Make Some Noise with Andrea Owen (general)

I know many of you who listen to this podcast are sober in recovery, some of you are thinking about it, and many of you are normal drinkers or even non drinkers who don’t have a problem with alcohol. What I’m about to talk about is based on a saying from the “rooms of recovery”, but does not mean it only applies to us alcoholics. I believe it can apply to everyone.

I want to talk about the term “my life had become unmanageable” and it comes from the first of twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

And to be honest, I always had a problem with the whole “life had become unmanageable” part because mine hadn’t. I had a great job I loved, a good marriage, two great kids, friends, and life was pretty good. Someone explained to me that it was my spirituality that had become unmanageable and that didn’t seem right either. I mean, sure, I had moved away from spirituality when I was drinking, but still. It was also explained to me that it was that my “insides” had become unmanageable, not my “outsides”. And since I had had the emotional shit kicked out of me in 2006, I for sure knew what it felt like to have my “insides” unmanageable. I felt like I had healed a good deal from that time in my life and didn’t feel as “unmanageable” when I got sober five years later as I had back then.

In terms of being in recovery, not being able to “fit”  into that, made me feel like my bottom wasn’t low enough and maybe I DID need to wait until my life was unmanageable to get sober-- my insides AND my outsides. (And that’s not a good place to be in terms of our thinking when we are newly sober!) I continued to ask people about this, people tried to explain it to me in their own way, and it never seemed to feel like it applied to my life. Until…

I had a few years of sobriety and I realized how shit my boundaries were. And in the first couple years I realized how emotionally illiterate I was and that I had a lot to learn in terms of communication.

“Ohhh, so it’s my relationships, emotions and boundaries that had become unmanageable.” I realized. I finally understood what it meant in my life.

And again, you don’t have to be alcoholic, or a love addict, or an anything addict to have all that feel unmanageable. Feelings and emotions are crazy-tough sometimes and numbing out becomes easier. Boundaries seem impossible so people-pleasing and blaming become your go-to. Communication? No one taught us, so we don’t fight fair, we don’t own our stuff, and tend to be passive aggressive.

Honestly, that’s why I wrote my last book. Everything I just mentioned was woven in, but what I want to make clear in this post is that some of the hardest and best work we will do in our lives, yes of course is the work we do on ourselves, but is also the work we’ll do with the people we love the most. The people we’re in relationships with. We have emotional attachments with them and have emotional transactions with them. If we don’t know how to communicate in a way that makes us proud, our lives can feel unmanageable. If we don’t know how to set boundaries and have hard conversations, again, our lives can feel unmanageable.

Tomorrow, all these lessons I’ve been talking about all week come together and I’ve put a worksheet with journaling prompts together for you.

Lastly, tomorrow, registration is open for Raise Hell. A 4-month online program that is part course, part support group, part accountability group, and all around adventure that will take you from autopilot in your life, to taking action on the life you want. This is its pilot round, so there is an introductory price.

I believe when a woman sits down to decide what she wants and what’s she’s willing to do, and then stands up to declare it, commits to it and asks for help, when women come together in solidarity to change their lives for the better and not put up with other people and the world's shit, that is an act of raising hell. Stay tuned for tomorrow!

http://yourkickasslife.com/208

 

Direct download: Ep208final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

If you follow me online (listen to this podcast), you probably also read a good amount of self-help books. Maybe books like:

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle

Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

And I’m assuming over the last couple of years you’ve read and recommended one or more of these books to a friend.

All of these books I have read and recommend wholeheartedly. All these female authors I hold in high regard. And all of these women I know have pain and struggle just like you and me. But, maybe you think they don’t have as much as you. Maybe you hold them in high regard AND make up a story that they have their shit together much more than you do. Hell, maybe you think that most women have their shit together more than you do.

Well, I’m here to tell you:

  1. “Having your shit together” is subjective. No one even knows what that means. Society and you have made up a story about that. So, check your expectations. And more importantly...
  2. Life is a path that we’re all traveling on. It’s long and winding, with ruts and obstacles along the way. As we move along it, we gain more insight and wisdom, and in my humble opinion, the more ruts and obstacles we run into, the more we get the emotional shit kicked out of us, the more insight and wisdom we gather.

We’re all on this same path. The people who don’t give a shit about personal development and think you’re weird for it, typically don’t make it past the first couple of steps. That’s okay, that’s their thing in this lifetime. It’s not your job to force them farther along on the path.

All those authors and personal development leaders are on your same path, they might just be farther along on it than you are. Some people move up quickly like in Monopoly when you get the card that tells you to jump ahead to one of the railroads and collect $200. And sometimes we take a few steps back.

You don’t need to catch up, it’s not a race. You just need to do the work.

On Friday, Feb 15th I invite you to join me for Raise Hell, which is a program that encompasses foundational tools to “get your shit together” (whatever that means), action, and accountability. It’s about declaring the woman you want to be and HOW to get there. It’s not easy to do this all alone. I’ll be there to guide you, plus an extraordinary group of women who are all on the same path rooting for you. We open doors on Friday.  

http://yourkickasslife.com/207

 

Direct download: Ep207final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

If you read my book you know that in the the opening paragraphs I talk about how I had an all-time low in 2007 when I found out I’d been conned by my boyfriend. He had lied about having cancer to cover up his opioid addiction and I was pregnant with his child. This, coming off the heels of my first husband having an affair with our neighbor and getting her pregnant was not great news for me.

But, it got even worse.

December, 2006: I confronted my then-boyfriend about his drug addiction. He admitted it and said he would quit. He did for a few weeks, which coincidentally is when I became pregnant.

January, 2007: He was using again. We had just found out I was pregnant, and in sheer desperation, I called his family and told them everything. They asked me to get him home and they would have an intervention. The intervention took place and he agreed to go. I really hoped he would get clean and sober, then we could have our baby and live happily ever after.

You know where this is going, right?

He went to The Meadows in Arizona-- famous for housing celebrities like Selena Gomez, Whitney Houston, and Kate Moss and more recently, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. After my boyfriend had been there a few weeks, I was invited for family week.

I participated in group therapy with strangers and their families. It was uncomfortable but to be honest, I was finally getting real with myself and looking at my own issues. I shared my shame stories, cried in front of everyone and was generally the most vulnerable I had ever been in front of a group of people. As I left, my boyfriend was acting weird. When I got home, I hacked into his email and found email after email from a woman named Debbie. Apparently, they were in love.

Debbie was another patient at The Meadows. Debbie was in our group while I was there crying my eyes out. Debbie had sent one email to my boyfriend-- she had sent many, but this one was the kicker-- the one that lowered me to a heap on the floor…it said, “Is it bad that I think it’s funny that your girlfriend is in our group? I mean, what were the chances that we would all be grouped together!?”

This woman was essentially laughing about the fact that we were together in a small group while we all talked about our deepest, darkest secrets.

Needless to say the phone calls that followed were not pretty. That was my final straw with him. Not the opioid addiction, not the lying about cancer, not the conning me, but Debbie.

Part of my motivation to change was her. I was was so determined to be better than her, to actually DO the work, knowing she had spent thousands of dollars on a fancy rehab and was not in fact doing the work. That, coupled with the fact that I was pregnant I knew I needed to get better. I needed to change.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION?

Did you or do you have a Debbie in your life? Many people say, “don’t ever do it for anyone else but yourself” and while I agree that’s true, I think there’s something to be said about looking at what motivates you. Do you want to be a better mother for your kids? Do you want to show your mother you will parent better than she did? Do you want to prove to your ex that you’re NOT in fact crazy and that you are the best version of yourself?

Hey, again, it’s not about doing the work for someone else. It’s about grabbing on to whatever motivates you. Maybe you can use that as your catalyst. Eventually, that will fall away, you’ll see the changes you’re making and you’ll keep going.

I honestly could give a shit about Debbie now. My recovery is for me AND my kids. I live my best life and work on myself first and foremost for me now. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t said in the beginning there a small part of me that wanted to prove others wrong.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about “having your shit together” and your purpose as your path. Stay tuned!

http://yourkickasslife.com/206

 

Direct download: EP206final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

I called San Diego home for 36 years. 36 years of memories-- joyful, painful, and everything in between.

And in the six years I’ve been gone, every time I go home, I’m hit with agony. And for a long time I didn’t know why. Nostalgia is a tricky thing. This one was such a mix of feelings and emotions, I didn’t know what they meant, if anything. Did I want to move back home? Was I angry that we left? I couldn’t make heads or tails of it all, but I knew something was happening.

During the summer of 2014, we went home for a vacation and rented a house on the beach. This area, Mission Beach, held many, many memories for me. I went for a run one day and as I turned my head to look down the boardwalk at other runners, skateboarders, and early morning beachgoers, I thought to myself:

Everything has changed, but it’s all the same.

I had changed. I had evolved and grown dramatically. But, it all looks the same. And for some reason, when I step foot into this city, there’s a part of my heart that remembers. Remembers it all. And maybe...maybe that’s what I was trying to get away from when we left.

When we left San Diego I was at the end of my drinking career. I had just admitted to myself, my husband, and a dear, trusted friend that I had a problem. I quit about three weeks after we left. So, when I go back home, I feel like there’s a part of me that still exists. An old ghost of myself that’s still confused, suffering, and lost. Looking for answers. Looking for a solution. Looking for peace.

How do we make peace with our former selves? The parts of us that are still tormented, still brokenhearted?

I think it starts by not running away from the pain, struggle and problems anymore. Looking at it all square in the face. Getting curious about it instead of shoving it down to the sub-basement of our soul. Being okay with the fact that peace might need to be made. Sort of easing into it like settling into your favorite chair. Letting go of thoughts like, “This is stupid, I should be so much better than this by now. It’s been years.”

Because time doesn’t heal all wounds. Moving doesn’t heal them either. And I’m sure as shit that pushing it all away doesn’t heal us, it just puts it away for it to catapult back up when we least expect it.

When we can dance with all of that, then the question becomes: Who do we want to be? What do we want our story to be? When we’re so used to the story of pain and struggle, when we make peace with all of that and sometimes walk away from it, what’s next?

I know for me it’s been simply having more compassion with myself. Accepting that life is my teacher and I’m the forever student. That my path is my purpose. I want to be a woman who tells the truth not only to others but to herself.

Because yes, everything changes and it’s all the same.

http://yourkickasslife.com/205

 

Direct download: Ep205final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In episode 200 I talked about noticing I had an upper limit problem. The following day, episode 201 I talked about even when you have success, there are still pitfalls of feeling not good enough. Episode 202 I talked about facing something big and important that challenged one of my old, negative core beliefs and put that all to the test. The pushed me out of my comfort zone. And then in episode 203 I talked about doing something big that not only pushed me out of my comfort zone, but carried a lot of emotional weight.

So, I’ve created a handy-dandy worksheet for YOU that you can download and do yourself so you can DO THE WORK. I always talk to you about the importance of not just consuming the book, or the podcast, or the article, but to do the actual work. Now is your chance! This is where the real work happens!

Click here to download your worksheet

Direct download: Ep204final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Throughout the entire book launch (which technically is still going on and started back in the middle of last year) I have vacillated between being so overwhelmed with all the things to do, all the feelings of “not good enough”, all the pressure of having this be successful, the pressure of the spotlight, and the massive gratitude of doing this work. Maybe this is what they really mean by “having it all”. ALL the feelings. The fear, the anxiety, doing it anyway and also having love and gratitude and joy.

As many of you know and many of you can relate to, I struggle with black or white thinking. It’s either all or nothing. And that’s how it’s been with feelings too. Given that I am someone who really only started to consider herself “emotionally literate” and then have any “emotional intelligence” in 2011 when I got sober, the last six years have been a learning experience when it comes to feelings. One of those things is being able to hold more than one feeling at a time, sometimes many feelings.

For instance: San Diego. That city has always held a lot of weight for me. It’s where I left my broken heart and more specifically, I knew walking into this book tour it would be hard because my dad wouldn’t be there like he would the last time. A little background, I was born and raised in San Diego, spent the first 36 years of my life there and it’s where my dad died about 16 months ago. I hadn’t been back since his death.

I knew I would need a lot of moral support, so I invited my two sisters and brother who live in the area. I invited all my friends AND THEN, if you’ve read my book, you might remember a story I told about a friend of mine who had broken up with me when I was going through my life-falling-apart year, then we were friends again, then she kind of ghosted me? Well, she randomly messaged me last October and I invited her to meet up with me on that trip. I knew I was walking into a hard conversation with her. More on that story at the end of this month! So, needless to say, this trip was going to be an emotional one.

To be honest, I really wasn’t worried about the book event. When I had it for my first book, a lot of people showed up, and the manager even told me I sold more books than most author events that they do. So, I thought this one was in the bag.

However.

One of my siblings which shall go unnamed, never texted me back when I group texted them about the event. I texted this sibling privately a couple days before, and nothing. I asked one of my other siblings about it, and they said “Oh, that sibling is really busy with their thing, don’t take it personally.” And I’m like, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY? OUR DAD DIED AND I NEED YOU ALL AND I MIGHT DIE IF THIS PERSON DOESN’T SHOW UP.

So, anyway.

As I started my talk, I’m looking around and noticing there were key players there that were missing. Like, the other two siblings that I just had dinner with across the parking lot. They were late. They were missing it.

I also looked around and saw amazing people I used to work with that I hadn’t seen in 15 years. I saw the people who used to babysit me when I was in elementary school. I saw about six girls I went to highschool with. I saw a woman I knew online and hadn’t met in person yet.

It was painful and it was wonderful. What I learned that night is that I can hold all those emotions. I don’t have to say, “Oh, I can’t be disappointed and hurt that so-and-so didn’t show up because look at all I have to be grateful for!” I can’t bypass my feelings.

And neither can you.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together and there’s an assignment for you. Also, if you are in my book club, there is a special, exclusive offer arriving in your inbox TODAY, Feb 8th.

http://yourkickasslife.com/203

 

Direct download: EP203final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In December 2013 my first book, 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life came out. That same month I headed to San Diego, my home town of 36 years (we had moved 2 years prior) to do a book signing. It was the only book event I did (unless you count the coffee shop book event in the city I was living with at the time where I only invited 4 people. No exaggeration, 4 people).

I know a lot of people in San Diego. Most of my family is there. I knew people would show up and also, I knew the people that would show up. It was safe. Certain. No real risk.

Fast forward to 2017 when my second book, How To Stop Feeling Like Shit was about to come out and I was faced with a choice: do I only do a book event in San Diego, or do I push myself with a book tour? Do I risk it? Do I face the uncertainty of this next level?

One of my old core beliefs-- one that was born from men mistreating me-- is that I don’t really matter all that much. I’ve intentionally worked on this over the years and come a long, long way. And what I’ve noticed is that when I’m faced with an opportunity to prove that core belief wrong, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s as if my brain has become more comfortable being in situations where it’s proved that I really don’t matter.

So, if figured, if I go on a book tour and people actually DO show up, it proves that I DO matter. I’d have to face it and believe it. And the reality of it was that some people would show up to these events. No, I don’t sell out packed arenas, but there are some amazing women who I knew would come. So, I accepted the challenge.

Another thing that came up during this upper limit/challenging my old core beliefs extravaganza was the concept of letting people love me. Now, if you know my story you know I got the emotional shit kicked out of me in 2006 and 2007 and I walked away with some major trust issues. I had concluded people were not to be trusted and it was safer to keep them at a very long arms distance.

At the end of 2017 I wondered, What if I let people love me? I have a few people in my life that I’ve let in, a few people I trust with my stories and struggle (it’s a very short list), but what if I stretched beyond that? What if I really opened my arms and my heart and let people love me? What if I accepted all the praise and compliments and love and leaned in...hard? In my history when I’ve done this, it gets snatched away, so my brain says, NO DON’T DO IT! But, here I am, 10 years out of my trauma and what if I let go?

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. The book tour-- 6 events in 6 cities. An additional city with a dinner with colleagues. 7 total cities of letting people love me. Leaning into all the comments of people telling me how much they love the book. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be exhausting. And I knew it had to be done. I had no idea how it would turn out. This is upleveling. This is doing the work. This is walking my talk and loving myself and carrying courage and confidence.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together and there’s an assignment for you. Also, if you are in my book club, there is a special, exclusive offer arriving in your inbox on Thursday, Feb 8th.

http://yourkickasslife.com/202

 

Direct download: Ep202final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In late October I sat on a conference call with the marketing team from my publisher and my literary agent. It was to be a discussion on how we (I) were going to sell the book.

Many things were discussed in that hour + long meeting, but only one thing stood out to me. The person in charge said to me, “Pre-orders not where we would like them to be.” My first thought and what came out of my mouth was, “Well, of course not. I’ve barely mentioned to my community that it’s available because it’s so far out. Our plans for the big push were mid-November through January.”

My next immediate thought was: “They’re disappointed in me. I’m failing at this. I’m not big enough, popular enough, or good enough. They bet on me as an author and I’m losing.”

I felt the wash of shame.

The marketing team was simply doing their job. Selling books matters to them and their bottom line. I want to make it clear that I was the one making up stories about what they thought of me and who I was.

I got off the phone and cried. I called my friends and told them dramatically that my publisher was disappointed in me (keep in mind-- they NEVER used that word, I did) and wondered if it was too late to quit.

Then, I went on my book tour. First stop was New Your City. There was an odd cold snap that came up the entire east coast, and people started cancelling for my book event and a dinner I had put together. I got an email from my publicist that the bookstore in Chicago for the following week was worried about their January events because of the cold. I immediately thought, “I’m not worth the cold”. I was in the Lyft thinking we should just cancel both events in NYC and Chicago. I was actually thinking about cancelling it all. Here’s what was happening: I was looking for any excuse not to show up. Looking for any small inkling of evidence that it was too hard, that people didn’t like me, that I wasn’t good enough, and that I should just quit.

Yesterday I talked about the Upper Limit Problem and this is a classic example. Things were rising for me. The ante had been upped. It was risky and vulnerable and scary and my inner-critic was totally and completely freaking out. I didn’t want to fail, I didn’t want to disappoint people and not measure up. It was all so incredibly uncomfortable.

No matter how successful we get-- whether it’s in our jobs or our relationships, or are even in top physical health, I think we’ll always have moments of feeling not enough. I am no exception.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together, I’ll tell you what ended up happening at those NYC and Chicago events and what to do when you find yourself wanting to just quit aka SABOTAGE your life when you’re upleveling and things get uncomfortable. There’s even an assignment for you!

http://yourkickasslife.com/201

 

Direct download: Ep201final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Today starts a new thing over here-- daily emails and podcast episodes (weekdays only) I’m calling them the DAILY DIARIES!  I’ve kept them short, sweet, to the point, with lots of content to hopefully help you! Enjoy...

It all started with a damn upper limit problem.

Let me backup. If it’s one thing we all want-- it’s to be seen and heard. We want those loving connections with the people who matter to us. To know our struggles, our stories, and our celebrations matter. To know that we matter.

And for some of us, our path includes being seen and heard by lots and lots of people.

In 2013 my first book came out and I was catapulted into the spotlight. I’m not talking Beyoncé type spotlight, but a spotlight nonetheless in my industry. No one can really prepare you for this and it was one of the most exciting and terrifying things that had ever happened to me. More people watching, judging, criticizing and loving me (which can also be scary). Over the last few years I’ve been unpacking this and getting curious about why this scares me, what it stops me from doing, and how to move past it.

