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Five Tips to Honor MLK

21795142623_61033c702e_bTick tock…tick tock… time has turned into years and years have unfolded improvements that Martin Luther King was greatly responsible for in the mid-1960s.  The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act for African Americans changed the laws in America so there would be repercussions for discrimination of race or color.  So now we have a kinder and more equal social justice in the United States.  Ummmm…I don’t think so!!! The EEOC reported that there were over 31,000 charges of racial discrimination reported in 2015.  Senator John Lewis (D-GA) spoke out recently and tweeted, “We must never, ever give up the right to protest for what is right, what is good, and what is necessary.”  If we choose to strive for justice and a kinder world, I have five tips that honor the “great work” of Martin Luther King.

First, be a “light” and don’t meet evil or darkness on its level.  Fighting with people who are bullies or are acting badly will only bring your own spirit and your energy down.  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” said Martin Luther King.  He strived for peace in non-violent ways. Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person.   Martin Luther King and his followers began to boycott the Montgomery bus public transit system in Alabama.  It was a huge success because most of the bus riders were African American and the boycott created an enormous financial deficit for the company.  Consider how you can make a non-violent action to stand up to injustice. For example, I speak, write, mentor, and I am a 27-year HR expert on workplace bullying and discrimination.  I do this in a compelling manner, but the tone of my actions is non-violent.

Second, learn as much as you can about discrimination so you can become more empowered and educated. Unfortunately, workplace bullying is not illegal, but discrimination is illegal.  With the exception that “retaliation” for reporting discrimination is illegal if a person has initiated discrimination charges to an agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) has lost power over the years, today we have organized groups who have the ability to enforce civility in the workplace, but not enough is being done to fix hostile work environments. Why not foster your skills and learn more about your rights to a safe and non-hostile work environment in my blog articles on my website.

Third, if you are enduring harmful behavior from others or you need help to speak your “truth,” why not find a mentor, spiritual leader or a life coach to support you.  I wrote an article, “Five Tips Before You Hire a Life Coach” to share guidance in finding ethical and competent Life Coaches.

Fourth, consider seeking legal counsel if you have questions about discrimination because of your race, color, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, national origin, you are over 40 years old, gender identity, disabilities, genetic information or religion.  For about $20.00 a month, you can seek a lawyer’s advice at Legal Shield.  That is less than the cost of going out to dinner for most people.    An HR professional with expertise in workplace bullying and discrimination may become an essential expert to help you.  When an employee understands their “rights,” they can pursue justice or a fair outcome.   An experienced HR consultant could possibly save you a lot of money by avoiding costly legal fees.  Don’t get me wrong—employment attorneys can be powerful allies, but they will most likely charge more in fees.  I am suggesting that you do seek an attorney if you feel compelled to do so, but why not let an HR consultant support you at a lower cost?   Then you can reach out to an employee attorney later on if needed.

Fifth, be an advocate for social justice and fair treatment of others.  For example, a friend of mine recently saw a Caucasian man castigating an African American woman after she walked out of a grocery store.  He yelled derogatory comments at this lady accusing her of being lazy and that she should not be a drain on society.  Perhaps this woman needed to be on food stamps to support her family.  My friend saw the need to intervene and acted like she knew this woman.  This discouraged the angry man who walked away to his vehicle.  Thanks to my friend, this woman was able to get to her car with her children, with only tears running down her face.  There is no telling what could have happened if there had been no intervention to help this lady get to her car with the assurance that someone cared about her.

There are many ways to honor the late Martin Luther King.  We can all be “extensions” of his advocacy to end discrimination and make this a better world.  Think of ways that you can help positively eliminate injustice and take action.  Follow me on Facebook where I share tips to stand up to workplace bullying and discrimination to executive teams, global leaders, political teams, government leaders, attorneys, mental health professionals, and employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Find Strength When You are Being Abused

Dawn and the TreeHave you ever noticed a newly planted tree that has been staked by a landscaper?  You may think that the stakes will support the tree in the event of heavy winds.  In most cases, the newly planted trees do not need to be staked.  It’s an unnecessary “extra” step that some landscapers perform.  Unless the tree is super “top heavy”, most newly planted trees do not need staking.  Why?

Trees have a hormone called “auxin”, which helps play a key role in the direction of a plants growth. When a plant is staked, it can affect the caliper and taper of a plant—basically it can affect the tree’s growth.    Where am I going with this?  I like to compare “growth” of humans and trees because both share one thing—strength through adversity.  I am also a horticulturist and love plants/people.

When the winds blow the trees around, the trees are busy producing Auxin hormones to help it become stronger.  As humans, you can also become stronger if you look at your negative experiences and conquer the “lessons”.    Discern on the “gift” each lesson gave you.  Do you need to love yourself more?  Show yourself more respect? Set healthier boundaries in your life?

