Are your fears or dreams driving your behaviour?

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Who is sitting in your driving seat? I recently realised that my fears are sitting in the driver seat of my life and not my beliefs/dreams. I thought I was allowing my dreams to drive my behaviour but after some deep introspection I realised that I was fooling myself. I made a conscious decision to start shifting my behaviour. To allow my positive beliefs to fast track me to my dreams, instead of allowing my fears to keep me in first gear. The truth is that if we live from a perspective of fear we live smaller, close down our creativity and are not as open to the flow of life.

The activity I did to get to this insight was that of writing down what I’m afraid of, without judging or filtering. Once I felt that all my fears were written on the piece of paper, I started a new page with what I believe in and dream of. I would like to share some of my fears and beliefs with you. I do believe that we are more alike than we tend to think. My hope is that in sharing my vulnerability with you, you may reflect on your own behaviour. That we can all shift from first gear to fifth.

I am afraid of…

  • Not having enough money and not being able to look after myself.
  • Not living fully, playing it safe and not taking enough risks.
  • Always saying that I will publish my book but never doing it.
  • Allowing my thinking to hold me back and not changing my bad habits.
  • Not bringing my true self to life and unlocking my potential.
  • Not loving (others and myself) enough.
  • Wasting time on things that don’t really matter.
  • Not being good enough, beautiful enough, and clever enough.
  • Not making my business a success.
  • Not listening to the wisdom of my body.
  • Settling for second best and missing opportunities
  • Saying no and disappointing others.

I believe …

  • I am enough (good enough, beautiful enough and clever enough).
  • The world gives me what I need and I’m now exactly where I need to be.
  • God loves me and has a purpose with my life.
  • If I keep myself open opportunities will come to me.
  • In eating wholesome and nourishing food than depriving me to be ‘thin’.
  • Accepting all of me, and that non-acceptance causes suffering.
  • In loving relationships and that it builds bridges.
  • In beauty and the magic it brings in my life.
  • In creativity and how it opens possibilities.
  • In living my life from a soulful place, connecting deep with deep.
  • In my body and that it holds all the wisdom I need.
  • In the joy of being alive, that I can enjoy and trust life.

Learning: Live from the trust that you can create the life you dream of.

Healing question: How will you live differently if your dreams, instead of your fears, drive your behaviour?

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Dancing with your money demons

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My relationship to money has always been a complex one. The past few months I’ve started to work on changing my relationship with money. It takes time and is not an easy process. I realised you can’t change your relationship with money without changing your beliefs about money. In order to change your limiting beliefs about money you need to be prepared to dig deep and do the inner work. You have to start facing your demons, your fears about money.

I would like to share with you what I’ve learned so far on the journey:

Barbara Stanny shared in an interview, Sacred Success, with Chantel Pierrad that there are three types of work when it comes to your finance:

  1. Outer work – This work is about meeting with a financial advisor and drawing up a financial plan, putting the necessary insurance or risk cover in place, etc. that will fit your needs and support your goals.
  2. Inner work – Reflecting and reviewing your attitudes / beliefs about money as well as the decisions you make about money.
  3. Higher work – We are all on earth for a purpose. Money is a great tool to assist you in making the change. When you make more money it can assist you in creating bigger change. Reflect on how money can support your vision and calling.

Unpacking my finances from the three different levels opened new ways for me to think about money.

During my ‘outer work’ journey I had a very interesting conversation with my financial advisor. He asked me whether I wanted to retire or if I wanted to be financially independent? Wow! That question made me face a limiting belief I had about money. I realised that my view of looking and thinking about investment and retirement are very narrow. I learned that ‘the concept of “financial independence” should not be connected to retirement.’ Talking with him and reading his article about paving the way to financial independence made me realise that I needed to make a mind-shift about money and investment. I also became aware of the importance of having a person you trust to support you with that mind-shift.

My ‘inner work’ quest led me to another pod cast of Chantel Pierrad from Emerging Women. This time she talked with Nancy Levin about how to boost your self worth to grow your net worth. What stood out for me was that money issues are directly related to self-worth. That we need to stop putting our worthiness in the hands of others or measure it by the amount of money we have. Self-worth start inwards. It starts with self-love. To grow your self-worth you need to start doing what you are scared to do and face your demons.

