The Art of Empowerment: Your Imagination is Powerful

Do you remember what it was like to be a child? You had the freedom to play, to explore, to just BE. On a summer’s day or on the weekend, you could play for hours with your friends. The day would go on like it would never end. As a child, your imagination ran wild and you used your imagination to dream. You enacted the scenes that you saw in your imagination. You could play “make believe,” where you were your favourite superhero, singer, sports figure or whoever you imagined yourself to be. Remember what fun and joy that was! Your dreams felt limitless.

As adults we often forget the joy that comes with letting our imaginations run wild. After all, it is our imaginations that help to fuel our dreams. It is our imaginations that conjure up the possibilities that can occur in our lives. Every invention that has ever existed was once in someone’s imagination. It was a dream that hadn’t manifested yet. Once the imagination was activated and the dream took hold, the person did the work required to bring that dream to fruition. Indeed, humankind has been propelled forward by both biology and the power of imagination. How else would we have been able to explore the depths of the ocean, the vastness of space or the intricacies that make up the human brain without the power of imagination?

What about you? Do you let your imagination run wild with the possibilities that can occur in your life? Or do you shut down the minute you start to think of something new that you want to bring forth into your life? Do your dreams that have yet to manifest, fill you with excitement every day? Or do you think of every conceivable way that your dreams can’t happen? Some of us become so conditioned by society to conform that we reign in our imaginations and therefore limit our capacity to dream. Take heart, we can never lose our ability to use our imaginations. The ability to imagine and dream are spiritual gifts that we can never lose and we can always increase our ability to use them anytime we choose.

Visionaries are people who understand the power of the imagination while doing the required work to bring their visions to reality. Imagining that your dreams are even possible is an important initial step in manifesting your dreams. I encourage you to dedicate some time daily to using your imagination to power your dreams. As a visionary, you know that just thinking about your dreams is not enough and that success involves taking committed action. Always remember that along with Divine Guidance and your commitment to take action, your imagination is always there to help propel your life to new heights.

As published in Sibyl Magazine: For the Spirit and Soul of a Woman (September 2016 issue)

The Art of Empowerment – Your Life’s Mission is Unstoppable

As a visionary woman you are committed to manifesting your dreams. There is something very powerful about a woman who knows her values, has a vision and is committed to taking the required action to achieve her goals to live an authentic life.

When you take committed action to manifest your dreams and you start making progress, three interesting things (in no particular order) will occur. The first one is that you will start making accelerated progress towards your dream without making a huge production. One day you’ll be going about your daily routine, when you realize in the midst of it that, oh I’ve been in business for a year or oh I just finished the first draft of my book. You will feel a sense of pride of accomplishment when you realize that instead of talking about your dreams, you took strategic, committed action to make them happen.

The second thing that often occurs when you work on your goals is that your doubts and insecurities will arise when you begin a new project or venture. This is natural and is to be worked through. The third thing is that you will start to build your “tribe” which are the people who gravitate or are naturally drawn to you. For the people in your tribe, they are interested in how your life experience and message resonates with them. In other words, how can you help them to live the best possible life. Your tribe will also include the people who support you like mentors, coaches and collaborators. They are your support system and your cheering squad.

On the other hand, you will also attract people who are critics. Each of us is living on borrowed time and it’s our responsibility to live the best life that we can using the gifts and talents that we were given. Sometimes critics do have legitimate reasons for weighing in on an issue in our lives and sometimes they don’t. Be very discerning when it comes to accepting feedback and so called constructive criticism. Always examine where the feedback is coming from. Is it coming from a place of love or support, genuine good intent and the desire to help you realize your dreams.

When we start moving towards our dreams this can stir up insecurities and anxiety in other people. People will often project their fears and limitations on to you because they are not moving towards their dreams. The solution is to wish them well, bless them and if required limit your contact with them. Your life and mission are too precious to let critics and detractors stop you. After all, you are a part of the Divine and your mission is unstoppable!