You become more empowered when you see the negative “patterns” in your life that are repeating themselves over and over.  Perhaps you are attracting more people in your life that treat you badly or you always make bad decisions.  Most scientists and others will tell you that everything is “energy”.   Like energy attracts “like” energy.  Pay attention to the thoughts in your head.  Up to 90% of your belief system is in your subconscious.  You may have learned to give and give to others (with no boundaries) until it hurt, from a parent.  Perhaps you were told you would not amount to anything in life because a parent was using “reverse psychology” to motivate you.

Without realizing it, today, you are attracting “patterns” of lessons you need to master for your own growth.  Yes—they can be very painful.  Who wants to be mistreated?  No one.  It’s up to you to take 100% responsibility for your life.  When you take responsibility to get the help you need—your life can change for the better.  Let me share a story with you.  I was in a long-term alcoholic relationship 20 years ago.  I went to an open AA meeting for help and noticed everyone was very happy and smiling.  But, I felt broken and could not handle all the emotions in this small room.  I quickly ran out and ended up in a large cleaning closet in this building.  Closing the closet door behind me, I was mortified and began crying.

First, I could not escape the “happy” people and second, I was in a cleaning closet for crying out loud!  I heard the message, “you belong in that meeting room” and I slowly walked back in that room for the moral support I needed.  Everyone pretended they did not see me in the cleaning closet.   I realized I had a long way to go to help myself become healthier and whole again.  I had become “sicker” than the narcissistic alcoholic and needed help.

I was dealing with a narcissistic alcoholic in my life who nearly killed me in his “blackouts”.  I had fought him off me many times and I knew he would kill me if I did not get help.  He was very strong and it took all my energy to fight him off me.  He was in denial.   I was truly “sick” and it was affecting the quality of my life.  Working 12 – 14 hours daily was my escape from this madness.  I became a big “overachiever” in the Air Force.  It was my escape.

After the open AA meeting, one of the scruffiest men I had ever met in my life, asked me to follow him to his house to meet his wife.  There was something about that man that made me trust him.  I followed behind his old beaten up car.  Suspecting we were about to arrive at a trailer park, I mentally told myself it would be alright.  The house I arrived at was a multi-million dollar home at Mexico Beach in North Florida.  I put my hands over my face in disgrace and embarrassment again.  I had gotten another good lesson in one evening.  Never judge a book by its cover. This man was not only very wise—he was very wealthy too.

This beautiful home was the house I passed every day while walking on the beach.  I had found solitude and grounding in walking in the sand and breathing the salt air.

Well, the scruffy man who came to my rescue was a retired Army helicopter pilot and his wife was an accomplished author.  Lessons!  I tell you.  When you ask for help, whether through praying or with intention, you will get what you need, but not always how you expect it to come.

I only had a few months with this man and the open AA group as I was in the Air Force and about to transfer to the Black Hills in South Dakota.   I was open to helping myself and it came in a peculiar way.  Be open to getting the help you deserve.  Take 100% accountability in becoming healthier and happier in your life.  Claim your personal power by breaking the patterns of negativity in your life.  Slow down and listen to your “inner knowing” that is telling you he or she is not the “right one”.  Trust the gut-feeling that you should walk away from a situation that will dis-empower you. Say “no” to narcissistic people and keep walking to a more healthy and empowered life.  Get professional help if you need it.  You will find a way to afford it or you can reach out to www.211.org, which is a United Way program that offers many resources in each state that can support you on your journey.  You deserve to healthy and happy!

If you need consulting or coaching to support you becoming healthier and more empowered–reach out to me at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

Are You Being Bullied at Work? Should you go to HR for Help?

 

HR

 

If you are being bullied in the workplace—should you go to Human Resources (HR) for help? Yes and No.  The HR department may be part of your management when it comes to work hierarchy.  If you have an HR department where you work, it may be an “internal” work requirement to seek an HR expert’s assistance in dealing with discrimination or bullying.  BUT—are they there to support you in your time of need?  I am going to share some information to enlighten you.  I can do that—I am an HR expert who spent 22 years in the career field and I am still advising people as an HR consultant.  Here are three tips on seeking HR’s assistance:

First, if your HR department is part of the management of where you work, you must understand that the HR representative may be required to share the information you shared with them, to the director or top manager in your company.  That manager will want to know if there is dissension in the workplace.  If your agency is in the civilian sector, the cost, time, and energy spent on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) matters or other agencies could destroy or cost the company much embarrassment.  Settlement fees or court costs will likely come out of the company owner’s pocket.  If it’s a government agency, there are still issues of money and time, but “settlement” comes out of the tax payer’s pocket.  An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case like the one I had for discrimination and later retaliation/bullying, can easily cost over $150k.

