#Challenge accepted to be an inspiring woman

#Challenge accepted for those of you who don’t know is a challenge for women to share black and whit photos of themselves as a show of support to all women around the world. It is bringing them together to have a face and a voice, and I want to use my voice today to talk about women empowerment and what feminism is all about. As a feminist,I get asked what am I really missing as a woman  that I do not have because of my gender. I am in the end,  an independent self supporting woman; but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been harassed or looked down on because of my gender. If I became resilient to it and made it through just as most women have, it doesn’t mean the wrong doing did not exist. So for me, feminism is about being respected without having to use fear, and being heard without people mocking your anger. It’s about walking on the street without fearing for your life. In the end, no woman should wear, talk or behave differently because it offends some people who think it’s not our ”place” to speak up or fight back or wear “provocative” clothes.

As a coach, I believe in fighting back while still thriving despite the current circumstances, so I help women be more resilient and get through the physical or mental hurdles they may endure. I believe we have to be ourselves despite what the environment may be imposing. However, I also have a duty to encourage every woman to  speak up, fight back and ask for change. Women controlling what they can and not letting the world control them does not mean we accept the world as is. 

I do not and will not accept a world where women get groped or are told not to study leadership because that’s not really a woman’ s job. I do not accept a world where women are forced into child marriage or are forced to stay in an unhappy marriage  just because they can’t support themselves on their own. 

And, whoever is baulking right now at my feminist speech see if you’d be ok with your daughter wife or friend being subjected to any of these. I wouldn’t.

So, let’s start by educating ourselves about what is happening around the world from honor killing, to child marriage,to  female genital mutilation, to verbal or physical harassment,  to degrading words before we hate the word feminism. Let’s also look at some amazing businesses created by inspiring women and support them in their quest.Let’s read book, watch talks and find organizations that are doing the work.

To help with that quest, I came up with a list of people, books and pages that have inspired me and educated me in my quest to empower women.

Also, In the next few posts, I am going to talk about what can be done to fight unacceptable behavior and how we as  women can protect ourselves and be more resilient.

So stay tuned and let us, together,create a better world than the one we are living in. 

Dear young woman, be brave and change the world

As young women, we listen a lot to our family and friends share their opinions about what  they believe we should believe in. Their arguments are so convincing we end up adopting them. In the end,they know better. What does it matter what football team I support, which supermarket I buy from or who I vote for?

In reality, it does matter, it makes all the difference. 

I was that girl once. It felt easy until I realized  I was supporting policies that worked against women and oppressed people. I was chanting for corrupt politicians and contributing to our broken nation. So,I decided I was not going to be that girl anymore. 

I have a voice and so much power. As a woman, I can change the world and influence people around me if I do the work. 

The posts I share reach a minimum of 200 people, the brands I support are either encouraging slavery and poverty or preserving our environmnent, and the people I vote for are either creating laws that protect women from violence or making sure they are silenced and abused.

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I started reading a lot and following accounts that empowered women and  talked about social justice, world economics and sustainability. I became curious and open to what people from all sides, gender and nationalities were saying in order to get the right information. I started digging within me to understand the values and beliefs I want to live by.

This insured that the decisions I was making were true to me and not anyone else.

You can do that, too. In fact, you  should  and I am here to empower you and give you the tools you need to achieve that.

 So the first  message, I want to send to all the young women out there is to always be curious and question your own beliefs.

 I know it’s scary. Change is scary and shameful. We might have been supporting racism or corrupt politicians for years but we can decide to change that now. As Maya Angelou said” Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”. 

All you have to do is open your eyes to new information and listen to the voice within.

.It’s ok to be  angry and scared. It means you’re changing and you were courageous enough to start. 

That’s all it takes , a bit of courage to take the first step and make sure we create a better world for us and for the women that will come after us. 

A pause during these tough days

We are going through tough times, feeling all sorts of emotions, facing new challenges and obstacles all at once.

Some people are afraid of losing their loved ones and others are worried about their jobs. Some are angry about cancelled projects and vacations and others are  frustrated with all the changes to be made, working from home or constantly being around their family.

 It’s new and a lot to take in. 

So one thing we all need now is to be kind to ourselves. We have to be ok with feeling all these emotions. We have to understand we might act out, overeat, need more sleep, drink more coffee or yell without meaning to. Some days will be tougher than others and we might behave accordingly. So, we have to be patient with ourselves and  each other while we adapt. We have to be accepting and understanding now more than ever.

We should also take this time to pause.

We always say we have no time to get things done or to get to know ourselves. We want to take on a new hobby or try something new yet there is always an excuse.

During this period, we are running out of excuses and, we have the time.

So, I want to encourage you to take a second and think about some questions. Take a pause and look at your life from the outside.

Share your answers with me on Instagram, Facebook or via email so we can help each other find new ideas and feel less alone. I will also share mine once I hear from you

1- What emotions are overwhelming you and how are you handling them?

2-How did this quarantine make you stretch your boundaries?

3-Having your life slowed down, what are you spending your time developing?

4-What are your coping mechanisms?

5-What are 3 things you want to do when all this is over?

Hopefully, these answers will be your guide for every tough period in your life or maybe  a map towards making changes to your lifestyle.

We live in automatic mode everyday, We have a routine we follow and it keeps us grounded. Now we got a pause we have to take. So use it to rest, to feel alive, to learn about yourself and to think about the things you usually never think about.

Feedback loop

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In this post, I want to talk about something Mark Manson calls “the feedback loop from hell” . Basically, this loop is a cycle where we judge every feeling and thought we have. We end up feeling guilty about feeling guilty about feeling angry about feeling anxious and so on. So what is really happening, and what is the solution to bypassing all this?If you ask me, it’s very simple. Just accept whatever you’re feeling or thinking because there is no way to control our emotions and thoughts… We can accept them, feel them, understand them and then let them go. We can also use them to improve ourselves everyday – we may never be perfect, but we can thrive to do better. One example I always like to share about myself is me judging who I am as a coach. It starts like this: “I am not a good coach, I cannot empathize”. And it ends like this: I feel guilty for feeling guilty for feeling afraid of failing as a coach. And here I am in a limbo of emotions!So I stop myself and say: “hey, you can’t control that you’re afraid of being a bad coach; so accept it and let’s explore that fear”. Why do I feel that? What can I do the next time I am faced with this feeling? All that introspection made me understand that I have difficulty dealing with weakness, whether it’s in me or in others. The thing is, I can’t change that thought that comes to me whenever I feel weak or someone around me does. However,I can pause and remember that weakness is part of being human and we all need help on some days. I remind myself that I’ve had anxiety attacks and felt like a failure, I’ve made mistakes that anyone could make. I am human. So, in that moment, instead of focusing on being a failure or on how weak people around me are, I choose to relate and to be empathetic. That decision, right there, is one of the things that make me a better coach every day. I am not perfect, I am human and so are you. We all judge others and ourselves harshly sometimes and have moments where we doubt our abilities.But it is what we do next that will define us. We need to accept those emotions, let ourselves feel them and explore them and then just let these emotions go and move on.And each one of us can learn to live by this mantra.It’s okay to miss a loved one and want to cry, it’s okay to be angry towards an injustice. Let the feeling in, feel it and then let it go and keep living.We all experience the feedback loop and go on months judging ourselves or people around us. Instead of staying stuck in the loop, we can try to be better by letting go of control and accepting that it’s okay to feel emotions; pleasant or unpleasant. It’s also okay to have weird or ugly thoughts because in reality we can’t really control those either. The only thing we can do is learn how to feel them, understand them, and then simply let them go. And as I mentioned before, we may never be perfect but we can learn from every experience and become better.