When I was in the second or third grade, I decided I wanted to hold a Bible study for my friends. I picked which story I wanted to teach (I think it was Zaccheus), got my felt board together (gotta love old school felt boards), planned out my refreshments (what’s a Bible study without snacks), and invited some of my friends. I was all set until… no one showed up. Yep not a high point in those childhood memories, and it probably explains why I always have these great ideas for throwing parties but never follow through with them. But that’s not really the point of my sharing this story…
Let’s fast forward into adulthood… Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to so many wonderful groups of women sharing my stories and hearing theirs. During this time, one of my goals has been to start hosting women’s retreats and creating time and space where women can engage in deep learning and vulnerable sharing as they rediscover their voice and freedom. This goal started coming to life in a most wonderful way earlier this year when I started holding Daring Way™ retreats.
I shared in an earlier post about The Daring Way™, but just to recap… The Daring Way™ is curriculum and methodology based on best selling author and TED sensation Brené Brown’s research and writing on shame and vulnerability. The material takes you on a journey as you uncover what is weighing you down and holding you back from living the life of joy, purpose, and courage that you were created to live. I like to think of the Daring Way experience as unpacking a suitcase. You start by sorting through what needs to be taken out and left behind, and then you re-pack the suitcase with what you need to bring with you on this journey of showing up in your life, letting yourself be truly seen, and living brave. The Daring Way™ helps us find the path from our beautifully decorated prison cell to the freedom of loving vulnerably, living freely, and daring greatly.
There have been five Daring Way™ retreats since March and it one has been inspiring and breath taking as these brave women enter into this two day experience perhaps a little uncertain, a little weary and leave with the taste of freedom on their lips and courage in their hearts. Each retreat has moved me to tears as I have seen light bulbs go off and the chains of perfectionism, comparison, and self-doubt fall to the ground. I am so incredibly grateful for many things in my professional life, but being able to walk this daring journey with these wonderful women is certainly at the top of the list.
With that being said, I am thrilled to announce there will be three more Daring Way experiences this fall. For the first time, there will be an eight week Daring Moms group on Wednesday mornings starting September 24th. As I think and plan for this group, I am getting more and more excited. Moms of all ages and life stages are invited to participate in this intimate time of fellowship and learning. Details regarding Daring Moms, the October 25-26 Daring Way™ for Women retreat, and the November 6-7 Daring Way for Helpers are listed below.
My little Bible study story doesn’t entirely have a sad ending. Thirty years later I can say with a humble and grateful heart that I am doing what I always dreamed of doing. Thank you to the amazing women that have participated in The Daring Way™ so far. Thank you for your time, your energy, and your courage. Thank you for playing such an important role in my story and my journey into the arena. I look forward to meeting more daring women in the months ahead and seeing more bags unpacked, hearing more chains hit the floor, and sharing in more stories of discovering freedom and purpose. Here’s to daring greatly together!
Daring Moms: Living and Loving as Your True Self – September 24- November 12
Calling all Moms! The kids are headed back to school and now is a chance to give yourself a little gift. Join us for DARING MOMS on Wednesday mornings starting in September! As mothers, we are always trying to find the balance between taking care of our families and taking care of ourselves. Join us for an all new DARING MOMS group and have the opportunity to do both!
DARING MOMS is an eight week small group that will help us break free of the “mom guilt”, the comparison trap, and the second-guessing that clouds the experience of motherhood. Based on Brené Brown’s The Daring Way™ curriculum, you will learn to practice vulnerability and develop deeper relationships with your spouse, children, and friends. You will leave this group with a greater sense of yourself and strategies on how to bring a culture of compassion, courage, and vulnerability into your families, The group is on Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:30 from September 24- November 12. Drop the kids off at school, grab a coffee, and join us for a unique time of fellowship and learning! For more information, click here.
The Daring Way™ for Women: Show Up, Be Seen, Live Brave™- October 25-26
Would you like to break free of the comparison trap and self-doubt? Would you like to be brave in more areas of your life by owning your story and clarifying your sense of purpose? Are you tired struggling with feeling not good enough? During this two-day retreat held specifically for women, participants will have the opportunity to identify the negative beliefs that are holding them back and the relationships and areas of their lives where they would like to practice more courage and vulnerability. For more information, click here.