As published in Sibyl Magazine: For the Spirit and Soul of a Woman (June 2016 issue)

The Art of Empowerment: Envisioning Your Future…and Take Action

As a powerful woman who wants to manifest the life of her dreams, you know that life is about taking committed, focused action. Your choices ultimately determine how your life evolves. Collective habits and beliefs can be described as a paradigm. In other words, a paradigm can be thought of as a filter or mode of operating that you use in order to navigate your world. Sometimes the actions that you take may not be as effective as you would like because of your out of date paradigms.

Our paradigms were established when we were small children. As we become adults, many of us don’t challenge our established paradigms because they are so familiar to us. When you take action and make progress towards your goal, your paradigms are serving you. When your paradigms don’t serve you, you may not be as willing to take the action steps required that will push you towards your goals. Therefore, the actions that you do take may not be as effective. Negative paradigms often make us fearful or scared to take risks in order to grow.

This is where the power of envisioning your future can help you to take those baby steps towards the future that your heart desires. Along with working with a mentor or coach, visualization is a powerful tool. Don’t underestimate the power of visualization. Envisioning your goal actualized can help you take action. There are numerous academic studies that reveal that visualization can be a powerful aid along with practice. Numerous Olympic athletes and business professionals use it as a tool to help them prepare for sporting or business events.

One of the key things to remember about visualizing goal achievement is that you must fully immerse yourself in the experience. When you visualize reaching a goal, for example, envision vivid imagery, color, sound, and taste. In order to form a new habit, it can take anywhere from 21 days or longer to override an older established habit. This is due to the way that our brain works. Our habits form neural networks that are like well-worn grooves in our brains. When we are trying to establish new habits, we are attempting to override established patterns. For example, if you are a runner and your dream is to complete a 26-mile race, you have to run on a regular basis. In addition to running, visualizing yourself successfully completing the marathon will help guide your thought process on how you can achieve that goal.
It is challenging to change habits. Visualization can help along with taking action. Envisioning the future that you want on a daily basis is a powerful tool to help reinforce positive beliefs and establish positive habits.

As published in Sibyl Magazine: For the Spirit and Soul of a Woman (May 2016 issue)

The Art of Empowerment: Claim Your Power

When you are a visionary leader, you simply cannot play small in your life. The call to lead comes from deep within your soul and beckons you to be authentic. The people you lead, look to you for guidance. You learn to remove any social masks that you wear, that block you from true connection and transformation. A visionary leader like you, steps forward and claims your power with grace so that you can make a difference in the world with your gifts.

Claiming your power means that you know that you are worthy of your dreams. I have met many people in life who are talented, gifted even, beautiful, kind and compassionate. Yet, they don’t feel worthy of pursuing their dreams and achieving their goals. They feel powerless in their lives to affect change. As a leader, claiming your power means getting straight with your internal psychology. It means recognizing that you are worthy of success and are worthy of leading others as well.

In order to claim your power, you will have to examine your belief system (which can be complicated) to ensure that it is serving you. Our belief system involves our upbringing, our socialization, our schooling, the messages we absorb from society and the media. All of which can impact our feelings of worthiness to lead.

Realize that in this moment, that God, the Divine has provided you with all that you need in life to succeed. So many of us go looking for approval or permission to be successful. Who? Who is the person who is going to give you approval to be in your zone of genius or permission to be brilliant. You! You have to say yes to yourself before others can truly believe in you. Claiming your power means that right now you are worthy of all the success that you could possibly imagine.

Another thing that will help us to claim our power as leaders is to clarify our value system. Values are our guiding principles in life. We know that life can be very challenging and sometimes life throws things at us that we can’t possibly anticipate. Our values are what help us to navigate the challenging times. You know what happens when you are not clear on your values. You are like the proverbial leaf blowing in the wind. As a leader, your values keep you rooted in your integrity.

