You Are Enough: How To Stop Feeling Less Than The Masterpiece You Are

You Are Enough: How To Stop Feeling Less Than The Masterpiece You Are

You are enough. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you’ve heard this expression used in the last few years, but did you believe it? Do you believe it? 

Shakespeare got the idea as evidenced in his line, “To thine own self be true.” And, then in the late 1800s, Oscar Wilde coined the term “Be yourself everyone else is taken.” 

These famed poets got it, but clearly it’s an idea we’ve been fighting for centuries. 

And so the question remains, how do you and I overcome the limiting belief that thine own self is not enough?

From Perfection to Scarcity 

As an infant, despite being the cute button that you were, you probably didn’t showcase any star-quality abilities. For months, your roster of extraordinary talents consisted of crying, pooping, sleeping, and making your momma laugh. Yet, passersby awed over your angelic bundle of pudgy flesh and you were your parents’ pride and joy. You’d not done anything yet, you were celebrated simply for existing. You were perfect just because you were born.

Babies are delightfully perfect examples of a human being, we love them for being fat. For crying. For being angry. For voicing what they want and need. We are born knowing what we need…and being appreciated for that intuition.

So what exactly happens to chip away at our self-worth? Do you remember the day that you officially decided that you weren’t affluent enough, tall enough, plump-lipped enough, light-skinned enough, dark-skinned enough, pointy-nosed enough, funny enough, or intellectual enough or clever enough to be worthy of a joy-FULL human experience?

I don’t remember that day, but I do remember some painful moments along the path. My guess is you do too…

The Subliminal Scale Of Self-Worth 

It’s something everyone does, but you’re probably unaware of how often you do it. You’ve been pressing the figurative record button since childhood. Messages or your interpretations of circumstances that have occurred in your life are used to determine your level of worthiness.

Broken hearts, failed exams, supermodels, missed promotions, and the number of likes on your latest post all takes their toll. One day you feel like you’ve made it, and can live on your mountaintop forever. The next day, one comment or one misstep hurls you back down to the base. Your mind is a constant battlefield – one minute you are enough and the next your insecurities get the best of you.

Each failure you’ve encountered, each accomplishment you’ve achieved is used as ammunition to affirm your self-worth or knock it back. It’s a constant back-and-forth from the You Are Enough column to Something Is Wrong with Me columns. 

Just stepping out of the shower and facing a mirror every day, you are confronted by that nagging voice of judgment. It’s as though a sly, little troll lurks behind the toilet, eager to analyze your reflection. With his clipboard and checklist, he notes the tone of your arms and belly. He pulls a magnifying glass out of his trousers’ pocket to check for new wrinkles and stray grey hairs.

Once the thorough scan is complete, you are declared fit, or (on most days, ugggh) not fit. Outcomes the red stamp of disapproval –  NOT ENOUGH. You vow to make better choices around the sweets in the office lunchroom and to stop by the drug store to pick up an anti-wrinkle serum (or a bottle of hair dye) on the way home

Or maybe you scroll the internet and talk to your boss to see if maybe you should get another certificate, an MBP or a Ph.D., because, despite 20 years of experience, you just don’t know enough. Or do you?

Comparisons: The Root of Self-Doubt and The Enemy of Self-Worth

A substantial list of outside circumstances may have culminated to form your negative self-worth image. However, it’s important to recognize the dominating role your own ego plays in determining how you feel about yourself. 

Your ego, a.k.a. “The Queen of Comparisons” is continually on the lookout for opportunities to make you feel inferior or superior to others. Either way, you’ll want to learn how to silence this beast. She serves no positive purpose. Moreover, each time you fall prey to the need to judge yourself or others, you are drawn farther away from your ability to share peace and joy with not only yourself but with those you love.

Conducting Appraisals Has Consequences

In today’s world, society has created so many parameters by which to measure our importance. Women feel a massive amount of pressure to conform to a certain profile in order to worthy and accepted. You are successful and enough only when you can afford a Louis Vuitton before thirty, be married to the perfect partner who does his share of the housework, all while raising exceptionally gifted kids (who sleep through the night) by your forties and working a job, and be fit like Jennifer Aniston in your fifties.

Sizing yourself and others up to the world’s standards does not leave much room for being human. Basing your values on idealisms meant for romance novels and Hollywood movies, stunts our personal, spiritual, and even professional growth. The consequences of assessing your own value or the significance of others based upon society’s appraisal system are toxic.

