You Have The Right To Be Heard

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I have a deep, deep belief that all people have a right to be heard. I’ve reflected a lot on where this belief came from and it goes all the way back to childhood. When I was growing up, I interacted with a lot of different people. My dad was a lawyer and when his clients came over for dinner, I was included in the conversation. My mom taught blind and visually impaired kids and was very involved with her students, so I went bowling with kids that couldn’t see the lanes, met students that were immigrants and Hmong refugees, and saw a whole different side of life than what existed in my white upper middle class suburb. 

You know what I learned from this?

ALL PEOPLE ARE JUST PEOPLE.

We each have a story to tell and a right to be heard.

But here’s the next thing (this is going to feel like a ninth grade geometry theorem!):

If I believe that all people have a right to be heard.

And I am a person.

Then I also have a right to be heard.

I remind myself of this whenever I get nervous to share. Or I feel like I’m not enough of an expert to have an opinion. Or when what I’m doing feels big. Uncomfortably big.

You also have a right to be heard. You have a point of view that should be shared – and listened to. Your ideas can change your team, company, and customers. They could have an impact way bigger and broader than what you could ever imagine.

But your ideas can’t change anything if they aren’t heard. Part of being heard is just saying the words. Getting up the courage to raise your hand and SPEAK.

But the other part of being is heard is HOW you speak.

Do you ever start a sentence with “I’m no expert, but…” or “You may have already thought about this…”

Do you ever ask a question when you really have a clear opinion to share?

Do you apologize just for sharing that opinion?

If so, then you are decreasing the power of your idea. Your important message won’t be heard clearly.

Most of the time we don’t even realize all the ways we decrease the weight of our message. They are habits we learn early and they go on autopilot.

But once you know about these habits you can change them! Subtle shifts in the way you speak, write, and carry yourself will have a HUGE impact in how your message is interpreted.

I believe we need more women’s voice in the world. That’s why I do the work I do and that’s why I created Confident Communication for Women – a 90-minute live online class to raise your awareness on all the things that decrease the power of our communication – so that you can change them and BE HEARD.

Be heard in a team meeting. In a job interview. In a presentation. In a salary negotiation. In a client pitch. Even at home.

It’s time for you to be heard. Confident Communication for Women is Tuesday, April 23, 12:00-1:30pm central time. I will record the class and send it to everyone that registers, so even if you can’t make it live, you’ll still get all the information. Cost is just $25 and includes a checklist for writing powerful emails.

Sign up on Eventbrite today!

Do you feel stuck? Here’s what’s REALLY going on

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Coaching clients often come to me with the same problem – they feel “stuck.” Some are unhappy in their job and want to make a change, but they don’t know what that looks like. Some have a vision, but are overwhelmed and unsure of the next step. Some say they just want to get back to feeling like themselves again. Others feel like they’ve lost their ability to dream and consider new possibilities.

Occasionally these clients really do some practical tools to consider new career paths and possibilities.

But that’s not usually what happens.

Almost every time, once we get into the coaching, we discover the problem isn’t being stuck. Here’s what really going on:

  1. Doubt and fear are getting in the way. It’s not that they don’t know WHAT they want – it’s that they don’t think they can actually GET it. They don’t go for the job they want because they don’t feel qualified. They don’t launch the business they’ve been thinking about for years because they’re afraid it’s not going to work or or believe it’s all been done before, so why even try. They don’t change career paths because they worry about what other people are going to think or fear they don’t have what it takes to be successful in a new field.
  2. They’ve lost connection to their true inner voice. This is the voice of your inner wisdom. Your authentic voice that is completely aligned to your purpose and values and JUST KNOWS. It’s always there, but we’re not taught to listen to it. It gets lost in the noise of our lives.

These often go together. When you lose connection to your true inner voice, you start to doubt yourself. Fear and imposter syndrome and the inner critic show up and throw a party.

The good news is this is completely fixable! Through coaching and different practices you can manage doubt and reconnect to your true inner voice so you can get unstuck and start following your true path.

