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September/October 2019

This is Deborah LeeAnn, and with more than half of 2019 over, where are you? How are you doing?

The topic today is on self-awareness. Where we can’t hide. Where we really want to take stock and look at what are our results from the first 8 months of the year.

How have you been showing up? It’s taking a pulse or taking a Selfie. It doesn’t mean this is who we are for the next 3 months, yet it gives us an idea of where we might want to course-correct, and maybe where we need to ask for some help. Where are we in our own way?

The reason why self-awareness is, I believe, relatively rare but really called for, in this day and age is because a lot of us don’t want to do the work. We don’t want to invest the time, the energy, and the money, into finding out about those parts of ourselves that we’ve been working so hard to shove away, put away in a closet, in a box in the basement, because we don’t want to look at it. We don’t want to spend time on it. OR we think we’ve already handled that! (“I am an evolved being and I’ve worked through that issue, thank you very much.”)

Yet I am here to tell you that there is a full circle thing that goes on around and around. We spiral back to the areas that need or want our attention. We may think we’ve handled something, but it’s still popping up for us, so it means it still needs our attention. Very often, when we have these recurring patterns, old stories, or negative energy pop up for us, we feel like we just want to put it away. Because we don’t have time to deal with it right now.

However, any of you who have pets or have had children know that you don’t get to choose when these things happen. You know, your cat is going to get sick and throw up, or your child is going to be sick and you’re going to need to reschedule an important meeting. Something happens that is outside of your control when you’re probably not wanting it to, and that’s what happens with some of our shadows. By these shadows, it doesn’t have to be something really negative, most likely it is, but there’s also the shadows of our brilliance that we hide from.

So let me go back to redefine what I call self-awareness. If you look up the definition, self-awareness is about the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. The example that I found is the process can be painful, but it leads to greater self-awareness. I believe that’s why many of us don’t want to do the work, because we don’t want to not feel good. We have this addiction to positive energy, feeling good, feeling joyful. We don’t like those gray days where it was rainy, cold, and you just want to stay in – under the covers – and not go out and do your stuff, not go out and show up.

So what happens is we end up with this “running away from things” that just want us to acknowledge them? Try this: If you have a 4 year old who wants your attention when you’re trying to get something done, you understand what it’s like to have that screaming, temper tantrum. Or sometimes my cat will just come up and want to sit right on my lap when I am typing at the computer, or when I am in the middle of meditation. How do we allow for that interruption and actually embrace it, love it, accept it, allow it?

I am going to describe my journey with self-awareness as a spiral heroine’s journey, unlike a hero’s journey which we know a lot about. Most of our movies are around the hero’s journey where they get this unwanted call asking them to be a hero, where they are not wanting to be one. They ignore the call to move forward, do something, take care of something. AND what happens is many heroes try to go back to sleep, and they can’t. This thing keeps knocking at their door saying you’ve got to go do this, and they finally take off, sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes with more excitement, to go find the holy grail, or to go get the sword out of the stone, or whatever their vision keeper is telling them to go do, whatever their mission is. It’s very external.

The hero’s journey, if you look at the masculine version of this, it is an external process. They fight the demons, the dragons that save the princess, and they go through all of these things to complete their mission, which is something outside of them and physical. It’s not the same for a heroine’s journey. A heroine’s journey has a lot of the same steps. Very often you will hear people who found an initiative or an amazing non-profit or community agency, or a for-profit business, and they’re like, “I just didn’t want to do it. Why me, God? Why do I have to be the one that does this,” and very often they do. It keeps knocking at their door saying, “We want you.”

Begrudgingly, and sometimes with a different level of excitement and anticipation and eagerness, the heroine steps off to go do what they’re here to do. They run into all kinds of issues. Demons and dragons of all sort. But guess what? They’re internal. They’re not out necessarily fighting a physical being – it could be. It could be the changing of a relationship, or letting go of a physical circumstance and moving to a new place – but very often it’s an internal struggle. It’s an internal place of going into the dark night of the soul, and facing, straight up, all of the stuff we didn’t want to look at, all the places where we get in our own way, all of the self-doubt, criticism, confusion, overwhelm, playing it small, being safe, and not speaking up because if we do we might get killed – all of the places where we hide our power. Those are all internal struggles. Once we face them all and shine our light on each of these little things one, by one, by one, like stepping stones – these things will pop up right in front of us as soon as we think we’re finished and ready to move forward – there’ll be another one that will show up in front of us for us to work through, discover, or uncover (I guess would be a better word). This identifying, running into, facing these demons and dragons is what is called for for self-awareness.