You may not realize it, but every time you judge yourself it gets worse: 

  • You come off in a negative light, whether your feelings are of superiority or inferiority
  • You resent others and jealousy surfaces
  • Conversations revolve around gossip
  • You crawl out of bed unmotivated which only reinforces feelings of not being good enough
  • You become the prosecutor and judge of random innocent strangers (and even your real-life Facebook friends) based on exterior qualities or material possessions without knowing the real story behind the person

The ego gains more power and influence each time you let these thoughts and judgments compete for your attention on a daily basis. The signs of an ego in total control may not be obvious. Sometimes they show up as the tendency to shift the responsibility or blame on others, other times to carryout excessive acts to gain notoriety and recognition. The ego can also resort to bitter jealousy when others succeed, a voracious hunger for more or even a resigned form of depression — I should have, could have, if only I’d ______ fill in the blanks. 

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How to Conquer the Ego’s Urge to Compare

First focus on your own journey. There is always someone smarter and someone less smart that you. Every person has her own unique path, but in the end, all roads lead to the same place.To be blunt we all die.

To be kind, each fellow earthling, no matter how flawless his or her persona appears to be, experiences insecurity, fear, and criticism as you do. Peace comes from letting go of expectations, appreciating others’ talents, nurturing yourself, and living on your terms. 

Elaine Welteroth describes in her New York Times Bestseller, More Than Enough, her arduous pursuit in overcoming self-doubt and breaking traditional barriers. Her inspiring story of an ambitious bi-racial woman climbing the corporate ladder demonstrates how important it is to give yourself space and permission to chart your own course. An example of remaining true to oneself, the author discovers her best life by standing firm on what is right.

Accept imperfections.  As Brene Brown teaches us in the Gifts of Imperfection, seeking out perfection, in fact, holds us back. In spite of our vices, shortcomings, chin whiskers and all (I pulled mine out just last week), you are enough. You have an important gift to offer the world. Don’t let the things you cannot do distract you from the one thing you were born to do. Direct your attention to your strengths and ask for help, or hire a team to compensate in the areas you may be lacking.

Reacquaint yourself with your core values. Regularly reviewing what you value most is a good strategy to keep you centered and on track. This process helps you to recognize and serves as a reminder that all you need, you already have. Remembering this smothers the insatiable desire for more.

Practice being grateful and gracious – avoid gossip. Finding one thing to praise another for cancels the impulse to gossip. Building others up rather than tearing them down triggers a wonderful sense of wellbeing within the soul. Plus, you are a magnet and will always receive back what you’re sending out into the world.

Leave the past in the past. What good comes from holding onto the shame of failed relationships, embarrassing moments, or deferred dreams? Every event and outcome is a chance to learn – a refinement. The situations and conditions that you endure and believe to be setbacks, actually set you up and prepare you for a whole new level. At each stage, you become stronger, wiser, and more of your authentic character emerges. 

What It Means To Be Enough

There is no magical formula for achieving enoughness. You don’t have to lose twenty more pounds or learn to ice a Frozen-themed cake like Suzie’s mom. It’s not about being the founder of a successful business, or the post-nominal initials you grinded for years to earn. The titles, size six jeans, and thriving business are valid goals if they are YOUR goals. However, they do not give you more value as a human being. You are enough simply because you are.

That being said, knowing this truth does not mean you should exempt yourself from ever setting another goal. You do not have to resign from your quest for success, whatever your dream entails. Your journey will continue to shape you and cause you to evolve as a person. But you are now set free from the need to prove to yourself or others that you are worthy. 

Goals are important, but what is most important is what you learn about yourself on the journey.

You can make a mistake, be wounded by someone, or become the wealthiest woman on the planet. Yet not one of these circumstances can reduce or expand your self-worth. Take a moment to let these words sink in – nothing you do or that is done to you can increase or decrease your self-worth. You are enough now and nothing will change that fact.

You ARE enough.

Breathe, Trust, and Most Importantly, Be Kind

As sure as you are alive at this moment, sitting, breathing, and reading this, you are enough. From the moment you were conceived, an intricately crafted seed within your mother’s womb, you were a masterpiece. You are a one-of-a-kind specimen, created with distinctive features, talents, and attributes only you can offer this world. If this is hard to believe, start by understanding that the universe does not make mistakes. 

Just as the law of attraction and the law of gravity are irrefutable, your reason for existence is undeniable. You are a crucial part of the universal equation. Hence, if you believe gravity exists, you must also believe that the universe created you with precision and purpose. 

Next time you hear the familiar soul-sucking voice of condemnation, take a breath, choose to be kind to yourself, and trust the absolute truth that you are enough

You will feel freer, lighter, happier, and when the shit hits the fan, you will bounce back faster and brighter, because you are enough. 

And if you are ready to change careers, go back to work or start your own business, don’t hesitate, because you are enough. Indeed as this article at Power to Fly highlights, you can do pretty much anything you set your mind to, even change your career at any age!

