Dancing with the Unknown

Living a Great Life

You’re sitting in the small car, hip to hip with a stranger, hands taut, gripping the shoulder harness. You push it out a few times to make sure it’s locked…you do it 5 more times…just in case. Suddenly you jolt forward and your climb to the top of the hill begins.

Click, click, click.

You near the top and your heart starts beating a little faster. A bead of sweat trickles down your lower back. In a fraction of a second you decide if this experience will be excruciating or exhilarating.

Click, click, click.

That one fleeting thought determines if this a terrifying mistake or a thrilling adventure.

Click, click, click.

What will you choose?

Now some of you may be saying “Nancy, I wouldn’t even get on the rollercoaster!” And that’s ok! There are many roller coasters in your life where the thoughts attached to a particular choice either propel you or hold you back. And today I want to talk to you about embracing risk. Taking a small leap and pushing through the discomfort.

Let’s first talk about the word risk. How would you define risk? Because how you think about the word risk may have a profound impact on how you embrace…or avert it. If you think about risk as something scary, a gamble or shot in the dark then it makes sense that risk is something you may avoid. On the roller coaster, your last thought before the drop may sound like this “Holy Sh*t! Why I am I up here? That’s a three story drop!”…and then you squeeze your eyes shut and check your harness again.

But…

What if your definition of risk is more of an untapped opportunity, a venture or possibility? How does that change your experience? Let’s go back up to the top of our roller coaster and this time embrace the experience. As your body starts to shift forward and gravity pulls you into the drop your last thought is “Holy Sh*t! This is awesome!” and you throw your arms up to the sky.

Now let’s unpack this.

Whether you shut your eyes and shut out the experience or embraced the ride with relish, I think we can both agree that in the scope of life a theme park experience may seem inconsequential. It’s a roller coaster…who cares?

But what if your knee-jerk reaction to new or uncomfortable situations is to view them with fear? That is what I want to talk about today because that may be holding you back.

Risk and excuses are very tightly bound. I’ve said before that you can’t change a fact but you can change your thoughts. And risk, just like excuses falls into the thoughts category. So many of our excuses are based on what we’ve experienced in the past. Maybe we had a failure at some point, so we want to avoid that kind of hurt ever again. Hey, I get it! Nobody wants to get hurt. But you can’t live in a plastic bubble either. You have the power to either dance with unknown for a moment or play it safe…and if you’re going to hang out in the safety zone let me ask you this…WHERE HAS PLAYING IT SAFE GOTTEN YOU?

Living a great life requires some risk. The bottom line is this: What’s more of a priority for you—feeling safe, or living the greatest life you could possibly live?

So back to our roller coaster. The roller coaster represents risk. And how you perceive that risk dictates your experience. Just like in life. So today, I want you to think about small things you may be avoiding because you perceive them as scary, unsafe or uncomfortable. I want to invite you to pick one small thing you’ve been avoiding and embrace it. Change your perception and fully experience the pleasure of the ride!

Join the conversation and tell me how you’re going to cozy up to risk today!

The Blessing of Worthiness

The blessing of worthiness is yours.

Our excuses come in all kinds of sneaky disguises that cause us to think they make a lot of sense. But really, they’re very similar to our limiting beliefs. Excuses take our beliefs and run with them. You could say they’re just our beliefs in sheep’s clothing. When excuses take hold, our self-imposed limitations are no longer just thoughts. Our excuses actually stop us cold from moving forward in our lives. They’re always based in fear, and their aim is inaction. Even when we use an excuse to take an action like over-spend, it’s actually inaction in another area.

Excuses are actually just well-packaged resistance. But our resistance also has a lot to do with our self-worth. When we feel worthy, we don’t resist what’s good for us. We feel we deserve what we want, so we find it much easier to step right over our fears and go for it. That’s the blessing of worthiness! If we don’t feel we deserve what we want, we let resistance keep us down.

