Connecting with Your Soul’s Voice

A wild variety of voices influence us everyday.

How do we know which to listen to as we work to live our truths? Harvard trained scholar Sera Beak joined us for May’s Emerging Women Power Boost to help navigate the jungle, connecting us with the gem of all voices – the Soul.

We’ve all absorbed a myriad of external voices over the years: from our family, our upbringing, our schooling, religion, media, culture, friends, and other entrepreneurs. We’ve also got a chorus of internal voices: our shadow selves, our wounds and fragments, our beliefs and our complexes, like the infamous Inner Critic. There are negative aspects of our ego that like to shame, judge, blame, and compare in dogged pursuit of success and admiration, creating fear and stress. There are even aspects of our more spiritualized ego – which Sera calls a “tricky little sucker” – that can come across holier-than-thou and kick our butts for not being spiritual enough.

In short, there’s a virtual cocktail party of voices inside of most of us, most of the time.

But there is one voice that knows us best of all, says Sera. It’s eternal and infinite, connected to all that is, yet also awesomely unique for each one of us. It’s the root of our inner guidance and grace. It knows us better than any teacher, tradition, coach, therapist, friend, or woman named Sera Beak, Sera says with a mischeivous smile. It knows when and how we can emerge into this world and offer our unique gifts while staying in integrity and in alignment with our inner truth.

That voice is our Soul with a capital S. And it wants to spend more time with us.

The Soul is the wisest and most loving aspect of ourselves. It is often quite subtle, more of a gentle whisper than a “big cosmic light show.” It is there to remind us what we already know. You may feel it poking at you through mundane channels – a song on the radio, a sign on a bus, an overheard snippet of conversation. When we take the time to create the space to connect with our Soul, Sera says, it shows our Soul that we’re ready to listen, allowing us to turn up the volume on those little nudges.

And turn up the volume we did. Sera’s beautiful guided meditation helped us pump more life-force into our bodies and this earth by tuning in to the warmth, expansion, and unconditional love of the distinct divine being that is seeking to incarnate through each one of us.

We asked questions to our Souls, and practiced recognizing the flavor of the reply.

“It feels and sounds familiar,” Sera says, “like Oh yeah. This is me. This is my truth. This is my Soul.” Which is not to say that it will always sound “spiritual.” It has nuance and flavor, showing up as what we need in the moment. “And sometimes we might need a dirty joke,” she laughs. We ended the meditation feeling more grounded, devoted, present, alive, real, and connected to our truest selves.

Try the meditation for yourself (and your Soul) by watching the archive video here. There’s a 30 day free trial if you’re not already a member, so you can join us live for the next Power Boost, too.

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And just a reminder from Sera: she uses the word “imagine” in the meditation because imagination is an excellent tool for greasing the wheels between our human consciousness and the divine.

But, she says emphatically, this is not make believe. 


We can’t wait to see Sera Beak in her 3rd appearance at Emerging Women Live 2017, October 5-8th in Denver, CO. Alicia Garza (co-founder of Black Lives Matter), Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love), Esther Perel (author of Mating in Captivity), and so many more will be there, plus workshops, practices, a fire walk (!), coaching, dancing, connection with amazing women… it’s 4 days you’ll never forget.

Emerging Women Leadership Series @ Impact HUB Academy

Are you craving an opportunity to share authentically with women who face similar challenges and opportunities in bringing their work to the world?

We’re excited to announce the Emerging Women Leadership Series @ Impact HUB Academy in Boulder, Colorado!

Join us for an interactive evening of connection, wisdom, and deep dives to support you on your journey as a female leader.

This series is designed to grow community and support for women of impact to help you succeed in business. Each event will have its own unique theme, including diverse panelists and power circle discussion topics, not to mention libations and evening nibbles!

The Themes:

Women in Money // June 21st

Did you know women will gain control of 2/3rds of the nation’s wealth in a few years? We’ve invited some of the top money minds to help us identify opportunities to shift the world of finance and investing in a more sustainable and collectively beneficial direction with feminine leadership.

Women in Naturals // July 27th

We’re seeing huge opportunities the for growth of women’s leadership in the natural products arena. Join this panel of conscious leaders and entrepreneurs as we discuss how to bring the sustainability and self-care principles behind their products to influence the industry as a whole.

Women in Fitness and Outdoors // August 31st

These leaders are shifting the focus from looking good to feeling strong, capable, and connected to our bodies and surroundings. We’ll discuss how women in this market are increasing their impact by redefining fitness and outdoors as grounds for personal growth, transformation, and mutual empowerment.

Women in Social Impact // September 28th

Big change takes big vision, plus a healthy dose of know-how when it comes to execution. Join this panel of movement-makers as we discuss feminine leadership strategies that mobilize the masses to help girls, women, their communities, and the planet.

Women in Politics // October 26th

Is it safe to say we’re all fed up with the current state of politics? Let’s hear from the women working to get us back on track by running for office and managing campaigns with empathy, courage, authenticity, and heart.

Women in Tech // November 30th

We all know the challenges in this male dominated industry, but what are the opportunities? Hear from the CEOs, founders, and mentors leveraging their innate creativity and feminine leadership talents to elevate the technology landscape.

The Speakers:

We’ll be announcing the powerhouse list of speakers for this series soon. Stay tuned!

The Format:

6:00-6:30 Authentic Networking

6:30-7:15 Panel Discussion

7:15-7:45 Power Circles Breakout

7:45-8:00 ReGroup, Comments, and Close

8:00-8:30 Drinks + Connect

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We can’t wait to see you at Impact HUB in Boulder for the Emerging Women Leadership Series! Mark your calendars and register today.

Power Practice #18: Be Before Do

We all find ourselves off-kilter or off-center sometimes. And it can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors and default responses that we later regret. But what if we explored a different path?

Henna Inam brings her 20 years of executive coaching experience to identity the 5 step process that occurs when we are thrown off by a situation, and leads us in a guided practice to recover to our most authentic and adaptive selves when we are triggered.

Build your self-confidence, your courage, and your resilience in the face of criticism, insecurity, or fear with this transformative Power Practice from Henna Inam.

Play Power Practice #18 – Be Before Do:

Henna Inam is a sought after speaker, successful author, and CEO of Transformational Leadership Inc. Her unique workshops, tools, and online community help managers create innovative, engaged teams that drive measurable results.

Henna and her global partner team work with Fortune 500 companies to deliver executive coaching, leadership development, and team workshops. Clients include Coca-Cola, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, CNN, and Bank of America. Prior to starting her company, Henna worked for 20 years at Procter & Gamble and Novartis. She has lived or worked across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Like what you hear? Why not get in on four full days of power practices, movement, inspiration and collaboration at Emerging Women Live, October 5-8, 2017 in Denver, CO. Join us!

Freedom Dreamer: Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter

We are honored today to announce Alicia Garza as a keynote speaker at Emerging Women Live 2017! In a January article she wrote for Mic, Alicia asked,

“Can we build a movement of millions with the people who may not grasp our black, queer, feminist, intersectional, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist ideology but know that we deserve a better life and who are willing to fight for it and win?”

For the sake of Black people everywhere, for the sake of a future we want to live in, the answer must be yes.

Alicia Garza is the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States. She, along with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, also co-founded the Black Lives Matter network, a globally recognized organizing project that focuses on combatting anti-Black state-sanctioned violence and the oppression of all Black people.

“Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise,” Alicia says in the Herstory of the Black Lives Matter Movement. “It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

Not Black? Think this movement doesn’t effect you? Think again. No one is on the sidelines for this, and no one can afford to let Black Lives Matter be sidelined.