Second, an HR expert in your workplace may purposely try to down-play your accusations of discrimination or bullying because they know how serious the matter can become.  They may turn-it-around on you and state comments that make you fear that you may lose your job over your concerns.  Instead of relying on HR to be your subject matter expert (SME), why not learn everything you can about your rights at your workplace.  You can research policies and laws that would apply in your case.  If this is not for you—consider hiring a professional expert to help you with your matter.  If lack of money is an issue, you may qualify for pro bono assistance from an attorney.  Here is a good site to check out: https://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/probono/directory.html

Third, if you file charges against your company or agency, you may face retaliation that can come in many forms.  If your HR expert is aware that you are being harassed or retaliated against because you reported someone in your workforce, they may be told to help support management by keeping you in the “dark” about your rights.  They may even be “involved” in attempts to fire you, discredit you, or defame you.  I filed charges of “nepotism” (Illegal hiring of family or friends by management) to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) in Washington D.C.  I had seen numerous managers hiring their family and friends in the Veteran Affairs.  It’s illegal and happens all the time.  It’s no wonder the Veteran Affairs is cited negatively in the news these days.

One of the many charges I filed was an HR employee hiring their grandchild to work for the Veteran Affairs for a summer program for college students.  No announcement had gone out at this time about summer hiring of temporary employees.   This HR employee knew this was a government prohibited personnel practice, but made a choice to ignore mandatory government laws and policies.  There was no turning to this HR employee for help when attempts were made to fire me with illegal allegations, that later proved to be false.

I want to wrap this up that there are many good HR employees out there and many that care about your circumstances.  You may never know if they truly want to help you if they don’t give you the support you need and deserve.  Sometimes, their hands are tied by the management in your workplace.  When I first began working in the Veteran Affairs in HR, I was told that I worked for management and I had to always put management first in all matters.  Think on that one.  I made some managers angry when I told VA employees their rights about Family Medical Leave Act matters and other personnel matters that they were entitled to by law.  Why?  Because some of the managers wanted to keep their employees in the “dark” about their rights and entitlements.  Very sad.  Those managers were fully utilizing their entitlements and wanting to control their employees through fear and manipulation.  The greatest joy in the world to me is to see someone stand up to workplace bullying and know their rights.

If you find yourself confused, dis-empowered or wanting to know more about your rights, be sure to check out my website at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com  You have the right to be treated with respect in your workplace and to know your rights as an employee.

Workplace Bullying Scare Tactics–Three Tips to Empower You

I talked to a former government employee recently who thought she had “stacked evidence” of disciplinary violations against her from her managers. After talking to this employee, it turns out that her management had set up strategies to scare her as a “whistleblower”. Often times, bully managers will make up “false charges” on an employee to scare them, run them away from their job or discredit them.  BullyWhen you are a conscientious “whistleblower”, you can almost expect retaliation because it exposes the wrong-doer.

Most employees are not HR employees and they don’t know the guidelines, laws, and protocols that support a healthy workplace environment or their rights as an employee.  I was smiling on my end of the phone–because everything was handled in a very unprofessional manner from her managers and from an HR perspective–this employee had nothing to worry about in regards to disciplinary action. In fact–she now had my HR advice to support defamation of character on her part and mental/physical harm that has been done to her.  It’s nice to “arm” employees and teach them their “rights” so they can stand up to workplace bullying. This employee will be working with an attorney and was feeling more empowered after our session.

So, how do you know how to transmute “false charges”’ against you if you have been bullied in the workplace or you are receiving retaliation because you are a “whistleblower”?  Here are three tips:

First, if you know how to research your work’s policies, guidelines, manuals, handbooks etc., start studying them to learn more about your rights.  For example, if you work in the Veteran Affairs (VA), you could research the VA’s handbooks and directives by going to http://www.va.gov/vapubs/  or you could research it on the web by looking for information that governs your workplace.

If you work for the Veteran Affairs, you can research disciplinary action for employees.  You may find information such as the VA disciplinary table, it falls under VA Handbook 5021/15 and is called “Employee/Management Relations”.  Why could this table be important to you?  Because it tells you all the disciplinary range of penalties for stated offenses.  This is important, because if you have been charged with something that is not on this table, you have knowledge of possibly being falsely charged with an offense.

If you have been falsely charged with an offense that is on this table, you can cite this table and the nature of offense when you work with an attorney, HR expert or another professional.  You may be able to use this as proof of bullying or retaliation, especially if you have filed charges against your workplace with the Office of Special Counsel (www.osc.gov) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.EEOC.gov).

