Why Do We Stay? How Women Can Stop Denying Their Intuition and Get Unstuck

Image courtesy of Norwood Themes

Image courtesy of Norwood Themes

I sat across the table quietly listening to him talk. We were at the corner Chinese Food restaurant at the nearby corner from where we lived, waiting for our order. Same as we had many nights before when cooking at home seemed like too much work for our NYC too-busy-to-cook lifestyle. But this night was different. This night had the potential to change the course of my life. It was the night when it finally hit me that the man that I had spent the last seven years with was not going to be the man I would spend the rest of my life with.  As the words touched my ears, “I don’t want to get married”, I instantly felt drained. In a way his words confirmed my suspicions but actually hearing them said out loud were like daggers to the heart. And in that moment, what happened next can only be described in the same way near-death patients report having an experience of leaving their physical body. I felt as if my soul left my body and I actually watched myself sitting at the table listening to my ex boyfriend tell me the thing I didn’t want to hear. I then heard my own wisdom, a voice whisper to me advising me that this was not where I should be and it was time to leave. I had a choice: Was I going to stay with this guy knowing that he wasn’t going to put a ring on it? Or do I walk away?

I chose to stay. Less than a year later, we broke up. 

I recall that memory at the Chinese food restaurant a few years ago like it was yesterday. Looking back, I can really appreciate having had that experience because over the years since then, I’ve learned how to listen to and trust my intuition. And as it turns out, the breakup opened me up to a new joy in my life that I would not have had the opportunity to experience had I stayed in the relationship. Sometimes in order for our greatest wishes and desires to become a reality and for us to become the empowered women we know we can be, we need to let go of the things that hold us back in order to make room for the things that will support us. That’s just how life works sometimes.

I’ve had conversations with many women who’ve had their own Chinese restaurant moments.  A time in their lives, their career, or a relationship when it was clear that it was time for them to move on.  Yet we hesitate or doubt what we are truly feeling and brush it off. 90% of the time when we get an intuitive nudge about something, we respond by:

1.      Going into denial about it.

2.     Waiting it out with false hope that the situation will resolve on it’s own.

3.     Ignoring it all together.

In my example above, I chose option #2. That seems to be a popular option for many of us. I worked with a woman who knew it was time to leave her job but chose to stay and took on another role within the same company. A year later, that pit in the stomach feeling returned so she finally decided to listen. She made plans to leave the company and pursue another career path. She says when she didn’t listen to her intuition the first time, “It was like postponing the inevitable.”

When it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on. And when we ignore this knowing that our bodies try to alert us to, we only prolong the inevitable.

If you sense that your intuition might be nudging you to move on from a situation that is no longer working, here are three practical ways to respond:

Get curious. Activate your self-inquiry. Ask your inner wisdom for more clarity about where it’s leading you to. If you are feeling resistance to moving on, ask yourself what is it that you fear about that idea. Curiosity opens you up to new answers and possibilities rather than staying stuck in your own judgment.

Talk it out. Gather your closest friends and confidants to let them know what you’re experiencing. Do this in a supportive group and ask them not to give you advice but just listen. Sometimes articulating your thoughts, feelings, and fears out loud helps you to hear yourself talk about it and take ownership of what you’re feeling.

Create a plan. If you determine that your intuition is right and it is time to move on, make a plan to do so. Understanding that it is not always easy to just walk away from a situation, making a plan with concrete steps will allow you to take incremental steps while honoring your inner wisdom.

If you’re currently facing your own situation and you feel it’s time to leave, don’t delay the inevitable. Choosing to leave a situation that is no longer working for you is the most empowering thing you can do for yourself. Listen to your intuition and determine your next course of action.

With love,

Ariane

If this post resonates with you and you feel moved to go deeper into this conversation, take the next step and reach out to us to get support.

