Interview with Sandy Hogan
By Laurel Elders
“Sandy, can you share more about your thoughts on the imposter syndrome?” I started our daily interview.
“Ahh, yes. It arises when an individual believes they are not as they present. It happens in all walks of life. It is not gender specific.
“You can identify it by catching your inner process. For example if you hear yourself thinking thoughts like:
“When suffering from imposter syndrome people become on high alert and hypervigilant. They question: “What if they find out?” They seek evidence that others may reveal them as a fraud. When you admire something you don’t think you have, you tend to give your power away through comparison and doubt.
“Nine times out of ten, this is all a myth. This is because people think about us a lot less than we think they do. When we are in negative emotions of fear, self-doubt, over-compensation, shame, they take over and we find ourselves trying to prove our worth rather than being our worth.
“People who are susceptible to the syndrome also struggle with shame, conscious or unconscious.”
What I have learned from Sandy in this interview and over the years as her student:
Furthermore, Sandy said: “The beautiful human needs the syndrome is trying to mitigate are: Authenticity, Inner-Value, Self-worth and Contribution.”
Homework Sandy suggestion to begin to unravel the syndrome:
Exercise: Identify someone who you find to be an exemplar of who you wish to be.
1) What qualities do they have that you admire so deeply?
2) What is the evidence of those qualities?
3) How can you emulate those qualities?
4) What will it take to believe in your own power?
5) When is the next opportunity to believe in yourself?
6) What do you wish to come of this opportunity?
Interview with Sandy Hogan
By Laurel Elders
We all have it. That inner knowing. That sensation within gleaming “yes” or dropping down in the pit of our stomach warning “no”.
Whether or not we follow it… Well, that is another question. I didn’t really want the second helping of cake, I but ate it anyway out of rebellion.
The poet Rumi invites us, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
When we respect our inner “yes” we naturally generate rewards. Not because we are being rewarded, but because we are gaining access to life through alignment. Abundance abides here.
When we rebel against our inner promptings, lessons and repercussions are naturally generated. Not because we are being punished, but because when we disavow our own insight we block the abundance available by living out of alignment with our truth. Dissonance abides here.
In the book, The Anatomy of Peace, one of the key teachings illuminates a concept found in carpentry. This is, when something is crooked, then it needs to be justified. In carpentry justification takes something crooked and attempts to straighten it. If it isn’t crooked then it is already justified.
In our spiritual walk, we justify when our alignment or intentions become crooked. Something happens, our heart says, “do this!” Then our ego kicks in and starts doubting and fearing and then justifying why we should do something else. Before we know it we all see are our justifications. And, oh, those justifications are so seductive and convincing.
This is called self-deception.
This is why the Course in Miracles advises us to first get at peace, then ask “What do I want to come of this?” We cannot hear our heart’s truth in the thicket of justification. It is too loud and distracting there. The heart’s truth is gentle and presently waiting. It will never be loud and pushy, like the ego.
When you begin to unfold, step into your true calling and follow your heart there is little to no room for self-deception if you wish to go far.
Below we will explore how to strengthen the inner-guidance muscles and learn to follow the “yes!” so that you experience the success you seek.
Before my mentor Sandy’s passing, I had the honor of interviewing her. Sandy was a powerful beacon in my life, who bravely and consistently invited me out of my self-deceptions and self-limitations so that I could soar. My hope is that an missing ingredient you are needing, you will find below.
The 10 Steps to Following Your Inner-Guidance:
1) “Understand how you receive guidance.” Do you have an inner felt sense of something? What does your “yes” feel like, versus your “no”? This is different for everyone, so be sure to recognize your signals to self. If you are not sure, Sandy advises, “Note prior times you listened & followed. What happened? When didn’t you listen? What happened? What were the differences?” I also invite you to make of list of your justifications when you don’t follow. Are there any patterns? What is the gist of the justifications?
