Queen of Your Own Life by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff

Queen of Your Own Life is an attitude, a way of life and a call to action for grown up women everywhere.

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Queen of Your Own Life

Reinvention

April 14th, 2015

 

Kathy Kinney, Cindy Ratzlaff, Prom Night, Improvisation, comedy, Queen of Your Own LifeCindy here. Kathy recently emailed me this photo of the two of us, along with some fellow cast members, from about 1980 when we were performing improvisational comedy in New York City.

I’d like to say we were young and fearless. But the truth is we were just young. Well the whole truth is Kathy was young and fearless on stage. I was filled with fear every single performance. I was sick to my stomach before going on stage but I did it anyway. And some nights I came away feeling high as a kite about a great comedic moment and some nights I wanted to hide behind the curtains until everyone left the theater. I had so many self-doubts and was so filled with self-judgment that I was in my own way, unable to fully let myself shine. Some of that shiny, funny me came through anyway and people who came to our performances gave me lots of positive feedback. But all I could focus on was my weight, my fear, my shortcomings. Kathy went on to star in The Drew Carey Show, The Newhart Show and many movies. I continued to audition, perform and struggle with fear.

One day, on a temp job, I realized I loved being in that environment. I was getting the applause and praise I craved for doing something different than performing. I was offered a full time job, from that temp job and the book publishing industry is where I finally found a place I could shine. I liked creating center stage moments for authors and not myself. When I did that, the fear dropped away and I was finally where I was meant to be. Just as Kathy was where she meant to be. I cherish these memories of performing and I’m glad I did it. But I’m also glad I gave myself permission to try something new and came to realize that sometimes discomfort is a sign you’ve not quite found your place yet. When I did, it was and is, amazing. Have you reinvented  yourself, given yourself permission to make a change or let go of a dream that didn’t give you joy?

Dare to Stand Out

April 14th, 2015

She believed in standing out rather than fitting in. She was never boring. - Queenisms™

She believed in standing out rather than fitting in. She was never boring. – Queenisms™

It’s natural to want to fit in. But you were born to stand out. If you’re anything like us, you spent a good deal of time in your life’s journey trying to fit in. It’s natural to want to belong. We’re a social species. We survive by being a part of a group, be it family or friendship circle. But when our desire to fit in causes us to suppress our true selves, to hide our light, to dull our sheen, well that’s not a good thing. The “group” is enhanced by the sharing of the gifts of individuals. Let’s cast off the uniform of fitting in and dare to stand out, shall we? Is there something about you that you’re hiding for fear of standing out? Are you good at something but don’t want to make others feel threatened? We’d love to hear how you could stand out – if you dared.

Be Happy Right Now

April 13th, 2015

Instead of always waiting for the other shoe to drop, she decided to allow herself to be happy right now. - Queenisms™

Instead of always waiting for the other shoe to drop, she decided to allow herself to be happy right now. – Queenisms™

Do you spend more time worrying about what might happen next than fully experiencing what is happening now? You’re not alone. Thinking about the future can be a good thing, helping us plan, save, navigate and set ourselves up for joy. But when all of our energy goes into fretting about what might happen, because we’ve been disappointed or hurt or injured or surprised, we rob ourselves of the experience of lovely moments in the present. It is possible to be deeply hurt and still take in the beauty of a cloudless day. That’s the human capacity for joy. We can mourn loved ones and still take in the love of those still with us and even enjoy the memories of the love of those we’ve lost. We can experience setbacks and still be pleasantly surprised by the comfort in a cup of tea. What if “other shoe” never drops and you look back on your life realizing you spent the majority of your energy waiting? That would be a tragedy. Please don’t let the happiness of now be taken away by the fear of the maybe.

Ask the Hard Questions

April 12th, 2015

She definitely didn't have all the answers. But she was smart enough to ask herself the hard questions. - Queenisms™

She definitely didn’t have all the answers. But she was smart enough to ask herself the hard questions. – Queenisms™

When is the last time you asked yourself some hard questions – and then listened to your own heart for the answers? Those answers are the sign posts on the journey of life. They tell us which road to take, when to stop and rest, how long to keep climbing, and which travel companions are best. Two of those questions, for us, have been:

  • What do I want to leave behind as I begin this next leg of my journey that no longer serves me well?
  • What do I want to take forward with me as I journey onward that still works in my life?

Notice we did not say “who?” We said “what.” The who is a product of the what. Do you want to leave behind destructive behaviors or fearful decision-making or hiding your gifts to fit in? Do you want to take forward your sense of humor, your resilience or your creativity? The answers to your questions will be very individual. So please dare to ask. And, most of all, dare to listen. We’d love to hear your answers to these questions. As we share our stories, we help others probe deeper in this questioning part of our journey. So you’re being of service to others when you share. Asking and answering two important questions will serve as a guidepost for decision-making about your next life adventure.

