Are You Plugged into Your Power?

You cannot lose your power. But you may have shut it down.

Have you ever gone through a painful or challenging experience that had you feel like you were powerless? Like you gave away your power, handed it over to someone else without wanting to, or like you lost your power through this experience? – Let me tell you something: You cannot lose your power. All you did is temporarily disconnect from it, however devastating the experience may seem to you.

So the question is: Did you (fully) reconnect to your power since you went through that experience? Do you own how powerful you really are?

We all have unlimited power inside of us. It’s innate. We’re just often not connected to it, we haven’t activated it. It's lying there dormant. As long as it’s not activated, it seems unavailable to us, as if it’s not even there. It’s a bit as if we were trying to switch on the TV without plugging in the power cord. Power energy cannot flow.

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So how do you plug in your inner power cord?  How do you access this inner power? – Through your mind, your body, and your energy.

A while ago, I made a video with a simple tool that can help you activate your power energy within a matter of a few minutes or even seconds, once you’ve practiced it. Check it out here: Connect with Your Inner Power.

There are many ways to tap into your power, which I share in my coaching and workshops. Once you’ve connected with your power and can now truly put it to work for yourself, what are you going to do with it to benefit your career, your business, or the cause you want to support? What other tools, strategies or breakthroughs do you need to make your plans happen, to make your career goals, your vision and you dream come true?

If you are truly committed to your vision and your dream, I’d be honored to support you with one specific breakthrough, tool or strategy on a complimentary 30-minute call. Because I like dreamers. They are the ones who never stop growing, the ones who consciously transform their own reality and positively impact those around them, the ones who create significant change for a world fun living in. Click here to sign up and we’ll get your power to flow.

What Are You Going to Create for Yourself in 2019? – How to Step into Your Excellence Potential

What’s your vision for your 2019? Did you write it down yet? What exactly do you want to achieve for yourself? – I’m not talking about resolutions. Just ditch those; they are useless, and in most cases, they only lead to frustration and self-resentment. – What I’m talking about is a vision.

But first, let’s take a look back at 2018: What have you accomplished this year? Make a list of all your accomplishments and take a moment to be proud of yourself. No one else could have achieved exactly the same results; no one could have done it in the same way as you.

  • If 2018 has been a year of tough learning for you, take a deep breath and accept the lessons so you can build on them next year. This may involve moving out of victim mode, forgiving yourself and others, and leaving all types of resentment behind.

  • If it’s been a time to find clarity for your next phase, have you figured out what that next phase would ideally look like? If not, take some time this December to reflect on this and then decide which one step you can take in that direction before the year ends.

  • If it’s been a year of success, how can you take that success to the next level? Is it time to be intrepid and take bold action, to make a courageous move, to step into a leadership role?

Really take some time with this. It can be extremely eye- and mind-opening, and it allows you to address your 2019 challenges in a more powerful way.

Once you’ve completed your review of 2018, it’s time to take a preview of 2019. We all use only a relatively small portion of our potential, which is truly unlimited… How much we use, depends solely on us. So what’s keeping us from using more of it? The following are some possible reasons:

  1. Distractions and a lack of focus

  2. Convenience of current habits and the lack of discipline to replace them with new, more empowering habits

  3. Limiting thought/feeling patterns and a lack of commitment to turn them around into positive thoughts/feelings

  4. Confusion and a lack of clarity

  5. Fear

Let’s have a closer look at these obstacles.

1. Distractions and a lack of focus

What could be distracting you? Other people’s agendas? The news? Social media? Maybe just useless repetitive thoughts? A cluttered workspace or home? A tendency to live other people’s lives and resolve their problems? Anxiety?

We all have distractions in our lives that are worth getting rid of. What are they for you? – List your distractions, spot them as they show up in your life and make a decision to no longer give them attention. Declutter your desk, your workplace, your email. Make space for creative ideas and for concentration and become more productive and effective.

2. Convenience of current habits and the lack of discipline to replace them with new, more empowering habits

I don’t use the word “comfort zone.” Why? – Because most of the time, it’s not comfortable at all to be in our “comfort zone.” It’s just more convenient; that’s why I prefer the term “convenience zone.” It’s that place that our habits keep us stuck in. Some of us are so caught up in our habits that our habits become us. But they are not really who we are. They are just a behavior, a result of our subconscious programming. The good news is: If we are programmed in one way right now, then it’s also possible to re-program ourselves, get rid of the viruses in our minds and upgrade our software.

Let me share one specific practice has turned around several of my clients’ lives: a morning routine. Do you have a routine that sets you up for a successful day? Or do you check emails, follow other people’s agendas, and rush out to work without dedicating a single minute to your own well-being? Most successful people have a morning routine that includes at least one of the following practices if not all: meditation, gratefulness, physical exercise/yoga, journaling, reading something inspiring, visualization, positive affirmations or questions, defining one thing they are going to accomplish that day.

If you’ve never had a success morning routine and find it challenging to get up earlier, it’s ok to start with 10-15 minutes. Record your affirmations or visualization exercise on your phone and listen to them while driving or taking the train to work… no extra time needed for that! Tune into an inspiring YouTube audio instead of the latest disaster news.

If you currently only meditate in the morning, add some yoga or a brisk walk or a few minutes of cardio exercise. My thing is dance. It invigorates me and puts me in high-vibe mode. Choose something that you can easily convince yourself to do. If you only work out, add a few minutes of stillness or a guided meditation. If you already have an extensive self-care routine, congratulations! Keep doing it and benefiting from it.