Resistance is an unconscious protective defense mechanism, a programmed reaction rather than a conscious choice. Avoidance, disinterest, and inaction are programmed reactions to a perceived threat. Whatever way we choose to fight against or deny something that seems threatening, if we look under the hood, we’ll always find resistance…and under that will be self-worth issues.

Now, our resistance was put into place for very good reasons—to protect us when we were small and defenseless. Later in life, though, that same resistance protects us from joy and expansiveness, from reaching our potential and fulfillment. We protect ourselves from imagined hurts and defeats, huddling up within a comfort zone that was built for us as children.

Of course, not all resistance is bad. It’s smart to resist anything that isn’t good for us. It’s when we resist the good and create excuses to hold us back that we unwittingly create exactly what we don’t want in life. You may have heard the phrase, “what we resist persists”—it’s a common adage only because it’s true.

Honoring your resistance means you don’t bulldoze over the parts of you that are afraid. Yet there comes a time when you have to work through the fear and get on with the business of letting the excuses go so we can live a full, juicy life!

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Learning to Say Yes

Deepen your heart connection.One of the key ways we deepen our connection to heart, mind and soul is by learning to say “Yes!” Yes to our deepest desires, yes to the opportunities that call to us, yes to telling the truth to ourselves in every moment.

Sometimes saying “Yes” can feel like saying “No.” I had no idea my divorce would become the gateway to growth, bearing gifts of unforeseen opportunity. Crazy as it sounds, I didn’t just get divorced; I rebuilt my relationship with myself, reclaimed my dreams, and discovered new ones. I firmly believe that the many opportunities that came my way would not have happened if I had stayed in the marriage.

Closing one door – the way I closed the door on my marriage – can open so many new doors. For me, a pivotal moment came for me in the spring of 2010 when two of my coworkers at Hay House asked me to write a poem for their wedding and read it at the ceremony. Reid Tracy, the President and CEO of Hay House was there, and he said, “Oh, you’re a real poet!” Now, I had a master’s degree in poetry writing, but it took Reid saying that to me before I truly believed it. Then he started asking me to read my poems before the keynote speakers at our conferences. It was the first of many yeses I would say, even though I was scared out of my mind.

For years, people periodically asked, “When are you going to be a speaker?” I always answered, “Me? No, that’s not my thing.” But after I had read my poems on stage for a while, Reid said, “Why don’t you share some of your personal story too?” That led to my becoming a speaker on the Hay House circuit. Then he suggested I write a book of poems, and later, the two books I’ve published since.

None of these experiences were even in the realm of my desires. I could never have imagined what would happen on the other side of my greatest fear. And it all came about from making the jump and saying, “Yes!” again and again and again.

So often we automatically say no to new experiences. We don’t already know what those experiences will be like, so we fear them. But how boring would it be if we already knew what every experience would be like? There would be no magic or wonder in the world.

It’s the unknown where the mystery of life resides. The unknown holds what we wish for, because we all wish for something different. So don’t push away the unknowns. Step into the joy, richness and yumminess of life!

Let’s explore the unknown! Join me on Facebook and we’ll continue the conversation!

Your Love/Hate Relationship with Money

I’m not a CPA or a financial advisor. I’m no economics wizard. But I’ve lived the steps in my latest book, Worthy: Boost Your Self Worth to Grow Your Net Worth. That doesn’t mean I’m “Miss Perfect”Book_mockup_8 when it comes to my self-worth or my relationship with money. This is a lifelong process, so I’m still working on both, believe me! But my self-worth and my patterns around money have made a 180-degree turn, a far cry from where I started.

Between undergraduate and graduate school, I lived in New York City for five years. I was completely self-supporting during that time. Many people admired my independence, given how much it costs to live in NYC and the fact that my parents probably would’ve helped me out if I’d asked. But while my independent streak is a virtue on one side, the flip side is that I have an underlying belief that no one will ever take care of my wants and needs. As illogical as it was, my limiting belief during those years was that I had no choice but to be independent.