Fast forward to 2017. I knew my second book was coming out and I was more prepared for the epic explosion that was about to take place (that’s dramatic, but that’s what it felt like). I also knew I wanted to talk more about this to my YKAL community (you!) because I know most of us deal with this on some level.

The fear of shining too bright.

The fear of shining at all.

The fear of not shining at all.

The fear of getting it wrong.

The fear of what people expect of us.

The fear that we can’t measure up to what we expect of ourselves.

The fear of failure.

The fear of success.

The fear of moving too far forward in our lives and leaving people behind.

The fear of what people will think.

Basically, the fear of raising hell in our lives, causing any attention to ourselves that might cause us to not have it all under control.

So, going back to the “upper limit problem” that I mentioned before. You might be wondering, what is an upper limit problem?

The “ULP” term comes from the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and in a nutshell, the theory is this: We all have a certain set point of success, happiness, health, and love. How much of it we can take. A “comfort zone” of all those things. When we get more, say a promotion, a new amazing relationship, a fantastic opportunity, finally lose that extra 15 pounds we’ve been carrying around, we get extremely uncomfortable for having it and therefore sabotage it. I wrote a whole chapter on self-sabotage in my last book so you probably are familiar with it.

When I write books I can’t control whether people like my writing or not. I can’t control whether they like me or not. I can’t control that I’ll always get it right. I also can’t control if the books will sell or not, which not only affects my emotional state, but my livelihood and my future.

So, it might be easier and safer to stay under the radar, not do too much to cause too much attention. Hide. Be quiet. Do things like not write books.

As 2018 approached and How To Stop Feeling Like Shit was about to be born, I knew this was a topic I couldn’t avoid with all of you. So, I set out to untangle it, rectify it as best I could, and help all of you in the process.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be walking you through that journey, as well as talking about other topics that happened to pop up along the way. Tomorrow’s episode I’ll be telling a story of a meeting I was a part of in October, which made me feel like a failure, not enough, and incompetent. I’ll tell you how I got through it, the tools I used, and what ended up happening.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together and there’s an assignment for you.  

http://yourkickasslife.com/200

 

Direct download: Ep200final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

For the month of February, I will be producing daily podcast episodes. You read that correctly ass-kickers - daily episodes are coming! The episodes will be shorter than the typical podcast format you are used to hearing.  Emails with short lessons will accompany them. If you want to be notified each time a daily episode is released in the month of February, sign up here. Okay, now let’s jump into this week’s episode!

I am so excited because my friend, Erin Stutland, joins me on the podcast this week.  Erin and I have known each other online “for-eva”!  She is a mind, body, wellness and fitness expert and the host and coach of the new weight-loss transformation television show Altar’d on Z Living.  We talked about getting unstuck, over-analyzing, how to stop being comfortable with feeling crappy, self-care practices and more.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • Erin provide tips to help get unstuck, shift your perspective and become motivated (4 minutes and 10 seconds)
  • The “morning pages” concept, what it is and how to use it (6:13)
  • Biggest obstacles that prevent you from making your exercise routine a reality, plus advice for how to move past these challenges (11:18)
  • How to be more loving and kind to yourself (and what Peanut M&Ms has to do with it) (13:47)
  • The starting and stopping pattern with exercise routines (15:56)
  • Erin’s Soul Stroll Program, how to make the most of your daily walks by rewiring your thoughts (22:34)
  • Recommendations and tools to help quiet your inner critic and how acknowledging all parts of oneself will help with the process (27:49)

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/199

 

Direct download: Ep199Mixedfinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week, I am rounding out the recovery series with one final episode. I have been so blessed to have nine amazing conversations with women in recovery. You can catch up on all of the episodes here.

In this episode, I read two blog posts I wrote on the 2nd and 3rd anniversaries of my sobriety. Plus, I include some new insights along the way.

From my 2 year sober anniversary on September 27th, 2013.

I want to start this post by telling a story that is really hard for me to tell– and I tell it in hopes that it helps someone else.

In May of 2011 I made my first attempt at sobriety. I made until September 26th of that year. I was active in my recovery, but in hindsight, a few things happened that were slowly chipping away at me. I kept hearing the voice that “I wasn’t that bad”…that I wasn’t like “those people”. Those alcoholics that told their stories, that had been arrested, had DUI’s, etc. The voice whispered that since that wasn’t me, surely I could moderate and drink like a normal person.

On September 26th, 2011 I got into an argument with my husband. We don’t argue often, so when we do, I can tend to slip quickly into this-is-it-it’s-over-he’s-going-to-leave-me land. It’s one of those really vulnerable places for me where I feel I’ve lost control over a situation– a situation that is very important to me.

In that late afternoon, he left the house to go for a drive. I sat at home alone and desperately wanted to drink. I called a friend in recovery. She talked me through it. I sat again alone in my glass case of emotions. I didn’t want to drink because I didn’t want to break my sobriety and have to start over. Plus the shame of relapse was too much to bear. But, I remembered hearing that if you drank enough NyQuil, you could get a buzz. And since it’s not technically “drinking”, it’s like a loophole, right?

10 seconds later I was in the bathroom chugging a bottle of cherry NyQuil.

A few minutes later the buzz hadn’t reached me yet. I then remembered hearing that Vanilla Extract could do the same thing. I went to the pantry and took a drink of putrid tasting Vanilla Extract. I looked closely at the bottle to see that not only had murky sediment gathered all along the bottom, but it had expired in 2005.

And to think I was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic.

As I type this, I’m embarrassed to admit this. But, now I understand just how cunning, baffling, and powerful alcohol is to an alcoholic. I didn’t think clearly and rationally at that time. I remember thinking, “Okay, I’m an educated person. I’ve done YEARS of my own personal development. I’m in the helping profession for pete’s sake”. And the reality is that none of that matters at all if you are truly an alcoholic. You don’t get extra credit for that. I don’t care how smart you are. We can’t think our way out of it.

I truly believe I needed that short relapse to prove to myself that I truly am an alcoholic. If the whisper ever comes back that I’m not that bad and maybe not a “real” alcoholic, I think back to my Vanilla haze (as my friend Courtney so lovingly puts it) and I’m back to reality.

And if I’m being really honest, I don’t want to drink like a normal person. I don’t want just one glass of wine. I want at least three. In a big ass glass. And if there’s white and red, I just can’t decide, so I’ll have a few of each.

This is insanity.

I tell my story not for the pats on the back or congratulations, but to show others that even people like me are alcoholics and that there is hope in recovery. I tried to quit by myself back in 2011. I strung together 6 miserable days. It wasn’t until I reached out for help and started a recovery program was I able to not just stop drinking, but stop obsessing on alcohol and being able to feel my feelings without resorting to drinking.  <— That is a fucking miracle.

So, if you’re that person who thinks you aren’t that bad like I did…you may very well be right. You’re not that bad right now. But alcoholism is progressive and I can assure you, if you keep drinking, you’ll be that bad. I don’t know how long it will take. But, for me, I didn’t want to wait and find out. I left the movie early because I was SURE the way it was going to end. And if I left and chose another way, I could change the ending.

And one year after that, on my 3 year sober anniversary September 27th, 2014

On Saturday, September 27th, 2014, I celebrated 3 years of sobriety.

I considered not writing about it this year, thinking to myself, “Well, nobody needs to hear about it anymore. They know you’re an alcoholic in recovery.” I wrote about it on my 2 year anniversary and thought maybe that was good enough. And then on Friday I got an email from a friend that needed to talk to me about her drinking. And a few weeks before that another friend asked me if she could give my contact info to her friend who needed support. Both of these women are moms, both of them needed help. And neither of them would have known I could help them if I had never come out with my story in the first place.

So, I speak again.

A couple of weeks ago I was at meeting at my son’s school. We’re brand new to this school having just moved to this state in late August. He’s in first grade and has high functioning Autism. I sat in a conference room with his teacher, the special needs coordinator, and school principal. It was nothing new, I’ve had these meetings before. But, this being a new school we had to go do the typical paper trail, have witnesses, and sign papers.

The special needs coordinator led the meeting and was reading parts of his file aloud, and as she read his report given to us the year prior from the psychologist she got to the part about his diagnosis and family history. “Colton’s mother was diagnosed with Anxiety and Panic Disorder in 2002 and has a history of substance abuse”. She continued with other facts that had nothing to do with me and the meeting continued as normal.

But in that moment I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. “Has a history of substance abuse.” Instant shame washed over me. chalk that up to a please-let-the-floor-open-up-and-swallow-me moment. I immediately wanted to interrupt her and explain myself to these people– these three women I barely knew. The principal with a PhD, my sons teacher, and the pregnant special needs coordinator that just 20 minutes before laughed with me as we exchanged funny pregnancy stories. I wanted to tell them, “Well, ‘substance abuse’ doesn’t really describe ME…I mean I wasn’t a drug addict or anything, just wine. And beer too. Oh, and I’ve been sober for yeeeears now, and I was never like ARRESTED or anything like that. Yep, just too much wine. So, see? I’m good. Not bad at all.”

Which at that time would have been a bit weird and uncomfortable.

And I’d love to tell you that since I do what I do for a living, and because of all the work I’ve done on myself and continue to do, and because I speak publicly about my journey that now I’m immune to the shame. But, I’m not. I don’t know if I’ll ever be. If she’d said, “Colton’s mother has a history of high blood pressure” I would have felt no shame. But, to be outed as an alcoholic in front of people you don’t know, where you worry you’ll be judged, or whispered about, it’s hard stuff. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to be known in my community as “the lady with a history of substance abuse”. I know it’s not really who I am, I know this in my heart. But, still after 3 year of being public with my story, I still feel fear and shame.

You might be wondering if it’s gotten easier. Yes, it has. I think in that conference room the shame was so visceral because it took me by surprise and I already felt vulnerable not knowing anyone in this new city. Plus, we were talking about my son, so it was the perfect storm. As the last few years have passed it’s gotten easier to talk about, but it certainly depends on the situation. And I think that meeting reminded me how painful it can be for people new to sobriety or thinking about getting sober.

And that’s really what I wanted to talk about today. That intense shame can keep people drinking for years, decades even. Can pull them back into drinking after years of sobriety. Of course other factors come into play, but shame can cripple us. Years ago had I felt shame like that I would have just drank it away. Went and hid in a bottle of wine where the shame would have been suffocated for a few hours that evening, only to wake up again the next morning so the cycle could continue. Same shame and fear and thoughts revolving around drinking. It was the same feelings every day.

And when you’re an alcoholic thinking about getting sober, you have to weigh those two painful things out: Quit drinking PLUS deal with asking for help, going to “those meetings” where “those people” are and actually talk about it all (scary), or continue to drink when you’re pretty sure that it’ll get worse and continue the cycle you already hate (also scary).

For me, I had to reach a point where the latter was scarier. Lucky for me, I only stayed active in my alcoholism for a short time and I was blessed to have people in my life I trusted to reach out to for help. I knew where I would end up if I kept drinking and that scared me more than anything. I knew alcoholics only go one direction: worse. I knew I had to quit.

Does the shame hit me every day? Certainly not. But, I know I can do hard things. You can too. I survived. And I’ll be okay. And I hope if you’re reading this and you think you need help, you ask for it. Shame will keep you sick. It won’t go away, but you can walk through its shadow and ask for help.

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/198

 

Direct download: Ep198final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

You may have followed my work for a bit now and know that I talk about courage and confidence. And maybe you think “Well, I get it, and this whole ‘courage and confidence’ thing sounds good in theory, but how will my life be different if I learn to be courageous and confident and will it even work for me!?”

Let me tell you what I was like in my 20’s. I was actually a really happy girl. I had great friends, a family that loved me, worked at good jobs, and was in a long-term relationship. Outside, everything seemed great and on a surface level I was happy.

But, underneath I was struggling. I was unfulfilled with my life. In my relationship there was no trust and no real connection, and my friendships were good, but nothing deep and intimate. I struggled fiercely with perfectionism, comparison, and control. I NEEDED to control. I thought if everyone would just act like I thought they should act, my life would be so much better.

When shit hit the fan for me in 2006, I isolated to the point of not checking my email for weeks. I screened all my calls, and barely even talked to my parents. I hardly saw my friends and once had lunch with one of my long-term friends and she said to me, “Well, with the divorce statistics, it was bound to happen to one of us.” That’s not to blame my friend...none of us knew what to say to each other. None of us knew how to truly connect. I was lonely when I was alone, and I was lonely when I was around people.

During that time of struggle I made decisions that 100 percent went against my values as a human being. I said yes to men when I really didn’t want to. Just because I thought I should or to try for one shred of connection. I would meet new people and either unload my whole story (what Brené Brown calls trying to “hotwire a connection”) or completely shut people out. What I came to realize was that once I hit adulthood, my soul became unconscious.

Fast forward to now.

Anyone that knows me well will tell you I’ve always been an assertive person. I’m an Aries, ENFJ, Type 8 on the Enneagram. But, all this personality stuff does not automatically mean that I was born with courage. I had to learn it, and still do every day. What it looks like in my life is this:

  • Reaching out to the right people when I need help
  • Making peace with the fact that most things are messy and imperfect
  • Standing up for what I believe in— such as giving an opinion
  • Setting healthy boundaries and saying no even though it’s not easy
  • Letting go of control and trusting myself and my faith enough to know that I can handle anything

These are just a few things of what practicing courage looks like. All of the things above still sometimes make me really uncomfortable and/or are scary. I’ve accepted that and it’s necessary.

And that’s what I want for you. You can choose to be like I was— happy on the surface with an unconscious soul— or you can choose to make the decision to wake up your soul, step into an uncomfortable life that is full of imperfections, messiness, and uncertainty. But, I promise you, my dears, that this same life will be full of truth, grace, and insurmountable beauty.

http://yourkickasslife.com/197

 

Direct download: Ep197final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Welcome back to another episode of the recovery series!  If you are new to the series, I’ve been speaking with women about their addiction and who are in recovery. We cover topics such as alcohol addiction, codependency, and even food addiction. You can find all of the episodes here.

This week I welcome back my friend and colleague, Amy Pearson. You may have heard Amy and I talk about being addicted to approval and feeling like a fraud back in Episode 118.  This time we talk in-depth about her addiction to alcohol, her obsession with seeking approval and using blame as a crutch.

Amy is a master certified life coach, a coach mentor, and founder of LiveBrazen.com. She is currently writing her first book, a memoir called, “Forgiving Amy,” where she shares her experiences with self-forgiveness. Amy has been sober for four years. Today, she shares how grieving the loss of her mother and feeling shame around not being the person she thought she should be led to her downward spiral into ”self-medicating” with alcohol. And, then later, she shares a poignant story of what made her turn everything around and led her onto the path of recovery.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How two life-changing events underlined her path to addiction (9 minutes and 12 seconds)
  • Amy discusses how alcoholism is progressive and the fact that she was very self-aware of her addiction (13:03)
  • Amy shares the story of putting her children at risk because of her addiction and how it ultimately led her on the path to recovery. Plus, she shares a promise she made to herself. (16:43)
  • How recovery can lead you to uncover and accept parts of you that you didn’t know even existed; including the good, the bad and the dark.  (21:18)
  • Why Amy thinks alcohol and drinking is the lazier choice (24:27)
  • Telling the truth and finding a supportive community helped Amy get sober, and how it all was a very humbling process (26:05)
  • Saying no is hard, but it’s so important to put into practice when maintaining sobriety (28:39)
  • We discuss triggers (both big and small) and two tools Amy uses for overcoming them (32:28)

http://yourkickasslife.com/196

 

Direct download: Ep-196Mixedfinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

As promised in the podcast episode, a quick (1 min) video explaining how roller derby is played is here. Also, the Whip It trailer because I love it when Bliss says, I am IN LOVE with this.” (which btw, many of the hits in that movie are highly illegal to the game, but I think they captured the culture of derby really well.)

At the end of 2012 and early 2013, I played roller derby for the Junction City Roller Dolls in Ogden, Utah, skating under the derby name, Veronica Vain. A shoulder injury took me out and I retired from the game.

 

There I am, on the right with hair flying like Medusa.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about going back here in North Carolina (more on that later), and it got me thinking a lot about the game and it’s similarities with life. Derby taught me a lot about fear, and other things, and in no particular order, here’s 6 ways roller derby can teach you about life.

  1. There is no room for paralyzing fear. You’ll get eaten alive if you stay there. Derby can be scary. Whether you’re showing up for tryouts, gearing up for your first bout, or going up against a player you know is bigger and stronger than you are, for every player at least once somewhere there is an element of fear. Which is actually perfectly normal in any sport and in life.

I remember the first time I realized I was getting better as a player. During a practice scrimmage, I realized I was the smallest and least experienced player out there. For a second, I was scared. Then out of nowhere  I pushed that voice aside and tried my damndest to knock another player that had at least 6 inches and 50 pounds of an advantage on me. I can’t even remember if I succeeded or not (I probably didn’t), but that was the shift I needed. Just trying. Just feeling the fear and doing it in spite of it.

In life, there’s a lot of fear. We all have it, no one is immune. The difference between people that go after the badass life they have, is that they went up against their fear. They were scared when they went after that awesome job, or broke up with that person that they just weren’t happy with, or went back to school after 15 years of being out. You’re not unique in your fear. Just do it anyway.

  1. When you fall down, hurry and get the fuck up. In roller derby, when you fall or get knocked down in a jam, it’s part of the rules that you only have just a few seconds to get back up. No taking your sweet ass time. Plus, you can’t fall down and quit just because you fell down. Well, I suppose you could, but your team would be pretty pissed at you. And think about this-- falling happens a lot in derby. A lot. If everyone quit derby the first time they fell down, no one would be playing derby.

How many times do we fall down in our everyday lives? We screw up, make bad decisions, and just plain fail. Everyone eats shit from time to time and doesn’t necessarily feel great about it. Instead of beating ourselves up for the mistake or quitting altogether, what if we just took two seconds to get back up and keep trying? Life goes on, just like the jam does. The world doesn’t stop spinning just because you took a tumble. Don’t quit, just get up and keep going.

  1. Only stay down if you’re really hurt. If not, get the fuck up. Okay, sometimes, when we fall down on the track, it really, really hurts. We’ve all had that slam on the concrete once or twice where we automatically want to get back up and keep skating, but our body says, “Oh, heeeeell no.” and we stay on the ground. Our fellow skaters help us and we do what we need to get better-- whether that’s sitting out for a while or going to the nearest hospital for an X-ray.

And yes, in life there are those moments. We get heartbroken, disappointed, or are in a crisis that just plain sucks and is painful. We can’t push it aside and keep on going just yet. We need help from our friends and loved ones. We need time to heal. To cry, to grieve, to kick and scream, to whatever. Acting like we’re “okay” or “fine” does nothing but eventually make things worse.

  1. When up against an obstacle, find some way to get through it. In derby, you’ll face obstacles that you need to get around, usually opposing players. You do your best to get through or around them. You don’t just come up against a wall of blockers, throw your arms up and give up...you fight through it. If you gave up, you’d be giving up on your team.

When faced with a life obstacle, do the same. The obstacle might be fear, criticism from others, your own lack of self confidence, anything. But, for you to sit back and give up when faced with an obstacle is basically giving up on yourself. And you’re too awesome for that.

  1. Choose people to be around that will help you. When coming up against a wall of people you need to pass, in derby you look for what’s called the “friendly side”. When a jammer is coming up on two players-- one is her teammate and the other isn’t. Which one is she going to choose to pass next to? Right, her teammate. Her teammate isn’t going to knock her over or out of bounds. Her teammate is her ally, her helper.