Second, if you don’t have the time or the energy to do your own research on regulations etc., consider hiring a human resources (HR) professional if you are getting nowhere with your own HR department or there is no HR department where you work.  The money you may save by hiring an HR expert could offset the emotional and financial damage of your workplace bullying situation.  You can also hire an attorney and I would recommend it if you feel the need to hire a legal expert.  Often times, the HR expert will cost less money than an attorney.  In addition, they are able to provide an HR technical review of your workplace bullying situation.  The HR expert is able to review and analyze the facts and documentation you have in regards to your situation.  When I hired my attorney to handle my disability discrimination and retaliation cases, I was able to provide him with great documentation, that ultimately allowed me to settle with the VA and refuse to sign a “gag order” to keep quiet about my story and to help others who deal with workplace bullying.

Third, when you deal with cowardly bullies, they may be desperate to defame you, fire you, or ruin your credibility. It does not matter how strong you think you are—everyone has a breaking point and bullies will do their best to find the weak link in your defenses.  It can take a serious toll on your health.  It’s important to find avenues of relaxation that resonate with you.  You need to focus on everything that is good in your life.  When your mind wanders on any negativity, be sure to bring it back to “neutral” or a more positive thought. Our thoughts form our belief system.  You are worthy of claiming your “personal power” and having a healthy work environment.

In 2016, I will be traveling across the U.S. and speaking about workplace bullying and empowerment in the workplace.  If your organization would like to hire me for speaking, be sure to check out:  http://dawnmariewestmoreland.com/speaking

 

 

 

 

How Strong is the Soul After Workplace Bullying?

Dawn in Mar 2012--Two weeks after getting out of the Mental Health ward

Sometimes we are unaware how strong and powerful we are on this earth. The picture of me looking exhausted and dis-empowered was taken two weeks after passing out in my workplace due to the stress of two years of workplace bullying.  My skin really was yellow back then and I had purple discoloration under my eyes at the time of this picture.  I ended up being taken to the Charles George VA Medical Center for treatment from the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is the “revenue” agency within the Veteran Affairs. I had reported numerous managers for nepotism (illegal hiring of family and friends in the government by management) and other prohibited personnel matters. My management did everything they could to “break” me and to get me to quit my job, but I was determined to hold them accountable, which I did in March 2014. It was an “emotional victory” when I was able to refuse signing a “gag order” settlement that would keep me quiet and unable to share my story to help others who deal with workplace bullying.

Memories of all the “tactics” used to harm me, actually “liberated” me. If you are being bullied in the workplace, you also can become “liberated” too. I look back at all the false charges placed upon my character as I was on Administrative Leave for about 100 days, the wrongful denial of being given a medical Reasonable Accommodation as a severely disabled veteran, the hateful looks, and the denial of promotions, while management’s friends rose in their own promotion system, which was illegal. Reflecting back, I remember the man who called me on December 23, 2014 and told me he wanted to hire my healing services, but wanted no records and he would pay with cash. He asked me if I worked with gay people. That made me highly suspicious of this being a deceitful natured call. Who calls someone and asks if they work with “gay people”? I knew my Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) hearing was coming up in a couple of months and my “gut” was telling me that this call was not from a honest man. The entire call sounded like a “script” being read. Highly suspicious!

“Red flags” were coming up for me and I felt that this was no ordinary call. When I accepted the call and answered it, I had noticed it was from a “restricted’ caller, which denied me their phone number on my caller identification. While I listened to him, my intuition was also providing me with “insight” that this was not a normal call and he was up to something “shady”. I could even hear machinery in the background, which was common while I was waiting for my Equal Employment Opportunity hearing with the Administrative judge. I felt like the call was a “trap” of some kind and politely told the man that I did not feel that we were a good “fit” to work together and ended the call. Later 30 pages of my Facebook posts were entered into the “discovery” phase of the EEO process. All of my posts were positive and inspirational, which baffled my attorney and I. It appeared to me that desperate attempts were made to find something derogatory on me. That never happened. I had done no wrong.

When you deal with workplace bullying, you may experience a little or a lot of bullying. It really does not matter how much harm you receive–it’s how you perceive your own situation. Your thoughts form your belief system. Isn’t it time to evaluate if your belief system is supporting you for your highest good? Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath, and allow that breath to slowly be released, along with releasing old thought patterns that are keeping you trapped and small in your life.

You may be wondering how you can become liberated from workplace bullying. If you are a sensitive person, you may have a harder time working with aggressive workplace bullies. They sense that you are a “nice person” and according to statistics with the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to 37% of the people who are bullied in the workplace are targeted because they are compassionate and kind people. Often times, bullies perceive you as a “weak” person or an “easy target” to harass. Sometimes our “gifts” in our life come in ugly wrapping paper. The lesson or “gift” you may get out of bullying can help you to find comfort, healing, and owning your “personal power”. Let me explain. For me–I had to realize that the biggest bully was myself for thinking I was a “victim” during this time. That lesson propelled me forward to work on my own personal issues and become “free” from my past dis-empowerment. You may find that you get the “gift” of learning you need to set healthy boundaries in your life with all people or you may discover you need to work on having more self love and self respect. This give you the opportunity to discern on ways to “liberate” yourself and become happier in your life.