It’s also what’s called for courageous authenticity. It’s also what’s called for for leadership. We don’t want to very often do this because it’s yucky. It doesn’t feel good. It takes us away from what we want to do. Yet, when we do this deeper work, what ends up happening is everything comes forward with us. It’s like the universe aligns and all of a sudden there is this golden path that shows up in front of you. It may only be a step at a time, but things are so much easier because we’ve dealt with some of the baggage. We’ve lightened our load. We can see with different eyes.

So then, the owning of our strengths, our talents, our wisdom, and all of the places that make us uniquely brilliant allow us to be more magnetic for the support, seen and unseen, that shows up. All of the angels, the guides, the teachers, the people that are here to support us in moving on and moving forward. They’re also there to be these over-lighting guides to remind us when we get stuck in a place of shadow or recurring old patterns, that we’ve got this. That we already have discovered those parts of ourselves. We know what our reactive tendencies and patterns are. We can go back and visit them, but we don’t need to live there for a long time anymore, because we’ve gotten to a place of acceptance, of healing those core wounds, once we shine the light on them they don’t have the power they used to have. Right? That’s such a sense of freedom.

I am using this term a lot these days called sovereignty. That’s what we are here to be. We are divine, amazing, essence-filled beings that are in our physical bodies right now to do the biggest work we can do. To be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. To be our fullness and our wholeness right now. The only way we can be that is when we embrace and actually love all of the parts of ourselves. The stuff that we like showing other people on Facebook and Instagram, and the stuff we don’t like showing people. And I am going to switch that up to LinkedIn, because on LinkedIn we have this funny feeling that we can only show our most professional, most accepted, most prized parts of ourselves, where maybe if we showed our whole self, in all of our silliness, messiness, and brilliance, that might be what creates the magnetic path for our clients, our ideal projects to show up for us.

Because we are living in these volatile, uncertain, constantly changing and ambiguous time, we are being asked to step forward in a bigger way. It’s calling us into – and forces us into – our own heroine’s journey. It means going back to where we came from, and then forward into the unknown. And that spiral keeps getting bigger and bigger. We’re at the edge of our evolution. We’re constantly growing and expanding right now. That means that we are going to face our inner demons and dragons. We’re going to feel our power grow. However, every time we do, because we will have a different level of confidence, we will be grounded in how we show up. When we own all of these places within us, it allows us to leave the baggage behind and continue moving with the momentum that is light and filled with joy and creative power.

I believe that’s what it feels like to be a feminine leader, and I believe that it’s so rare because it’s not easy. I also feel that we ache for it. We know when we feel it with another. We know that it feels really good to trust and feel connected to someone, whether they are in a leadership position or just in relationship with us. When we operate like that all the time, we’re at our edge and it’s uncomfortable. Yet, it’s being called for again, and again, and again. If we want to create vulnerable trust with our clients, with our prospects, with our friends and family, in our love relationships, then we need to be that first. We need to have a vulnerable and trusting relationship with ourselves. I believe it’s time, sister. Let’s keep taking our steps, even though it feels like we’re going in circles sometimes. Know that that spiral path is continuing on upward, and we’re all in this together. We’re all making it up every day as we go forward. So will you join me? It’s the path of the heroine. Let’s do this, okay? Together.

Here’s the article with links to listen to this podcast on Soundcloud or YouTube:
https://youtu.be/SEkP6Ew7s5U (listen to on YouTube)
https://www.spreaker.com/user/authenticleadershipradio/the-heroines-journey-of-self-awareness Listen to on Spreaker

Deborah LeeAnn is a leadership catalyst working with women to Illuminate their strengths and Ignite their talents so they can Inspire change in their communities, organizations and the world at large. She is the founder of the Authentic Leadership Academy, an intensive mastermind and leadership development program for women, and of the SHINE Series, a program on change and transformation. Learn more about Deborah LeeAnn and see more Illuminating Leader interviews at www.deborahleeann.com.

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