In life, it’s the same. Don’t surround yourself with assholes. Don’t keep reaching out to people who continue to disappoint you. Choose people to spend your time with that support and encourage you, that believe in you and help you shine. If you choose people that constantly let you down, or disrespect you, honey- that’s on you.

  1. Playing is the best way to learn. Before I started playing derby, I was on the sidelines. I went to bouts and watched it endlessly on YouTube. I was excited! But, nothing, I mean nothing compares to actually getting in the game. The very first time I scimagged at practice I remember thinking, “Woah. This is nothing like I thought it would be...it’s BETTER!” You can study the game all you want from an outside perspective, and you can imagine what it’s like, but nothing is a better teacher than actually getting your ass on the track.

You can watch other people live their lives and wish yours was like theirs. You can make up what you think other people have that you don’t and feel badly about that. You can sit on the sidelines of your own life and want more for yourself. You can want a better job, a creative endeavour, a partner...whatever your dreams are. And maybe your hopes and dreams excite you and scare you at the same time. (Because let’s face it- if it doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough). But, if you’re not going after it, you’re missing out. Consider me that teammate who tells you to get in the game. Gear up, warm up, and go out there and kick some ass.

Because you, my friend, and your life are worth it.

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/195

Direct download: Ep-195final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Welcome to another recovery series episode, and as we near the end of this season for these shows, our guest today, Lara Frazier, is sharing about her addiction to alcohol, pills, and love.

Lara explains how her own addiction issues came from trauma in her life that she didn’t know she had, and how she found that she could just distract herself by falling in love. She explains that ultimately, this wasn’t the best for her, and how she really came to understand what romantic love and intimacy was (and wasn’t).

http://yourkickasslife.com/194

 

Direct download: 194_Lara_Frazier_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Ok, I don’t even have a word to describe how much I’m looking forward to having you hear this episode. Terri Cole is a returning guest who appeared on the show way back on Episode 76, and this time I wanted to make sure we talked about codependency.

Why codependency? If you’re a listener of this podcast, you’ll know codependency is something that I’ve struggled with and talk about often. In this episode we look at what it really is and how to deal with realizing that it may be part of your life.

Direct download: 193_Terri_Cole.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

There’s still time to sign up for the free book club! We start January 22nd, giving you enough time to read my new book, How To Stop Feeling Like Shit. Click this link to purchase the book and sign up-- if you already have your copy (Audiobook or e-reader counts too!) click “claim bonus” to sign up for the book club.

This show is another recovery series episode, and as always, I’m so grateful to have these amazing conversations with women in recovery. Today is no exception, as I’m talking to Carly Benson. Carly has been sober from alcohol and cocaine since August 17th, 2008, and in this she shares her own path to addiction, and eventually her recovery.

A big part of what she talks about is the need to truly open up and be willing to do things differently, but first you’ll need to be honest with how you are feeling inside. This will allow you to process the things that are happening, but you’ll hear how we all wear addiction differently and it’s up to each one us to learn how to live an intentional life.

http://yourkickasslife.com/192

 

Direct download: 192_Carly_Benson_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

MY BOOK IS OUT! To celebrate, I’m giving $10 to Best Buddies International for every Amazon review from now until January 9th. (Scroll down for instructions on how to do this). Best Buddies is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

If you haven’t purchased the book yet, it’s in bookstores NOW (front tables at Barnes & Noble!) or you can purchase online. Once you’ve done that, don’t forget to join us for the free book study I’m hosting starting on January 22nd (click “claim bonuses’).

*****************************************************

If confidence were easy, it would have been bottled a long time ago by Big Pharma and somebody would have more money than God right now. However, gaining confidence is not that easy.

Years ago when I saw women with confidence, I thought a few things that turned out to NOT be true.

  1. I thought they were born with it. I thought confidence was in their genes. And clearly, I wasn’t born with it.
  2. I thought maybe I could fake it by acting like I was the shit when I really did NOT think I was the shit. All this did was make me feel like shit and a big ol’ phony.
  3. I thought I could just wait until I was old to finally get it. Because we all know how much confidence Blanche Deveraux had. However, I didn’t want to wait until I was a Golden Girl.

Confidence is not something you’re born with, or something you get just by faking it, or something you automatically gain when you turn 45. It’s something that’s built piece by piece over time. It’s something you try, mess up, try again and again until you see progress, and then keep practicing for the rest of your life.

The way to gain confidence is by practicing courage.

And courage can look like many different things. They don’t have to be big, sweeping events that shake you to your core with fear. Even practicing small acts of courage will likely evoke fear in you, but all of them add up to a courageous, confident YOU.

I’ve broken it down into some steps for you…

Step 1. Decide. And I don’t mean just decide you’re confident. You can certainly do that, but I think your brain will spike the bullshit alert and the whole “fake it til you make it” thing is tough with this one. When I say “decide” I mean decide you will start practicing courage. Decide you’re ready to step out of your comfortable ways of being and try something else, little by little.

Step 2. Really dig into what practicing courage means to you. Start by thinking of the behaviors you currently do that are making you unhappy.  I’ll bet some of them are: isolating, people pleasing, perfecting, believing your inner-critic, numbing out, comparison, approval seeking, and control (Wait– did I just name your to-do list?)

Then, think of the opposite. If you’re an isolator, practicing courage would be reaching out for help and support.The opposite of people pleasing would be to simply stop before you immediately say yes to everything and practice saying no. If you’re a perfectionist, practicing courage would be to lean into “good enough” or start before you’re ready. I think you get the gist here.

Step 3: Keep repeating steps 1 and 2. Over and over again.

This will be scary, I can assure you. But, what’s scarier is looking back on your life and realizing you stayed in a place of fear. What’s scarier is realizing you allowed fear to drive your entire life. What’s possibly scarier than that is that you’ll look back and realize you modeled fear for the people you love. I’ll tell you something I know for sure. I am immensely proud of myself that I can practice courage in my life, but what makes me even more immensely proud, is that I model courage for my children. Marian Wright Edelman said, “You can’t be what you can’t see”. If you’re a parent, I KNOW you want your children to grow up learning how to practice courage. And if they see it in you, they’ll know how.

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/191

 

Direct download: Ep-191final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Happy New Year Ass-Kickers! Before we jump into today’s episode, a quick announcement: From today until January 9th, I’ll be giving $10 for every Amazon review about my new book, How To Stop Feeling Like Shit, to Best Buddies International, which is a charity close to my heart. Best Buddies helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You can hear more about it and why it’s important to me in the episode. So, if you’ve read my book, please help me help them by leaving a review. Thank you in advance!

 

Today is another recovery episode with guest Arlina Allen. Today she shares how her career aspirations eventually led to issues with alcohol, how everything came to a head for her at age 25 and then how she was introduced to a 12-step program paving the way for her recovery.

Arlina has been clean and sober for 23 years and in her own journey, she was able to see the patterns that were holding her back. Along the way she’s discovered she wasn’t a victim and did indeed have the power to make the decisions that were best for her. Arlina now helps others as a host of her own podcast, The ODAAT Chat, and in this talk she reveals how she’s now able to pay it forward to help others battling addiction.

Like the other episodes in this series, even if you’re not struggling with addiction or in recovery, you probably know someone who is. That’s what these stories are for; it’s about shining the light on addiction and recovery and telling our stories. You’ll find out why quitting drinking is just a small part of the equation though, and that sobriety and recovery are two very different things.

http://yourkickasslife.com/190

 

Direct download: 190_Arlina_Allen_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

As always, I’m very excited about today’s guest, partly because she’s awesome and partly because we’re talking about a topic I wrote about in my book-- a topic Tanya Geisler is an expert on!

Tanya has dedicated her life to helping women conquer the imposter complex, (we went into even more detail on the topic when Tanya previously appeared on the podcast). In this most recent episode we also look at everything from leadership to fear of success to cultural messaging.

When reaching a certain level of success people feel they are going to be alone, that there will be a disconnect between themselves and others, but it really doesn’t have to be this way and Tanya will help show us how.

http://yourkickasslife.com/189

 

Direct download: 189_Tanya_Geisler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

If you’re a new podcast listener, you’ve found another recovery episode, where I have amazing conversations with women in recovery. Today’s guest is no exception! Tiffany Han is a writer, speaker, teacher and coach (as well as a fellow podcast host), and she has an interesting story of recovery.

You’ll see that not all problems are problems with a capital “P”, and listen to how Tiffany knew she needed to make changes before her drinking became a big problem.

It’s not just about quitting drinking, because you have to deal with your “shit” along with it.  Sobriety and recovery are two very different things, and you are always learning about yourself.

http://yourkickasslife.com/188

 

Direct download: 188_Tiffany_Han_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This is a topic I talk at length about in my book, How To Stop Feeling Like Shit: 14 Habits That Are Holding You Back From Happiness. Most people struggle with having hard conversations, as well as setting boundaries. These can be some hard lessons! Enjoy...

Let’s talk about something that doesn’t always kick ass: Tough, awkward conversations.

And I’ll start with a truth: most of us don’t have enough of them. I was just talking to a friend recently who had just moved in with her cousin and was feeling like she had no say in the space. That her cousin/roommate was messy and had her stuff everywhere. So my friend was upset and complaining at length about it.

And I asked, “So what do you plan on doing about it?” And my friend laughed and said she planned on doing nothing. Basically, just continue to complain about it. That having the conversation would be awkward and uncomfortable.

And I wonder– how many of us do this every damn day? How many of us avoid awkward conversations so often that it’s affecting our lives way more negatively that we even know?

You may think I’m nuts- but I think it’s all of us.

I’ll bet you reading this can think of at least one awkward conversation you need to have. Your mom does ____, it bugs the shit out you and you wish she’d stop. Your partner keeps joking with you about ____ and you actually don’t think it’s funny, it hurts your feelings. Your boss is ______ and you really wish she wouldn’t do that. Your best friend is always late and you need to ask her to try harder to be prompt to respect your time.

Almost every single one of my private clients over the last 8 years has had some kind of conversation that’s needed to take place that they’re avoiding. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable. Because they aren’t sure what the outcome will be. What if they other person gets mad? Says no? Gets their feelings hurt? Breaks up with them? Or (insert whatever worst-case scenario you can think of).

Now I’m not going to sit here with my pom-poms cheering you on and just telling you to go out and do it. If that’s all you needed you would have done it by now. What you need are some hard truths and a plan:

Hard truth #1: You have no idea how the conversation will go. No one can promise you it will go well or turn out in your favor. Booo, I know.

Hard truth #2: The problem and/or the way you feel about this will not just go away because you avoid it like a public toilet that desperately needs to be flushed. It actually can get worse. Way worse.

Hard truth #3: I wish this wasn’t the case, but even when you get the tools and do work on yourself, the conversations are still hard. What actually gets better is how you feel having done it. And lo and behold, in most cases your relationship with the other person gets better too.

And now, how do we do this? How do we walk into these difficult conversations without spontaneously combusting with fear and anxiety? (For the record, I don’t believe this has ever happened in real life). Here’s some steps:

  1. Get clear on what it is you need to say and try to avoid blaming, criticizing, and making the other person wrong. Instead of saying, “I really think you’re a jerk when you say this to me” you can say, “You probably have no idea, but it actually hurts my feelings when you say that. Can I please ask that you stop?”
  2. Let go of any attachment to the outcome. Of course you want it to go your way. Of course you want your partner to grovel with apologies or your boss to make big changes because of your requests. But, that doesn’t always happen. The truth is some people get uncomfortable with you being vulnerable and in that moment they…panic. Which brings me to…
  3. Get clear on what you need to walk away from the conversation having done in order to make yourself feel proud. Most of the time it’s simply making your needs be heard. Whether it’s received well is up to the other person, but all you are responsible for is YOU.
  4. Have the conversation at the right time. The discussion is going to be awkward enough, do it when you and the other person can hear it. Not at 11 pm at night when you and your husband are beat tired, not first thing on a Monday morning when you know your boss is walking into a meeting and a million emails, not when you call your mom and you can tell she’s shopping at Ross on 10% off Tuesday. Your timing is important.

I believe a lot of change comes from awkward conversations. We need to have more of them. It’s understandable that you’re scared. So is the person receiving it. And let’s be honest, most of us are scared many moments in the day and you live through those moments too. Change doesn’t happen by staying silent. So, what do you choose?

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/187

 

Direct download: Ep187final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Welcome back for the fourth episode in this recovery series (in addition to the 10 recovery episodes we aired last year)! My guest today is writer, life & recovery coach and speaker Sasha Tozzi.

Love addiction was a big realization to Sasha after she got sober and today she makes a conscious decision not to put people above her sitting on a pedestal. She also shares that learning how to trust herself and others again was a challenge for her (and so much more).

It’s important to understand that the addictions we are talking about today are isolating addictions, and it is important to have support as we go forward.

http://yourkickasslife.com/186

 

Direct download: 186_Sasha_Tozzi_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

For this episode I’m bringing back a repeat guest: the amazing Lori Harder! The first time Lori was here I really connected with her, and I felt like we had some unfinished conversation, which is why I’m so excited to do this today.

Lori uses the approach of mixing and matching both fitness and personal development, and she shares how failure and negativity will undoubtedly be a big part of your growth (and success).

You’ll hear how we all have personal fears that we’re working through, but it’s in his fear that opportunities can be revealed. Surrounding yourself with the like-minded people is key, and can you give the fresh perspective that you need.

http://yourkickasslife.com/185

 

Direct download: 185_Lori_Harder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Welcome to another recovery episode of the podcast, where today my guest is Aidan Donnelley Rowley. Aidan is a very special human and I’m glad to share her story with you today!

In this episode she goes in detail about her personal journey with drinking, and as you’ll hear, it’s a different story than most. With the help of a therapist, her husband and her immense love for writing, Aidan was able to identify her issues with her drinking and how they were impacting her professional and personal life.

Whether you’re in recovery, or thinking about it, the wisdom Aidan shares today is sure to help you in your own journey.

http://yourkickasslife.com/182

 

Direct download: 184_Aidan_Donnelley_Rowley_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Ass kickers!

Today I’m bringing you two things:

  1. I wrote you a poem and I perform it for you with sweaty palms on this podcast episode. It was VERY SCARY for me to do. I hope you like it. You can also read it below.
  2. Also in this episode I’m talking about WHY I wrote this book, what it’s about, how it will change your life, what it all has to do with shame, and where you can come and see me this January so I can give you a giant hug and we’ll take a selfie.

First, here is the poem I wrote you. (There’s a lot more context in the podcast episode, so even if you don’t regularly listen, you may want to tune in for this one…)

You are magnificent.

You, woman with listening to these words, stop what you are doing and let that sink in.

No matter what your inner-voice tells you.

No matter what the magazines say.

No matter what our cultures twists us to believe... you are magnificent.

 

When a woman finally realizes this it’s like seeing two lovers embracing each other at an airport.

It being too unbearably long that they have converged.

Your unembraced magnificence is waiting patiently for you.

It will wait as long as it needs to, whispering quiet invitations to your life.

 

Will you stop and listen?

 

If you pause long enough you can hear it calling you.

Breathless storms of light beckoning you home.

Home being that place of magnificence.

Your magnificence.

 

You, dear woman, hold more power than you know.

Maybe you’ve caught glimpses of it and it scared you.

Maybe you’ve let it out and someone else squashed it in their own fear.

Maybe you can feel it but deny it.

Maybe you’ve destroyed it before it could even rise up.

 

Please, I beg you.

Walk towards it.

It won’t hurt you.
It IS you.

 

You are magnificent.

(#raisehelliscoming)

 --------------------

Second, I talk a lot about what’s in How To Stop Feeling Like Shit: 14 Habits That Are Holding You Back From Happiness including the two main solutions. I mention a lot of links in this episode, so here you go:

Link to pre-order the book, as well as the place to claim your bonuses (use that same link if you’ve already pre-ordered but haven’t claimed your bonuses yet or signed up for the free book club!)

Share the book trailer here on Facebook.

If you know of a podcast you think I should be interviewed on, tell us here.

NYC book signing will be on January 6th. We don’t have a bookstore yet (coming soon!), but please sign up here to be notified about where and what time.

NYC workshop is here (space is VERY limited!)  

Chicago book signing is here.

Chicago workshop is here.

San Diego book signing is here.

Portland book signing is here.

Greensboro, NC book signing is here.

I hope to see you in one of those cities, if not, I hope to see you in the free book club!

Hugs and ass kicking,

Andrea

http://yourkickasslife.com/183

 

Direct download: Ep183final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Today I have another recovery episode for you, with my guest Kristi Coulter. I first learned about Kristi when an essay that she had written went viral, and if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so. Even if you’re not in recovery, the messages she shares are so powerful.

In this episode we discuss a lot of Kristi’s writings, including an essay she wrote about how to not drink at Thanksgiving, and she shares with us her story about her relationship with alcohol (and the road to recovery).

Kristi is an incredible writer and woman in recovery, and I’m so honored to have been able to speak with her and share this important conversation.

http://yourkickasslife.com/182

 

Direct download: 182_Kristi_Coulter_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

I’m so excited to bring you this interview today with my friend Heather Chauvin. With a professional background in mental health, Heather is now a leader in the space of parenting and women’s issues, and she brings her insight (and great energy!) to the show today.

A big part of what Heather does is inspiring others to take back control of how they want to lead, work, play and parent. Where does this all start? Heather shows us how you need to begin by taking action in order to create your own reality and take back control from the overwhelm of life.

http://yourkickasslife.com/181

 

Direct download: 181_Heather_Chauvin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

I’m so excited today to be kicking off 10 extra podcast episodes of The Recovery Series! For newer listeners of the podcast, I am a person in long-term recovery from alcohol addiction, and before that faced other addictions like co-dependency.

You would not believe how many people have emailed me to tell me how this series helped them get (and stay!) sober, which is why it means so much to be that I can bring these episodes to you.

The first guest this year of The Recovery Series is Anna David, a New York Times bestselling author of books about addiction, recovery and relationships. Anna is amazing in the recovery world and even wrote a book called Party Girl: A Novel, where she talks openly about her days while still drinking.

http://yourkickasslife.com/180

 

Direct download: 180_Anna_David_Recovery_Series.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Today’s guest is a real life friend of mine – and actually one of the first friends I made when we moved to North Carolina. “Ella” is actually her initials and the name she goes by online, not her real first name (think Beyoncé or Madonna)! She’s so fancy 😉

In this episode Ella shares about that place where wellness and personal development meet. We look at how you can make the decision to not beat yourself up with shame (and find a balance) and so much more!

http://yourkickasslife.com/179

 

Direct download: 179_Ella.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Hi ass kickers!

Today I’m answering a common questions, and that’s Where do I start in personal development?

There’s so many topics-- from surrender to self-love to forgiveness? Where in the world do we begin? Well, I’ve broken it down into 5 places to look at, as well as created a handy-dandy worksheet for you to follow along and get your own insight into where might be a good place for you to start.

In the episode, I break down these 5 areas:

  • Addictions
  • Therapy  (link to therapy episode)
  • Core beliefs
  • Negative self talk
  • Communication

Hopefully, this episode will give you clear insight to where you can look that will set you up on a path to healing and betterment, as well as let you know you are NOT alone if you’re feeling overwhelmed in not knowing where to start.

http://yourkickasslife.com/178

 

Direct download: Ep178final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In this episode we’re talking all about forgiveness, and today’s guest literally wrote the book on this topic! Emily Hooks is the author of The Power of Forgiveness, and as you’ll hear from this conversation, this subject can be complex.