3. Limiting thought/feeling patterns and a lack of commitment to turn them around into positive thoughts/feelings

Habits are a result of our thoughts and feelings. The question is: Are you thinking your thoughts or are your thoughts thinking you? It’s critical to become the observer of your thoughts and feelings. It allows you to nip any thoughts that don’t serve you in the bud – easy as that… You just have be consistent with it. Here’s a little trick: Whenever you catch a limiting thought that’s keeping you stuck or smaller than you really are, tell the thought that you have something better to think about right now, then turn it around into a positive “what if” question. Example: When you have a thought telling you that you it is hard to renegotiate your compensation, reframe that thought into “What if it could be easy?” Another powerful question is “What would it look like if I could increase my income?” These “what if” or “what would it look like” questions give you a positive outlook, they trigger positive expectations, they change your subconscious filters (and programming), and they stimulate your mind to look for solutions. They can also increase your confidence to achieve what you want. Play with this and observe what happens.

Thoughts are connected to feelings. When you turn your negative thoughts around, this also will make you feel better. And feeling good about yourself and your dreams is an essential ingredient to make them come true.

4. Confusion and a lack of clarity

At the beginning of our work together, a lot of my clients complain about a lack of clarity, about not knowing what’s next. They feel unfulfilled but just can’t seem to figure out what their purpose really is. They are looking for that project that both challenges and satisfies them. Highly creative people often suffer from the “shiny objects” syndrome; they have a wealth of ideas and they may even perceive a world of opportunities around them but somehow most of these options seem evasive or they don’t know which ones to choose. They want to make an impact in their own way… But what does that even mean, their own way? This can cause a lot of anxiety.

If you are preparing for 2019 in this state, you may not be as successful as you wish. I suggest you use some specific tools to find clarity. Start by asking yourself: What lifts me up? What comes easy to me? What am I truly passionate about? What would I like to see changed in my organization, in the world? Who do I admire and why? What have they achieved? Is it something I may want to achieve, in my very own way? – Asking questions and journaling (i.e., articulating evasive, incoherent thoughts into a meaningful context) can help you make progress on your path to gaining clarity. Start now! Go on a journey to self-discovery, do some soul-searching. Greater self-awareness leads to personal transformation, which in turn brings out some new pieces of your potential… Be prepared, you may be pleasantly surprised and challenged at the same time. Dare to see that potential in you and to put the puzzle pieces together into your next big thing.

5. Fear

Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of rejection or fear of facing our real purpose (because that may require taking bold action), fear is a projection into the future that expects an unwanted outcome. So we must face our fear, look it in the eye and tell it that it’s ok for it to leave. The role of fear is to protect us, to keep us alive, but fear is so deeply ingrained in our subconscious programming and in our cells that it also shows up when it’s not useful, when there’s no real threat. So it’s not about avoiding fear at all cost but rather about managing it; about being in control when fear shows up.

If you find this hard, make it a new habit to observe your fear when it shows up, take a few deep breaths and allow it to leave. Or experiment with looking at your situation from a bird’s perspective. Is your problem truly too big to overcome? Is your goal too ambitious to achieve? – Maybe not. But where there’s fear, there is no way. Fear obstructs advancement. Once you get fear out of the way – or, if that seems impossible, move through it and take the next possible step despite your fear, however small that step may seem –, that’s when the path clears up. Taking action is a magnificent fear buster.

With these tools, it should be less daunting to tackle your vision for 2019. Implement them now, before the new year even starts, so you can step into January 1 with positive anticipation, expecting all the great things you absolutely can attain… if you trust yourself and your unlimited potential. This is how you step into your excellence and into your authentic genius.

So… what’s your vision for 2019? What are you going to create for yourself?

What if you could get powerful support right at the beginning of the year? How would this change how you show up for your success? From my experience with my clients, I known that for many, doing it alone is easier said than done and learning concrete self-empowering tools can make all the difference. If you’re like most of us and you’d like some extra support and guidance, an accountability system that pushes you forward in Q1, check out my new program Kick into High Gear in Q1… and into Your Next Level of Success in 2019.

I look forward to serving you, so you can truly live your best year ever.

Are You Ready to Step it up?

It Takes Courage to Upgrade Your Career

In your career or business,

  • Are you ready for a bigger challenge, your next level?

  • Are you feeling this nagging voice that something needs to change but nothing’s moving?

  • Are you frustrated because the decision-makers in your organization overlook you when it comes to the most appealing projects or to promotions?

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Most of the women who sign up for consults with me answer “yes” to one or more of these questions. Yet, both from my own experience and from my conversations with other top coaches, I know that only a small percentage of women decide to invest in themselves. The mothers among them wouldn’t hesitate to invest in their children’s careers… So why aren’t they equally eager to invest in their own success. That’s mind-boggling to me, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I’ve talked to women who have enormous potential but very apparently are struggling with inner blocks that could be removed if they just made a decision and a commitment to transform. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve seen it with my clients. And not only that: I’ve experienced it myself. Life gave me a few lemons, to say the least; and somewhere along the way, I had to make a decision to transform so I could stabilize my life and become a conscious co-creator of my success. That meant I had to invest both time and money in my transformation so that I could free myself from limiting blocks, stop repeating patterns and fully step into my power. At the time, I had already studied a number of ways to “do the work” myself, and I’d been doing it quite diligently. But I realized that it was just not enough. Like everyone else, I had blind spots that needed to be addressed; and like everyone else, I needed someone to hold me accountable. So I hired help. I was able to break through my blockages, and I stepped on the escalator.