2) “Consider all of the ways you have felt called.” Did you receive a tap on the shoulder through others? Was it synchronicity showing up? Hunches? Your children, spouse or close friends? On the inverse: What don’t you want to hear? What do you have a hard time being with? Sandy taught me how life first drops a pebble on your path, then a rock and then if we still refuse to listen, eventually a boulder. Sandy said, “Spirit doesn’t give up, but we often do too soon,” because we expect things to go a certain way.
3) “Do you feel the calling and then attempt to modify it?” What parts of the calling feel uncomfortable? How does this push you off the path? This is an invitation to trust the calling fully. Callings may seem to take us off the path we envisioned. Callings are not linear, they will take you on stepping stones that add up over time. “Go here today.” “Talk to this gentleman.” “Meditate this morning.” The do not always make sense. I was listening to an Abraham-Hicks talk and a man stood up to share his testimony. He was driving one day and his intuition told him, “Drive on the sidewalk.” What?! He thought that was crazy, but something told him to do it. As he did, he avoided an accident that happened right in front of him.
Often callings defy logic. This is why the bible says, “Many are called, few will answer.” We give up too soon out of disbelief. However, this also makes following our calling an adventure of a lifetime.
4) Learn to distinguish between your fears and your intuitions. How does fear feel in your body? Where does it show up? How does it feel different than intuition for you? I am horribly panicky about flying. I was committed to going on a trip to Germany, a 9 hour flight. A week before the trip I swore my intuition was telling me that the plane would crash and I tried to back out. I ended up going and everything was fine. That was fear. Fear is panicky, emotional. Intuition is typically a calm and present knowing. However, distinguishing the difference between the two is indeed a milestone in our own mastery.
5) “Do not minimize your GPS.” Sandy always reminded me, “If it isn’t’ a hell yes, then it should be a hell no!” Our inner-yes is our very own personalize GPS. Or, someone once called it, our God Protection Service. It is personal to you. Value it. It will not lead you astray. You could also call it your conscience. We each have one. Learn to trust it. You can ignore it all you want, but, the good news is that it doesn’t go away. Even if you have been ignoring for years, there is no day like today to begin to wake up to its guidance.
“Clear the runway!” Sandy invites us to clear the runway for take-off. What I’ve learned is that when we clear the past, we clear the path. Biases we accumulate over time, becomes like a viruses in our lives. Those inner wounds block our potential and then we feel as if we are not going anywhere, or stuck on the runway.
Wounds also block us from attracting new opportunities. How can you tell if you have wounds? How reactive do you feel? Reactivity means we still have fear. Fear means our heart isn’t clear. A cloudy heart is an indication we have not gotten complete with things in our past. Clear the past, clear the path.
“Follow the inner-yes.” First get clear what your inner-yes is so you can steer clear of self-deception. Next, act! Dare yourself to act. It may not make any sense at the time. Our promptings sometimes seem bizarre. Yet, there is a part of you that is connected to all that is and other people. This part knows what to do, where to go next and who to talk to more than your conscious mind.
When we get real about how we really feel, we can sense what is the best interest of the greater good of all concerned. Learn to trust it, even when it makes no sense. This is called, walking by faith, not by site.
Rumi teaches us, “Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction!”
“Have faith in your yes.” Sandy shared with me that when Einstein had a new idea, he would imagine life with, or without, his idea to see how he felt. Not what he thought, but how he felt. Thoughts can deceive. The heart is incapable of self-deception.
If you feel relieved at the idea of not doing something, then it is a no. Sometimes an idea lights up the heart, but it is hard to implement so our fears take us down. Have faith the “yes” will take you to that next great place.
Note to self: If you have a fear, it can feel like a “no”. Beneath the surface of fear your heart is aching for the yes. Clear the fear, and watch a new path to the “yes!” appear.
“To say or do the truth is more valuable that the risk.” One of Sandy’s favorite quotes was, “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” By Patrick Overton
What are you risking anyway? Staying small? Not listening? When you get tired of staying small, I invite you to step into the arena of possibility.