At the root of it, forgiveness isn’t about the other person; it is about healing yourself.

If life isn’t showing up how you want it to that’s a sign that it’s trying to show us what to heal, forgive or learn. This is what makes it so important that we explore the relationships in our lives, with both ourselves and other people.

Ultimately, you will decide if there is a need for forgiveness based on the impact of what happened. Rewriting your own story is possible and can lead you to start the healing process now. Best of all, you can use what has happened to you for good, no matter how traumatic the experience.

http://yourkickasslife.com/177

 

Direct download: EmilyHooks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Many months ago I sent out a survey looking for what you wanted to hear more of on the podcast, and the results are in! A handful of you wanted to hear more stories from “regular” women (and not experts in personal development), so today I am bringing you a conversation I had with a coaching client of mine.

Janessa Nickell is a client I’ve worked with for many months over this past year, and in this episode she talks about her struggles and what she was facing when she decided to work with me privately. She reveals that through the work that was done, she now has the confidence to be able to do this work on herself, but it wasn’t without becoming extremely vulnerable first. Like everyone, not only does Janessa have a story to tell but now she is going out in the world and sharing it!

The heart of what I do is around vulnerability, shame resilience, and courage. It’s sometimes hard for me to explain what this looks like and it’s easier to hear it coming out of the mouth of someone who’s experienced it. As you’ll hear, it takes a decision and a commitment to the work.

http://yourkickasslife.com/176

 

Direct download: JanessaNickell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Did you know it’s ok to not love your body? Well you can, and then start taking steps forward and become in tune with it. Here to share her insight on body image (and all things related) is Samantha Skelly, an emotional eating expert who’s revolutionizing the weight loss industry by uncovering the underlying causes of eating disorders.

Shame kept Samantha stuck, but as you’ll hear pain is a divine teacher. She reveals why we need to feel in order to heal, and how it’s not about being a certain weight but really how you feel about yourself.

http://yourkickasslife.com/175

 

Direct download: SamanthaSkelly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Hi ass kickers!

Welcome to another Listener Q & A episode! I have my friend Kate on again as we tackle two questions from the YKAL community. Here is question 1:

Hi Andrea,

I found your recovery series compelling and now I know why. I am involved in a long-term relationship with an alcoholic (or at least I think so).

My question is this: I do not know whether I should stay or go. I try to do research on a book to read and to get more information and it is pretty confusing. My therapist agrees that I should leave him. I see book reviews on books that say I should love and understand him and then he and I (codependent) can both heal. I do not know what book to read. I do not know what to do. I just know that my brain is big ball of string when I try to untangle this, and my heart is broken in pieces. -Kathryn

Kate and I are both in agreement that Kathryn should start by taking care of herself, and give her a couple of resources to do that. We discuss the very important thing Kathryn should be clear about before she decides to leave (if she ever decides that) that anyone can contemplate before leaving a committed relationship.

**************************************************

Question 2 is:

Curveballs.

I'm not even talking about major curveballs. On Monday I had a goal that I was going to clamp down on for my business. Today was the day.

Then the landlady knocks on the door to say that today is the day the guy is coming to paint, and sorry she didn't tell me earlier, she didn't want to bother me yesterday.

Then I decide to make a plan with a friend of mine to go to her house, so that I don't end up sleeping in paint fumes all day and trying to work in chaos. It works out so perfectly because she happens to be in my area at that very moment and she is able to pick up.

The point is, that day ended up being more of a tagging along doing my friend's errands (one of which has been a huge blessing - saving me a bit of money). But, I couldn't help feeling like I "should" be clamping down on the original goal.

I'll be honest and say that some of my anxiety was due to the fear of lack of focus when I was not in my own home, and I am still learning about how to put up boundaries when I'm with other people and say "hey, I'm kinda working, could you leave me alone?" I am still learning how not to always be the accommodating rather than a decision maker.

I just am tired of that and wanna grow up. So, how does an empowered woman, not go down that spiral and instead recognise what's happening when there is a curveball and use it efficiently? -Niki

Kate and I answer what seems like two questions from Niki: how to say “no” in a polite, yet firm way, and how to surrender to life when things don’t go as planned. We both have different viewpoints about productivity, share our personal experience there and give Niki advice about what to ask herself in those frustrating situations.

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/174

 

Direct download: Ep174final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

I’m excited for you to hear this episode, because it’s the first time I've had a witch on the podcast! Just kidding (sort of) --today my guest is psychic medium Laura Powers, and she’s showing us how each of us can access our own intuition to learn about our true selves.

As Laura shares, we can actually be proactive and take different approaches to reach out to our angels (or guides, as she calls them). We can also learn to recognize when they are trying to reach out to us, and then open ourselves up to this communication.

I think you’ll be fascinated what she has to say, as this episode of the podcast is a real eye opener!

http://yourkickasslife.com/173

 

Direct download: LauraPowers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

There’s a chance that anyone listening to this podcast has dealt with feelings of anxiety and depression. Our guest today is Quentin Vennie, and he’s openly battled and survived not only these afflictions, but he’s also overcome addiction and now encourages others to be proactive in caring for their mental health.

In this episode, Quentin talks openly about his struggles growing up being a male in the community he was raised in and the expectations that society had on him as being a man. He shares how this contributed to his anxiety and depression disorders, but by listening you’ll hear how he was able to use different modalities and paths to process and for healing himself.

http://yourkickasslife.com/172

 

Direct download: QuentinVennie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

I’m so excited to bring you today’s show with guest Maria Felipe. Marie is an author who’s achieved success as a model and actress, and used to be a WWF hostess! She has so much energy that it’s infectious, and you’re going to absolutely love listening to her story!

As you’ll hear, Maria’s own journey started with her trying to find happiness inside her, and she started doing the deep work to heal herself. She recognized that we’ve been run by a society that is ego driven, and this makes us feel that fear and sadness is normal. Maria is trying to change this thinking though through her work, and to show people that happiness and feeling at peace is actually normal.

http://yourkickasslife.com/171

 

Direct download: MariaFelipe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

My friend Beth Grant posted something on Facebook recently that caught my attention. She said,

“Purpose is a need of the ego, to make it feel important. I'm much more interested in self-expression. I would much more focus on PATH than purpose. I would want you to do that, too. To find your true path and live it. Every path has a purpose, after all ... life is a learning experience and your path is a means of self-expression.

I've said it a thousand times ... your purpose in life is to be yourself. That's it. It's not more complicated than that.”

I’ve written about purpose before. I’ve always felt it was this thing in personal development that some gurus treat as a kind of secret. That once we find our purpose in life we’ll FINALLY feel like we have all our shit together, we’ll feel like we’re “fixed”, and we can join their secret club and wait for the others to join in. And I think that’s bullshit.

I do feel like I’m lucky and not lucky that I feel I’ve found my purpose, but lucky that I don’t feel the need to find IT. The One Thing. The ultimate portion of my life that will make me feel fulfilled.

To be clear, I actually DO feel like I’ve found my purpose. It’s not life coaching, or mothering my children, or even speaking out about things I’m passionate about. My purpose, like Beth mentions above, is my path. It’s my life.

And I do think that when one does dive into personal development, this becomes a trap. Just another topic to entice people with like the dangling carrot.

I totally understand where this comes from on a deep level. We want to know that our lives matter. We want to feel that we matter. That we’re not just taking up space in this crowded, noisy world.

And I wish I could snap my fingers and just tell you, “Let it go, sister! Your purpose is your path. Just accept it.” and all is well and you can skip along your life feeling relieved. Maybe it is this easy, but what if it’s not? Quite honestly, I don’t think it’s my job to convince you. What I can tell you is one of the things that is paramount in working on is surrender and self-trust.

Surrendering means that you give up the notion that there is this one true destiny for you. That you give up that you have to know The Answer and that if you can just figure it out, you’ll be happier, and that’s your solution. Surrendering doesn’t have to mean you pray over your crystals or mediate to the archangel/goddess/priestess of the day to show you the way. I think those are all fine things to do but that’s not how I do it.

Surrendering to the path means that even when things go what I deem as wrong, I feel whatever I’m feeling, and keep moving forward. I don’t hide, or numb it out, or feel like the world is against me. It literally is what it is. When things don’t go the way I planned or how I wanted, I still get frustrated or angry, but I know on a deep level that I’ll be okay. I actually have NO IDEA if our lives have a pre-determined destiny or if we’re just floating around accidental-like on a breeze like Forrest Gump tells us. Most days I think it’s somewhere in the middle. What I do feel on a deep level is that many of us are what I like to call “seekers”. We’re seeking a deeper meaning of life. We’re seeking to better ourselves. We’re seeking out other people like us. We’re seeking who we really are.

And seekers are typically really, really smart. Hence, having a hard time surrendering. We want to know all these answers asap. I’m like that too. But, what I know to be absolutely true is that the more I try to force the answers, the more I try to seek this purpose, the more stressed and anxious I get. I lose the seeker inside of me.

Self-trust is the sister of surrender. It’s knowing we’re going to be okay. It’s knowing you are loved and a magnificent human being even when things aren’t going well and you feel like you don’t know your purpose. It’s knowing that because you are a seeker, that is your purpose. It’s knowing your path is your purpose.

So, fellow seekers of your purpose. I hope you have found some solace from this post. Your path is your purpose. Your life is your purpose. You being a seeker is your purpose. You’re doing it. You’re fulfilling it. It won’t look perfect, you’ll question it and wonder if you’re doing it right and the answer will always be yes.

Resources from this post:
What if you haven’t found your “thing” yet?

http://yourkickasslife.com/170

Direct download: EP170final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/169



Since many of you are new to the YKAL community (if you are,
Haiiii!) I thought it would be helpful to record a quick episode and post about what’s coming for the rest of the year as well as what you can expect in 2018. All I can say is: GET READY TO KICK SOME ASS.

First, my free workshop on my 3 Most Effective Ways to Manage Your Inner-Critic is coming up on September 21st. Go here to sign up for that or text the word GREMLIN to 444999.

The class: Kick Your Gremlin’s Ass is coming next week too. This is the LAST TIME I will run this live. If you feel your life is being run by negative self-talk, this class is for you! (If you sign up for the workshop above, there’s special bonuses and a price break.)

MY NEW BOOK HOW TO STOP FEELING LIKE SHIT COMES OUT ON JANUARY 2nd! (Pre-order here, y’all) There will be a study group for the book led by yours truly. Registration opens late January, and we’ll start sometime in February. Go here to be the first to know about that.

I’ll also be doing a book tour and hitting cities for book signings, meet-ups and small, exclusive workshops. When I sent out a survey a few months ago many of you said instead of doing multi-day retreats, you’d love to be able to come to a half-day workshop, so that’s what I’m doing! If you want to know if I’m coming to a city near you, click here and sign up to be notified!

RAISE HELL is coming in April. OMG, y’all. I’m so excited for this class I can barely stand it. Raise Hell is about you taking back your life. It’s about figuring out what you want, what you need, asking for it, and going after it with support from me and your group of soul sisters. It’s about accountability and feeling fear and walking through it. It’s about you.

THE MENTORSHIP is coming next fall. We’re diving deeper into things like core beliefs, vulnerability, negative self-talk, shame resilience, and whatever primary focus you bring. There will also be a weekend retreat and 1:1 sessions with me included in this group. For a small group of women by application only.

Direct download: Ep169final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/168 


Hey Ass-Kickers! 

This is an episode that’s a little more “woo-woo” than normal, but I’ve just been really attracted to these types of topics lately – and y’all get to come along with me! 

Lisa Fabrega is a truth-telling coach, writer and innovator in the realm of leadership, and today we’re talking all about our souls and how they will constantly need to be re-aligned due to the societal pressures we face. She also shares with us how we can start to listen to our souls, and a whole lot more interesting information that is sure to get you assessing your own situation. 

Direct download: LisaFabrega.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/167

 

 

“They call me Cha Cha...because I’
m the best dancer at St. Bernadette’s”

Everyone has their favorite character from the movie Grease. Maybe you relate to Sandy and her quest for true love, or goofball Frenchie.

For me, my absolute love affair has always been with the character Cha Cha DiGregorio.

Of course she’s a fictional character, played in the movie version by the late Annette Charles, but even as a child I’ve loved her. She played a smaller role in the movie, but it didn’t matter to me. Everything she was about, I loved. However, the attributes of her character that I adored about her, are also the things we, as women, are not particularly celebrated for. In other words, even in the movie, Cha Cha was not well liked.

First, we are introduced to Cha Cha by Kenickie, where she says, “They call me Cha Cha...because I’m the best dancer at St. Bernadette’s” This woman actually does what we are told not to do: brags about herself. She knows she’s the best damn dancer and she tells people SHE JUST MET. HELL YES. And holy crap, she IS a great dancer.

Then, she sees Danny on the dance floor, grabs him and they start dancing, Sandy storms off in a huff. Sandy could have stood up to Cha Cha, she could have said, “Hey Danny, WTF, you came to the dance with me so why are you dancing her her?” But noooo, since we all love Sandy so much, we all feel sorry for her and hate Cha Cha for being such a bitch.


Here she is leaving all “WAHHH, someone stole my
date and I won’t fight to get him back.”

But, the way I looked at it was WOW. Cha Cha sees what she wants and goes after it. And no, I don’t condone snatching other people’s dates, but if we look at this strictly as symbolism, Cha Cha is a woman who doesn’t give a shit if she hurts someone’s feelings. She’s not concerned about “playing nice”

So, she and Danny and killing it on the dance floor, and then this happens


Holy shit.

Again, ZERO FUCKS this woman. She couldn’t care less that everyone can see her underwear (bloomers?) and that Danny is basically sitting on her face in front of God and everybody, including the whole school and teachers. Plus, since she goes to St. Bernadette's’, you bet your ass that’s a Catholic school where this kind of behavior is is frowned upon. But, guess who doesn’t care? That’s right, Cha Cha Digregorio.

After the most epic hand jive in the history of the universe commences, OBVIOUSLY with Cha Cha being the dance contest winner (well, you were good too, Danny, but you would have been nothing without her), based on the sheer enthusiasm she has for dancing. I mean, we could all take a lesson from her on doing something you love and running head first into the euphoria of it. Then, the teacher comes out to award the trophy and does Cha Cha patiently wait to have it handed to her? NOPE, she straight up and down snatches that trophy and proudly waves it around with a look on her face of I AM THE GREATEST DANCER THAT EVER LIVED WHY WOULD THERE BE ANY QUESTION EVER THAT THIS TROPHY IS MINE.

God, I love this woman.

Obviously, I’m not saying everyone should take other people’s boyfriends and dance partners whenever they feel like it. I am however, asking you to take a closer look at this character and see the parts of her many of us can take lessons from.

LIFE LESSONS FROM CHARLENE “CHA CHA” DIGREGORIO

She sees what she wants and goes after it. She saw an opportunity and went after it. Where in your life have you passed up opportunities because you didn’t think you were qualified enough, smart enough- basically not good enough? Probably somewhere. Would Cha Cha pass up that opportunity for a promotion? Nope. Would she not speak up in a meeting because she felt other people wouldn’t like her ideas? Nope again. She knows deserves it and if it doesn’t work out? Meh, there’s always next time. There will always be a next time.

She owns her superpower. She knows she is a great dancer. She tells people. She doesn’t care that other people are great dancers too. She allows herself to be free, embraces it, and even breaks the rules to fully throw herself into her dancing. Would Cha Cha be worried that other people might judge her dancing? Not a chance. I hope you can look in the mirror, know your superpower, and LOVE yourself for it.

When people clearly don’t like her, she gives exactly zero fucks about it. When Frenchie mentions Cha Cha’s “worst reputation” I thought the gym would light on fire with the glare she shoots Frenchie. Cha Cha seems to have no female friends, only the boys and she doesn’t care. She could have burst into tears, she could have chased the Pink Ladies around trying to be friends, she could have apologized to Sandy for stealing her date, but she does. Not. Care. She’s not there to make friends, she’s there to have a good time. Of course I’m all for friendships-- but where in your life could you ease up on giving so many shits about what everyone thinks? Where are you spending a metric shit-ton of energy worrying if people are talking about your or not?

From now on when I’m doubting myself, or worried about anything, I’m going to ask myself, “What would Cha Cha DiGregorio do?” And I hope you can adopt that too.

 

Direct download: EP167final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/166

Today we have Isabel Foxen Duke joining me again on the podcast, this time to talk about how women are experiencing the diet culture. I love having Isabel as a guest and I’m excited because she is an absolute expert on this topic!

In today’s world, women are getting so many messages from the media and the body image issues that arise can lead us into multiple behaviors. I open up in this episode about my own past relationships with food and eating, and it’s something that I haven’t shared like this in any of the past episodes.

Direct download: IsabelFoxenDuke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/165

Hey Ass Kickers!

I’m joined today by best selling author (and so much more!), Shannon Kaiser. Shannon’s new book is called The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Accepting of Yourself, which goes along so well with what we talk about here on the Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast.

Through her work, Shannon shows others how to fall in love with their lives and fearlessly live their full potential. But do we really know what self-love is, and how to love the parts of us that we think are unlovable?

Direct download: ShannonKaiser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

Hi. 
 
So, the way it works over here is that the weekly emails and podcast episodes get ready several days in advance. Saves everyone on the YKAL team some stress and what can I say— I like to be prepared. 
 
And then the events in Charlottesville, Virginia happened on Saturday. 
 
I’ve been sitting here at home with my kids sick over it, spending long moments staring off into space feeling worried, helpless, hopeless, angry, and afraid. (Which I know this is my privilege to do so). Wondering if I should halt all podcast episodes and other events I have going on. Seems ludicrous to talk about anything but that. 
 
The thing is, racism is all around us. It’s in our faces. And it can only be dismantled if we talk about it, get uncomfortable confronting and admitting our own biases, rinse and repeat. There is more, but as I have mentioned— I am not the expert here. If you missed some episodes where we dive more into this, you can check them out here and here
 
Yes, we can choose kindness and love and all those wonderful things, but we cannot sit by and do nothing. Reading and listening is a great first step. Some great pieces of writing I’ve read lately are Most Women You Know Are Angry— And That’s All Right, by Laurie Penny, and Dear White Women: This Is Definitely Us, by Janelle Hanchett (which, btw, Janelle is coming on the recovery series podcast in December. Get ready). 
 
And at the end of the day, the beat still goes on. We can do both— work on our own personal development, live our lives, and love our people and at the same time try to dismantle the racism all around us. 
 
xo,
Andrea 

 

For full post visit: http://yourkickasslife.com/164

Hey Ass Kickers!

In this episode I’m bringing on a guest that has a similar story as mine, in that he too had a painful divorce that became the catalyst for his better life. John Kim created the blog The Angry Therapist, and although he has a background in clinical therapy, he’s now unconventional and shaking up this model and actually forming a movement.

You’ll hear us talk a lot about the differences between therapy (as most people know it) and life coaching – particularly the style that John uses to bring out the best in each and every client he works with.

Like John, I’ve always felt that the clinical therapy route is somewhat outdated, with the therapist often being put up on a pedestal with the client thinking he or she has a “perfect life”. You’ll find that he’s as real as they come though; he’s raw and transparent, and openly admits that he himself is a work in progress. I think this is why his message resonates with so many people…

Direct download: JohnKim.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/163

Hey Ass Kickers!