The Thing You Resist

So often we experience our lives heading in a direction that evokes a sense of discomfort and uneasiness. Maybe we feel trapped in our particular situation unable to see a way out. We feel stuck and almost paralyzed by a problem we are facing. A problem that we nervously feel is sticking around longer than we want. So we take action in a desperate search to resolve this problem. We may seek advice from our friends. We study what other people are doing and try doing that same thing. We read every book and article on the subject looking for new insight. We try every healing modality out there from hypnotherapy to Ayahuasca looking for some kind of breakthrough. Or maybe we just sit silently in meditation waiting for that unicorn mystical aha moment to strike us with inspiration and earth shattering clarity.

Days, weeks, and even months go on like this. Everyday we are searching for the answer; that cloud parting moment that will change our lives forever and take us out of the problem that seems to be the bane of our existence. But instead of getting the answer, what we end up experiencing is silence and more waiting. It seems as though despite our efforts; despite staying positive and optimistic, despite our patience it looks like nothing has changed. Our life remains the same and frustration creeps in.

In one final cry for answers, we turn our heads upward and ask the spirits: What is it that I am not seeing? What is it that I should do? What action do I take?

And suddenly you hear: The thing that you are resisting is the thing you must do.

And as if all time stops you realize with deep understanding and clarity that yes, in fact the thing that you have most been resisting, avoiding, denying, mis-trusting, is the thing you must do.

We spend our time frantically searching, taking on more, running ourselves into the ground, distracting ourselves with meaningless activities to avoid the things that are hardest for us to do. We fill our days with work that is unfulfilling, spend too much time on social media, engage in shallow conversation instead of talking about the things that really matter. We avoid feeling our own pain and confronting our own demons because, well because, it’s hard af.

We avoid sitting down to write the book we’ve always wanted to write. We avoid picking up the phone to ask for help because we don’t want to expose ourselves. We run from the uncomfortable conversations. We avoid putting ourselves out there.

We avoid letting go of control because for too long drive, force, and sheer will is what we used to “make it happen” and manufacture our lives. We resist taking the first action toward our dreams because then that makes them, “more real”.

We resist and resist and resist the truth until our souls are worn out and we realize that to continue on like this would only deplete us further.

Resisting the uncomfortable has gotten you this far but now staying comfortable has become more painful than the discomfort you avoid.

Resistance serves us when we are fighting against societal injustices, patriarchal oppression, and acts of unkindness. Those are the things that as a collective we must rise up and speak out against.

But when it comes to your own souls purpose and undoing the fears that constrict you from living freely and being alive, seek out the hard truths through what you are resisting. Look to the things you avoid doing. Look to the things you hide about yourself. Look to the things that you are most afraid of. They hold the answers and have always been right in front of you this whole time.  Do the thing you are most resisting and experience true freedom.

If you're in New York City, join us on Jun 15th for a Night of Dreaming + Doing for inspired conversation and meaningful action. Details are here.

When You Don't Feel Qualified

"God is going to send you places you don't feel qualified to go. God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the CALLED!"

When I posted this quote on my Instagram a few days ago, it got double the likes of my normal posts. I knew this one struck a cord with a lot of folks. It was one of those posts that when I read the words, I stopped what I was doing and gave it my full attention. He qualifies the called.

I find that so many of us, especially women but some men too, often don’t feel qualified to step into the next chapter of their career story. If it’s a book we want to write, we disqualify ourselves by saying, I’m not a writer. If it’s a new role we want to take on at work, we disqualify ourselves because we don’t have enough experience. If we want to start a business but don’t consider ourselves savvy enough. If we want to change directions completely and go into a career path that is completely foreign to us, we disqualify ourselves because we don't have a Master's in that field. When we feel called into something we've never done before, we instantly feel unqualified for the job. We begin measuring ourselves by what we don't have rather than focusing on the strengths we already possess.


I believe we all have intrinsic qualities that sometimes lie dormant untilthe moment we need to call on them. Like the new mother whose never parented before, she’s filled with all sorts of nerves and anxiety over being responsible for another human life. But the moment she steps into it, she realizes motherhood is as innate to her as being good at finance or bringing friends together.