“Give yourself grace.” Learning to follow the heart and stepping out of self-limitation takes time, willingness to course-correct, and to be open to being real. There is a Sufi saying, “May the face of the Real be upon you.” Being real included giving ourselves grace. It is the recognition that being human is to err. Sandy taught that “Mistakes are nothing more than mis-steps. Step again. It is ok to derail. It is ok to re-negotiate as we go.”
Many paths lead to the top of the same mountain. It is ok to take your unique path in life to the top.
10/23/2019 0 Comments
Interview with Sandy Hogan
By Laurel Elders
Question: "Ok, so I am answering my life’s calling. Why does it feel so challenging? Shouldn’t things just fall into place?!"
Sandy: “You would think so. However, we no longer live in a world filled with community or emotional support so we can easily end up feeling like we must go it alone or fight against the grain.
“First, many people are used to ignoring the call. So by the time they listen, it is a new function. Therefor, a new learning.
“Second, following the call may require, what seems like, “risk”. Risk is what leads people into at least one, if not more, of the Top 10 Reasons People Don’t Follow Their Calling.
“Third. Limiting beliefs take over like, “People will think I’m crazy.” Or, “I’ll probably fail.” Or, “Who am I to…” You get the drift. When following our calling, we must realize The Heart of our Self-worth.
“Lastly, many people do not realize there are mentors that want to help. Resources are also mentors. SCORE for example offers free business guidance. There are also mentors in spiritual communities.”
Sandy then sited one of her favorite quotes by Anias Nin, “The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Sandy was a true mentor while I endured the challenges of waking up to my calling. She was also a coach. She wouldn’t allow me to give my power away by giving her credit for the new awakenings I would have as I reached a new peak on my journey.
She was right, when we aren’t raised in a society that fosters things like listening to what is calling, you kind of learn growing up to tuck it away, or fear seeming frivolous. You forget how to listen. The callings become echos of the past… unless we choose to listen and dare greatly enough to follow it.
Following your calling may not always be easy. However, it is very worth it. And, as our beloved Sandy put it, “When you step into your power, you invite others to step into theirs.”
An Interview with Sandy Hogan
By Laurel Elders
Laurel: What is at the core of having a solid self-worth?
Sandy: "Early and consistent positive validation. For people to know how their children are hard-wired. Parents often parent as if they are them. Parents do this when they develop conscious parenting approaches, unconditional positive regard, curiosity aka “What does the child want?” and emotional intelligence. Someone once said, “No matter how tall your grandfather was you still have to do your own growing.”"
Sandy and I further discussed how not everyone has the luxury of such a childhood. Even those in a privileged home experience childhood wounding.
There is a theory in the roots of the Enneagram that our first wounding is what creates the defense patterns by setting a pattern of reactivity in motion. This pattern is what creates the predictability of the personality type. The more in our defense mode we are, the more predictable our behavior is. The more we self-developed we choose to become, and as we choose who we are going to show up as in the world, the less we are governed by our patterns.
Sandy taught me that self-worth is a redundant statement. “Self” should automatically equal one’s worth. When it doesn’t, something has gone wrong.
She also taught me that when we do not know our childhood wounds, big or small, are causing our defense strategies as adults, it is hard to change them. However, she says, “Once you are aware you can do something.”
Sandy says, “We become aware of our woundings through painful experiences that seem to be happening to us.” Those can either be a catalyst calling us to awaken to our true implicit worth, or, we unconsciously continue the patterns of defense and personal suffering. The beauty is that the choice is ours.
What is at the core of having a solid self-worth?
You deciding to accept your worth truly comes from you being you.
This week we will look at how to handle the callings we haven't answered, how to let go of these so that they don't hold us back and how to move forward.
As I've been looking at the concept of "callings" closer through this series, I've had some realizations. For whatever reason I'm great at answering my bigger callings. I will take on large community projects, donate my time, teach, coach, mentor or contribute in other ways. Yet, what stops me short are the daily promptings. The prompting to offer a homeless person my left-overs, make that phone call to an old friend, or gift the last protein bar in my purse. The small ones, I find easier to argue with.