No matter how bad your situation is around workplace bullying, there is always an option you may never have thought about or an action you should take on your behalf. Keeping good records is always important. You can learn more about the importance and how to document at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ZrLOMccHg  Once you “liberate” yourself and stand in your power, you may move onto a better job where you are treated with respect or you may become an entrepreneur like myself. What ever you do–live your soul’s purpose with great joy!

p.s.  If you would like a complimentary 20 minute strategy session with me about workplace bullying.  Reach out and contact me at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

Dawn empowered on the bridge

What Government Employee Bullies Don’t Want You to Know

Dawn sitting on a rock in black and white

 

 

 

 

Let’s face it, depending on whose statistics you use, government workplace bullying is on the rise.  According to http://www.forbes.com/sites/naomishavin/2014/06/25/what-work-place-bullying-looks-like-in-2014-and-how-to-intervene/ “96% of American employees experience bullying in the workplace, and the nature of that bullying is changing”.   Workplace bullying creates a hostile workplace that is devoid of a safe and respectful work environment.  Bullied employees can hardly put out their best work when they are under so much stress. Then they may face disciplinary action because they are not working up to mandated work standards.  Talk about stress and feeling like a ‘victim’!  Holding government workplace bullies accountable can be hard, but I can make it a little easier for you. Let me share five tips for dealing with workplace bullying so you employ these tips and have a better outcome.

The first tip is to document your workplace bullying.  I created a video that explains it further at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ZrLOMccHg  This video explains the importance of why and how you should document workplace bullying.  I was able to ‘settle’ with the Veteran Affairs (VA) in March 2014 because I had ‘solid” documentation that supported my case of retaliation for being a VA “Whistleblower”.  Two days before my Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearing, the VA attorneys were willing to ‘settle’ with me.  I won an emotional victory as I can now write and talk about my own bullying story to help others because I refused to sign a “gag-order” that would keep me from sharing my story.

Second, be mindful that most government Human Resource departments are part of management.  If you are being bullied by management, you are also addressing your bullying situation with your management.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should be aware of your organization’s structure.  Every government agency is required to have information on their bulletin boards such as job safety/health, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) information, etc., that comply with government requirements.  Here is more information on Equal Employment Opportunity rights:  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/eeopost.pdf  Be aware of your rights and who to contact if they are being violated.  For example, if you file a discrimination report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, sex or genetics, you must file within 45 days of the occurrence or the claim may not be accepted.

Third, federal laws prohibit covered entities from retaliating against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposes an unlawful employment practice.  If you have filed an EEO case or have submitted prohibited personnel information to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and receive retaliation from your workplace, you are entitled to report the alleged allegations within 45 days for retaliation of you filing a grievance. Often times, the retaliation case may be combined with your initial reported case, for ease of processing and time guidelines. Be sure to report each occurrence of retaliation within 45 days or it may not be accepted.  Note:  Winning a discrimination case can be tough, however, if you are retaliated against and have good evidence or documentation, you may end up winning or settling on your ‘retaliation’ case because you are in a ‘protected status’ for filing your claim.

Fourth, often times there is very little disciplinary action done against government perpetrators. For example, the Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) has taken action to employ accountability in the Veteran Affairs and a new law was passed according to http://cv4a.org/cva-applauds-house-passage-va-accountability-act/ however, there does not seem to be a lot of accountability in regards to removing employees who meet disciplinary action mandates.   If you decide to ‘settle’ with the government agency you work in, you may consider not signing a “gag order” that keeps you legally from discussing your case with others. Who knows—you may want to write a book or share your story to help others who deal with government workplace bullying. If you have kept great documentation records, you may want to hold your ‘ground’ and refuse to sign a ‘gag order’ settlement agreement that most government attorneys will want you to sign.  Remember—it’s negotiable, but you must have the courage, documentation, and the willpower to demand it.

Fifth, workplace bullying takes a toll on your mental and physical health.   You must find balance, peace, and positive distractions so that you can stand up to your bullies, demand your entitled rights, and own your personal power.  It’s imperative to find a modality that helps you manage your stress.  You may find great relaxation with yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation or another modality that resonates with you.  Also, learning how to empower yourself is one of the best ways to step up and own your ‘personal power’.  Find a coach, mentor, clergy member or someone that can help you to find your own confidence and empowerment that is within you.  Claiming your ‘personal power’ and becoming empowered is the greatest revenge of all when it comes to workplace bullying in the government.

