I’ll never forget meeting our very special featured blogger for the first time. …and my girl crush continues to this day. Even at first glance, Ellie Borden elicits motivation, inspiration, liberation and empowerment from those around her. On some level, I was star struck by her but felt, in my heart of hearts, that this woman was made of strong and authentic beauty, inside and out. Because she elicits these kinds of reactions from people, it is of no surprise that Ellie was destined to be hugely successful as a coach in the corporate world and in the community about which she deeply cares and makes great strides to improve, protect, teach, and empower.
An author and sought after keynote speaker, Ellie’s goal is to help people from around the globe become the leaders they were born to be. Ellie started her first business after graduating from McGill university and became a VP of Marketing for a prestigious company soon after. She spent many years in the music industry, as an artist and A&R, and she has had the pleasure of working with leaders in the industry. Her first album featured world renown beatmakers such as, Swizz Beats, Just Blaze, and Cool & Dre. Subsequently, Ellie spent many years learning the fast paced business side of the industry in NYC. Ellie then began to reinvent herself into a business woman beyond the realm of the music industry. Upon her return to Canada to start a family in 2005, and inspired by her soon-to-be motherhood, she hand-picked a research and development team to help create RawGoodies®, a naturally-sourced positive living brand that has now grown to a collection of eight lines and over 300 products. In 2009, pursuing her passion to help others Ellie launched “Blaze Your Trail — Life and Business Coaching.” Her passion for fashion flare, and her dedication to helping women push their limits and build their confidence, sparked the creation of “Sexy Beast Lingerie” in 2011. In 2013, The Montreal Center for Anxiety and Depression recognized Ellie’s stellar results in peak performance coaching, and she joined their “Dream Team,” as their sole Life Coach/Personal Development Expert. Ellie’s vision is to teach others about the winning combination of both personal development and business training. And, by establishing the “PowerCircle Women’s Academy” in 2014, Ellie is now able to provide that winning recipe of success to women from around the world through e-learning. In early 2015 she sold two of her companies, RawGoodies® and Sexy Beast Lingerie, to give more of her attention to her long time passion of real estate development and investing, and she continues to pursue her work as a Life & Business coach through seminars, lectures, and writing.
Ellie has given The Sassy Psychologist special permission to give our readers a taste of Ellie’s inspirational writing style. Below, you will find an excerpt from the book “The Change,” which Ellie co-authored. This is just one of many books Ellie has been involved with so be sure to check out all of her other books and services that we have promoted here, on the Sassy site.
~ The Sassy Psychologist
CHOICE: IT’S MUCH MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU MAY THINK. It’s the KEY.
Even though it was a lifetime ago and I was only seven at the time, the event of that day remains a defining moment in my life. I remember it being a calm and serene day when we walked into the restaurant. We sat. We ate. We made conversation. I felt all icky inside and a storm of anger was brewing. And when we left I said to my mom, “Promise me something.”
“Sure baby, what is it?”
“Don’t make me see him again, but don’t tell him I said it.”
“I promise, if that’s what you want.”
This was a major turning point in how I interpreted my power as a child. My mother permitted me to have control, or a “say” in my own destiny through the choices presented to me. And that day I chose to never see my father again. And with that, we walked away from the suffering that came hand in hand with that relationship.
The purpose of this chapter is to help you internalize the following — you always have a CHOICE.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl
The ultimate human freedom is the power to choose. Do you believe you must change whom you are to get what you want? I don’t! I believe you first must find your true self and your true potential. Then, you must optimize your program and upgrade your version to a better one. If you are not currently happy with what you have, or with the situation you’re in… CHECK YOURSELF!
My mother’s decision to leave the abusive relationship and stay strong in the face of fear, shame, and guilt was a powerful choice that I, beyond a shadow of a doubt, believe in. Because of this decision she changed the trajectory of our lives. For her, she reclaimed what was hers; self-love, self-empowerment, and self-respect. She found her true self, the self that did not give “permission” to anyone to perpetuate inappropriate behaviors. Hence, she had the freedom to pursue her true potential and her optimized self. For me, it taught me the most important lesson of my life: What we choose is how we live; that every situation calls for a choice; and that every circumstance requires boundaries. It taught me to push past my fears, to stretch beyond my comfort zone, to test my beliefs, and to keep pursuing my potential. It taught me courage to take a stand and to choose the unpopular and less conventional path, which in turn allowed me to unleash my deepest desires onto the world.
What is choice? Choice is an expression of autonomy. Choice plays a determining role in the direction and quality of a person’s life. When people use choice they empower themselves with thoughtful, calculated decisions about what they want to do in a given situation, and how they want to show up in the world. When you make choices that don’t feel right, or when you just let things slide, you are not using your power to steer your life in your desired direction. You are simply riding the bus on a designated route. Acknowledge and understand the power of choice. Choice allows self-reflection and self-awareness. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge or even notice. So by making choice imperative, we unlock possibilities that liberate us from the horrible feeling of being stuck and helpless. We remove the option of being the victim.