Regardless, it is all ok to not be perfect, but it is important to be aware.
My friend and mentor, Sandy Hogan, spoke to me about how to best handle missed opportunities when we do not listen to our calling and "wake up one day to realize the bus has left the station and I'm not on it." These are called regrets. The following is her advice on dealing with these regrets.
#1 - "There is a benefit to regret. You won't let it happen again. Disappointment helps the ego to understand the value of your gifts to life." In other words, you are disappointed because you care and value what passed.
#2 - "The clearer you are, the more willing you will be to take the step." As we examine our disappointment, we become more clear what we value.
#3 - "Allow yourself to grieve dreams unfulfilled. Grieving and remorse may also act as a reset and adjust the calling in a more appropriate way that is in alignment with current resources. For example, I could have been a tightrope walker in my 20s. I'm now a tightrope walker between aging and saging in my 60s."
#4 - "Nature never wastes anything if you don't hear the doorbell the fist time, spirit will come around and next time ring it twice. Spirit doesn't give up. We do."
#5 - "Examine your commitment levels." Maybe you were not ready to commit yet. What might you need to say no to in the future, in order to say yes to something greater?
#6 - "To relaunch your hope, answer what is immediate today. See your life as a gift today."
Reflecting on Sandy's wisdom reminds me of how powerful it is to place the mind in allegiance to the heart. Many people live in their head and then wonder why they worry. Well if the answers are in the heart, of course life would feel worrisome, we are looking in the wrong place for our answers.
What is your heart calling you to do?
What will it take to follow it?
As my friend and mentor Sandy puts it, "Develop your hearing-aids". Below, I've captured Sandy's advice and further reflections for our Answering Your True Calling blog.
Sandy's advice on Answering Your True Calling:
"Listening to the small callings is an invitation for hearing the bigger calling. Listening to the small along the way, in day to day life, prepares the path and grows our faith so that by the time the bigger calling shows up we are ready."
"Not all callings are paid. You may feel called to clean up the neighborhood you live in, or start a community garden." You may feel called to pay for the elderly woman's groceries in front of you. Not every calling, is a calling for fame and fortune. The most unfortunate missed callings are the one's that show up daily and are the simplest to fulfill.
"What is at stake by not listening? What is the worse thing that could happen?" What if you took a risk to find out? What if it became an adventure or you became a detective following the clues of your life more closely to see where they lead you? Sandy asks us to reflect further, "How much does your personal comfort prevent you from answering?"
"What if I feel called, but fear it is the wrong number?" Sandy notes this as a common fear and then adds, "First, there is no wrong number. What seems like a dead-end or an off-putting idea, or conflicting ideas ruminating... are all indicative of the true calling that will emerge when it is ready." Again, listening to the promptings you feel now, paves the path for your future.
"To access your calling consider who in life do you admire? Then look at what qualities they embody. You may feel impressed by Maya Angelo, so look at the qualities she embodies. Strive to embody the qualities of Maya Angelo versus trying to measure your life against Maya Angelo. These qualities are a reflection of your calling. Be careful to not be called into a persona. A true calling is authentic to you."
I believe we are all called to something greater. When we don't listen, we feel it. It becomes the empty feeling in the heart. Then we attempt to cover that empty feeling up with ice-cream, TV, other people's ideals, texting, etc. etc.
The question to look at is, "To what is calling me?" To explore this, I invite you to keep a "Calling Journal" for one month.
After asking Sandy last week about the top 10 reasons that people do not follow their calling, I asked her, "What advice do you have to overcome these?"
Sandy said, "Even in the Bible it talks about the time in each boy and girl's life when it is time to give up childhood and cleave to their spouse. This message goes beyond growing up to get married. Metaphorically it alludes to us growing up and maturing through cleaving to something greater than ourselves."
She continued, "What are the conditions in your life that get you to say "yes", "no", or "maybe" to that which is greater than you?" In other words, what is it you need to take that next step to the next chapter?
Below are The 7 Steps To Answering the Call so that if your calling is calling you don't hang up the phone!