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That one thing that you need to invest in, may look completely different. What’s important is that you take time to consider your own needs…

Earlier this week, I attended a networking event for women, where a panel was discussing this reluctance of women to invest in themselves, although this specific event wasn’t so much about inner transformation as it was about outer transformation in the form of a powerful outfit (which of course reverts back to how we feel). There was a lot of nodding in the room, but I bet that 90% of the audience went home, and nothing changed. It’s too tempting to fall back into our habitual thought and behavioral patterns. We humans are creatures of habit. But that doesn’t always serve us… These were the thoughts that inspired me to write about this intriguing phenomenon, and if you’re intrigued as well, then I invite you to read on!

The first question is, why do we women tend to put ourselves last in the attention chain and how do we expect others to attend to our needs if we don’t even do it ourselves? Why are we compelled to take care of others first and of ourselves last? A lot of the reasons are rooted in our historical and cultural conditioning. It’s time to change this conditioning because:

  • We can only take good care of others when we take good care of ourselves. When we’re miserable, those around us get their share of it… if not now, then later. We must give ourselves permission to be and feel our best, so we can support others. – How do you do that? Make time for yourself and invest in what you need (the “put-your-own-mask-on-first” analogy).

  • Our children want us to be happy and live a fulfilled life (at least the ones I have met). Just think of yourself and your own parents: Would you rather have them sacrifice so you can have it all, while they are not getting what they need or want? Do you think your children want you to sacrifice for them? And… are you doing them a favor by sacrificing or are you possibly depriving them of their opportunity to grow?

  • Putting ourselves last eventually leads to frustration and dis-ease. All human beings have an innate urge to live a life that’s aligned with their purpose, to be successful in their careers, in what they consider their calling. When we suppress this need, we disappoint ourselves, we cultivate regrets, we get bored or frustrated; maybe even depressed and sick. And who will take care of us then? Or we end up feeling resentful against family members who we “deprived us” from this success, even though it was our own decision. This then can strain our relationship with our loved ones, which brings me to the next question:

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What’s the cost of staying where you are?

What is it costing you to not invest in yourself – whatever that looks like for you,… whether it’s a class you’ve always wanted to attend, a babysitter or household aid so you can have regular “me” time, a new outfit, or coaching. Let me take the example of coaching because that’s what I know best. (You can repeat this exercise for anything else that’s on your wish list.)

When I ask women about the cost of staying where they are, most mention these three factors:

  • Lack of career progression (status, influence, reputation and money)

  • Under-utilization of their potential (absence of meaning and growth)

  • Strain on relationships (family, romantic partners, friends, and of course colleagues).

Any of these types of cost look too high to me, but what’s worse is that most women pay the combined price of all three.

So let’s assume you know what your cost is. The next question would then be:

What’s your expected ROI when you do invest in yourself?

Again, let’s take the ROI of coaching: There are many ways to measure your ROI. Not all are monetary, although that’s certainly an important factor, and most of my coaching clients experience a short- or medium-term shift in income, assuming they do the work.

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Other types of ROI are positional (moving up in the ranks) or transformational (personal and professional growth at all levels). Many coaches rightfully expect a combination of different ROI results, and the use of an ROI measurement tool allows us to track and gauge everything as we move along. Here are some examples of ROI:

  • Monetary ROI: Let’s assume you invest $10,000 in a 6-month coaching program. As a direct or indirect result, you are promoted within a year, and you get a raise of $15-20,000. What’s your ROI? $5-10,000. But wait, that’s not all! Because of course you won’t only receive the higher salary once but every year. Plus, you will also experience an increase in anything that’s a percentage of your salary, like your pension fund or bonus, and your base for future salary increases will also be higher. This means your $10,000 investment can have a major impact on your income over the rest of your career and beyond.

  • Job satisfaction ROI: Think about how much time you spend at work. Would you consciously choose to spend all these hours in a way that’s frustrating or boring? When you get up in the morning, do you look forward to your work day? Do you want to spend quality time at work? Are your time and life valuable? Do you think you deserve to get compensated and feel fulfilled while doing the work you’re paid for? People who do what they love at work also become more stress tolerant, which again leads to better emotional, mental and physical health.

  • Emotional ROI: This is directly related to the previous point but really also to all of them. We are emotional beings, and stress through stagnation takes a toll on our emotional state. Taking action in the right direction leads to positive self-perception. As you move forward, your self-respect and self-esteem move up. You feel uplifted, “high vibe,” and this has an immediate effect on your mood and how you are perceived by others. Suddenly, everyone wants to work with you. You sleep better, feel more rested, and your family or partner will benefit as well.

  • Success ROI: Is success coming easy to you? Or do you need to work on your visibility, your speaking or meeting presence, your confidence? Whatever your current barrier to success, is the success you want worth breaking through this barrier? If so, why? Will it give you relief? Will you feel happier, more fulfilled, like you’re making a real impact? What if you could let your inner leader take control?

  • Team ROI: Can you rely on your team? How is your team interaction, accountability, performance? Is it easy for your team to generate timely quality output? Or is it operating at a sub-optimal level? Maybe it’s time to raise team effectiveness and creativity, for example through the application of specific Conversational Intelligence® tools and a more compelling leader presence? This usually also leads to monetary ROI for your team (higher savings, sales or innovation), which again boosts your reputation and success.

