st day of…” school signs yet. I’m the mom who has secret Paleo and Whole30 boards because I’m on a new diet every week, but I don’t want you to know. I’m the mom who searches for crockpot recipes because you pour a bunch of ingredients into one place and bam! The meal is ready in time for dinner. I’m the mom who has a board for every single one of my kid’s birthdays but his birthdays never look exactly like what I pinned. I’m the mom who after killing myself to make a Pinterest inspired birthday party, books My Gym for the following year and hopes for the best. I’m the mom who hands my child the iPad the minute we get on the airplane. I’m the mom who turns on the TV during rainy and snowy days. I’m the mom who turns on the TV on sunny days too. I’m the mom who wants to bake with her child, but gets cold feet because of the mess he might make. I’m the mom who hates messy.

I’m the mom who only steals ideas from other pinners. I’m the mom who wishes her Pinterest boards could look pretty, polished and perfect. I’m the mom who doesn’t believe your life is actually pretty, polished, and perfect, no matter how much your Pinterest boards are. I’m the mom who has the board, “My Own Space,” because I like to sometimes fantasize about what my own space would look like if I got to be alone every now and then rather than living in a house filled with penises. I’m the mom who forgets to check her Pinterest for tips, advice, and ideas on anything child-related, even though I’ve pinned so many great ones to my “Kids Stuff” board. I’m the mom who sometimes remembers but is just too lazy to look. I’m just me. The mom that I am, who successfully failed at being a Pinterest mom and that’s perfectly okay.

This post originally appeared on Suburban Misfit Mom.

Read the first, I’m Not That Mom here.

Dethroning Your Inner Critic With Joanna Kleinman - Who Are You Really?

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All of us think we have some idea of who we really are. We may be a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. We may be a teacher, a doctor, an office worker, or a stay at home mom. We may have been told that we are fun, funny, a good listener, and kind. We may have been told that we are cold, selfish, controlling, judgmental. It runs the gamut. Where did our sense of self come from? Primarily from our thinking…a collection of thoughts about our selves. Our thoughts about ourselves include who we think we are, and what other people tell us. We have developed an identity from our childhood experiences, our ideas from our parents and siblings, and from our culture.

What we often fail to realize, is that who we think we are, actually begins when we are first figuring out the world around us, and how people in our world relate to us. As a child, we don’t have an understanding of how the world works. The beginnings of our sense of who we are, and who we are not, start to take shape when we are about three or four years old. That’s pretty scary when you think about it! Our three and four year-old selves are starting to form opinions about how important we are, how loved we are, whether we are smart enough, how much we think we matter to others. And not only are these beliefs becoming a solid part of our sense of self, but it is these early beliefs that will play a huge role in almost every aspect of our lives, from our self esteem, to the people we choose to be in relationships with. And it all starts around three years old. Yikes!

Our first sense of who we are is heavily influenced by parents’ attitudes and behavior. When you’re a child, you don’t realize your parents aren’t perfect. You think of your parents as gods—beings with all the authority and omniscience of a deity. And your mom is mad because you spilled the milk—so that must mean that you are bad. You don’t understand that your mom is mad because she has her own issues she is struggling with. Maybe she’s over reacting because she had a fight with dad. You think it’s all about you. By the time you are five or six, you’ve got some beliefs about yourself, and they start to influence how you see yourself. It is these childhood beliefs that are the strongest factors in determining who we think we are.

Something simple, like Susie choosing not to play with you on the playground, becomes proof of what you believe. A voice inside your head says, “I told you there was something wrong with you!” It is the safety instinct that kicks in and tries to protect you from that criticism by becoming highly self-critical, and therefore using harshness to make sure that you never get yourself into a situation whereby you could be hurt. The voice in your mind, that you believe to be you, says “You better figure out a way to make sure you are never criticized ever again!” Although this demand is completely unattainable, you don’t recognize that. Instead, you are convinced that there IS actually a way to achieve this! You try to find a way to keep yourself safe and protected from emotional pain. But sadly, life doesn’t work this way. It is unavoidable that we will have moments of failure, criticism, and rejection.

But who is really responsible for our interpretations? It is not actually YOU who is responsible for forming much of who you think you are, but rather it is your Inner Critic: the voice in your mind that speaks to you all day, every day, and tells you who you need to be, what you need to achieve, where you don’t measure up, what you need to fix, where you are failing, and where you are just not enough. It is our inner critic that ALWAYS has a judgment about something. She is always looking to answer the fundamental questions: “What’s wrong?” or “What’s missing?”