Learning: When you start to face your demons, that what you fear, it can no longer control you. You experience more energy, you stop giving away your power and you start to grow more into your true self (your calling).

 Healing question: How are you trying to prove your worth?

25 Lessons Life taught me

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The past year (2016) I reviewed and looked back on my life. The purpose of the process was to set free, heal and gratefully capture the lessons that life had taught me thus far. In order to, simplify and clear the way to move forward in a more authentic and present state.

Below is a list of the 25 lessons and healing questions I’ve learned from life: (If one of them draws your attention you can click on it to read more about the specific learning.)

  1. We all experience the same event differently based on our role in the situation and our expectations of it.

How can I simplify my life and business by releasing unnecessary expectations?

  1. Moments of transition can be traumatic AND meaningful.

What area of my life or business needs to transition into the light so that it can grow?

  1. By avoiding certain emotions I’m not allowing myself / my company to blossom.

How can I allow myself to feel the different emotions that accompany life and/or the start of a new business?

  1. By loving and trusting others and myself I create a safe space to be vulnerable.

How can I give myself (and others) the necessary love and trust in order to feel safe?

  1. When I become curious about life, new learnings open up.

What will I learn about my work or life if I become ‘passionately curious’ about it?

  1. Life is one big learning curve.

How can I bring laughter and lightness into this moment?

  1. My brain needs play time to recharge.

How can I play more?

  1. It is just a sandwich don’t let it define who you are. You are so much more than a sandwich.

How do I allow the sandwiches of life to define me?

  1. We make the best choice we can given the circumstances and information available to us at that stage.

How can I be kinder and let go of the regret for the decisions I made in the past?

  1. Genuine friendships are the jewellery of life – it endures the tests of time but needs to be treasured and worn close to the heart.

How did I treasure my friendships today?

  1. Be grateful for everything.

How can I be and feel more grateful for the struggles in my life?

  1. Being part of a team gives one a sense of belonging.

How can the way I interact with others translate into meaningful, real-life connections?

  1. Surprising events (pleasant or unpleasant) awaken us and allow room for something new to happen.

How am I standing in my own way?

  1. Make time to mourn what is lost and grow in the ambiguity of life.

How can I learn to live with the ambiguity and questions of life?

  1. I’m already a swan as I am now.

How can I love and accept all of me as I am now?

  1. Real feedback allows me to break up and open to love and growth.

How can I allow real feedback to transform me?

  1. Dark moments can turn into soulful moments if we open ourselves for growth.

How can I stay with the uncomfortable unknowing a little longer?

  1. Focus on the space and allow it to open up space within you.

How can I start to see space as just as important part of the bigger picture and not as an area that still needs to be filled?

  1. You can decide if financial stress is going to rob you of you.

How can I not allow my financial stress to overwhelm me in a way that I can’t be present to myself and those I love?

  1. When I’m genuinely committed to me. I’m also genuinely committed to you. My commitment to my vision is imbedded in my deep desire to serve others.

How committed am I to me and my vision?

  1. The space between the cup (current reality) and the quart (my vision) creates emotional tension as well as creative tension. When you use the tension wisely it can be a source of energy.

How can I discover my way between the cup and the quart?

  1. We cannot reach our goals on our own. We need support from people who care about us and share in our vision. We also need a professional network to derive new business from.

How am I tapping into and building my  network?

  1. I commit to live myself in an authentic way of being.

How committed am I to truly live (in line with my truth)?

  1. The space of sufficiency creates space for possibilities to open up.

How are my behaviour shaping a culture that does not determine our value by what we have but the life we live (wherein I believe that who I am is enough)?

  1. We develop skills not to escape life but to learn how to engage with life.

How can I embody the skills I learn in order to connect in a more meaningful way with others and life?

10 Reasons for coaching

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Last week I was filled with deep gratitude when I completed my Professional Coach Training and certified as an Integral Coach. It has been an amazing two-year journey of learning and re-discovering. Looking back I know that it was the best investment I could have made in/for myself. I was reminded again (as I often am with coaching clients) of the value of making time for personal development.