Whatever you were raised to believe as a child is exactly how you will filter your experiences. If you had a cheery upbringing, filled with many memorable and happy moments, then your beliefs will likely support you in learning how to process information differently, in order to get different (and better!) outcomes. That belief system has everything to do with the choices you make. These choices turn into habits and behaviors that we adopt throughout our lives. For example, if your upbringing was dysfunctional, as a consequence you may choose to drink excessively, manage to be late for meetings, or fall in love with the same persona over and over again. These are habits that are unique to you through conditioning. They become a part of your identity but some of these patterns, the ones that don’t serve you, are the ones you want to change. The good news is that the subconscious is built upon a cluster of habits. Fortunately, bad habits can be replaced with good ones: Habits that will serve you and those around you. If you want it badly enough you will find a way, if you don’t, then you will find an excuse.
Keep in mind the power of choice and that all the choices you make throughout your day—good or bad—have a ripple effect. Imagine a young woman going out into the world with a chip on her shoulder, verbally knocking people down if they get in her way. That one harsh word she may say to you could cause your feelings to get hurt, and in turn, preoccupied by your emotions, you snap at your server at the restaurant, hence in turn, he or she delays your order—and on it goes—the ripple effect. Conversely, envision yourself waking up tomorrow with a different intention. You can go to bed tonight with the decision to carry yourself out into the world a little differently tomorrow. Maybe you’ll decide to kiss your kids goodbye with a hug and an “I love you” instead of the usual, “Hurry up will ya? We’re late!” Ahhh, now your ripple effect becomes a beaming light of positivity and appreciation transporting inspirational vibes. Now your children go to school with a smile, full of joy and ready to conquer the day. In turn, the teacher is pleased at your children’s behavior and compliments them as such. Now it’s a healing light, an inclination for others to pay it forward, a caress of kindness, or even a friendly kick in the pants that reminds people to bring them out of despair. Why? Because you are modeling your belief that you are choosing happiness and fulfillment, always keeping your eyes on the prize.
Come along with me as we explore three major themes on the effects of choice and how the choices we make – or don’t – play a major role in determining success or failure.
“Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters.” – Dan Coppersmith
1. Self-worth: Answer this “how and with what do you define your worth?” You may have come from a dysfunctional family. You may have been abused, neglected, or constantly criticized. You may have been teased or bullied at school because you were different. Make no mistake here, as children our emotional development is immature, and how these young minds internalize these experiences is significantly different from how they were intended.
But regardless of what happened to us as children, now as adults, we can rebuild our self-worth by believing in our abilities. Test your limits beyond your comfort zone and maintain a laser focus on positive outcomes. Our self-worth can be redefined by a collective of growth and success in our numerous roles, as opposed to defining our self-worth by one role. A classic example is of the woman who becomes a mom. The ambitious, sexy, and flirtatious woman, however she used to define herself, has now shifted her self-worth to being represented by her role as a mom only. She may now choose to ignore the need, or interest, for enhancement in other areas of her life. Or, what happens to a family man who defines his self-worth as the provider, when he loses his job. Similarly, what happens to you when the basis for your own self worth is determined by the job you used to have? When your evaluation of yourself is based on the highs and lows of your career, the way you feel about yourself will fluctuate right along with your job status. This is unacceptable; it’s half a life. Conformity is the death of individuality. You must embark on “identity decoding and re-shifting” to reprogram your self-worth. Approval of oneself has nothing to do with the calm or chaos outside of you. How you feel about yourself should not be tied to external forces.
When you perceive yourself as worthy of the best, then you make the choice to never settle for anything less than the best. You expect the best from yourself; from the man or woman you are dating; from your friends, etc. I had someone say to me that I have a great husband, and that I’M LUCKY. It’s not about luck. It’s about making sure that I was true to myself when choosing my partner. It’s about attracting the right person, and choosing a partner who will support and compliment the unit that I belong to. For example, if you are a devout athlete and you chose a partner who prefers to join your daily run by following you in the car, you are not being true to yourself because it will eventually develop resentment. Do not settle for anything less than what you are worth or strive to be.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay
2. Confidence – Do you have the confidence to make a decision—large or small, significant or insignificant? Does Fear get in the way? Do you become anxious when confronted with a decision? Do you stay stuck where you are, then feel defeated as this wreaks total havoc on your self-worth? Do you start beating yourself up because you simply could not make up your mind? It gets even more complicated, doesn’t it? Even worse, when you finally do make a decision you have no faith in the choice you made. Do I marry him or walk away? Should I take that vacation I can’t really afford or stay home for the holidays? Eat that piece of cheesecake or read a book?
When you don’t have confidence, making decisions can be overwhelming. You stay stuck in situations and relationships that are not ideal for you and fall into victim mentality. You don’t trust yourself to make smart or appropriate choices. What if you make a bad decision and you end up unhappy, or hurting someone? Who wants to take responsibility for all that?