We almost always feel uncertain about venturing into unknown territory. The doubts are just a natural part of being human. We crave growth but a big part of the growth process is not always feeling ready for the thing you want to grow into. We must give ourselves permission to venture into unknown territory and the room to grow within spaces that at first seem too big. You won’t know what greatness you’re truly capable of until you allow yourself to be great. While you may not believe you have what it takes for that next big step, consider that there is an untapped part of you that was born for it.

Now it’s your turn. What are you feeling the call to do? What if stepping into it, made you more qualified?


Project She Went for Her Dreams has openings for 5 new clients. If you’re feeling the call to greatness, get started with filling out our application.
 
Cheers to your dreams,
 
Ariane

 

Leaving the Herd

The herd mentality is pervasive throughout our culture. Researchers discovered that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realizing it. We find safety in numbers. When we belong to a group, this makes us feel warm, safe, and content. Having a sense of belonging is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s how we build community and connection. However, when we succumb to a programmed, unconscious way of existing, we sacrifice individuality in favor of comfort. This showed up for me in my career in a profound way.

In my mid-twenties, I moved to NYC after grad school to start my career in corporate but the 9-5 thing quickly ran its course. Looking out of my office window down to the street below and seeing the tiny hoards of people during the height of rush hour make their way to work. The same way they had done previously the day before and the day before that. I had become one of them. I was part of the herd. I realized that the corporate cubicle life wasn’t for me.  So while most of my peers worked traditional jobs and climbed the corporate ladder, I had the nutty idea to leave the pack and start my own business.

Herding in our careers

I am always fascinated by how we choose our career path. But what I found is that we oftentimes choose our professions by default, not intention. We fall into a career because someone told us we should get into it or it just seemed like a good idea. An example of this could be following our parent’s advice to become a lawyer or go into finance because it’s stable and lucrative. Good advice but can become problematic down the line if you don’t truly love the work.

Breaking away

I believe one of the ultimate acts of leaving the herd is: the decision to stop following and lead.

Three things will happen when you decide to break away from the herd and how to handle it:

1.      Isolation. Leaving the herd can be a lonely place. Seek community immediately! Join groups of likeminded people who value thinking differently and freely. You can find them in meetup groups, within your community, shared spaces like co working offices, and events.

2.     Odd looks. Be ready for awkward conversations and puzzled looks from your friends & family. You may even get naysayers that challenge you or try to tell you it’s a bad idea. This is normal. People fear those who leave the pack but secretly they yearn to do the same. Be the example. Sometimes your decision to be bold inspires other to do the same.

3.     Temptation to return to the heard. It’s hard to walk to the beat of your own drum and dance when no body else hears the music. Resist the urge to go back to your comfort zone. Only you get to decide if herd life is for you or being the bold, daring black sheep.

Leading as the black sheep

The choice to be different is just that, a choice. If you’re someone who challenges convention and loathes conformity, you just might be a black sheep. Embrace it and do not hide. Our differences are what make us come alive. Being the black sheep is taking the lead for your own life, knowing what is best for you and acting on that knowledge unapologetically. Naturally, you will have those who you will inspire so being a black sheep is not just about you, but those you impact. Leaving the herd can be costly, but worth the price of admission.

Crafting Your Professional Narrative

What’s your story?

You know that thing you say to people that solidifies your entire work history and vision within a few sentences? Oh! You don’t have one? Well, today you’re in luck. I’m going to teach you how you can build a compelling, strong professional narrative so that when you get asked the inevitable question, “So, what do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself” so you can answer with confidence and ease.

But first things first.

Ariane, why do I even need one?

Great question. Most of us walk around with a hazy idea of our professional identity. It can be hard to articulate who we are and what we do and want to do in a clear and concise way. We have gotten by just winging it or saying our role and the company we work for, i.e. I’m the VP at Goldman Sachs. The problem with this is that it gives the listener an incomplete picture of you, it stops the conversation short, and can limit your own confidence in defining your professional path. The story you tell about who you are and how you operate which is supremely important to not only hiring managers but to investors, collaborators, sponsors, co-workers, or even your clients.