Do you understand the magic in knowing and living your values?

Do you understand the magic in knowing and living your values?

If you cringe or wonder what’s up when you hear phrases like “value-driven”  or “live your values” you are not alone. 

For many years I ran away from the term “values” because I associated it with a political group from my childhood. That group used values to judge and condemn. They attempted to use their proclaimed values to disempower individuals with a different worldview. 

Today my skin still crawls a bit when I *ask* people about their values because I am afraid they might think I am going to judge. But I ask anyway because as I career coach I know that understanding and living our values is a highly personal endeavor that gives individuals agency and helps them to live a life they love. 

Knowing your values means that instead of forcing your worldview on anyone else you live your own values. Knowing your values means that instead of living someone else’s values, you live your own. 

Why is this important? Because when we let outside influences dictate our values we get stuck. We feel yucky, we lose our motivation and most of all, we lose our power to act according to our own internal compass. This increases feelings of discontent, stress, and anxiety. Values hit us at our core. This is why they are often called CORE values. And knowing them makes it easier to live our lives and make choices that work for us.

Values guide us and diminish our fear of deciding what needs to be done.

The Importance of Core Values

Core values drive our decision making and are intrinsically tied to the so-called “gut feeling.” When take an action or make a choice that is not aligned with our values, we get that dreaded sinking feeling, which over time can build into stress and anxiety. 

Working against our core values leads to problems at home and at work. Finding clarity about our values is so important because when we understand what we value and why it suddenly empowers our decision-making process. 

Values-based decisions are choices that empower us to do what we believe is best. The greatest personal achievements, the most wonderful feelings of accomplishment, and the best intrinsic motivation come from intrinsically motivated actions. 

Sometimes making values-based choices, even if they are not our “first” choice so to say, makes it totally possible to embrace the choice, because we understand why we are doing it. Values-based choices take us from feeling like we are “sacrificing” or being a “martyr” to understanding that we are in control and falling our chosen path because we value the outcome.

Core values drive our decision making. If we know what we value making a decision becomes a choice and we are empowered to do what we believe is best. The greatest personal achievements, the most wonderful feelings of accomplishment, and the best intrinsic motivation come from intrinsically motivated actions. 

The Oxford Online Dictionary gives the following definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic:


Belonging naturally; essential.


Not part of the essential nature of someone or something; coming or operating from outside.

Values for our purpose refers to principles and standards of behavior — what is important to you in your life. How you show up for others and how you hope they will show up for you. You can see with the definition of intrinsic and extrinsic, that if we want to feel and live authentically, our values should ideally be intrinsically motivated. 

As a career coach, I call these our CORE values. There are several exercises that we use in the coaching world to help people identify their core values. I like to use this Values PDF from Brene Brown’s Book Dare to Lead. If you’ve never done a values survey, I’d suggest setting aside 10 or 20 minutes to do so right now or when you finish this article.

Instructions: Complete your own Values Survey using Brene Brown’s PDF with this exercise. 

Stop “Shoulding” on yourself. 

Once you’ve completed the values exercise you can continue to use this process in your life. If you feel overcommitted and stuck or if you are having trouble with a particular decision or task try reframing it by switching up your language.

Which is more empowering?

I must bake a hundred cookies for the bake sale because as a good mom I should show that I care about the school. I have to bake these cookies tonight or I will look bad. I won’t get enough sleep, which stresses me out and I might wake up late and be rushed in the morning. I am already frazzled because when I wake up late I yell at the kids and we are all late.


I need to say no to baking a hundred cookies for the bake sale because as a good mom I value the time that I have and so I chose to go to bed early tonight so I can get a good night’s rest and wake-up on time to get my kids to school and me to work in the morning without being stressed, rushed or yelling at my kids.


I love to bake cookies and so I choose to stay up late tonight because I enjoy participating in my kids’ bake sale and I value making this kind of contribution. I know that this is my choice and so even though I may not get all the sleep I need, I will not be stressed in the morning, because I’ve already let my boss know that I’ll be 20 or 30 minutes late. This means that I can take the time I need to get the kids and cookies to school without being stressed or angry.

I must versus I need

I should versus I value

I have to versus I choose to 

Here is another example — I want to improve my health by exercising more. 

I must get up at 6 AM to exercise because my doctor told me I should. Remind me to set my alarm because I have to get up at 6 AM! And, then I feel like a sloth because I sleep in. 


I need to get up at 6 AM to exercise because my health is important to me. I value my health, therefore, I chose to get up at 6 AM to exercise. And, I do. 

 See the difference? Feel the difference? 