  • Self-actualization ROI: How much is it worth to you to look back at your life (when the time comes) and say: “I have no regrets?” A nurse recorded the 5 most common regrets of the dying. She found that the #1 regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” What is it that you expect of yourself, as the powerful being with unlimited potential that you really are, vs. the being that others expect you to be (most of the time not because they demand it from you but because they are used to seeing you at a certain level)? What is that thing? Is it represented in your current day-to-day work?

Look over the different costs and ROIs again. Is there anything you can relate to? If your answer is “no,” congratulations! If it’s “yes,” look the facts in the eye: There is a huge cost when you don’t make yourself a priority. And there’s enormous potential when you do.

And yet, as so many other women, you may still be hesitating to invest in yourself… Why is that? Do you prefer to stay in their comfort zone? – Does it really feel comfortable in your “comfort” zone when you feel stuck and can’t find your way out? Let me guess: It’s probably quite uncomfortable… Admittedly, it can also feel uncomfortable to make the move. It requires courage and effort to move out of that zone and venture into an uncertain area. It’s easier to stay where you are; it feels more convenient. That’s why I call this our convenience zone (rather than comfort zone). What’s waiting for you beyond your convenience zone? You don’t know because you haven’t experienced it yet. It’s this uncertainty, this fear of the unknown that keeps most people stuck. But what’s the worst that can happen when you face the fear? – You make a different experience, most likely a better experience… because what’s worse than staying stuck. Is that preferable to staying stuck? Yes or no? – I’ll let you answer that question for yourself.

And then, of course, there’s the worthiness factor. You’ve heard it over and over: women tend to feel unworthy (often on a subconscious level), so I won’t expand on it here… Let me just quickly quote a new client, who said earlier this week: “I immediately felt my self-esteem rise after signing up for my coaching program. It was a huge boost to my perceived self-worth.” After a long time, she finally granted herself permission to give attention to Self, and she realized that she wasn’t taking anything away from her family, quite the opposite.  

So I’m asking you: Are you ready to take a stand for yourself, acknowledge your worth and get out of your convenience zone? Do you dare to be adventurous and align with your purpose? What would it feel like to be a full, authentic expression of yourself? As someone said at that event earlier this week, stepping into our next level through personal transformation often requires soul searching; it requires courage. Not everyone is ready to open that door. – Are you? Only you have the answer…

If your answer is“yes,” if you are ready to explore ways of stepping into your next level, then I invite you to sign up for a complimentary consultation. Let’s discuss what your new reality on the other side of that door could look like for you and what it would take to get there.

At Transform Your Performance, we measure your ROI.

And Then the Fire Alarm Went off

Last week, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the anniversary celebration of the American Management Association Women's Leadership Center in New York. The topic of the event was "Show up with Power & Authenticity to Drive Your Success." Everything was organized perfectly by AMA: Beautifully set-up room, wine bar, delicious hors d'oeuvres, sound checked, everyone showing up on time, great networking happening in the room, powerful welcome message by Lauren McNally, Head and Creative Director of the Center... I was having a blast speaking and sharing some pieces of my eclectic story.

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But then, just as I was telling the ladies about a past, extremely painful experience with a fraudulent business partner, the fire alarm goes off! At first, I thought, "really?" but it quickly dawned on me: Woah! What a moment to sound the alarm! It just fit so perfectly into the context! A perfect addition to my story. -- Thank you, Universe!

Soon after, there was also an announcement letting us know that the alarm had been triggered by a problem with the electrical power system at the adjacent hotel, and there was no need to take action until further notice, so we continued with our program. I was just sharing how I was rethinking a few things in my life after being knocked out by malaria, and bingo... the fire alarm goes off again! Alarmed I was for sure back then at the ICU. That fire alarm couldn't have picked a better moment! This time, it stopped within just a few seconds, so I could quickly resume my talk.

As part of my interactive keynote, I was also teaching my wonderful audience several tools they could apply in their careers. One of them is about activating your power energy in a matter of seconds so you can enhance your business presence and raise your confidence. And we were just finishing that exercise when... you guessed it! The alarm... But this time, we received an announcement that the hotel's electrical power system had been fixed. Now, is that cool or what? We activate our power energy, and the hotel's power system is fixed! Maybe our "activate your inner power energy" activity spread to the hotel's electrical power system? -- I'll leave it up to you to answer that question... Fact is, it was divine timing! 

Several of the ladies in the audience wrote me after the event to congratulate me on “doing an excellent job of keeping focus in the middle of the fire alarm” and “adding a fun moment.”

So next time when something interrupts your presentation, don’t be frustrated. Instead, look for the meaning, the humor, the opportunity in the interruption. Use it to enrich your presentation! Your audience will thank you for it.

Need a few extra tips to keep your speaking gigs high vibe? Look up my book Speak up, Stand out and Shine and shine on!

Is Your Brain in the Right Place?

How to upgrade your conversations by thinking with your heart

As in all other life situations, in critical conversations we won’t go very far without a self-empowering mindset. It’s the basis of success for whatever we do. But what about our heart-set?

Did you know that the heart is a part of our brain? – Yes, that’s right. We have a heart brain (as well as a gut brain… for the records). For today, let’s start with heart.

Image by Gloria Williams

Image by Gloria Williams

In business, when we think with our heart and you do it with a positive achievement in mind, it means we’re tapping into our innate emotional intelligence. (When we think heart, we think of feelings.) This intelligence now becomes more available for us to use it in our communication and behavior.

