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Down with Diminishment

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Of all of the behavioural traits that present themselves when someone experiences the Impostor Complex - that is to say: people-pleasing, procrastination, perfectionism, leaky boundaries, comparison, and diminishment - it’s DIMINISHMENT that comes up most often in my clients, readers, and audience.

Diminishment is the way in which we consciously dim our light. Dumb our message down. Take up less space. Play smaller. Avoid displaying actual confidence at all costs.

I suppose this should come as no surprise to me given the evocative language I use in and around “Stepping into your Starring Role." It’s INTENDED to be a calling forth of those hiding ever so slightly in the shadows off-stage.

Which is to say... YOU.

Diminishment is a nice and safe way to avoid feeling like an Impostor. No one can call us fraud, charlatan, or cast us aside if they can’t see us, right?

To be certain.

And of course, it doesn’t just look like staying off the metaphorical stage.

When you tell me that you were so lucky that the universe sent you the perfect designer, I will remind you that YOU made it happen. YOU took the chance and went on a coffee date and were open and willing and transparent. That YOU have built up a reputable business through tenacity and with excellence that anyone would be thrilled to be a part of. That YOU did your due diligence and knew what the market would bear and made the ask, even as you feared rejection. But yeah. Sure. It was the universe.

When you tell me that you are having a hard time filling up your Yum and Yay folder because “they’re just being nice” with their praise, I will remind you that nobody has time to just be nice like that and if they sent you a lovely thank you card because you helped them find a new way forward with the problem that they have been grappling with that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE you ought to dare to believe them when they tell you how truly remarkable you really are. In fact, MAYBE, JUST MAYBE you ought to take their words and add them to your testimonials page for the world to see truth.

So yes,
Diminishment looks like discounting others’ praise.
Diminishment looks like downplaying our successful decisions and wins.
Diminishment looks like handing over credit where credit isn’t due.
Diminishment looks like hiding behind your clients.
Diminishment looks like a crisis of presence.
Diminishment looks like the opposite of sovereignty. (This is informed by a sacred conversation in The Starring Role Academy lead by my dear friend and guest teacher, Ronna Detrick.)

Now, you have good reasons for hiding your glory from us, I am certain.

Maybe you have experienced the pain of the Tall Poppy Syndrome.
Maybe you have seen, far too often, the good person corrupted by the limelight.
Maybe you have experienced the sting of online haters and trolls.
Maybe you have committed the Sin of (Out)Shining.
Maybe your strong value of humility fears getting it wrong and having to eat humble pie.
And speaking of pies, maybe you’ve been told you’ve already had too much pie.

If you want to come out from behind the shadows and take the stage with your message, your vocation, your calling, it will be worth every moment of tension.

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But if you want to come out from behind the shadows and take the stage with your message, your vocation, your calling, it will be worth every moment of tension.

It will involve you being brave enough to confront the reasons why you stay out of action and the resistance that is keeping you from what you say you want.

It will require you to look at all you have done, without the red pen of editorializing and discounting the efforts you’ve made and the outcomes you’ve created.

It will demand that you not go this alone. It will mean you will gather your people, assemble your cast, bring your fans in close, and trust in them. But, above all, it will demand that you trust in you.

Like we say in The Academy: More pie, please.

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Getting Right With My Heart

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After my dad died, I made some promises to myself.

I’m excellent at keeping the promises I make with others but don’t have the best track record with keeping promises to myself.

So, it's no surprise that “keeping the promises I make with myself” moved to the top of my promise list.

The second promise I made was to get into right relationship with my heart and begin treating my heart with the same reverence and care that I give to others.

Revolutionary.

And, in truth, it’s a curious time to explore it, what with grief being seventeen thousand kinds of messy.

It’s hard to know which way’s up and which way’s down. And it’s hard to know if I can trust my emotions. Hard to know if I can trust my heart.

But that... right there - that’s the lie I’ve been telling myself:

That I can’t trust my heart.

It’s my HEART that should be mistrustful of ME.

I’ve ignored and shelved and bartered and negotiated and bypassed and done everything BUT listen to my heart in more ways than I care to admit over the past couple of years.


So, to get us back on the same page - what this has meant (so far in any case), is that I need to listen to my heart when it summons the courage to ask me for something. And offer it what it desires freely and enthusiastically and reverentially. Nomaddawhat.

Also revolutionary.


It’s Valentine’s Day and my heart asked me to write this to you. So I did.

Take some time and space to love into your own heart today, will you?

Listen to it. And honour it above all else.

You’ve only got this one.

Treat it like the source of all things sacred that it is.

