Success You Can’t See.

Success You Can’t See.

Community Motivation + Inspiration Work

Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire lifetime. As such an iconic artist, it’s natural to assume it was one of the “greats.” Starry Night? Irises? Sunflowers? One of his many, famed self portraits? Nope – it was a golden auburn-toned piece entitled “Red Vineyard.” A depiction of farmhands harvesting crop at a wine plantation. Not the one that I, at least, would expect. His life was tumultuous, his paintings underappreciated, his world not ready for what he had to offer.

And yet…he kept painting. He kept expressing himself in the unique way he knew how.

We are so lucky he did.

I’ve been contemplating success a lot lately. What it means to succeed, who it is that determines success.

So many of us desire to be lasting or expansive, or maybe simply useful. We long to make a difference that goes beyond us or lasts way past our own existence. Whether than means a change within the four-ish walls of our apartment uniut or on a big huge global level, our sense of mortality can sometimes scare us into a scramble for success that’s visible, success we can SEE.

Whether our definition of success involves the immediate future or posthumous celebration, we want to be sure it’s gonna happen. We want to know we’re being the change we wish to see in the world.

But how do we know what is actually lasting?

When it comes to success, what is more important:
success that lasts a lifetime, success you can scale and be sure of…or success that is not shown to you directly, but is impacting the world on a level that’s beyond your awareness?

Social media and technology provide us with amazing tools to connect with and impact each other. It’s now easier than it’s ever been to gain signs and signals of our success. Whether it’s likes, shares, or just a message from a friend saying how happy they are to know you, in some ways we’re able to be hyper-aware our influence. Seeing our impact, however small, can keep us fueled and connected.

But not everyone reaches out. Not everyone is connected. And as dialed in as our culture is, in many ways the true tell-tale signs of success are old-school. You don’t always know.

And then there is the work we do in the world that we’re not necessarily recognized for. Work that, centuries from now, our society might deem revolutionary. So what’s more indicative of success: that the success materializes, or that we see its impact?

I’ve come to the conclusion that seeing our impact can be a metric of success – a symptom of and supplement to the success itself. But if we’re truly successful, there might be a whole boatload of impact we don’t see. Lives we’re never aware we touch.

And we need to be okay with that. Because lasting impact is the one thing we cannot control.

Success you can’t see is scary (“Does what I do really matter?”), but it’s also kind of empowering. Success you can’t see is what drives us to be fully and completely self-expressed, for how will we know if we don’t even try? If you’re one of those people who believes we are all put on Earth for a reason – and I for sure am one of those people who believes we are all put on Earth for a reason – then we must let ourselves fully and completely live on purpose, and look for the little signs telling us we’re doing the thing that’s in our DNA to do (or at least on the right track).

We see only one star in the dark night and confuse it for a lack of sky, when instead we should be taking it as proof that there’s a huge universe out there filled with way more stars that we can imagine.

It might be a smile from a stranger. It might be a comment on your blog or a tweet from a stranger. It might be your best friend’s child expressing gratitude, or hearing a family member repeat a word of wisdom you offered up randomly one day. Maybe at first glance they don’t seem like much, but that’s the sneaky thing about success: it shows itself in the micro moments, but the macro effects often are so big  – so many collective moments upon moments – we can’t accurately gauge what a difference we’re making. 

If you keep your eyes open and live your life to its fullest, its fullness, you will start to see signs everywhere that you’re a lasting force in this world. It’s only those people who actively choose NOT to create change that don’t.

Whether you’re far along your path or just beginning to let it live, please know and trust that what’s right in front of you is just the tip of the iceberg. A star in the sky. One painting in the collection. Simply desiring to make a difference means you’ve probably already made one.

 


Simply desiring to make a difference means you’ve probably already made one. Click To Tweet


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Speak Your Heart: On Vulnerability.

Speak Your Heart: On Vulnerability.

Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power

I have a friend whose primary language has always been sarcasm. She’s always making a joke of sorts, always deadpanning her way through her day. Yet something has shifted in the last year: where she once would use her wit to mask her emotions, she is now listening more acutely, responding more personally, and opening up to others about how she feels – even if she doesn’t know why she feels the way she does.