“When Black people cry out in defense of our lives, which are uniquely, systematically, and savagely targeted by the state, we are asking you, our family, to stand with us in affirming Black lives. Not just all lives. Black lives,” says Alicia. “Please do not change the conversation by talking about how your life matters, too. It does, but we need less watered down unity and a more active solidarities with us, Black people, unwaveringly, in defense of our humanity. Our collective futures depend on it.”

To collectively create the new paradigms we envision for the world, it is necessary for us to become educated allies of the Black Lives Matter movement, regardless of our race. To think this crucial issue could be skirted would be a grave mistake for all marginalized groups seeking to rise above.

As the New Yorker notes, Alicia “…dismisses the kind of liberalism that finds honor in nonchalance.” Alicia says, “No, I want you to care. I want you to see all of me.”

As a queer Black woman, Alicia Garza’s leadership and work challenge the misconception that only cisgender Black men encounter police and state violence. While the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were catalysts for the emergence of the BLM movement, Alicia is clear:

“In order to truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of violence is in Black America, we must view this epidemic through of a lens of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

We must strive to really see each other, to honor each other, and more than that, we must credit each other’s contributions to the struggle, not just toot our own horns. We must acknowledge the systematic oppression Black women and their communities have endured, and the work they have done and continue to move all of us towards a more just future. And we must lift them up for it, instead of simply jumping on their shoulders.

“When we are able to end hyper-criminalization and sexualization of Black people and end the poverty, control, and surveillance of Black people, every single person in this world has a better shot at getting and staying free. When Black people get free, everybody gets free.” – Alicia Garza

May it be so. We hope you’ll join us in vocal and active support of Black Lives Matter, and join us to see Alicia Garza in person at Emerging Women Live 2017, October 5-8th in Denver, CO.


Letting the Divine Take the Lead

In this culture, we’re taught that we have to strive and push and exhaust ourselves if we want anything to happen in our lives, and especially in our businesses. But there’s another, radically different approach: offer the whole thing back to the Divine and ask to be shown the way forward.

Tosha Silver spoke to this at Emerging Women Live in her talk on Outrageous Openness. We thought you’d enjoy this clip – let us know what you think!

SO. GOOD.

And if you think you can handle FOUR FULL DAYS of inspiration and nourishment like this, plus workshops, coaching, and deep connection with the brilliant women changing the world, then register to join us at Emerging Women Live 2017, October 5-8th in Denver, CO.

Reclaim Your Voice Story

Wokie Nwabueze knows how to communicate. Negotiation, facilitation, mediation – you name it. “If it exists, I’m certified in it,” she says.

She started her career teaching kids, parents, and teachers in tough communities how to communicate clearly and without violence. After her first year of law school, she began to work in corporate spaces, and became very interested in women who were having trouble communicating their needs in the workplace.

She noticed a trend. Women were leaving the sessions knowing what to say, but not knowing why they were hesitant to say it. She quickly realized that the existing communication frameworks and execution strategies (“be assertive” “be confident”) weren’t addressing who we are deep down

That realization changed everything for Wokie. “Who I was was SHY, well into my mid-20s. I was a people pleaser without revealing it outwardly. I thought I could sacrifice more than everyone else, and I thought that was ‘strong.’ I was unwilling to rock the boat, and somehow that felt empowering, or even felt gracious. But the truth was I was disconnected from my voice.”

As she began to mine her own Voice Story, she was able to cultivate the self-awareness and personal transformation crucial to truly effective communication with others. She now dedicates her work to helping women do the same, as she did in our Emerging Women Power Boost (if you’re a member, click HERE to watch the archive). Here are some takeaways from that memorable event.

What is a Voice Story?

Studies show that for girls, confidence in voice starts to slip around age 9. While our confidence is falling, Wokie says, we are also starting to look out at the world to determine our value. For a lot of us, that’s when things start to fall apart, and it takes some serious work as adults to get our Voice Stories sorted.

Wokie started the Seen and Heard project, interviewing women to find those points in time when their voices had been hushed. This isn’t limited to times someone told you to be quiet. For example, Wokie remembers being in 6th or 7th grade. Her class took an IQ test, and it was announced that she had the highest score. For painfully shy 11 year old Wokie, it was humiliating – it made her feel different and alone. She calls it “the moment I got the handbook for playing small.” She stopped pushing herself outside of her comfort zone, believing there would be negative consequences if she was “smarter” or in any way different than everyone else.

Our Voice Stories color every communication we have. They can tint the outcome of conversations, negotiations, and conflicts if they are left unexplored.

Exploring Your Voice Story

Exploring your Voice Story means mining for the moments when something shifted.

One way is to identify discomfort in your body. When you have hard conversations, where do you feel it? In your stomach? In your hands? In your throat? Try to connect the dots. When else do you feel that way? When did you first feel that way?

Be sure to explore with love and curiosity. Sit with these memories and watch yourself without judgement. Journal, take a walk, cry, make art, talk with a friend – whatever helps you process. Come to understand what was lost, and begin to take it back. We can reclaim what was lost to shift our future. 

Another approach is to look at certain periods of your life. When was the last time you felt like you could express yourself fully without hesitation or fear? Young children don’t struggle with their voices. “We are not born quiet,” Wokie says. Something happens that changes the way we see ourselves and our right to be seen and heard in the world. Look at those moments when you stopped feeling that you could communicate without apology. Think about the points in time when something happened to make you feel less valuable, or that you should be less bright and shiny, or that you should be quiet.

When you get there, remember that this process involves some pain, but our goal is curiosity and reclamation. We have to go back and identify with real compassion what we lost. You can’t change the past, you can’t judge yourself or others for it, but you can understand it. Start to follow the threads with curiosity and compassion, and it will all begin to unfold.

How much of reclaiming what we lost is about grieving?

Grief is important, Wokie says, but we need to do that grieving from a place of hopefulness for the future. Transformational grieving means moving the grief through our bodies (Wokie says music helps her) and letting it go, because on the other side of grief there is possibility.

If we can move grief through us and find a good nugget, then the grief was not for nothing. If the things that have happened to you allow you to become who you are, if we can mine for those nuggets in our Voice Stories and use them to heal ourselves and bring us more fully into our voices, then the hardship wasn’t without reward.

And remember: Saying what you want to say, getting what you want – it’s not about cultivating power over someone else, it’s about being centered in YOU.

Thank you, Wokie Nwabueze!


Want to watch the archive of Wokie’s Power Boost? Start your 30 day Free Trial on the Emerging Women Leadership Platform to get access.

Is there Magic in the Mess?

Dear Emerging Women,

It’s been almost 6 months since our annual Emerging Women Live event, and a lot has transpired since then. A LOT. There is a deep political and social disharmony being felt in our country right now. There is a dis-ease being felt in the world. And women worldwide are at the front lines of creating a new world order.

One thing I know for sure, when we are creating a new paradigm, there is no blueprint. And it can get messy. But today, I am cultivating gratitude for the mess. Here’s why:

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – Carl Jung

Chaos puts us in touch with our desires

I’m not saying that mess is the end-game. I dream of – I yearn for and actively work toward – equality, justice, peace, civility. And on a micro level, it’s nice to have things run smoothly: to have a perfect business model, to have people on your team that are high performers and super easy to work with, to have clarity of vision and heart. But in order to get to those exalted, beautiful, non-messy things, we have to work through some serious chaos to get clear on what we want to see in our lives, and in the world.

“NOOO!” is my knee-jerk reaction to chaos. If feels unsafe and scary. But when there is chaos around us it gives us permission to stop trying to make sense of everything and just feel. When darkness descends, there is no way to move forward unless we feel our way, one touch at a time, from heartbeat to heartbeat. And it is through this feeling state that we can know our true desires. What do we want this new world to look like? What kind of life do we want to live?

