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Empowering Women, Empowering the World...

11/06/2013 12:54 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

"The future depends on what you do today." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

It was more than a day of Building Personal Brands; it was an uplifting experience with an amazing group of women, connecting and collaborating in community to elevate and inspire each other.

"Paula Pyne, through her powerful teaching of self-compassion, directive to always come from a place of love rather than fear, and guidance in building a plan encompassing true personal values and attributes, led this group of women on the journey of a lifetime." ~ Elizabeth Castellucio, workshop participant

Building Your Personal Brand

When the Women of Influence Advancement Centre asked me to teach the course, Building Your Personal Brand, it occurred to me that I had already been sharing my own learning with my clients for some time. I had the good fortune of being able to bring together these experiences, along with some of the latest research, and what started as an honour became a complete joy to deliver.

The best laid plans

As my train journey from Ottawa to Toronto began, the rail car I was in seemed especially bumpy. We were moving from side to side so much that at one point I thought we might fly right off the tracks. All of a sudden, I felt queasy, not myself, hot sweats and all. I couldn't get off the train fast enough.

That night, I pulled out all my tools: breathing, meditation, and soft, healing music. It was a difficult night but I was good to go in the morning (at least as good as got on this day) and placed my entire attention and focus on caring for myself, doing the best with what I had in each moment -- practising what I preach, so to speak.

By the time I entered the classroom that morning, I was in a good place. I remembered my dear friend, Pavi Mehta, delivering her talk at Wisdom in NYC where she shared some words she had received before going on stage. She said, "speak from your heart...all that you have to share is already there; it's not in your notes or your slides."

The biggest part of expressing your personal brand is the willingness to be vulnerable. When the final workshop participant arrived with an apology and a light-hearted explanation, everyone could relate to that vulnerability. Her vulnerability also allowed me to share how delicate I felt from the night before. In retrospect, I think it was this that set the stage for a day filled with compassion, laughter, and connection. It just goes to show that although we do not have control over our situations, we do have a choice.

"In the spaciousness of meditation, you can view your thoughts and emotions with a totally unbiased attitude. When your attitude changes, then the whole atmosphere of your mind changes, even the very nature of your thoughts and emotions." ~ Sogyal Rinpoche

We began the day in true Uplift style -- Connection and Community

Mindfulness moments, connection with breath, and short meditations were interweaved throughout the day. These were strengthened by strong intentions on how we wanted to be with Uplift's guiding principles of honesty, integrity, and openness.

When we quieted our minds and entered into a relaxed state, we showed up in our authentic selves and tapped into our own infinite wisdom and internal GPS -- intuition. Often times in our work and especially in the corporate realm, we forget about our other intelligence centres: our heart and hara (belly). So we experimented with this throughout the day and talked much about self-compassion, about how it feels to 'Be You', how it feels to Be Your Brand.

Redefining Personal Brand -- At the heart of branding is self-compassion

Thoughts of 'getting this' or 'getting there' to 'be this' can be really daunting. So why not just be -- be who you are, accept, own and celebrate your uniqueness. You have to remember that when you are not using your 'genius' (your innate gifts and talents) and not sharing your stories and dreams, you are doing a disservice to yourself, your community, and the world.

It's imperative that we all step away from the games of self-comparison and build our self-compassion. Standing in your power and truth, reclaiming your authentic brand and building it can be really quite effortless; it's the groundwork involved that takes courage and patience.

Courage and patience, along with kindness, compassion, and gratitude are fuel to your personal brand. Staying true to your values and being honest, standing up for what you believe in: these are what inspire others and will help them do the same good work.

"Building a brand is about so much more than external numbers; it's about personal commitment, connection to Self, and a deeper awareness of true value." ~ Helen Tremethick, The Communications Distillery, workshop participant

There is no magic bullet. The hope is that we all have our lifetime to work on it and with each day, we get wiser. It's what our planet and our human race needs. Once you find your place (I call this place 'home') the rest miraculously falls into place. When we live in our truth, use our innate gifts and talents, allow our Higher Self to lead the way, we catch a tail wind; the right opportunities, the right people, and the right places are there to support you, simply waiting for you to arrive.

When we are open, we shine a bright light into the world. So, continue to shine! The more authentic you become, the higher the energy and success of everything you do!

I am so grateful for all of the women who brilliantly came together on this day. May we all be supported to rise up on our path and may we all continue to have the courage that will allow our hearts to the lead the way.

This is an edited version of the original post.

In gratitude,

Paula Pyne