That’s me in Hamburg, searching for a new path!
Contrary to popular opinion, I did not start out with this much confidence at birth, far from it! In fact, I fought very hard to win my courage, confidence and charisma over the years.
Growing up, I was a shy, quiet, bookish kid, tall and smart with braces and all kinds of awkward. Plus, I was a major perfectionist. I know, right? It was kind of isolating! In high school and then in college, I purposefully pushed my boundaries and comfort zones – mainly with theater-related activities – to break out of my introverted shell. Things went fairly well, but I really didn’t have a plan or any kind of direction.
Truth is, I also had less than a stellar record in the romance department, repeatedly setting my Self up for failure with guys who either weren’t right for me or weren’t ready for me. So when I met a clean-cut, well-dressed, seemingly successful young European guy at a wedding and we connected immediately, I was thrilled at my turn of fortune. Half a year later, I moved to Germany to be closer to him, leaving family, friends and everything else I knew. At the time, I saw it as my chance to finally have that European adventure I’d been yearning for. But when I got there, it was not nearly as much fun as I’d expected.
Living in another country when you don’t speak the language is a real drag! During those first few years, my confidence underwent daily trauma. Every day, I felt less than adequate without the most basic language skills to find a bathroom, count money, or tell someone off when they took my parking space! More and more, while I toiled at learning the language I simply relied on my boyfriend to speak for me.
I married the boyfriend a few years later, fought hard to learn his language and eventually became fluent. Even so, after 15 years of regular practice, that abdication of my voice became the very thing that drove my confidence to an incredible low point and the very thing that allowed my (ex-) husband to control me, box me in and isolate me over time.
After my daughter was born, our relationship was so unbalanced that we rarely had a conversation without screaming at each other. It took me years to get up the courage to leave. I was alone in Germany with no plan, no job, no savings, no assets. One day, I had lunch with a friend and told her how he had shouted at me (again) because he found out I had told my friends that we rented our apartment instead of buying it. He claimed that that kind of “gossip” had caused him to lose a big business deal. I told my friend at lunch that I felt like I should be in a witness protection program.
That’s when the EXIT sign finally lit up in my head. Three months later, I got up the courage to tell him I didn’t love him anymore and couldn’t continue living with him.
In the end, it was clear that over the years, I had learned a lot and realized lots of positive things about my Self. I had made it through a very big storm and emerged to find… me! It was just a tiny glimmer of me, but it was a start. I had spent close to 20 years in a marriage that I allowed to stifle my true Self. Once I finally got up the courage to leave my life in Europe and return to my incredibly generous family on Cape Cod, I began an amazing healing process filled with tons of strength-building, confidence-inspiring experiences.
Once I gained a little distance, I saw that I had also allowed my relationship to stifle my power, authenticity, creativity and ultimately, my success in life. Slowly, I repaired my confidence and became my Self again, only better!
Soon I realized I had lots of experience and information to offer people going through the same kinds of situations. I also realized that the processes of gaining courage, building confidence and tapping into our innate charisma can be very challenging! The charisma piece can be especially daunting because we often shut down our sexuality in times of stress. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’ve shut out our girly girl until we are walking around with spiky short hair, what my daughter calls “man shoes” and a hard shell around our hearts that translates into a very tough attitude. My goal is to coax as many women as possible away from those “man shoes” and into a pair of flirty, sexy high heels and help them SIZZLE!
I’ve been thinking about love lately…a lot. It’s February! The month of love… And you know what they say about love… Love is in the air. Love is the question and the answer. Love me or leave me. Love is all you need. All you need is love. Love isn’t love until you give it away. Love thy neighbor. Love is a battlefield. Love and money. For the love of God. Love is a many splendored thing. Love has many faces. Love has no limits. Love will find a way. Love your Self!
Well, as you can see, I’ve been counting the ways. =)
This month, by right of Saint Valentine is dedicated to the most complex, famous, wonderfully exciting emotion, both noun and verb in one. Get comfy, take a seat because I’m here to help you start unraveling this puzzle this month. Today, it’s all about the questions…
What does love mean to you? What does it look like? What does it feel like?
What does love make you think about? What does it move you to do?
Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you believe in love at all?
Would you or did you ever marry for money? Was the love that got away the love of your life? Would you take a second chance if you got it?
This month, I challenge you to think about love. About how it affects you. Does it make you happy? Does it scare you? Is it full of drama and make you want to run away?