If you’re someone who is seeking a career change, building your professional brand as a leader or expert, or even if you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your business, having a solid career narrative is key to making it happen.

So, what is it exactly?

Let’s start with what it is not. Your professional narrative is not:

  • Your resume
  • Your LinkedIn profile
  • Your Business card
  • Your role or title

What it is:

  • It tells where you are coming from and where you are going.
  • It’s your sense of purpose, or your mission.
  • It’s your compass in navigating uncertainty and an unstable marketplace.
  • It’s an opening to deeper conversation and connection.
  • It’s an opportunity to create a positive first impression at professional events or social settings.

The conversation of sharing your career story can last anywhere between 5-7 minutes. It is not just a pitch but an opportunity for deep meaningful connection. The key is to shift into the mindset of sharing, connection, and curiosity.

How do I create one? 

The 7 elements for you to consider in developing your career story are:

1.     Who are you, where you’ve been and where are you going?

Your previous experiences both in life and professionally shapes your core beliefs, value system, and the desired impact you’d like to make. Look at these experiences like chapters of a book. These are events that have built your character and determine your leadership style. Envision what you want your next career chapter to be and how you want to get involved.

How would you describe your career path to date? What career milestones have you hit? What challenges have you overcome? Epiphanies received? What are you now interested in exploring?

2.    Look for the common thread that bounds your story together.

Whether you’ve been in the same field your entire career, starting in a new direction, if you have a side hustle or all of the above, there is bound to be one or two things that ties them all together. Perhaps the thread might be teaching, impacting others, storytelling, problem solving, etc. Be open and curious in discovering the thread because two seemingly different fields of work may reveal a powerful connection.

3.    Define your core purpose in 20 words or less:

What do you really aspire to do? What lights you up and makes you come alive? What frustrates you (think: societal challenges, personal frustrations or concerns)? What do you want to accomplish in work and life? Why is this important to you?

Draft a phrase of 20 words or less that describes your purpose? Write from your gut and reflect on your responses. Does your purpose move you?

4.    Who are you here to help?

Who do you really want to serve? Be around? Learn from and impact?

Consider - environment, family issues, group of people, education, media, government, healthcare, energy, health/nutrition, government, business, non‐profits, human development, animal rights, human rights, technology, etc.

5.    Define your desired tone.

How do you want to present yourself to the world? What is your authentic voice? Are you shy and reserved? Introverted? Extroverted? Humble? Funny? Passionate? Bold? Envision all of your actions being influenced by your tone and keep it simple.

What’s the energy behind your story? Include energizing words:

  • “I believe”
  • “I’m passionate about”,
  • “I love”,
  • “I get excited about”,
  • “I’m obsessed with” (i.e.“I’m obsessed with finding creative solutions to higher diversity and inclusion in the tech field” or “I’m obsessed with helping women find and express their voice”)

6.    End with an open-ended question.

Use your professional narrative has a conversation starter, not just a statement. Remember the goal is to create a meaningful memorable positive connection. Follow up with an open-ended question that ties into your story.

  • What kind of work lights you up?
  • What are you working on lately that inspires you?

7.    Continually revise and practice, practice, practice!

Crafting your professional narrative will take some time so be patient and stick with it. Once you've have it, practice saying it out loud with a mentor, colleague, coach, or someone you trust.

To give you a better idea of what it would look like, here's an example of mine:

“I love helping bold women get their big ideas out into the world. In the last decade, I’ve always found myself in roles helping trailblazers, thought leaders, big thinkers, change makers, and creatives to uncover their unique essence and get their work out there in a meaningful way. I enjoy having move-the-needle conversations that go beyond the surface and lead to transformational change in our lives and businesses. What big ideas are you working on right now?"

Crafting your narrative is one of the best things you can do for yourself in telling your own career story rather than having one defined for you. Hopefully this guide helps but if you need more support with creating your narrative, work with me to get started. Schedule a free session with me today!

A Letter From Your Dreams

Everyone always tells you to follow me, that your life will be better if only you were just living me out.