We are fortunate, as individuals to have the ability to choose. It is this ability that allows us to nourish our confidence. How? Make choices to eliminate the victim mentality; take accountability for your choices and actions; and choose to be the driver in your own life. You will soon discover you are more than capable, than you gave yourself credit for. Once you have the proof that you can accomplish things entirely on your own, your comfort level in the face of adversity will increase your confidence to take on more, and to face challenges head on. When you improve your confidence, your anxiety levels decrease while you experience an increase in your ability to cope, thrive, and become unstoppable and resilient. Some choices may not be the right ones. Owning up to your poor choices, rather than blaming external factors, takes a certain amount of confidence. The confidence leaders are made of.
That said, want to or not, like it or not, whether you take the wheel and drive your life in the direction of your vision or stay stuck, you’re still responsible! Whether you make a change or don’t, you’re still the one responsible for what your life is like. Reason being, you made the choice.
When you lack confidence and don’t trust yourself enough to make choices, you abdicate all your power. Unwittingly, you end up with fewer choices to make, which is the opposite of the desired results you seek.
Catch yourself making a small decision and then another. Pay attention to all the choices you have in a day (what to wear, what time to leave for work, who to have lunch with, how you will behave with your kids, and what you will make for supper). All these mundane daily activities actually require choosing! Every time you claim ownership of having made a choice in any of these scenarios, you are validating yourself, and this validation over time should increase your confidence level. Try this and observe the change in yourself. Though subtle at the beginning, you will find in time you are more courageous when facing forks in the road.
A small tip to help you build on your confidence: Visualize in the present tense as if it is already a memory of a successful task, goal, etc. One theory states the subconscious mind does not have an understanding of past or future, so by stating, “I will have money one day” is meaningless to the subconscious. However, “I am a millionaire,” is accessible to the subconscious. For example, if you know that in one month you will be interviewed for a coveted promotion within your company, and competing against other candidates, then visualize that you just have been hired for the position and all its perks. In other words, the ‘act-as-if’ mentality changes your confidence level tremendously.
Another helpful tip is to slowly shift your comfort zone, so that you can make small successful steps. Success reaffirms your confidence. I call it the “cliff hanger”— analogous to the game on The Price is Right, where the price has to be on point or close to the right price or the mountain climber falls off the cliff. Likewise, if you attempt to take on a huge task and fail, your confidence and selfworth is hindered. But if you go about it step by step, success has a higher probability, and with each successful outcome is a boost to your confidence.
3. Self-control is not only about battling with oneself whether to choose one thing or event over another. It’s far more complex than we originally thought. It’s about regulating your emotions. Not everyone has a high Emotional Intelligence (EI). People with higher EI are better at understanding their psychological state of mind. This can include managing stress effectively and being less likely to suffer from anxiety. Those with lower EI are more likely to externalize, for example they may say, “You’re stressing me out!” Whereas, one with a high EI is more likely to take control of his or her emotions by resisting external factors and by understanding that only he can choose to allow something or someone to stress him out. To achieve a healthy level of EI, you must implement techniques that allow you to regulate your emotions, and thus establish more control over your life and emotional state.
Four key techniques to support the development of a healthy EI are: Inner exploration for self-awareness; strategic planning for proper life-management; balance; and stress management.
Once a higher level of EI is achieved, then all other decisions and temptations in your life will be dealt with maturity, with focus, and with well-calculated decisions. You’ll take control of your life and own your choices with no regrets. Along the way, you’ll extract all the meaningful experiences that are the mortar of the building blocks of your wisdom. And with that comes higher self-esteem, self-worth, more confidence, better relationships, fewer bad habits (binge-eating, nail-biting, promiscuity), and so on. That is a powerful thing!
Life is not without its struggles. The downs bring life changing ups, and the ups put the downs in perspective. Dare to live! Wake up and ride the bull of life. Put your back into it! Sweat it out. Feel it. Internalize your power to endure struggle. If you are a man looking for his role in the world — dare to be the kind of man that reflects on his choices and redefines all the areas of his life. Maximize your potential in every area — not just in the traditional sense, or what society determines your role to be. If you are a woman — dare to be that woman that mirrors an Amazonian warrior with a clique of badass chicks with spears that you carved with your bare hands. Ready to take what’s owed to you. We all have the birthright to establish our identity in a space of limitless potential.
But how does one take control and stay there? The answer is in an undying desire to be a person who is in charge of his or her own life; it is in the desperate need to be true to oneself, to achieve one’s life goals. Desire is the driving force behind choice making.
A shift in perception can make all the difference in your experiences. If you regard every situation as an opportunity to choose, then you are essentially opening yourself to possibilities and other available options you might not have considered. With that said, can you not shift your reality to suddenly notice many more choices you thought were unavailable prior to your shift?
Show the world you’re going to take life by storm, by making all the right choices to live your life on purpose and with purpose. Now is the time to blaze you trail!
“The pursuit of happiness is a matter of choice…it is a positive attitude we choose to express. It is not a gift delivered to our door each morning, nor does it come through the window. And it is certain that our circumstances are not the things that make us joyful. If we wait for them to get just right, we will never laugh again.” ― Charles R. Swindoll