In literally less than 24 hours after moving from New York City to Boulder, Colorado, I met the man who would become my husband. He was charming, sweet, and ruggedly handsome. And beneath his masculine bravado, the unspoken message from his psyche was, “I’m broken.” My unspoken response? “Great! I’m Superwoman. I will fix you.”

I drew a man toward me who was not only unable to take care of my wants and needs, but who was also unable to take care of his own. He was financially dependent upon me. When I met him, he had just moved back to town and didn’t yet have a bank account. I’ll never forget the day he walked through the door and gave me his first paycheck from his new job. “Can you deal with this?” he asked. Less than two weeks after we met, I was already managing his money. He was the kind of person who never looked at his bank statements, while I’m the kind of person who balances her checkbook down to the penny.

As our relationship progressed, he was in and out of jobs and not terribly interested in working. Meanwhile, I was busy building my career as an event producer, traveling and working for different organizations around the country. By the time I landed my job as event director at Hay House in my mid-30s, my career was in full swing. I was doing work I loved and making great money. My husband, on the other hand, was still lost, floundering, and constantly trying different things. While I’m not judging him for this— in fact, I enabled him—it was hardly a healthy situation for either of us.

I ended up buying him almost anything he wanted . . . from motorcycles to condos. I bought him a brand new truck, paid in cash, just three months before I left the marriage. Meanwhile, I rarely spent money on myself. I made money and promptly spent it on him because I was trying to make him happy. I had grown up with everything I wanted, and he had grown up with nothing. I wanted desperately to heal his wounds. “I don’t need anything. I don’t want anything. Whatever you want,” I would say. Of course, I was also trying to buy his love because of my own issues with self-worth.

After losing a lot financially in the divorce agreement, I was so frightened of spending that I became a bit of a miser. I managed to amass what I consider to be a large sum, but I kept it all where I could see it, in a low interest–bearing savings account. When I finally consulted with a financial advisor, she said, “You keeping all that money in a savings account is like planting frozen vegetables and expecting them to grow.” Still, I had always felt that investing in the stock market was like gambling. It was too much risk for me. What if I lost it all? My belief was that no one would ever be there to catch me.

Rather than force me out of my comfort zone too soon, my very wise financial advisor played on my desire to save. “Over the course of the next several years, you’ll pay an exorbitant sum in interest on your mortgage. Why don’t you use some of the money in your account to pay it off?” What? Such a thing had never even dawned on me. But after being shown the numbers, I couldn’t deny that it was a smart choice that would free me financially and emotionally.

So in November of 2014, I walked a very large cashier’s check two blocks from Wells Fargo to Chase, and I paid off my mortgage. It was surreal! A part of me freaked out because I felt like I was “spending” so much money. When I handed the check to the representative at the bank, he said, “You’re living the American dream!” I had no credit card debt, and I now owned my home outright. My advisor then helped me put the rest of my funds in the highest-earning savings account available and also start an IRA.

I would never have been able to do any of that if I hadn’t spent the previous few years diving deeply into my feelings of unworthiness and turning them around. It was only through boosting my self-worth that I finally decided I deserved to consult a financial advisor in the first place, and allow my net-worth to grow.

Isn’t it time you gave yourself permission to boost your self-worth to grow your net worth?

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Live Your Life Today

Live your life today

Writing is how I solve and dissolve complex equations of heart and head…and poetry has the ability to connect us to one another. I offer my poem, “unbound,” with the hope that it speaks to you wherever you are in the present moment.

unbound

we may never know
how we hold
all we can
or how the light catches us
when we are out of breath

it’s a sign of healing
to be feeling again

the real breakthrough
can only arise
from heartbreak

that which ails
cures
reminding us
that it’s always about beginning
and then beginning again

as the waves crash me
i trust the sand
to polish my edges smooth
dissolving denial
revealing real
while courage and confidence
ignite my core

contraction and expansion
let the light stream in
and the stillness
after so much thrashing about
allows the body to wring
the sorrow out

as freedom floods
shadows may persist
know your undertow
as you alchemize the dark
and remember
that you always have
the strength to choose
how to engage

the clouds unveil the view
when you are ready to climb
now it’s time to notice
the miraculous moments
in your life
as they are happening

this
is the making
of me
and we will walk
courageously
into daybreak
from the night
shining our light
together