If you’ve been nursing a broken heart, tell me, are you willing to risk your heart ever again? How many times has your heart been broken? Have you ever broken someone’s heart?
Is love a part of your daily life? Do you give it and receive it easily? Do you give your Self daily love? Could you practice more love for your Self, especially regarding your Self talk? Do you talk to your Self in a caring,
Do you give and feel the love all around you, in a smile, a kind word, a warm shaft of sunlight?…
No need to write anything down — I’m not grading this test. =) Just sit with your thoughts and feelings as they come up. If you feel like journaling or creating something as a result of this exercise, go for it.
My questions are meant to motivate and inspire you to focus on love this month. To be open to and aware of it. To invite it into your life. Play with it. Spread it out in front of you. Then just see what happens.
I have a button on my desk that quietly says: Believe.
There’s a huge word in the center of my latest vision board, right at the top: Believe.
I belong to a women’s networking group called B.I.G.: Believe, Inspire, Grow.
Logical assumption: I am a believer.
True confession: I wasn’t always a believer. Shocker, right?? A few years ago, you would never have guessed that I would end up coaching people to believe in ANYthing. Those of you who know me now as Coach Pam might find this hard to, well, believe. And those of you who knew me when probably find it hard to believe that I’ve made all the changes I’ve made as successfully as I have. Am I right? Yeah, you know I’m right.
Here’s the scoop: I am living proof that it CAN be done if you just BELIEVE.
1) When I first moved to Germany in 1991, I spoke not one word of German. Seriously. Heck, I was young, what did I care?? I just decided I would learn it once I got there, one way or another. Once there, I worked as a civilian for the US Army Europe and I took all the free German language classes that were offered. Then I took classes at a school called inlingua after I made a deal with my boss to let me arrive at work at 1pm for eight weeks so I could take the daily intensive class and eventually better serve our mission…which of course I eventually did. Then I took night classes at Berlitz, two nights a week for two years. Or was it three nights for three years?… Anyway it was a long time.
Result: During my first five or so years living in Germany, I learned lots of grammar, vocabulary and spelling but speaking was still rough. Once I started hanging out with GERMANS and having a real reason to use their language, I started to improve. By the time I left Germany in 2007, I was completely fluent AND freelancing for several years as a business text translator.
2) When I gave birth to my daughter in 2000, I almost didn’t make it. That’s right, I am lucky to be alive. I will spare you the gory details (mainly because my daughter reads my ezine faithfully and she’s not too keen on those gory details), but believe me when I say it was pretty touch and go there for a while. It was all IV tubes and litres of replacement plasma and ICU time and smelling salts and damn, I’m thirsty! Can I have some water please? Um, why can’t I speak up, why is my throat so dry?? You had an intubation, the nurse said to me in German. Yeah, in a teaching hospital, just like on Grey’s. Except in Germany.
Result: I not only survived, I came back stronger and healthier than ever. Believe you me, it took me awhile. I was as white as a ghost from…all the gory details and weaker than a damsel in distress. Thankfully, I had my mother there in the hospital with me (she slept in my room on a chair one night, such an amazing mother!) and my roommate Evelyn, who is a dear friend to this day. They both motivated me to wake up, shake off my lethargy, get moving, start breastfeeding my baby and get my Self home. After a week or so, I was able to
motivate my Self. I took my daughter out for daily walks around Hamburg and got stronger every day.
3) Okay last one. In early 2010, I decided to quit smoking. I came up with a plan that included acupuncture, Chinese herbs, self-directed mindset shift, a last-gasp deadline and an extreme diet and exercise plan so I wouldn’t gain any weight. Did I think about success rates or probabilities? Nope. Did I question whether I could achieve my goal? No. Did I worry about the possibility I might not do what I set out to do? Not a chance. I just jumped in with both feet and did it.
Result: I have not touched tobacco or nicotine since May 13, 2010 nor have I had any desire to start smoking again. I’m not just an ex-smoker, I am a non-smoker. Also, I spent the rest of 2010 plus the first half of 2011 working out and eating clean, which resulted in my losing 10 lbs, multiple inches and two dress sizes.
The point of these examples? I had NO idea HOW I would achieve my goals. You know what? Sometimes I did not even know what my goal WAS. But the one thing I had each time was faith. I believed that I would achieve success. So I did. Plain and simple.
Sometimes, it’s the believing that’s more important than the planning. You can plan your life from here to Timbuktu but if you don’t really believe you can do it, then guess what? You WON’T.
