Welcome to Project Fabulous Femme! Once or twice a month, I'll introduce you to a Fabulous Femme who's inspired me. I invite them to share their perspectives on being a modern woman and other vital corps topics. Please be kind, curious, and open-minded.
Val’s done many things from health education to human resources management, but she finally found her niche when she discovered coaching. She’s a Northampton-based Business and Life Coach for Introverted Women who want a heart-centered and sustainable self-employment journey. While I was fortunate enough to work with Val 1-on-1 in the past, she’s devoted more of her time to writing about the SOULpreneur journey and leading mastermind groups for Introverted SOULpreneurs these days. As someone who has experienced what she does and writes next to her weekly, it’s obvious how much she gives to her work.
What she realized in hindsight is that being coach-like was the thread connecting everything she had enjoyed in her career journey. As she tapped into her own journey from a (self-described) nervous wallflower to a confident, self-employed introvert, she found herself particularly passionate about and great at helping other introverts bring their talents to the world. Clearly, that’s the abridged version. She's taken on some of my questions below, but you’ll have to wait until the book comes out for more details.
Q + A
How would you define being a modern woman in 2016? For me it’s about being in charge of my own life and speaking up as needed, with respect – for both myself and others.
What would you like to see modern women give more of a shit about? I wish every woman truly could see her own value and all the amazing things she does even in one simple day. Yes, even when it seems like “nothing.” I think this lack of positive self-awareness plagues women more than men. In fact, I’m sure I’m not seeing all of my value and accomplishments either, but one thing I know I’m good at is seeing the gold in other people and I am finally in a place in my life where I just say what gold I see. It’s part of my work as a coach to see and express that, and it’s something I find myself doing naturally with people outside of work. I used to feel too shy to say all the effusive things I want to say, as if we’re not supposed to do that! I’m actively letting that go more and more.
Conversely, what would you like see modern women give less of a shit about? Where do I begin? Whether we consciously realize it or not, we are bombarded by negative messages every day, about our bodies, our hair, our attitude, or whether we are good enough at leadership or parenting or whatever. I would love it if we would actively shield ourselves from all the messages of “you’re not good enough” (including the ones inside our heads) and see it for the falseness it is. I wonder what the world would look like if we were freed up from that and more easily focused on what truly matters.
What is your superpower? My superpower is seeing the superpowers in others. I can see it pretty quickly and I can often help them see it too. I feel so grateful for this superpower vision because it’s such a joy to see all that spark in the world.
What advice/quote/prayer/mantra/book/whatever keeps you going when you're feeling down and out? It’s not about fixing. It’s about allowing. Tune into where there’s downstream flow and follow that course.
Do you predominantly make decisions with your heart, smarts or guts? What’s the decision-making process look like for you? Decision-making can be grueling for me, on the big stuff, because I can’t decide until I find the path that aligns with heart, smarts and guts all together. And that takes time. In the meantime, I can get mad at myself for taking too long but writing this is reminding me that it just takes time and that’s OK. Must remember that. For smaller stuff, sometimes my instincts are loud and clear and I just say yes or no definitively. Some things I just know, and some things take time. I have a lot of faith in my intuition and it has a pretty good track record, at least by my assessment. I’m grateful for that. I think my intuition is from a combination of heart, smarts and guts, even though it sounds like from the gut.
Who’s a fabulous femme inspiring you? What makes her so fabulous to you? Sandra Costello, local photographer. She is overflowing with heart, smarts and guts. It’s even in her website address (www.sandralovesyou.com)! I love that she shows her heart so openly. I feel very aligned with her approach to life and business, and I love that she is doing it in her extroverted way while I’m doing mine in my more subtle introverted way. Heart-centered extroverts like her draw me out in ways I enjoy.
If another woman wants to connect with you, how would you prefer that happens? Via my website: www.valnelson.com
[Kara notes: You know those mastermind groups for Introverted SOULpreneurs that I mentioned above? One group is in-person and the other is by videoconference which is amazingly like being in person. And they’re starting up again in early April. If this is a fit for you, the details are on Val's website. Also, Sandra Costello is responsible for all of my headshots, except the cabbage one.]
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