What’s pretty incredible to watch is how this has caused a domino effect in her life. The “friendly”-ships she’s had, with me and with others, have started to turn into deep, personal, soul-ie bonds. Negativity doesn’t hijack her conversations anymore. Her sleep has gotten better. She’s mindful of her triggers and has left her “victim” mentality behind. She’s glowing like I’ve never seen her glow.

My friend has always had a bold, infectious personality and has always been one to speak her mind. But as I watch her navigate through her day-to-day interactions with the world around her, I realize what’s different: she is finally speaking her heart, too.

~

To speak your heart is your right, but also your blessing. We are all blessed with the capacity to feel an entire spectrum of emotions and formulate all kinds of opinions and, moreover, questions, based on those emotions.

 

So why is it that with this incredible blessing, so often we stay silent?

Why are we so afraid to be ourselves – all of ourselves?

 

Sometimes we feel so alone in our thought processes that it seems wrong to speak our heart. To “talk deep,” as some call it. There’s this notion that expressing thoughts, feelings, opinions, and questions of an empathetic, introspective nature is embarrassing and makes us vulnerable. And vulnerable, we’ve been taught, is being susceptible to danger; either physical or emotional attack or harm. I just looked it up to be sure – yup, you can thank Merriam-Webster for our warped relationship with the V word.

This perception is left over from our childhood, middle school, and high school years: the perception that speaking our hearts, being authentic and unique, and letting others know how we feel is a sign of weakness and just another chance to be teased or ostracized.

And so we stay silent. Of course we feel alone – we don’t have any proof otherwise.

“Mean Girls” don’t just exist in the 18-and-under set; they follow us throughout our young adulthood and into our lives. ADULT judgement and gossip, we forget, both have the exact same roots as their childhood origin: insecurity, myopia and a strong desire to remain top dog at any cost.

And yet with that desire to Top-Dog’it comes a loneliness; an emptiness, lack of connection, and a distance between the person we project on the outside and the person we are (or long to be) inside. It drives us farther when all we truly want is to get closer. We begin to say we don’t care. We make “Whatever” or “Screw them” or “I don’t give a fuck” the catch phrase that we tell everyone.

But the irony is that we do care. So. Much. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle, “No woman on earth doesn’t give a fuck – no woman is that cool – she’s just hidden her fire. Likely, it’s burning her up.”

No woman on earth doesn’t give a fuck-she’s just hidden her fire. Likely, it’s burning her up. - @GlennonDoyle Click To Tweet

We all have the capability to become that person. That woman who is burning inside with her hot vulnerability she’s locked up for no one to see. What ensures we don’t is how authentically we let our heart live out in the open…and (and!) with how much compassion we approach those who haven’t quite gotten there yet. Because the more we see others thrive in a space of authentic truth, the safer it can seem to follow suit.

Vulnerability, at its core, is nothing more than honesty. Vulnerable is being truthful; saying I am raw, I am flawed, I am crazed, I am bare, I am on a journey and I am urging you to join me. Yet this idea of vulnerability is so often met with trepidation. Can I be vulnerable? Should I be vulnerable? Doesn’t that mean I’m in harm’s way? Because true vulnerability isn’t just expressing joy or loving feelings. Vulnerability also means looking inside to find the cause instead of looking outside to fix the symptoms. And who knows what causes lurk beneath the surface…

Dr. Seuss got it mostly right when he said “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I’d like to add: Those who mind – the Mean Girls of our adulthood – probably feel envious that you have the self awareness to be honest. Those who matter will “be who they are and say what they feel” right alongside you. And aren’t THOSE the people we want to be surrounded by anyway? They’re the ones who treat others like equals, the ones who can empathize because they’ve been there too. They’re the ones who can show compassion to anyone, even the Mean Girls, because they know what it is to feel things deeply.

They are the ones who thrive in the space of being…dare I say it…vulnerable.

