Project Self: Self-Discovery

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“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”  ~Rumi

Just when you thought you were drowning, you were actually learning how to swim.  Just when you thought you were falling, you were actually learning how to fly.  Just when you thought something was ending, something new was beginning.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle and challenge is when you see what you are made of, how you survive and where the greatest lessons of all are found.  When you are in the moment it can be pretty darn hard to see it this way, but speaking from experience, I know this to be true.

What does self-discovery mean to you?

In my own life, I’ve come to define self-discovery as many things but it all starts with taking the time for YOU.  Such as going on a journey within, by yourself and for yourself.  Becoming aware of your character and true potential, your wants, and needs, likes and dislikes.  Knowing your values, setting boundaries and what you can tolerate in different life situations.  Accepting everything about who you truly are, especially the imperfections.  It’s about ownership of where you went wrong, learning life lessons, forgiveness of others and especially of yourself.  It’s about finding your purpose; we all have one.  In a way, self-discovery is also self-awareness.

When you know yourself, you are empowered.  When you accept yourself, you are invincible.

The opposite of self-discovery is denial.  Denying who you are to others and to yourself.

Many don’t know who they are or what they want, but somehow give unsolicited advice to others on how to live their lives or they tell lies.  Unfortunately, this never ends well.

The photo above in this blog describes self-discovery so well.  Sometimes we need to let go and peel away the layers that no longer serve us to get down to the good stuff of who we really are, who we were meant to be.  If we want others to know who we are, we need to know ourselves first.  How can we expect others to figure us out when we haven’t even tried to do that with ourselves?  So how do we do it?

I’m not an expert, but one way I did it was through writing and journaling.  To be able to do this, you need to be on your own without any distractions.  Another way I went on my self-discovery journey was through solo travel.  When you are traveling on your own, you depend on yourself 100% and you quickly find out how to trust your instincts and who you are.  Thirdly, there is an amazing questionnaire designed by Patrick Betdavid that you can download and fill out on your own one quiet Sunday afternoon in your happy place.  It might be at the beach, the cottage, or wherever you feel most comfortable.  Be honest as you do this because that’s the right answer.  Yes, it takes time but that’s what it takes.  You’ll come out of it a new and improved person and how awesome is that?

When you decide to go on the journey of self-discovery, the benefits are positively endless and amazing, such as bringing more happiness, fulfillment, freedom, and opportunities into your life.  It can be a bumpy road but it’s definitely a road worth exploring simply because you’re worth it!

This is the purpose of the Project-Self blogs, like this one, Self-Betrayal, and Self-Care.  To raise awareness in ourselves because everything starts and ends with US!  It’s easy to blame others but that only keeps people stuck.  If we want to evolve in life, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in what we say and do.

Let’s be kind to ourselves, stop beating ourselves up…we are enough.

I invite you on your own journey of self-discovery…happy travels 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide and at the FriesenPress Bookstore.

All my gratitude to you ❤

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk

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In Canada, every January 25th is a day of bringing awareness around mental health issues that are either stigmatized or misunderstood.  The campaign is called #BellLetsTalk Day and every time you talk, text, and join in on social media on January 25th using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, the telecommunications company Bell will donate 5 cents more to mental health initiatives.  It’s the day to be the most active on all social media platforms so call, text, tweet, post on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to your heart’s content.

Last January 2016, over $6 million dollars was raised just from being on social media and talking openly without judgment about personal stories on mental health and how to support people.  Canadian celebrities are speaking out about their own stories and showing support for everyone who needs it.

You can too.

Since mental health continues to be overlooked or stigmatized for men, women, and kids, this is the main reason it keeps people in the dark and they are afraid to talk about it.  With this program, it sheds light on the subject and dissolves its power over people’s lives.  At the moment, statistics show that one in five Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetime.

We need to talk.