Do you have anything planned for your Self to achieve in 2013? Do you believe you’ll achieve it?
If not, you NEED to call me. Today.
As your Confidence Coach, it is my mission to guide you from darkness into the light of feeling strong,
confident and sexy so you can Get Your Sizzle On!™ The boring stuff: I earned my Certified Professional Coach (CPC) credential from Fowler-Wainwright International and my BA in English Lit from Georgetown University. I’ve been writing and teaching professionally for over 20 years and currently publish my own weekly blog and eZine.The FUN stuff: I am currently an Expert on the following awesome websites:LawofAttractionKey.com LifeBusinessGrowth.comSoulwoman eMagazineI’m also a Speaker for B.I.G. Women’s Network in Massachusetts. (Fun fact: I’m also a choreographer for community theater in my spare time! ;) My newest workshops, “Master Your Stage Fright” and “Brains + Beauty = YOU!” are scheduled forearly 2013 at various locations on Cape Cod, MA. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for deets. Book a FREE Spark Session with me at www.PamelaWills.com/schedule-session/ so I can help you build your courage, grow your confidence and Get Your Sizzle On!™ My intention is to see you push through your fears, move into that shimmering light of confidence and really SIZZLE with reawakened charisma! Find out how to feel strong and confident about being your true Self, a unique and powerful woman at www.PamelaWills.com.
You know what I’ve noticed? Some people just aren’t comfortable with the idea of sincere positivity coming at them. Try to be nice to some people and they kind of snicker at you. Sometimes they even sneer a bit. And if you dare attempt to hug some others, they might just go scurrying for the door. They just cannot handle it!
I used be that snickering, sneering, scurrying person, the very one who got very uptight around super positive people.
Most of the time, I would brand the positive ones as superficial, stupid or insincere. Even when I could sense that they were none of the above and that their positivity somehow (God only knows how) was sincere, the bitter cynic in me just could not stand to be around so much happy cheery positivity. Seriously! It hurt me physically. Gave me migraines. Made me nauseous.
I KNOW you know what I’m talking about here.
Of course, my pseudo-intellectual ex-husband AND my Queen’s English wannabe rebound man both fed right into my less-than-adorable judgemental stance. They both LOVED looking down their noses at anyone and everyone who went through life with a smile on his or her face. Did their best to personally wipe it right off those faces as quickly as possible. Made positivity look like the stupidest, uncoolest (look Ma, I just made up a word) and least desirable trait to display.
Of course, I joined right in with their kindergarten games. Suited my immature Self just perfectly back then.
Fast forward to the present.
At this point, I have outrun and/or defeated the biggest demons of my lifetime so far. I’ve dealt with divorce and all the drama that goes with it, battled and won court case after court case against a very stubborn and
difficult ex-husband and “father” for full custody of my child, dived down into the depths of all kinds of insecurities, despondencies and uncertainties and returned to the surface of my scarred life filled with hope, laughter and yes, the dreaded “P” word.
Today, I am not afraid nor ashamed to admit that I am a total positivity junkie. I love tossing words like “awesome”, “super” and “fabulous” around. Of course! I feel I have too much time and too many barbed comments in my past to make up for. I wore my coolness like so much heavy armor, protecting my fears and insecurities. Now I sometimes feel like Ebenezer Scrooge’s friend Jacob Marley with his yards of clanking chains, atoning for past cynicism. Now, I guarantee you that every last word out of my mouth is sincerely felt and meant.
But I know that many can’t imagine how that feels, let alone that it is possible. The very idea makes them uncomfortable. I know that many simply decide that I can’t possibly mean everything I say. So they keep their distance. They say what they have to say and then move away as quickly as possible so as not to be infected by my smiles.
…but not exactly fans, either…
I know this, because that used to be me. I used to be a hater. Hated anything and everything that seemed too chirpy or happy or in-my-face positive.
Now, I know better. Now, I’ll take positivity and all that goes along with being a hug-and-smile kind of gal. Especially if the alternative is to be snickering, sneering and scurrying or some other kind of whining crankypants with no sugar! Now, I’ll take sugar any day. You?
*Pamela earned her Certified Professional Coach (CPC) credential from Fowler-Wainwright International and her BA in English Literature from Georgetown University. She has been writing and teaching professionally for over 20 years but continues to learn and improve her talents, gifts and skills with experience and training.