#1 - If you are called, the means will show up. This requires trust. Trust in yourself and then extending faith to the bigger picture that is unfolding in front of you. Participation is your choice. Make it a game of "choose your own adventure" and see what happens when you follow it!
#2 - We each have a patch of grass to attend to in our lifetime. Many people get lost in the fear before starting, or give up too soon. Know that you have a patch a grass. Will you tend to it? Or, sometimes we judge other people's mission and avoid our own. Tree huggers are often made fun of. Yet, thank goodness they exist because without them, we wouldn't have clean air. Every person's purpose is unique contribution to the health of the whole system, including yours. This leads to #3.
#3 - If we all attended to our own calling, the world, the planet, work environments and even taxes could all be positive. Humans have sorely overcomplicated human life. We don't need a science report to prove this, we just need to go fill out a tax form. This over-complication need not be. I firmly believe that if we each step into our life purpose we would not be seeing such unnecessary over-complications. Your life's work will be a gift to many.
#4 - Go within so you don't go without. This is a more advanced spiritual key to life. Each of us has an inner guide. It calls us to take that next step, talk to that person, or to do something differently. When we are out of touch with this element of ourselves, we are losing out. In such a fast paced world, many people are disconnected from themselves. Us coaches experience this almost daily. As we provide the space for people to reconnect with their passion and purpose and take concrete steps to bring their gifts to life, they experience their life in a whole new way. Furthermore, the coaching space is often the only time a client may have taken to go within to learn what they are truly capable of. We just aren't taught how to do this growing up. You can start by creating a practice of listening to your intuition.
#5 - The inner-game, leads to outward-gain. When you follow your calling, it is paramount importance to clear the fears. Fear blocks us from possibly. Keep in mind this simple Sufi teaching anytime fear comes knocking. "Fear is only half of a message. It tells us what we do not want. Your heart has the other half of the message - of what you do want." If you feel fear, thank it for what it is telling you that you don't want. You can even create a plan to avoid something negative happening. For example: If I have a keynote speech and I don't want to be laughed at, I'm going to prepare way in advance. Then, the important part. What is it you do want? Identifying this is important. It will enable you to take steps in the right direction.
#6 - Start small. One step at a time. In the rock climbing world, we have a saying, "Start off slow... go, go, go! Start off fast and you just won't last." What is one simple thing you can do to follow what is calling you? Big or small. It need not be a huge feat. It may just be one phone call, or one gift to a stranger. Listen to call ... let it guide you.
#7 - Get mentored. There is no reason to go it alone, or re-invent the wheel. Finding a mentor may feel daunting because we are no longer raised in a society that has elders to guide us as we mature, or to develop our potentials and wisdoms. We now have more olders than elders to be here for us. The good news is that coaching is the next phase in personal evolution, the new elder of our times. In coaching, the coach takes us into learning from our Highest-Self. The you without the fears, defenses or self-doubts. The confident, strong, powerful, wise You. No other modality does this. Seek out a coach, or community mentor, that resonates with you and be amazed how much farther you will get!
By Sandy Hogan
Reflections by Laurel Elders
This last month as been bitter-sweet for me. One of my first coaches, mentors, and our senior faculty at our Institute, Sandy, was diagnosed with cancer.
I've been by her side every-day care-taking and offering advocacy while she is in recovery.
During my time with this truly amazing woman, she has opened up her wisdom to me on answering your calling, to share with you. During my visits with her, she invites me to ask her a question and she then channels her wisdom as I write for her.
#1 - "I am afraid to give up security."
#2 - "Why me? If I can do this, so can anyone."
#3 - "This has already been done before. Why do it again?"
#4 - "Who would pay me for this?"
#5 - "What a ridiculous thought."
#6 - "If (fill in the blanks) were no object, then I would do it."
#7 - "I'm too busy."
#8 - "I don't have the means to make this happen?"
#9 - "How can I sustain my energy if I head in a new direction?"
#10 - "The last time I listened to my heart, I got burned."
Do any of these stop you in your tracks?