Perfection is something that doesn’t exist in this world and once people can embrace their own imperfections, they will start to embrace them in others as well and realize we’re all connected and want the same things out of life such as love and belonging.  However, when mental health is brushed under the rug to hide it from everyone as if it’s taboo, it disconnects and makes people feel excluded even more.  This only prolongs the suffering for that person.

Imagine if that person was you.

How can you help someone who is suffering?  Watch the language you are using, educate yourself, be kind, listen and ask questions and talk about it.  Mental health matters as much as your physical health, therefore watch for signs where you may feel depressed, anxious, stressed, or have more serious issues.

If you are the one who is suffering, please know you’re not alone and you don’t have anything to be ashamed about.  Get the help you need.  Now is the time to pick up the phone and put an end to the suffering and hiding.

It’s a small action with a big impact, so let’s talk ❤

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

Transformation Is A Beautiful Thing

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Inspiration can be found in many corners of our life and in the lives of others.  Life is in motion at all times and if we stop and pay attention, that’s when we notice inspiring moments, people, places, and things.  Personally, one of the greatest things I love to see is how someone can transform themselves from being in a negative state to becoming their own superhero.  It’s not about winning a popularity contest but about being the best version of yourself after struggling with something so difficult for so long and coming out of it beautifully.

When I think about transformation, I think of metaphors because what metaphors can do is open our mind to a new perspective and deeper understanding of the potential transformation.  It’s like a window or a doorway we can move through and find ways to relate it to our situation.

‘Meta’ means over and beyond and in transformation, it is over and beyond reality.  My favorite metaphor of all is the caterpillar becoming a butterfly through the power of metamorphosis because one step over and beyond the caterpillar, the butterfly emerges.  In life when we try to step beyond a belief, behavior, fear or circumstance, a metaphor can transform a person ‘s perspective and trigger their values which allow them to step into joy in their life.

For example, a person who has a fear of public speaking may be struggling inside this cocoon for some time but wants to overcome it through transformation.  Just the mere thought of having to get up and speak to a few or many people can start the heart palpitations and make someone freeze right in their tracks because of stage fright.  This person’s main goal is to avoid public speaking and social events at all costs, mainly because they are shy.  The struggle is within their own mind and trying to silence the  negative voice.

I was speaking with a friend recently and he said not only can shyness get in the way but add a language barrier on top of everything and you’ve got yourself a fearful scenario.  I can only imagine how hard and uncomfortable that must feel to be around people you can’t connect with.  He gave an example where his workplace required them to do impromptu group speeches in front of everyone and his first instinct was to run and hide but since he wanted to transform his fear into something more comfortable, he remembered the first lesson from the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

Be Proactive.

In this lesson, Covey talks about taking responsibility for your own life and stresses the importance of focusing your time and energy on the things you have control over in life.  In a matter of minutes, my friend took this lesson and applied it to his own life right before facing one of the most fearful things; public speaking.  He changed his self-talk from negative to positive saying “Don’t freeze, focus on the audience instead of your own awkwardness, think of how you would want to see a speaker, put yourself in the shoes of the audience and see yourself from their perspective so you can transform your fear into something you love.  Imagine yourself being courageous even if you think you aren’t.  Be yourself, no stress or pressure, you are surrounded by friends.  Learn to laugh at yourself, life is too serious, be imperfect so people can connect, enjoy yourself and live outside your comfort zone.”

He stood up and managed to convince himself of everything he said and faced his fear by talking about his imperfections by making jokes with the audience.  People were laughing with him, and it gave a soaring boost to his self-confidence which made him continue even more.  He felt both shocked and happy with himself that day because it was a life changing moment, a real transformation where he struggled so long with negative self-talk but in the end after all that hard work, he emerged beautifully like a butterfly.  What a perfect example of going over and beyond his reality and honoring the value of courage.

More times than not, we struggle in our minds and hearts about who we are and about how we want other people to see us. We wrestle with worthiness and shame all at the same time when really we all belong together and we are more similar than we are different.