The heart is one of the processing centers of our nervous system (as are the head and gut). Intentionally opening our heart before we step into a meeting allows us to connect with others on a deeper level and enhance our listening skills. We can now “put ourselves in other people’s shoes” and become empathetic to their situations and challenges. When our conversation partners feel that we truly listen, with compassion and the sincere intention to understand where they are coming from, they will trust us more, feel safer in our presence and open up. They will share what’s really on their minds (or on their hearts) rather than what they think they are expected to say. And more transparent communication often makes it easier to reach a mutual agreement.

Our heart also has a role in the courage we bring to our business conversations, to speaking up in meetings, presenting in front of an audience, applying for a job... Courage originates in our heart. The word courage is derived from the Latin word cor. Let’s look at other languages and their words for heart/courage:

  • Italian: cuore/coraggio

  • French: coeur/courage

  • Spanish: corazón/valor or coraje

  • Portuguese: coração/coragem

  • And in my own native tongue, German, an old word for courage is Beherztheit, which comes from Herz (heart).

That’s how far my language skills take me, though I’m sure we could find many more examples in other languages.

BodyTalk, a state-of-the-art holistic healing modality I studied, teaches us about the heart’s consciousness: The heart is about awareness, acceptance, love and self-love, respect, harmony… Using our heart brain helps us to be present for ourselves and others. This can make all the difference in a conversation.

Conversational Intelligence® or C-IQ® with its powerful tools to help us navigate successfully through team conversations and negotiations, also focuses on using all parts of our brain, including the heart.

Thinking with our heart means making decisions based on how we are feeling rather than facts only. I have made my worst decisions based on so-called “facts” (which are often very subjective anyway). We all do at some point in our lives. Have you ever made a decision where you didn’t listen to your heart,… maybe because you didn’t trust your intuition, your inner feeling voice, your heart’s and your gut’s voice? As a result, did you go through a painful lesson? – Even in conversations with ourselves, like when we make a decision, it pays off to be heart-centered! 

Business people have discovered the critical role of mindfulness for success. It's time to add heartfulness to the picture. When our heart is filled with positive expectations, whether these are related to our business outcome, our relationships with others, our vision, that's when we can bring about success with greater ease and more fun.

So… next time you go into a conversation, check first: Is brain is in the right place? – Start with your heart!

And if you’d like to find out more about this and the powerful work we do with women leaders, email me at regina@transformyourperformance.com and we’ll get you on my calendar for a discovery session.

Talk shortly!

Think You're Too Small to Make a Big Difference? – You Haven't Spent the Night with a Mosquito…

OR: Life after Malaria

Mosquitoes have always had a crush on me. As a little girl, I often counted 15 mosquito bites a night while others were spared, and I spent many nights awake scratching the itchy bites. And in my adult life, when traveling to places with a large mosquito population, I am usually the first to be attacked. My blood must be extra-delicious… Glad the vampires have never found me!

But it doesn’t stop here. Two tiny mosquitoes changed my life in two instances.

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The first time about 8 years ago, when I still lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After several weeks of feeling dizzy, nauseous and dehydrated, I finally decided to make my way to the hospital to get tested for dengue fever… and was admitted right away. The nurses had a hard time finding any blood in my veins to connect the dip bottle for intravenous hydration… I was that dehydrated. Good news is, after a few days I was feeling better and could return home.

The second time happened just recently: Two weeks after my return from Cameroon, I was starting to feel weak and like I was getting the flu. That was on a cold Sunday in NYC after a glorious night of kompa-dancing (when I usually feel energized and high-vibe). That Sunday, something clearly wasn’t right… On Monday, I went about my usual business as it was a busy week and my trip to Qatar was coming up, where I was booked to facilitate a 3-day Transformational Leadership Workshop for a group of women – big deal.

On Wednesday afternoon, I finally decided to take a cab to a medical center, and they immediately called an ambulance to take me to the ER. I was diagnosed with malaria but discharged at 3.30am with a prescription in hands as the doctors had managed to stabilize me. The next day, I picked up my malaria pills and took them as prescribed, but Friday came, and I was feeling so weak that I called 911. This time, they sent me from the ER directly to the ICU… I was completely dehydrated, and my blood pressure was as low as never before.

While I had inner certainty that I was going to make it out of there alive, I must admit it was a bit scary. Medically, I was on the edge. Another concern was of course: Would I get better on time to travel to Doha? I didn’t want to disappoint the organizers or training participants… This clearly wasn’t a good time to get sick (I know, I know, there’s never a good time). Eventually, the trip was postponed by a week due to my condition, but I didn’t know that while I was at the hospital.

But what also came with malaria was a huge spiritual journey. Malaria is about parasites, so I started asking myself some important questions, like:

  • What people and things are parasites in my life? Who and what do I need to get rid of?
  • What do I need to push off my plate to deepen my focus and to put time back onto my calendar for myself and my own needs?
  • Where does my Higher Self want me to play bigger in my life going forward?

In hindsight, and despite some challenging consequences, like catching up with business and not being able to dance in a while, this malaria incident was a gift: A huge opportunity to grow, increase my awareness, make some vital changes that weren’t a priority to me before… and the determination to learn my lessons in a less scary way, meaning that I’ll be more protective of my wellness and my boundaries and more mindful about what I invest my energy in.

Putting myself first, while serving my clients even better by doing so.

But back to the question: Do you still think you are too small to make a difference? – Think again!