Chaos connects us to our deepest, truest selves

When we are in the unknown, our usual landmarks are disrupted and we have nothing else to rely on but the ground of our beingness. Sounds True founder Tami Simon named “spending time in a place with no reference points” as one of her 5 Principles of Being True at Emerging Women Power Night. So it’s okay to feel off the map, out of your depth, messy. The key to resilience lies in having a close, intimate relationship with ourselves. This becomes our most trusted and constant reference point in times of uncertainty. From this place we can start to align with what feels true for us in the outer world.

Disorder brings people together

I think what I fear the most is an environment that does not allow for mess, that does not allow for exploration outside of the box. So let’s not do that thing that we women seem to do so often: strive for perfection. I vote for real conversations and fumbling with words over getting it right. I vote for epic failures in the name of change over risk avoidance and playing small. We need to organize and work together, we need to grow into our feminine humanity, and we need to let others to do the same – at their own pace and via their own path. So let’s give ourselves a wide berth, margin for error, and the benefit of the doubt that She knows what she is doing. After all, we are not doing this alone – we cannot do this alone – so what choice do we have but to come together with the best of intentions and drop the “shoulds?”

The Feminine thrives in chaos

“In chaos, there is fertility.” – Anaïs Nin

Life is messy when we are navigating uncharted waters, and yet somebody has to lead the way. Collectively, women are rising up to take their place as leaders in a world that is both thirsty for and resistant to this change. We are at the beginning of a new era in the women’s movement, and this time we are doing it with the cosmic feminine on our side.

Today’s world of disparaging views and conflict is the perfect environment for the feminine to rise, and She is rising like She has never risen before. I want to know what the world looks like, what business, politics, and an economy looks like, under a paradigm for society where the feminine is fully expressed. We know what the world looks like under a masculine paradigm (boy does that feel like it’s run it’s course) – and it’s going to take some dismantling to make room for new growth.

The patriarchy hates mess. It relies on order, logic, adherence. So in these times of seeming madness, I say let things break. Because the feminine will grow through the cracks.

“Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control.” – Terence McKenna

The strive for order seems to be the goal of the ego, but let’s make a pledge to surrender that ego, embrace the mess, and listen to our desires, trusting that they will lead us in our work to make the world a better place for all.

Chantal Pierrat Big Love,
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Chantal Pierrat | Founder, Emerging Women

Whose Money Is It Anyway?

Oh boy – we are talking money again, sisters! I can’t help it. Time and time again I am finding this topic to be the source of so much anxiety for women. Retirement, earning potential, glass ceilings, re-entering the workforce or leaving the J_O_B to become an entrepreneur. It all leads to the recurring bag-lady nightmare for me (am I the only one that has that?).

Regardless of our place in the journey, we seem to be in perpetual fear that there will never be enough, or that we will lose what we have, or worse, that we are fundamentally undeserving of anything above the bare minimum to survive.

In my case, my angst started when I left the snug comfort of my steady executive publishing job to start Emerging Women. I was traveling regularly to New York, LA, London, and Germany on an expense account. I had superfine outfits to support my super-groovy life. I bought a house in North Boulder (now known as NoBo – that should give you an idea) with my husband. I always had money for yoga, dance, and organic smoothies. I was set!

Then the goddess said “do your thing” and it all changed. I decided to leave the womb of a company I loved, an incredible mentor, and a decade of transformational personal and career growth to become an entrepreneur. What was I thinking?!?

Since then, I have wrung my hands, chewed my cheek, and even had to get a mouth guard to keep me from gnashing my teeth in the middle of the night. All from money anxiety. How was I going to support my family and this lifestyle to which I had become passionately accustomed? 

I consider myself a successful woman. I make things happen, I am creative, a visionary, and I love helping women rise. And I rode on this energy for the first year of Emerging Women, taking personal and professional risks that were worth taking. As I followed the natural growth of EW, there seemed to be more and more pressure, more risk, and less cash. I found myself pushing and driving to manage the cash constraints to the point of exhaustion.

Luckily, I’ve found women I trust to help me take more ownership over my finances. They guide me and encourage me to really dig into old patterns while developing healthy, concrete habits to both grow my business and stay rooted in my personal finances.

Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth and WorthFM, is one of those women. If you haven’t yet, tune in to her Emerging Women podcast Worth It to hear how to get ready for the “perfect storm of opportunity” coming up around women and money.


Another woman I trust, Barbara Stanny, is my rock when it comes to moving my money mindset from survival to stability to affluence. If you’re looking for a similar shift, her Emerging Women podcast Sacred Success: A Woman’s Guide to Authentic Power and Affluence is a must-hear.

Nancy Levin has also been so important by reminding me that the real key to creating financial freedom isn’t changing what we do, it’s changing our limiting beliefs about how we feel—and that requires more than just learning how to invest. Here’s an Emerging Women Power Practice Boost Your Self Worth to Grow Your Net Worth to start uncovering and removing limiting shadow beliefs about worth.

But then one day I was talking to Tosha Silver, my go-to for all things surrender and divine, and she floated this concept that it’s NOT really my money. What the what? Whose is it?!

Tosha’s core message of working with the unknowable forces in the universe, co-creating your life in connection or in relationship to something greater than yourself, of letting go and trusting that the mystery will flow in a positive way for you if you truly offer yourself up to it, applies 100% to the realm of money as well. And that’s perhaps the most powerful, if not the most challenging, realm in which we can let the practice play out. Whoa.

Check out Tosha Silver’s long-awaited 8 part money course It’s Not “Your” Money: Fully Living From Divine Abundance. It starts on March 22nd, so nab your tickets now and let’s do the work together on releasing the blocks to receiving.

The first 3 women’s views help me check the boxes and dot the i’s, both externally and internally. And knowing that money ultimately does not belong to me allows me to surrender and not worry if I’m just a financial hot mess. All 4 of these women have shared wisdom that is freeing me from white-knuckle saving and a manic number crunching, allowing for a softer interplay of competence, worth, and trust.

What’s your money story right now? The more we talk about this “taboo” subject, the more opportunity we’ll give ourselves to, as Amanda Steinberg so beautifully puts it, grow stronger roots and freeing wings around our finances.

Sera Beak: Igniting an Intimate Relationship with Your Soul

The list of powerhouse speakers at Emerging Women Live just keeps growing! This week we are thrilled to announce Sera Beak will be joining us in Denver, October 5-8th. We can’t wait to see what hot new truths she brings to this year’s event.

Sera is a Harvard-trained scholar of comparative world religions who spent years traveling the world studying spirituality with Sufi dervishes, Tibetan monks, Croatian mystics, shamans, and more. She’s given tender and wise keynotes (including In All Fears and Trembling Boldness) at past Emerging Women Live conferences. Here’s a tidbit:

“Our soul’s voice reveals our deepest wisdom and our deepest wounds, which is why unleashing our soul’s voice is often our deepest desire and our deepest fear. We ache to be self-expressed, to be authentic, to totally let ‘er rip and yet we are terrified of being that vulnerable, that raw, that real. So we edit, shape or even shut up our unique soul’s voice in order to be accepted, successful, and even loved. But deep down in our bellies, where our power burns the brightest, we know we cannot be of service, we cannot be free, we cannot truly come alive if we aren’t sharing the truth of who we are.” – Sera Beak

Amen, sister! And have you heard her Emerging Women podcast Red Hot and Holy? She vulnerably speaks to the double-edged sword many of us have faced while trying to make an impact:

“I know for me, in my own experience, it’s been through delivering my truth to the world that I have most often lost my soul. That’s the kind of crazy paradox, that it’s been through trying to actually serve other women and serve the diving feminine in this modern day that… I thought I’d been in contact with my soul, but the reality was there was actually some part of my own spiritualized ego kicking in, or there were other aspects of me that were really more at play than my own soul.” – Sera Beak

Want to go deeper with this stellar sister before the conference? Join Sera Beak LIVE on May 3rd for the Emerging Women Power Boost Soul Fire: Ignite an Intimate Relationship with Your Soul.