Vulnerability means looking inside to find the cause instead of outside to fix the symptoms. Click To Tweet

Speak your heart and trust you are far from powerless. You might get a bit bruised, but by being authentic and true-to-you, there is nothing to fear. Because speaking your heart – even if you’re hurting, even if what it’s saying is somewhat unclear – is about Learning, Healing, and Giving. At the root of you and of me there is a pull to do all three. For others, for ourselves, for both at once.

We all have the ability to self-heal, it’s just about accessing that power – and being not only brave enough but self-trusting enough to do so.

We often view vulnerability as the danger from which we need healing. The barrier that prevents us from connecting.

Yet vulnerability and speaking your heart is actually the bridge that forms connection.

It’s the honesty that gives us the power to heal.

 



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The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power the WANTcast Tips + Tools

And just like that, it was the Season One finale.

As you probably already realized…this episode is a little different. It’s just me today. I’m gonna try something new. It just so happens that by the time a lot of you listen to this, it’ll also be my 30th birthday. I decided that today, I’d jam about 30 lessons I’ve learned in 30 years. I know. A little headline-y. But hey – I always love reading those lists, and hearing what others have to say about the lessons they’ve learned, so I thought maybe you’d like to, too.

Honestly, as I was thinking about it, there is a LOT of overlap in the lessons I learned in season one of the WANTcast, so it seems fitting to honor the end of Season One with this episode. Some of these are pretty deep (think body image and life choices), some are a little more trivial than others (stuff about smog checks, for example), but in the moment, they ALL feel huge.

My hope is that this can help someone else through their first three decades – and maybe, just maybe, set the tone for what kinds of lessons open up to you from here on out no matter what decade you’re in.

WANT Yourself:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon like you normally do

Show Notes:
WANTcast archives
Benjamin Mathes episode
Kirsten Potenza episode
Ashlee Piper episode
Jessica Murnane episode
Kate Northrup
Many Lives, Many Masters
Using Your Intuition Vs. Being Triggered
I Love You And I Like You: The Ebbs And Flows Of Body Image
The Dreams We Woke Up From: An Ode To Transitions

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

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The WANTcast Episode 019: On Becoming A Leader, Quarter-Life Crises, and Letting Love In w/ Emily Greener of I AM THAT GIRL

The WANTcast Episode 019: On Becoming A Leader, Quarter-Life Crises, and Letting Love In w/ Emily Greener of I AM THAT GIRL

Community the WANTcast

The end of August/beginning of September always symbolizes a fresh start to me – and this is the perfect episode to hopefully catapult you into whatever newness is in store for you in the season to come.

Emily Greener is the CEO and co-founder of I AM THAT GIRL, a global movement inspiring girls to be, love, and express who they are through education, content, and community. She’s been Emily and the IATG crew have taken their movement off-line into communities all over the world, motivating girls from SoCal to South Africa to live the lives they were meant to lead, judgement-free. For even more on Emily, you can check out her WANT Woman spotlight here.

In this episode we talk about navigating major turning points in life (like quarter-life crises and your “Saturn Return,” which I’ve got links to read up on in the show notes), how to become a leader in whatever space you’re in whether it’s in work or in life, the power and scariness of going first, and of course, the chance meeting and turning-point moment that sparked the mass movement that is now I AM THAT GIRL.

Two super-powerful parts of this conversation in particular really struck a chord. The first is when Emily talks about how to hold space for others as a leader, and the moment when she realized that in order to be the leader she was striving to be, she would have to let go of some stuff first. The second? The mindset shift she experienced recently when it comes to success. We talk about the delicate balance between humility and recognizing your successes, and how she was able to find that happy medium and really let love in.

i am that girl

What I love about you guys, as WANTcast listeners and fellow WANT Women (and WANT men, too!) is that…it’s so cool, you are natural-born leaders. I see it in the comments on the site, in the emails, on social, when I meet you in person – you can’t ignore it. But just because you’re a leader, or you maybe don’t view yourself as a leader yet but WANT to be a leader, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to self-doubt, fears, or moments where nothing seems to make sense. If anything, you’re probably even more sensitive to those moments BECAUSE of that leadership chip in your brain and hear. This episode might be just what you need to help you be the leader you know you’ve been inside all along.