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The Power to Choose

Jump into your new and better life!Making one powerful financial decision—in my case, to consult a financial advisor—changed my life in a number of positive ways. I learned more about the world of finance, got control of my purse strings, and grew my self-worth all at the same time.

What about you?

Isn’t it time to take action toward the future that you’ve envisioned for yourself?

One decision can create a big shift in your life and propel you forward. Even just one small forward step can cause a positive ripple effect in your life and will impacts you in ways you can’t predict, or may not even fully recognize.

Movement mobilizes possibility.

Believe me, before I made the powerful financial decision to hire a financial advisor all kinds of “what ifs” came up for me. “What if she asks me to do something scary? What if I feel humiliated for the way I’ve handled my money? What if she convinces me invest my money, and I lose it all, ending up with nothing?”

As you can see, my self-worth issues were bubbling up, too, as I thought, “Who am I to have a financial advisor?” I still held the belief, “Only people with tons of money and investments use financial advisors.” During our first conversation on Skype, she asked me to share my money story. When I got to the part about my marriage and my divorce, I broke down. In fact, I spent the entire remainder of the session bawling my eyes out! I still felt such shame about how much I had given my financial power away to my ex-husband and to my lawyer. I even felt ashamed for not knowing what I didn’t know. But there’s no reason I should have known about finance unless I had studied it. What an unfair perfectionist expectation I put on myself!

I’m so glad I went through all that because hiring her was huge for me. Making that one powerful financial decision – to consult an advisor – changed my life in a number of positive ways beyond what I could have imagined!  By tackling the self-worth issues that were ultimately holding me back from partaking in my full prosperity, I learned more about the world of finance, got control of my purse strings, completely changed the way I handled my money…and I even paid off my mortgage!

Taking action will dissipate your anxiety, give you more confidence, and change the course of your life for the better in a myriad of ways.

Get ready to take action!

What one powerful financial decision will you make?

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Are you willing to be Worthy?

Willing to be worthy!How do we take stock of our worthiness quotient? First and foremost, we notice ourselves in the act of self-judgment. One of the easiest ways to tell if your self-worth could use a tune-up is judgment. Do you get very upset when you make a mistake? Do you say, “Argghh! I’m such an idiot!” Do you tell yourself that you aren’t smart enough, aren’t good enough, aren’t capable?

Sometimes, that voice of judgment is so automatic that we don’t actually “hear” it, but we sure do feel it. That’s when the excuses come in. “Oh, I can’t join that class. It’s stupid.” “I can’t take that job. It’s too far away. What a commute that would be!” Underneath those excuses is the longing for the very thing we’re pushing away. And we push it away because we’re afraid we aren’t good enough.

Also underneath the excuses are our “what ifs”—“What if I’m not good enough to get that job?” “What if I’m not smart enough to keep up in that class?” We would rather stay safe and small than take the risk of finding out that our “what ifs” are correct.

But here’s the thing: When your self-worth is strong, the “what ifs” aren’t so scary. What if you take the class and find out you can’t keep up? So what? If your self-worth is solid, it won’t be damaged by such a thing. You aren’t going to die if you can’t keep up in some old class! The same is true of that job. If you don’t get it, so what? It’s hardly the only job in the world. With a strong sense of worthiness, we’re much less likely to let “failures” get us down. Instead, we see them as learning experiences that propel us forward to even better opportunities.

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Take Inventory of Your Beliefs

Take inventory of your beliefs.Some of the beliefs that affect our finances have little to do with finances at all.