When I asked him how he felt about that day he said “It changed my outlook towards socializing, facing fears, being vulnerable, handling pressure situations and making friends in general.  And every victory I have had since that day, I attribute to this one act of mine where I overcame myself.  And, needless to say, making friends has been not as difficult as I feared since that day.  I survived.”

Bravo my friend for daring to live courageously, keep rockin’ the shark fin 😉

Transformation is a beautiful thing.

“How does one become a butterfly?  You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”  ~Trina Paulus

 

Much Love ❤
Jen

Cheers to Three Years…

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Hey, it’s my three-year blogging anniversary today, June 18th, 2016!!  I wanted to honor this day and write something special so let’s take a short trip back in time, shall we?

Three years ago, one of my closest friends encouraged me to create this blog because she had one too.  She’s a life coach and one of my biggest cheerleaders and motivators in my life and even though I was months away from becoming a life coach myself, I had reservations about starting this blog before I obtained that status.  However, she encouraged me to just begin blogging and not worry about perfection.  She said, “If you wait for a perfect time, that time never comes, begin it now.”  So I did and Courage Coach was born.  I had no idea what I wanted to write about, so one of my first posts was about courage itself which represented what I am all about and to show I walk the talk.  After one post I felt like I had writer’s block already so for my second post I put up a photo of nature I took because I found it inspiring 😉

In that first year, I became a coach and used to blog once a month, finding topics related to life coaching and areas that interested me.  I refined my tabs and my About Me page almost 50 times because I wanted to create this reading and writing space for two reasons.  To market my life coaching business and to connect with people worldwide by writing on topics we all deal with in a positive light such as health and wellness goals, loss, how to forgive, and much more.

During my second year, I was blogging frequently because I felt more confident and I was fully into life coaching.  The more I wrote about life the more I discovered myself in the process, I was falling in love with writing all over again and was starting to meet many people worldwide who connected with my words.  My friend was right that in order to connect with people we shouldn’t worry about being perfect because when we’re willing to show up and be seen and allow ourselves to be imperfect, that’s where beauty is found and where connection lives.

This past year proved to be the most devastating and exceptional year of all.  2015 started out with a huge betrayal to me and despite this, I had to continue life coaching and inspire people even though I didn’t feel inspired myself at times.  I am also a nurse taking care of other people and there were days I could barely take care of myself.  It was the biggest personal internal war I ever fought aside from the fact of being abandoned on my own with two kids.  Waves of emotion were drowning me and I had to find a way out so I turned to writing because it’s what I love to do and it literally saved me.

I wrote about quotes and topics I was dealing with to heal myself and after doing so, people were connecting with me even more because it was written with emotion and it was cathartic for me.  I wrote my heart out and cried my eyes out and wrote in a way that was inspiring instead of venting and every time I did this, I felt a little better so I could continue living my new life as “normally” as possible while focusing on the positives I had.  The more I focused on what I had, the more I received in return.  Therefore, on one hand I was being abandoned by one person and on the other I was connecting with hundreds of others.  Connection always wins.

My greatest surprise was making several friends in India who went from WordPress followers to Facebook friends and finally a trip to India to meet some of them in person who are a huge part of my life now.  After blogging about my trip, my India following has increased dramatically and I love my nickname, the “daughter of India.”  One day I’ll have to come back and meet everyone 🙂

In 2016 I did my first #A-Z Challenge which was so much fun and I had to write every day except Sundays.  I met, even more, people who inspire me.  The beauty of finding inspiration and life coaching is that it’s like a magic mirror.  What you see in me, I also see in you.

One of my favorite things to do is to go through the WordPress reader and get caught up with everyone’s blogs and vlogs to see what’s inspiring you, read what’s on your mind and know that you’re okay.  I have learned so much from everyone I am following! Commenting on blogs and reading comments is fun too, this always puts a smile on my face 😀

What I know for sure, is this blog represents life coaching, my writing, a worldwide community, friendships, family and 954 followers to date.  Most of all, this blog represents me; a courageous woman who overcame adversity through writing.  Ironically, I chose the right name for my blog after all.  My job is to inspire you to be courageous and live your life to the fullest.