Connecting to others, whether strangers or friends you've known your whole life, is magic. -… Click To Tweet

Also, next episode will be the end of SEASON ONE of the WANTcast! I was thinking of doing something special and different – I know a lot of people have asked me how to start a podcast, or what my favorite things about doing a podcast are, or what I’ve learned – I don’t know, would you want to hear an episode like that? Let me know – email me at katie@womenagainstnegativetalk.com, or shoot me a comment on social, or drop me a line in the comments section of this post. I really want to do something cool for episode 20.

Alright, we’ll talk about that later. For now, let’s live in the moment. Episode 19. Enjoy – I think you’ll love it.

WANT Emily:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon like you normally do

Show notes:
I AM THAT GIRL
Find a chapter
Start a chapter
IATG Facebook

IATG Instagram
IATG Twitter
Emily’s WANT Woman spotlight
Emily’s Instagram
Twitter
Saturn return 101
Astrologer Danielle Beinstein on the WANTcast
Emily’s DVF Award

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Emily’s wisdom is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

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The WANT Women: Emily Greener On Curiosity, Complexity, and The Choice To Connect

The WANT Women: Emily Greener On Curiosity, Complexity, and The Choice To Connect

Community WANT Women

If you’re anything like me, your entire experience from freshman year of high school to senior year of college was a massive lesson in self-discovery. Never before are you not only forced to think for yourself, but learn how to delicately balance that newfound independence with the expectations of the world around you. Those eight-ish years of school are really the years you start to meet yourself as you really are, in all your high highs and low lows. It’s liberating. It’s stifling. It’s fun. It’s scary as all hell.

For the most part, we feel like an anomalies. How on earth others could be feeling the exact same pushes and pulls as we are completely baffles us.

If only our younger selves had known we were not alone. If only we’d realized that other girls our age were experiencing the same exact things. If only we’d had I AM THAT GIRL.

emily greener
Emily Greener is the CEO and co-founder of I AM THAT GIRL, a global movement inspiring girls to be, love, and express who they are through education, content, and community. She’s been Emily and the IATG crew have taken their movement off-line into communities all over the world, motivating girls from SoCal to South Africa to live the lives they were meant to lead, judgement-free.

Emily originally came to Los Angeles as an aspiring actress with a hunch: she knew she wanted to make major change and influence the world, but had no idea just how far her bright personality and can-do attitude would lead her. In one of those beautiful moments of kismet, Emily met now co-founder Alexis Jones at a random LA party, and was immediately hooked on this idea Alexis had to create a platform – and, subsequently, world – in which young women collaborated instead of competed. The platform was called I AM THAT GIRL. 

Fast forward to today, and IATG reaches literally millions across the world. The IATG website is chock-full of empowering content created both by and for users, yet what’s mind-blowing about this movement is how it’s resonated IRL. IATG’s local chapters not only create the community we so crave while we’re trying to find our way in the world, they provide a safe, fun place for girls to express their thoughts freely and realize that no matter our backgrounds, successes, or struggles, we’re all in this together. And their focus on young women between the ages of 14 and 22? Can you imagine if you’d had this kind of supportive space to just be yourself all throughout high school? Game changer.

As we’ve discussed over and over here on WANT, fearlessness is not the absence of fear – it’s when the fear is less than the faith. Emily leads the IATG tribe with humor, humility, radical self-love, and the kind of unshakable fearlessness that inspires others to do the same in their own lives.

Sound like someone you’d want in your tribe, right? Emily wants you in hers. Read on for Emily’s inspiring thoughts on curiosity, complexity, and the choice we all have to not only be positive, but really own that power. She is bold. She is visionary. She is THAT GIRL.

WANT Emily.
Emily-Greener


Name: Emily Greener


How you’d know me (occupation or role): Co-Founder, CEO I AM THAT GIRL


What I love about myself (and why): My curious nature and adventure seeking heart, my desire to keep growing and learning and being humbled.


