Kick-ass Author #2 Who Writes About Shame, Vulnerability and Wholehearted Living (Who Is Not Brené Brown)


While the concepts of shame, vulnerability and living wholeheartedly are central to Dr. Brené Browns research and writing, these themes are actually quite common in books. That’s because we are all drawn to ideas of rising up against the oppression of real or perceived limitations, and finding the courage (vulnerability) to radically live life according to our own rules.

My next pick for Kick-ass Author Who Writes About Shame, Vulnerability and Wholehearted Living is a perfect example:

Seth Godin,  What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn)

This book is for you if:  You’re a budding entrepreneur; you’re thinking of quitting your job to pursue a passion; you want to create art and put it out into the world; or, you long to get unstuck in any aspect of your life.

If I were translating this Seth Godin book into “Brené-ese”, I’d say this book is about showing up, being seen and living bravely. It’s about stepping into the arena, without armour or shame shields, ignoring the critics, the cheap seats and the box seats, while holding the value of courage to light the way.

You need to get this book into your library. Then you need to get a copy for your spouse. Another for your best friend. And then anyone you know who is about to graduate from college or university.

Why? Because this book is a trip.

First of all, Seth Godin is a master of witty, concise and inspiring writing. He is also, in his own words, someone who “mostly creates projects, many of which end up failing.” So he speaks from experience AND knows what is possible. Trust me, his writing will get you fired up, and “taking your turn” over and over, in new and different ways.


“When was the last time you did 

something for the first time?” Seth Godin

Secondly, this book is basically a piece of artwork in itself. Bright colours, provoking images and photographs, big fonts/little fonts, historical references and pop culture musings, stirring quotes and big questions like, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” and “Are you taking it seriously or are you taking it personally?” and “When did you lose your voice?”  It’s part-coffee table/part-self help book, rolled into one.

But it’s the way Seth Godin made this book happen that I love, as its creation is the very illustration of what he preaches in the book. Godin didn’t go the traditional publishing route with this book, which would have been easy for him as the author of 17 bestsellers. Instead, he asked his online community if they would be interested in pre-purchasing the book, sight-unseen (I was one of thousands who said ‘yes’). He got the capital to publish the book from the pre-orders, then published it and shipped it directly to readers. Now there are over 100,000 copies in print.

Godin wanted to challenge the status quo of the “vertical publishing world” where publishers decide what gets published and how it gets distributed, and instead went for a horizontal approach, getting readers themselves involved in the creation of the book.

You may not find the word shame or wholehearted in this book, but the message and the book itself is ALL the stuff Brené Brown talks about:  feeling the fear of vulnerability and doing it anyway.

Get a taste of Seth Godin’s work by checking out his awesome blog. And you can order What To Do When It’s Your Turn here.

Pick up his book and tell me what you think in the comments below or on my Facebook Page!


Surrendering Justification


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about taking on my own version of a surrender experiment, inspired by the memoir, The Surrender Experiment, by Michael A Singer. This is what I recall saying:

Practice letting go of my ideas of how things should be. 

Surrender to what shows up and then give it 100% of my attention.

Hold each moment as sacred.

I am practicing all of this, and trust me when I say practice. I notice the crazy number of times my brain goes into planning mode, trying to come up with schemes for this and that, especially when it comes to my work and especially when I look at what others in the coaching world are doing. But I noticed something in particular one day when I caught myself comparing my coaching business to others. My thinking went something like this:

Wow, look at what that other coach is offering to clients. That’s so cool. Why didn’t I think of that? Well, too late now, I guess. Or should I do that too? Wait, no, I don’t have time to do that. Ok, fine. Well, that coach can do it because that’s their full-time gig. Not like me, working a full-time job while also trying build a business on the side. Remember Sabrina, you chose to have this full time job at the same time as building a business. It’s important to you: the security and consistency , especially in terms of the kids. Wait, is it? Hmmm. Yes, it is. Or is it? Maybe I just gave up too soon. Maybe I gave up on myself. Well, no, that’s not true. I’m still doing what I love, just not full time for now. Right. That’s right… I remember deciding that this is a better balance for me, for now. But man I wish I had more time for my business. There are so many things I’d like to do. But I also remember how frightening that could be sometimes. Yes, that’s right. I’m fine to be doing what I’m doing right now…

And I could have gone on and on. Isn’t this how the thought process works for all of us? It’s an incessant back and forth, especially when we’re trying to make sense of something. And that’s when it hit me: I am very invested in justifying my decision to work a full-time “regular” job while also building a business around my life’s work. It’s like my brain NEEDS to know that I made the right decision to work a regular job in addition to having my own business.