The Daring Way™ for Helpers: Working and Living with Courage and Compassion
Does self doubt ever plague your enjoyment of your work with clients, students, and congregants? Are you struggling with burnout and wanting to clarify your purpose in the helping profession? Would you like to be free of the negative thoughts and old baggage that can interfere with your work and relationships? If you are a mental health professional, educator, or member of the clergy, you do not want to miss this special two day retreat. Throughout the retreat, you will study Dr. Brené Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability and will develop a greater understanding of how shame influences your relationships, habits, and goal setting. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to identify how you would like to show up and be seen in your personal and professional life as you outline a self-compassion and courage practice that you can integrate into your daily routine. The Daring Way™ curriculum will transform the way you view yourself, your clients, and your personal relationships. This retreat is coed.
Please note this workshop is an opportunity for mental health professionals to experience The Daring Way™ methodology and apply it to their own personal journey. Attending this training does not certify you to be a Certified Daring Way Facilitator or to use the copyrighted Daring Way™ exercises in your practice. For more information, click here.
To learn more about The Daring Way™, click here.
To Register for an upcoming Daring Way™ group or retreat, click here.
I came across this quote by Bob Goff last week and it really has had me thinking. Aren’t those words so true? We hear and read so much these days about comparing ourselves to others and how things like social media only seem to exacerbate that habit. I think we all pretty much agree that comparing ourselves to others is destructive. Comparison is corrosive. It kills joy, courage, and spirit. We know this yet so many of us struggle to stop doing it, and we are at a seeming loss as to how to stop doing it. It seems, though, that Bob Goff has beautifully stated how we can stop comparing ourselves to others.
We look for beauty. We find joy. We celebrate instead of resent and envy.
It makes perfect sense if you think about it. It’s next to impossible to fall into the slimy pit of comparison when we find beauty in someone’s work or when we find joy in a friend’s accomplishment or celebrate a loved one’s good fortune. We rarely compare ourselves to the friends that we are genuinely happy for. But we tend to compare ourselves to those friends or co-workers that we secretly envy, or even resent. It’s real hard to find beauty when we are pea green with envy regarding someone’s promotion, relationship, or windfall.
Our habit of comparing is not just rooted in envy and jealousy but it is also rooted in fear and scarcity. We compare because we are afraid that we are not enough, that there isn’t enough “room for us”, that somehow we aren’t going to get our piece of the pie. It is amazing how strong the fear is in our lives that there “won’t be enough room”. All these people are getting engaged; there’s going to be no one left for me. All these people are moving up in their careers; there’s not going to be any space left on the ladder for me. We simultaneously feel compelled to mark our territory and fear that our territory is not big enough/good enough. These mind games are exhausting!
A wise friend shared with me today that rather than fighting for a piece of the pie we should create a new pie. Rather than fearing you aren’t going to get a piece of the pie and comparing your slice to someone else’s, what if you believed in yourself and your calling enough to create your own pie?
Let that sink in.
That right there is freedom, folks. Freedom from comparison. Freedom from envy. Freedom from fear and scarcity. What you have been called and ordained to do, you will do. We have to dig deep into our faith and rest in that truth.
So the big question these days is how do we break free from the comparison quicksand. How do we do it? We find beauty and we find joy. We find beauty and joy in other people’s journeys and gifts and ideas, and we boldly embrace our own journey, gifts, and ideas.
What would it look like for you to find joy and beauty in other’s lives rather than comparing them to your own? How would that change your sense of peace and contentment for your life? Are you ready to take on that challenge? I am.
Well, can you believe we are just days away from the start of August? I really feel like this summer has flown by! Before you know it, kids will be back in school, the days will be getting shorter, and we will all settle back into our “normal” routines. As I have shared before, summer is my time to step back and slow down. But in my stepping back and slowing down, it is also my time to think and plan for upcoming events and things I would like to do in the fall. So today I’m taking the first step in checking one of my fall goals off the list!
