Welcome!

Welcome to It’s Not About The Chair. I’m Lyena Strelkoff, a storyteller, performer, speaker, and coach. I believe our stories — the ones we’ve lived, that we can’t believe we made it through, or can’t stop laughing about, or just can’t stop thinking about —  are the greatest source of healing we have, for ourselves and especially, for each other. I started telling my own stories after I was paralyzed in a fall. My hope is that this blog will be a place to laugh, learn, heal and grow together. Because, ultimately, it’s not about the chair, or any other obstacle we might face. It’s about the choices we make, the spirit we bring, and helping each other thrive. I’m so glad you’re here.

I woke the beast

Well, the last 48 hours have been an interesting ride, to put it both gently and optimistically. Here’s what happened:

On Saturday morning, I did the Q&A call for The Shero’s Way — Starting on the Shero’s Path. It was bumpy, in my opinion: disjointed, less than articulate, awkward. I was surprised by that… Speaking in nearly every form is squarely in my “zone of genius,” if you’ve heard that term. Many things vex me but representing myself, my beliefs, and my work aren’t among them.

Still, there it was.

I heard from some on the line that the call was good so, yes, of course, there is evidence of perfectionism and being one’s own worst critic…. But that’s hardly the point, which you’ll see in a moment. There was something more.

Because even more surprising than a weak call was the spiraling hole I slid into afterwards. By evening, I’d been visited by Defeatism in a surprisingly strong show. I rallied a bit the next day, only to be taken down again this morning. And then, a few hours ago, I had the profound and utterly shocking thought that I simply can’t do this. I can’t keep making myself available for this work.

For so damn long, I had been sneaking it in, this work. Sneaking it into every story I told while I was being a performing artist; sneaking it into all the lectures I gave, the workshops I taught; sneaking it into my early coaching experience training entrepreneurs to light up the stage with confidence.

And the longer I snuck, the more quietly unhappy I became. I felt “off,” uneasy. I felt restless and frustrated. And guilty for the lot. I worried about wasting my life, my precious survival from that 25 foot fall. But the thought of going whole hog, of really putting both my feet into the work I survived to do, filled me with such terror, such crippling doubt, I found it hard to move.

Of course, I rarely experienced it as terror or “crippling.” Far more often, it felt like “not the right time,” or “I’m not quite ready,” or  “eventually/some day” or “it doesn’t make sense to do that because (fill in the blank with any number of perfectly reasonable justifications and excuses, most of which were affirmed and supported by those around me because they were so reasonable); or “it’s happening… it just takes time” or “I don’t know how”; or “I’m not sure what”; or any other mild mannered, wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing feeling that could do the job. The job of stopping me in my tracks.

And then it changed, two years ago, when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Sometimes, I am a profoundly slow learner so, apparently, I needed yet another slam to jolt me out of all that avoiding and resisting, that reasonableness.

And so I made a commitment then, to myself and to God, to do EXACTLY the work I came here to do: I would help people turn their adversity into lives of purpose. I would help them to make the same commitment I myself was making, to see their avoidance, resistance and reasonableness as the fear and doubt they were. And to rise. Finally, to rise, into the humans they were meant to be, the unique manifestation of God their own souls longed to experience.

And that’s when I began preaching — unabashedly, directly, up front and without sneaking — The Shero’s Way. And my coaching practice shifted and I started serving clients directly in this way, rather than folding it into something else I was doing.

And now I feel alive and relieved and so honored…. And also really, really scared.

And that brings us back to this weekend and that Q&A call and the emergence of a fact far more important than perfectionism or self-reproach: Simply, I woke the beast.

We have in us, all of us, this force. It strives to protect us from failure, from discord, from shame and humiliation, pain and loss. It is fierce in its efforts. Often, its job is not difficult. We are easily swayed by any of the thoughts I listed above. And when we are swayed, the beast is at rest, for we are not risking any of the things the beast seeks to avoid.

But when we forge ahead, when we take a stand for our evolution and stick out our necks in service to our purpose (as I did with that call), the beast is activated and gets busy trying to quash the uprising, to make us “safe” again.

This is what it’s like to stand in our purpose. To take a stand for our soul’s deepest desires.

I want to tell you that it is golden, elevating, deeply fulfilling — and it is! It is also terrifying, triggering, and challenging.

That’s why we don’t do it.

That’s why we tolerate the dim and dull light I spoke of last week.

It’s why we resonate to the center of our core with words such as mine, and then don’t take action: don’t listen to a call, don’t join a group, don’t invest the time or money or effort it takes to move forward. Because we sense in our hearts the stirring beast and we are afraid that we will suffer or fail or be hurt.

We are, in fact, so afraid that we don’t notice just how much we are suffering, failing, and hurting RIGHT NOW.

The most powerful place for our fear is buried underneath its many disguises. Because there, we don’t even notice how terrified we are. We are lulled by our excuses, our justifications, our reasonableness into staying “safely” right where we are.

If we could at least see our fear for what it is, recognize the beast both at rest and when active, at least then we could make a conscious choice. We could still choose not to move forward, but we would know that’s what we were doing.

