I had an epiphany this week. Do you want to know what it is? When I look back over the handful of times in my life where I’ve experienced quantum shifts in my self-image, I discovered what the secret is. And I’m sharing it with you in today’s episode, so let’s dive in.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
Hello, my beautiful friends. I feel like I have so much to catch you up on, and it’s crazy because it’s only been a week since I recorded the last podcast. But a lot can happen in a week. I have felt a big internal shift over the last seven days. And there have been moments along my journey where I’ve experienced these just massive shifts, like exponential growth.
For the most part, however, my growth has been incremental, little steps, little shifts, little changes over time that have added up to create big results. But then, every once in a while, I’m amazed by some of my shifts.
And this last week, I was trying to figure out so I could share with you all what happened this last week that allowed for a big internal shift. And I figured out what it is, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
And I went back, and I revisited some of my other bigger shifts along my personal development journey and it was this exact thing that led to it.
Within the School of Self-Image, we focus on three main areas: your mindset, your style, and your surroundings. Now, of course, mindset is everything. What you think, you become. Your thinking is driving your life.
And so, it’s very important that you think on purpose. But when I think back over my own personal development journey and how I completely transformed my self-image, I completely reinvented myself, I created a new identity. And I did it by up-leveling my style and my environment.
And by doing those two things, it became so much easier to think thoughts that would eventually completely change how I see myself, and therefore the results that I’ve been able to create.
But one of the areas within the personal development space that is not talked about enough is your environment. We spend a lot of time doing thought work, working on our thoughts, trying to think better. And I’m all for that and that is necessary.
However, when I have placed myself in elevated environments, it has become so much easier, and at times effortless to think the way I wanted to think. And so, when I look back over the past week and what happened that caused this big shift, it’s that placed myself in an enhanced environment.
Now, if you’re a member within the School of Self-Image, we are devoting the entire month of April to this topic. I’m sharing many personal examples of how I have enhanced my own environment as well as leading you through some really deep reflection questions. And you’ve got a challenge this month, all around elevating your environment.
But for this episode, I just want to throw this out there for you all to consider, how your environment may be holding you back and how to shape and curate and design your environment to help you create the results you want in your life.
So, two things happened last week that led to some really big shifts. The first thing is I went to see an attorney who ended up just blowing my mind with his business savvy and his recommendations for me.
Being in that room with someone who was thinking way bigger than I had allowed myself to think and envision – and I thought I was a big thinker. I thought I had big visions. But this man, again, he blew my mind. And his belief in me, his faith in me and what he could see changed my life. I can’t wait to see what comes from that.
But you have to understand, I placed myself in a new environment. Had I tried to get there on my own at home, I don’t think I could have gotten there. Because what I’ve come to understand with environments, every environment holds a limit on possibility.
So, when I think about the environment that grew up in, there were things outside of that container, outside of that environment that was possible. But had no idea that it existed because those possibilities did not exist in that environment.
It’s like my grandmother used to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” You don’t know what’s possible unless you’ve been exposed to the possibility of it. It’s why, a lot of times when people come into my world, I expose them to possibilities that they had no idea existed for them.
I think about my daughter and my niece that, because of my journey and what I’ve been able to create, they now have a new possibility that maybe would not have existed for them had I not blazed the trail.
So, sitting in that room with this attorney gave me new ideas, new possibilities, and I could feel a shift in my self-image. Now, at first, I wanted to shrink away from it because it didn’t align with how I see myself. It was outside of my current self-image. But I began to play with the “Why not me? What if this could happen? What if this is my calling? What if this is the next evolution of me?”
And the more I stayed in that questioning and that kind of thought process, I could feel myself stepping into a new version of myself. Now, do I fully believe it yet? No. I still have to work on thinking intentionally and practicing believing in what he envisioned. And I also am sitting with, if it’s something I even want.
Like, truly, deep down, if I now know that that is a possibility for me, is it something that I really want? But that’s for another podcast. What I want you to understand is that, by placing myself in a new environment, it gave me access to new possibilities and to new thoughts about myself.
I walked out of that room seeing myself differently. And so, no matter if I go after this opportunity or not, that shift that I experienced from a 90-minute meeting will have a positive impact on my life.
The second thing that happened is I went to Scottsdale for the weekend, and I stayed in this beautiful boutique resort with my daughter and her friend. I was there for her birthday but also for some business. And I also spent time with my best friend Brooke.
And that new environment that was beautiful and luxurious, plus the conversations that we were having, very future-focused, excited about our lives, talking about our dreams, talking about what is next for us, that three days in Scottsdale created another shift.
And I think what happened is I went into that weekend already in an elevated state because of the meeting I had just had, and I carried that energy through. And so, the energy that was behind the shift was already moving really fast. And so, it just kept moving faster and faster. All because I was in a new environment.
Again, I’ve had so many of these experiences, you all. And it’s now starting to become so clear. You know, I’ve had big shifts, but I didn’t ever stop and relate it to, “Oh my goodness, every one of my big shifts have not happened in the environment of sameness,” meaning sitting at home looking at the same people, having the same conversations, looking at the same things, driving the same way to the store, to work, wearing the same things.
I couldn’t access new thoughts in an environment of sameness. It has been when I have placed myself in new, elevated environments that I’ve had my biggest shifts. Now, let’s not discount all the little, tiny shifts that I’ve had and that you’ve most likely had in that environment of sameness, thinking a little bit better, feeling a little bit better, showing up a little bit better, and creating a little bit better results.
And those are beautiful shifts. And they do add up. But I’m talking about the big, exponential shifts. I have never had one of those in an environment of sameness. They have always been when I have intentionally put myself in elevated environments.
