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)

Deborah Austin is interviewed on The Brave Entrepreneur

EP057_DeborahAustin_graphic
My interview with branding expert Jena Rodriguez is now live on itunes. Jena is a brand strategist, national speaker, author, and founder of Brand With Jena. She interviewed me for her podcast: The Brave Entrepreneur where she discusses how entrepreneurs can be brave in both business and in life.

We discussed how people can step into their authentic power as entrepreneurs and professionals. It was an honor to be interviewed. Thank you Jena.

The Brave Entrepreneur Interview

The Art of Empowerment Article Series

For the year 2016 I have been accepted as a writer for Sibyl Magazine. Sibyl: For the Spirit and Soul of a Woman is an online international spirituality publication that has a readership of 30,000 people, primarily women readers. The magazine is in an anthology format. Every month between January – December 2016, I will be submitting an article under the theme of the Art of Empowerment.

I am very excited to be a writer for this dynamic and soul affirming magazine. I look forward to sharing wisdom I’ve learned along my journey with the readers and learning from the other writers throughout the year!

Three Tips to Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet!

Will this be the year that you finally accomplish your goals and dreams?

I’m sure that many of you plan for the new year by doing some type of visioning, goal setting or planning work. You intuitively know that you don’t need the beginning of a new year to transform your life. You can make changes now or at any time of the year. One of the great things about being human is the power of choice. You can choose when and how to affect change in your life. Here are three tips that will contribute to helping you have an outstanding year in 2016.

1. Take Massive Action
Business leader and motivational guru, Tony Robbins often says that if you want to change your life take massive action in the specific area that you want to change. Stand your ground this year and don’t fall prey to procrastination, excusitis and a myriad of other things that will stall or prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Taking massive action means that you take specific, measurable action steps that will help you to achieve your goals. Then rinse and repeat. Do these action steps continuously until you achieve your goals.

The Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 rule is a well known principle named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who developed the concept. The principle states that 80 percent of the effects (your success) will come from 20 percent of the causes (your actions). What this means for you when you take massive action is to focus on the most leveraged activities in your life. Focus on the 20 percent of your activities that will yield the highest results (the 80 percent) for you. Let this be the year of massive action where you soar.

2. The Pursuit of Excellence
You have many talents and abilities, some of which you undoubtedly have not fully tapped into during your life thus far. There may come a time when you examine your life and feel that you’ve been performing below your potential. It is too easy to accept the status quo and let mediocrity slowly creep into our lives.

The way that we crush mediocrity is by not tolerating it. The key is to pursue excellence. For 2016 continue to cultivate or learn to develop the habits of a person who pursues excellence in all that you do. Be around people who exhibit the character, habits and behaviour in the areas that you want to improve or enhance.

3. The Energy of Gratitude
I’m a member of the gratitude tribe and I know you are as well. I believe in giving thanks and counting blessings. It’s very easy to get complacent when things are going well. When food is on the table, a shelter is over your head and the bills are paid, who would complain? In the fast pace of life sometimes, it is easy to forget how truly blessed we are. When you have good health, family, work and creature comforts, these are things that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

For 2016, increasing your gratitude level will translate into benefits that can improve your quality of life. Who doesn’t want more peace and contentment in their life? Gratitude for what you do have is one way to achieve that. Is there a note of thanks or appreciation that you have been putting off. Why not write it now. Are there people in your life that you have been meaning to tell how much you care about them. I encourage you to seize the moment and do it as soon as you can. I recently received a card that had lovely words of appreciation on it. It was very meaningful to me and I will cherish it.

The start of a new year always brings with it renewed hope and optimism. I hope that this year for you will be a year of: massive action to reach your goals, a year of excellence and continued blessings. Thank you for your support and being a part of my community. I look forward to hearing about your achievements in 2016.

I wish you a happy, successful and prosperous new year!

5 Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We all have so much to be thankful for in our lives. Our blessings include: love, our health, family, friends, food, water, shelter and so many things to be grateful for, the list could go on and on.

We all know that giving thanks should be a practice that we cultivate on a regular basis rather than once per year. We should never take those blessings in our lives for granted. An attitude of gratitude can go a long way in helping us to appreciate our lives. Here are five ways that can help us learn to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. They are:

1.Spiritual Practice. Developing a spiritual practice can help you to connect with God or your version of a higher power which will help you to appreciate the blessings in your life. For example, this practice could involve prayer, meditation and spending time in nature.

2.Thank People. Thank the people in your life who have had a positive impact on you. You could do this in person or write them a letter telling them how much you appreciate them in your life.

3. Gratitude Journal. Start keeping a gratitude journal. Write down every day (or as many times as you can) the good things that are in or that are happening in your life. Documenting your life experiences will help you to develop your gratitude muscle even when life is challenging or difficult.

4. Reach Out. If you are having a difficult time in life, reach out to someone who can help you. People want to help and be of service. You don’t have to go through things on you own! Even if you are having a challenging time in life, there is always someone else who is worse off or having a much more difficult time than you. Volunteering or helping someone less fortune is another way that we can exercise the gratitude muscle.

5. Appreciate Life. Give thanks for the gift of life and the breathe that animates our bodies. Each day, even with life’s ups and downs is another day to love, learn and explore!