Way back when this blog was just a thought in my mind, one of the ideas I had was to hold read-alongs. I love to read and discuss books so having a read-along through the blog seemed like a natural fit. This fall I want to make that little idea a reality and hold the first Voice Lessons for Today Read-Along!
Here is where I would love your help… I have been tossing around some book ideas for this inaugural read-along, but I am really curious to hear what books have inspired you or that you’ve always wanted to read. I would love to know what you would like to read together. I’m looking for book suggestions that fall into the inspirational/self-help/spirituality and faith/learning to live a fuller life type category. If you wouldn’t mind, leave me a comment with book suggestions, we’ll pick a book, and go from there! I look forward to reading and growing together this fall!
I have found the quickest way to bring deafening silence to a therapy session is to ask this question: What are you good at?
Let’s be honest, this question brings any conversation to a grinding halt. My guess is that even the thought of having to list your strengths elicits an internal groan. I’ll tell you anything about myself, but don’t make me say out loud for the world to hear what I’m good at!
Why is it so hard for us to verbalize this very basic and important fact about ourselves? Why is it so hard for us to say, “I’m good at ________ ”? It’s like we have convinced ourselves that we aren’t supposed to think we are good at anything and somehow that is the marking of humility. We seem to be caught in this trap of either not believing we are good at anything OR fearing that other people are going to think that we think we are good at something. Heaven forbid! (Insert sarcastic tone) As a result, we walk around thinking things like…
I don’t want people to think I’m a know-it all so I’m just going to keep my thoughts to myself during the meeting.
I don’t want people to think that I’m bragging so I’m not going to tell anyone about my promotion.
I am scared to try this new venture because I don’t want people to think that I think I’m all that.
I don’t want people to think that I think I’m good at that so let me add in how I mess all these other things up and how I can’t do this or that.
I think we all fall victims to this twisted logic at some point. I know I certainly have! When I was creating the copy for my website I basically had to rock and hum I felt so uncomfortable writing about myself. It just feels so vulnerable and exposing, doesn’t it? What will people think? What will people say? So and so is much better at that so I shouldn’t put that I do that. All those lovely thoughts raced through my head as Adam Sandler’s voice echoed in the background saying, “They’re all going to laugh at you.” Ugh! The ways we mentally torture ourselves!
And yes, sometimes we really don’t think we are good at things, but sometimes we do not let ourselves think we are good at things, or even try new things, because we are worried how it will come across to others. Sometimes we even struggle to say thank you after a compliment because we are afraid that by saying thank you, the person may think we are agreeing with them! Again, heaven forbid!
And we wonder why we don’t feel good about ourselves and why we are swimming in a sea of low self worth?? Are we even giving ourselves a chance? Are we even leaving a crack in the door that we could… wait for it, wait for it… be good at something?!
Where in the world does this come from? Where did we get the idea that by naming and claiming our strengths we are crossing into this horror of horrors zone of egotistical boasting?
I think women, in particular, have a fear of being perceived as arrogant. As much as we fear being not enough, I think we have an equally intense fear of being too much. We don’t want to be too loud, too opinionated, too needy, too confident. We find ourselves dancing this delicate cha-cha in which we try to assert ourselves while at the same time downplaying every strength and gift. We live shamed into silence by the question who do you think you are– Who do you think you are to try that? Who do you think you are to offer that opinion?
Additionally, I think we struggle to name our strengths because sometimes we mistakenly associate having a strength with being the best, and if we find someone who does something better, then we automatically discount that characteristic or ability in ourselves. Well, that isn’t necessarily a strength because Sally Sue is much better at it than I am. What a disservice we are doing to ourselves by minimizing, discounting, or even down right rejecting our strengths!
But again, where does this come from?
Like most of our baggage in life, I think this lovely little suitcase originated in middle school.
In Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, Rachel Simmons discusses how bullying and silent treatments function in female adolescent relationships. She says the worst thing a peer can say about an adolescent girl is
She thinks that she’s all that.