I have also had these big shifts by being a part of a mastermind. I’ve also had these big shifts when traveling. One of my big shifts was the first time I went to Paris. All of a sudden, my senses, everything was bombarded with newness, new possibilities, new ideas. It was there that I realized, “Wow, I want to be a stylish woman. I’m tired of looking frumpy.” And I had examples all around me of what that could potentially look like.
And so, I came home, and I started to surround myself to create environments that fostered me becoming a stylish woman.
You know, when you think about your environment, it is everything that surrounds you. It’s the books you read, the movies you watch, the people you hang out with, the conversations you have, the car you’re in, the house you live in, the city you live in. It’s the clothes in your closet. It’s the state of your home. It’s everything outside of you.
So, when you think about something that you want, ask yourself, “Does my environment support this desire?” And if not, I highly encourage you to up-level your environment.
I have always been a huge proponent in blooming where you’re planted, meaning whatever environment that you find yourself in, you need to nurture it. You need to make it the best it can be. Every one of us, no matter where we are, there are things that we can do in our current environment that will help us see ourselves differently.
Maybe it’s upgrading your sheets. Maybe it’s upgrading your wardrobe. Maybe it’s upgrading the conversations that you’re having with your spouse or friends. There are many different ways to upgrade your current environment.
But then, there may come a point where you have outgrown that environment. And all of the thought work in the world is not going to get you to the next level. And the reason is, circling back to what I said earlier, your current environment only contains a certain level of possibility. And it can be limiting you.
If you feel like you’re being limited in your life, chances are, you’re in a limited environment. People around you are saying that what you want isn’t possible. And can you create in that kind of environment? Yes, but it is so much harder.
It is so much harder to think the thoughts that you need to think and to believe what you need to believe when you’re in an environment that is not conducive to that. Sometimes, instead of sitting around and doing a lot of thought work, the quickest way to change how you see yourself and to start changing your life is to put yourself in new, elevated, and enhanced environments.
There are times in my life now where I’m feeling a lot of negative emotion. And I’ll sit down, and I will do thought work. I’ll look at what’s going on in my brain, and that will definitely show me why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling.
But now, I’m at a point in my life where a lot of times, what I do is I just pick myself up and I go plant myself in a new environment. It might be a new coffee shop. It might be a new store. It might be a new park. But just by putting myself in a new, interesting, and elevated environment, automatically I start to think better-feeling thoughts.
I start to access data and wisdom and things that were not hanging out in the environment that I left. I also have seen, in my own life, that when I am constantly mixing up my environments, going to new places, meeting new people, my life just gets better and better. And it’s because I’m exposing myself to new possibilities, new thoughts, new energy.
Let’s face it, you all, life can become stagnant. Why? Because we become stagnant. Again, we sit at home in sameness. We wake up thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same ways, doing the same things, getting up, getting our coffee, putting on the same clothes, driving to work in the same way, hanging out with the same people, just doing the same things, coming home, repeating the night before.
And then, we wonder why we feel so stuck. We wonder why life feels so hard. We wonder why it feels so hard to change. Change up your environment. I’m telling you all, it is the quickest, easiest way to change your self-image. That and then your clothing. Those two things have changed my self-image more than anything else.
Now, here’s the thing; it changed my mind. But I didn’t have to sit at home in sameness, working on my thoughts, writing them down, trying to think better thoughts. Sometimes, it was just putting myself in new environments that that just happened almost effortlessly.
You know, there is no formula to living an extraordinary life. And there have been moments in my life where I needed to sit in the sameness and work on my thoughts. Because sometimes, going to those new environments – and we talk about this in the class for this month – but sometimes, going into those new environments brought up all my limiting beliefs. And I had to work on them eventually.
But now, I’m at a point in my journey where I understand the power of thought. I understand how thoughts impact our lives. And so, I don’t have to sit around working at it so much. I think I’ve practiced thought work so much that I don’t – it’s like I’ve graduated to the next level. And the next level for me is like, “Yeah, you’re having a bad thought? Let’s go. Let’s go plant yourself in a place where there are new thoughts that you will be able to think about yourself or what’s possible that maybe you can’t access right now.”
And again, there are some times where I need to just sit down and write it all out. And only you know what’s best for you. But what I can tell you is, if you’re feeling stagnant, you’re feeling stuck, you need to get yourself in a new, elevated environment.
Go to an event. Join a mastermind. Travel to a new city. Go shop at a different grocery store. Change it up. Mix it up. Place yourself in new environments where who knows what might be hanging out waiting for you there.
Maybe it’s a person that exposes you to something that you didn’t know was possible. Maybe it’s looking at something in that new environment and accessing an idea that you could not have accessed without the prompt of that thing that you just saw. And maybe, it’s just putting yourself in a new environment that invigorates you and excites you, and then you take that energy, and you use it to fuel your dreams. You use it to transform how you see yourself.
I’ve been thinking, over the last couple of days about just this past week and the shift that I’ve had. And then I started to think about all the other prior big shifts. And I want to provide that for the people in my life.
In May, we’re going to be kicking off the Business Image Mastermind and I want to produce and curate an environment where that when women walk in, they access possibility that they didn’t even know existed.
I want them to feel excited and invigorated and elevated and then to take that energy back into their lives. And they will be able to do that because they made the decision to place themselves sin an elevated and enhanced environment.
And from what I know now, from my own personal shifts, is that if you want a big life, you need to place yourself and design and curate big environments for yourself that can hold the expansiveness of who you’re becoming, that can hold the possibilities of your wildest dreams.
And I promise you, those environments are out there. So, go find yours. Design yours and immerse yourself in them. Have a gorgeous week, my friends, and I cannot wait to see you in next week’s episode. Cheers.
Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/manifesto and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.