P.S.  Did you know you can request a complimentary 20 minute “find your voice/strength here:  Get Advice or Coaching  As an anti-bullying speaker, author, coach, and HR consultant, I am able to help others stand up to workplace bullying.

 

Why Fear is Important in our Lives

Why is it that we dislike being “fearful”? Why do we allow it to hold us “hostage” in our lives? I am not writing about fear of “rational” things like poisonous snakes and matters of safety.   More like, living small because of the “inner bully” in ourselves that wants to keep us small and protected by not living our soul’s calling with great joy. Often times our “inner critic” will try to serve us in ways that are not for our highest good. For example, when I began to train as a Life Coach, I knew that I was going to be doing work that I am passionate about, but I also was nervous about going “BIG” because I am an introvert. OK—an “extroverted” introvert to be more accurate.

Admitting raw and real stories about my past was the hardest thing for me to do, but yet, I do write and talk about them. I share with others about being sexually molested as a child, childhood/adult bullying, an alcoholic marriage, and landing in the Mental Health ward after dealing with two years of horrendous bullying for being a Veteran Affairs “Whistleblower”. As I wrote about these events in my book, there was a part of me that wanted to “hide” under the bed and not share these events with others. Part of me was fearful and it felt scary to be so authentic about these circumstances in my life. While these feelings were distressful and fearful to me, I received the message, “Yes, you can do this and you are going to help a lot of people by telling your story and how you overcame your own dis-empowerment”.

When I worked in the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is a division of the Veteran Affairs in West Asheville, NC, I witnessed a lot of fearful people who were afraid to speak out about the nepotism (illegal hiring of family & friends) and other prohibited personnel actions that were going on in this VA agency. It made me sick to see the fear on these people’s faces and I knew that when I turned in the management of the MACPAC, that I would be paying a high price. I did it anyway. Yes—I was fearful, but in the large picture of that event, I knew that it was important to change the unfair hiring practices and expose the bullying that happened when conscientious “whistleblowers” like myself turn these illegal practices in to government agencies that handle these matters.

I could have done nothing and then everything would remain the same in my former job, within the MACPAC. While feeling scared and knowing so many people would turn against me, I turned in my management to the Office of Special Counsel in Washington D.C. and to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Charlotte, NC. Why was I fearful? Because I turned in over 15 people for prohibited personnel actions and they ganged up on me very quickly. While being fearful, I still held them accountable and “settled” with the Veteran Affairs in March 2014, without a “gag order”.   Often I get asked how I can tell my story when I settled with the Veteran Affairs. I can tell my story because I refused to sign a settlement with the VA that would keep me quiet. The VA attorneys finally agreed to this settlement, two days before the EEOC hearing. Moving through all of my fear made me a “victor” in the end.

We are always going to feel “fear”. It is what we do with it that counts. We can stay stuck or we can move through it. How we deal with “fear” is important.   Do we listen to our “inner critic” that says to play small, stay silent, stay hidden and don’t take chances? Or do we listen to our soul that says to keep moving through our “fears” and to follow our soul’s purpose for being on this earth? We get to choose how we deal with fear. The reason why fear is so important in our life is because we get to “play” bigger in our lives if we move through our fears.   First, fear can inspire us to take positive action.   Fear can push us to take the actions we need in our life and create wonderful opportunities.   Second, we can become “liberated” when we move through our fears and accomplish worthy goals. It can push us out of our comfort zone and created a new life for us if we allow it to happen. Third, fear can build our confidence because when we do something positive that makes us fearful, it can make us stronger and more confident.   So, anytime we are dealing with “fear”, consider what side of fear we want to be on— the “empowered” side or the “victim” side.  For I am not letting the “inner critic” in my head win.   I am heading to the Vancouver area to do a workshop on “Overcoming Fear” with my friend, Wendy McClelland on Sept 26th, 2015.   I am hoping you will want to become more empowered and live the life you are supposed to live on this earth.

If you would like to learn more about “overcoming” your old “stories” and moving through fear, check out my book, “The Empowered Whistleblower: A Practical and Spiritual Path to Personal Power” at http://getbook.at/Dawn   You can also get a complimentary copy of my first chapter at www.TheEmpoweredWhistleblower.comDawn looking to the side with mike

Kind People Can Stand Up to Bullying

According to The Bully Institute, http://www.workplacebullying.org/tag/bullying-statistics/ the person who gets targeted the most in the workplace is the person who is considered kind and compassionate. Yikes, what if that is you in the workplace? Well, it was me when I worked in the Midatlantic Consolidated Patient Accounting Center (MACPAC), which is a Veteran Affairs organization in West Asheville, North Carolina.  Years ago, when I worked there,  I was asked by my former management to run an employee assistance program that would help MACPAC employees when they had economic issues that would come up. I was known for my “humanitarian” skills and for caring about other people.