There is a reason my brain wants to know I’m making the right decision. Brené Brown talks about this in her new book, Rising Strong. Brown explains that when we go into struggle, our brains automatically make up stories in order to make sense of what’s happening. In fact, our brains reward us with a nice little dose of cortisol and oxytocin when we succeed in connecting the dots and making meaning from a struggle (think of how good it feels when you have an “a-ah” moment).

The problem is, our brains reward us whether the story we make up is true or not. When our brains piece together data to make meaning, there are often gaps in our knowledge. That’s when we start to make up stuff to fill in the blanks. In my example above, I’m making up a bunch of stuff such as a) other coaches can do what they do because it’s their full-time gig, b) I don’t have time to do that, c) I gave up too soon,  d) I need balance, e) there is such a thing as balance, f) there is some kind of strict dichotomy between my day job and my coaching business, just to name a few.

This, I realize, is going to be a huge part of my surrender experiment: Letting go of justification.

I want to let go of all the thinking my brain is doing to justify a decision, since the justification is there only to make me feel like I’m smart enough, hard-working enough, brave enough, thoughtful enough and righteous enough. Reality is, I am enough, with or without the “right” choice. Whether the decision is right or wrong, I’ll never know. When I surrender the need to be right (or smart or hard-working or brave or thoughtful or righteous), I’m free.  And as long as I’m showing up fully and completely as me, with all my values intact, then no decision can be wrong or a waste of time. As I practice surrendering the need to justify my decisions (which, boiled down, looks a lot like justifying my very existence), I embrace my right to be here, just as I am and simply because I am.


The Work/Life Lab, Week #51: A Look Back


Welcome to The Work/Life Lab: 52 Weeks of Daring Experiments To Shake Things Up and Learn More About Yourself At Work and Life

Experiment #51: A Look Back

I will wholeheartedly admit that I’m a bit of a sentimental fool, especially at this time of year. Years ago, when we were still sans kids, I would make my husband do a “year in review” with me sometime between Christmas and the New Year. Together, we’d go month-by-month over the year that just passed, remembering what we did, who we saw and what was important to us. Much to their chagrin, I’d also make my extended family take turns at Christmas dinner sharing the best thing that happened to them in the past year and the one thing they were hoping for in the year to come. Now that we have children, we collect memories all year long by writing down fun and important days on small pieces of paper and adding them to our memory jar. On New Year’s Eve, we take turns reading out the memories to each other.

I love it. For me, I revel in the memories and appreciate looking back at what we accomplished over the year, especially when they were things that were completely not on our radar at the start of the year. I also like the fact that it helps build and strengthen our family culture. These shared memories create the story of who we are as a family. They point to our values (or, in some cases, point out when we’re not honouring our values) and give us a sense of shared history together. Plus, the sharing and honouring of memories has, in itself, become part of our family culture.

So in this week’s Work/Life Lab, I invite you to take some time and space to do your own version of a year-in-review. I highly recommend you do this with your partner, family and/or friends, because sharing the memories of a 12-month period will strengthen your bonds and your sense of shared history. That said, it is equally powerful to do this review on your own, especially if you want to start becoming more deliberate about your choices in the year to come. Here’s a good template: Hits/Misses/Lessons Learned

  1. The Hits: What were the highlights of the past year? What did you accomplish? What are you proud of? What delighted you? Who came into your life? Big and small, list all those things from 2014 that you remember fondly and made you feel the warm and fuzzies.
  2. The Misses: What were your disappointments of the past year? What did you set out to do, but didn’t get around to accomplishing? What were your mistakes? Your regrets? What caused you sadness, anger, disappointment or the blues? Big and small, list all those things from 2014 that you remember some sadness or regret.
  3. The Lessons Learned: What were some big things you learned about yourself, about others and about the world this past year? In what areas of your life did you grow? What did you experience for the first time? What helped make you the person you are today? Big and small, list all the things that were lessons for you in 2014.