Sera will lead us in creating a more intimate and expressive relationship with the universe, in trusting our unique paths, in becoming our own spiritual authorities, and in creating some delicious, divine mischief along the way. A community Q&A/spot-coaching sesh with Sera will follow. Save your virtual seat now and receive a 30 day free trial to the Emerging Women Leadership Platform.

See you (and your beautiful soul) there!

Trailblazing Women and Radioactive Bikes: Happy #IWD

Bates was the President of the NAACP Arkansas branch and used her position as a public leader to guide what would be national known as the “Little Rock Nine”. The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students that Bates helped enroll at Little Rock Central High School in the face of mobs, violence, and hatred.

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One of Bates’ greatest inspirations and supporters was her adoptive father, Orlee Smith. Before Smith passed he gave her some lasting advice:

“You’re filled with hatred. Hate can destroy you, Daisy. Don’t hate white people just because they’re white. If you hate, make it count for something. Hate the humiliations we are living under in the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the soul of every black man and woman. Hate the insults hurled at us by white scum—and then try to do something about it, or your hate won’t spell a thing.” – Orlee Smith

 

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist who later became a naturalized-French citizen. She was the pioneering scientist on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and the first person, and only woman, to win it two times. She is also the only human to have won the Nobel prize in two different sciences. And if this wasn’t enough, she was also the first female professor at the University of Paris.

Despite being an academic badass in secondary school, she was denied access to the University of Warsaw solely because she was a woman. So instead, she adapted to be even more of a badass and continued her education at an informal, underground secret set of classes.

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie

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Curie’s road through education wasn’t easy. She suffered through poverty, xenophobia, and criticism for being an atheist in France. She often survived solely off bread and tea in order to make rent. She went to Sorbonne in Paris where she changed her name from Maria to Marie in order to assimilate more into French culture and although her health suffered greatly from her living conditions, she still graduated first in her class.

During World War I, Curie developed what came to be called petites Curies (or “Little Curies”). These were mobile radiography machines designed to assist surgeons on the battlefield. Estimates show that her x-ray units treated over a million soldiers and later on she trained other women to use them as well.

“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.” – Marie Curie

Curie donated the profits of every award and scholarship she received to the community to further scientific discoveries. She gave tirelessly to the French field of science even though she was met with constant resistance and received little to no recognition.

I have two little girls in my life, soon to be young women. Just as I owe much of my relentless drive and my passion for justice to the women before me, I also owe the characteristics that define me to my sweet little loves CD and LD. Although they are “only” 10 and 12 years old, they are a source of constant motivation for me. Whether it is discussions about politics and women’s rights over NPR on the drive home from swim practice, chats in confidence about what it means to be a “woman,” or laughter over Snapchat filters, these two girls empower me.

They inspire me to fight for what is right because I want them to grow up in a world that is better than the one I grew up in. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Daisy Bates, and Marie Curie fought for me to have a voice in the courtroom and a right to attend any school I want. And so too will I fight for the these young girls to never be ashamed of what it means to be a woman, to dismantle patriarchy, and to raise up the voices of those who have not been heard.

Daisy Bates’ adoptive father warned her about being fueled by hatred. So I ask, “What fuels you to be bold and to fight for change?” Are you fueled by anger, by love, by optimism, by hope for fairness? There is a real place for anger (read Audre Lorde The Uses of Anger) just as there is a place for passion and love. My fuel is my passion for social justice AND my anger towards our patriarchal society.

When I run for office it is because I am filled with fervor, fury, AND hope. I will run in honor of the women before me and I will run as a model for the young girls who will run behind me. Today is International Women’s Day. It is a day of celebration, a day of recognition, and most of all it is a catalyst for the women here today and for the women yet to come.

Speaking of catalysts, have you saved your seat at the wildly inspirational Emerging Women Live? Join Elizabeth Gilbert, Tara Mohr, Dominique Christina, Sera Beak, Esther Perel and so many more. Register before March 31st for deep discounts:


Esther Perel: Gender, Fluidity, and Desire

More exciting news, Feministas! We are thrilled to tell you that Esther Perel will be joining us at Emerging Women Live 2017 October 5-8th in Denver, CO. Why are we so pumped?

We find that stepping into your sexual power can be crucial to stepping into your full power as a feminine leader. What does one have to do with the other? If we’re disconnected from the flame that’s inside of us, nothing’s gonna happen. People will feel it (or feel something missing) and we’ll be exhausted from running on fumes.

Esther Perel is a penetrating observer of social and cultural patterns shaping our relationships: with our partners, with our desires, with our sexuality, with ourselves. At Emerging Women Live 2015, she invited us to imagine we were gathered for happy hour, favorite cocktails or mocktails in hand, and she asked us what she calls the 5 essential questions:

Why does good sex fade even with couples who continue to love each other? Why does intimacy not guarantee good sex? Why does sex make babies while parenting kills sex drive? Can we want what we already have? And why is the exotic so erotic?

We were HOOKED.

Here’s a few snippets from our Emerging Women podcast “The Fluidity of Desire” to help you get a feel for Esther’s brilliant perspective on women and desire in the modern age. Listen to the full podcast to hear more (plus get the benefits of hearing Esther talk about desire in a French accent).


Enjoy!

Excerpts from The Fluidity of Desire with Esther Perel & Chantal Pierrat

EP: Many women in this age of perfection have to learn to just say, “It’s enough for today. And now me,” rather than, “Wait!” She’s exasperated or frustrated or something beyond, and then she doesn’t know how to experience desire because then she experiences deserving. Now she’s in the realm of resentment and now she doesn’t just say “I want,” she says, “I deserve,” right?

“Deserving” is wanting a prize. Some people don’t feel that they are allowed to want so they have to be at the end of their ropes to finally say, “Now me!” But then they say it with such violence and with such an aggression that they can shake up the whole house.

That’s what happens many times in relationships. She doesn’t say it earlier when it’s just, “Hey, I feel like it, I want to,” she screams it: “I deserve! I’ve had it! I’ve had enough!” And then she blames him or her or whoever else is around her for not being allowed to say this sooner.

In fact, she just doesn’t feel like she can say it sooner because she first needs to be perfect, have it all done, and then she feels that desire is a reward rather than that desire is basically part of her human right.

CP:When we’re living in that loop of perfection, then that criticism can’t help but spill out. Because we’re putting so much on ourselves, we bring those standards to our relationships, and then it’s nothing but “lack” and “criticism” and “not good enough” on both the inside and the outside.

EP: It’s really kind of an epidemic at this point, yes? You’ve got the most confident, successful, powerful group of women in history walking around constantly with an inner voice of “flawed, and critical, and not enough.” It’s just tragic. And, I should add, resentful, because, “How can you sit down when there is so much to do? Don’t you see?” But why don’t you just sit down? Does it really matter? Is that going to be written on your epitaph? “You cleaned when…” or “You organized and labeled when…” or whatever? Or, “You deprived yourself nicely”?

It’s a very interesting thing to help women allow themselves the permission to experience pleasure, which is really where desire resides. To experience freedom, to experience autonomy, and all of that, we end up instantly feeling selfish and guilty.

CP: Well, what’s interesting about what you’re saying is that because we’re kind of hardwired to touch into our desire through the other, it’s hard to get in touch with that. It’s like a muscle we have to flex to find the source of our desire within.

EP: We rekindle desire by rekindling, first of all, the permission to think about oneself and not in the productive, instrumental way. The erotic is totally unproductive. You accomplish nothing. It’s just a state of aliveness and of vitality and of sensuality.

