I just got back from our Create Work You Love Women’s Retreat this past weekend and I’m still on an emotional and energetic high!

We had such an incredible tribe of women join this four-day event. We laughed, we cried, we did yoga in the redwoods every morning and ate chocolate with every meal…it was fabulous.

I wish I could bottle up the magic from this weekend and just hand it out on the street for everyone to experience. I can’t do that, but I can share some helpful insights from the weekend:

Fill your cup. Find yourself. Honor your truth. Own your gifts.

What does this mean?

Fill your cup.

We cannot do our most impactful work in the world if we’re depleted and exhausted.

It’s vital that you fill your cup by making a conscious choice to do things that replenish you. It’s also important to be around people who fill you up rather than deplete you.

All boats rise with a rising tide.

I advised one of the women in the CWYL Program to spend ten minutes a day while at work doing creative writing (which has nothing to do with her day job). She worried she’d be less productive and would feel guilty.

I suggested she try it as an experiment for one week and notice if the creative writing (which she loves and really fills her cup) gave her more energy to do some of the monotonous tasks at work.

She was amazed to find this was true!

When she set aside just ten minutes a day to write, she had even more energy to complete all her other work. By feeding herself, she got even more done.

Daily and Weekly. Big and small.

Take time out of your schedule every day for at least ten minutes to do something, anything, that fills your cup. It could be calling a good friend or dancing to an uplifting song. It doesn’t have to be complicated or require a lot of time. All it requires is that you ask; “Hmmm, what will fill my cup today? How can I spend at least ten minutes replenishing myself today?”

Then, each week block off at least 60-90 minutes to do something bigger that fills your cup. You’ll be amazed how much energy you have for other activities once you take time to fill yourself up.

Find yourself.

One of the women shared; “Vanessa, this retreat helped me find myself again. Thank you.”

How do we lose ourselves?

It’s so easy to lose ourselves in the whirl of everyday life and outside demands. To be fully you requires taking some time and space away from other people (and their needs) to get quiet, ask some deeper questions, and reconnect with your Essence.

Simple Tool: Go for a walk in nature (alone) and ask yourself; “what parts of myself have I lost or forgotten as I’ve been trying to please others? Who am I today that’s different from the story I have about myself?”

We’re always evolving and changing. Sometimes, we’ve outgrown the old definition we hold of ourselves.

Honor your truth.

Once you start to find yourself, you may have to face some uncomfortable truths.

I guarantee there are ways you’re living your life to please others, make them like you, or feel safe, rather than honoring your deeper truth.

I’ve stayed in relationships (business and personal) much longer than necessary out of a sense of loyalty and a fear of disappointing others. My dear friend Kristen Wheeler gave me this advice;

If you betray yourself, ultimately, you betray others too.

You can start small. Honor your truth in one small way today by telling someone what you really want or taking a stand for your needs.

Own your gifts.

At the CWYL Retreat, one of the women said she was feeling a lot of fear. Another woman suggested perhaps she was afraid of her own power, and she agreed.

We’re all afraid to truly own our gifts and let our light shine. We’re scared that we’ll be rejected, or that people will be jealous, or we’ll make them feel bad about themselves.

By owning your gifts, you give other people permission to do the same.

This quote says it all;

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
         – Marianne Williamson

This past weekend, one woman told me; “Vanessa, when I was on the fence about doing the retreat, you told me you were really good at bringing incredible groups of women together, and that it was one of your special gifts. That not only made me want to come because of the awesome women, it inspired me to hear you say what you’re good at.”

It’s scary to own our gifts. (I feel nervous even sharing the story above for fear of coming off as bragging. But I’m doing it anyway to make a point!)

If you want to have a greater impact in the world and inspire others to do the same, owning your gifts is a prerequisite.

I’d love to hear from you! What helps you fill your cup? Have you lost yourself or had a hard time honoring your truth in the face of outside pressure? What has helped you connect with your Essence and own your gifts?

Share with us in the comments below – I really would love to hear your thoughts on this!


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