 

 

 

 

On Camera in Cameroon... and learning some business lessons

I just got back from Cameroon, and oh my, what a trip! We went to host the Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Africa Conference, which was a success and extensively commented on in the press, like in The Sun and the Cameroon Tribune:

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Here with my co-hosts Monica McCoy and Natalie Nkembuh (the main brain behind the conference), as well as STEM power house and speaker Sophie Ngassa:

 

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...but it was just a start...  Even before the conference, my up-until-then virtual friend and power journalist Amy Banda made sure I had my voice heard in her radio show. And from then on, there was no stopping me. So many more amazing things happened in those 12 days!

Just two days later, I found myself teaching a workshop to a room full of power ladies, at an event pulled together by Santher Mbacham and her Imagenation Team, where I was honored to share the stage with Gladys Viban and Leila Kigha, two top names in the Cameroonian speaker scene. Amy Banda joined us as well, and Clovis Delaure volunteered to film the event. I was humbled by Santher's determination to make this event happen within just 3 weeks, and everyone's enthusiasm. That's what I call business spirit! 
 

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Meetings after meetings were on my calendar: ministries, schools, consultants, press... And one morning, when a business friend picked me up in his car for a business meeting, we got stuck in the mud of what was supposed to be a street but got turned into a fruit market -- a colorful medley of fruits, motorbikes and carts all mixed together. I was already picturing myself stepping out into the clay in my high heels and pushing the car, when a smart guy looking to make some profit from the situation guided us backward through the masses of people and fruits, frantically gesticulating all the way. Incredibly enough, we made it out of the muddy grounds without having to leave the car (although with our windshield covered in brown molasses)... Believe it or not, the below was our view from the car (as long as the windshield was still clear), even if it may seem like there was no space for a car.
 

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Cameroonians are business people without excuses. They do business anywhere. They choose a spot and put up their shop, even in the middle of a street. Lesson learned: Don't let yourself be held back by seemingly impossible circumstances.

As part of my travel experience, I also learned to take and bargain fares for collective taxis in a city where I had no clue how to orient myself. Admittedly, I may have paid a bit more than the locals at times (I didn't even know in what direction I was going), but I got pretty good at making firm offers very soon. Great negotiation practice. And just when I was thinking, Cameroonians drive as if their vehicles were made of fabric, a car bumped into my taxi's non-existent rear bumper guard and five minutes later a motorbike rammed the left front part of our car. Although his car was actually made of metal, this didn't seem to disturb the driver; he was used to it and stayed calm... Another lesson I learned every day anew: stay calm and eat some fried plantains. 

Then, one morning the phone rang, and four hours later, I found myself on the CRTV Midi Life show with Myra Nangeh, who made me dance to traditional Cameroonian music with live musicians. So much fun (especially for the audience)!  

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We also recorded a few more TV and radio interviews with Amy Banda and Suzanne Belle Essengue... airing soon. 

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When I left NYC with three suitcases on March 24 (one for clothes, one for my books and one carry-on), I thought I'd come back with one of them empty after leaving my books in Cameroon... But to my surprise, it was filled with gifts from my new Cameroonian friends: dresses, shoes, a handbag, books, jewelry, fabric... Oh wow! If Cameroonians were to win an award, they'd surely win it for their hospitality and generosity.  

Apart from all these gifts, I also came back with a heart full of new friends, amazing memories and some future collaboration opportunities, feeling fulfilled and happy... and recharged for my activities here in New York and beyond.

Would you like to learn more about how to live a life of purpose, where you can be the leader you were born to be? Sign up for a complimentary call and let's chat!

I Dare You to Kick 2018 off like a Champion

What words do you want to say in December 2018 about the year that's about to end?

What are your plans for the coming year? What are the words you want to say on December 31, 2018? Maybe something along the lines:

  • I upgraded my own career and that of the people I touched.
  • I have created the success I want and I am bringing in the money I need to live my desired lifestyle, while making a major impact.
  • I am doing the work I love, while generating massive income.
Image by Gerd Altmann

Image by Gerd Altmann

Want to play big in 2018? - Let's get started!
1. Ditch your New Year's resolutions
2. Write down your vision, make a plan, set specific goals
3. Elevate your energetic vibration

1. Ditch your New Year's resolutions

New Year's resolutions are usually some type of self-promises we haven't been able to keep in the past, like: "This year I'll quite smoking. This year I'll work out several days a week. This year I'll make more money.... blablabla..."

Be honest with yourself: How many of your New Year's resolutions have ever been effective? - If you're like most people, probably not that many. Chances are that you got more frustration than results. That's because most of these resolutions have too much resistance attached to them. Rather than excitement, they cause anxiety. They don't seem appealing to us and even less to our subconscious mind... because they are opposed to our past experiences or our real self-expectation. We have disappointed ourselves before by not keeping these promises. Why would we do better just because the year is 2018?

If your New Year's resolution don't feel good, ditch them! -- Here's a better way:

2. Write down your vision, make a plan, set specific goals

Take some time before January 1 to write down your 2018 vision (or review your existing vision) in as much detail as possible: Where do you live by December 31, 2018? How much money are you making? How? Who are you working with (colleagues, clients, partners,...)?

Based on your vision, make a plan: Define some concrete goals for 2018; then set dates for these goals. Now ask yourself: How do you get there? What action steps are required? What resources do you need (training, an investor, a loan, a specific device, a coach, etc.)? 