Right Where You’re Meant to Be

April 11th, 2015

t took her breath away to recall naive she'd been. Yet, despite it all, she'd ended up right where she was always meant to be. - Queenisms™

It took her breath away to recall naive she’d been. Yet, despite it all, she’d ended up right where she was always meant to be. – Queenisms™

Sometimes when we look back on our lives so far, we can see how naive we were along the way. We may not have suspected that people could deceive us or that we could have survived great personal challenges. But we might also not have understood the depth of our own strength or the resilience of our hearts. We may not have realized we had the capacity to love so deeply or to journey so far or to overcome physical or emotional wounds. But if you are reading this, you are still on that journey. That means you’re right where you are meant to be – on your own personal path with choices to be made daily. That, we think, is a glorious thing. You have everything you need to be a great traveler on life’s journey and every experience you’d had so far becomes part of your internal navigation system.

Forgive and Forget?

April 10th, 2015

She was done beating herself up for choices she'd made in the past. It was time for her to forgive and forget. - Queenisms™

She was done beating herself up for choices she’d made in the past. It was time for her to forgive and forget. – Queenisms™

Just curious. Do you believe you’re the only person who ever made a mistake? Do you believe your mistake was so egregious that you don’t deserve a second chance? Snap out of it.  Seriously. Enough already. Forgive yourself and forget to wallow in the torment of thinking about yourself as stuck in time, reliving those moments when you perhaps misstepped.

Clean your mental closet and throw away those old, outdated thoughts that are crowding out the space you need to be the woman you are today.

Get Out of Your Own Way

April 9th, 2015

With a twinkle in her eye and a radical notion in her head, she wondered . . . What would happen if she just got out of her own way and let herself shine? - Queenisms™

With a twinkle in her eye and a radical notion in her head, she wondered . . . What would happen if she just got out of her own way and let herself shine? – Queenisms™

We admit we picked this photo out of a pile of abandoned photos at an antique shop because this woman’s earrings just spoke to us in a way that made us smile. Then in imagining what message she might have for us, we kept asking ourselves “what would happen if we all just stopped trying to be something and just allowed ourselves to be?” Would we wear bright colors and star shaped earrings? Would we ride a bike because it was fun? Would we glue cotton balls to picture frames and color them with food coloring just to see what it looked like? Would we play?

Queenly minds want to know. What would you do if you could just get out of your own way and allow yourself to shine?

A Force to Be Reckoned With

April 8th, 2015

 

She was kind, loving and yet - a force to be reckoned with. A true warrior Queen. - Queenisms™She was kind, loving and yet – a force to be reckoned with. A true warrior Queen. – Queenisms™

Sometimes people mistake a kind and gentle nature as a weakness and think such a person might be a pushover. That would be a mistake indeed. We think kindness is a choice made with a steel backbone. We choose kindness in the face of rudeness. We choose kindness in the presence of ignorance and intolerance. We choose kindness and love in the face of regret, doubt, fear and shame – both toward others and toward ourselves. Kindness is an act of will when it is offered without regard to whether or not it is deserved. Kindness speaks to ability to override our first instincts and to choose a different response when confronted with hurtfulness. That, in our opinion, makes kind Queens Warrior Queens.

Gratitude

April 7th, 2015

Gratitude changes everything

The practice of gratitude doesn’t need to be complicated. Gratitude is a meditation. It lowers your stress level, raises your joy level and reboots a bad day. Just pausing throughout your day and saying, to yourself, “I’m grateful for,” will impact you positively.

Let’s practice now. What are you grateful for today?

I’ve Got Your Back

April 7th, 2015

They had each other's backs, no matter what. - Queenisms™

They had each other’s backs, no matter what. – Queenisms™

Think about what it would mean to say to someone you love, “I’ve got your back.” We say that to one another all the time. We’ve been friends for decades and we’ve never let each other down. Even when we can’t solve the problem. Even when we can’t be there in person. Even when we don’t know what to say. We’ve got each other’s back. Having someone’s back doesn’t mean having all the answers. To us it means loving your friend unconditionally, whether they are struggling or succeeding, and believing the best about them so they can believe it too.

Sometimes we have to have our own backs, too. We need to have a talk with ourselves to remind ourselves that we are good people who sometimes stumble, are sometimes hurt and sometimes lost. But we are strong, we have the internal resources to keep on moving forward and above all, let our friends know that we’ve got their back. Do you have such a friend?