Whenever life doesn’t fit your inner critic’s picture, you are often convinced that the reason why is because of YOU! If you would just figure out how to be better, smarter, prettier, funnier, a better person, you won’t be hurt. Every time you experience pain, this is evidence that YOU really ARE not good enough. By the time you’re an adult, you’ve gathered enough evidence to make you believe that in some way, you are inadequate or not enough. What’s wrong with my body?  What’s wrong with my looks? What’s wrong with the way I am in the world? Am I smart enough? Am I accomplished enough? Am I a good enough wife, mother, daughter, friend?

In case you haven’t noticed, our Inner Critic ALWAYS has a problem with something. If you stop and look, you can recognize that there’s always something that’s bothering you. Today’s judgment may be different from yesterday’s, but once today’s inadequacy is gone, there will always be another inadequacy waiting to take its place. But rather than understanding that this habitual way of thinking is actually our inner critic talking, we think that’s US talking. What we don’t realize is that our inner critic is contaminating who we think we are. The habitual thinking of the inner critic is always looking at a question, What’s wrong here?  What’s wrong with me, or What’s wrong with it? She is always waiting to try to change or fix things, because she thinks that something is always broken or needs perfecting.

In her book “Playing Big”, Tara Mohr describes the Inner Critic by saying, “The inner critic may take inspiration from people in your life who played the role of outer critic. It adapts and expands on their behavior and often exists as a version of their voices inside your head. Listen for echoes of a parent, a sibling, a boss, or the voice of societal institutions or major cultural forces such as your religion, company, or country.”

Who does your Inner Critic sound like? You’ve been listening to a story for your whole life, and you don’t even know it. You have a seven year-old version of the story, a sixteen year-old version, a twenty five year-old version, and you have the version you have now. You don’t need to have experienced difficult experiences or dysfunction in your childhood to develop a harsh inner critic. Her voice sounds a lot like your own. Listen: “You forgot to pick up the dry cleaning again! You’re an idiot,” she scolds as you walk up to your front door without your clean clothes.

It is this Inner Critic that we have put, without realizing it, in the position of governing our thoughts, our feelings, our beliefs, and virtually all of who we think we are. It is this Inner Critic that we have symbolically put on the throne. Dethroning your Inner Critic (the Center hosts a workshop program by the same name) starts with recognizing the that the voice in your mind is not really you. Learn to pay attention to how she speaks to you and exactly what she is saying. Feel what it feels like in your body when she is speaking to you.

When you hear your inner critic talking, ask yourself:

  1. Is she making up worse-case scenarios?
  2. Does she repeat the same story over and over again?
  3. Does she hold you back from making changes in your life?
  4. Does she keep you stuck in fear?
  5. Does listening to this voice make you feel the way you want to feel in your life?
  6. Does it help you reach your goals? And if so, at what cost?

Learning the difference between YOU and your Inner Critic has the potential to change your whole life.

Don't forget to subscribe below so you don't miss Joanna's post next week about how to stop feeding your Inner Critic, and also to get your free copy of THE HAPPY MOMMY MANIFESTO!

BIO: unnamedJoanna Kleinman is a psychotherapist and founder of The Center For Extraordinary Relationships In Cherry Hill, NJ. She has been in private practice for over 20 years, inspiring individuals across the country to live lives they love. The philosophy of her work is that the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our relationships with ourselves and others. Through in person counseling, online virtual counseling with people across the country, and her nationally acclaimed workshop series “Dethroning Your Inner Critic”, Joanna has helped thousands of people to transform the quality of their relationships, the confidence by which they live their lives, and to create a permanent shift in how they experience themselves. These shifts are the result of an innovative and transformational approach in which stress, overwhelm and dissatisfaction can be altered, by learning to separate oneself from what she calls the “Inner Critic”; the voice in the mind that has been speaking to all of us all day, every day, for most of our lives. In understanding how this voice keeps people stuck in old identities, beliefs, patterns and behaviors, she has helped countless individuals, couples, and families let go of the past, redefine the future, and create breakthroughs in the quality of their relationships and their lives. Joanna has been a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, Courier Post, South Jersey Mom Magazine, Parent.co, and Parents.com. She has been sought out as an expert motivational speaker for companies including Campowerment, Virtua Hospital’s Annual Women’s Conference, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Joanna also served as a crisis intervention specialist and has worked with major corporations including Cigna Behavioral Health, Kantor Fitzgerald, Commerce Bank, Fleet Securities, and the U.S Navy. Joanna lives in Cherry Hill, NJ with her husband of twenty years, and her 3 children.