I can absolutely guarantee that this episode of the podcast is unlike any that you’ve listened to (as if you couldn’t tell by the title)? I wanted to do something a bit different, so I’m bringing on two good friends, and pasts guests: Amy Smith of The Joy Junkie and Kira Sabin of The League of Adventurous Singles.

Both Amy and Kira will be co-hosting Tanning, Tacos and Transformation with me, and I thought this episode would be a great way for me to introduce you to them - if you don’t already know who they are!

I promise you are going to hear some personal development and topics we talk about a lot of the podcast: worthiness, confidence, boundaries, relationships and more. Most of this chat though is us asking each other some ridiculous questions, for which we have some even more ridiculous answers.

I do want to warn you that there is a lot of foul language in this one, and it contains probably the most bad words I’ve ever had in an episode (needless to say, today’s conversation isn’t for children)!

 

Direct download: Episode163.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/162

Hey Ass Kickers!


Today’s guest is Orly Wahba, the CEO of Life Vest Inside. She’s here to talk all about how kindness is the greatest tool we have for empowering ourselves – and as Director of Kindness Boomerang, CEO of Kindness USA, and the author of Kindness Boomerang, Orly is a great person to share her insights on the subject.

As you’ll hear from Orly, who you are means a lot more than what you do, and we need to recognize that we all have the power to resolve the issues that our society is facing today.

Direct download: OrlyWahba.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/160

 

Hi ass kicker! I’m so excited to have returning guest (two weeks in a row!) Elizabeth DiAlto on the show today for another Q & A episode.

So many of you-- on your quest to live YOUR kick-ass life, have dreams, goals, and ambitions, But, what happens when not everyone is onboard or in our cheering section? The two questions today are from women in the YKAL community who are asking just that. We're talking about some really juicy topics, so let’s dive in…

The first question comes from Jennifer. She asks:

How do you stay committed to your dream when your spouse or significant other is not on board? How do you continue to speak your truth and not just bite your tongue and abandon your dream to keep the peace?

Elizabeth and I talk about what to do in that situation-- do you keep trying to get your partner on board, or do something else? We have advice!

Then, Rachel asks a similar question:

What do you do when you feel like your dreams and ambitions are surpassing those of your family members, and they don't know how to handle it? I've grown a lot over the last couple years, but some of my older siblings haven't. I feel like I'm "showing off" around them now, or like I have to act less-developed or hold back. These are people I still want in my life. I almost feel guilty for growing ? I don't, by any means, feel like I'm better than them, at all. I'm just in a different stage of my personal development journey than they are, and it feels uncomfortable.

For Rachel, is this a boundaries issue? Should she “quiet herself down”? We’ve got answers to these Q’s and my guest Elizabeth was the perfect person to have on to help sort things out!

And hey-- if you liked this episode you would LOVE  the free workshop we are hosting tomorrow! Well, ELizabeth is going to do most of the talking and I'll be more of her sidekick. I love these kind of live workshops because we get to interact with you and I will be giving away a signed copy of my book during the workshop! Plus, we have a private, “pop-up” Facebook group that you’re invited too (also free) where we can further the conversation.

The workshop is titled Four Things You Can Do To Clear Out The BS In Your Life and Be More Receptive To What You Actually Want and you can head over to yourkickasslife.com/elizabeth to sign up for free, or click the image below. See you there!

Direct download: EP161final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/160 

Hey Ass Kickers!

Today I’m joined by my friend, and another past guest of the podcast, Elizabeth DiAlto! Elizabeth is a teacher, leader, speaker and coach (as well an author and podcast host) and she is known for her raw, honest and grounded approach to self-help and spirituality.

In this episode you’re going to hear all about the workshop Elizabeth and I are presenting this month, specifically for the Your Kick-Ass Life audience, surrounding practical tools for women to be more receptive to what they want in life.


Direct download: ElizabethDialto.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/159

 

Hi ass kickers! It’s a listener Q & A day! Today I bring on my long-time friend, Courtney Webster, to help me answer three questions from some awesome ladies in the YKAL community. Here they are and what we cover in today’s episode:

don't know how to phrase it...you finally decided to make a radical change or take a huge risk toward something big. How to overcome the resulting fear and doubt and keep the momentum. - Karen

  • Courtney and I pull out some of our finest coaching tools to answer this questions-- everything from the WHY to values to permission to make mistakes.
  • We ask some further challenging questions for Karen to ask herself to help create more momentum.

The second listener question is similar to Karen’s, but so important to help creating the life you want.

How do you not to go into "avoidance or stall mode" when your inner-critic starts in on your big change plan resulting in you not proceeding with your plan! - Diane

Courtney and I talk about:

  • What the inner-critic’s main job is and how it stops you, and how to make the small steps to bypass it.
  • The most important question your coach should ask you about accountability.
  • Questions to ask yourself if you’re on your own and don’t have a coach, but still want to kick some ass.

Our last question is one I thought SO many of you could relate to…

How do you stop yourself from obsessing or overanalyzing something that someone said to you? Or replaying situations or conversations in your mind?  As the Frozen girls would say, how do you "let it go" when it is something not worth asking the other person about or clarifying with them? I feel like in today's world, especially with texting, it is so easy to assume someone is mad when at you when they just text back an emoji thumbs up, or worse, the letter 'k."  How do you stop turning something into a big deal in your head when most likely they were just tired, stressed, or too busy to think of a better response? -Stefanie

For this question we discuss:

  • The brain science of what’s happening here, so hopefully the awareness around that will help.
  • The magic of being able to assign a different assumption to what we receive instead of assuming the worst.
  • What’s your responsibility and what’s theirs.

Also, If you’d like to get twice a month updates on free workshops and if I have a new class open for registration, simply text the word UPDATES to 444999. Enjoy the episode!

Direct download: EP159final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/158

Hey Ass Kickers!

In this episode, Jen Sincero returns as a guest of the Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast. Jen is a #1 NY Times Bestselling Author with her book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life and she’s helped countless people transform their personal and professional lives.

Last time Jen was on the show, she shared all about the power of surrender, why creativity isn’t limited to just art, and powerful exercises to get clear on who you are and why you’re here. Today, we’re talking about something we all face: how to uplevel your mindset around money, identifying the fears you’re carrying and how to overcome them so you can live your best life possible.

Jen reveals today what you’ll learn from her latest book, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth. With a title like that, you know this is an episode that you need to tune into!

Direct download: JenSincero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/157

 

Hi ass kickers! Today I’m talking about therapy. More specifically, how to choose a therapist that’s right for you as well as how to get the most out of therapy.

First, why therapy? If you keep repeating the same patterns, if you’re blaming a lot (you are tolerating bullshit or not taking responsibility for your own shit, or both) then therapy is for you.

If you have Family of Origin issues (who doesn’t?), then therapy is for you. Not a place to blame and shame your family, but to see what core beliefs were developed as a result of the wounds that happened as you grew up.  

If you need a safe place to talk to someone, therapy is for you.

First, how do you find a therapist that’s best for us? Google? Just get a referral from someone? A therapist whose website says they have a specialty you need?

Well, with my own years of experience of therapists, having great ones and not so great ones, here’s my advice and the advice of the smartest people I know: My Facebook friends. In this episode you’ll hear some highlights (keep in mind, I go into more detail on the podcast that what you’ll read below):

First, how to find one:

Stacy says, “Research their areas of concentration. Have an initial meeting, chemistry is important. Honesty is important, it is hard to be vulnerable, but the best therapist in the world cannot help if you keep things from them.”

Patty says, “You are about to spend A LOT of time with this person so have an initial call or session to determine if you click. Plan to interview at least 3 but possibly 10 therapists to find a good one. It used to be that a therapist approach (cognitive, behavioral etc) was important but almost every therapist says they are "eclectic" now so ask them what they believe creates change for someone. See if their answer resonates with you. Most of all trust your gut.”

Jennifer says, “Listen to your intuition in terms of how you feel interacting with them, ensure they have a specialization and/or experience in your presenting issues (it's hard to be truly skilled at everything).”

Lisa says, “Check their license to see if they have had any disciplinary actions against them first! Go with your gut. I prefer someone who has been in practice for a while and took the time to get paneled on many insurance companies boards. They might be more legitimate. Anyone can say the specialize in a topic so I do not take that too seriously.”

Mish says, “I want someone who isn't going to go off in tangents about their life. Someone who is willing to ask deep questions and isn't narrow focused. Someone who is personable but professional.”

How to get the most out of therapy:

Jennie says, “Doing what your therapist says and giving things a try for longer than half a second.”

Emma says, “Know that you have to be willing to go to the hard places. They support you, they don't fix you. You discover you don't need fixing.

The willingness to look at yourself will move mountains.

Don't expect results in two sessions - it takes time to build rapport and heal.

You need to connect with your therapist. If you don't feel comfortable with them, you won't do your best work, even if they have ten degrees. Equally, they're not supposed to be your friend. They are there to challenge, hold and support you. You have actual friends to listen to you and tell you you're right to be mad at your ex or whatever is going on for you.”

Ericka says, “If you are a person of color, having a therapist willing to talk about race or racial backgrounds and trauma. It's imperative as sometimes you need to explore all the reasons you might have pain. When I had this from my therapist, it was a blessing. She was amazing to add that perspective to my work.”

Kimberly says, “The importance of not being afraid to walk away. Even if it's your first time - if you aren't comfortable - YOU CAN find someone else. It's worth taking the time to keep going until you find someone you click with. I know how annoying repeating the "why you are here" story is, but it's better to do it over and over than waste your time and money. Go to someone YOU like and maybe that's different than someone your friend recommended. Also understand the different types of therapy that exist.”

Kelly says, “I feel like a therapist's worldview is really important to know -- but traditionally, therapist's are not supposed to disclose their worldviews or politics. I had an experience, however, in which a therapist suggested I should be more conventionally feminine and that some of my issues would fade away if I behaved in that way in my relationship. Obviously, that's not going to happen and so our two worldviews were a fundamental mismatch. It was then important to me that I find a feminist therapist who wouldn't advise me to change who I was or alter my deliberately chosen commitments in order to navigate the world. So that's what I would advise, and it's counter to the way the profession is organized: know your therapist's worldview and collective inclinations/commitments.”

Erin says, “As a therapist, I emphasize that I'm human first, trained clinician second. In other words, I am not on a pedestal, I've struggled with several similar issues as well in my life--I've just gone to school/practiced to learn the tools, thoughts, etc to move through.

I also let them know that I will circle back after our 2nd session to make sure client feels as though we are a fit-if not, I will help client find someone who is. I've had far too many clients say that they've stayed with therapists in the past way too long despite not feeling a connection because they didn't know how to "stop going." This is often one of our first "lessons" together of empowerment.

Lastly, I emphasize that after 20 years I think I've heard it all hopefully allowing them to feel as though they can bring up challenging topics without the fear of being judged.”

*************************

I have one spot open for 1:1 clients to start in August. There are two types of packages I offer to work with my privately, my most popular package is The Daring Way™, based on the research of Brené Brown. It’s a 5 month deep dive which takes you from a place of fear into courage and confidence.


If you’re in that place where your usual coping skills aren’t working anymore and you’re ready for big transformations, I invite you to check out here and if it resonates, fill out an application. Those applications come to me directly.

Direct download: EP157final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/156

Hey Ass Kickers!

Have you ever considered the deeper meaning behind personal development, and the self-help industry as a whole? This episode today with guest Andrea Ranae is guaranteed to get you thinking (and talking), and what she talks about affects everyone, not just coaches or someone in the self-help industry.

Andrea is a coach herself who wrote a blog post last summer titled, Why the Self-Help Industry Isn’t Changing The World, which went viral and has been shared thousands of times since. She believes there is a disconnect between our own industry and the work of social justice, and even offers a Coaching As Activism Program to her clients.

Direct download: AndeaRanae.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/155

 

Today’s episode is a bit different than my usual. I’ve brought on Amy Smith (my best friend and The Joy Junkie) as I tell the story of my father’s terminal illness and death, what it’s been like, and what I’ve learned in the seven months since it’s happened. Amy shares the story of her father’s death too.

Amy prompts me to answer the questions of:

How has it been doing all of this sober?

What has this taught you?

I thank you all for listening to this episode-- it was not easy to record, but I’m thankful for Amy for helping me and for all of you for being there. I hope this helps any of you who’ve also loved someone you love, have been through any grief of your own, or to help anyone that will someday walk this same path.

Direct download: Ep155final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/154

Hey Ass-Kickers!

On today’s episode I welcome Tatiana Jerome to the show to give it to us straight – as a woman who doesn’t sugarcoat the truth! Her personal experiences led her to not just a successful online presence but also a career counseling women and a public speaking. Tatiana teaches how to focus on loving and taking care of ourselves first. As she shares, by prioritizing your relationship with yourself, you won’t get lost in relationships with others - and she shares fascinating insights around this topic today.

Direct download: TatianaJerome.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/153

 

Hi ass kickers,

Today is a Listener Q & A day! Thank you so much to those of you who’ve submitted questions for the podcast. We have two today, so let’s get started:

The first Q is from Stacey:

Hi Andrea,

I absolutely love your book and your podcast. As a 25 year old with loads of anxiety, I have gained a ton of knowledge and also a great sense of support with your community.

I've been seeing a therapist for a year, and I definitely have found myself  obsessing over emotions and feelings when my sessions begin and end. Have you ever stopped therapy to take a break? It sometimes makes me feel like I put so much focus on feelings that I obsess over them and lose the rational side of myself.

The answer I give covers, anxiety and what to do about that, self-trust and much more. Listen in to hear my answer/experience/advice!

For the second Q, I bring my one of my dearest friends, Kate Anthony, (you may remember her from another listener Q & A on divorce and heartbreak). This question comes from a listener named Amy:

I would love a podcast about what it really means and looks like to be with your feelings. I alternate between numbing and anxiety that can go into full blown panic attacks. It’s causing problems at work and more importantly my marriage. I'm not as patient with my kids and really just don't want to deal with anything at all. Why can't there be a 12-step to dealing with depression and anxiety? What do I do next?
I'm working on yoga and meditation, and exercise a least 4x a week. To the outside world I'm strong, calm and have the ideal life. I have lost two people very close to me. My sister two years ago and not even a year ago my stepdad passed away who I considered my father. I really don't want to take medication. I have always been a worrier and people pleaser.

In addressing this question, Kate and I talk about:

  • Why just yoga, meditation, and exercise are probably not working for Amy.
  • Medication-- should she take it or not?
  • What happens when you don’t feel your feelings, like grief?
  • HOW to actually feel your feelings? We give two tools to start with.

My immense thanks to these two podcast listeners for submitting their questions. Your courage is inspiring and helps others. If you’d like to submit a question to the podcast, you can shoot an email to support@yourkickasslife.com with “question for the podcast” in the subject line.

Direct download: Ep153.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/152

 

Hey Ass-Kickers!

In this episode I’m joined by Alexandra Jamieson, who is on a mission to start a happiness pandemic in the USA. How you ask? Alex aims to inspire women to fall in love with their bodies and play life by her own rules! You may recognize Alex from her co-starring role in the massively popular 2004 documentary, Super Size Me. She’s here today to share her experiences and knowledge about the different types of cravings we get as women, and to educate us on why listening to our bodies is absolutely necessary.

 

Direct download: AlexandraJamieson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/151

Today’s post/episode could have been titled simply, “Tips to Live a Better Life” -- it simply is tips on how to make your life better, more peaceful, and yes, how to make your dreams come true. So, here they are, in no particular order...

  • Be okay with where you are right now. You may feel like you’re faaaar away from where you want to be. Instead of focusing on how much X, Y, and Z sucks, try focusing on what you want, how you’re going to change where you are, and how grateful you are for what you DO have. Total, complete change of focus. You’ll be amazed at how things change just by shifting your mindset while you work on changing your circumstances.
  • Hold steadfast to what you want and WHY you want it. Why do you want to own your own business? Why do you want to take a trip to Europe? Why do you want to finish your Masters? What will you get out of doing these things? Figure out the whys and then look for how you can fulfill those feelings now in your life. For example, if it’s freedom that you want out of your goals, think about ways you can feel free now. De-clutter your house? Running through fields of flowers with your arms outstretched? It may be on a much smaller scale, but you’re fulfilling a core feeling that’s truly important to your soul. Feed it!
  • Surround yourself with awesomeness. Your physical environment is imperative to your dream life. Like I always say, surround yourself with assholes and you’re in for a shitty life (Tweet that!). This goes for people and your surroundings. Do you love your bedroom? Is the inside of your car a wreck and you hate it? Do you loathe all of your clothes? Well then for the love of Pete change it! It’s a lot easier to feel good about yourself when you’re surrounded with what and who you love.
  • Clean up your messes. Basically, say you’re sorry if you’ve been a shit. I apologize to my kids about once a week. About the same to my husband. This may seem unrelated to making your dreams come true but this one is about peace. When you clean up your messes you have peace. And when you have peace you open up doors for what you want to enter.
  • Forgive those that have hurt you. Holding grudges and not forgiving those that have hurt you really is like setting yourself on fire and hoping the other person chokes on your smoke. You are the one that is suffering, not them. Forgiving someone else (even when they don’t ask for it and may never know that you did) is all about you loving yourself enough to know that you can’t change the past. That’s it.
  • Deal with your shit. We ALL have issues, so get help for it. Even those people you think are perfect that sprinkle glitter smiles all over the place— somewhere in their life they have issues with parents, trauma, relationships, something. You are no exception. There is no shortage of help out there. That stuff doesn’t go away on its own and your dreams coming true are dependent on it.
Direct download: Ep151Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/150

Hey Ass Kickers!

Today’s guest on the podcast is Lisa Steadman, a long-time friend of mine and all-around awesome lady. Her energy is infectious and I’m sure you’ll love her! In this episode we’re talking all about happiness, and embracing the spot that you’re currently in. Lisa shows us that you can be happy with where you are in life, but still that doesn’t mean that you’re finished growing or changing either.

Direct download: LisaSteadman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/149

 

I believe people change for two reasons: Pleasure and/or pain. They see something they want or want more of, and they go after it. And sometimes, they get to a place where they cannot stand for one more day being where they are, so they move out of the situation. Sometimes it looks like taking action, sometimes it’s inner-work, many times it’s a combo of the two.

And there are the type of people who are feeling anywhere from uncomfortable to downright shitty in their life, and maybe they don’t know why. So, I’ve compiled a list of signs that are huge red flags that it’s time to make a change. Check off as needed…

1. You’re ridiculously envious of other people lives. You think everyone has it better and easier than you do. You want a marriage like your neighbor. You want to love your job like your sister does. You want a more fun life like that one lady on Facebook. You want to dance like the Solid Gold dancers of 1979. Whatever it is you’re envying, it means you want something more in your life. That you admire something about that other person. So, why can’t you have it? If you think you can’t, I call bullshit. Your commitment to “can’t” is simply a story you’re tied to. Divorce that story and marry a new one. Seriously, you guys, it’s ALL about the story you tell yourself.

2. You’re feeling resentful. I.e. pissed. Frustrated. Irritated. Resentments are a sure sign that a few different things might be happening in your life.

  1. There’s a failure to communicate somewhere. Solution: You have the power to show up and say your truth. Has that happened? Guess whose responsibility that is?
  2. Boundaries may be crossed. Solution: First- have they been established previously? If not, that’s on you.
  3. Tied into the other two, you’re tolerating something that very well may have the ability to be changed. Solution: Either change it, or change your story around it.