The past week I reflected on the following question:

Why do we enrol in personal development workshops or coaching processes?

One of the main reasons is to learn new skills. So, why do we need more skills?

Below is a list of ten reasons that came to mind.

We develop new skills to build our capacity to:

  • stay in the discomfort instead of running away from it.
  • meet the challenges that life gives us and turn it into opportunities for growth.
  • have the courage to step into the uncertainty even though we are afraid.
  • lean more into who we are and have been all along.
  • trust and love ourselves more.
  • change in order for new possibilities to unfold.
  • serve others in a compassionate way
  • deepen our relationships with others (at home and at work).
  • connect in a meaningful way with life.
  • not escape life but to learn how to engage with life.

Learning: We develop skills not to escape life but to learn how to engage with life.

Healing question: How can I embody the skills I learn in order to connect in a more meaningful way with others and life?

Money, body and soul

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When it comes to money matters things aren’t always simple. Thinking or talking about money evokes different thoughts, feelings, and even bodily sensations. Pride, anger, jealousy, anxiety, shame and sadness are among the emotions that frequently occur, accompanied with a shortness of breath, tightening of the chest and jaw. What is it about money, a neutral medium of exchange that was created by humans to make the sharing of our services simpler, that it creates such an emotional and physical response?

A few years ago I was the Deputy Director of Student Fees and Debtors at a University. Hearing the stories of a diverse range of students and parents about why they can’t settle their student account made me aware of the complexities around money. There was always a very personal story behind the request for funding. A story that is born out of a culture that values money more than human life, relationships and the soul. As I heard their stories it touched me on a physical and emotional level. The reason being that a certain aspect of their stories resonated with parts of my story about money. A common theme started to emerge that I could not quite grasp at that stage but only recently understood after listening to the insightful audiobook Unleashing the Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

In her book Lynne states that money issues are not as personal as we think. ‘We’ve all been wounded in our relationship with money. They are entangled in the lies we live about money.’ She continues to explain that the source of our suffering is embedded in following three unconscious unexamined lies or myths:

  1. There is not enough. We tend to think there is not enough time, money, food, sex, vacation, work, etc. Later we allow these thoughts to come into our soul. We then start to think that ‘I’m not enough’. This type of thinking implies that someone is going to be left out. We start to fear scarcity. Which in turn justifies our actions of only taking care of us and constantly trying to accumulate more.
  2. More is better. We have an unending quest for more. We want more cars, money, bigger houses, more clothes, education, etc. The result is that we accumulate more of what we don’t really need. It is difficult to not fall into this trap as research suggests that the Media bombards us with approximately 30 000 messages a day telling us, you need more and are not enough. More has become a way of life.
  3. That is just the way it is. This type of thinking that ‘there is not enough’ and ‘more is better’ leads to the third lie that this is just the way life is and we stop questioning the myths and start to believe it.

As I listened to these myths about money I could see how the fear of scarcity is at the root of creating a world where people don’t have enough. I realised that I do have a choice how I want to think about money and the meaning I want to assign it. I can change my relationship with money from ‘not having enough’ to sufficiency by changing the conversation I have about money with others and myself.

Life does not always give us what we want but it does give us exactly what we need to learn and grow. Lynne Twist calls it the principle of sufficiency and explains it as such:

When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need. It frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. You start to pay attention to what you already have. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands.

 In my coaching sessions I  became aware that when people speak from a place of ‘being enough’ and tapping into their inner riches, they become more calm, content and their body opens up. The space of sufficiency creates space for possibilities to open up.

I would like to invite you to tap into your tapestry of experiences and relationships, become aware of what you already have. Let go of the unnecessary accumulation of more. Look at the areas where you have abundance in your life, where there is an overflow. Start to explore how sharing some of the things you don’t really need can create a place where there is enough for us all. A new culture that values sufficiency not abundance. A culture that does not determine our value by what we have but the life we live. Wherein we believe that who we are is enough.

Today I commit to truly live

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There is a movement that stirs deep within me.

A life force that wants to be born.