Affirmations in Beyonce Lyrics

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I find Beyonce incredibly empowering. She is fierce, fabulous, and not afraid to speak her truth or be vulnerable. I wish I could bottle that shit up. When I'm in one of my funks, I might ask myself (don't laugh), what would Beyonce say right now? I'm leaving for Campowerment tomorrow. I'm unbelievably excited to return to the place that changed my life only 6 months ago. I can't wait to see what camp has in store for me this time!

So in honor of my upcoming trip to Campowerment this week, today's post takes the form of affirmations in Beyonce Lyrics...because let's face it...Beyonce and Campowerment? Both bad-ass!

Because I realized I got  Me myself and I That's all I got in the end That's what I found out  And it ain't no need to cry I took a vow that from now on I'm gonna be my own best friend

I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it I dream it, I work hard, I grind 'til I own it I twirl on them haters... Sometimes I go off, I go hard Get what's mine (take what's mine), I'm a star Cause I slay

Sorry, I ain't sorry Sorry, I ain't sorry I ain't sorry No no hell nah

My persuasion can build a nation Endless power With our love we can devour You'll do anything for me Who are we? What we run? We run the world Who run the world? Girls

I woke up like this I woke up like this We flawless, ladies tell 'em I woke up like this I woke up like this We flawless, ladies tell 'em Say I look so good tonight

Freedom! Freedom! I can't move Freedom, cut me loose! Freedom! Freedom! Where are you? Cause I need freedom too! I break chains all by myself Won't let my freedom rot in hell Hey! I'ma keep running Cause a winner don't quit on themselves

Forward Best foot first just in case When we made our way 'til now It's time to listen, it's time to fight

Runnin', runnin', runnin', runnin' Runnin', runnin', runnin' Ain't runnin' from myself no more Together we'll win it all I ain't runnin', runnin', runnin', runnin' Runnin', runnin', runnin' Ain't runnin' from myself no more I'm ready to face it all If I lose myself, I lose it all

Get Your Mompreneur On With Expert Dawn Andrews (Part 2)

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I'm back with Dawn Andrews--mom, business strategist, life coach, and successful entrepreneur. Today she talks about women getting into business, what holds them back, and how to juggle being your own boss and the boss of your family at the same time. What Holds Women Back

Permission is the biggest thing. I find that for many women, it’s almost as if they are waiting for someone outside to tap them and say “Yeah, you can do this. Go for it!” Thankfully, because of growing up in an entrepreneurial family, and I’m not saying I don’t experience permission issues in other areas in my life, but when it came to that “go make your own thing,” that has never been an issue for me in terms of getting something started.

Pretty, Polished, and Perfect

The phenomenon is that men, because they don’t generally have that permission issue, just go out and do stuff, ask for stuff and forge forward with an initiative without much concern until they bump into something. They they figure out how to get around the rock that got in their way. Women want to have everything laid out. They want to know they have a clear path ahead of them before they even begin. And no path is every going to be clear. So we will spend time spinning, making sure everything is pretty, polished, perfect, and organized, so we know all the steps. But that isn’t how life works. What kills their possibility of going into business is that they’re looking for a sure thing and anything that is worth pursuing, as everyone who is a mother will know, is a dam hot mess.

Parenting is a hot mess. Some days it’s great and you’re crushing it and you’re the paragon of motherhood and other days you couldn’t be more ashamed of yourself. The same is true with business. My business exploded when I became a mother. I think it’s because it started to crack off that shell of trying to have things organized and a linear path to follow, knowing that one step was going to lead to the next step. Because everything was like a rodeo once my kids came out. Parenting is a great place to practice. With your kids, you need to ask and be clear about what you want. I’ve also found that has helped me in my business. I have no compunction about asking whoever I need for whatever I need. Maybe they will say yes and maybe they will say no, but I have my toddlers to thank for giving me that skill set. 

 On Being a Mom and a Successful Entrepreneur

There’s no balance. It’s just what wins the day or what I hope will win the day. Early on, I made a list of the things that were important to me to be connected to and involved with for my kids at their various stages and ages. They are about to turn seven and nine right now. It’s important to me to be able to take them to school, pick them up from school, go to award ceremonies, special activities, or any special event or field trip at school.