Even though I consider myself a kind and compassionate person, I am a no-nonsense person when it comes to bullying or any kind of mistreatment in the workplace. Everyone is entitled to work in a safe environment and where they are treated with respect. After working 20 years in the Air Force as a female, I learned to be assertive when needed. That skill has come in handy many times in my life. I have never had a problem in being a “nice” person, but you must do so with healthy boundaries too. Let me explain. While I am a nice person, I held my bullies accountable and reported them to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and “settled” in March 2014. I held my “ground” and had great documentation—I “settled” with the Veteran Affairs without a “gag order” that would prevent me from telling my story. How often do you hear about that? You can be nice and you can also stand in your “personal power”.

Your presence and your demeanor tells everyone how you feel about yourself. If you carry yourself with dignity and grace, that is the way you are generally perceived by others. Bullies, who generally have low self-esteem, can pick up your energy and know that you may be an easy target to harass. They generally go after the people they deem as weak.  I realize that there are many kind and “sensitive” souls who have dealt with hardships in their life—divorce, death, bullying, etc. It’s part of your own journey to become your greatest self, but only if you learn your lessons or experience self-growth from these experiences.

If your old “stories” are “owning” you, instead of you “owning” your old stories, then it’s time to heal your past. Nurturing old wounds and not healing them is a sure way to stay small and stuck in your life. You must let go of your “hurtful” past so you can fully live the life you deserve! You can reach out to a trusted clergy person, a coach, mentor, therapist or anyone who is reputable and will help you heal your past. If you want to be truly “free” in your life, you must forgive the perpetrators in your life and let go of your old “stories”. You are forgiving them for your own “healthy” reasons—to move on with your life and heal.

I spent many years dealing with self-loathing and insecurities because I was molested as a young child. After I dealt with forgiving the perpetrator and working on my own self-development, I really found my “inner strength” and began to realize I could now help others because I am on the “other” side. I will admit—it was not easy, but it was worth it! In the past, I have lived in fancy houses and had many materialistic things in my life, but I was not happy. I had attracted an “alcoholic” into my life and my home felt like a “prison” back in those days.   I did not realize at that time, that I was looking through the “lens” of a victim and someone who had not found their “personal power”.   I had attracted many negative things in my life because I had felt “hopeless” and very insecure back then. That has changed, because I took 100% charge of my life and began to “cut” out negative people out of my life as much as possible. I carefully discern on who I want as friends today and it really makes a big difference for me. Today, I have never had more “freedom” and peace in my life. You deserve it too!

Let me share a webinar, which is now a video, I made about “Commanding Respect in Your Life”. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oV12-pzac4   More free resources at  www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

 

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“The Real Cost of Being Beautiful”

Dawn in iPEC schoolSometimes people will “go the extra mile” in efforts to be beautiful. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 15.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2013, which is a 3% increase from the previous year. Of these procedures, most of them — 13.4 million — were minimally invasive procedures, like botox injections and chemical peels. But a large number of people — around 1.6 million — went under the knife to have invasive procedures, like breast augmentation surgeries, nose reshaping surgeries, and liposuction surgeries, according to http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/how-much-do-we-spend-on-beauty.html

Now, I know that most of us want to look our best, but how much of this obsessions is pure insecurity in ourselves. It really “pains” me to see women chasing after “beauty” as if it will truly make them more confident. Let’s face it, when you take off your makeup or your garments that perform some miracle, you are the “real you”. I am not putting down makeup or looking your best, by no means! It’s when you become obsessed with “beauty” and it runs your life, I think there is a concern.

Do we ask men to get “implants”? Seriously! I heard that comment last night when I was at the Millrun for a comedy show featuring Vince Morris. Vince was taunting the women in his audience about their obsession with their views and unrelentless desire for plastic surgery and trying to be perfect. He had me on the end of my seat! I totally get his humor and his raw “truth” about the obsession of beauty.

I went to Miami, Florida last September to finish my third module of coaching with iPEC. I forgot to take a couple of makeup items and realized it down the road. I realized how perfectly comfortable I was without makeup and the need to impress another human being. I could have gone to a drug store and bought some makeup, but I chose not to because I am about the “beauty” inside me. But—don’t get me wrong, I do value looking great, but not at the cost of being obsessed with it.  The picture above proves that I have no makeup on and I am still a happy girl!  So, I may have been one of the few women in Miami (at this time) who had absolute no makeup on and was just perfectly fine with it!

As a teenager, I went to a high-end modeling agency in Jacksonville, Florida. I was told that I had the “looks” to be a high-fashion model.  My father was very handsome and my mother also gave me some very good genes too. I mean—I was 5’10” and about 120 lbs. when soaking wet. I was jumping up and down for joy, and that came to a halt when my mother told me in her own words—“It is not going to happen!” That probably was a beautiful gift from my mother at this time.