Because it is.


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For the Moment That Has You Question Your Bravery

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You were brave. You remember, don’t you?

No? Okay. Here it is. You were brave:

when you stayed.

when you left.

when you said, "No, but let’s try this."

when you said, "No, never."

when you said, "Yes, thank you. More, please."

when your wave to the cool kids wasn’t returned (and still, you kept your head high).

when you kissed the ground (even though you wanted to shake your fist at the sky).

when you stood up.

when you stood down.

when you kept writing, speaking, teaching, singing, preaching, going.

(even though...)

when you danced with the shadow (but didn’t go to second base).

when you were so worn out, but made it count anyway.

when you wore your heart on your sleeve (it SO brings out your eyes).

when you believed.

when you trusted.

when you knew that you knew.

when you raised your hand.

when you took the high road (and not just for the panoramic views).

when you didn't feel so hot in the bathing suit, but swam in the grace around you just the same.

when you made your dreams your mission.

when you shelved your dreams for someone else’s (though you’ll never do THAT again).

when you tossed your limitations into the volcano of your desires.

when you committed to your life.

when you kept your promise to others,

when you kept your promise to yourself.

when you kept your promise to your soul.

when you trusted how it felt (not how it looked).

when you kept showingupshowingupshowingup (even though the duvet beckoned).

when you forgave (REALLY forgave),

when you decided to stop deferring to others.

when you decided that enough was enough and that you were enough (oh, that was a good one).

when you risked it.

when you risked telling someone they matter.

when you decided it wasn’t too latebut also that it wasn't too soon to just.get.going.

when you chose collaboration over competition,

discernment over decisiveness,

generosity over guarantees,

curiosity over certitude.

when you tapped yourself in.

when you switched gears (even though everyone was watching).

when you chose to love.

when you chose joy.

and, when you chose you.

So, you see? Every.single.day. you keep showing it. You keep showing us.


This Thursday, February 1 at 2pm EST,
I will be live on Facebook talking all things bravery. I hope you'll join me.


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Big skies know big things. So let’s go to Big Sky Country. Together.

I’m away from the city for a short while as I spend time with family, count stars, eat cherries, write words, breathe clean air and sing by the campfire. 

In a word: glorious.

Usually, I settle into the pace up here quickly and familiarly. This time, I can’t help but notice how I’m resisting said gloriousness. Too much going on, in my world, in THE world, back “home” to…relax. Which is about as counter-productive as it gets.

But I’ve finally recalled the structure that brings me to my actual home. A simple and sacred structure: I look up at the big sky.

Every time I feel the weight of the things I read from my computer screen, I look up at the big sky.

Every time I feel the pull of guilt of things not done, I look up at the big sky.

Every time I feel the pang of worry for things to come, I look up at the big sky.

Every time I doubt and fret and sweat and panic, I look up at the big sky.

And every time I feel like I am avoiding the weight of the things, the pull of guilt, the pangs of worry, the doubt and fret and sweat and panic by LOOKING at the big sky? I blink hard and I look up at the big sky again.

And she says:

Sweet Child, do what you can, but more importantly, do what you must.

Be brave enough to look at your shadows. Don’t try to douse them with light. Look at them for what they are.

Be with the weights and the pulls and the pangs and doubt and fret and sweat and panic.

They are here to be heard. They are here to bend you, shape you and to help calibrate your next steps. They are here to teach you, but they are not here to define you.

You can no more unsee the injustices by tuning out the world than you can deny the privilege of your very existence. So don’t. See them. Feel them. Choose to do better.

Don’t short cut your way to your purpose.

When you feel weak, get stronger. You know how. You’ve done it before, you startlingly magnificent creature, you.

When you are faced with the next battle, don’t seek comfort. Seek courage.

Don’t look for proof. Feel for truth.

Trust the love you feel in your cells.

When you are ready to make the leap that transcends your story, jump high and hard and with all of your fracturedmended heart.

Big skies know big things.

It’s under big skies that I remember all that I’ve ever known. Which brings me right back home. Wherever that may be.

I want the same for you. Join me under the big skies of Alberta this September.

We’ve crafted a unique, intimate, big-heart-opening one-day retreat in glorious Athabasca, on September 15th. This day is for anyone who wants freedom from the Impostor Complex so that they can step into their Starring Roles. In their leadership, in their life and in their life’s work.  

Think wide open spaces. Crisp NORTHERN air. The immersed experience of sweet relief when you finally walk towards and claim the role you’ve been desiring. Soul connections. Prosecco. And big BIG clarity. 