It’s also important for me to get sleep, take care of myself, and have a sense of joy in my life—and not have it just be either work or kids. So what that looks like now is there are certain days I take the kids to school and certain days I pick them up. We definitely are all about having a team. I don’t have a full time nanny, but I have a team of people. I definitely have somebody help clean the house once a week because I would lose my mind. We have somebody to help do the gardening. Recently I’ve added in an assistant and some other team members to my business because it’s growing again in a big way. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I look at how I can add some team. What would it do if you added one more day of babysitting or added one more day of preschool camp? Start to think incrementally, especially if financially you’re not in a place where you can go to all the way towards what your dream scenario would be. Start piecemeal adding in team members to live the life your looking to live. We totally move in a pack.

You Have an Idea for a New Business--Now What?

You need to get a community. The challenge is finding people who are as action-oriented and dedicated as you want to be. Often times, the first place we’re looking to is the other moms in our moms group or our closest friends and they or may not share the passion or enthusiasm for starting a new business. So you do need to find preferably other women and other moms that are interested in getting businesses off the ground and get a community together so you have others to help hold you accountable. Use that group of women and other people in your life to start testing if that idea is interesting or not. Sometimes you have to just engage in the mess and giving the idea a try. Get really clear on who you want to serve. What’s your really specific niche of people you want to work with? The more specific you can get, the better—age range, location, etc. Start to narrow down the demographics of your audience and once you have that, you have the seeds of something you can really start growing.

Growing Your Big Idea

Grow Your Big Idea is a small business incubator and it’s for inception of idea to making your first money for what you’re doing. It’s going to be offered two times a year. The next time I’m going to offer it will be in October or November of this year. It’s a five-week program to move you from that idea piece to making money with your business and you will do it with other women.  I’m giving you all the behind the scene details of of how to develop your idea, how to protect it, how to raise money for it, and how to package it up and get that first version out into the world and get paid. It takes care of that community piece because you can use the other women as your focus group to help and hold you accountable.  he next round is going to be $997 for five weeks. That’s includes the training and to be part of the community ongoing.  What I’m looking to build is a community of women who go through this process and are looking to play the game of business together.

You can find Part One here.

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BIO: Dawn Andrews is the trusted advisor to more than 250 individuals and businesses in the world of entertainment. Her company, Free Range Thinking, is credited with cultivating extraordinary leaders, and she is committed to transforming leaders from the inside out. She’s an intuition based thinker who teaches you to Grow Your Big Idea (tm), reclaim your time without sacrificing results, improve communication skills and leadership performance through organizational effectiveness, and, most soulfully, to find your passion, work less and make more.

Get Your Mompreneur On With Expert Dawn Andrews (Part 1)

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Meet my good friend and expert Dawn Andrews, business strategist and life coach in the world of entertainment. I immediately connected with Dawn this past spring at Campowerment and recently participated in her new small business incubator, Grow Your Big Idea. Read on to find out how you too can join the Grow Your Big Idea community, why Dawn thinks more women need to get involved in business, and how she doesn’t find balance between being the entrepreneur boss of her own company and being the mom boss of her house and two boys, ages 7 and 9. A Business Strategist and Life Coach

The main reason people come to a business strategist is because they own a company of some sort and have reached a plateau in their development or growth. What’s unique about the business strategy that we do is that we help business owners take their businesses from personable to sellable.  A lot of people start their companies and grow organically and they’re growing on their own energy, ideas, and enthusiasm, but they don’t have the wherewithal to create a business plan and put together something that actually has value beyond just the monthly revenue they make. As a business strategist, I look at people’s businesses, predominantly service and creatively-oriented or businesses in entertainment and help them strategize growth and what their exit strategy would be. The life coaching part comes in handy because usually any time any of us are growing, we come up against our past history and psychology. The life coach part helps businesses deal with their own personal roadblocks.

Becoming a Coach

I was a director of marketing for an entertainment company and I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. The best way I can put it is that I always grew up in an environment where making your own thing was more desirable to being employed by somebody else. I don’t think I consciously knew that at the time, but as I got into my late twenties and thirties, there was a time when a lot of traction was happening in business—lots of lay offs and smaller companies were being bought by larger companies.  I just looked around and thought, “This just seems silly.” Why am I sweating it that I’m going to be in the next round of layoffs when I can just do something myself.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that’s not how most people think. Most people are scrambling to find another job, networking with friends, or polishing up their resume. I just didn’t want to take that ride at someone else’s mercy anymore. I called and hired a career coach at the time to just pull something out of me that I could turn into something that made money and I realized it was her job that I wanted. So I went to coaching school because there are schools specifically for that skill set. Thankfully, I wasn’t in the first round of layoffs, but I was in the third or fourth and by the time that round came I was already in training, I had a few clients and the basis for what the business is now.

