Often we search for profound ways to empower ourselves, seeking out a magic pill, a thrilling act, an “ah ha” moment that pumps us full of endorphins and certainly, it is an intoxicating notion. The reality is that true empowerment comes from daily activities of reframing and reflection, rather that grandiose crossings of coals and sky jumps. Empowerment is growth and subtle changes, habits development and a reprogramming of the unconscious mind, taking us off our less than empowering autopilot.

An example of such an act is taking the time to reflect and reframe. We must celebrate our achievements, the distance we have already come, in order to maintain our focus and motivation for the rest of our journey. The following is an example of how I did just that enabling me to claim back 12 months of my life in a profound and powerful way, albeit quietly one evening just before bed.

In some ways I felt like 2015 was a total write-off. It is a year that I didn’t want to acknowledge as having any good to it because it would muddy emotions and feel confusing as it mingled with all that was so utterly bad about it. It weirdly felt disloyal to my daughter, stillborn that year. I didn’t want to somehow confirm in people’s minds that I was healed, over it, had moved on, or was no longer affected by grief. I was supposed to have achieved so much that year. The optimism and ambition with which I entered it was utterly betrayed by the events that soon unfolded.

After Mia’s stillbirth, I stopped looking at goals. I dabbled around the edges of things with no game plan and little focus. In some ways I felt I achieved very little but in another way it was a powerful year of growth. Not just because of the obvious emotional growth required to make it through but also the approach that I took in order to consolidate everything I could as I attempted to not just survive but thrive in what felt to be a baron year.

I was in a rare place where pretty much anything deficit-wise was understandable and forgivable and anything progress-wise was lordable. In a way I could do no wrong or be publicly criticised. That didn’t stop me placing my own standards and expectations on myself but it gave me the space to step back and evaluate what was me and what was society.

So one evening as I reflected on my goals for 2016 and my perceived gap between where I was and where I had hoped to be, I composed a list of my achievements of 2015 and what immediately followed the most confronting and challenging time of my life.

What I discovered were 20 things that were impressive, exciting, reinvigorating, worthy of acknowledgment and overall incredibly empowering to acknowledge:

  1. I stayed connected and available for my children and my husband even while I grieved so deeply, I thought I would die.
  2. I completed Creatrix (R) level 2 training retreat
  3. I completed Creatrix (R) level 3 training retreat
  4. I closed my branch of Empowered Mums Business Network after running it for 18 months and empowered myself around the decisions I needed to make in that regard
  5. Leonie Dawson came to Launceston and spoke to a group of 20+ women and I was responsible for organising it!
  6. I went to the Run the World conference in Melbourne
  7. I applied for a grant, albeit unsuccessfully
  8. I went to Seminar with my mum and 2 more of my team members
  9. I attended the Business Made Beautiful Conference
  10. I kept my direct sales business ticking over and maintained quality client relationships
  11. I attracted and worked with my first full paying Creatrix client
  12. I made decisions around how I wanted my businesses to look and feel
  13. I made decisions about the kind of person I want to be
  14. I stepped into myself and my way of doing things and stopped apologising for it
  15. I distanced myself from negative energy vampires and stopped feeling bad about it
  16. I learned that you can’t rescue people, only help them rescue themselves as much as they want or will allow
  17. I learned to forgive those who let me down because they never agreed to meet my expectations and standards in the first place
  18. I learned to forgive myself more and more for not being perfect
  19. I released a lot of my guilt and shame
  20. I connected with quality people and feel a greater sense of purpose and direction

The reality is for all of my dabbling, directionlessness, and lack of progress, I have in fact achieved a huge amount all whilst bearing my grief. On reflection 2015 was a grounding year, a flat on your bum, dust in your face, pick yourself up and catch your breath kind of year. If I can achieve all that I did last year through gasping bouts of despair, dark days of emotional and physical immobility, then what can be achieved as the burden of that grief and pain is transformed, absorbed, shifted in weight and adapted to each day?!

Although it is still early days, and I face a whole new set of challenges, with a plan and determination, progress can be made, necessary changes put in place and a game plan developed to be executed. Maybe not flawlessly and without fault or fear, but with the ease and grace with which I now choose to live my life no matter what I must face in the future. By reflecting on my year, taking the time to acknowledge what took place, and positively reframing my memory of it, I have flipped my mindset and empowered myself to regroup and relaunch. With programs, free challenges, workshops and online courses slowly rolling out while I prepare to give birth to my son in only a matter of weeks, 2016 can’t be anything but incredibly empowering.

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