We are sexual beings, and sexuality isn’t how often she has sex and how long the sex lasts and how many orgasms she has. It’s basically a connection with her erotic self. It’s a much broader definition of sexuality, one where we talk about reaching desire, and that’s the progression that she needs to go through.

CP: I think a lot of what holds us back as women is this lack of ownership on that individual level of our own desire, and also lack of self-acceptance. We’re working on freeing ourselves from this perfection and actually kind of falling in love with ourselves so that we are a turn on, not just in terms of our relationships, but that we can have that juice and charisma and energy, frankly, to lead in a way that’s empowerful and impactful.

EP: But then we will need to learn that our appreciation of ourselves doesn’t become perfect, but more like how Brené Brown talks about it, because we welcome the gift of imperfection. If we actually are more compassionate with ourselves, we accept our imperfections, we’re not agreeing to sell everything, and we seem like ourselves and can even get a good laugh at it, then we will be in a much better place.

CP: What do you recommend for women, especially, to grab onto in this era of… “chaos” is kind of a strong word… but an era of new? Everything’s  being re-created and we’re rethinking everything. What’s something solid that we can hold onto that we can fall back on and know that it’s always going to be there?

EP: People. People. Community. That’s the only thing we have in this world. We don’t have the traditional pillars, we don’t have the models. What we have is conversation, which is really what your gathering is about, creating real-life, embodied experiences where people come together and discuss all the dilemmas of love and living.

And in those conversations, bit by bit, we dismantle and we challenge the old hierarchy. It’s time for women to be angry without being considered bitches or aggressive or masculine. It’s time for them to not constantly worry about being liked. It’s time that they think that they can ask for the same amount that the men are asking. It’s time that she feel that she can be seductive without thinking that she’s a slut. It’s time that she can integrate femininity and power as part of her success and her activation story.

It’s all these divisions, basically, dismantling the patriarchy, if you want to put a name on it. But what will replace it isn’t a matriarchy and it’s not genderless, it’s gender-fluid. It’s different. We are just living way too long these days to just abide by one model. And they understand it in the professional world, in the business world, the tech world. Everything is about multiplicity. When it comes to gender identity and relationships, we are left with very little monolithic, narrowly thought out models that don’t serve us anymore. They just don’t serve us.

So what happens is that people get blamed for not succeeding, right? You get blamed because you’re divorced, but nobody ever questions if the model of marriage is so sound. Why do we think marriage is a sound arrangement? And the people who don’t succeed, they’re the failures? And [it’s the same] for everything else. If you can succeed with children, it’s not because there’s a lack of childcare and a lack of good schools and a lack of this and that. It’s because you [know how] to juggle your schedule.

And so we are privatizing social problems and making the individual responsible for it. And I think that if women come together, the biggest challenge is not to think that it’s just a matter of each woman on their own, coming up with societal solutions to society’s problems. They need to be connective solutions for connective problems, in which she is a piece of the voice, that she’s not responsible on her own to deal with the lack of support that the system should provide her. To me, that is going to be the biggest shift that women can offer these days. It’s actually a challenge to the excesses of individualism.

I can’t even tell you, just from this week, with the amount of women I met, how often my eyes fill up. I’m thinking, “You carry a load, don’t you, and you actually think you should. And you still think that you’re not carrying it well enough.” I’m thinking, “My God, can we stop personalizing difficulties that are systemic, as if they’re your personal challenge?” It’s not like that, it’s really bigger than you, and we have to remember that it’s bigger than you, and then all come together and address it and make those changes.

And then our lives will be better and so will the lives of the people around us, because we will be less upset. And rather than thinking we’re upset because we can’t do it all, we will be upset because we are thinking that we should do it all.

CP: Amen, sister. May it be so!

Early Bird discounts expire at the end of the month, so save your seat now!

How Mindfulness Brought Me to Feminine Leadership

To say I was disconnected from the feminine when I was VP of Sales in the medical devices industry would be an understatement. I wasn’t just disconnected – I often actively pushed my feminine side away and even belittled the feminine in an attempt to prove to a room full of guys that I was tough and capable. Ugh! But I thought I had to to succeed and survive.

It wasn’t until I was passed over for promotion that I realized that no amount of strained fake laughter at sexist jokes would turn me into a middle aged white male. I was me, and I wanted to find the place where “me” could be appreciated for myself, not for what kind of mask I could project and maintain.

Luckily, my next job was at Sounds True, the wonderful multimedia publishing company with the mission of disseminating spiritual wisdom. I was able to immerse myself in mindfulness and mindful practices. Not just meditation, but conscious communication and receptive listening. Mind. Blown. 

Mindfulness has brought me to this journey of the feminine – brought me to my purpose. In the tech world, pushing your own agenda and drive above all else was the norm. The idea of making space for receptivity and real connection is deemed frivolous. As a result I see a lot of women, like me, allow the feminine to get pushed to the back burner. Like, waaaayyyy back. Totally off the stove.

My purpose? I want to help bring the feminine back to the front burner and celebrate what we have simmering there!

The good news about mindfulness is that you don’t have to carve out 2 hours of space for meditation. Just being conscious as we go through our day, conscious of our own reactions and receptive to that input, we will become more connected to our feminine sides, and can be guided towards a more balanced and authentic version of our true selves.

This is why I feel honored to speak at the first-ever Mindful Leadership Online Training Conference. It’s a rare chance for me to talk about this important topic alongside more than 40 top mindful leaders, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and teachers, including Tara Brach (total shero).

If you feel like you could use an infusion of mindfulness in your feminine leadership journey, this is the place to get it. See the schedule and sign up for free here:

My presentation is called How to Manifest The Power of Connected Leadership: Exploring A Feminine Paradigm for Business, and will take place on Day 7 (March 7th) of this 10 day event.

After you register you’ll gain access to over 35 video sessions from many of the world’s foremost experts on mindful leadership, plus you’ll receive several bonus gifts, including a Guided Intention Meditation from me! Additionally, every session ends with a specific mindfulness meditation or practice that you can begin to use immediately in your own life and organization.

I hope you will join me for this powerful new event. Here’s to the power of mindfulness to help us harness the power of the feminine and lead from the truth of who we are!

Big Love,
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Chantal Pierrat | Founder, Emerging Women

I’m Going to Mess Up… and That’s Not Going to Stop Me

In the days following the Women’s March I have encountered blogs and literature expressing ways in which people have felt marginalized by the mission of the Women’s March. One image that struck me was one of a black woman, Angela Peoples, holding a sign that read, “Don’t forget White women voted for Trump.” Standing in the background of the photo are three white women in pink “pussy-hats” on their phones, smiling and posing for a selfie.

This photo is an explicit visual representation of a deep racial divide that is still very much present between women of color and white women, a distinction made unmistakably clear by the 2016 presidential election. More than 53% of white women voted for Donald, while approximately 94% of black women and 69% of latina women voted for Hillary.

There are cracks in America’s feminist movement. We are not as united as we believe.

My post’s purpose is not to examine why this drastic difference in voting occurred. Rather, I am here to address my own unanswered question:

Where is my place in all of this? Where is a white, cisgender, straight, middle class, able-bodied, privileged woman most helpful, or more importantly, least helpful or possibly even damaging for a movement whose main purpose is to achieve inclusive equality for all?

When I am uneducated about a topic, or fearful of looking ignorant when opening my mouth, my default is to read. This is a great tool. Yet it can also open the door for passivity and cowardice. By only reading, I give myself permission, in a way, to gain knowledge while remaining sheltered. I can read all about intersectional feminism, how to be a better activist, how to be a better ally, but if I don’t get out there and talk to someone about it, if I don’t get out there and do something about it, then what the heck is the point?