Going to Coaching School

Coaching school is awesome and it’s for real. It’s not an easy let’s just go and talk and have nice classes about self-development and have fun. It’s a very rigorous training program. You’re dealing with people’s psychology and how they relate to their lives. Most coaching programs are anywhere from 18 months to three years, depending on the level of certification you want to get. You can physically go somewhere as part of your local college or you can go to a coaching school. The top coaching schools are CTI, International Coaching Academy, and CoachVille. For busy moms, many programs have classes that work around that and offer classes at 6 in the morning or 10 at night.  

What I will tell you, for those of you who want to be a coach, is that getting your business started and learning the skills of a coach or transferring your life skills into coaching is one level of the difficulty, but running a business or starting a practice that includes coaching takes a lot of energy and effort. You can do it, but don’t be surprised or put off by that.

Starting Out

The year before I graduated from coaching school, I sent a letter out to everyone I knew announcing the launch of the business. And this is rolodex days when people actually sent letters. I said, “I started this, this is what I’m doing, and I’m looking for anyone who wants coaching about anything.” It was a free for all. There was no focus, no niche, no nothing. And at rock-bottom prices. It was just so I could start using the skills and tools that I had and the method that I had learned to get some practice. It probably took about a month of the letters out and then calling and cajoling people just to get them interested in giving it a try. It wasn’t that long before I was being paid for it—very little but I was being paid for it.

We Need More Women in Business

As women, we have a unique perspective. And I feel like because of the way we’re wired, physiologically, we can see a larger picture of what’s going on in the world. We can see how we feel; we can check on how others are feeling. We can see how people are being affected by our environment, our politics, and what’s going on in the world. Having more women in business is going to create a more holistic rise in the way that our culture works. Most men, are designed to get on a track, focus on one goal, and go get that thing. That’s also necessary, but it’s missing the larger picture view. When women get into business and express themselves, they’re more likely to team up in terms of businesses working together for a greater good. They’re more likely to be charitable or to connect their business to some larger cause. I think it just gets better when women are in business.

On Wednesday, Dawn will be talking about women getting into business, what holds them back, and how to juggle being your own boss and the boss of your family at the same time. Subscribe below and never miss a post!

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BIO: Dawn Andrews is the trusted advisor to more than 250 individuals and businesses in the world of entertainment. Her company, Free Range Thinking, is credited with cultivating extraordinary leaders, and she is committed to transforming leaders from the inside out. She’s an intuition based thinker who teaches you to Grow Your Big Idea (tm), reclaim your time without sacrificing results, improve communication skills and leadership performance through organizational effectiveness, and, most soulfully, to find your passion, work less and make more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lola Lolita Guest Blogs This Week - The Theme? Let's Show Some Teacher Appreciation

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I am a teacher. Often, I have to repeat those words to myself. Roll them around in my mouth for a bit and let them slide off my tongue. Breathe them in and then out again.

In.

Out.

Let them settle into my brain, my soul, my heart.

Especially my heart.

I have to do these things because, in an age where teaching has been reduced to collecting data and preparing for standardized tests and completing evaluation paperwork and beseeching the public to offer support instead of criticism, it’s easy to lose sight of the reason you got into this job in the first place. To become downtrodden by the political and corporate takeover and decimation of education. To consider giving up and finding some other way to pay the bills.

I am a teacher.

I’m challenged with opening young minds to the world around them. With helping them see material in a new light. With encouraging them to seek out and want to know. With challenging them to push themselves beyond their comfort zones to learn — about themselves, about the curriculum, and about each other. Because in learning about these things, they learn about that which exists outside themselves. They learn about the human experience. They learn things that cannot be quantified and measured by governments and test makers.

That’s where the real learning exists. In the things that can’t be quantified and measured. That’s where the real teaching exists, too.

And the real teaching and learning? That shit’s hard, people. But it’s also the most important. That shit’s hard and most important because the real teaching and learning makes us uncomfortable and changes who we are as individuals. Or it should, at least.

That’s because the real teaching and learning — the stuff that students will carry with them for a lifetime — is one part grammar and evolutionary theory and memorization of important dates and quadratic equations and 99 parts how to live and breathe and survive and love in this world.

I am a teacher.

I’m challenged with teaching them the grammar, sure, and that’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m also challenged with teaching them to be in this world. Teaching them to be critical thinkers, to be question askers, to be knowledge seekers, to be decent human beings.

I am a teacher.