What is your definition of “positivity?” Being positive is a choice to create and embody a perspective on the world (and any given situation) of magic, miracles, and optimism.

Being positive is a choice to create + embody magic, miracles, and optimism. - @thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” I have always both loved myself and simultaneously had fears, doubts, and insecurities. And I’m pretty sure that is a lifelong reality to exist with both. I would say the ratio of more love for myself than not happened when I started seeing my therapist. I call her my heart doctor. She taught me how to feel all of my feelings which opened up a huge space to love ALL of me, not just the “good” parts.

i am that girl


How/where negative talk shows up in my life: When comparing myself to others


When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… quickly resolved by remembering our values of I AM THAT GIRL


When others talk negatively about themselves… I remind them what there is to love about themselves.


It baffles me that women still… tear each other down.


I wish that more women… could be who they are instead of who they think they’re supposed to be.
I wish more women could be who they are not who they think theyre supposed to be -@thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


The coolest thing about women is… our tendency to connect and feel multiple complex emotions all at once.


My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: Picturing myself or others as a little kid = instant compassion and love and joy


My top female role models: Michelle Obama, Oprah, you know… the usual ;)


Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… reminding them how powerful they are.

i am that girl


Favorite negativity-busting activity: Picturing myself or others as a little kid = instant compassion and love and joy


Fave self-love ritual: Being in nature


Favorite feel-good food(s): Ice cream


Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: Pretty Woman


Favorite empowering book(s): Half The Sky


My feel-good playlist: Oldies


Advice I would give my…
…4 year old self: I love you
…14 year-old self: It’s okay to cry
…24 year old self: Hold on tight, you’re about to embark on a crazy roller coaster that will help you become so much more of who you are.


5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list: A trip around the world, and African safari, owning a boat, wine tasting through the south of france, building the most powerful movement of girls in the world


My best tip on self love: Look at yourself in the mirror for 60 seconds every day and tell yourself all the things you wish others would say to you.


When I truly love all of myself… I feel most connected to my purpose on this planet


Right now, I am most excited about… camping this weekend (and my new vespa)!


My body is: BeautyFULL

My body is beautyFULL. - @thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


Three words to describe me: Love, light, power


Current mantra: “You yourself, more than anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

AL1B0565 (1) (1) (1)
For more Emily:
Instagram
Twitter
IATG Facebook

IATG Instagram
IATG Twitter

 

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Seventeen-Point-Five: The Underestimation of our Unforeseen Strength.

Seventeen-Point-Five: The Underestimation of our Unforeseen Strength.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

Another day at the gym, another chance to fit in some resistance work. It was crowded on the floor, the weight rack reminding me of the produce shelves at Trader Joe’s Chelsea on Sunday evenings: picked over, plowed through, only a few choices left now that the “good ones” were gone. I was left with my own personal equivalent of bruised-up apples and overripe bananas and strange veggie combos that no one else wants to cook.

In fitness – specifically, resistance training – there are two main schools of thought: you lift light with high reps, or you lift heavy with less reps. For me, someone once told me along the way that lifting lower weights until fatigue was the way to go. Eight-to-ten-pounders it was, then. No more, rarely less. It maintains “lean muscle,” I was told. It burns what you don’t want and keeps what you do. 

Which technique was actually “better” or not is besides the point. If I’m being honest with myself (which I always try to do), I stuck with the advice I did because it was easy. I knew exactly what to expect. It was familiar. And even when I felt myself getting stronger, which I did every now and again, I shied away from the larger weights not because I feared I wouldn’t get “results” – but because I was scared I would be disappointed with myself if I couldn’t lift them to begin with.

Sighing at the lack of ten-pounders on the rack, I picked up the only option under sixty pounds available: 17.5. I had to look down to make sure I’d grabbed the right one. It can’t be, I thought. Why did I think this would be so insurmountably heavy?

~

We live within an epidemic of underestimating our strength. In this world, it’s become easy to be angry, easier to be cruel, even easier to be simply “nice,” than it is to speak up and live out.