In positive psychology, we call this “stop shoulding” on yourself, because when you should all over you tend to end up feeling pretty shitty. When we feel shitty it tends to build and then we feel bad all around for not living up to our own expectations and also our perceived expectations of those around us. We think we let ourselves and everyone else down all the time when we “should on ourselves.”

Getting clear on your values and then using this to reframe the actions and activities that you take in your life allows you to be authentic to yourself and to the people that mean the most to you. Knowing your values alters your worldview and frees you up to love more and live better.


Humans are meaning-making machines. 

Wherever we grow up; however, we grow up, we attribute meaning to the language and actions of those around us. We grow with the rules and expectations of our local culture. Sometimes the culture and rules we experience at home are different from what we get when we leave the house; sometimes we move regions and have to adapt to new rules and ways of doing things. 

One of the things you will notice about most publicly successful people and even privately successful people is that as they grow up they tend to exude confidence. Where does that confidence come from?

A big part is having a clear values system backed up by an active and conscious worldview. Conscious is crucial, because you already live your life with a worldview, it’s the being intentional about it that empowers us to live a life aligned with our values.

Your worldviews is a mix of what you’ve learned and what your mind, heart, and gut tell you is right. It’s the foundation for how you make choices and what lets your mind play mental gymnastics without anxiety or guilt. 

A strong worldview will let you know when you need to do the right thing for the wrong reason; or when maybe you should actually do the wrong thing for the right reason. For example, sometimes the best thing we can do is to tell someone “no.” Saying no can be a gift, in the same way, that discipline is love. 

Your core values are the foundation of your worldview. But there is another important component that varies for each of us and that even changes over our life. These are our character strengths — what we value in ourselves and others. Things like gratitude and an appreciation of beauty, or spirituality or honesty. 

When I work with coaching clients one of the first things I ask them to do is to take the VIA Character Strengths survey. 

VIA Characters Strengths

The survey and the basic results are free, so this test is accessible to anyone reading this article online. You can pay for a more detailed report, but for our purposes today, I don’t find that to be necessary. 

Here is the link to the VIA Character Strengths Survey and my career coaching exercises.

Once you have your results you can put them to use two different ways. 

Your Unique Values

This is how you show up in the world. If you are someone who always notices and fights against the inequities in the world then “Fairness” may be a top strength for you. The VIA report will highlight your top 6 strengths, but give you a list of all 24 in descending order. 

The last strength on your list is not necessarily an indicator that you don’t value or are “bad” at this strength. What it indicates is that it is not as important to you in how you live your life as your top strength. 

For example, I admire and value spirituality, but I’ve not been raised with a strong spiritual practice and I have never made it a priority in my life. Spirituality is one of my “last” strengths. 

On the flip side, my life has been defined by a search for beauty and excellence. I’ve had to “recover” from perfectionism and I am truly bothered by ugly things and places. My number one top strength? “Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence.” This is why my office is my personal oasis, why I always keep houseplants and adore flowers. If I could live in a Japanese botanical garden, I would! 

What you look for in others and the world

Your VIA strengths are also useful for you in looking out for what you value in a place of work or in a company that you do business with. If your workplace is in conflict with what you value, you will always fill at a disadvantage. 

If our CORE values as discussed in part one are our principles and standards. Our Character Strengths reflect our ideals and requirements for the world in which we live. If we do not recognize the importance of both types of values in our life, if we do not own what is important to us by creating and defining our worldview, we will always be wondering why something doesn’t feel right. 

This right here is one of the reasons that journaling and meditation can be such powerful tools. 

When we write in a journal we are safe from the influence and judgment of others and we can work through things like our values. The following questions are things that you might wish to journal about or think of during a time of meditation or quiet reflection. 

I recommend journaling for two reasons. The first is the physical act of writing with a pen on paper activates areas of the brain that deal with healing and processing. Writing is more than thinking — it can actually help you work through ideas and formulate or reformulate your world view. 

Maybe we need to change the phrase “Laughter is the best medicine” to “Laughter and handwriting are the best medicine!” 

Journaling Prompts

Given my top 6 VIA strengths — am I surprised? How do they align with my current priorities in life? Do I want to change anything? If so, why or what?

What brings me feelings of peacefulness?

What causes me to feel joy? 

How do I feel right at this moment?

What is causing me stress right now?

What makes me feel alive?

If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing, what would it be?

What do I need to feel safe or secure?

Why do I worry about _________? What about this is important to me?

Over a single sitting or several weeks try journaling and meditating on your character strengths and core values. Write them down and think about how they show up in your life. 

Notice during your daily activities how and when you experience different emotions, such as anger, joy or guilt dependent on the interplay of your values and what happens in life. 

Notice if certain activities, people or places particularly energize you or drain you. Then take some time to think about the world view you’ve been living with and maybe how you’d like to adapt it to match your core values and strengths. Doing so should be intrinsically motivating and may even cause you to feel elated and or deep joy and gratitude. 