I am eternally grateful to be connected with ALL of you, it’s been quite a blogging journey with your love and support, I feel inspired and motivated to keep writing more and because of that, I’m writing a book on how I managed to get through this betrayal and what I learned along the way, I’ll let you know when it’s finished.  My life is better now, many thanks to all of you.

Keep blogging and keep going people.  We’re all in this together.

Cheers to three years…

 

All my love ❤

Jen
xo

Reckoning, Rumble, Revolution

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If you are a Brené Brown fan like me, you will recognize these three words because they are in the title of her latest book called “Rising Strong.  The Reckoning.  The Rumble.  The Revolution.”  If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.  This is a book about what it takes to get back up.  I love that.

Ah, the emotional adventures in life are the ones we didn’t see coming, the ones where we got hurt, disappointed, heartbroken.  It feels like our emotions just swallowed us whole and that’s an uncomfortable feeling for anyone, it’s where we fall.  However, uncomfortable means finding your courage to get back up and start over by recognizing and finding out where you are as of now, how did you get there and where do you want to go next.  It’s the emotional reckoning of finding the silver lining in a tough situation we’re facing and how we walk into our story.

Then comes the rumble and that’s where we own our story, it’s the middle part, the hardest and messiest part where all the work needs to be done in order to understand and learn what happened by being honest with ourselves.  This is where change begins at the heart of it all and this is where we learn more about ourselves.  We need to get real about the stories we’re telling ourselves because our mind believes what we tell it, therefore we need to keep it positive and honest.  The accumulation of all the imperfections we find in this mess is where we struggle to find our inner beauty which in turn leads to positive personal growth and development.  Sometimes the rumble can last longer than the others but that’s okay, you’re getting there.  The magic is in the mess.

The revolution is about the process when our rumble changes become a way of life and are integrated into how we live day to day and interact with others and ourselves.  Even small series of changes can change the world and how we engage with it.  We need to have open minds and hearts to be able to even start this process.  Some people around you might not like this stage because on the outside it might look confusing or even scary to some.  This is what transformation is all about which are possibilities and opportunities then carrying them out into the world to inspire others.  Respect and trust in the process because everything is unfolding exactly as it should be and this is where we rise strong.

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.” ~Brené Brown

“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness-even our wholeheartedness-actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.” ~Brené Brown

I have fallen, struggled and transformed through all the R’s a few times in my life.  Every time I do this I rise even stronger.  I am imperfect and damn proud of it.

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

If I Would Have Listened

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This blog is dedicated to an amazing friend of mine, Basak Yanar, PhD.  She’s been there for me through many of my trials and tribulations, has a heart of gold, words of an angel and can crack the code on human behavior.  Please check her incredible published work.  If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here on WordPress writing today so Basak, this one’s for you beautiful lady.  All my love,

“If I would have listened to the nasty gremlins in my head
I never would have taken a step back from my work to analyze what I wanted to do

If I would have listened to the doubts that creep in at night and tell me I’m not good enough
I never would have had the courage to hire a life coach, YOU.

If I would have listened to the persistent gremlins in my head about my imperfections in writing
I never would have started a blog on WordPress

If I would have listened to the insecurities that my initial blog traffic was low
I never would have continued posting anything here and given up

If I would have listened to the people who doubted creativity and its importance in my life
I would have given up on soul searching, creating my life and blogging

If I would have listened to people telling me healing is found in a pharmacy
I would have never realized the healing properties that writing has for one’s soul

If I would have listened to people telling me blogging relationships are not real
I would have never pursued solidifying my connections and friendships with all of you

If I would have listened to people judging me for my circumstances
I would have never stood up to them for myself and my family

If I would have listened to people who betrayed me and took their love away
I would have never discovered my personal determination and perseverance

If I would have listened to the unhealthy relationships around me
I never would have discovered what healthy could look like