I am not charged with shaping young minds but with teaching them to shape their own. I am not charged with filling their buckets but with helping them to fill their own. I am not charged with telling but with broadening. I am not charged with collecting data and preparing for standardized tests and completing evaluation paperwork and beseeching the public to offer support instead of criticism. Sure, that’s part of my charge, but it is not and should not be all of my charge. The majority of my charge is in setting high expectations and in encouraging and in assisting and in loving. The majority of my charge is my students. The majority of my charge is where I must focus my efforts.

I am a teacher.

And in an age riddled by the political and corporate takeover and decimation of education, an age in which data collection and standardized tests take precedence, an age in which numbers are more important than people, that’s what I need to remember.

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BIO: Lola Lolita runs SammichesPsychMeds.com and plays on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Hobbies include introverting, determining how cheap the wine has to be before she can't tolerate it, and trying to sleep while thinking about that one embarrassing thing she did in high school.

I'm Not Broken...

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My yoga instructor read this at the beginning of class last weekend. It really resonated with me and was just what I needed to hear at that moment. Recently, I've been finding that in my complicated, chaotic, hot mess of a life, yoga is simple and something I have control over. I control whether I show up on my mat. I control the work I do and the strength I build. On my mat, I can shut out everyone and everything for 75 minutes each day. 75 minutes just for me...to relax, recharge, reflect, and accept..to feel powerful...to grow stronger...to breathe...to just be me. So I'm stealing the words and sharing them with all of you. Maybe it's what you need to hear too...because YOU ARE NOT BROKEN and either am I.

You have all the power, resources, capabilities and abilities to change anything about yourself that no longer serves you. You have zero power to change another human being, including your own children. This journey of self-awareness is about you and only you—not because you are selfish, but because you understand the need to be whole in order to fully give.

Everything and everyone in your life is a mirror of your inner relationship with yourself. See everything as an opportunity toward self-acceptance. What is it about me that I need to accept today? Note that I am not saying, what is it about me that I need to fix or change? That point of view comes from a perception of lack. There is no lack, there is only acceptance.

You are not broken. This very minute is the most perfect expression of who you are. Whether you choose to evolve into a better person tomorrow is entirely up to you. So think of yourself as if you were on a journey of making something good better, and not fixing yourself because you are broken.

You accept who you are, which means recognizing and acknowledging everything that is good about you, adjusting what no longer serves you and accepting what is not so nice about you as part of who you are that you can tweak accordingly.

It may sound like wordplay, but that’s exactly what it is—it is all in the phrasing. If you speak, think and act in the positive, you will draw the same toward you.

You can find the entire article, written by Lia S. Bernardo here.

"Empowerment Activist" Andrea Quinn takes over my blog this week! (Today's Topic: Having the Life You Want)

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How Clarity Leads to Having the Life You Want Lily Tomlin said, “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” Lily was of course being funny. But, she’s right.

I’m often asked by women, “How do I get from where and who I am, to where and whom I really want to be?” My first reply is to ask them what they truly want. Many, many times they don’t really know. All they know for certain is they want something else, something more, something true and purpose-filled. Coming up with a concise true response to that question (what do you really want?) seems simple until someone asks you, or until you ask yourself. Try it.

Here’s what I know. Having a true and clear answer is very empowering. It’s the beginning of everything. The greatest starting point in living an empowered life is having clarity around what you want. Your ability to develop a clear and detailed picture of what you want is paramount in embarking on the journey to getting there and creating the life you want.

Here are three steps towards clarity.

Your feelings are your guide – by allowing your feelings to be your barometer for clarity, you will start to become certain about how you want to feel when you are doing what you really want to do. Listen to your own signals as to what makes you feel good and what doesn’t. Your feelings also allow you to check in with how the journey is going and make course corrections along the way. When you are doing and being what makes you feel good, take note. Sometimes our feelings are clouded by conditions that we feel are out of our control like depression, hormones, relationships, etc. But the truth is you have the power over how you choose to take care of yourself as you deal with these conditions. The internal indicators are your feelings. Listen to them.

“Let’s Pretend” – imagine that you’re already living the life you want. Now, you’re being interviewed for a top publication or news program and the interviewer asks you how got to where you are, who supported and who influenced you. As you give them your detailed recount, remember what it was like as a kid to pretend and step inside of that make-believe person you were pretending to be. Be animated! It’s “Let’s Pretend” so have some fun.

Visualize Your Life – visualizing what you want your life to truly look like is a most powerful tool in clarity. Shakti Gawain in her amazing book, Creative Visualization, said “We always attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe most strongly, expect on the deepest level and imagine most vividly…Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart truly desires must come to you.”  This book is a must-read for those wanting to live an empowered life. It is one of my secret weapons; not only in creating the life I live, but also in the lives my clients are creating for themselves as well. So, as you visualize your most desired life, what are you accomplishing? Where do you live? What does a typical day look and feel like?