Notice how clarifying your worldview simplifies your life and makes taking choices easier. 

How Values Show up in our Work

In the workplace, real equality means valuing family just as much as work, and understanding that the two reinforce each other. As a leader and as a manager, I have always acted on the mantra, if family comes first, work does not come second — life comes together. If you work for me, and you have a family issue, I expect you to attend to it, and I am confident, and my confidence has always been borne out, that the work will get done, and done better.

Anne-Marie Slaughter

When looking for work we need to live our values. We also need companies that value what we value. When it comes to men and women in the workplace, equality doesn’t mean valuing women on male terms, it means valuing each person’s unique life choices.

Families are important. Parents are important. Partners are important. Life. Work. Purpose. Everything is interconnected.

Meaningful work is important. Demeaning and soulless workplaces literally kill us. They increase our stress and cortisone levels. They create apathy and reduce engagement.

If you are unhappy in your current job you can do two things. You can try to reframe your current work and position so that you enjoy it more. You might do this by talking openly with your manager about what is working and what is not. You might ask for a special project or a promotion, you might ask to move laterally or even go back to a previous position.

If that doesn’t work then you might need to create a plan to find a new job. Maybe you need to pivot. Maybe you need to completely switch gears. Maybe you want to upskill and go back to school or get a certificate.

Whatever you do, first get clear about your values, your strengths, and your interests. Make sure that if you invest the time in creating a new future that it’s a future aligned with the direction you want to go. Make your move a choice and you will be empowered to create your own success.

Once you are clear about your values, make sure the companies you target also have clear values. If you are going to walk your walk; the expect the same from your employer. This article on Power to Fly about Zapier’s company values is a great example of two companies that have clear values and that live their values.

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; it's choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”
Be a SuperWoman: Live Your Values

Be a SuperWoman: Live your Values

See the difference? Knowing your values empowers you to live the life of your choosing. It simplifies your decision-making process and facilitates intrinsic motivation. Pushing your values on someone else is also likely to fail, so understanding the values of those around you is an important step to building empathy and direct communication.

I start nearly all my coaching relationships with a values survey because self-awareness is the foundation for building a life you love. 

If you can only do one thing today towards building yourself a more satisfying and resilient future — that thing should be thinking about and identifying your core values. 

You might even call your Core Values your personal Holy Grail. 

Recommended Reading

One of my first ventures into values and how they apply to our daily life is the book the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The book discusses essentially “four agreements” we make with ourselves to live happier, fuller and more authentic lives.

In a nutshell, you might say that Ruiz teaches us to know ourselves and our values. This self-awareness facilitates action and clarity in regards to what you want. Speaking with authenticity and truth, not doing harm with your language, including avoiding gossip or making assumptions becomes easier.

The result is that you have more respect for yourself and for others — you engage in less argument for the sake of argument. And you find more success in all you do, more satisfaction and happiness in your life and your relationships. 

The Four Agreements. Read it. 

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How to Succeed and Overcome the Fear of Failure

How to Succeed and Overcome the Fear of Failure

Let’s look at what it takes to design a career of purpose and freedom that delivers both fulfillment and allows you to create your own definition of success.

One of the most seemingly benign (or to some people annoying) and yet incredibly powerful questions that I ask of anyone struggling to find their direction is:

“If you could do anything and be assured success, what would you do?”

I get many different responses to this question.

Some people launch directly into their current path and goal. They’ve got an answer at the ready.

Some people pause, take a deep breath and launch into their dream vision, which they clearly desire and yet [currently] consider to be impossible.

Some people make an uncomfortable laugh and tell me something seemingly impractical, such as a desire to become Superman or be the first person to land on Mars.

Others give me a mixed story that hints towards their dreams and passions but is oddly undefined.

And some, you might be one, simply tell me they have no idea, they just want a good job with a nice work-life balance.

None of these replies qualify as the “right” answer, because there isn’t a single correct answer to this direction.

However, each response is telling, and as a career coach practitioner, it is sometimes the light in the person’s eyes, their choice of vocabulary, they way they make eye contact or avoid eye contact when they respond that is even more telling.

A Common Denominator

A common denominator in nearly all the replies, even the person who launches directly into their current goals, is that most people don’t really believe that they can do or achieve whatever they put their mind too.

Most adults qualify their goals based on what they’ve been taught is practical, logical, and safely achievable.

Society has led us to believe that a happy life is an easy life and that security is more desirable than risk and  that the people who dream big and succeed are simply LUCKY and that luck is not something that can be made or found, it just is.