If I would have listened to my doubts that I deserve love and belonging
I never would have hit reset and started with loving myself first

If I would have listened to people who tried to take advantage of me
I would have never developed the skill of being investigative and protecting my rights

If I would have listened to my mind tell me that I should stay home to recover from heartbreak
I would have never followed my heart by gifting myself the gift of travel to heal instead

If I would have listened to the fears about traveling solo to India
I never would have visited such a beautiful country and met my Indian blogging friends in person

If I would have listened to my negative emotions
I never would have discovered what the positive ones were

If I would have listened to selfishness and greed
I never would have discovered the beauty of gratitude and kindness

If I would have listened to the people who made me question my self-worth
I never would have stumbled upon the amazing works of Brené Brown

If I would have listened to those gremlins again that I should do this or that
I never would have followed my intuition and stepped into my wants for the first time in my life”

Basak, thank you for all your love, support and encouragement in my own personal growth and development, I’m so glad I finally listened to me.

 

Much Love,

Jen
xo

 

Perfection and Connection

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The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued: when they can give and receive without judgment: and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. We are wired for connection, it’s in our biology. We need connection to thrive emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. The more strongly connected we are with someone emotionally, the greater the mutual force.”  ~Brené Brown

 In order to truly connect with others, we need to show up.  Get out of our own way.  Stop listening to the little gremlins inside our head that tells us we’re not good enough.

All types of relationships are based on connection and whether we see and feel that connection or if we don’t.  To feel is to be vulnerable, putting ourselves out there.  It’s about self-acceptance and knowing we are not perfect and that it’s the imperfections we carry that make us beautiful.

When someone reaches out to another person, they are being vulnerable, courageous and aware of their imperfections.  What they are looking for is empathy which is very different from sympathy.  Empathy makes us feel like we are not alone and that somebody cares and understands us.  We feel connected.  Sympathy only drains us and makes us feel even more alone – disconnected.  Sometimes it’s not the response that makes things better but it’s the connection.  This short and cute 2:53 minute video explains it very well.

If we want deep, authentic connections we need to get out of our own way, start being vulnerable by feeling every emotion and forget about perfection.

Dare greatly!  ❤

Much Love,

Jen
xo

Being Enough: Fitting In vs. Belonging

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“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
~ Brené Brown

I am slightly obsessed with Brené Brown and if you have never heard of her before, allow me introduce you to her.  She has a Ph.D. in Social Work and has been studying shame, courage and vulnerability for over fifteen years now.  She has appeared on TED Talks, Oprah and has written inspiring books such as The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are and Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.

One of my favorite chapters she writes about is on fitting in vs. belonging.   They are not the same thing and one gets in the way of the other.  They are two sides of the same coin.

Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted.   It’s the disease to please.  It’s chasing down some acceptance and worthiness so we can feel better about ourselves.  “I will feel worthy when…” or “I’ll be whoever or whatever you need me to be, as long as I feel like I’m a part of this.”  It’s an uncomfortable feeling. Remember high school?

Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.  True belonging only happens when we present our authentic selves, imperfections and all.  It’s about self-love and self-acceptance and embracing who we are.  Essentially, it’s the act of courage and unconditional love for ourselves.  You know when you belong somewhere or with someone because you can feel it in your body.  You feel loved at peace and free.

Therefore, fitting in gets in the way of belonging.  It’s the gremlins that set up camp in our heads that tell us “you’re not good enough.”  It’s hard to feel worthy of love and belonging when you listen to this little monster.   The truth is, love and belonging means uncertainty but they still go together.  And according to Brené, those who have a strong sense of love and belonging, have the courage to be imperfect.

I found this concept really interesting because many people believe that fitting in and belonging are the same thing when in fact they’re not.  My question to you is this; are you living your life according to fitting in or belonging?  The next question is why?  Sometimes you just have to say “enough already” and let yourself off the hook.

Much love,

Jennifer Juneau