Now, give yourself a moment to take it all in. What a year! Look at all the gifts you received in 2014!

Say thank you for all these gifts… for your accomplishments (yay you!), for the pain and sadness (you’re stronger for it) and for the things you learned (you are a much richer person today than a year ago). In whatever way is meaningful for you, express your gratitude for the year you just experienced.

Now consider this: what did the past year prepare you for? Meditate on this for several moments. Jot down any thoughts that come to mind about what this past year has done to set you up for a phenomenal year ahead!

Finally, it’s time to say a proper good-bye to 2014. What authentic and meaningful act can you do to let go of the year that just passed? What ritual will honour all the hits, misses and lessons learned? Take the time to do this too, because letting go will be the best way for you to move forward and be present in the year to come.



The Work/Life Lab, Week #49: Celebrating The Holidays, Wholeheartedly


Welcome to The Work/Life Lab: 52 Weeks of Daring Experiments To Shake Things Up and Learn More About Yourself At Work and Life

Experiment #49: Celebrating The Holidays, Wholeheartedly

I will totally own the fact that this week’s Work/Life Lab experiment is inspired (well, borrowed really) from a recent blog post by the lovely Brené Brown. In her post, Brené recounts a Christmas when she let the “show” of the holiday season hijack her and her family’s enjoyment of it. She recognized that in her determined effort to ensure that “the show must go on”, she paid a very high price: choosing to please, perfect, and perform (in this case, finishing over 200 Christmas cards by herself) over honouring her values of courage, connection and compassion (courage to let go of the need for the cards to be perfect, connection to her children, and compassion to understand her kids’ immediate desires to celebrate the season in their own ways).

She has changed her tune since then, and I love her decision to choose the holiday over the show. So, this week’s experiment is going to ask you to do the same: Make the daring choice to give up the show in favour of the holiday. This means that as you prepare your list of all the things you need to do for the upcoming holiday season, answer the two questions Brené poses in her blog post:

  • Is this thing –  this activity, this gathering, this spending – is this a part of me/us, or just a part of the show?
  • And, does this show really need to go on?

As you look at all you have put on your to-do list, consider whether you are doing these things just to please others, so that you will feel more accepted by them or so that they will be happy at the expense of your own enjoyment. Or, whether you are doing it to achieve some sort of perfection, so that you can avoid any hint of painful criticism from family or friends. Or, whether you are just performing in the role of “She who makes all holiday things just so,” or “She who will not have the only house on the block without lights and decorations,” or “She who unselfishly bakes every delicious holiday treat from scratch,” or “She who will do everything and ask for nothing”. If any of these ring true, it’s time to choose the holiday over the show.

Scratch it off your list. Or modify it. Let go of your need to be perfect. Do something because it pleases you, not others. And give up the performance, because everyone wants to see the real you anyway (trust me).

Why do this? Because if you’re caught up in the show, you’ll miss  out on the true spirit of the season: giving, gratitude, connection, peace on earth and goodwill toward humankind. You’ll miss out on being and feeling authentic among those you love. You’ll “get through the season” living from your head, instead of savouring every moment living from your heart.

It takes courage to give up the show. Start slow, and maybe give up (or modify) just one thing on that list. And as you do it, let it truly go (that is, don’t give it up and then feel guilty about it). You’ll be giving yourself the gift of a more wholehearted holiday season!



The Work Life Lab, Week 11 – Your Arena


Welcome to The Work Life Lab: 52 Weeks of Daring Experiments To Shake Things Up and Learn More About Yourself At Work

Experiment #11 – Your Arena

This week’s Work Life Lab is a reflective one, so get ready to dig deep. Consider this a little like a pre-spring cleaning of your work-soul.

