Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Power of Personas

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Working through transition is exhausting some days. And its days like these that make it impossible for me to access the wonderful and amazingly talented Leena that I know and love.  In a recent coaching session with my coach (Awesome Awesome Awesome Coach Lee), we were working through some of the goals I had established at the beginning of our work together and I expressed my frustration at not being able to find my own “elation state”.  Considering we thrive from accessing our motivational state of mind, this block was impacting my ability to realize my aspirations and I felt stuck, unsure of how to pull myself out of my own funk.

My coach suggested that I use my persona. I didn’t understand at first and she went on to explain a visualization exercise that she had done that allowed her to discover her powerful persona, Queen Elizabeth I.  She chose Queen Elizabeth I because she admired her strengths and could really identify with Queen Elizabeth I’s path. Coach Lee’s persona allows her to channel her personal greatness when she needs a boost in confidence and to tap into her natural abilities and gifts. I smiled as I listened to her describe this phenomena because I suddenly understood what she meant.  

Wonder Woman has always been someone that the creative and empowered part of me identifies with, much to the chagrin of my adult logic (who says that adults have it all figured out anyhow?).  I can remember as early as four or five, being enchanted with the beauty, strength, and power I saw in Wonder Woman (Linda Carter played her in the hit series from 1975 to 1979). So much so that my brother even got me to eat cream cheese (something I hated as a child) by telling me that Wonder Woman ate cream cheese.

I know that on a sub-conscious level, I have adopted Wonder Woman as some sort of source of personal power; my dream map includes Wonder Woman and I know that people in my world associate me with this super hero because I’ve received many Wonder Woman gifts over the years such as mugs, photo albums, greeting cards, and heck, even a Christmas ornament.

The use of personas is not that unusual when you really think about it; Beyoncé uses an alter ego when she performs; her album I am Sasha Fierce, is a reference to her persona; that powerful part of herself that she taps in to to push past any insecurities or fears when she is singing, dancing, and acting. In an interview Beyonce shares that "Sasha Fierce is the fun, more sensual, more aggressive, more outspoken side and more glamorous side that comes out when I'm working and when I'm on the stage." It's working well for her!

So I’ve been channelling Wonder Woman for the last little while and was surprised at how helpful this has been in helping me to pull myself out of my funk.  I’ve even gone so far some days as to ask myself “What would Wonder Woman do?” when faced with a dilemma. As a Coach I understand the value of structures and how the most important part of any habit or discipline we choose works to the degree that we believe it does. There is a chance for a new beginning when we stop 'knowing" ourselves too well.

So what about you? Do you have a powerful persona? If you do, who is it, and what aspects of yourself does this persona allow you to access?

 If you don’t currently have a persona, dream for a while, and share with me who you would choose!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Risks=No Champagne

I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t, at some point in their life, taken shelter in a safe refuge, physical or otherwise. Whether it’s sticking with a life situation that is safe but unsatisfying, or going with the flow rather than standing up for something you believe in because it’s the easier thing to do, or simply keeping your head down and focused on the deeply ingrained pattern of your life rather than looking up to consider that there are other ways to live life, other options to consider. I know that I catch myself in “Saferefugeville” (Safe Refuge Ville) every now and then so it was with gratitude that I was recently reminded about the illusory trade off we make when we choose between safety and leaping into the unknown.

I recently returned from two weeks of traveling that involved a hectic family wedding, family reunions, visiting a dear friend, short and jam-packed day trips, and needing to rely on a foreign country’s medical system. I have to say that Glenda the good witch had it right when she reminded Dorothy that there really was no place like home.  There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed after a long trip! 

My partner-in-crime and I were in Milan, en route to the Malpensa airport one morning and we were admiring the graffiti culture.   The art form seemed to be thriving even more robustly here than back home in Toronto.  Amidst the customary "Down with Communism", swear words, and professions of eternal love, was one phrase, sprayed across a bridge, that became my favourite: No Risks=No Champagne.

What a fantastic reminder about the downside of living in Saferefugeville!  

Sure, it’s pretty and quaint, with a manageable and predictable pace, and the food is great because you always know what it will taste like. Besides taking a few day trips away from Saferefugeville, there really is no need to leave because you can have all your basic needs met in this town.  But was Saferefugeville ever meant to be a final destination?  Or merely a stop on the journey of life that we come to from time to time when we need a break from the crazy pace of life?  What about Curiosityville and Challengeville?  You have to admit that the view is better from the mountains and valleys that you find in these towns. You may get a super spicy burrito every now and then, or some bitter coffee, and the weather is not always predictable; but the champagne, the fruits, they are truly bar none.

Especially if you had to go through Failure Town to get to these places.

Where in your life do you find yourself stuck in Saferefugeville?

Can you think of a time when you went to Challengeville and had an awesome time? 
What’s keeping you from going there again?

“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily.  To not dare is to lose oneself.”  ~Soren Kierkegaard