Then start taking action towards your 2018 plan on January 1. Yes, right after you roll out of bed after an enthusiastic New Year's celebration, take one specific action step towards the first goal on your plan! Acknowledge your first step and keep moving forward on your path to success. 

And if not all goes as planned...

3. Elevate your energetic vibration

Action alone often doesn't take us where we want to be. Have you ever felt like the harder you pushed, the more obstacles seemed to show up? That's usually a sign that some inner work must be done in parallel to all the action-taking.

Elevating our vibration requires some daily attention, as we are constantly affected by our "circumstances" and "negative experiences" as well as the emotions and energy waves of the world that surrounds us. Here are some simple ways to elevate your vibration:

  • Be grateful for what you have now and the amazing things you will have, including all opportunities for growth
  • Make peace with the past and release guilt, regret and resentment
  • Affirm that you are ready to let go of any self-imposed limitations, dis-empowering emotions and limiting subconscious beliefs that you may not be aware of; visualize them moving out of your energy even if you don't know their nature
  • Go inward and connect with your inner power, the power of your Higher Self, which is limitless. Feel the truth of the fact that you can create whatever you want.

 Then go forth into your 2018 and play to win!

No One Owns Your Career but You

When I ask women how they feel about their careers, I seldom hear an outright “awesome!” Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have used that word myself for my corporate career either. I had some amazing opportunities come my way. I loved working at The Boston Consulting Group, and I feel tremendously blessed to have “stumbled” into that firm fresh out of college. Working for BCG was one of the best choices I ever made. But in hindsight, there was always something missing. Not because of what I was offered, but because of what I didn’t ask for.

If you have ever felt this way, read on.

Here are three important facts I learned over the years:

1.       No one has as much interest in your career as you.

2.       Opportunities only show up when you are open to them.

3.       No one can read your mind.

Photo by Igor Link

Photo by Igor Link

 

1.       No one has as much interest in your career as you.

You may have a well-meaning boss or a mentor but let’s face it: You are the one who benefits the most from your successful career and you are the one who has to live with your paycheck. All areas of your life are impacted by your career. Other people have their own lives and challenges. You are not at the center of attention of everyone else’s life.

Take ownership. Look at yourself: What do you bring to the table? Block out an hour this week to take stock of your brilliance, your “distinctive uniqueness.” No one has the exact same background as you. Write down all the amazing talents and skills you have. What experiences have helped you become the powerful woman you are? What’s your story? What have you accomplished so far (in any area of your life)? Make a list of your accomplishments and take a moment to acknowledge yourself for them.

2.       Opportunities only show up when you are open to them.

Don’t underestimate your own potential, or you may not even see your best opportunities. Your subconscious mind is an effective filter mechanism that suppresses your attention to everything that’s not within your perceived options for yourself. It takes it off your radar. So it’s well possible that you have been missing out on opportunities just because they “haven’t shown up for you,” although they actually have been there. Upgrade your self-belief. Take a moment to feel into your potential. Go back to your list of all the awesome things you have achieved to date. I’m sure it’s impressive. Based on these accomplishments, what else is possible for you? Remember, no one limits us but ourselves.

With that in mind, write down your vision of your dream career: Where do you work, what position are you in, who’s on your team? Who are your clients? Once you are clear on your vision, you’re in a good position to define what your next step towards this vision should be. What is that next level for you? What would be an immediate upgrade, however small (or big)?

Then look around with different eyes. It’s a bit like refreshing your browser: You will see that new search results will now pop up on your “screen.” Grab them! It’s time to make a move, today.

3.       No one can read your mind.

Once you have identified your next-level job or promotion options, go for them. No one can read your mind. It’s your role to ask for what you want.

Polish up your resume, speak to the relevant contacts in your organization, apply, even if you think you don’t have all the requirements. Remember that it’s impossible to have all the experience described in your next-level job posting; if you did, it would be same level or a step down.

If you think that you’re not qualified enough, not experienced enough, not prepared enough, that’s a lie. It’s easy to find a “not enough” when we look for an excuse. Trust that you can do it, and others will as well.

You may think there’s bias at your firm that could work against you. It may be subtle, it may even be obvious. My humble advice? For your purpose to get promoted, forget about bias. Jump right over it. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Whatever works. The more attention you give any signs of bias, the more they will slow you down. And that’s the last thing you want, right?

Alternatively, you could always look outside and apply for a job in a more favorable culture. Just do something. Don’t get stuck. Take action. Speak up for yourself.

Now is the time to do the work you love, to make the money you want, to move up in your career. There is no better time.

No one owns your career but you. Take it to the level of your choice.

What's Your "WHAT IF?"

Have you had this thought lately: "OMG, another year is almost over and I'm still not where I want to be in my career?" Do you feel stuck with your success goal? If so, read on.

First things first: Did you write your goal down? If not, do it. Research shows that it's easier to achieve what we write down.

It makes sense: Written words can only come from a certain degree of clarity on what exactly it is that we want to achieve. Vague goals are not useful; they can even lead to overwhelm and frustration, and in extreme cases to discouragement and despair. Clear, concrete goals in writing give our mind something to work with, both on a conscious and a subconscious level. Clear goals in writing modify our subconscious filters. We can now see opportunities that we previously may have overlooked. Plus, seeing our goal on paper or on the computer screen also makes it more tangible and concrete, and therefore more viable and attainable. 

Writing our goal down is also a way of facing it. If you're like me, you have a thousand fantastic ideas all day long, big and small. Some become goals or even projects or plans in our minds. But then life happens,... and if we don't write them down, they disappear as fast as they came.