3. You’re numbing out. We all want to feel relief fast. Sometimes that relief comes in spending money, drinking booze, or losing ourselves playing Candy Crush Saga. But, what are you avoiding when you’re numbing out on a regular basis? Is it your marriage? Your fears? Your insecurities?

For me, I used to numb out when I was overwhelmed. Perfectionism and control ruled me and since neither were ever something I could attain, I felt worse about myself. So, I drank, shopped, and dieted in an attempt to gain perfection and control and to numb the feelings of failure and fear. And then I felt worse and the cycle started all over again. I was avoiding my real feelings (surrender, acceptance, and vulnerability scared the holy shit out of me) rather than facing and feeling them. But clearly, it was time for a change.

Facing your issues instead of numbing out is scary, I get it. But the truth is that it DOES NOT go away if you just ignore it. In fact, it gets worse. I cannot encourage you enough to just deal with it.

4. You’re trying to change everyone else, or at least think everyone else needs to change. If everyone would just do as you say, and stop doing this and that, and just STFU, your life would be better. Ahhhhhh…..

Truth: Everyone else’s shit is not about you. Deal with your own and keep your side of the street clean. I can’t tell you how much better my own life has become since I realized this and stopped (by no means mastered. More like one day at a time) running around like a lunatic trying to change, fix, tweak, and control other people and my circumstances. What needs to be changed in your life is you dealing with your own issues instead of everyone else’s. Trying to “fix” everyone else while ignoring your own life is a chicken-shit way to feel better. (TWEET THAT!) And it doesn’t work. So, face your own stuff and make that therapy appointment. (And P.S. while you’re there watch out for spending the whole hour complaining about everyone else.)

5. Your intuition is telling you that you need to make a change. This one sounds like a no-brainer, but I had to add it. You may already be at that place where your gut and heart are telling you to draw the damn line in the sand already and change, but you may not be listening. The fear of change trumps the fear of staying the same. But, ask yourself:

How scary is it to be in this same place 5, 10, or 20 years from now? Still not as scary as changing?

Your intuition is your subconscious mind that always has your back, always knows what’s best for you, and always wants to lead you to a place of happiness and fulfillment. But, the journey is many times unknown and crazy-scary so we ignore it or go in the opposite direction. So tell me, when has ignoring your intuition ever worked out for you?

So, there you have it. And if you liked this post, I'd love for you to share it. Because you never know who might need a change.

Direct download: EP149final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/148

Hey Ass Kickers!

On today’s podcast I’m joined by Julie Parker, CEO and Founder of The Beautiful You Coaching Academy (with 200 trained life coaches from around the world and growing by the hundreds every year)!

As you’ll see, Julie has a fascinating journey and insights on self-love. She’s is a modern day Priestess and she’s going to share what this is all about, along with how it ties into the divine female that we’ve been repressing for so long. Even if you’re new (like me) to what the whole “Priestess” thing is-- I think you’ll like this episode :)

Direct download: JulieParker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/147

 

Today’s episode is about your personal development journey and what it looks like. More specifically, for people who maybe like to “hoard” or collect personal development tools, but not use them. Or people who join personal development classes, read books, and listen to podcasts, but take no action.

And the reasons are plenty-- you’re just not ready. Maybe you’re scared it won’t work for you, scared of the uncomfortableness of the work or not committed enough to change.

To be fair-- most people spend some time in that place of collecting personal growth ideas and tools and doing nothing with them. But...are you living there?

This episode will help you see if you’re doing this, let you know you’re normal, as well as what personal development actually looks like. Because it’s one thing to say, “I want a kick-ass life!” But...what does that really mean?

And of course, wherever you are is perfect for you! It’s the awareness that’s the win! I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode as much as I enjoyed recording it for you ;)

Oh, and P.S...there’s an extra bit in the beginning about facing my birthday while grieving my father's death. I always try to give you a bit of real life.

If you’re ready to JUMP IN to your personal development, I invite you to join us one last time as I guide you through The 30-Day Experience. We’ll look at your core belief system (the beliefs that are fueling your negative self-talk), your habits that are making you feel like shit (the perfectionism, people pleasing, numbing out, isolating, you know...good ol’ self-sabotage). Learn how to be kind to yourself, have more self-confidence and have better relationships with the people you care about.

Direct download: Ep147final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/146

Today I welcome back a recurring guest of the podcast, my dear friend Jo Casey. Jo joined us in a previous episode of Your Kick-Ass Life to talk about the business of life coaching, but today, we’re looking at something different: How women are conditioned by our culture to be “acceptable women.”


Jo’s going to shed some light on what she calls “feminine conditioning.” Why are women so afraid to be different, and what role has society played in vilifying us? Is there a box that we’re supposed to fit into, and if so, how is being in it holding us back?

If these are things you’ve often wondered about, then you’re going to be enlightened by Jo and the powerful message she shares with us today!

Direct download: JoCasey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/145

 

 

The term “Play Big” gets thrown around like crazy lately. And you might wonder—what does that even mean or look like? How do you know if you’re playing small? I know this firsthand because I played small for most of my life. It wasn’t until I fell flat on my face and rebuilt my life did I see what was happening and how to change it (and the best part was that *I* was totally in charge).

I thought about the foundation to what it is to actually live a big life. So, here’s a list of in my experience, what it looks like to Play Big:

  1. People that play big don’t give a shit what other people think of their dreams and goals. They may listen and take it in, but at the end of the day they do what they feel in their hearts is what they want.
  2. People that play big are in touch with what they want on the OTHER side of their goals. In other words, they tap into the feeling they really want from what it is they’re after. You want a promotion? Think about what that will bring you, what you’ll feel like when you get it. Accomplishment, validation, recognition, achievement, power. Any of those you want? (And btw- it’s totally fine to want things like power.) These are your values and when you honor them, you’re playing big.
  3. People that play big don’t apologize for what they want. Ever. (Tweet that)
  4. People that play big strive to be the best and biggest version of themselves. They get help with their issues. They take responsibility for their lives. They focus on self improvement as if their life depends on it. Because it does.
  5. People that play big are of service to others. They’re mentors, they’re philanthropists, they’re generous with their knowledge. No one really gets anywhere for long by being a selfish asshole.
  6. People that play big take action like crazy. They don’t sit around and blow smoke out their asses about it, or wait until it’s perfect, or need to get everyone’s opinion/approval on it. They just go for it. And if it fails they pick up the pieces and move on.
  7. People that play big are fully aware that it’s more about mindset than it is action. Yes, taking action important and great, but in order to get there you must get your head in the game first. They don’t believe they are different or less-than the people they admire. They see the people they want to emulate and know deep down they can do that too.

There is no guarantee things will work out  the way you envision when you do get out there and play big but you must understand that if you wait years or decades to go after what you want, to “play big” until you feel like you finally “have what it takes” you might be waiting forever. Yes, it’s uncomfortable to stretch and go after the big things you want, but  the alternative is to do nothing. And doing nothing and someday regretting your decision is going to be WAAAAAY more uncomfortable than trying to step outside of your comfort zone now.

There is still time to join us for the 7-Day Courage Challenge! Join the hundreds of women already signed up for a week of learning how to manage your negative self-talk and how to cultivate self-compassion and courage. Click this link to sign up.

Direct download: Ep145final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/144

 

Mini-sode 144 is all about negative self-talk.

Because you don’t have a “life balance” problem.

You don’t have a “not promoted enough” problem.

You don’t have an “I don’t work out enough” problem.

You have a problem with the way you speak to yourself.

In this episode I tell you about my experience learning how to manage my own negative self-talk, and how I came to find out about it just as my life fell apart in 2007.

Join us on April 3rd as I host the wildly popular FREE 7-Day Courage Challenge! Hundreds of women just like you. 10 minutes a day. Learn how to change your life. Click here to join us.

Direct download: EP144final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/143

Hey there Ass Kickers!

I’m so excited for you to meet my guest today, Kathleen Booker. I met Kathleen over a year ago and I’m excited to finally have her on the podcast to introduce you to her as well. She’s an inspirational coach whose energy has been described as “infectious” (and you’ll know why after hearing her speak today)!

Kathleen is passionate about something that many of us might not even give a second thought to during the day: our breathing. She knows first-hand the energy, peace and joy that something so simple can create in our lives, and she’s going to share her knowledge on this topic with us today.

Direct download: KathleenBooker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/142

 

If you've been over in these parts of town for any length of time, you know I talk a lot about numbing out and how it can be harmful for us. I’ve talked about my own sobriety and even have a recovery series on my podcast.

The truth is: we like to escape. We typically don't like to feel our feelings. Life is hard and sometimes agonizing. Not many of us are equipped to handle life's struggles, so we find things to escape from it.

And the message we might be getting is that we shouldn’t ever do this. We shouldn't ever numb out. We need to be with our feelings, be present to our life no matter how difficult it is.

So, is escapism ever okay?

Honestly, my short answer is yes. I don’t by any means expect people to fully let go of all of their numbing mechanisms. I just don’t believe there’s any way we can let go of them and go through life with all the pain and agony there is to experience. Some of the most evolved humans I know still sometimes choose numbing over facing their problems and feelings around it. Even Brené Brown talks about a time where she read a bunch of mean comments about herself on the Internet and promptly “grabbed a jar of peanut butter, a blanket and watched ten hours of Downton Abbey.”

So, the question becomes what is healthy escapism and what isn't?

I think the first question to ask yourself, is is your escapism chronic? In other words, are you eating too much cake every day? Or are you shopping online and putting yourself in debt? Drinking an entire bottle of wine every night? Not tending to your kids’ needs because you’re playing Candy Crush like it’s your job? Most of the time, you know when it’s too much. Denial is a powerful thing, but there comes a time when the pain of staying in your numbing mechanism outweighs the pain of facing the real problem underneath it all.

And sometimes, we-- as high achieving, smart women-- can tend to let the pendulum swing completely the other way. We get “permission” to numb out sometimes and get what I call “a case of the fuck-its.” We know we’re doing it-- we know we’re numbing out, and we at that moment, don’t care. We eat All The Cake. Drink All The Wine. And maybe that’s part of your process to do that a few times. And if it is, when you’re done, check in to see how you feel.

How is your self-talk when that happens? Usually, not so good. I’d bet you’re beating yourself up for eating All The Cake, or drinking All The Wine. And you beat yourself up internally, then you feel like shit...and how do we stop feeling like shit? More cake and more wine.


OH THE INSANITY.

This topic comes up a lot with my clients, and I always ask the same questions:

Are you doing it (insert numbing mechanism of choice) to consciously comfort yourself? Or are you doing it mindlessly, unconsciously hoping you’ll escape from your life and your struggles indefinitely?

If it’s the latter, then I ask: What is the problem you are trying to solve?

Because it’s never about the cake or the wine or the Internet or the shoes. It’s about the problem-- the pain/fear/hurt you’re trying to make go away.

And I think this goes without saying-- but I’ll say it anyway-- the pain never goes away. But, you-- YOU have to get to a point where you’re done trying to escape from it. I can’t be the one to tell you the only way out is through and the way to “get over it” is to process it all. It’ll go in one ear and out the other until YOU are ready to stop running, turn around and look it in the face.

Escapism works until it doesn’t. And when it’s done working for you and you learn how to cope in healthier ways and learn to process feelings instead of numbing them, you’ll get to a point when you fall back on numbing and you’re all inside it and realize QUICKLY what you’re doing. And to be honest, that kind of sucks. It’s like that moment you’re arguing with someone and you suddenly realize you’re wrong and they’re right. DAMN. Do you stop and tell them? Or do you keep arguing your point? Both feel like shit. But one honors who you are.

So, when you’re ready, you’re ready. When escaping and numbing out aren’t working for you anymore, do the work to process, feel and cope with your emotions. I promise you won’t die. You’ll be stronger, more self-aware, more self-confident, and more of your biggest, most kick-ass self.

Need support with your inner-critic? Join me and lots of women just like you as I personally take you through the 7-Days of Courage Challenge! It’s one thing to read about it, but a whole nother animal when you put the tools into ACTION! We start April 3rd! Sign up for free here.

Direct download: Ep142final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/141 

Hey Ass Kickers!

Today you’re in for a treat, as our guest is an expert who is going to help us be our sexiest self! Melissa Ramos has a goal of adding a little sass to healthy living for women, and she looks at things from a slightly different perspective than most of us – starting from the inside out.  On this episode, Melissa shows us how hormones or digestive issues could actually be holding us back from being as sexy as we could be, and why the answer to your health is in your poop!

Direct download: MelissaRamos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/140

Two weeks ago I wrote about how YKAL is evolving, maturing, and what this means for you and for me. If you haven’t read it or listened, you can find it here.

As I mentioned in that post, we are currently in a time where the U.S. (and other parts of the world) is extremely politically polarized. Social media was noisy enough before and now it’s been taken to a whole new level. And what I’m experiencing over here as an online business owner with a platform-- a community of people who listen to what I have to say via my podcast, blog, and social media-- is that I have a choice whether to talk about about this or not. I can continue to just go on “business as usual,” or I can implement my voice on these matters. There’s different ways this can look, but the choice is pretty black or white: Either I talk about it or I don’t.

Several months ago, a colleague of mine, Racahel Maddox, posted on Facebook about this. This was before the election, even before the real messiness of it all. She was calling us out-- us being privileged people with online platforms. She was specifically calling out life coaches and those in the wellness industry with online platforms who were choosing to stay quiet about social justice issues.

Who the hell does she think she is telling me what to do and how to run my business? I thought to myself. My belief was that no one can tell me how I speak out. No one can tell me what is right and what is wrong. No one can tell me I am a bad person because I choose to take my sweet ass time to decide what to do about this (that’s not what she said, but what I made up she said). In other words, I was personally offended and taken aback.

After my ego left the room (it took a couple of weeks), I thought about why I reacted that way. And the conclusion I came up with was this:

I was embarrassed because she called our asses out.

I was scared because deep down I knew she was right-- I knew it was my responsibility to talk publicly about these social issue, but I didn’t know how.

I felt guilty because I hadn’t spoken out sooner.

I was worried how this would affect my reputation and my business, both I’ve worked hard on building over the last 10 years.

All valid (and common) feelings, but feelings that are a) laden with privilege and white lady tears and b) don’t change the world.

Then, the election happened, then the inauguration, then the whole country got flipped upside down and set on fire.

And I thought about what Rachael had said. She was right. What I had to admit and knew in my heart all along, what I know now deep in my bones is this:

As people of privilege-- as a white, straight, able-bodied, upper middle class person in the wellness industry with an online platform to spread a message, it is my responsibility to speak out about social justice issues.

If I was a realtor or a hairdresser or a mechanic, I don’t think it would necessarily be my responsibility to integrate it into my business. But, this is the wellness industry. We teach people how to be better people. How to “change the world.” For fucks sake we teach people how to empower themselves, stand up for what they believe in, and speak up. To use their voices even if they are scared. To do what’s right even if it’s unpopular.

And as facilitators of this work, we cannot teach these things, take money for teaching these things, and not do them ourselves. We need to both model what this looks like as well as spread the message that what is happening all around us is not fucking okay.

Andréa Ranae sums it up perfectly,

“TO THE COACHES, HEALERS, GUIDES, MENTORS AND OVERALL DO-GOODERS OF THE WORLD WHO DON'T WANT TO BRING "POLITICS" INTO YOUR WORK, CONSIDER THIS:

Your work could bring massive sustainable change to many lives, families, and communities, but it won't if you don't critically look at the social context that you're working within.

The problems you help solve for your clients are most often symptoms of a much deeper and widespread systemic problem that we must get to the root of. You say you want to change the world, but what is it, in the world, that you want to change? You've got to name it to tame it.

Our socioeconomic and environmental issues affect every single one of the people you work with either actively or passively.”

So, what is it that we, as life coaches, healers, whatevers, want to change for our people?

I know many of you reading this care a lot about marginalized people, the LGBTQ community, Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights, the refugee crisis, feminism, black lives matter, the ACA, dismantling patriarchy, rape culture, sex trafficking, the list goes on and on. And I know many of you take action in your homes and communities, maybe even speak out on your personal Facebook pages sometimes.

But, you guys. When we do this-- when we don’t speak out at all, or when we only do it quietly in the echo chamber of our personal Facebook page or with our friends in real life-- we’re sending a message. The message is: these matters do matter to me, but only if it doesn’t risk my business. Only if I can take action behind the scenes, quietly and not create any liability that people may disagree, unfollow me, not sign up for my online classes, etc. When quiet, the message being sent is clear: Social justice matters to me but not at the expense of my bottom line.

The message also tells your followers that to say nothing is also okay for them too. That if you’re staying quiet in your privileged little bubble, by all means, they can too.

We can’t go on with business as usual. Things have changed. THE PARTY IS OVER.

And to be frank, I don’t think many, if any of us were excited this has happened. “Oh yeah, I can’t wait to risk losing people in my audience. I can’t wait for these uncomfortable conversations. I can’t wait to sit down and figure out how I’m going to approach these subjects and be a leader now that everything has changed.”

But, we are being called upon to lead. We are being called upon to show up. We are being called upon to be courageous and show what it means to take care of each other, walk our talk, and actually “be the change.”

So, what do we do?

That’s the question I’ve been asked, I’ve been asking everyone, and tossing and turning at night trying to figure out. As I said in my last post about this, there’s no guidebook for this, no step-by-step process. But, when you’ve been called upon for something like this, you just jump. Standing around trying to figure out which angle to take, being scared, agonizing over how to do it, isn’t making the world a better place. I know, I did it for months.

First things first, think about why you haven’t said anything, or why you’ve decided to not. Some experts in the self-help field say that when we make decisions, we are making them either out of love or fear. I think this applies here. Have you made the decision to remain silent out of fear? Fear of losing followers? Fear of saying the wrong thing? Fear of being asked questions you don’t know the answer to? Fear of not knowing where to start? Fear of losing business?

Or, are you making the decision out of love? And if so, love for whom? Love for what?

I’ll give you a place to start. Write a blog post, an e-blast, or make a video of you telling your people honestly that X, Y, and Z social justice issues matter to you. They matter to you and you’re feeling this and that, and you don’t know where to go from here. Tell them the truth. That you’re uncomfortable. Because they probably are too. You don’t have to even mention names of government officials. This doesn’t have to be about politics, this is about people. This is about us.

Tell your audience whatever you’re feeling. Fear, guilt, confusion, whatever. You know yourself and your audience best.

Then you have options. You can ask them what they want. You can help them sort through their feelings in order to help them take action. You can tell them where to take action. You can educate them on the different social issues that mean the most to you. You don’t have to pick them all. What’s most important to you? The environment? Women’s issues? Pick one or two and make it your go-to. Information and education is KEY in changing the world.

You can take pictures and show yourself in activism. That is leadership. (If you’re in a place where you don’t know where to start, do some reading and following other activists. I’ll put some links at the end of this post.)

We are going to rock the boat. We are going to lose followers. We are going to get people who are not willing to listen to why you support Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, or oppose the Dakota Pipeline. But, I think my friend Leela says is perfectly:

Friends and colleagues, consider this a “calling in.” My intention is not to publicly embarrass, offend, or humiliate anyone. My intention is to call attention to this immensely important topic, to make you think, to ignite a bigger conversation, and to encourage you to massively step out of your comfort zone (like we tell our clients to do). Also, consider this a call to arms. An invitation to stand up; an invitation to speak out and invite your people to do the same. Consider this an invitation of leadership.