We’re keeping this one-day retreat very small this time so there’s even more space for processing, being and feeling the wisdom of the big sky. Register by August 12th and receive two bonuses: The Step into Your Starring Role Playbook and an hour of coaching with me – additional value of $600 USD. 

Looking for a larger group experience? Join me at the beautiful Yoga MCC in Calgary for a powerful workshop with like-minded healers, seekers and leaders. Three ways to play: a quick shot of activation on Friday night (16th), a full day workshop on Saturday (17th), OR both. While there will be plenty of time for integration, we’ll going strong and deep. (It is a yoga studio after all.)

I do so hope you’ll join me in Alberta.

Until then, look up at the big sky and feel her wisdom cool your furrowed brow.

Love,

TG


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climbing back into the box

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climbing back into the box

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Remember Paddington Bear?

The marmalade-loving, welly-wearing bumbling sweetheart found by the Browns at Paddington Station with a “please look after this bear” note?

Yeah. He was my main squeeze. Literally. I was given him at the age of five. Maybe six.

I loved that he was soft and gentle and sartorially splendid in said yellow rubber boots (that you could actually take off!),  jaunty red bush hat and blue duffle coat. I loved that he loved elevenses and enjoyed two birthdays a year, “just like the Queen”.

But most of all, I loved our adventures.

We had a big cardboard box that transported us everywhere. We'd fly to the mountains of Nepal, the badlands of South Dakota, the outback of Australia and the moon. Obvs. At the end of every adventure, we’d cry “tally ho to Darkest Peru”. (Neither of us knew what the hell it meant. Which was more than fine.)

It felt cruel and unusual to hoard such delight from my loved ones, so Paddington and I would often reenact our adventures on the stage that was the living room after dinner.

Into the box we would climb and regale (ahem) our audience of friends and family with the sights, sounds, smells of our escapades and keep them rapt with our witty repartee (he was the naïve sillyheart to my sage straight man). And, always knowing how to keep ‘em satisfied, we’d ask them to shout out where they’d like us to go next. To Marrakesh! To Mimico! To Miami! And we’d see what we could see and get ourselves into scrapes, as only a bear and a little girl in a box could.

When it was clear that the audience had had too much of a good thing (my mother's wrap it up gesture and the guests' glazed-over countenance were the telltale cues), we’d “tally ho to Darkest Peru”, take our bow and retreat to my bedroom where I’d remove his boots, hats and coat (long since lost), and we’d rap about the performance and plan for the next day’s adventures.

In short: my parents were the most excellent kinds of parents.

They fostered my uniqueness, encouraged my creativity and celebrated my desire to express what was mine to express.

They engendered in me an inherent belief that whatever was being created in that box was good and valuable and worthy of witnessing. No matter how rambling, drawn out or, if I’m being brutally honest, entirely aimless it was.

I was worthy of their time and attention.

I’m thinking about my mother in advance of mothers’ day, as I always do. Missing her and her unconditional love. And I’m thinking about the kind of love my father had, and still has for me. And feeling completely and fully blessed.

And. This.

Even with the creative colostrum of support they nourished me with at such a young age, somewhere between that last “tally ho” and now, I had lost that innate sense of worthiness. I started to believe that there were rules I would never be able to fully grasp. That I was missing the heart of the artist. That it wasn’t my job to do. That creativity was for others.

Somewhere along the line, with the compositions, then essays, then theses, then proposals, then pitches, then video scripts, then sales copy then editorial calendars, then posts all written from a deep and earnest desire to be useful and helpful and heard, I lost the delight, the flutter, the adventure and the wonder I felt in that box, with my beloved bear by my side.

No where is this more apparent than in my book writing process.

I currently have 63,129 words written for my book on the Impostor Complex. Good, thoughtful, smart, helpful, useful, insightful words.

Words that defend the answer to the question: Who am I to write this book?

(The question is both internal and external. Agents want to know. Publishers want to know. But more viscerally, my own Impostor Complex wants to know, sneeringly derisively in the asking.)

So yes. Every last word is good and smart.

But I’m writing them from the wrong place. I’m writing them from my bubble.

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It’s from my BOX that I need to write from.

Back to where I knew that innate sense of worthiness.Where I knew the enduring power of what’s possible.Where I knew that my heart had more to say than my head.Where I knew that joy wasn’t a nice-to-have. It was everything.

So that’s where I’m going now. Climbing back into the box. Ditching many of the 63K words and starting fresh.

Undefended. Leading with my creativity. Knowing that this is where the magic happens. And where there is magic, there is flight.

(Say hey to my newest writing partner, and oldest pal, Paddington.)

 


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