It is waiting for me to open up, accept it and allow it to flow through me.

I’ve wasted enough time trying to live.

I choose not to allow my fears to foster an unlived life.

I choose to let go of what I don’t really need and appreciate that what I have is enough.

Today I start where I am.

Today I make a difference with what I’ve got.

Today I commit to live myself in an authentic way of being.

Ending 2016 with 3 questions

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This time of the year one looks back at the year and reflect on the challenges and lessons learned. At the beginning of 2016 I started my own coaching business. One of the important skills of a coach is to learn to ask good questions. Therefore, I decided to translate some of the main lessons learned this year into coaching questions so that you can discover your own answer.

  1. How committed are you to you and your vision?

Peter Senge writes in his book ‘The Fifth Discipline’ that a core strategy for any leader is to commit yourself to your own personal mastery and your personal vision. Shared visions for an organisation (what we care about and want to create) arises from personal visions (what motivates me and the future I seek). He writes that ‘ If people don’t have their own vision, all they can do is “sign up” for someone else’s. The result is compliance never commitment’.

But what does commitment really mean? It means that you commit yourself to the process of refining what you truly want. It means that you relentlessly root out the ways you are limiting yourself and continually practise to broaden your awareness. In essence it means that you genuinely care. When you are committed you genuinely care about yourself and what you truly believe you should do. You may think it sounds selfish. It’s not. When I’m genuinely committed to me. I’m also genuinely committed to you. My commitment to my vision is imbedded in my deep desire to serve others. It is not about me. It is about something larger than me but it starts with a genuine commitment to me.

  1. How can you discover your way between the cup and the quart?

The space between the cup and the quart was a metaphor that I kept in mind this year as I held the tension between my current reality and my vision.

In his book ‘The Anatomy of Change’, Richard Strozzi-Heckler provides a wonderful metaphor for the anatomy of change that I want to share with you:

‘Imagine yourself sitting at a table holding a cup. The cup represents the quantity of potential, or energy or responsibility that you are able to integrate into your life at this particular moment. After being with this cup of yourself for some time, you notice that there is a quart container on the table. The quart represents the possibility of even more energy, responsibility, and love. You begin to recognise the quart is within your reach.

 Since you have explored the limits of your cup, you feel an urge to move toward the quart. To remain with only the cup of yourself is no longer tolerable. You make the choice to reach across the table and take the “more” of yourself. Realising it is impossible to hold both cup and quart at the same time, you put the cup down and extend toward the quart. Panic!

 Part way into your reach, you realise that the comfort and familiarity of the cup are gone, and you haven’t yet touched the quart. There is nothing. There are no boundaries, there is no known sense of identity or self – only emplty space, a strange new land. You are thrust into fear and doubt.

 At this point, what usually happens is we quickly retreat to that which is known: the cup. It is safe, familiar, and easily handleable. Or we contract, frozen in our fear of the unknown. Somehow our system of education never teaches us how to navigate these open waters, to trust ourself and our energy in times of change. We need to rediscover the passage between the cup and the quart of ourselves.

The space between the cup and the quart creates emotional tension as well as creative tension. When you use the tension wisely it can be a source of energy. The tension is then exactly what you need to creatively discover your way between the cup and the quart.

  1. How are you tapping into and building your network?

We cannot reach our goals on our own. We need people who care about us and share in our vision. This year I learned the importance of building relationships that nourish you and help to nurture your vision. In her book “Playing Big”, Tara Mohr refers to these type of people as ‘champions’. According to Tara a champion is a person that can see the future that hasn’t arrived yet. They are the people who think that the vision you have is achievable, and even destined. This then helps you to believe it can be done and motivates you to take the next step.

We don’t only need a network of support; we also need a professional network to derive new business from. This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. I realised that these types of networks don’t fall in your lap. You have to be disciplined to build relationships and grow your network in the field you wish to work in. Building that means stepping out of your comfort zone. It also means sharing your vision and making your work visible in a graceful and respectful way.

I trust that the above questions will be as valuable for you to ponder on as it was for me. That it will assist you to bring your unique vision to the world that so desperately needs it.