Direct download: EP140final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/139

Today I’m joined by a repeat guest of the Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast: Rebekah “Bex” Borucki. She’s the founder of BEXLIFE®, a TV host, meditation guide, and fitness and yoga instructor (and so much more)! Rebekah is also now a published author, and her first book, You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life, was released by Hay House in February 2017.


How did she get to where she is today? Rebekah discovered mediation when she was 15 years old and she uses it as a tool to cope with life noise and regular daily events. She shares the grief she’s experienced in her life, and how she was able to deal with her parents deaths, as well as giving her thoughts on what the real purpose of life is truly about.

Direct download: 139RebekahB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/138

There’s a conversation that’s been happening in these parts of town, aka my life coach friends, healers, those in the wellness industry who run online businesses. And the conversation is: Should we bring politics into our business? Should we talk about this to our audiences?

Show of hands... who’s excited about talking about this more? Who’s excited about hearing about politics more? Probably not many of you. You come here for personal development. You come here to learn how to be a better woman, learn new tools, and hopefully for my good humor and charm. ;)

What I’ve always wanted— what YKAL is— is a place where women can feel good about themselves. Where they can build confidence and courage and be proud of who they are. Proud of how they’re showing up in the world, proud of what they’ve created in their lives, proud of the hard conversations they have with themselves and with others. And at the end of the day-- me, Andrea Owen, creator of YKAL has to be that woman too. Proud of how I’m showing up in the world, proud of what I’ve created, proud of the conversations I have to have. And there has been no time in the last ten years of this work I do, where I have been asked more to walk that talk, than now

What’s been happening over the last six months or so it I’ve been listening, watching, and processing. And my listening, watching and processing is my privilege showing. The fact that I have time to do so.

Let me give you a little backstory. I was a proud Republican for a long time. I voted for George W. Bush in ‘04 and for John McCain in 2008. In Spring of 2009, while pregnant with my daughter, I took a women’s studies class called “Men and Masculinity.” It sounded interesting, it worked with my school schedule, and I needed it for credits to finish my bachelor's degree. Never in my life before had I been that interested in Women’s Studies.

Maybe the Universe was conspiring to change my life.

On the first day of class, we were asked to introduce ourselves to the person next to us. The young woman next to me told me her name and that she was a feminist. I said-- trying to be kind of funny, “Oh. Well, then I can tell you now you probably won’t like me.” She asked why and I said, “Because I don’t consider myself a feminist. And I’m a Republican.”

At that point in time, I was 33 years old, and I didn’t know what feminism was, or patriarchy, or privilege (I thought people who had that were the Paris Hilton’s of the world), or even misogyny. That was the first time in a class, I did a lot more listening than contributing to the conversation. In essence, everything changed for me that semester.

One of the things that changed was I realized what I had been so angry about for so long. That the anger and sometimes rage I had-- for not being taken seriously because of my gender, for being sexually harassed and assaulted, that there was a name for what I was really fucking pissed at. And it was sexism, misogyny, and patriarchy.

So, back to this conversation with all of you. If you follow me on my personal Facebook page, you’ll see my public posts are vocal about politics and what I stand for and my opinions. And I’ve mostly kept them out of here and even my YKAL social media accounts.

And this is something I’ve been thinking about. Why? Why have I not been more vocal? And the reason is my own shit. There is no guidebook for “How to be a teacher of personal development/life coach with a podcast while the world as you know it catches on fire.” And I panicked there for a minute. I kept looking around like HOW DO I DO THIS? I don’t know anyone who does exactly what I do and is talking about activism and doing it well. Most of us are either not talking about it at all, or throwing all of themselves in it. It’s an awkward place for us to be. I want to do it right; I want to do it well for you and for the next generation. But, what I realized is when there’s a revolution, you just do it. When you’re fighting the resistance, you just jump. It’s non-linear, it’s messy, sometimes I’ll get it wrong and sometimes I’ll get it right. I’ll clean up any messes I feel I have made and keep going. That’s leadership.

Here’s what I want you to know: I am not here to tell you to agree with me. I am not here to tell you what to believe about different world issues. That’s up to you. What I am here to do is to educate. And maybe, if you’re someone like how I was sitting in that class, someone who doesn’t identify as a feminist or have any concerns for women’s rights, someone who thinks we have nothing to worry about and real women’s problems are in other countries we don’t have to worry about-- maybe like me, you can listen and learn. Maybe your mind won’t be changed, but if nothing else, you’ll learn.

To be perfectly honest, in future blog posts and podcast episodes that are about social justice and social change issues, I’m not trying to change the minds of people who are dead set with opinions opposite mine. If they do change their minds, great. But, whom I’m speaking to are the women that so far don’t know much, if anything about these topics. Or, maybe they’ve only listened to the ideas and opinions of their husbands or parents, and haven’t looked at other ideas and opinions and haven’t really formed one for themselves yet. Or, maybe they just haven’t cared enough. Nothing “political” has ever affected them in their lives. I know this may be a lot of you and this isn’t at all to shame you. It’s common, and everyone has to start somewhere.

I talk about and teach a lot of things on this podcast and my blog. All of it falls under the umbrella of you feeling empowered. And one of those things is to stand up for what you believe in. To speak up. To speak up for yourself and to speak up for what breaks your heart. Because we all have those things.

I also want you to know that I strongly believe with privilege comes responsibility. A responsibility to the people who don’t have privilege. A responsibility to the people whose voices aren’t as loud as mine, who don’t walk this Earth as comfortably and easily as I do.

This is not comfortable. This is awkward. For some of you, you might be feeling guilty. And if so, good. I for one, have been wracked with guilt. That tells me something isn’t right. Guilt can be good in that it’s information telling us something we’re doing or have done might not be in alignment with who we really are. But, sitting in guilt and talking about our guilt gets us nowhere. And trust me when I tell you marginalized people do not care about our guilt. Our feelings do not hold a candle to what is going on in their lives.

So, what does this mean for the podcast? Well, here’s where all the reading, thinking, and processing over the last few months has made me realize:

Among other things, I help women heal and rise up from the wounds that trigger them. That’s where help with negative self-talk, feeling good enough, recovering from perfectionism, and hiding/numbing out comes from. What I realized pretty early on in my practice is that the root of the problem is more often than not cultural and familial problems and injustices. More specifically, what’s being passed down from generation to generation and what’s being passed around in our cultures. Some of that looks like our culture accepting of notions like:

Girls are mean to be seen and not heard.

Your body should be thin, and anything less than that is bad and ugly.

To be perfect is the ultimate goal.

Mistakes are unacceptable.

No one wants to hear about your problems.

You might have heard me repeat, “You don’t have to inherit dysfunction.” And I believe that wholeheartedly. But, what I’ve come to realize is that I can talk about healing our individual “dysfunction” all day, but if I’m not also addressing and trying to dismantle the root cause of it-- the systematic way women have been oppressed for many, many years-- I’m taking the fucking long way.

And you know I don’t have time for the bullshit long way. Nor do you.

So, is this podcast shifting into more talk about politics? No, it’s not. But, it will be shifting to talk more about social justice issues and women’s issues. And not just talk. You won’t hear me just complaining and shaking my fist at the patriarchy. You see enough of that on Facebook. It will be about awareness, action and solution.

Because I want to make this world a better place than it was when it welcomed me in. And I hope you’ll join me on my quest.

Direct download: Ep138final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/137

Hey Ass Kickers!

On today’s show, we’re talking money and retirement, and who better to help us dig deeper on these subjects than Amanda Steinberg. Amanda is the founder & CEO of Worth FM, a new digital financial advisor for women, and DailyWorth, the leading digital financial media company for women (with over 1 million subscribers to its daily e-newsletter)! In my talk with Amanda, we look at why women are so afraid to engage with money she helps us debunk the stories we’ve told ourselves when it comes to our finances.

Direct download: AmandaSteinberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/136

Hi ass kickers!

Today I have a listener question I’m answering with my partner in crime/bestie/colleague/peanut butter to my jelly: Amy Smith. This episode is all about intimacy, vulnerability, and more. Even if you’re not partnered up, or have never had an affair, I’m 100% sure there will be nuggets in this episode to help you.

Direct download: YKAL136_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Want to learn more about how to love yourself? Of course you do. Click here to join my free workshop on Self-Love.

Direct download: SelfLovePromo2017_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/135

On today’s show I’m joined by the Melissa Ambrosini: best selling author, keynote speaker, and self-love teacher. Melissa didn’t always practice what she preaches and after living what she calls a “superficial and outwardly focused life,” she came face-to-face with a major health scare that required hospitalization in 2010. Now she teaches others the importance of understanding self-worth and she shares the tips and tools around this subject that can change your life.

Direct download: MelissaAmbrosini_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R10

Hi ass kickers!

This is the last episode in this round of the recovery series (season 2 will be out sometime in 2017. If you don’t want to miss it, make sure you’re signed up for updates here).

Last fall, as I was about halfway through the interviews for this series, my father passed away. We learned he had a terminal illness, and about 3 weeks later he died.

As a person in long-term recovery, this was the first time I’d faced something big while sober. For some, losing a loved one becomes too much, and they relapse. I can completely understand why this happens.

In this episode, I talk about the following:

  • My family story and how I was first introduced to what a functional alcoholic was.
  • What the worst moments were when I came home from dealing with his death.
  • What I thought the “rules of grief” were.
  • What surrender has been like for me over the past few months.
  • I answer the question: Did I want to drink again?
  • What I did when I found myself sobbing on my kitchen floor.
  • What I did to get through the multitude of feelings.
Direct download: R10final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/134

 

Hello Ass kickers!

I’m super excited for y’all to hear this episode with my friend and colleague Laura Probasco. Laura is a mega ass-kicker and she brings it on today’s show. Her background is in social work and play therapy and she’s well-schooled in Brené Brown’s teachings which is how we first connected.

Laura is the founder of Probasco and Associates as well as the co-founder of The Art of Play, a play therapy training program for individuals, schools and organizations. She has taken her work around the globe interacting with people from all walks of life.

On this episode we dive into topics like vulnerability hangovers, hotwiring emotional connections, and the link between isolation and perfectionism.

We also talk about:

  • Why it’s normal to have vulnerability hangovers.
  • Marble people: what are they and why do they matter?
  • What does the term “breautiful” mean?
  • Why you can’t have courage and comfort at the same time.
  • The best tool Laura has used in her own personal growth journey.
  • And much more!

When it comes to vulnerability hangovers and “hot wiring” emotional connections, Laura shares a personal story from her own life (something many of us will relate to!). There are many lessons to take away from that story, including why we have vulnerability hangovers.

A vulnerability hangover is when you’ve shared deeply personal experiences with someone, and you later worry about what you’ve said, how you said and how the person on the receiving end was left. The “hot wiring” is when we share this information with someone we don’t know very well, like a nearby passenger on an airplane in Laura’s case. I mean, who hasn’t spilled their guts to a stranger before!?

During this show we talk about what to do if you’ve ever had a “hot wiring connection” or a vulnerability hangover, how to handle both and why they aren’t always bad experiences to have.

Continuing on that theme, Laura shares how our need for intimacy combined with our need for perfection leads us into isolation. She offers great suggestions on how to cope when we begin to isolate ourselves, including how to reach out to those friends we know we can turn to when we’re in the darkness. We even give you a word for word script to use with these friends so you can ask for what you need. (Because I know you all love scripts!)

There’s so much in this episode with Laura. She shares how she broke up with herself and why, the process and journey to worthiness and how to surrender control without losing your mind!

Direct download: 134LauraProbasco_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R9

Hi ass kickers!

This week on the recovery series I’m talking to Megan Peters. Megan is a blogger, photographer, mom and recovery warrior. She struggled with perfectionism and people pleasing growing up, which she says fueled her drinking problem. In this hour you’ll hear:

  • Megan tells us her story about what her relationship with alcohol was like and when she knew it was time to quit.
  • From an article Megan wrote: “I felt like I was constantly running, with no finish line in sight. No matter how hard I worked or how much I loved my family, I felt like I could never get my head above water. I was drowning.” She explains more about this.
  • We talk about the shame and stigma that come with being a mother and an alcoholic and what to do about that.
  • Megan tells us how she quietly got sober (she didn’t even tell her husband) and how her recovery changed over time into what she needed.
  • We both talk about what’s it’s like to “just have one drink.”
  • I ask Megan what advice she has for someone who’s struggling to stay sober-- for someone who stays sober a few days or weeks and then convinces herself she can have “just one” and then keeps finding herself in the same place over and over.

 

 

Direct download: R9MeganPeters_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/133 

Hey Ass kickers!

Today we’ve got a special episode of the podcast as I bring on someone I’ve been friends with for a long time. Rachel Luna is a Best Selling Author, Speaker, Confidence and Mindset Coach, and she not only shares the tremendous story of her life, but how went from considering herself “damaged goods” to the place she’s now at and how she’s helping others be the best they can be as well.

After listening to this one, I’m sure you’ll agree that when you show up and do the work, you’re going to see huge changes in your life too!

Direct download: 133RachelLuna_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R8

Hi ass kickers! Today on the recovery series we have Danielle Gilmore, who considers herself a compulsive overeater, love and sex addict. Danielle found herself at 380 pounds at 25 years old and decided it was time to get help.

I’m excited to have you hear her story because of a couple reasons: 1) I know people can replace addictions when they get sober from alcohol and food and other substances are what they often turn to and 2) I wanted to get a variety of stories because addiction isn’t just alcohol. I know many of you might struggle in different areas.

Direct download: R8DanielleGilmore_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/132

I talk a lot about taking responsibility for your life. I often tell the story from my own life about finding myself on the other side of two back-to-back really bad relationships, blaming everyone else in my life for how shitty I was feeling and deciding I’d had enough of all that. After picking myself up off the floor one day I decided to take responsibility for what I’d tolerated, what I’d attracted, what I didn’t know in terms of what a healthy relationship looked like, and what I wanted out of life.

I started to do the hard work and everything changed.

What I also talk a lot about it managing your negative self-talk. The inner-voice we all have that tells us we aren’t good enough.

If you’ve ever been in that place I mentioned above, the place where you take radical responsibility for your life, you might encounter a side-effect: Massively harsh self-talk. It might sound like this:

I can’t believe I allowed that kind of relationship.

I was so stupid to behave like that.

Only an idiot would do that.

I’m so ashamed of myself.

And on and on. Right?

So, you’re trying to better yourself and by doing so, it’s necessary to shine the light on all the bullshit and messes you might have made. And at the same time I’m over here telling you all day and all night to do it with self-compassion. And you might be thinking, how the fuck do I do that?!?

Never fear, I have some answers, ass kicker.

First things first, it’s going to happen. It’s normal once you really start taking inventory of what’s up and what you want to change for you to look at your life with the stink-eye. If you look at your life or your former life and think, “Hmm...it’s really not that bad!” then either you’re still in denial and aren’t ready for self-help or it really isn’t that bad and you don’t need self-help. So, you’re just like the rest of us if you see it all and gasp. It’s going to be okay, I promise!

Second, this happens to everyone and everyone feels the same way. Embarrassed, full or regret, guilty, ashamed, judgmental, disappointed, all the hard emotions in one big ‘ol pile of shit. Again, it’s part of the process.

Third, practicing self-compassion is a learned process, don’t expect to get it right on the first day. Some people ask me, “but when I talk to myself kindly it feels weird and not genuine.” When you had your first two weeks in Spanish class learning “Me llamo Estacia y me gusta los tocadiscos” did you feel fluent? Did you feel like you could fly down to Guadalajara, Mexico and blend into the natives? I didn’t think so. Learning to speak in a self-compassionate manner is the same. It takes time and practice and more time and more practice to not only do it consistently with less effort, but to make it feel more genuine. You have to start somewhere.

Fourth, watch where you start to dislike or hate that part of you. When you start to look at the parts of you that you want to improve, or that you never want to go back to, it’s easy to sort of “disown” that part of you. I did this too. In fact, once I realized it, I wrote a letter to myself apologizing to my former self. Remember, you’d never have gotten to where you are now without being that former person. You had to go through those hard time and made all those mistakes to get here-- being that person who’s improving herself. I know the success I have both personally and professionally was reliant on all the mistakes I made in the past. Yours will too.

If you’d like more support on this, I invite you to check out Your Kick-Ass Masterclass. Nine weeks of getting the support and tools you need to live a life of confidence, self-compassion, courage and of course, kickassery. Click here to join us.  

Direct download: EP132final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R7

Today on the recovery series I interview Nicole Antoinette. Nicole doesn’t identify with being an “alcoholic”, but very much had a problem with her drinking and has been sober for 5+ years. A self-professed “party girl” she went through years of struggling with insomnia which inadvertently led to her sobriety.

Direct download: R7NicoleAntoinette_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/131

I’ve noticed something interesting over the last several years.

As a blogger and online business owner, one of the things I do is look at my Google Analytics to see how people are finding my website and which posts are getting the most hits. And year after year, it’s the posts I write about relationships, more specifically posts about my breakups and the heartbreak they ensued.

I’ve written about how to get over your ex, which has been shared more than 120,000 times (it’s probably much more, we installed the share tracking about a year after I wrote it). I’ve also had to turn off comments because of all the spam, people selling their love potions (not kidding. People selling poor heartbroken people love potions. There is a place in hell for those spammers). What’s obvious about the popularity of that topic is simply this: Most people in the world have had their heart broken by someone else and they have a really hard time healing.

I don’t pretend to be the absolute expert at this, as I am still navigating it every day in my own life. But, I’m compelled to write about it today because I’ve been turning over and over the question in my head:

Are we ever truly healed from heartbreak? And either way-- what does that even look like?

At my ripe old age of 41 (which btw, I still consider myself young with A LOT to learn about life and love) I’m starting to think the answer to that question sometimes is no. And that’s okay.

Let me explain. Here’s where I think the problem starts: I think we make up that we need to get over the people that have hurt us. And I’m not just talking about intimate relationships, I’m talking about parents, friends, anyone we’re close to that we’ve trusted and felt at some point or another has “broken our hearts”. We make up that we as humans, must get to a place in our hearts where we’re not hurt anymore. We don’t think about what happened, and if we do, we hold no sadness, anger, or hurt about it.

I don’t know about you, but that seems awfully robotic and ….impossible.

The problem worsens when we make up what it means when we’re not “over it”. We make up that we’re weak or broken, that we’re doing something wrong, that there’s something innately wrong with us, and we might keep obsessing on that person that hurt us.

As humans, I think we want a definitive answer. Are we through it or not? Are we healed-- emphasis on the past tense?

And my honest answer is I don’t know.

I think we look for this place outside of us-- this place “over there” where we will be absent from all the difficult feelings around it. It’s completely subjective what this looks like but I think so many people spend the better part of their lives searching for this.

It’s also important to get clear on what your definition of this is. If you think about a wound, if you get a small prick or papercut, when it heals there’s no scar. You don’t even remember all the small picks and papercuts you’ve received over your lifetime. They’re inconsequential.

But, when the wound is more substantial, when it’s deep and there’s a decent amount of bleeding that happens, maybe a scab forms and we have a scar. I have many tiny scars all over my body; as I type this, I can see three on my hands (only one I can remember how it got there-- hot glue gun, ouch). These scars become a part of us, a part of the biggest organ of our body. We more or less have to accept them, right?

So, what if we accepted the scars we have on our hearts?

And while I don’t know if we are ever fully healed, recovered or over it, I do know there are some key elements that are necessary in working your way through it.

#1 You have to feel all the feels. I see you going to Numbing McNumbtown. Parents disappoint you? Cake. Partner was an asshole? Wine. Kids stressing you out? Online shopping.