I think that’s maybe why we don’t do it. We don’t want to own such a choice. The burden feels too heavy. It’s no mistake that the first step in The Shero’s Way is Radical Responsibility, which we have so much to learn about, most noteably how to do it without judgment toward ourselves, and with compassion instead.

But today… I am not walking away from this work. Beast or no, I will preach The Shero’s Way until I am blue in the face because I believe our souls are calling us forward and I CANNOT say no again. Not for my own sake… and not for yours.

For most of my life, paralysis was my biggest fear. Now that that’s happened, my biggest fear has become regret. I do not want to reach the end of my life and feel regret that I haven’t done what I’ve most wanted to do, that I haven’t fulfilled the purpose I feel bobbing at the boundaries of my life. I do not want to lament that I allowed fear to rule my choices. I can live with failure…. I cannot live with regret.

And so… truth be told, I am terrified and I feel exposed and vulnerable, because what I believe is on full display without any masks and I am putting a huge stake in the ground. Saturday’s call, whether good or bad, was only a trigger of fear living much deeper, much closer to the heart. But I’ve found again, at least for the next moments, my courage.

And really, it’s for you.

The truth is this: If stepping into a life of purpose was easy, we’d have already done it. We’d all have already done it long ago. It’s not easy. It’s actually quite challenging, and our human psyches are designed to keep us from taking the risks involved.

It’s also totally worth it and totally doable. Despite the challenges, despite our prehistoric wiring.

But we require support. We all do. And we deserve support. We all do. For people like you, I can be that support. And if I do not stand in these truths and do not take that stand for you, I will be filled with regret when I reach my life’s end. And that, I cannot abide.

So… We’re doing another Q&A call, this Wednesday, December 17 at 6:00pm Pacific. It’s another chance for both of us to do what we came here to do. Let’s not miss it.

With so much love in my heart.

Lyena
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The Shero’s Way – Starting on the Shero’s Path Q&A
Wednesday, December 17th at 6:00pm Pacific
Attend by Phone: (425) 440-5100
Guest pin code: 264451#
Attend by Web:
http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=63544728

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Starting on the Shero’s Path — Q&A call

Did you catch my BIG REVEAL earlier today? I’ve been touched by the immediate response. What did YOU think?

I wanted to just quickly touch base with the details for tomorrow’s call, for anyone who’s interested in this work.

The Shero’s Way — Starting on the Shero’s Path
Live Q & A with Lyena

  • What IS a shero, a shero’s journey, the shero’s way? — And how can they improve the most important things in your life.
  • Why you and your life DO qualify for shero-dom (no matter what you think) — And the one simple step it takes to get there.
  • The true purpose of adversity — And why our typical response is sucking the life out of our lives (and what you can do to make it juicy again!)
  • Plus your questions, answered in detail!

When: Saturday, December 13th at 9:30am Pacific

Participate via phone or web.

Telephone call-in number: (425) 440-5100
PIN Code: 264451#

To attend via web:
visit http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=63431391

You can submit your questions ahead of time using the link above, or call in to ask your questions live.

I hope you’ll join me. This could be a big step in creating the life of purpose you crave.

With love,

Lyena

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It’s finally here! — Starting on the Shero’s Path

Today’s the day — The Big Reveal! (Toot-to-to-toot!) (Seriously, where is a trumpet when you need one?)

And in the fanfare… all I can think about is YOU.

Lying in bed last night, with the rain pouring and the wind howling, I could see so clearly my desire for you:

A bridge, leading from where you are to where you most want to be. Solid and sure, smooth in its arch, clear in its path… A bridge inviting you forward.

This is what I most long to provide, and what — with hope — I am joyfully introducing today.

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What if you could understand your soul’s purpose and be empowered to fulfill it?

What if your life could have more meaning and direction?

What if you could feel at peace – inspired, empowered, happy and fulfilled?

And what if…

Everything you’ve been through has been preparing you for where you most want to go?

Introducing The Shero’s WayTM: Starting on the Shero’s Path.
A 12-week group exploration to mine the medicine of your story so you can claim a life of purpose.

(Already intrigued? Check it out here.)

Does this sound like you?

You’re clearly surviving but you long to really thrive, to be inspired, give back… To live a more purposeful life.

You’ve gotten through your challenges but your life no longer feels like it fits you. You feel a bit lost, dissatisfied or unfulfilled.

Perhaps the stuff you’ve been through seems small compared to others and you don’t yet realize the potential you now hold to heal the world beyond you. You just feel restlessunder-fulfilled, worn out (and usually guilty for all three).

The Shero’s WayTM: Starting on the Shero’s Path is a 12-week group coaching program, designed to transmute adversities into personal power. Together, we translate our souls’ intentions, so that we can claim the purpose that was intended for us and truly shine.

Here’s what you stand to gain, my friend:

  • Make sense of what’s happened to you and find within it your true purpose.
  • Unleash the power of your past to propel you forward instead of holding you back.
  • Discover deeper meaning in your experience and unlock your potential to live a life of purpose.
  • And so much more (the literally gorgeous list is here.)