Is it that we are culturally shamed into not showing strength? “Speaking up” is having a moment, thank goodness, but we’ve still got a long way to go until voicing our hearts is seen as a sign of courage, not a scarlet letter of deficiency. Is it we view the idea of “living the dream” as just that – a silly, unattainable dream that’s unworthy of a fight or our courage? Or is it that there’s so much else that’s a distraction in this world, too much else that’s over-stimulating and overpoweringly strong, that to add even an ounce of strength to the mix is almost too overwhelming to bear?

The majority of our environment is artificial; banking on our arousal to keep us engaged. Oh look, a fancy restaurant! Oh look, a sample sale! Oh look! An ad telling me I must not be good enough as I am because I definitely need that cream to do away with my shortcomings! It might be fun (no hate; not knocking it till I try it), but even the new Pokémon GO iPhone game thing is worth questioning. What does it say about us that the game begins with a reminder to “stay alert” — not while we quench a thirst for information or knowledge, but feed a hunger to “catch” imaginary creatures, ps — lest we should bump into a light post, or a person, or a moving car, or an assailant? (this article on Forbes does a good job of summing up my feelings on that one – on the other hand, this one does a nice job of expressing how it might be able to help folks with depression, but it’s more about actually getting people outside than it is about what people do once they’re there.)

All any of this means is that when we get the chance to make our own decisions and decipher our own feelings, we’re way less likely to go for anything other than the easy way out. After all, the world is constantly coaxing us to spend our energy elsewhere. We will never cease to be tempted by the ease of the moment until we start investing in what it means to explore our own strength.

The true work doesn’t come in the ease and the fallback, it comes in the unfamiliar and the spaces outside of comfort zones:

Growth, whether it’s muscles or mindset, comes when you move forward fearlessly and pick up that weight, and maybe one day are surprised by the fact that picking it up wasn’t all as hard as you’d worked it up to be.

Fitness, to me, is not about a number of reps. It’s not about the perfect lunge, and it’s certainly not about the number of calories burnt per minute. Fitness is about realizing you’re stronger than you thought, you’re tougher than you realized, and you’re way more intricate than you ever could imagine. Fitness is about realizing that it’s okay to be both strong and soft, determined and delicate, in the gym and out of the gym – because life asks of you everything the gym does and more. Lifting a weight over and over might look impressive from the outside (how does she do so many reps?!), but you’re ultimately just waiting for the inevitable fatigue.

Choosing the safe bet – the anger, the fear, the perfunctory cheeriness, the popular viewpoint – might be easier to choose and more readily accepted from the outside, but ultimately, it’ll get old.

But choosing the more mindful option? The one that presents challenges no one can see? Now that is something. Now THAT is strength. It’s not about the way it looks, it’s about the way it feels.

It's not about the way it looks, it’s about the way it feels. Click To Tweet

And so picking up a seventeen-point-five pound weight, it meant so much more to me in that moment than just a few extra units of heavy metal. It made me ask: Where am I not upping the weight in my own life? Where am I settling for the ease, over and over again until I fatigue? And in what parts of my life am I not facing my own true strength?

I am not perfect. I stay silent when I long to speak up. I cower in the face of fear. I shrink myself to make others feel comfortable, and I overextend myself to protect others instead of protecting myself. I feel rage-bubbles bubble up inside, and I smile a sweet smile even when I’m betrayed. But I always go back and I pick up the weight, and remind myself that every ounce of metal and every moment of equanimity counts when it comes to building myself up into the woman I strive to be. When it comes to building the world into the world I want to see. We’ve got to start somewhere, and we can’t discount the power we have as individuals to shift the landscape.

So go ahead. Pick up the dumbbell and lift the weight. You might be surprised at the strength you’ve built – and the power that’s been locked inside, waiting for you to use it.

strength-women-against-negative-talk


WANT Yourself:
In the comments below, tell me one way you’ve impressed yourself with your own strength. Doesn’t matter what it is – all acts of strength are HUGE in the WANT playbook.

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