What is a “belief.” A belief is a long-held idea about how the world works and our role within it. We all go through our lives as though our beliefs are facts. But if there’s one thing I want you to understand, it’s that a belief and a fact are two different things.

A fact is something that can be objectively proven. For example, it’s a fact that I’m a woman. It is not a fact that I’m incapable of having enough money to live an abundant life…but I could easily have grown up believing that to be a fact.

Families often hold beliefs that are passed down from generation to generation. My client Evelyn’s father always said, “There’s nothing worse than a rich woman.” Obviously, this belief made an impression on Evelyn! Not surprisingly, she’s had difficulty accumulating any wealth. On an unconscious level, she certainly didn’t want to do anything to become “that” woman. In her young mind, to be wealthy would mean becoming someone her father wouldn’t like. If that meant struggling financially, so be it. As a result, her worth as a woman became entangled with her financial future. Can you see how our beliefs about self-worth and our beliefs about money can become a confusing knot in our young psyches? That knot stays tight inside us unless we consciously decide to untie it.

Our beliefs about money can also affect our self-worth. It’s a circle that closes in on itself and doesn’t improve until we break the cycle by changing our beliefs. If you grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet, for example, you might believe you’re incapable of having more. But that’s just a belief, not a fact, and it doesn’t have to keep you stuck in limitation. You can live the life you really want!

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Take Off the Blinders

Pull back the curtain.Whether we make our own money or rely on someone else, many of us would rather pretend our financial matters don’t exist. Or we hope they’ll just take care of themselves somehow. My ex-husband was like that. He always said, “I bank by prayer. I go to the ATM and pray that money will come out.”

Why do we put on blinders? Well, many of us feel like we’d actually be blinded if we looked directly at our financial problems. Just the thought sends us screaming to the bed, arms full of popcorn and chocolate, ready to binge-watch our favorite trashy TV show. Trust me—I get it. I’ve been there. (An episode or two of Nashville, anyone?)

So to avoid being blinded, we put on metaphorical blinders. We continue to live our lives on automatic, perpetuating the same patterns day in and day out. After all, confronting our money issues would force us to confront our feelings of self-worth…or lack thereof.

Uncovering those feelings can feel a little like an archaeological dig. It’s dusty and painful down there, where our unconscious beliefs have been hiding all this time. So we stay in the same old situations because we’re comforted by the familiar—even if the familiar is terrible. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” and all that. In order to avoid looking at our deepest wounds, we unconsciously create situations in which money is a problem for us.

The good news – it doesn’t have to be like that! Your relationship with money CAN be changed, and the first step is to take off the financial blinders so you can move toward what you truly desire.

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Experience Freedom

You are worthy.When we feel that we aren’t enough, or that we aren’t good enough, we also fear that we’ll never have enough. That fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy, in which we unconsciously make sure we never, ever have all that we need. It’s a painful arithmetic going on in the shadows of our unconscious, which many of us never even recognize.

We have to get to the root of the problem, and that means replacing those feelings of unworthiness with a stronger sense of self-worth. We have to do the internal work to right this distorted view of ourselves in order to experience the freedom of wealth in our lives. Until we do that, we’ll continue to subconsciously sabotage the very thing we’re longing for. Ouch!

Take the person who wins the lottery—and promptly loses every penny because she never did the inner work to feel comfortable having that much money. Or take me! I once took financial advice and invested money in a mutual fund, but I was so frightened that I watched the balance every day. Even though I knew how much the market could fluctuate, I got nervous and took all the money out before it could grow.

Once we’ve healed our internal wounds around worth, and we finally know we deserve good things, we open up to receiving more of what the universe has in store for us. We also change old behaviors that have gotten in our way. The more we believe in our worth, the less we’re willing to continue destructive patterns. We say, “Wait! I deserve better than that!”

 We choose our limits based on what we’re worthy of having. When you know your worthiness can’t be given or taken away, you’ll know you are worthy of all you desire. Isn’t it time to replace feelings of unworthiness with a solid sense of your own value?!

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