Everything you need to know is now available on our BEAUTIFUL new website (my darling, web designing husband truly outdid himself! Yea, DEAN!)

But don’t wait. There’s a BIG BONUS there for you and it disappears in ONE WEEK.

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Every trial has the potential to move us closer to purpose, even long after the fact. That’s its job, its sacred charge. It’s our job to engage with those trials in a mindful way – The Shero’s Way.

Tomorrow, I’ll be live on the line at 9:30am PST to answer any questions you have. More details coming later today.

Meantime, know this: I have created this program for you, as a bridge from where you are to where you most want to be.

Is it time to let your soul finish the work it started when it brought hardship into your life?

Please take a moment now and check out The Shero’s WayTM — Starting on the Shero’s Path.

From my heart to yours, my friend.

Lyena

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Are you thinking it can wait?

So, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a beautiful new coaching program in preparation for Friday’s big reveal, and I found myself thinking about a particular woman I know who is perfect for this program.

That’s not unusual. I often design programs with particular people in mind because it helps me create something relevant in real people’s lives.

Anyway, as I imagined this woman, I could clearly hear her saying, “Wow. This program sounds great. I could really use this.”

And then she added, “But, I don’t know, maybe I’ll wait.”

First, don’t you just love my inner voice for trying to represent this woman so accurately? I mean, there will be no sugar coating around here! In my head, we tell it like it is, dammit!

But truthfully, I was sad when I heard it.

know this woman. I know the quiet ache in her soul. She has good times and good things in her life, but she is not right with herself. And her health, her livelihood, and worst of all, her self-worth are taking hits.

The problem is, she’s kind of gotten used to it.

And she’s not alone.

There are so many things calling for our attention, our time and our resources. It seems we’re often putting things off until… well… we don’t know when.

And so often, we’ve just grown accustomed to the way life feels. It’s not what we want, but it’s ok, it’s comfortable. At least in its familiarity. And, anyway, it can wait.

But can it really? What is the cost of waiting?

Thinking about this woman, and remembering back to my own life in the years immediately before my injury, I can see how we get used to the light of our life being dim and dull. And when we do, it’s hard to imagine the brightness we are missing. That makes it easy to think we can go another year or two or ten in the half-light we know so well.

But the truth is, if we could stand in the brilliance and warmth of our bright life for even a day, we would never go back. The satisfaction, the joy, the purposefulness would be so sweet, nothing less would ever do again.

So this is what I said to the woman in my head:

How will it feel to wake up 100 or 200 or 365 more times feeling unmotivated, worn out, or lost?

How will it feel to go to bed that many more times with the vague fear you are wasting your life? Or with the quiet worry you’ll never do more?

What happens then to your self-esteem?

And can you, dear woman, truly live with that?

Stay tuned for more, and the big reveal on Friday.

With love.

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When life unravels

A few days ago, I spent two hours talking with a dear friend. She’s going through a rough time right now. Maybe you can relate.

I’m not going to go into the details because, really, they don’t matter. It could be her health, her job, her marriage. The point is, my friend is scared. She has moments of feeling strong and guided, but it also feels like her life is unraveling. And she has no idea how things will land.

Have you ever felt like that? Like the things you believe, the things you count on, that you know for certain about yourself, suddenly aren’t so certain?

At one point in our conversation, my friend said, “It’s a real shero’s journey.” Though I hadn’t said anything, I was thinking the same thing.

And all I could think as I continued to listen was, she should be supported. Something really big is happening, not just on the surface, but within. That’s the nature of a shero’s journey, whether we call it that or not.

And as shitty as it feels, there is so much good to be had.

There is so much potential to create from this unravelling a truly miraculous life, with even more love, more grace, more fulfillment. There is the potential for my friend to step ever deeper into her purpose, to refine her service in the world in her own magnificent, unique way…. And she should have everything she needs to do that.

We all should.

And just like that it was clear, yet again, why I do what I do. Why I tell the stories I tell, why I teach what I teach. Because every one of us should have the opportunity to harness the potential in our adversity.

The fact is, every challenge can be a shero’s journey. Every challenge can hold that potential. It’s not about magnitude. It’s not chosen by some higher power. It is chosen by us. It’s about how we choose to engage with the drama life is handing us. And our choice, alone, elevates the possibilities.

And it doesn’t matter when we make that choice. The opportunity never goes away. We might be right in the middle or ten years past. It is never too early or too late.

Talking to my friend, I could feel my heart beating with prayers: If she must feel this pain and fear, then let it do more than cause suffering. Let it bring her right with herself. Let it empower her to serve and to soar. Let it set her truly free.

And that is what I want for you.

Next Friday, I will be unveiling an opportunity for those who are interested to make this kind of choice and receive the support they need to harness the potential of their adversity. I hope you’ll stay tuned.

You know, paralysis surprised me. It was so hard sometimes, and I thought it would ruin my life. But it set me free. It held the key to literally everything I desired — love, family, success, happiness, meaning, and purpose.

If you have been hurt, or suffered a loss, or been put through the wringer, you already possess the same potent pool I had. All that’s left is to tap the potential and let your experience set you free.

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