Want to start today? Click HERE for a 15-minute journaling exercise to tap into your true inner voice.

Why affirmations, mantras, and positive thinking alone don’t work

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I recently started reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. The first time I heard the title many years ago I remember thinking, “Gifts? Yeah right. I may need to ACCEPT my imperfections, but they are NOT gifts.”

Maybe this thinking is the reason it took me so long to pick up the book, despite being a HUGE Brené Brown fan.

This past Sunday I read a line in the book that struck me as true and real as the couch I’m sitting on – “I’ve never seen any evidence of “how-to” working without talking about the things that get in the way.”

YES.

YES to all of this.

We are addicted to headlines that read, “5 simple steps to lose weight fast” and “3 practices guaranteed to find you love” and “The ultimate how-to guide to building a 7-figure business.”

No one clicks into a headline that says, “The uncomfortable process to explore your shame and fear so that you can live authentically.”

But the latter is what’s needed for REAL change. Change that doesn’t last a week or a month, but an entire lifetime.

We must examine the limiting beliefs holding us back and the parts of our story we’re ashamed to own. We need to hear the inner critic and understand why it’s talking. We have to know the obstacles getting in our way.

It’s like setting up a tent. Before plunking it onto the ground, you look around and make sure there aren’t any sticks or rocks that are going to make sleeping uncomfortable or poke a hole in your tent. And if there are, you REMOVE THEM. Way better to take the 5 minutes up front than attempt to sleep with a rock digging into your shoulder.

And so is life. It takes time and energy to remove the rocks and sticks, but it is 100% worth it. It’s worth it to ENJOY your life. To let go of proving yourself by saying yes to everything and everyone. To release the expectations you’ve piled on yourself since middle school. To follow the career path that your authentic self desires. To release the need for perfection and embrace the gifts of imperfection (yes, I believe they are actually gifts now 🙂).

All this is possible because you know in your heart of hearts that you are valuable. You are worthy. You are enough.

That is the work of real change. No quick-fixes and how-to guides can get you there.

If you’re ready to do the work, click here to set up a free coaching consultation with me. In that call, we’ll explore what’s holding you back and discuss if coaching is the right path for you to remove those obstacles so that you can have the life and career you really want.

What do you hire a coach for?

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I often get asked why people hire a coach and when is the right time to invest your energy and money into coaching. There are a MILLION great reasons to hire a coach, but people tend to fall into one of two broad categories:

  1. You’re facing a challenge and you want help sorting through it and making good decisions
  2. You’re looking to take your business, career, or life to the next level and you want accountability, tools, and support to make it happen

Yes, those are huge categories! You can find a coach to help you on parenting, divorce, weight loss, work-life balance, becoming a CEO, team dynamics, leading change, etc, etc, etc. It can be overwhelming! I want you to know exactly who I work with and can best serve.

First, I work with women! I’ve worked with hundreds of women in workshops, leadership development programs, and in one-on-one coaching, so I KNOW what women are facing and have developed tools designed especially for you. Beyond that, my clients tend to fall into one of three categories:

  • You’re considering making a career change, but the thought of actually taking the leap is terrifying!  Maybe you want to leave corporate and start a business. Or change companies. Or entire career tracks. But you think to yourself, “Can I really do this? What if I fail? Can I be successful elsewhere? What will people think?”
  • You experience a lot of self-doubt and imposter syndrome at work and want more confidence. You may feel like a fraud, question your skills, wonder if everyone in the room is smarter than you, or hold yourself back from opportunities because you don’t feel ready.
  • You’re a stressed-out overachiever that wants to take a more balanced approach – while still finding success in your career. You’ve been hustling since high school and you’re ready for the madness to stop! You want to achieve in your career AND enjoy the rest of your life.


Do any of these sound like you? If so, it’s time to schedule a call with me. In this free 30-minute consultation you’ll get clear on what you want and what’s holding you back. We’ll get to know each other, I’ll answer all your questions, and then we’ll decide together if coaching is the right fit for you.

