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The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for new and richer experience.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday, someone asked me:  “What’s pissing you off these days?” Out of my mouth flew these words:  “the whole self-help industry.” And, believe me, once a woman’s truth has been spoken, you can’t take it back. I realize that, as a Master Life Coach, this personal confession may backfire so, before my rant gets underway, let me preface it with this:

1. Personal development (paired with Paris) inspired me to shed 75 pounds and change my life trajectory.

2. It’s not about “right” or “wrong,” it’s about what feels good.

3. I have been witness to significant life change through the programs I offer.

Those three points are as much part of my truth as what I will now tell you about why personal development hasn’t been sitting right with me these days…

For more than 5 years, I’ve had one foot in the personal development world and one in the world where my desires, passions and absolute loves are nurtured: travel, culture, style, food and wine, and Paris!

A Potential Dark World

The self-help world constantly encourages people to be better, work harder, make 6-figures (no, scratch that… you better be looking for 7-figures), make vision boards, set goals, journal about everything, and through it all, be empowered.

The self-help world promotes a culture of people who spend more time in front of their computer screens trying to build empires, rather than cultivating well-lived and meaningful lives.

It asks women to read another how-to-live-life book, rather than encouraging life to be truly lived.

It tells us to take another business course before going out and sharing our gifts with the world.

Meditate, chant, journal, do child’s pose, sign up for the webinar on how to do a webinar, do the 7-day cleanse. 

In other words: go bigger, improve more, do more.  And, for heaven’s sake, don’t relax or “you’re playing small”.

What is the result of all of these steps?

It leaves people feeling broken with diminished self-worth and a constant need to be better.

When did enlightenment become so dark?  (tweet it)

A French Kissed World

Okay… so, let’s talk about the world where I’d prefer to have both feet in.

It’s filled with ease, simplicity, elegance and beauty. It reminds me to slow down, savor life, and stop always trying to be better.

It encourages me to know that I am enough.

I want to throw dinner parties in this world, get off the internet, connect with real people, read juicy novels, watch great indie films and have great sex and romance.

In a hurried and heavy society, this world is my go-to for lightness and joy.

Confessions of a Former Addict

When I discovered coaching, I felt like I had found the holy grail.  The whole “your thoughts create your reality” stuff really had me going.

While I believe that awareness of your beliefs is an important part of designing a life you love, I also believe that it can be a slippery slope.

For me, I started spending most of precious life in my headexamining and journaling every “painful” thought.

Exhausting!  

Being a 24-7 detective of your mind will drive the most elegant woman to madness.

As a French friend said to me, “Americans are driving themselves crazy trying to be happy.”

While I loved the more empowering beliefs that I was cultivating, I was also exhausted from the constant self-investigation.

So, I’m going to just say it:  personal development is a modern day addiction. (tweet this too if you agree)

So, what’s the solution?

I can only share what has worked for me, but..

When I stopped trying to become a gazillionaire, a zen buddhist or anything that the self-help world tried to make me believe I should be, I began to breathe deeper.

When I began to focus on what I truly value – ease, beauty, connection, love and inspiration – life became a lot more fun.  

By designing my life around my values, I discovered more passions:  fashion, glamour, incredible dinners, divine chocolate paired with red wine, interesting people, time in nature, tantalizing conversations, travel and culture, and of course, Paris!

Action is the most important aspect of change. In wanting to have both feet in the world I desired rather than reading or being told how to live, I have:

:: Exchanged self-help books with fascinating biographies, the classics and the occasional chick lit.

:: Stopped signing up for tele-seminars and choose to meet up with girlfriends over coffee or Champagne.

:: Stopped analyzing every thought and just reach for something that feels a bit better (or not!).

:: Stopped caring that I wasn’t in self-help guru cliques and filled my own space with diverse and eccentric people from all over the world and all walks of life.

:: Instead of taking (yet another) business course, I hired a chief operations officer who knows business.

Please understand: I absolutely adore mentoring women through my different programs. 

But, I’m realizing (partly through testimonials from clients) that my programs are unique and adored, because in a world that’s telling women to go harder and faster, I encourage women to slow down and enjoy life.

And what have the found? Through ease, simplicity and elegance, they have created lives and bodies that they love.

For example:

Slim, Chic and Savvy is a French-inspired lifestyle program that has changed the lives and bodies of hundreds of women.   It is about so much more than strategy and offers fun challenges that require women to go out into the world and really live the philosophy.

 I have a Society of fabulous women who want to indulge in life and live with more ease, awareness and self-expression.  We travel to exotic locations, eat beautiful meals together and engage in interesting conversations, like desires, style, business, money, sex, food and love.  It’s like Sex in the City, only better because it’s real!

Change definitely happens— weight loss, new business, authenticity, increased revenue, love (with others as well as yourself), and many others– but it’s based off of ease and elegance.

I mean . . . what’s a million dollars in the bank if you’re working 80 hours a week and have no time to live? And, what’s being a size 2 if you’re never able to go to dinner without fear of “blowing it”?

I believe you can have whatever you want.

But, true luxury is when the journey to the dream is as beautiful as the dream itself. (tweet it)
 

It boils down to the core principal of French Kiss Life: enjoying life to the fullest today, not tomorrow after you’ve finally found the formula or read another how-to book.

(Complete side note:  I seriously doubt Coco Chanel attended weekend seminars on “How to Find Your Passion” or walked across hot coals in front of thousands.   However, I do believe she would have been a fabulous member of my Society, but I’m biased).

The best personal development in the world is experiencing life, not reading about it.  

What I do know is that:

:: Tasting a fine champagne can open a woman’s eyes to the power of indulgence.

:: Wearing a fabulous dress and cultivating the attitude to go with it can be a game changer.

:: Paris can shift a woman’s perspective when she sees an entire culture that thrives off pleasure.

:: Signing off the internet for an entire weekend and engaging in real-life can lead to absolute bliss and wonderful discoveries.

:: Choosing a path of ease will lead to more true luxury.

:: And, yes, darling, I do believe lipstick is mood enhancer, which I experience each time I paint my lips with color.

By curating beautiful experiences for women to indulge in everyday life, I offer them an opportunity to play in the world, to lighten up, to relax, to not be so serious, to have fun and to breathe!

And, that’s when their worlds explode with opportunity and joie de vivre.

If you feel like you are in need of a little self-help detox, then welcome to my world where I’ll be talking about it all – beauty, style, culture, home, food, travel.  And, yes, I’ll be sprinkling it with a little attitude adjustment suggestions.   Everything in moderation, right?

But, I’ll never speak to you like you’re broken, because you’re not.  You’re fabulous, and don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.

With all of that said . . .

I’m taking a strong stand for more ease, beauty and elegance in a chaotic and vulgar world.

When your soul needs more lightness and fun paired with deep depth about this experience of life, I’m your lady.

Life’s too short, don’t ya think?

With a Sincere Heart,

Signature

Tonya

(P.S. I can’t wait to share more ways that I’m French Kissing Life in future posts, from the systems I’ve put into place to help things run more smoothly to living in fabulous style.  Let’s have some fun! Shall we?).

(P.P.S. I’ll always have a mentor.  I know.  I’m contradictory like that!)

And, per request from some of our fabulous community members, here’s an audio recording of today’s post for your enjoyment.  

 

 

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