Claiming your power is not about being authoritarian or autocratic. Rather, it is about knowing that true servant leadership is about creating an empowering environment where people can thrive. As you rise in your life, you help others to rise as well.

As published in Sibyl Magazine: For the Spirit and Soul of a Woman (April 2016 issue)

Phenomenal Insights from Author, Speaker and Success Coach Brendon Burchard

Brendon Burchard is a # 1 New York Times bestselling author, speaker and success coach. He has a huge online following and is considered to be the modern day Tony Robbins. He has written several books and my favourite is the Motivation Manifesto. When he was in Toronto recently at a conference, I had the pleasure of hearing him speak and met him at his book signing.

I enjoy attending conferences and workshops and have heard many of the “heavy hitters” in the personal development area speak at events. Burchard was one of the most outstanding speakers I’ve ever heard. He had the perfect mix of substantive content, conveyed his message effectively, had good audience interaction, had great use of humour and his delivery was excellent. He received a well-deserved standing ovation that lasted several minutes. His speech really impacted me and made me re-evaluate some things in my life. Here are some of the highlights from Brendon Burchard’s presentation. In no particular order, the key learnings were:

I must raise my standards and my ambitions and refuse to settle. How many of you have settled at some point in your life with the status quo? Raising your standards and ambition can help you to start making breakthrough towards your goals. Of course, action is always key.
I must no longer fear rejection. Get over the fear of rejection. Rejection is going to happen. There will always be people who love and support you. Just as there will be always be people who reject and criticize you. You cannot let rejection and criticism prevent you from fulfilling your mission in life. As Burchard, says, “Find something to fight for or love.” That will help you counteract rejection.
I must face my fear and jump in. As you try more things and get better at them you will learn and gain more confidence. Life is an adventure. Learn to develop confidence and a healthy self-esteem so as not to take rejection personally. Engage, have fun and live!
I must refocus and get more committed. As Burchard says, “Believe in your ability to figure it out.” In order to reach success we need to have new conditioning. New conditioning means raising your ambitions and vision. According to Burchard, our vision of what we can achieve can be caged by the past and our upbringings. We need to learn to set new ambitions and a new vision for ourselves. Some of us were born into communities were most people don’t aspire to wealth because they don’t believe that they can achieve it. Don’t let that happen to you! Refocus and recommit to your dreams.
I must live each day with purpose. Need I say more? Live each day with intention and purpose. Don’t just go through the motions. Achieve your highest priorities each day.
• The difference between unsuccessful and successful people is…drumroll please. According to Burchard, unsuccessful people say, I don’t know how to do something and leave it at that. Successful people make the time to find out how to do something. Successful people schedule it and put it on their agenda.
Learn to have ambition and expectancy. Expect that you can make your success happen. Even if you don’t have everything figured out,“Bumble Into the Future.” To be successful, you have to be hungry for the success. Stop fearing your ambition. Expect that you can make it happen now. Don’t wait for years to make it happen. As Burchard says, “The piano of purpose will not fall on your head.”
We all get a second chance to live the life that we want. In other words, Who am I going to be? Answer that question truthfully and it will help you to move towards the vision of the life you want.
Figure out what questions I will ask at the end of my life. Once you figure them out start living the answers to them now!
We are creative beings. Find a way to generate the happiness you seek and live into the intention of it. In other words, don’t wait until the future to be happy based on some event. Start generating your happiness now doing things you love and helping people.

There were many excellent takeaways from Brendon Burchard and I feel blessed to have met him. Some of his key learnings helped me to refocus my mindset. Pick up your copy of the Motivation Manifesto or the Millionaire Messenger today!