The phrase alone sends shivers up my spine because I know Simmons is right. Simmons says that once a girl is given this label she is deemed as arrogant and cocky and is shunned from the group. It is the social deathblow to a woman of any age and has been repeated in school hallways, dorm rooms, conference rooms, and neighborhood streets across the land as a way of demarcating us vs. her. Every woman, if she is honest with herself, knows the power of this statement because she has either used it to negatively describe another woman or she has feared it being said about her.
We are socialized to fear that if we come across as too confident then we will be ostracized, we will lose the very connection we desire. We end up caught in death grip of feeling not enough and fearing we are too much all at the same time. And so… we start to cha-cha. We try to be confident, but not too confident. We name our gifts, but we give nineteen disclaimers. We accept the positive feedback, but we follow it up with a rundown of how the presentation could have been better and what we left out. How destructive this thinking is to our hearts and minds!
What if we started thinking differently? What if you gave yourself permission to say, “I’m a good _________”? What if you sat down and named your strengths without disclaimers and explanations? And then- this is the biggie- what if you believed them to be true? What if you believed you really had innate, God-given gifts that have been refined and enhanced by your life experiences? How would your life be different? How would that slice of truth change your interactions, the things you try, how you feel about yourself?
Discovering your voice, clarifying your purpose, and breaking free of the chains that hold you back, starts with allowing yourself to recognize your gifts and talents. For some of us, that is a scary and uncomfortable task because we live our days downplaying and doubting our abilities. But your life does not have to be defined by the fears of not being enough or being too much. Your plans do not have to be shot down by the shaming question of who do you think you are. You can start living and seeing your self differently. Identifying your strengths and talents is not being arrogant; it is showing acceptance and gratitude for your unique abilities and gifts. Buried talents end up being just that- buried. They do not grow. They do not blossom. They just stay buried in darkness.
What do you need to do to start owning the truth that you are good at, not just one thing, but many things? Do you need to give yourself permission to claim that truth? Do you need to let go of some the old messages that planted negative seeds in your soul? Do you need to take time to discover your strengths and talents? Your strengths need light shining down on them. They need you to boldly name and claim them rather than burying them out of fear, insecurity, or misguided attempts at humility. Steward your strengths, cultivate your strengths; don’t bury them.
So… what are you good at? Come on, you can do it. I know you can. Take a deep breath and let me hear you say it.
Here’s your challenge: List 10 strengths. Write them down and share them with someone. (In fact, share them below- I’d love to read them!) It will be the most empowering, exhilarating, and scariest thing you do all week! You’re gonna love it!
This month I am celebrating an exciting milestone in my life. A year ago, I took my biggest leap of faith yet and launched my own private practice. In some ways, I cannot believe it has been a year, and in other ways it seems like forever ago that Mazi Robinson, LLC opened its doors. As I shared in a post a year ago, I entered into this venture not knowing what the future held but feeling simultaneously excited and anxious. Now, a year later, I am in literal awe at what has unfolded, the women that I have had the honor to work with, the groups I’ve been privileged to speak to, and the doors that have opened. This past year has been filled with abundant, over the top Grace, and I am deeply grateful.
Sitting on this side of the past 365 days and looking ahead to the next 365, I have been pondering what I have learned so far on this journey. Here are the five most important lessons I have learned since my leap of faith.
If you’re afraid to do it, you have to do it. If you’re afraid to do it, then you’re probably doing something right.
As I shared a year ago, it was when I voiced my real fears about going out on my own that I knew I had to do it. I was afraid of not being able to make it on my own, of failing, of losing connections, of being judged. Those fears were very real, but what I knew then, and what has become even more of a truth for me since, is that if you give into fear, then fear wins. Fear calls the shots. Fear dictates the path. Fear keeps you small. If you’re afraid, it is a sign that you are pushing the boundaries of your beloved comfort zone. It’s a sign that you’re growing. Growth is often painful and uncertain. Fear is not necessarily a sign that you should not do something. Fear is often a sign that you are on the cusp breaking free from the thoughts that you think are protecting you but are actually imprisoning you. Fear is often a sign that you are doing something right. I now take those butterflies in my stomach and what if thoughts not as indicators to turn back but as green lights to take a deep breath and move forward.
It’s not the critic who counts… it’s the man in the arena who counts.