Once you have your goal in front of you, thoughts of doubt may be creeping in: "This seems hard. Maybe this goal is too big for me. I may not be experienced enough, skilled enough, prepared enough. What if I'm not ready? I don't think I have the resources to make this happen. I don't have the right connections. I can't do possibly do this..." Or you may just feel outright fear... fear of being vulnerable, fear of rejection, fear of being ridiculed, fear of failure,... You know what I'm talking about. We often cultivate negative fantasies about imaginary threats, and it's always easy to find a reason for not taking action when we look for an excuse to stay in our "discomfort zone." (I don't call it "comfort zone" because it's not really comfortable to stay stuck, is it?)

When you experience any of these self-imposed limitations, that's when you must turn your limiting thoughts and feelings around. It's easier than you think, with what I call "Empowering What if Questions." Let me give you a few examples:
What if I could achieve this goal with ease?
What if I had everything I need to attain this goal? 
What if I could ask for help?
What if I could find the people and resources I need?
What if I were more powerful than I think?
What if I were enough?

Photo by John Hain

Photo by John Hain


Create your own Empowering What if Questions as you move through your day and observe how this changes your outlook and provides you with better choices. 

Maybe you have tried positive affirmations before, and they can work great if repeated consistently over a period of time. However, if they haven't worked for you, it could be because your subconscious programming is not aligned with your affirmation, and that's why the affirmation is rejected on a subconscious level. Positively framed questions often work better, as they open up possibilities, and our subconscious finds it easier to play with a possibility than a fact it has not experienced yet. That's why I love "Empowering What if Questions." Experiment with them and share with me how they change your perception of what's possible for you.

You have the power to change your attitude and create the reality you want to see for yourself. Your words shape the reality you perceive. Stop ruminating on worries and cultivating imaginary negative outcomes. Re-frame your thoughts, focus on positive What if questions and diminish your anxiety so you can show up powerfully at all times.

Sooo... What if you could create the success you want? 

 

What’s Right with You?

Have you ever felt like something’s wrong with you?

Innumerous times, we’ve been told or made believe that we are weird, we don’t fit in, and therefore, something’s obviously wrong with us. As kids, we are taught to leave our own ideas and fantasies behind and play the adults’ game instead… because they got it all figured out and we don’t. At school, if we looked different, we were bullied. It was like: “If you see a suspicious haircut or head cover or pimple, protect yourself and insult that kid…” In many of us, this deeply hurt our self-esteem and confidence, and some of us may have been traumatized. We felt rejected and this made us feel as if we’re somehow not worthy of love, acceptance or success.  

Early on in life we learned that it was safer to either blend in with the general trend or go unnoticed. We were taught to conform, and when we didn’t, we were reprimanded by our parents or teachers, or excluded by our schoolmates. Most of us were expected to be great at math, languages, science,… but not at putting together flashy outfits, displaying unique styles or having any preferences that were not “mainstream.” Many families still expect their children to be doctors, lawyers or bankers, or at least have a college degree in some subject that’s aligned with their idea of a decent profession. As if these were the only and best options to be successful, independent of their offspring’s individual talents and preferences…

Looking different, speaking differently, behaving in any way that was not “normal” was undesirable and resulted in rejection or even exclusion. It was an impediment rather than an advantage.

But here’s the thing: Do we seriously think that it’s an accident that every single one of the 7.6bn people on this planet has a different DNA? If we all were doctors and lawyers, we’d have no restaurants to go to, no food at the supermarkets and no heating in our homes (let alone apartments). So, I guess it makes sense that we were born with different gifts and personalities. And the fact that no one has the exact same talents as you is not an accident. It’s because the world needs exactly you and what you have to offer. It needs the best version of you, the best version of who you already are. It needs your authentic brilliance, your specific greatness. That’s what in my work, I call Distinctive Uniqueness.

Photo by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke

Photo by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke

We have been told over and over we must work on our weaknesses (now disguised as “areas for improvement”), rather than focusing on building on our innate strengths and abilities. Admittedly, it makes sense to be aware of our lesser talents, areas we’re not naturally great at… so we know who we need to bring onto our team that can complement us in those areas. What we’re not supposed to be, is perfect.

I love generating content for workshops but am a useless graphic designer. Why would I want to spend precious time, money and energy to study graphic design and create my own flyers if there are people out there who are awesome designers and love doing it?

The same applies to corporate teams: Why would I as a Team Leader ask you to invest precious time and energy to become great at everything when I can bring others onto my team who are already great at it? Doesn’t it make more sense to let you do the work you are excellent at? And what if there’s even much more potential in this excellency? Potential you haven’t had a chance to show because we’ve been focusing so much on your “areas for improvement?”

So the question is not: “What’s wrong with me?” Instead, ask: “What’s right with me?”  How can you maximize your brilliance, your genius, your Distinctive Uniqueness to your own benefit and that of the entire team? What’s there that you haven’t uncovered yet? If you could contribute more to your own success and that of your team, what would it be?

Or if you are a business owner: What are your unique qualities? How can you turn them into an asset for your business? How can they help you stand out in a crowded market so you can cash in on them?

If you’d like to explore this for yourself but don’t know how, apply for a Discover Your Distinctive Uniqueness session. Go to the Coaching page and click on the Schedule a Consult button. For you to be considered, fill out all the fields, and I’ll contact you to confirm your session.

Step into your most powerful, authentic self!