Wisdom from Spiritual Thought Leader Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabrielle Bernstein is a spiritual thought leader, speaker, kundalini yoga instructor and the author of several books. I’ve read several of her books and one of my favourites is: May Cause Miracles. I heard Gabby as she is called affectionately speak at a conference recently. Bernstein delivered a beautiful speech about how our emotional wounds can be the entry point into our personal transformation. In order to transform, we must be willing to look at our wounds first. It was one of the best speeches that I’ve heard to date. It was also interesting in that her presentation involved: a lecture component, audience interaction, music, mantras and visualization exercises. Here are some of the highlights from her presentation. They are:

•Sometimes when we pray for guidance, chaos shows up first.
•We can have resistance to true healing. Whatever we resists, persist.
•If there is a shadow i.e. something emotionally that we don’t want to awknowledge it will remain until we deal with it.
•The shadow acts as a block to us if we don’t awknowledge it.
•When we examine the shadow, the stories we’ve concocted around it start to unravel.
•We should honour and awknowledge our stories and be the witness to our traumas.
•We need to consciously face our fears, by feeling the fear beneath the ancient wound that could be from childhood or a negative life event.
•You can’t avoid your spiritual assignment.
•When you expose your wounds metaphorically speaking to the light, have compassion for yourself. You are doing the best that you can.
•The ego will resist looking at your emotional wound(s).
•The places that we don’t want to go emotionally, are exactly the places that we need to go.
•If you want to start healing say that you are determined to see and see what shows up.
•Affirm that everything is happening around me and I am taken care of (by the Divine).
•Affirm what you want out of life, because where your attention goes energy flows.
•Share your emotional wounds with those you trust. In an authentic exchange, light i.e healing and compassion enters.

The audience was thoroughly touched by her speech and it was not a surprise that there were a few tears in the audience. It was special to have a photo with her as I admire her work. She was an outstanding speaker and the standing ovation was well deserved!
Check out www.gabbyb.tv

Lessons Learned from Sandra Yancey eWomen Network CEO & Founder

An amazing time was had by members and guests at the eWomen Network Success Summit on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Many new connections were made and attendees had the opportunity to learn from Sandra Yancey, the Founder and CEO of the eWomen Network. It was an honour to meet and learn from her. Through the eWomen Network she has created an empowering environment where women entrepreneurs and professionals can grow their businesses, learn valuable information and make new connections. ‪There were many brilliant takeaways from Sandra Yancey’s talk and here are some of the highlights. They are:

– Nothing happens to me, it happens for me.
– When you are doubting yourself, remember that “every master was once a disaster.”
– It’s not working out because you are aiming too low.
– You were born a winner.
– Success is hard, so is being broke.
– Really evaluate the people you have around you to ensure they are committed to your success because, “Not everyone is designed to travel to your future.”
– Stop spending time with people who misunderstand you.
– You can’t build a million dollar dream with a minimum wage mindset.
– Have your point of differentiation and own it.
– The answer is always no if you don’t ask.
– Give yourself permission to succeed!
– Success is giving yourself goosebumps!

It was amazing to be a part of the leadership team as an eWomen Network Ambassador. Congratulations to the leadership team for organizing a wonderful event. The other members of the team are: Managing Director, Daniela Spirlac, Patti Pokorchak, Duygu Nangir, Kathy Barthel, Nicky Yiannakis, Heather Chernofsky, Debra Wilson and Beatrice Ten-Thye. Bravo!

It was my first eWomen Network Success ‪Summit‬ and I’m counting down for 2017! If you would like information about the eWomen Network, please contact me at deb@deborahangelaustin.com.

Appointed as an eWomen Network Ambassador

I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed to the leadership team as an eWomen Network Ambassador for the Toronto Chapter. I will be working with a talented leadership team to support women entrepreneurs and professionals in the Greater Toronto Area. The eWomen Network is one of North America's premier women's business and professional organizations.

eWomen Network Ambassador Deborah Austin

The Art of Empowerment: Honor Your Journey

One of the most beautiful gifts that we have as human beings is the power of choice. We can make choices that can alter the trajectory of our lives. Regardless of what stage you are at in life, realize that you do have the power of choice. Even if you have been wearing the proverbial mask and hiding who you truly are, realize that you are never “stuck” in your life. A situation may have persisted in your life for a long time, yet one day you make the choice that it’s time for a major change. When you make the choice, this time, it’s different. You not only set the intention, you develop a plan and take the action steps required to move towards your goal in a focused way.