I’ve shared numerous times what a fan I am of Brené Brown’s research and writing. When I read the Teddy Roosevelt quote she uses as the backdrop for her bestselling book, Daring Greatly, I was immediately taken by this idea that it is better to be marred by dust and sweat then to stay pristine and safe on the outside of the arena. For the past year, whenever I have tried something new or stepped into a new arena I have repeated this mantra over and over in my mind. Success is immaterial. Critics only have power if I give them power. At the end of my life, I think I will care much more that at least I tried– tried to tried to hold Daring Way™ retreats, tried to market myself (email marketing literally makes me hum and shiver with discomfort… more on that gem later), tried to blog, etc.- then if I “successfully” avoided the criticism and judgment of the mysterious “they.” Yes, I’ve decided I would rather be filthy, exhausted, and totally poured out in the center of the arena then standing all put together on the outside.
I am my worst self when I’m on the outside of the arena.
I am my better self when I am facing my fears, standing up to my insecurities, and doing the things that make me feel uncomfortable and uncertain. I am jealous, envious, resentful, critical of others, gossipy, and “territorial” when I am standing on the outside of the arena watching others do the things that I am too afraid to do. I am my worst self when I stand on the outside looking in. Isn’t that interesting how that is the case? Standing on the outside of the arena brings out all of the unattractive qualities we like least about ourselves. We become the critic when we give fear the power to close the door to the arena we feel called to enter. Want to be free of the jealousy that morphs into insecurity that leads to saying critical things about others? I’ve learned you have to step out of that beautifully decorated prison cell you call home and walk into the arena you keep staring at.
There is never the perfect time, but there is the right time.
When we are contemplating making a change, how often do we say the timing is just not right? How often do we think when I get to… or when I have this amount in savings… or when we get past this hurdle…? This past year has taught me that there is never a perfect time- you can’t wait for the perfect time- but there is the right time. What I didn’t share in my blog announcement last year is that when I decided to start this venture in private practice, my husband was unemployed. In March of last year the company my husband worked for was sold and closed their Atlanta office. As I was putting everything in place for the opening of my practice, my husband was at the beginning of a job search process that had no known end date. On paper, this was not the time to start a new business. We had bills to pay, a little one to take care of, and the uncertainty of unemployment to navigate. This was definitely not the perfect time. But after much discussion, we felt it was time for this change, and as I quickly discovered it was the right time. It was the right time for me to clarify my purpose and calling. It was the right time for me to be my own boss. It was the right time for a new challenge. The lesson? If you wait for the perfect time, you just might miss out on what is right for you.
I thought I knew what I could lose in my leap of faith, but I never dreamed what I would receive.
I had a long list of things I thought I might lose, fears of what might happen, things I thought I wasn’t capable of doing. (Thinking about things like bookkeeping, web management, and marketing made me want to sit in a corner and rock.) I think anyone has such a list when they are contemplating walking away from the known into the unknown. Over this past year, I have had to let go of some things, and, yes, that was as painful and agonizing as I predicted it would be. But we have to let go so that our hands are open to receive other things. We let go of Egypt so we can enter into our Canaan. We let go of the beautifully decorated prison so we can step into our arena. What have I received? Opportunities I never dreamed of. Occasions to hear others’ stories that I will treasure in my heart. Knowledge that I am more capable than I realized. But more importantly, I’ve received grace, a bigger and bolder faith, healing, direction, and a new understanding of what it means to live free. It is for freedom that we have been set free– oh yes, indeed. I have felt both carried and covered like never before, and I understand on a whole new level that our imaginations and worst-case scenarios aren’t nearly as big as God’s vision for us- Amen to that. This year has been one of the most influential and shaping of my life. To say I am grateful is an understatement.
Those are the lessons I have learned over this past year, and I’m sure there is more learning to come in the year ahead. I look ahead at the next year and I’m so excited about what I know is to come and what I cannot imagine is around the bend. Happy Anniversary, Mazi Robinson, LLC!
What are the lessons you have learned from your leaps of faith? Are you contemplating a leap right now? What are your worries and concerns? What is the arena you want to enter? I would love to hear about your journey and what you are learning!