Here’s the truth about all of this: I am afraid. I am afraid of saying the wrong thing. I am afraid of insulting someone or coming off as callous. I am afraid of being called a racist. But guess what? My reluctance to take a stance and engage in the discourse surrounding the intersection of gender and race only perpetuates racism, my inherent racism as a white person (and if you’re white, yours as well). I benefit from systemic racism. I perpetuate racism in ways that are invisible to me. I allow it to continue living for the simple fact that I have the luxury of never having to think about it.

My hesitation to enter the conversation doesn’t keep me “safe” from being called ignorant or hurting someone’s feelings. No, it keeps me docile and reinforces my white privilege to not have to participate.

If you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to read Saroful’s How to survive in intersectional feminist spaces 101. The very first aspect the author addresses is how we will all be corrected at some point or another, and that is OK! And when you mess up, which we all will, guess what you say? “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I’ll do better next time.” Wow. That was a little more straightforward than I thought it was going to be.

No one can know everything and no one expects me to know everything, but if I don’t ever mess up because I never open my mouth, then I will never learn. Saroful goes on to discuss a seriously helpful list of ways to be a good listener, an effective learner, and an impactful activist.

One of the key points I found helpful was:

If it’s not about you, don’t make it about you. If it is about you, do better.” – Saroful

In my attempt to be an activist, I will eventually be confronted with a blanket statement about racism such as white women are racist. What I am coming to realize is that all white humans are inherently racist (see above), whether or not we are willing to admit it. But if we insist that these statements don’t apply to us personally (Saroful calls this “not me! I’m a good person!”) we hijack the conversation and erase the opportunity to discuss the real issue at hand. And by playing the part of the “innocent bystander,” educating myself, but not engaging with the issue, I am a detriment to progress. I am not speaking truth to power.

I have spent the last week reading and I decided it is time to move. I need to leave my safe place, the one inside my little head. In Saroful’s follow-up article, So you think you know a thing: feministing 201, she notes that in almost every circumstance, experience will outweigh education. Anything that has ever been written has invariably been lived by someone else. In other words, educate yourself with the voices of people from the relevant community. Widen your lens of perception.

The moral of my story is that I have to engage, to listen, to learn, to know I’ll mess up and to always realize that I have the capacity to do better; we all have that potential. I will mess up, I will fall down, and I will be hurt. The beauty of it is: I will grow. It is not a marginalized group’s responsibility to come to me asking for help, to “teach” me what I should know, or to coddle my feelings of white fragility. It is MY job to change and to work hard as hell in my discomfort. It is my job to figure out by asking how I can be a better ally, not by stating that I am one. It is the voices of marginalized communities that must be at the center of the conversation, not mine, or any white person’s for that matter. It is their voices that need to be lifted and magnified – again, not mine.

I now have somewhere to start. It is my job to ask where I can be helpful, not tell. It is my job to support the uplifting of POC’s voices, not my own voice. I feel optimistic about our potential, collectively, to be the change we wish to see in the world. And as Gandhi once said, this is a damn good place to start.

Note from Emerging Women: Kristen Neff’s Self-Compassion Break is a tremendously helpful practice when we’re doing tough inner-work that is likely to bring up uncomfortable feelings. We made a handy pdf for you – take a look:


Brené Brown, Kris Carr, and Jensine Larsen: Keeping Our Feminine Fires Stoked

When we ask our Emerging Women Live speakers what the number one thing women can do to stoke the flames of feminine leadership, the answers are distinct in perspective, but very similar at the core.

The real Power-with-a-capital-P seems to boil down to one thing: deep connection with like-minded women in a safe space. It supercharges everyone’s efforts to lead in a way that feels uniquely nourishing. Don’t you agree?

Brené Brown – author of Rising Strong and Daring Greatly

Kris Carr – author of Crazy Sexy Cancer and Crazy Sexy Diet

Jensine Larsen – founder of World Pulse 

We need to support each other. We need to speak our visions so we can be supported.

Power Circles are an ideal way to both share your vision and get the support you need to move your vision toward your reality.

The Circles are an opportunity to connect regularly with women who inspire you, to get clear about what you really want, and to be in a sisterhood that believes in your capacity for leadership and impact.

The more we meet, the stronger we get, and the further our waves of emboldenment and compassion will spread into the world. And that’s a world worth creating!

Learn more about the transformative power of Power Circles HERE.


Re-Emerging My Activist Self: The Women’s March 2017

I was a Women’s Studies major in College – and in my junior year I marched in Washington DC at The March for Women’s Lives organized by the National Organization for Women.

It was amazing to see over 500,000 women, men, and children marching in solidarity for the human rights and reproductive rights of women. It energized and inspired me, and shaped the work I do to this day.

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(Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images)

I was absolutely an activist in my 20’s. But my 30’s? Not so much. My focus turned toward my personal future as I reached toward the female American dream: a partner I loved, 1.5 kids, a house in a good neighborhood, and a career that was meaningful and earned a decent salary.

Four years ago I started saying to myself, “I used to be such an activist… what happened?” I think I eschewed the word because I linked it to anger. But in retrospect, I don’t remember feeling angry – I felt alive and vital. As Brené Brown puts it, I felt like I was in the arena.

Now in my 40’s (ok, late 40’s, but who’s counting?) I realize that no matter how much of the American dream I have, it is a short-lived fulfillment. How can I feel satisfied while so much of humanity struggles to get their most basic needs met, while our ecosystem deteriorates under our negligence and greed, and while women and girls around the world continue to be the target of heinous crimes?

The same goes for personal growth. I have spent the last two decades finding myself, healing old wounds, using awareness practices to out-create deep-seeded psychological patterning. I am a better person for it – thank GODDESS for therapy – and I feel that I could spend my life working on my own personal evolution (is there ever an end to it?).

But I want to go beyond me. It is my wish that every human being has the luxury of working towards their fullest self-expression in this lifetime, just like I do.

So I can’t stop at my life. I need to fight for the lives of everyone around me. I need to speak up for those whose voices cannot be heard. I need to use the inner and outer power that I have accumulated through my personal work to make the way for a more sustainable future for all.

And so this weekend, I will march again. And I do not march alone. I’ll be joining thousands of Coloradans at the Women’s March on Denver to show my commitment to social justice, human rights, and equality. If you’re in Denver, I hope you’ll join the Emerging Women group – we’re meeting at the downtown Sheraton at 8:30am.

This sister march to the Women’s March on Washington is our opportunity to send a message: we are connected, powerful, and will fiercely advocate for marginalized groups to ensure a compassionate and just world.

Not in the Denver area? Check and see if a city near you is hosting a march (at the time of this post there are over 600 scheduled). We will show up all over the nation, and our numbers will speak for themselves. We are half the population, and we will not be ignored. I can’t wait to connect with you, and re-connect with my young activist self. Now is the time, sisters. Let’s show ’em our strength!

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PS – In true Emerging Women Live fashion, we will finish the day with embodied feminine power, aka dance party, at the Colorado Blue Ball – A Ball for All. I hope you are able to do the same with the soul sisters who keep your fire bright!

3 Must-Haves for Women Entrepreneurs

The face of entrepreneurship is changing in the United States. More and more women are taking the leap from employee to owner, and the number of women-owned businesses grew 74 percent between 1997 and 2015 – that’s one-and-a-half times the national average, according to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Business Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN.

During October, which is National Women’s Small Business Month, the small business sector was in the spotlight, leading many inspirational entrepreneurs and communities to ask, “What can we do to help you succeed?”

Interestingly enough, the answer hasn’t changed much over the years. Women, like the majority of small and medium business (SMB) owners, need a mix of three ingredients for success: community, capital and growth.

Community

When it comes to community, women have long been the gatekeepers. The same skills that organized neighborhood events and activities and led to the founding of women’s’ organizations in the 1970s continue to be crucial to the future of entrepreneurship.