You Are the Artist of Your Life: Part 3

Previously, I explored the concept of the Life as Art Metaphor indicating that it reveals certain maxims or truths about life. The first two maxims are:

1. Artists take responsibility for creating their art.

2. Artists are on a quest to continually perfect their art.

Today, let’s explore the third and last maxim. The third maxim is that artists know that they are always free to create again in the moment.

Artists usually have a muse that serves as inspiration for their work. Sometimes the flow of creativity is constant and sometimes there is a block that the artist must break through. Some artists can bring their artistic vision to life on their first attempt. For many artists though it takes several attempts to bring their vision to life. For example, think of writers, many times after a first draft they revise it substantially or dispense with it altogether and begin again.

As the artists of our lives, we should know that we do have the choice to begin again. Few things in life barring death (and some other things) are truly irrevocable. How many times have we made choices and decisions assuming that we have to stick with them because that is what is expected. Now I’m not saying to abdicate any moral and legal obligations to your critical responsibilities. What I am suggesting is that we are free to create new things in our lives at any time we choose as long as we are not infringing on another person’s rights. For this year, make a commitment to yourself that you are free to create the life that you desire. Realize also that with the power to create also lies responsibility for the consequences of what you create.

I refer again to the great Michelangelo. There is a story about how Michelangelo created the David statue. It’s impossible to know what really happened as none of us was there. I like to envision that the story went something like this. One of his contemporaries asked him, how he managed to sculpt the perfect David. The David being one of the most beautiful statues at the time. According to Michelangelo making the statue was “easy” because the David i.e the statue was already inside the marble. All Michelangelo had to do was remove the superfluous (unnecessary) parts from the marble and reveal the statue within.

As human beings, we do have the power to create happiness and joy, even bliss in our lives. We don’t have to put up with things that are not for our highest good. These things might be a bad relationship, work that is no longer suited to our personalities or a one-sided friendship where you give and the other person takes all the time, in other words there is no reciprocity. I’m not saying that creating the life of your dreams will be easy and magically appear. Life does come with its challenges and inevitable ups and downs. I am encouraging you to have a magnificent VISION for your life. One where you are actively focusing on and pursuing those priorities that you love and that have meaning for you.

If you are not responsible for your art i.e your life, then I ask you who is? If you aren’t painting on the canvas of your life, I assure you that someone else is. Do you like what they have created for you? You are free to create a new life at any moment and I encourage you to create or recreate the life of your dreams. Make your life your artistic masterpiece!

You Are the Artist of Your Life

You Are the Artist of Your Life: Part 2

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Thank You Dr. Wayne Dyer

This past weekend, the world lost a beautiful human being, Dr. Wayne Dyer. He inspired millions across the world through his love of humanity, his compassion, spiritual insights, his lectures and books. I was personally inspired by Dr. Dyer and read many of his books. My favourite book is The Power of Intention.

I had the honour of meeting him a few years ago at a conference in Toronto. I spoke to him briefly saying I was so inspired by his work and could I please take a picture with him. He graciously agreed and said that I was beautiful. It was one of the highlights of my life, the opportunity to meet Dr. Dyer, someone whose work had such a profound effect on my life.

Condolences and blessings to his family and friends. Thank you Dr. Dyer for inspiring me. Your love and light will live on!

You Are the Artist of Your Life

Thinking of life as art, I believe serves as a powerful guiding metaphor for us as we lead our lives. As the artists, i.e. the creators of our lives, we realize certain maxims or truths. I believe that some of those maxims are:

1. Artists take responsibility for creating their art.

2. Artists are on a quest to continually perfect their art.

3. Artists know that they are always free to create again in the moment.

Each of our lives is overflowing with potential and possibilities. Let’s see how we can use that metaphor of life as art to create the best possible life that we are capable of creating. Looking at the first maxim that artists take responsibility for creating their art, simply means that the power to create lies with the artist and their vision. In other words, each of us is ultimately accountable and responsible for our lives. On an intellectual and intuitive level, we know that this is true. Yet at times, we tend to forget or blatantly disregard that the power to create the best life possible resides within us.

We blame external circumstances, our upbringing, other people and our past conditioning to abdicate taking responsibility for how our lives have turned out so far. Real maturity in life means accepting the fact that if we want to have or continue to have a great life, it starts with having a vision and a purpose. If you can consciously be accountable for your choices and actions, you will see a change in your attitude. You realize that you are responsible for your own happiness or…. the way that you react to your own challenges in life.

Now I’m not totally naïve and I’m not saying that life is not very challenging or difficult at times. Bad things do happen to good people and each of us have had our share of loss and heartbreak to contend with in life. And sometimes through no fault of our own, we are forced to deal with the bad choices and actions of other individuals that have long lasting repercussions on our lives. What I am saying is that if we ever hope to create or continue to create the type of life that our heart truly desires, a life that is meaningful, the difference is the accountability factor. Be a true artist and take responsibility for the art i.e your life that you create.

If future posts, I look forward to discussing the two other maxims that artists are on a quest to continually perfect their art and artists know that they are always free to create again in the moment.

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The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present.
Steven Pressfield – Author, Turning Pro