Which one has the most grip?
Have you noticed the common thread above? Fear. Worry. Doubt. When we experience a negative emotion, remember that negative connotes "absence of". Something is missing.
What do you need to follow you're calling? What is calling you that you are brushing aside? What will it take for you to face your calling?
For me, it was "I'm too busy." Yet, the truth was, all I needed to do was rework my priorities. And now 7 years later, the school is here. I felt called in 2009. It took me 19 months to answer. 19 months! I argued, doubted, ignored. But the calling wouldn't give up. (read the full story here)
Sandy says, "The good thing is that our calling doesn't give up on us. But, we often give up on it."
Is there any area you've given up? The good news is that it is never too late.
The above are a list of great questions to reflect upon, so that you can get clear and own your life!
Next week we will look at the flip side.. what to do when you feel stuck from following you're calling. For now, reflect on the questions above.
It is 2005. I look over at the man to my left just outside my car, panhandling for food, money or a smile. I feel called to gift him my protein bar. Hey, that is not enabling, he can’t buy booze with it. Then the inner-critic chimes in. "You know he might be a rapist. Or, if you role your window down he could grab you. What if he starts yelling about politics?" The light turns green, I go about my day. That moment tugging at me momentarily, then passing.
Fast-forward to Jan 2009. I’m passing my college campus and get a thought, “Prescott college needs a coaching program.” I think, “Wow, that is so true! Prescott and the world of coaching are transforming lives for the better. They are both empowering, innovative and life changing. I wonder who will do that?”
It is June 2009. I’m passing the college campus again. This time the feeling is strong and a get another prompting. “Prescott really needs a coaching program.” I think, “That is interesting. Ya, I hope they find someone to do that.”
September 2009. Passing the college campus. The feeling is stronger. “Prescott needs a coaching program.” Now I’m thinking, “Ok, why won’t this feeling go away?! Seriously. I don’t have time to start one. I’m sure they may already have started one? Maybe, I’ll call and just plant the seed.”
August 2010: “Hello this is Dr. Woolever.” I hear the voice of the new president at Prescott College on the other end of the line. I respond, “Hi, my name is Laurel. I’m a graduate of Prescott, love your mission. I’m calling because I was wondering if you are interested in starting a Coach Training program?” She says, “Well, that’s interesting. Let’s talk.”
At the end of the conversation she was interested. She put me in touch with Cheryl Schwartz, the Director of Life Long Learning at that time, that housed Prescott’s certification programs.
Here is where it gets interesting!
Not only had Cheryl been wanting to start a coaching program for the very reasons I felt called, but she was also a certified coach and we had both graduated from the same coaching school. Ok, alignment.
Cheryl and I hit it off. The first program successfully launched in 2012!
Fast-forward to September 2019. The program has since branched off into full bloom as the ICF accredited, Institute for Integrative Coach Training and has gained international reach.
I was called. After arguing with my calling, I summoned the courage to follow with faith.
We are called all the time. In the 2005 experience, I exemplified how we disown our heart’s prompting and sometimes on a daily basis. It is not just the larger callings that turn into miracles. It is also the smaller ones that transform lives.
In Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, he writes, “Every blessing ignored, becomes a curse.” A curse, in that we just moved out of sinc with our life and we feel it. We feel it in our anxiety levels, our worries, our internal conflicts and missed opportunities. When we dare to follow our heart, miracles happen.
“Miracles are natural. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong.” A Course in Miracles
Furthermore, when do not answer the call, that inner-prompting big or small, it eventually fades. We feel a void. We lack inspiration and fulfillment in our work and relationships.
I’m asking you:
I welcome you to join me on the journey of answering your true calling!
In Service to Your Life Purpose,
Author: Laurel Elders, PCC, CEC
Laurel helps people wake up delighted to be leading the life they've been called to step into. She is a professionally trained and credentialed Integrative Life & Leadership Coach. Laurel's coaching methodologies teach you how to take life's roadblocks and use them as stepping stones through your own wisdom, allowing you to fully lead through your calling!