Capital

No conversation about women entrepreneurs is complete without discussing the challenges and key developments pertaining to issues like women’s access to credit and cultural expectations that have, to a certain extent, limited many women’s ability to pursue entrepreneurial ventures. These uphill battles, which could, even today, become deterrents, have instead fostered new strengths and determination that are integral to business success.

Growth

In business, many would say if you’re not growing, you’re failing. When growth is the name of the game, it’s imperative to constantly seek new ways to succeed.  Technology is now integral to enabling SMBs to grow; ever more accessible and sophisticated technology continues to democratize the means to leverage solutions once relegated to large companies. More than ever, technology now delivers a level of flexibility and mobility that enables every female entrepreneur to define her own workstyle and lifestyle.

Microsoft’s Windows10 Pro operating system and Windows10 Pro devices play a prominent role in the ongoing transformation of small businesses to do great things. We’d like to offer you a free copy of the Windows 10 for Business Onboarding Kit (click here) to learn more about how Windows 10 Pro and new devices can help empower your business.

Power Practice #17: Boost Your Self Worth to Grow Your Net Worth

Is money a constant source of anxiety for you? Nancy Levin, Emerging Women Live speaker and author of Worthy: Boost Your Self Worth to Grow Your Net Worth, has a practice that should help.

The real key to creating financial freedom isn’t changing what we do, it’s changing our limiting beliefs about how we feel—and that requires more than just learning how to invest. Ready to give it a shot? Discover which beliefs may be inhibiting your sense of self worth, and unlock the potential to grow your net worth in the process.

Play Power Practice #17 – Boost Your Self Worth to Grow Your Net Worth:

Nancy LevinNancy Levin is the bestselling author of Worthy: Boost Your Self-Worth to Grow Your Net Worth, Jump … And Your Life Will Appear and Writing For My Life, She’s a Master Integrative Life Coach and the creator of the Jump Coaching and Worthy Coaching Programs, working with clients – privately and in groups – to live in alignment with their own truth and desires.

She was the Event Director at Hay House for 12 years and hosts her own weekly call-in radio show Jump Start Your Life on Hay House Radio, Thursdays at 8am PT/11am ET.

She is also Contributing Editor of Kristen Noel’s Best Self Magazine and one of the hosts of the Hay House World Summit each year since its inception.

Nancy received her Masters in Creative Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and she continues to live in the Rocky Mountains.

Like what you hear? Try Bari Tessler’s Power Practice #06: Crafting a Money Practice to go deeper into your money mojo:


Why not get in on four full days of power practices, movement, inspiration and collaboration at Emerging Women Live, October 5-8, 2017 in Denver, CO? Join us!

Want to Dial Into Desire? Love the Longing.

Have you ever wanted something so very bad your whole body ached? I am talking about a desire so profound that it wraps itself around your heart… and squeezes. As we long for the fulfillment of that desire, a feeling of separateness from the desired thing often begins to form. And if that separateness is allowed to solidify, it can become literally heartbreaking.

I’ve felt that gulf between desire and outcome a lot lately. I’ve watched my country make decisions I don’t understand, the course I set for my business keeps taking unexpected turns, and several new relationships in my life are not panning out the way I had hoped. At times like these sometimes I just want… well, not to want.

In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are aimed at freeing ourselves from our desires in order to end our suffering. This makes so much sense – if I don’t want, I cannot be without, and I can’t be disappointed. Freedom! Oh to be free of wanting – how civilized that must be. To walk about the world with such contentment, such satisfaction with what is and watch all the shiny objects pass us by without the grip of desire!

Still, I can’t help but think that desire must have some function besides to torture us. Surely an energy so strong, and at times all-consuming must have a greater purpose?

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Do Our Desires Evolve Us?

At a very basic level our desire for food, water, safety, and procreation keeps humanity going. Isn’t the purpose of all of life is to expand, evolve, to grow and spread? Maybe there’s a case to be made that what we desire will likely lead to our growth and expansion.

Could it be that we naturally long for things that will help us evolve? Having longed for a few “bad boys” and risky experiences in my day, I question this. But then again, the personal expansion that came from those experiences are undeniable. The more I lean into this, the more I am convinced: desire, regardless of the object or the outcome, can lead to transformation.

Do Our Desires Reveal Our Purpose?

Maybe we don’t have desires, we are our desires. In that case, if we run from our desires, we run from ourselves. I believe Spirit can talk to us through our desires, helping to reveal our true purpose. Do you?

A desire is anything but frivolous. It is the interface between you and that which is greater than you. No desire is meaningless or inconsequential. If it pulls you, even a little bit, it will take everyone higher. Desire is where the Divine lives, inside the inspiration of your desire. Every desire is of profound importance with huge consequences, and deserves your attention.

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Do Our Desires Create Connection?

As an experiment, I started leaning into my desires. Not the images or visions I have of the end result, but the physical and energetic pull on my heart, the heat on my skin, the stretching of my soul as I reach. The desiring itself. When I stay there, I don’t feel pain or separation, but an increased intimacy with… me.

Buddhist teacher Tara Brach has said, “Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging.” My desires shifted from a source of pain and separation to guideposts for deeper connection – to self, to others, to God/the universe/the force. The movement toward something reminds me that I am not alone. As I reach my hands out for what I want, I know that somewhere another is doing the same, and perhaps our fingertips shall meet. I desire for Emerging Women to be globally impactful – yes. But what I really want is to feel connected to women everywhere who are risking everything to live authentically for the good of the world. And in the simple act of desire, I already feel that powerful connection.

Do Our Desires Shape the World Around Us?

As women, we have a history of suppressing our desires. We may not speak up, we may not ask for what we need, we may avoid making waves and stay safe in the caretaking of others while neglecting our own wants. At Emerging Women Live 2015, Esther Perel said, “As women we need to own our wanting.” Damn straight, sisters. How can we expect the world to work in our favor if we don’t allow ourselves to want? What good is dreaming if we don’t infuse our visions with the catalytic fire of desire? To dare to want in the face of possible disappointment, shame, or guilt – now that is courage.

Thomas Merton said, “Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” The world we live in is a result of the desire of men. It is paramount that we women step more fully into that which we desire – own it, live it, breath it – if we are going to create change in the world.

Here’s what I desire: I desire a world that celebrates feminine leadership and exalts it to create healthy systems that are inclusive, compassionate, and fair. I desire meaningful relationships that are both intimate and impactful in the world. I desire increased connection to fast track a global consciousness that puts life at the center of everything we do.  What do you desire? I want to know. Let’s pool our desires and make it happen, sisters.


5 Reasons We Want You to Take the Entrepreneurial Plunge

Some women decide to start a business because they have an innovative product idea that fills a gap in the market or a service they can offer that is in high demand. We love it when women choose the entrepreneurial path because we know the power of feminine business leadership to change the world at large.

Regardless of the motivation, if you’re a woman considering entrepreneurship, here are a few reasons to get excited about taking the proverbial plunge:

Determination

Women are likely to be well-armed when it comes to the determination necessary to succeed at starting a business. Rutgers University includes determination in a list of necessary traits in prospective and burgeoning entrepreneurs, along with perseverance, curiosity, innovation, and fearlessness. They offer the example of Airbnb, which for many months apparently only made about $200 a week; the founders are now estimated to be worth over a billion dollars each.

Causes

There is a great deal of interest and momentum behind what’s known as “cause marketing,” at the moment. Forbes cites Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Research in noting that “Women are 1.17 times more likely than men to create social ventures rather than only economic ventures, and 1.23 times more likely to pursue environmental ventures than economic-focused ventures.” Considering the current popularity of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues, women would be well-advised to pursue a business putting environmental conservation, energy efficiency, or social justice causes front and center.