10-Year Study on Lucky People

Happiness is not an Easy Life

And so, too many of us settle for a path of least resistance that meets our basic needs and that will supposedly deliver us happiness in the form of security, titles, and sufficient material wealth.

We are a “yes” culture that does as we’ve been told. We worry a lot about what we should or shouldn’t be doing or have or look like and then we wonder why, in our so called modern society, those of us living in countries ripe with freedom and success continue to see rising rates of depression and a culture that is terrified to fail.

And yet, life is not easy. Even those who succeed experience  pain and suffering in their lives. They lose loved ones, they fail, they get sick and sometimes they don’t want to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. Success and failure are both perfectly human.

At the same time, to feel courage you must also experience fear.

To win big, you must take a risk.

Happiness is not easy, hope itself requires that you’ve got a goal in mind that you are “hopeful” to achieve.

Hope itself even requires that you have a clear vision in mind that you know what you want and that you understand what you must do to achieve your goal, combined with the belief that you can make it happen.

So let me ask you this question and I want you to answer with HOPE:

If you could do anything and be assured success, what would you do? What is your desired life direction? Where do you really want to go? Who do you want to be?


What is “direction” and why is this question so telling? Direction gives us both purpose and inspiration, it helps us to prioritize what is good in our life and say no to the things that distract us or lead us down unhelpful paths.

Direction is a vision for who we are and who we hope to become. Many people have trouble with this question, because for so many years their dreams have been squashed, either by people in their lives or by their own fears and anxieties.

When a 40 year old answers the above question with “drinking cocktails on the beach” or “becoming an olympic gymnast” or anything else that is not grounded in reality, I hear in the response that this person is a bit lost and could benefit from finding her direction.

This person likely has a private dream or desire, but she is afraid. She is frozen. She thinks the effort or the money, the sacrifices or the special steps required to achieve this dream make it impossible. She lacks faith in herself and the universe and she fears what might happen is she tries and fails.


Humans are biologically programmed to be fearful, we are naturally inclined to display a negativity bias, to be watching for the lion or the leopard that might gobble us up around the next corner. However, in our daily lives, many of our fears are really “worse case scenarios” and statistically not likely to happen. Most of us don’t have lions in our backyards (except in Colorado, where I am from…ha!)

Our parents, our friends, our insurance agents and in particular our TV broadcasters set our daily programming to worry “what if.” We live in a society that conditions us to want everything and at the same time to give up before we start.

Why then do some people succeed? What makes a boss? I let you in on a little secret, the boss across the street or running that yoga studio or rapidly growing start-up  isn’t different from the rest of us in that she is invincible, perfect or that she lacks fear.

She is successful because she has faith in herself, she has hope and she has set her direction. She is aware of her fear, so aware that she identifies it and she sets a plan in place to step into that fear, finding her courage, making a plan, and forging ahead.

You cannot have courage without fear and vulnerability.


When we step into our fears and anxiety, when we push through to the otherside, we do risk failure, but at the same time we invite success.

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.”

You can dream and plan all you like, but if you don’t take action, if you don’t pick a direction, life will pass you by.

But as John Lennon also said, “You’re just a human.”

So give yourself permission to be human. No one expects you to be Wonder Woman. You might make a mistake or drop a ball, but that’s okay. If you drop a ball, it means you are playing the game of life, not just sitting on the sidelines watching life go by.

Plan of Action

Which takes us to PLANNING and ACTION. If you’ve got a direction, if you’ve acknowledged your fears and given yourself permission to be human, then the next step to your success is to make a plan and take action. Even one tiny action per day can make a difference.

Baby steps lead to toddler steps lead to kid steps and so on. If you’ve got a dream, if you’ve got your direction, what steps can you take TODAY to make this a reality?

Whether you plan out your next ten years or your next 10 days — there are definitive small steps to take that will add-up and move you towards your goal.

Sometimes our direction or our overarching goal seems so big and complex that a useful trick is to work backwards. First identify where you’d like to be in 5 years (or 10 or 20!). Then identify where you might need to be with this goal in 3 years and then 2 years, working all the way back to where you stand with this goal today. Now that you’ve visualized your goal in reverse, you can lay out the ground work to move forward effectively.

What can you do today to move you towards this goal? Maybe it’s research, maybe it’s a phone call, maybe it’s signing up for a class or making a budget.

Now, what is one tiny thing you can do every day for the next 10 days, to move you in the right direction?


An important part of achieving our goals and successfully moving in a direction that meets our hopes and desires, is taking the time to reflect and adjust. Indeed,  intentional living and cultivating long term life satisfaction doesn’t mean that you set your course and forge blindly ahead, never stopping to learn, listen or make adjustments. .