 
In addition to the massive amounts of personal growth that comes with coaching, my clients have asked for (and received!) raises, received multiple job offers, and created new career paths for themselves. They’ve also learned to say NO so they can slow down, enjoy life, and get the important work done. After coaching they trust their true inner voice and have tools to manage doubt so they can get out of their own way. They are living life and pursuing their career ON PURPOSE. Past clients have said:

  • “Heather helped me find the answers and get the strength to seek them out.  Neither one of us knew where they were or what they were, but she guided me in a gentle way AND supported me in the process when it was super scary and I was full of doubt and fear.  And she helped me find the strength to question that fear and replace it with something else that made me feel empowered instead of scared. It was a journey of discovery. Actually life changing in many ways.”
  • “I feel more empowered. Less timid. I needed that little push to know that there’s more of me I can experience. Those fears are just fears. They can’t control my way of thinking or the way I feel about myself.”
  • “I learned how to believe in myself and know my worth.”
  • “Heather is very competent in the HR space and has a strong grasp of organizational dynamics. I never felt judged by her, but she pushed me when I judged myself.”

Click HERE to schedule your free coaching consultation.

Did you know that I make a $50 donation to the non-profit of your choice when you refer someone to me that becomes a client? Go ahead and forward the link to this blog post to anyone that might benefit from coaching – it’s a win-win for your friend and your favorite non-profit!

My #1 Tip For Dealing With Imposter Syndrome

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IMPOSTER SYNDROME! If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably heard of it. But just in case….here’s a quick definition. 

Imposter syndrome is just that – it’s feeling like an imposter, a fraud, like someone is going to find you out.

It also means that you assess yourself as lower or worse than you actually are. Like when you get an awesome opportunity and you think, Holy crap, I’m not ready for that! I just got lucky. I only got that opportunity because they like me. 

Yep, that’s imposter syndrome.

It manifests in a bunch of different ways, from not going after the promotion or big client because we aren’t sure we can really hack it at that level to keeping ideas to yourself in meetings (especially with leaders!) to staying in a bad job too long because you question if you can be successful at another company.

And it just doesn’t feel good. Wouldn’t you rather feel like your confident, authentic true self rather than a fraud? Yeah, me too.

SO – now that you have your primer on imposter syndrome, what the heck can you do about it?!?

Here’s my #1 tip: NAME IT.

Yep. That’s it. Whenever you hear those imposter thoughts start to circle in your head, stop and NAME IT. Say to yourself “That’s just my inner critic talking. That’s just imposter syndrome. It’s there. That’s cool. I hear you, but you’re not going to make decisions for me.” 

That’s it! Try it the next time you feel like an imposter and your inner critic shows up. Let me know how it goes!

Are you ready for more ways to combat imposter syndrome? Click here for Five Ways To Quiet The Inner Critic that you can use today!

The Secret Thoughts Of Successful Women

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No, I did not come up with that title, but it’s pretty fantastic. “The Secrets Thoughts of Successful Women” is a perfect way to describe imposter syndrome.

SECRET because we don’t talk about our doubting, imposter thoughts.

Whenever I facilitate a workshop on imposter syndrome, one of the biggest comments I get back is, “It’s so nice to know I’m not alone thinking this way. I thought I was the only one.”

Let me guarantee you right now – you’re not the only one that feels like a fraud or wonders if you have what it takes. But you feel alone because our thoughts and feelings are only taking place in secret.

SUCCESSFUL because imposter syndrome impacts overachieving women that are uber-capable, climbing the corporate ladder, growing their business, and becoming strong leaders.

But when they achieve this success they feel like they don’t belong. Like they’re going to be found out. Like everyone in the room is smarter and has fancier degrees.

So it’s the perfect title for Valerie Young’s book.

It’s also one of the items in this month’s Go Love Yourself Box, a monthly subscription box focused entirely on personal development.

Each month there is a different theme, from sleep to friendship to – you guessed it – imposter syndrome. In the box you get a personal development book on the topic with a workbook as well as tools and treats to help you put your development into action. There is also a Facebook group where you get to interact with a community of women so that you don’t have to feel alone in your challenges (and your joys!).

Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons: 1) I’m working with The Go Love Yourself Box this month as one of their featured coaches! Which means I get to coach women and talk about imposter syndrome with a whole new group of people. Woo-hoo! 2) This is an awesome product that I wanted all of you to know about. If you’re reading this blog you already have an interest in personal development and this box is a great way to keep learning each month!

Follow The Go Love Yourself Box on Instagram (@thegoloveyourselfbox) or Facebook or go to their website to learn more.

Happy learning!

Why Women Apologize So Much – And How To Stop

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We’ve all heard it. We’ve probably done it ourselves. There’s even a Pantene commercial about it.

A woman apologizing for absolutely nothing she has to be sorry for.

For sharing an idea at work. For needing help. For being busy. For stating our emotions. For existing on this earth, sometimes it seems.

I recently told a group of women at a speaking engagement that we need to stop apologizing because it decreases the power of our message. That if we as women want to be strong, confident communicators, then we need to stop starting sentences with “I’m sorry, but…”

It’s true. Apologizing for our ideas and emotions decreases their power.

And that’s exactly why we do it.

We’re not taught as women to take up space. To have opinions – and be direct about them. So we apologize to make our opinions more palatable.

Early on we are praised for being perfect, sitting quietly, and following the rules. So we apologize as adults when we’re anything less than perfect.

We learn quickly that part of our value as girls is being cute and likable. So we apologize if we fear we’re being too harsh.

Most of this is totally unconscious.

The good news is once we bring a habit from the unconscious into the conscious, we can change it.

Start by noticing when you say “I’m sorry.” And then substitute phrases to get away from always using those words. Even something as simple as “Pardon me” instead of “I’m sorry” will help to break the habit.

If you stop apologizing your communication will be stronger. Most of the time most people will react well to this. Your message will be clear and your ideas heard.

But the reality is that others will say you’re too direct. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten that feedback.) They’ll be taken aback by your confidence. By the strength of your message.

And that’s okay.

Because if you put yourself out there, take a chance, and share your bold ideas, you will sometimes get criticized.

You just don’t have to apologize for it.

 

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to master doubt and imposter syndrome and own their brilliance. Learn more about her coaching services here.

Do You Feel Like A Real Entrepreneur?

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“Oh, it’s just something I do on the side.”

“I’m a good coach (photographer, writer, artist, etc), but I’m not really an entrepreneur.”

“Sure, I sell my stuff, but I’m not a REAL business person.”

Any of these sound familiar?

I hear statements like this from women a lot. We’re good at the thing we do, but we’re not really a business person.

I see two main reasons this pops up for women.

First, we see ourselves as “bad” at the business side. We aren’t good at sales, taxes, marketing, balancing our accounts, keeping up with QuickBooks (seriously, nothing makes me feel more incompetent than trying to balance everything in QuickBooks). And because we’re “bad” at these things, then we can’t be real business women.

But there’s a second side to this as well.

Owning our status as business women makes it REAL.

Because if it’s a side hustle, then it doesn’t really matter if you make any money.

If you’re only in it halfway, then the potential for failure isn’t as scary.

If you’re not really an entrepreneur, then who can blame you if it doesn’t work out?

I get it. It is scary to own this title of business woman or entrepreneur. It sounds big. It sounds like we should know what we’re doing. Like we should have a formal business plan, perfect marketing scheme, be super profitable, and know exactly where we’re going. And if we don’t have these things, then who are we to possibly call ourselves entrepreneurs?

It’s imposter syndrome, hitting us hard and fast – and we often don’t even realize it.

But here’s the thing – ownership creates commitment. The more we say OUT LOUD “I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a business woman” the more it becomes part of our identity. And we act on our identity. We make decisions based on our identity. So if we start calling ourselves business women, we start acting like it.

Start saying the words, even if you don’t believe them at first. Start to introduce yourself as an entrepreneur. Include your side hustle as part what you say when you meet people — without saying it’s a side hustle.