What do they know, you mumble. They don’t know your situation. You’ve worked damn hard to get where you are and you’re not going to risk it all for me. I mean, you’re right. Look at what you could lose.

The career you’ve built over the last ten plus years could go away. Sure you question whether you even like the work anymore but it’s what you’ve always done.

The respect from your family and friends. They think you’re super cool because you work at Google. You’ve spent a lifetime not letting them down and you’re not about to start now.

The person you’ve always been. Your success has come from doing what’s logical and rational not from being some dreamer, wishful thinking person. You’re not a child anymore. You live in the real world.

Besides, your life is fine as it is. Everything is fine, right?

Only, I hear your sobs at night. I hear your prayers asking for answers. I see how you get lost as you stare out into space thinking about your future.  I hear how you quietly criticized your friend Alyssa when she resigned from her career as a lawyer and opened up that new yoga studio in downtown Manhattan.

I haven’t said anything but I’m worried about you.

I’ve stayed quiet for far too long. I have stayed hidden deep down within you where you’ve kept me buried. You have ignored and dismissed me as if I don’t exist. As if I am not real.

I am here to tell you that I AM real. I am your dreams.

I am as real as the air you breathe.

I am as real as the nervous flutter you feel in your belly when you think of writing and publishing that book.

I am as real as the joy you feel when you light up teaching your friends about how to eat health consciously.

I am as real as the “you only live once” sign you happen to walk by at the same time you were thinking it.

I live in your heart and whisper to you in your quietest moments. To you, I may sound foolish and irrational. But for your entire life, you’ve played it safe haven’t you? When will you finally let yourself be happy?

Don’t you get it?

I am the reason you are here. I exist for you to believe in me.

I chose you because you are the only person that can fulfill me the way I was meant to be. I am unique to you and you only.

So while you may continue to ignore and deny me as some flight of fancy, I am here to stay. I will never leave.

You are afraid of me but you needn’t be. You may not think you are ready to fulfill me but I would not have come to you if that were true.

I am your dreams. It’s time you start listening to me instead of your fears. It’s time for us to start working together today instead of putting me off till the future. It’s time you start trusting in me. It’s time you start taking me seriously because without me, life starts feeling empty.

Take my hand and let’s jump in, together.

I am ready when you are.

Sincerely,

Your Dreams

Why Women Don't Ask

I have worked around some of the best business people in the game, both men and women. There is a stark difference between successful business men and women and those who are just getting by and that difference is: their ability to ask for and get what they want. It’s something that so few of us especially as women are willing to do. When it comes to making the ask in business, quite simply, women won’t do it. This is certainly not to say all women, but for the vast majority, we are not getting what we want because we are shy about asking.

Here are the top reasons why we’re not asking:

  • We feel like we are being a bother to the other person.
  • We are afraid of hearing No.
  • We don’t want to come off as being too aggressive or worse, selfish.

And here’s what is happening as a result:

  • We are getting paid way less money.
  • We are settling for smaller pieces of the pie.
  • We are not getting ahead in our business at nearly the rate that men get ahead.

We have to do better ladies.

We must acknowledge the hidden barriers at work that stop us from asking. Ever since birth, girls have been taught not to promote our own self-interest and to put the needs of others ahead of our own. We also fear being perceived as bitchy or too pushy.

It is time that we shift this paradigm. There are women in business who have nailed the art of asking for what they want and as a result, experience a level of success that few of us achieve. And as someone who used to be a non-asker and have since tossed that behavior to the side, here’s what I now teach women about asking for what you want:

  1. Be direct, just ask. No need to justify or rationalize your request. Be mindful of being passive or appearing insecure when you ask.
  2. Consider that the person you are asking will benefit from the request as well.
  3. If you hear a No, don’t personalize it. Don’t make a rejection about you.
  4. Ask for more than you think you can get.

Remember, everything you want (new business, more clients, new job, more money!) is on the other side of that Ask.  

Asking takes practice. What will you ask for today?

If you’re ready to ask for and get what you want, work with me to help get you there quicker. Schedule a free session with me today!