We don’t want to feel our pain. Or anger, or stress, or frustration, or sadness, grief, and on and on. This falls into the “how you do one thing is how you do everything”. If you’re numbing out on the stress of your job, most likely you’re numbing out on the huge heartbreak of your divorce or breakup. If you’re numbing out about the overwhelm you feel as a parent, you’re most likely numbing out about the miscarriage you had five years ago.

The only way out is through. The only way you’re going to “get over it” or whatever the magical thing is of feeling better is to respect the feelings that happen. You don’t have to like them, but you have to respect them. If you don’t, they come out in other ways and it’s not always numbing: blaming, rage, avoidance, and sometimes we shove it so far down it manifests as insomnia, depression and anxiety.

The bottom line: FEEL YOUR FEELINGS.

#2 Your brain has literally been affected, so practice self-compassion. Many times heartbreak = trauma. I used to think trauma was reserved for people who had been through horrible, tragic circumstances like war or abuse. But, research shows that being dumped and similar situations can actually have an effect on our brains that is categorized as traumatic. I’ve recently had two guests on my podcast who talk about this (here and here), so please, look into doing the work on that. If nothing else, it will help you foster some self-compassion.

#3 Who do you need to forgive? Like it or not, learning to let go has a lot to do with forgiveness. Dragging around resentments, anger, bitterness, and thoughts of revenge will only encourage you to stay exactly where you are and in some cases, get worse. The other person is not suffering more because you choose to not forgive them. Typically, they don’t care.

Forgiveness is complicated, but possible. Trust me I get it. I’ve forgiven people who’ve done massive acts of betrayal to me, and I can’t imagine my life if I hadn’t forgiven them. For me, I wanted peace, not to carry around the same hatred from years ago. It had everything to do with me, and nothing to do with them. I forgave them for my own love, not theirs.

“To forgive...is a process that does not exclude anger or hatred. These emotions are part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things. The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.” -Desmond Tutu

I love this quote from Archbishop Tutu because he normalizes the feelings around forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t magically forgetting all the difficult feelings and turning things around into happiness and warm fuzzy feelings. Sometimes forgiveness means you still think they’re an asshole and that’s okay.

These three steps aren’t guaranteed to magically get to to let go of whatever it is that’s plaguing you, but they are essential in getting you closer  to it.

If you’d like more support on this, I invite you to check out Your Kick-Ass Masterclass. Nine weeks of getting the support and tools you need to live a life of confidence, self-compassion, courage and of course, kickassery. Click here to join us.  

Direct download: Ep131final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R6

Ass kickers!

Welcome BACK to the recovery series! Thank you for your patience as I had to put the project on hold for a couple of months, but I am so excited to share episode six with you. Jean McCarthy of the Unpickled Blog is with us.

Jean McCarthy thought she had it all figured out: go 100 miles an hour all day as a mom and business owner, then drink wine before bed to quickly de-stress and fall asleep. She had no idea that this perfect equilrium would evolve into addiction over the course of a decade. Now five years sober, Jean writes about her experiences as a person in recovery at unpickledblog.com and holds space for others to share their stories on The Bubble Hour podcast.

Direct download: R6JeanMcCarthy_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/130

Welcome to episode 130 of the Your Kick-Ass Life podcast! Trauma and trauma resolution are two issues we’ve touched on before but today we spend an entire show on it. Our guest, Rachael Maddox, is an expert on both.

Rachael is a trauma resolution educator, coach and guide who helps women heal and understand sexual traumas they’ve experienced so they can move through the world with joy and success. Rachael’s coaching certification was earned from The Coaches Training Institute, and she is certified in trauma resolution through The Alchemical Alignment.

On this show, we dive into her very personal, firsthand experiences with trauma, how somatic therapy helped her heal when nothing else worked, and how that therapy ultimately led to what she does today.

 

 

Direct download: 130RachaelMaddox_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/129

Hey Ass kickers!

Welcome to episode 129 of the Your Kick-Ass Life podcast! I’m thrilled to bring you this archived episode with life coach, master communicator and my very best friend, Amy E. Smith. Amy hosts a podcast called The Joy Junkie with her hubs, Mr. Smith. On the podcast and in her business Amy helps people find their voice, and stand up for themselves (without being a dick). I brought her on the show to talk about self-love: what it is and how to practice it no matter who you are or where you are in your life. We get into the common misconceptions and pitfalls about self-love, why loving yourself actually helps you change your life and why choosing self-love is a daily practice.

Direct download: 129AmySmith_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

www.yourkickasslife.com/128

Welcome to episode 128 of the Your Kick-Ass Life podcast! Today I’ve got another amazing guest for you, Susan Anderson. Susan is considered the founder of the Abandonment Recovery movement, and is a dedicated psychotherapist who has spent over 30 years helping those who struggle with abandonment trauma, grief, and loss. Naturally on this episode we discuss abandonment, and also how she came to write the book The Abandonment Recovery Workbook. She shares the neuroscience behind the deep wounds abandonment imprints on us, and we both share our personal abandonment experiences.

Direct download: SusanAnderson_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/127

Welcome to episode 127 of the Your Kick-Ass Life podcast! Today I’ve got yet another special guest to share with you, Jenny Blake. Jenny is an internationally-known author, speaker and career and business strategist. She’s also a fellow podcaster and has been my friend for nearly a decade. On this episode, Jenny and I are talking about her latest book Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One, what pivots are and are not, and how she has learned so much from navigating pivot points in her own life. You’ll Also Hear:

● What inspired her to write this book?

● What are the four stages of a pivot?

● The three things to test when you are in pilot mode.

● Does your life contain the clues you need to discover your next pivot?

● Does all change involve loss?

● How to trust your emotional process when pivoting.

● What has she learned from meditation?

● Why she calls 2013 her apocalypse year, and what it taught her.

● Why Jenny believes our challenges are chosen for us.

● And much more!

Direct download: JennyBlake_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/126

As the year comes to an end, I love thinking about not only my accomplishments,  but what I’ve learned. And this year I’ve made a list of the lessons I know to be true off the top of my head, 38 to be exact.There are loads more, but here’s a start:

  1. Cleaning up my own messes is the best way to sleep at night. This means apologizing when I’ve been an asshole and just generally doing my best to fix things I’ve made a mess of.
  2. Taking radical responsibility for my life is the only option.  No one else is responsible for my happiness. No one.
  3. My children don’t define me.  I used to think becoming a mother would be my ultimate life purpose. It isn’t. I used to have a lot of guilt and shame about that. But, I don’t anymore.
  4. No relationship will complete me. Not a single one.
  5. My vagina looks the way it does, and I’m okay with that, I even love it. That also goes for my boobs, tummy, and every other body part I used to hate. I’m done listening to people that tell me I need to look different.
  6. “Taking the edge off” really needed to be examined. For me, I was taking off all the edges. And sometimes edges just need to be dealt with.
  7. Exercise really is the best medicine.
  8. The voice in my head that tells me I’m not enough is a liar.
  9. Progress, not perfection.
  10. “Let it go” is 99% of the time, the best way to solve a problem.
  11. “No” is a complete sentence.
  12. If I listen, my body is usually trying to tell me something.
  13. I only apologize when I really, truly can stand behind it.
  14. There will always be people that don’t like me and it’s not my job to change their minds. (I admit this one is still tough. It’s a one-day-at-a-time lesson.)
  15. My parents did the best they could, with what they had at that time.  And as parents, that’s all we can do.
  16. Forgiveness is more about me, and not them.
  17. Time really doesn’t heal all wounds—I’m in charge of that. Time helps, but being proactive is the catalyst.
  18. All wisdom is created from healed pain.
  19. Trying to control everything is my one-way ticket on the crazy train. Sometimes I forget this and get on board.
  20. The comparison trap is basically made-up stories of what I think someone else’s life is like.
  21. We’re all scared. We all have fear. The people that say they are fearless are just pretending.
  22. None of us get out of this alive. And in the end, I want to be proud how I lived it.
  23. If we all worked on our insides as much as we worked on our outsides, the world would change for the better.
  24. You end up with what you put up with. Examine it and change what you don’t like.
  25. At your funeral, no one will talk about your failures. So, keep failinguntil you get it right.
  26. At that same funeral, no one will talk about how your body looked. Your heart and spirit matter more.
  27. You really do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. In other words, don’t be a dick.
  28. Uncomfortable conversations are always hard. However, that elephant in the room isn’t going anywhere (and takes up a lot of space)—so you might as well call it out.
  29. Most people really are too busy thinking about themselves to be obsessing about you like you think they are.
  30. It’s usually never, ever as big a deal as we think it is. Ever.
  31. That person that treats you like shit is a giant invitation to not be around that person ever.
  32. If you spend time nosing in other people’s business, there’s probably something important in your life you’re purposely avoiding dealing with.
  33. God always has your back.
  34. Kindness really always does win.
  35. Love is always the answer.
  36. Having an open mind can many times blow your mind.
  37. None of us are broken or need fixing. Improvement, yes.
  38. Whatever you think you are, will be your truth. And you are completely in charge of that, babe.
Direct download: ep126final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/125

This is a re-broadcast with Sally Hope, one of my favorite podcast guests. As many of you know my father passed away last month and I’m taking a break for a few weeks and re-airing archived episodes. I thank you for your patience during this time. Next week is a brand new episode!

Another amazing edition of the YKAL podcast is upon us! I’m here with Sally Hope, founder of The Wildheart Revolution. I love Sally’s take on life and I’m sure you will too. In this episode we talk about several different important topics...

  • In a recent blog post Sally talks about trying to please everyone and how to stop doing this. We discuss the gist of her post, how we’ve both learned to do our best of NOT caring so much if other people like us.
  • Next we talk about LIFE PURPOSE and how to actually take the pressure off ourselves in our quest to finding it. (Because in actuality that pressure is keeping you from finding it!)

  • Sally’s message screams to not apologize for who you are.We discuss that being your biggest self might mean having to leave some people behind and how to go about dealing with that. 
  • One of Sally’s big things is going on adventures! I ask her where would someone start that doesn’t have a ton of time or money? This conversation segues into talking about friends (aka your tribe) and how to create that in your life. Sally has NEW ideas for you!

 I’m just certain you’ll love Sally Hope as much as I do! She’s such a great inspiration full of love and authenticity. And get ready for next week for an all new episode!

Direct download: 125SallyHope_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/124

Hey Ass kickers! Welcome to another episode of the Your Kick-Ass Life podcast! My friend Randi joins us to talk about the all-important topic of boundaries and how nice people set ‘em. Randi is THE expert of experts! She’s a life coach, hard truth-talker and creative producer of products that encourage women to step into their truth, and transform their inner and interpersonal struggles. Trust me, I KNOW boundaries are difficult and we ALL struggle with them-- whether it’s family members, co-workers, or our neighbors, we could all use some help in this area, right? On today’s show she shares with us how creating our own container of what we want in our lives sets our boundaries, what gardens have to do with boundaries and ultimately why we struggle with boundaries so much.

Direct download: 124RandiBuckley_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/123 

Hi Ass kickers,

As you’ll hear in this week's podcast episodes, my father died on last Sunday. Over the next several weeks, you’ll get some re-broadcasts of my favorite episodes. I’ve also decided to put the recovery series on hold until January. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

********************************************************************

I’m so glad you’re here for another episode of Your Kick-Ass Life. Today we’ve got the fabulous Christina Dunbar. Christina is an actress, poet, activist and women’s leader. She offers programs for artists, entrepreneurs and wild women helping them take the stage and share their own soul story. She’s also the inspiration and creator behind her one-woman show, Dirty Me Divine.

On this episode we dive into that experience fully as well as what it means to take a stand, and why that is often difficult for women, and what steps we can take to express our unique voices.

Direct download: 123ChristinaDunbar_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R5

Welcome to the 5th episode in the recovery series with our guest Dawn Nickel of She Recovers. This is the last episode in this series until January when it will pick back up. In this episode you’ll hear:

 

  • Dawn has been drug and alcohol free since 1989, and then relapsed in 2000. She tells us her story.

 

  • I ask Dawn what advice do she has for someone who isn’t quite 100 percent sure they need to quit.

 

  • She tells us her advice for someone in their first few months of sobriety.

 

  • And last, I ask her to tell us one thing she’s proud of right now and one thing she’s struggling with.

 

Direct download: R5Dawn_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/122

Another YKAL podcast episode is here and as always, I’m excited you’re here to meet our guest. Jenny Fenig is a coach, yogi, mom of 3, and all around amazing woman whose message to women is get gutsy in order to find your soul’s true calling.

 In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How has the tragic loss of her sister and two friends played a role in her finding and living her calling.
  • Her journey from corporate leader to yogi to business owner.
  • What was her moment that made her decide to release alcohol from her life.
  • What to say in social situations when people ask why you’re not drinking.
  • What are “pivot point moments” and how they can helpful for women trying to discover their soul’s calling.
  • And more!
Direct download: 122JennyFenig_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R4

Episode 4 in the special recovery series is an interview with Holly Whitaker. Holly is the founder of Hip Sobriety, which aims to provide a modern, holistic, accessible and desirable path to sobriety, and to remove the stigma associated with addiction (and sobriety). In this episode you’ll hear:

● Holly shares about her relationship with alcohol and when she decided it was time to quit.

● She tells us her feelings about Alcoholics Anonymous.

● What is devolution and how does it happen in addiction.

● Holly shares advice for someone new in sobriety.

● And she tells us some of the things she does to to stay sober.

Direct download: R4HollyWhitaker_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/121

As a coach, it’s my job to ask women questions. Lots of them. Over the years, I’ve seen patterns of the women that come to me and what questions to ask to get down to the nitty-gritty of their lives. In no particular order, here are five questions I’d love for you to answer about yourself…

Direct download: Ep121_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R3

Episode 3 in the special recovery series is an interview with Laura McKowan. Laura is a mom, writer, and recovery warrior. In this episode you’ll hear:

● Laura’s progressive story of her relationship with alcohol and when she decided it was time to quit.

● We both share stories of when we felt immense shame as mothers around our drinking and the moment we both knew it was affecting our children.

● I ask Laura if she ever has that voice that tells her it might be possible to moderate.

● Laura tells us what she does to stay sober— what she’s tried that’s worked and what hasn’t worked.

Ass kickers, I hope you’re enjoying listening to these episodes as much as I enjoyed recording them with these magnificent women! If you have any specific questions you’d like me to ask the guests, please contact us to let us know!

Direct download: R3LauraMcKowan_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/120

Hello ass kickers! Today I’m bring you and oldie, but goodie— a re-airing of a podcast from many moons ago— an episode with my friend Tanya Geisler. She’s talking with us about the Imposter Complex, a syndrome that many of us have experience with. If you’re not sure what that is— just listen to the first few minutes and you’ll be sure to say to yourself, “Oh, wait, that’s me too!”

Tanya is Leadership Coach who’s coached hundreds of people who were ready to step into the starring roles of their lives. She’s an in-demand TEDx speaker who talks with great passion about the Impostor Complex, personal leadership, on all things joy, meaning and purpose (just try to stop her).

Direct download: TanyaGeisler_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/R2

Ass kickers!

I’m so excited to bring you the first interview in the special recovery series. Courtney Webster is here with us today and Courtney is not only someone who has over a decade of strong recovery from alcohol, drugs, and an eating disorder, but she’s one of my closest friends.

Before I jump in, if you’re just hearing about this, in addition to the regular episodes of the YKAL podcast, I’m going a 10-part bonus series for anyone who thinks they might be struggling with alcohol, anyone who knows they are struggling with alcohol, or even if you know someone who is and want to better understand them (or forward these episodes to them!).

Courtney and I met at coach training in 2008 and in 2011 when I got honest with myself and was thinking about trying sobriety, Courtney was the first person I called. I was so afraid to tell her I was struggling-- afraid she would judge me. Well, she didn’t. She let me talk about it and told me if I wasn’t 100% sure I had a problem with drinking, then I could quit for 30 days and see what happened. Let’s just say it was very telling! Listen to the ep to see what happened…

Direct download: R2CourtneyWebster_mixdown.lite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

http://yourkickasslife.com/119

Hey, in case you missed it yesterday– a BONUS post/pod episode came out yesterday on the topic of recovery and sobriety! Click here if you missed it and I would be honored if you shared it with people you think might be helped from it.

***************************************************

Self help. What many jokes are made of and maybe some of us still feel a little embarrassed standing in that aisle in the bookstore. God forbid anyone will know that we struggle, don’t have all of our shit together, and want to change things in our life that are making us binge eat/drink entire bottles of wine in one sitting/try to control everyone and everything (er, not that I know what any of that is like).

And I’m fascinated why some people change and then others stay the same. What really fascinates me and what this post is about, is why some people want to change and know their lives would be better if they did that, but they don’t. There is much psychology behind the reasons, but what I’m talking about today are signs that it’s time for you to take a look at WHY you’re stuck in self-help-dom so you can hopefully make some changes in the right direction. So, I’ve compiled a list of signs you might be on the “self help hamster wheel” and what to do about it.

  1. Buying self-help books without reading them. I think we have ALL done this one. Someone recommends it, or we see it at the bookstore, or the title seemed to scream, “THIS BOOK WILL FIX YOU!” so we buy it. And it sits on our bookshelf unopened for years. And then we feel like shit about that. But really, sometimes I think we’re just not ready to read it. I know that sounds crazy, but I believe it. In some weird, serendipitous way, The Universe will know when it’s time and it will somehow make its way into your hands and into your heart.
  2. Signing up for self improvement classes, feeling relieved… and then not doing the work. Getting your credit card out before hitting “buy now” is not a magic wand that will fix you and ease your pain. The actual WORK will. There is a direct correlation between people that see growth and empowerment in their lives and doing the actual work it takes to get there. This includes worksheets, journaling, quality introspective thinking, doing what you commit to doing, listening to your intuition instead of your fear and more.
  3. Getting really good at telling your story about how screwed up you are and where your issues stem from. Don’t I know this one all too well. Here’s a typical scenario for the type of woman that is into self help: Step 1: She comes to a point in her life where she wants to feel better and/or she has a pretty heartbreaking turn of events and decided to change her life. Step 2: She tells anyone who will listen about her story. Step 3: She reads about helping herself and maybe takes a self improvement class here and there (and especially loves the ones where she’s invited to tell her story). Step 4: There is no step 4. She stays stuck in telling her story and actually feels better (temporarily) when people feel sorry for her. Now, if this is you, I’m not making you wrong for doing this. Telling your story can be healing and fuels connection between the right people. Where it can hold you back is when you get comfortable with that and don’t leave. What I would invite you to do is start by taking inventory of what you learned from your experience and how, going forward, it has made you a better person, or how you WANT it to make you a better person.
  4. You get on whatever self-help trend is the newest thing. Your partner and/or friends probably roll their eyes at you when you tell them whatever new method you’re excited about. You’re doing EFT tapping! No, wait, Bikram yoga is your thing. And meditation. No, wait, getting your tarot cards read this week with an appointment with your foot zoner, as well as your astrologer. I think what tends to happen here is that the person that does this is in a lot of pain and looking for that thing, that guru, that miracle that will fix them and change the way they feel. I’m all for trying new things and switching it up every once in awhile, but be careful here. Before you move on and leave behind what you were trying before, give it enough time to really sink into the learning of the method.

Did you resonate with any of these? Feel like you’re stuck and not moving? It’s really okay…knowledge is key!

Direct download: Episode119Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT