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For all you ladies who are a slave to your to-do lists, my hope is that what you’re about to read will inspire you to create a new kind of list – one that goes much deeper than superficial doings, one that will help you gain clarity and one that will ensure that your actions are aligned with your soul. Let me share a story. One night, while working in an intensive care unit, a resident physician turned to me and asked, “Who do you want to be?”

Huh? I’d always been asked what I wanted to do or have, but be?  This was a new one. Not quite sure how to respond, I said, “A good nurse and mom.” “No, those are roles you play, but who do you want to BE in those roles,” he clarified. I was at a loss for words.  I just sat there with a blank stare on my face. Who do I want to BE? That was the most brilliant and odd question I’d ever heard. Like many women, I had spend most of my life being who I was told I should be and doing what I thought was expected. Yet, that one question sparked a curiosity about the woman I wanted to be and it completely changed the trajectory of my life.

The most important decision you’ll ever make is deciding the woman you want to BE! (tweet it)

When you know who you want to BE, you have a beacon to constantly guide how you behave, the choices you make and how you show up in the world.  Even in the hardest of times, you can call upon her wisdom and she’ll know what to do. This is why I created a new kind of list: a to-be list. I wanted to be joyful, so I began to shift my perspective around my job. I wanted to be worldly, so I signed up for sommelier school and started learning French. I wanted to be full of vitality, so I started treating my body very differently. I wanted to be self-expressed, so I began writing. I wanted to be stylish, so I immersed myself in the world of fashion and style. I wanted to be kind and compassionate, so I began letting go of judgements. I wanted to be inspirational, so I started sharing my story with others. I wanted to be culturally smart, so I went back to school and devoured literature. I wanted to be abundant, so I started honoring all that life had to offer me. With each of these decisions being rooted in deep desire , I found myself blossoming in ways I never expected.  I literally created, from scratch, the woman I wanted to be from the inside out. Soon, things began to shift in my external world.  I was handed the wine list at the table.  I was asked to write restaurant and wine reviews for a magazine.  Women asked me to mentor them.  I ended a battle with my weight and body.  I was asked to join a luxury network in Monaco. People asked me for style advice.  One miracle after another. For a period of time, I felt caught between two worlds:  shedding of the old and the birthing of the new. It was uncomfortable. I felt like a fraud. I was full of self-doubt.  I humiliated myself on many occasions, such as when I declared to the sommelier class that I loved rose wine (pronouncing it like the flower).  Friends started to drift out of my life. Family and friends began to question my sanity and ask me, “Who do you think you are?” I began to wonder if I really had a choice.  Were my humble beginnings as far as I could go? It would have been easy to run back to the familiar and given into who I thought I supposed to be. But, I didn’t. I fought fiercely for the woman I am today. And, if you want to evolve into the woman you desire to be, you must do the same.  You must be more devoted to her than you are to your to-do lists, the naysayers and the negative beliefs that will surely enter your mind. And, when you do, everything will change! This theory hasn’t just worked for me, I’ve proven it with clients.  On the first day of the Slim, Chic & Savvy program, I lead women through a detailed exercise to help them gain clarity around who they desire to be, and then watch the incredible shifts they make during the program, such as weight loss, improved relationships, authentic style, risk-taking & joie de vivre, just to name a few.   But, the best part is witnessing them create the woman they desire to be. Living intentionally requires that you first decide who you want to BE, then let your to-do lists support you in becoming more of her. Want to be playful?  Host a game night or sign up for the dance class.   Want to be confident?  Take more risks. Want to be vulnerable?  Share your shame with someone that loves you. Want to be adventurous?  Plan that trip.   Want to be sexy?  Buy that lingerie. Want to be successful?  Act as if you already are.   Want to be more beautiful?  Stop being so mean to yourself and infuse your mind with beautiful thoughts. 
So, let’s create a new kind of list: a to-be list. Tell me in the comments below who you want to BE and what’s one decision you’re going to make this week to become more of her. This is how you make your life art! Tons of Love, Tonya  

The Self-Image Manifesto

You’re Invited To Live An Extraordinary Life!