You are now willing to take risks to achieve your dreams. You are not concerned about what other people say or who approves or disapproves of you. In other words, you have finally owned your power as a woman. Owning your power as a woman means that you fully embrace your gifts and your talents with no apologies. It also means that you have the maturity and the wisdom to deal with your choices and consequences come what may.

Owning your power means taking full stock of your life. It means having a vision and assessing where you are now and ultimately where you want to be. And more importantly, who you want to be. If there is a major gap in the vision that you have for your life, now is the time to get truly focused on your highest priorities and bring them to fruition.

At the same time, while working towards your dreams, honor your life’s journey so far. Many people belittle their lives because they have not had from their perspective any major accomplishments according to “society’s standards.|” As a woman, honor the totality of your life’s journey and your accomplishments! Honor them all in the various family and social roles that you play in life.

A woman who owns her power takes credit in a humble way and stops comparing herself to other people. She knows that her life’s journey is unique. The way you love, your joy, your gifts, your talents, your relationships and how you relate to the world are uniquely yours. Similarly, your pain, your struggles, your challenges, and your wounds have all played a role for you to become the strong and capable woman that you are now.

You have so many gifts and talents that the world needs. God, the Divine, the Christ Consciousness, Source; however, you define the universal power has put you on this earth for a reason. Honor your life’s journey as that is how the Divine envisioned you fulfilling your destiny.

As published in Sibyl Magazine: For the Spirit and Soul of a Woman (February 2016)

The Art of Empowerment: Trust the Divine

I’m sure that many of you can relate that you become reflective when your birthday arrives. I recently celebrated a birthday and one of the things that I always do is give thanks for all of my blessings. Birthdays are a wonderful opportunity to reflect, give thanks for our blessings and enjoy time with people who are important to us.

Birthdays, are also an excellent time to celebrate your accomplishments so far in life and take stock of where you are in terms of important goals. The key word is CELEBRATE! Celebrate what you have accomplished in your life. Those accomplishments could be with your family, your career, your volunteer work, your faith or just simply celebrate who you are at this point in time.

When reflecting on goals (and working hard to achieve them) the finish line can seem so far off that you may start to feel discouraged. Don’t get caught up into that comparative analysis mode where you are keeping score against other people. We all know that is a losing game.

During important milestones like birthdays when you reflect on goals that you have yet to achieve, you may think disempowering thoughts. Some of those thoughts might be: I’m too old, I’m too young, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the talent, I don’t have the time to achieve this goal. The list could go on. When thoughts like these occur, remember to be gentle with yourself. Realize that it is necessary to learn how to cultivate your inner resources so that you can overcome disempowering thoughts and move towards inspired action.

Your inner resources could include your spirituality, your courage, your kindness and your compassion among many things. In order to do this, you will often need time to reflect, meditate or pray to ensure that you are focusing in on the right priorities and goals in your life. When you take the time to get silent and go inward to listen to your intuition you will find that the Divine will guide you to the answers that you need. You DO have the gifts, talents and tools to accomplish your goals.

When you face challenges or feel discouraged, learning to call on the Divine to give you the strength you need is a power that you should never forget that you have. It is a power that we all have at our disposal seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The Divine will always support us, helping us move towards goals that are for our highest good. Next time a birthday, anniversary or milestone occurs and you find yourself reflecting on what you have yet to achieve, consider a different approach. Instead, celebrate your life, count your blessings, give thanks and trust that your goals (and everything else!) are in the palm of the Divine’s hands.

As published in Sibyl Magazine: For the Spirit and Soul of a Woman (March 2016 issue)