Note that I used the word reflect, not ruminate. You cannot change your past, but you can create your future. You can reflect on what is going right and what you could do better. You can learn from mistakes, but if you want to move forward to avoid wasting your time ruminating on your mistakes leave them in the past.

Reflection questions you might ask:

What have you done in the past that worked?

What might you do differently in the future?

What fears or anxieties continue to hold you up?

What have I done that has brought me the most joy/satisfaction/feelings of usefulness?

Am I living up to my vision for excellence?

Take the time to reflect. Even to meditate. And to rest.

Your Personal Compass

Remember that the direction — the path — you’ve chosen to follow is your path. And you can change your path. Perhaps you’ve spent the last three weeks or the last three weeks pursuing a particular path, but upon reflection you notice that you’ve changed or learned something new, maybe you need to modify your path and your direction.

That’s okay. That’s even good. Self-awareness, the permission to be human, intentional decision making are components of self-agency. Your path is yours. Set the direction that you want to go and define your own success.

Your success might be making enough money at a day job to travel wherever you wish on vacation. Your success might be to figure out how to raise your kids and work part-time or to be a stay-at-home-mom with no regrets. Your success might be to start your own business and never have kids, or to start that business in spite of your family obligations.

The Story of My Father the Artist

Every person is unique. Every direction is unique. What we all have in common is the desire to set our dreams in motion and make them happen. To step into our fears and to feel that rush of courage. To try or learn something new, to feel the progress and exprecience the progression in our life.

So, if you could do anything and be assured success, what would YOU do?

Please honor me with your hopes, as your advocate and your champion, I want to know. You can either comment below or email me, whatever you choose, tell me your answer!

If you want to know more about this subject and my story you can read “Who are you meant to be?” or my about page!

Why you need a Vision Board and How to Create Yours

Why you need a Vision Board and How to Create Yours

Why create a vision board? Visual imagery is immensely powerful in helping us to visualize our dreams.

That sentence is a tad redundant and I wrote it that way on purpose. It’s one thing to have an idea in your head. It is yet another to start thinking about what that “idea” would look like put in action.

And yet another to put it on a Vision Board where you can not only see it but imagine it alongside your life goals. 

Once you can visualize an idea, think about what it means to you and how it is is a part of your life, you become closer to turning that dream into a reality. Many successful athletes visualize success before events.

Creating a vivid and detailed image or plan is, in fact, part of successful goal setting, because doing so requires you to think through the steps and understand what is required of you to achieve a particular goal.

What’s more, creating a Vision Board that you post in an area of your living or working space where you can see it daily further reinforces your goals and your ability to achieve them.

Seeing something daily is both an affirmation and a reminder of our goals.

The Form of Your Vision Board

Today you can create virtual or concrete vision boards. I prefer the practice of creating a concrete, tactile vision board, because for several reasons. One is just because it’s fun to cut and paste. Don’t we all wish sometimes we could return to the early days of primary school where glue sticks and not computers dominated our daily life? Similarly, it is all too easy to get caught up in “SERIOUS” goal setting and making plans for the future.

Life should be fun.

Life is good.

Life is beautiful.

Have a little fun!

On a more serious note, ahem, the act of physically cutting, pasting, and designing your board is therapeutic and a robust tool to help make your goals and dreams a reality.

The first time I made a vision board, it was in a seminar run by Career Services at my Alma Matter CU Boulder.

However, it wasn’t until I read the Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown that I really began to realize the gift behind the creative work for any and all adults, in creating a Vision Board.

Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This includes links to books or supplies in my blog posts and articles. 

Basic Supply List at Amazon (these are affiliate links) or your local Office Supply Store. 


  • Poster Board:  22” x 18” or 24” x 36” (60 cm x 90 cm): can be white, corrugated cardboard, plastic board, signboard, whatever you wish, as long as you can glue on it, write on it, and hang it on your wall!
  • Glue Sticks: (clear) or fast drying glue paste of your choice.
  • Colorful Markers: I like Sharpies for ease of use and because they write on just about anything (my toddler has tested this for me).
  • Pictures, quotes, etc. from Magazines, Journals or News Papers.
  • Images you print off from online.
  • Post-it Notes or note cards for handwritten quotes.
Vision Board Function:

  • Give your vision and goals clarity.
  • Highlight your values, needs, strengths, passions, inspiration, and your available resources.
  • A functional way to reaffirm your goals that you can come back to and “see” for inspiration.
  • To keep yourself on track and motivated.
  • Allow yourself to be playful or creative: find your passion and inspiration, have fun!
So, let’s do the work. Create a representation of your vision. Cultivate and embrace your creativity. Have fun. Enjoy your path.

Again, I like physical boards for the “creating” process and because they are easier to hang/display for future inspiration. If you make a digital one, print it off when you are finished and hang it in your work/living space.