I want you to answer this one simple question: where in your job or career do you really want to show up and be seen this year? 

In the Daring Way™ work that I facilitate, we begin by identifying a part of our life where we know we are holding ourselves back; an area where we know we want to live more fully, bring our whole selves to the table and reap the rewards of being “all in”. This is our Arena. 

The metaphor of the Arena is a poignant one: choosing a part of our life where we really want to show up and be seen usually means that there is considerable risk and exposure, just like it would be to stand there in the centre of the arena floor. Looking up into the stands, you are sure to come across critics, non-believers, and social constructs created to keep you small. It’s not comfortable to walk into that arena. In fact, it takes a great deal of courage and heart to do it. So why do it? Because, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

So, what’s the Arena for you in your work life? Is it speaking up at meetings? Is it your relationship with your boss or co-workers? Is it taking the lead on a project? Is it trying for that next level? Is it landing a new client or account? Is it stretching into an area of work that’s unfamiliar to you? Is it quitting your job to start your own business? Is it trying to stay authentic in a job where your values are constantly jeopardized? Is it setting boundaries so that you can leave at a decent hour every day?

I have a two Arenas in which I’m trying to show up this year. The first is in marketing my business. This is a huge Arena for me, because it’s unfamiliar to me and it means putting myself “out there” in a big way. Deep breath.

The second is this blog, and wanting to bring more of myself into what I write about each week. I want to find that sweet spot where I am sharing more of me in my blog while keeping the content relevant for you, dear reader. So… in sharing my Arenas with you, I have actually taken my first step into this second Arena!

I would love to hear a declaration from you about your work-related Arena. Where do you want to show up, be seen and live more bravely this year? Please share below, on my Facebook Page or by sending me a private email ( Your declaration will be like standing at the Arena door, with your hand on the door, ready to push your way in. It may be scary…but, trust me, it’s also thrilling and totally worth it!


You Can Love Your Job, The Final Truth
















The third and final fundamental truth* I want to share with you is this:

3.   You Create Your Own Life

Of the three fundamental truths (see Truth #1 and Truth #2), this is the one that really rocks my world. And it’s the one that can be the hardest to truly accept. 

Basically, when it comes to your life, you are in charge.

It’s easy not to feel this way a lot of the time. But remember, this is a fundamental truth, not a “nice to have”.

You create your own life by the perspectives/attitudes you take and by the choices you make.

Sometimes it’s easier to settle into the place of ‘stuck’, feeling like responsibilities, external pressures and social influences leave us no choice. We work at jobs we hate because we have family depending on us, or we were obliged to follow in the professional footsteps of a parent, or the media and our consumer culture promised us that money = happiness.

At the end of the day, though, the truth is you are at choice. In all of the unhappy scenarios above, there is a choice being made, and that choice might very well be ‘stuck’.

Each of us has this incredible gift of imagination that allows us to see how things could be and then to make what we imagine into reality, to be the creators of our most fulfilling life. This is not a gift to be wasted! In fact, I would argue that if you use your core values as your guideposts and your imagination as your drawing board, you will begin the holy and sacred work of exploring how you are meant to serve the world.

So what does this mean for creating a work life you love?

It means that finding a job you love, or learning to love the job you already have, begins with a choice to make that happen. It means taking a long, reflective look at your past and getting honest about what lessons you’ve learned along the way about yourself. It means igniting your imagination to dream up every single possibility of work you love and are meant to be doing, and then taking the courageous steps to create it. It means you are in charge.

So, to review… I know you can love your job because I believe in three fundamental truths:

  • You are unique
  • Life is organic
  • You create your own life

The point where these three intersect is where the magic happens. I’ll even go a step further here and add another fundamental truth to this mix, lending an important sense of urgency to my point:

  • You only have this one life to live

So, you can love your job. And what are you waiting for?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these fundamental truths. Which one resonates the most with you or gives you the biggest kick in the pants? Write your reply below!


* These truths are borrowed from Sir Ken Robinson who wrote The Element and Finding Your Element. He describes these as principles that apply to each of us and make it possible for us all to find the sweet spot of where natural aptitude meets personal passion.