Because the truth is if you’ve made even one dollar from something you’ve sold, then you’re an entrepreneur.

It’s time to start saying it.

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to master doubt and imposter syndrome and own their brilliance. Learn more about her coaching services here.

Why Our Brains Are Dumb

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We put a lot of stock in our brains. It’s held up as THE mastermind of our entire being. It’s the smart organ, the place where all our facts, learning, and knowledge are stored.

But there are some MAJOR gaps in our brain – particularly related to fear.

Take my experience of becoming an entrepreneur….

There were times when I was thinking about quitting my job to launch a business that I felt like the air was being sucked out of me. Like someone had tied a corset around my lungs and pulled the strings tight. My heart would beat fast, I’d get a pit in my stomach, and sometimes I’d even get nauseous.

My brain screamed, “STOP! I don’t know anything about this entrepreneurship thing. Don’t even think about going there!”

My brain interpreted this new venture as a threat. Like the possibility of running my own business was trying to kill me.

BUT NOTHING WAS ACTUALLY WRONG. I was completely safe.

And this is why our brains are dumb.

Our brains are designed to have a reaction to anything new and different. Because, in our brain wiring, the unknown isn’t safe. It’s uncharted territory that could kill us (literally).

This worked great when we were living outside being chased by animals. And it still works great when our actual, physical safety is at risk.

But most of the time our brain’s reaction to fear only serves to keep us small. To keep us safely planted in the circle of everything that is familiar and comfortable.

The problem is there’s a long list of amazing experiences that only exist outside the circle of familiarity. Starting a business. Going to a different country for the first time. Saying I love you. Sharing your writing. Singing in public. Doing anything on a stage. Getting a new job.

Pretty much anything that involves growing, learning, risk, and following our dreams is outside of the circle that our brains fervently try to keep us locked inside.

The good news is that once we do the scary thing our brains start to realize that we DIDN’T DIE – and maybe it would be okay to do it again. So our fight or flight reaction cools down a bit the next time around. It gets a little easier to take action.

One thing that has helped me overcome my brain is to simply ask myself,”Am I safe right now?”

99% of the time the answer is yes. Sure, I might be afraid of making a mistake or embarrassing myself, but that’s not going to kill me. So my brain can just back off.

Try it the next time your heart beats faster and your palms start to sweat. Stop, take a breath, and ask yourself, “Am I safe right now?” If the answer is yes, choose to override your brain, take another deep breath, and start moving forward.

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to master doubt and imposter syndrome and own their brilliance. Learn more about her coaching services here.

Are you hiding in busy work?

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I make a to-do list everyday. Until a few months ago it was just one long list of everything I needed to get done that day, whether it was as simple as a quick email or as complex as creating a marketing plan.

I got most of the things done everyday and I felt pretty good about it.

And then I realized the 1 or 2 things that weren’t getting done each day were the things that would really propel my business forward. 

There are so many reasons to skip the big work – it often takes more time to do the bigger work, it needs more energy and headspace, demands higher creativity.

But there’s another reason. 

The big work was totally outside my comfort zone.

The big work involved putting myself out there, asking for what I want, and potentially facing rejection. It also brought up all sorts of inner critic imposter thoughts like “You’re being too salesy”. 

I was hiding in my little work. The busy work that makes me feel productive, but doesn’t actually move me in the direction of my big dreams and goals. 

And I didn’t even realize I was hiding. 

Now I make two to-do lists each day – one for big work and one for little work. This tiny shift has made a huge difference. When the big work is laid out so clearly it is impossible to hide. 

I want you to take an honest assessment. Are you hiding from your big work? Are you making yourself busy so that you can feel productive while safely tucked away in your comfort zone? 

Commit to doing your big work in 2019. Categorize your to-do list like I did or write down just one thing each day that will move your forward towards your big goals. 

Stop hiding from your dreams. 


Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to master doubt and imposter syndrome and own their brilliance. Learn more about her coaching services here.