Helping others increase their confidence is Pamela’s passion because she learned the hard way how important confidence really is for success in life. She wants to spare you the hard, dark journey she took and set you on a bright, happy path as quickly as possible!
To learn more and schedule your own complimentary SPARK Session, contact Pamela today.
by Pamela Wills, CPC
It occurred to me recently that most of our fears and complexes seem to follow similar patterns, like ripples on the surface of a pond. I’m no doctor, but it seems that if we look at fear of one thing, we might learn about how to deal with some of our other fears.
Take fear of the dark, for instance. Lots of us deal with this fear as kids. Most of us let it go as we mature, only to be faced with it again as parents of small children who are afraid of the dark.
It’s like we just blinked, had a baby, blinked again and BAM! Suddenly, there we are, dealing with our old fear again. Maybe, all those years ago, we got over this fear without a fight. Or maybe it was a long, painful, drawn-out process. Or maybe we never really let it go, not completely.
What do we say to our child about this fear? What are some of the suggestions we give them for dealing with this most basic of fears?
Well, one thing I always tell my daughter is to face her fears head on. In this case, that means to remember it’s just the darkness that feels scary, nothing else. Right?
So, with that established, I ask her what the dark can really do to hurt us… Anything? I mean, how can the simple absence of light in a room really hurt us?
- We could trip over one or more of the 29,000 different toys / books / shoes/ other random cr@p strewn across the floor of the bedroom and fall down.
- We might bump into a piece of furniture or a door and get a bruise.
- We might smack into each other and bump our funny bones…
Hahaha that might just make us laugh and forget all about being afraid of the dark!
Okay we could keep on going in this silly direction but you get the picture. It’s not really the DARK that’s scary, it’s what might happen in the absence of light that scares us. Right?
So. How do we remedy this situation? What suggestions do we give our kids for dealing with their fear of the dark?
1) Well, the easiest solution is to turn on a light. The hall light, a night light, a light in the closet. While this may help alleviate the fear temporarily, it’s really just a bandage and won’t cure the fear.
2) Another fix is to complete a monster sweep before turning off the lights. I kid you not. This approach works wonders. Are there any monsters hiding under the bed, Mommy? Any lurking in the closet? Behind the big bookshelf?
Nope. Okay, then we’re all good.
3) One other possibility is to remind our child that darkness is just the opposite of light. Without it, we wouldn’t know or appreciate light, couldn’t rest and cool off and sleep properly. We can be very thankful for the dark because it really is our friend.
Whichever approach you choose to employ, I promise you it can be applied to many other fears with a pretty decent relevancy rate.
Don’t believe me? Read on, if you dare:
1) Temporary fix / bandage: Take a shortcut around your fear. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Turn on the lights in the face of darkness. Block out the very thought of it. See how long that works for you. (N.B.: this approach doesn’t usually help kids get over their fear of the dark, either.)
2) Monster sweep: Shake up your fears by hitting them smack between the eyes. Root them right out of the closet, sweep them out from under the bed, call them out from behind the bookshelf. Show them the door, kick them to the curb. Never let them live in your head rent-free! They have no control over you because THEY ONLY EXIST IN YOUR IMAGINATION.
3) Make friends with your fear: Find some quiet alone time or sit with a person you trust and have a conversation with your fear, as if it is a living breathing person. You could also put this conversation in writing, as if you are sending your fear a letter. Ask your fear questions, thank it for giving you a lesson to learn and grow from, show it some respect for bringing you to your knees. And then tell your fear that although you are thankful for its presence in your life until now, for whatever reason, you can no longer spend time with it. You will just have to learn to live without each other.
It will really be best for both of you. And then simply say, GOOD-BYE.
Okay, #3 may seem a bit weird, but it really does help… BTW, #2 is my personal fave. Works wonders.
And that, my friend, is where the ELASTICITY meets the road.
Pamela Wills is a Certified Coach (CPC) and Licensed Educator based on lovely Cape Cod, Massachusetts. With her coaching company, Elasticity Coaching, her mission is to help you rediscover your true Self and learn to own your
truth. As a Self Discovery Expert and Truth Coach, Pamela would love to work with you, especially if you are a brave soul who has finally left a codependent, controlling and/or emotionally abusive relationship and now have a burning desire to express your authenticity. Sign up for her free weekly eZine, subscribe to her blog, follow her on Twitter and like her Facebook page for events, deals and free stuff. Or simply send a message to email@example.com. Pamela and her Elasticity will help you bounce back, better than ever!
Cape Cod Moms