What’s next? Now that you’ve checked in with your feelings, pretended to tell someone your journey and visualized it in living color, you just need to take one first step. Just one! Ask yourself: If I could take one step in the direction of my fully empowered life what would it look like? Take that step! Make that call! Ask that favor! It might seem scary at first but it will begin to move you in the direction towards your clarity and your vision for your life.

Once you begin to listen to your feelings, follow them towards making changes, imagine you are already there, visualize exactly what you want and take just one step forward. You will not only have greater clarity you will be empowered to create the life you truly desire.

“A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success.” – S. Maraboli

So, take your foot off the brakes, get clear and move steadily toward your dreams!

 

JennKLPhotography-4171_edit_CROPBIO: Andrea Quinn is a Certified Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author based in Los Angeles.  She is known as an “Empowerment Activist” for women and has a reputation as a powerful advisor to many in the entertainment industry. Her unique and natural gift of sharing her wisdom offers an original perspective that isn’t based on ego or hype, but in real world experience and she delivers!

She has developed a curriculum called the ”Quinn Essentials”, which is a program used by many individuals as well as companies to expand their businesses, inspire communication within groups and empower people to live their best lives. Andrea facilitates women’s groups in Los Angeles where she teaches her tools to hundreds of women and is successful at guiding them to “Accomplish” their dreams.

Andrea is finishing her first book” The Quinn Essentials – 9 tools to Accomplish ANYTHING for Women.” She is also expanding her women’s groups in 2017 to San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Austin, and New York. Motivational speaking is also a passion for her and she is invited to speak regularly at many corporate events and has a once a month empowerment lecture series in Hollywood for men and women. While she has a presence in many of the Studios, Networks and Agencies in Hollywood she has also advised on Wall Street, the Silicon Valley, the Pentagon, and most recently in London’s powerful Music Industry. Seeing people (especially women) succeed by “Accomplishing” their dreams is her biggest dream come true.

"Empowerment Activist" Andrea Quinn takes over my blog this week! (Today's topic: Your Attitude)

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It’s All About Your Attitude Yes Ladies, attitude is everything! You’ve likely have heard the phrase “fake it till you make it,” and yes, at times it can be a good strategy in business or the start of a great marketing campaign while you’re building and establishing your brand. However, “faking it” is not the greatest idea when it comes to your own personal attitudes. Just the opposite, authenticity, is the foundation for an effective attitude.

Your attitude about your life determines the quality of it. That is a fact.

Numerous health psychology studies show that the quality of life is very often the result of one’s attitude. It’s been six decades since social psychologist Gordon Allport broke ground by saying that attitudes are “probably the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology.”

Yes, they are that important!

Allport described attitude and change in attitude as a cognitive process. The way I see it, this simply means you are in control of your attitudes; they don’t control you. Knowing this is very empowering.

But, the shift in attitude doesn’t just happen when someone suggests you need to get a positive attitude. This is where the “fake it till you make it” scenario comes into play. I mean seriously. How are you supposed to put a coat of yellow paint on things to make them better? I am here to tell you that it doesn’t work (and I think you already know this).

See, I don’t believe that there are positive or negative women. Nor do I believe there are positive or negative attitudes.

What I do believe is that there are empowered or disempowered women who have positive or negative experiences based on their respective attitudes. It’s as simple as that.

Empowered women have attitudes that are optimist, constructive, encouraging and helpful, leading to positive experiences. Disempowered women have pessimistic, destructive, selfish and often depressing attitudes that lead to negative experiences.

And, here’s the thing. Again, it comes down to choice. The thing that determines your attitude in any given moment is how empowered or disempowered you allow yourself to be. The choice of empowerment and the choice in attitude are linked and walk side by side.

It’s an inside job where your assignment is to determine how to empower yourself in a situation (and that doesn’t mean be bitchy or angry!).

True power comes from the ability to do things differently. These are just a few tips to start you on your way to a new attitude.

  1. Realize that attitude is a choice and you can make choices that feel good.
  2. Remove people or situations that make you feel disempowered or bad.
  3. Read or watch inspirational material.
  4. Look for role models who embody attitudes you admire.
  5. Be kind to yourself in the process

Remember; stop “trying” to be positive! Look for where you are the most empowered, make your choices from there and recognize that you are on your way to a new attitude.

