The Art of Empowerment: Practice Compassion

The world needs more compassion. A bold statement indeed, yet I’m sure that many of you would agree with that statement. Empathy is the ability to feel what another person is feeling and compassion takes it one step further through action to help alleviate suffering. When I was a child, my first major lesson involving compassion occurred when two homeless teenage girls came to live with my family.

To complicate the situation, one of the teens was pregnant. It was my mother who encountered the teens and had learned about their plight. She invited them for dinner and through circumstances they ended up living with my family for well over a month. They stayed with my family until they could get permanent help. They teens eventually with my mother’s help found an apartment and the pregnant girl had a beautiful healthy baby.

I believe that having that experience early in my life permeated my consciousness and left a deep imprint. It informed some of the volunteer work that I do as I believe that it’s important to give back to the community. The experience helped me to realize even at a young age that on some level, call it the spiritual level, we are all connected. If we’re connected, then it makes sense to reach out to our fellow human beings in times of need.

We can perform compassionate acts, yet compassion really is a practice. Just as we can have an exercise routine or a meditation practice, the same applies to compassion. The more that we exercise our “compassion muscle,” the easier it will be for us to be compassionate. I believe that compassion can teach us several life lessons. The first one is that compassion involves a willingness to be open to see pain or suffering in our midst. Helping someone may not be as dramatic as helping two homeless teens get off the street. It could be in our homes, workplaces or among our circle of friends where compassion is needed. It is easy to get insular and not be concerned about people who may be going through a difficult time.

Another lesson that compassion teaches us is to be nonjudgmental with the people that we are reaching out to or trying to help. When we act compassionately we do the best that we can in the situation and then as much as possible detach from the outcome. Lastly, being compassionate teaches us to operate from our hearts and not the rational mind. You may encounter a situation where it does not seem rational to act yet your heart is compelling you to move in that direction. I invite you to look for those moments in your life where you can be compassionate because you never know the life changing impact that you can have in another person’s life.

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

Powerful Lessons from the Legacy of Dr. Wayne Dyer

The one year anniversary occurred this past August of the passing of Dr. Wayne Dyer at the age of 75. As a prolific author, teacher, and lecturer, Dr. Dyer’s work positively affected millions of people around the globe. His body of work has impacted me throughout my life. He was compassionate, kind and truly wanted people to succeed and evolve our consciousness so that every human on the planet could thrive.

At the Hay House Conference, I attended in May, a special tribute was dedicated to Wayne Dyer, as he was a big part of the Hay House family. The tribute showcased his teachings that reflected his philosophy of life. From the tribute, I’m sharing with you several key lessons from his work with some of my personal reflections. They are:

1. Want for others what I want for myself. If you want peace, happiness, wealth, good health and success for yourself, wish those things for others. Having positive vibes and wishing blessings on other people can have a powerful effect on you and how you show up in the world.

2. Think from the end. Be determined to live a beautiful and generous life, a life in alignment with your spiritual core. Have a vision for your life and how you want to serve. Work on bringing your vision to reality by breaking down your goals into manageable parts to make your dreams and vision unfold.

3. Be an appreciator. Instead of examining what you don’t have, appreciate all the you DO have. When you examine what you do have, you realize that you have been blessed with much in this life.

4. Stay in rapport with Source Energy. As God is our creator, staying in alignment with the energy of love, gratitude and peace helps us navigate challenges and keep focused on our priorities.

6. Contemplate myself with conditions that I wish to have. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have focus on the things that you want to bring into your life. Visualize, meditate and contemplate those things daily.

7. Be skilled in the Art of Allowing. You are a gift. Stop fighting and resisting who you are. Own your power and your brilliance. Allow God to come in and support you in all that you do.

8. Practice humility. Each of us is doing the best that we can at any given time. No matter how high you rise in life, practice humility. Absolutely be proud of who you are and your talents. At the same time, remember that we all live on borrowed time and be kind to each other.

9. Be in a constant state of gratitude. Does anything else need to be said? The fact that we are alive and can experience life is a blessing. Let the gratitude flow.

10. Stay away from judgment. While easier said than done, as much as possible learning to be as non-judgemental as we can, is well worth the effort. You will have greater peace of mind to take action on the priorities that are important to you.

11. Play the Match Game. Match with what you want in this life not with what you don’t want. If you are a positive person and there are negative people or influences in your life, minimize or eliminate your time spent with them.

12. Meditate. Meditation is a powerful tool to connect with God. Cultivating a daily practice can help you develop inner peace.

In addition, here are a few of my other favourite sayings from him. They are:

Be independent of the good opinions of others. You don’t have to justify how you lead your life as long as you are not hurting anyone. In other words, as Dr. Dyer would say “Don’t complain and don’t explain.” How you live your life is no one else’s business.

On your mind place a “Do Not Disturb Sign.” This is another one of my favourites. Do not allow anything to enter your mind that is not for your higher good. Be selective of the thoughts that enter your mind and ensure that they are positive to help you lead the best possible life.

Thoughts are energy. How you think is very important. Ensure that you are cultivating positive thoughts both to yourself and other people. The type of thoughts you develop will be the basis on which you take action. Therefore, if you think negative, self-defeating thoughts it will be challenging to take positive action. Learn to develop loving, peaceful, forgiving and grateful thoughts and see how your life unfolds.

Learn to go from Pissed to Blissed! As humans we feel the full gamut of emotions from love to fear and everything in between. Learning to take control of our emotions can help us with daily living. The way that we do that is through cultivating a practice where we can connect with the Divine and allow space to feel our emotions. You can do this through meditation, prayer, walking in nature or anything that helps you to live a more peaceful and blissful life.

At a conference in Toronto a few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Dyer. It was a life changing moment. Out of all of his lessons, the most important that I will always take away from him is to nurture my connection with my Eternal Source i.e. God. Nurturing that connection to the Divine Source can help you to stay connected to the things that are most important to you and that which you desire to bring forth in your life.

A quote that I love that Dr. Dyer would often use from Einstein is: “Do I live in a friendly or a hostile universe.” Think about that question for a moment for yourself. The way that you answer the question reveals your outlook on life and your perspective really can determine your outcomes in life.

Dr. Dyer’s powerful lessons and beautiful legacy live on through the millions of lives he touched through his books, lectures, videos, meditations and various programs. We are truly blessed to have had a spiritual teacher like him. If you have not been exposed to his work yet, I highly recommend, The Power of Intention to start with or his meditation book called: Getting in the Gap.

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