Most of my life has been about helping others and advocacy. I value inner beauty and kindness.  I went many years without wearing makeup and declining “miracle” garments that would somehow make me look “different”. I had spent too many years feeling insecure because of my childhood woes to let that insecurity back into my life as an adult chasing after “beauty”.

If you would spend the money to hire a coach or hypnotherapist that could help you feel better about yourself—that is beautiful! A coach or a hypnotherapist can get down to the “root” of your problem and help you “overcome” it so you can feel better about yourself. In my practice, I don’t just hypnotize someone and they are “confident”. There is never a magic “blue pill”.   I intuitively ask empowering questions so I know more about the “blocks” that people have that make them feel less beautiful or insecure. Together, whether in coaching or hypnotherapy, I work with each client to get “positive affirmation/results” that they want in their session. It’s always about the client—not what I want for them.  It’s their agenda.

If you work on becoming more secure and stop paying attention to marketing that is targeted to “insecure” women, who will buy about anything to make themselves feel better about themselves, you will find the reflection in the mirror to be more beautiful. Trust me on this! There is a trend with the women I work with–they all want more confidence. I even see it with men too. Wouldn’t you agree, that confident and positive women are far more attractive than one who is externally attractive, but feels insecure?

I share with this group my “Confidence building” hypnosis/meditation I made at http://DawnMarieWestmoreland.com/blog/ . I can work with individuals that want a more “tailored” session with me at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

Phone, Google hangouts, or Skype work out just fine if it can’t be done in person. Here is to being “beautiful” you– inside and outside—because you are!

“How to Shine Out the Darkness in Your Life”

We all deal with it—negative people, events, and situations and it can be draining, hurtful, and down-right nasty sometimes.  Let’s face it, there are people out there who are hurt, have not healed from their “issues”, and may be stuck in a “rut”.  These people may hurl insults or be negative around you.  It can be a surprise to see a grown man or women acting badly, but it happens all the time.  It even happens to me.  One of the best “tools” I have learned is to spread “white light” when there is negativity.  Let me explain.   Many spiritual people believe that white light is the space within the universe where positive energies are stored and can be released.  You can call upon it anytime and in any place.  People who are “empaths” may be one of the first people to notice or sense negative energies around them.  Empaths are very sensitive people who can often “feel” emotional energy from other people or even in physical spaces.

I have been very sensitive and an “empath” all my life.  I have continued to become more sensitive as I have gotten older too.    This can be great when you are a healer or work with people like I do as a Personal Power Coach.   On the other hand, it can be draining if you are picking up negative energy that a person puts out.  You don’t even have to be physically around them and you can still “feel” the negative energy.   Everything is energy and so are thoughts.  I can sense the energy of many things and I am not alone.  There are other empaths out there too and they may need a little help in negating energy that is not so pure and nice.  Plants need light to grow and we as human need light to thrive.  We live in a world that does have “darkness” and I will gladly share a tool to help you spread “white light” so you can help remove darkness and negative energy from your life.  This is a tool that one of my mentors, Martha Juchnowski taught me for my own usage and really does work!

First, imagine that you have white light emanating from your heart.  The heart puts out more energy than the brain does. Researchers have actually measured this with machines that can measure energy.   The heart is very powerful.  When you are imagining white light coming from your heart, begin to visualize it getting bigger and bigger so that it is now all of you and expanding around you.   You can make this “white light” as big as you want.  You can spread it in your house or in a friend’s house for example.  I do my own “white light” version with all of my loved ones and all of our pets, every single day. It works.  I visualize placing white light in their homes, all around their homes, their workplaces, and around their neighborhoods too.

Don’tDawn in Sylva, NC panic if you are not good at visualizing—that does not matter!  It’s all about intention and every thought is energy too.  So, basically you are sending love and light out when you are doing this.  When you do this you are spreading goodness, love, and pure energy.  Darkness and negative energy can’t live in a loving and pure environment.  It has to leave! It’s the law of the universe and I called that—God.  I have imagined white light spreading in a loved one’s entire house.  Later that day they informed me that the air felt so light and maybe it was the weather.   I can assure you that the weather in that neighborhood was rain for the past three days and that does not make the air seem “lighter”.

Try it sometime—shine white light around you, your pets, your home, your work space, and where ever you need it.  It cannot hurt anyone or harm them.  You may notice that people become happier or more at peace.  To me it seems miraculous, but I have seen some pretty cool stuff as a result of me shining white light on people, places, and situations.  You never do it with the intention of harming or hurting someone.  It cannot do that!  It just makes the energy around the person more pure and loving.  When you are emitting love or good energy, you are pushing away negativity.  People feel better and I bet you will too.  Love is powerful!