Vision Board Warm-Up

Answer the following questions quickly. Blink responses. Gut answers. Don’t overthink! Just Go! Grab a pen and paper and answer the following as a warm-up:

  1. What makes me happy?
  2. What is a quote that I find inspiring?
  3. What is an affirmation I’d like to use to guide me?
  4. Who is someone (real or fictional) who inspires me?
  5. What are five words my co-workers/classmates would use to describe me?
  6. What are five words my boss would use to describe me?
  7. If I could do anything for work, what would it be?
  8. What are my five biggest strengths?
  9. What do I do for self-care right now? What can I add to this practice?
  10. What do I want to achieve professionally in the next year? Go back to work? Change my work? Create my own business? Other?
  11. How much time do I want to spend at work vs. not at work? What is my personal “work/life ratio” for feelings of happiness and success?
  12. What do I want to achieve in my personal life in the next year?
  13. What do I want to achieve for my health in the next year?
  14. Where do I want to be professionally in 3 to 5 years?
  15. How do I want to live?
  16. What does my dream workplace/office look like?
  17. What does my dream home look like? Or what makes a “home” for me?
  18. How do I envision my ideal relationships?
  19. What experiences do I want to have that I’ve yet to access?
  20. What is my definition of success?
Supply Explanation: 

Find a big piece of paper, cork board or poster board. Minimum size (legal paper) but can be as big as you wish.

  • Unless you’ve got a big display space, I recommend a half-sheet or 22×18 inch (about 55 x 45 cm) poster board as the ideal size. Beware that if you order on Amazon, you might get a lifetime supply, although this will make it easier to update your board every year! Generally, you can find some poster board in the school supply section at your supermarket or Target.
  • If you’ve got lots of display space, feel free to go big and use a standard 24×36 inch poster board (60 x 90 cm).
  • Other supplies:
    • Scissors
    • Glue sticks (I like clear).
    • Fun Stickers (themes, beach, sparkly,  stars, rainbows, nature, anything that makes you happy)
    • Colored Markers (I am a fan of Sharpies because they write on almost everything).
  • Find your inspiration:
    • Magazine clippings or digital images (again, I like magazines, so you don’t fall down the black hole of the internet, but I also don’t want you to devote a day to find your materials.
    • Follow the path of least resistance. If you don’t have adequate magazines, print off pictures online or draft your vision board on Pinterest today and create a physical board later.)
    • Look for images (and words) that represent the three goals you addressed last week. Keep your Mind Map and goals close by for reference.

The Vision Board Process:

Once you have your supplies in place, look for images, text, and quotes that align with your vision and goals.

  • First, find a picture of yourself from any time in your life that you love. Maybe you are 4 years old at the park on a swing, maybe you are at university reading a book, maybe it was last week out with friends.
    • Whatever it is, look for a picture that aligns with your goals.
      • Maybe it shows you happy, with a twinkle in your eye, ready to go after the world!
      • Or maybe the picture is thoughtful, you watching the sunset or looking over a peaceful body of water, someplace where you felt calm and in control of your destiny.
  • When deciding what else to use, ask yourself:
    • What is it about the image or the text appeals to me?
    • What the story behind the image or text in terms of my goals?
    • Is the image aligned with my values?
    • Look for Images that show where you want to live or work (geography, space, architecture, nature).
    • Quotes that inspire you or represent your values or that are indicative of your goals.
    • Pictures that represent the steps to your success, what you want to do, learn or achieve.
    • Pictures that represent happiness, success, satisfaction, connection, your future.
  • Find as many images and texts pieces as you can. You might want to “over find” in the sense that when you start to construct your board, you will decide that certain selections work better to pull your image together than others.
  • If you find a quote or image that really “sings” to you then give it a central spot. Glue, paste or tack your images onto your board. Creating this visual representation of your dreams that you can go back to in a blink of an eye will keep you on track and motivated.
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Now Go Create!

Now that you have your materials and you’ve done your warm-up exercise, it’s time to sit down and get sticky. Have fun creating your vision. Designing your life. Living a life of intention. If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. And, when you are done feel free to share your vision board via your favorite social media. On Instagram, you can tag me at @Voky_Be On LinkedIn, you can find me at And on Twitter, I am @alibcandid.

Who is Alison?

I am a career coach and strategist that helps you find work you love.

How do I do this? Think of me as a professional grandmother. I ask you questions, I help you identify and celebrate your strengths, I provide you with guidance in setting career and life goals that will help you achieve success. Whatever you chose to do, I am your champion and I support you in chasing your dreams.

If you’d like guidance finding work you love or help with your vision board, I’d be thrilled to work with you. Contact me today and let’s set up a time to talk!