JennKLPhotography-4171_edit_CROPBIO: Andrea Quinn is a Certified Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author based in Los Angeles.  She is known as an “Empowerment Activist” for women and has a reputation as a powerful advisor to many in the entertainment industry. Her unique and natural gift of sharing her wisdom offers an original perspective that isn’t based on ego or hype, but in real world experience and she delivers!

She has developed a curriculum called the ”Quinn Essentials”, which is a program used by many individuals as well as companies to expand their businesses, inspire communication within groups and empower people to live their best lives. Andrea facilitates women’s groups in Los Angeles where she teaches her tools to hundreds of women and is successful at guiding them to “Accomplish” their dreams.

Andrea is finishing her first book” The Quinn Essentials – 9 tools to Accomplish ANYTHING for Women.” She is also expanding her women’s groups in 2017 to San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Austin, and New York. Motivational speaking is also a passion for her and she is invited to speak regularly at many corporate events and has a once a month empowerment lecture series in Hollywood for men and women. While she has a presence in many of the Studios, Networks and Agencies in Hollywood she has also advised on Wall Street, the Silicon Valley, the Pentagon, and most recently in London’s powerful Music Industry. Seeing people (especially women) succeed by “Accomplishing” their dreams is her biggest dream come true.

Written For Suburban Misfit Mom - "I'm Not That Mom..."

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Some moms think pushing a baby out of their vagina is the most beautiful experience. I’m not that mom.   Some moms would rather die than send their new baby to the nursery during the hospital stay.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms live to breastfeed. I’m not that mom.

Some moms puree fruits and veggies, making homemade baby food for their little ones.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms cook a homemade meal for their children every night.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms tell you that having a child is the most amazing experience they have ever been through.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms have two, three, even four children.  I’m not that mom.

Some mom’s say their “uterus hurts” when they know it’s time for another baby. I’m not that mom.  

Some moms love the playground, other kids’ birthday parties, and playdates.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms look forward to mommy and me classes.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms think bath time is a special time. I’m not that mom.

Some moms never go on vacation without their children.  I’m not that mom.

Some moms say their children are their life. I’m not that mom.

Some moms pretend to have it together and be happy all the time. I’m not that mom.

I’m not judging these moms. Not even close. I think these moms are supermoms. Some of my closest friends are these moms. I thought I was going to be one of these moms. My mother in law is one of these moms. I learn things from these moms. I’m just not one of them.

Here is the mom I am: I’m the mom that would absolutely schedule my C-section if I decided to have another child. I’m the mom who is absolutely not having anymore children. I’m the mom who has no interest in sharing my body again with a tiny human. I’m the mom who had no problem sending my new baby to the hospital nursery so I could sleep. I’m the mom who tried to breastfeed and gave up on day five because I hated it and it was too hard. I’m the mom whose boobs are for sexual purposes, not food ones.

I’m the mom who had a night nurse for two months until my son slept from 7pm to 7am. I’m the mom who thinks infants are boring.  I’m the mom who had postpartum depression for the first year of my son’s life and fought…really hard…to get better. I’m the mom who gives my son macaroni and cheese when I’m tired. I’m the mom who doesn’t cook. I’m the mom who microwaves my son’s dinners from containers his nanny has prepared and left in the fridge. I’m the mom who doesn’t work and has a part-time nanny. I’m the mom who bribes my son with lollipops and cookies.

I’m the mom who loves to throw birthday parties but can’t craft for shit and really doesn’t care to. I’m the mom who pays others to craft for me.  I’m the mom that thinks Etsy is a Godsend.  I’m the mom who doesn’t enjoy the chaos of the playground.  I’m the mom that doesn’t do playdates because my son still takes afternoon naps and I like naps too.

I’m the mom who needs breaks.  I’m the mom who prefers kid-free vacations. I’m the mom who puts myself first…a lot. I’m the mom who has no problem leaving my son with a babysitter. I’m the mom who loves drop off. I’m the mom whose son gets on my nerves on a daily basis. I’m the mom who needs a glass of wine immediately following my son’s bedtime.

I’m the mom who will be on anti-depressants for the rest of my adult life and is not embarrassed or ashamed. I’m the mom who loves laughing with my son. I’m the mom who loves reading books with my son. I’m the mom who melts when my son tells me he loves me and asks to give me a kiss.  I’m the mom who loves watching my son develop and discover every detail about the world around him. I’m the mom who loves my son so much sometimes it’s hard to breath. I’m the mom that doesn’t apologize or feel guilty for any of this.

I’m just me, the mom I am and that’s okay. Thank you postpartum depression and tons of therapy for teaching me this.

Published on May 25, 2016 at Suburban Misfit Mom.