There is now the existence of Certified B Corporations, certified by B Lab—who define B corporations as “for profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” A new interest in the triple bottom line of “profit-people-planet” is making B Corps especially appealing to a younger generation interested in supporting causes that value sustainability and economic equity. The new prominence of B corps should be especially motivating to women interested in starting forward-thinking businesses concerned with contributing to the social good.

Support

There are better support networks in place in 2016 than ever before. SAP mentions a few noteworthy organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners, Entrepreneurial Winning Women, and Aspect Ventures as examples of organizations or companies interested in fostering and supporting female-run companies. There are even more resources accessible online that offer a number of tools, words of advice, and support services to women looking to start their own business. And of course, Emerging Women and Emerging Women Live offer stellar opportunities to get inspired and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and investors.

Investment

It doesn’t cost as much money as you might think, at first. In fact, according to Intuit, “The majority (64%) of small business owners start with less than $10,000.”  That’s great news to those of us on a budget—which, let’s face it, is most of us. One way to make the process more painful is to start your business on the side, rather than quitting your job and hoping for the best. That way, you have a bit more breathing room to settle in and figure out which aspects of the business need adjustment or revision before full-launch. Entrepreneur offers a list of affordable business ideas to get you started, in case you’re at a loss for reliable options that are also on the frugal side.

However, if you are willing to shoot for more capital with which to start your business—especially if your business happens to be tech-based—Mackenzie Burnett put together a list of female angel and early-stage investors in tech. It helps immensely to tap into female-run investment firms, since for whatever reason many male investors are still biased against female entrepreneurs. Look into Broadway Angels, whose founder, Sonja Perkins, was recently interviewed by Fortune.

Independence

The last and perhaps most significant reason to start your own business is because of more independence and greater money-making potential. Many women want to start a family or would simply prefer to be their own boss than be forced to put up with traditional male-dominated hierarchies in a more traditional office setting. There is a great deal of marketing and business-based interaction that can take place online, now, as well—as opposed to in person or with the luxury of a brick-and-mortar office location. The traditional overhead costs simply don’t exist, when you work remotely or from a home-based office. And being in charge of your own business means you get to set your own rates or prices, which can feel empowering!

Make no mistake: setting out on your own can feel intimidating, and it probably won’t be easy. Set goals for yourself, and don’t be afraid to share your idea with the world. You have most of the resources you need, and you can find the ones you’re missing with the support and collaboration of your fellow females.

Forming a concrete image of your future entrepreurial success can keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Try this guided visualization from Right-Brain Business Plan author Jennifer Lee to connect with your future success:


3 Mobilizing Tips for Movement Makers

How many of you think the world can be a better place? How many of you have an idea about how to do that but have not implemented it? Wokie Nwabueze asked these questions to kick off October’s Emerging Women Live panel Movement Makers: Amplifying Vision, Voice and Influence to Change the World, and was answered by a room full of raised hands.

When we live with our ears to the ground, Wokie said, we get ideas that would absolutely improve quality of life for a group, a community, the planet. But we get afraid of that idea, thinking “Who am I to start a movement?”

We at Emerging Women have a favorite quote, from Move The Crowd founder Rha Goddess: “We are moving out of the age of the celebrity and into the age of the citizen.” That means we don’t have to wait for Angelina Jolie to start a movement. We can do it ourselves. We must – now more than ever.

To dig into the how, Wokie interviewed Joan Blades, founder of MoveOn.org and MomsRising.org, and Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO and #radicalgenerosity. What did we learn?

1. Put it out there.

In 1998, Joan Blades sent a one sentence political petition to less than 100 friends, and it went viral. Within days the petition had hundreds of thousands of signatures. For the first time in history, an online petition broke into and helped transform the national conversation. Joan realized that online organizing had the potential to disrupt and fundamentally alter the course of our democracy. The signers of Joan’s petition became MoveOn’s first members, and a powerful movement of millions was born.

Vicki Saunders believes in socializing ideas. At a networking event, she’ll say, “I have this super crazy idea. Imagine this. Would you do it?” When she applied this tactic to SheEO, she realized it resonated in a big way. Though she had been running from the idea for 20 years, she couldn’t ignore the response she got when she put it out there. In 2013, she launced the website and quickly raised $500,000 to invest in women-led businesses.

2. No more guru.

Echoing Rha Goddess, Vicki pointed out that we’re living in a post-hero world. “It’s going to take all of us to change this world,” she said, “so don’t follow a guru. Follow the energy. If there’s something resonant in your idea, it becomes an uncontollable force. Don’t try to control it. Let it go, and that’s when you’ll really see it take off.” Vicki allows SheEO Activators to invest directly in businesses they feel passionate about. By giving women the power to invest in ideas they personally believe in, SheEO emboldens everyone involved – no guru necessary.

Joan embodied the no-guru rule by cultivating an agile team with outstanding ability to listen to and serve MoveOn’s membership. “They don’t need me – they’re incredible,” Joan said. She surrounded herself with good people she loved and respected, and who were aligned with a shared purpose. That gave the movement great collective power to grow and prosper, in service to the community and not just the leadership. She now serves on the MoveOn’s Board of Directors, and is free to found new movements like the much needed MomsRising and the especially timely Living Room Conversations.

3. Start with relationship.

“Design an experience for people to be in relationship together,” said Vicki. In SheEO’s model, women fall in love with the kinds of things they want to put their capital towards as a kind of gateway for falling in love with investing itself. Without that relationship, SheEO wouldn’t have the magic that makes it work.

“People are ready to pay for what they value,” Joan said. The key is deep listening to what the people want, and the ability to serve and facilitiate those desires. “We’d just say, ‘Do you want to do this?’ And they’d say yes and we’d have the money to do it!” When you allow people to choose what they’re passionate about and how they want to be involved, they will happily supply the resources you need to take action.

A final thought from Wokie to sum it all up? “You allowed the idea to be surrendered to community,” igniting the alchemy that transforms good ideas into massive movements. “We don’t have to take a hero’s journey. We can take a heroine’s journey and do it with community.”

Are you a Movement Maker? We’d love to hear about your expereince in the comments. And if you want to make deep connections with other women ready to make waves in the world, join us at Emerging Women Live 2017 in Denver, CO.


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Power Practice #16: Stepping Up and Speaking Out

There’s one question Nan Crawford hears a lot: How do I walk on stage with confidence, and genuinely inspire and influence my audience?

In this Power Practice, Nan shares her tips for crafting a good strategy before your presentation or conversation so that you will authentically connect with your audience. She illustrates how simple shifts in focus can lead to a tremendous increase in confidence and connection. She also leads us through a breathing practice which releases the jagged energy that comes with high stakes presentations and conversations.

Take 10 minutes to reframe your relationship to public speaking, and let the power of your voice help you make an impact in this world.

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Play Power Practice #16 – Stepping Up and Speaking Out:

Nan CrawfordNan Crawford is on a mission to create a world where women and girls know their power. An expert in how to increase your influence, Nan coaches bold women leaders to step onto a bigger stage. Nan has helped clients secure Executive level promotions, craft funding pitches that have raised millions of dollars, write and deliver powerful presentations for boards of directors, TED, Clinton Global Initiative, The State Department, The White House and The Colbert Report. Clients include: Autodesk, Boeing, Deloitte, eBay, Kaiser Permanente, Google, Paramount, Target, Wells Fargo and World Pulse. She serves as Executive Education Faculty for Columbia, Harvard and UC Berkeley’s Graduate Schools of Business. A cum laude graduate of the University of Texas with a BFA in Theatre, Nan holds an MA from The California Institute of Integral Studies in Organization Development. Nan Crawford has been featured in Fast Company magazine and The New York Times calls her work “inspirational”.

Like what you hear? Why not get in on four full days of power practices, movement, inspiration and collaboration at Emerging Women Live, October 5-8, 2017 in Denver, CO. Join us!