I Had Become My Own Worst Nightmare–Landing in the Mental Health Ward

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

As I look in the mirror in the bathroom today, I am reminded that three years ago today, I was rushed to the emergency room at the Charles George VA Hospital in Asheville NC and then admitted to the Mental Health ward for my well-being and safety. I was a government “whistleblower” speaking up on behalf of many people who were being abused at my federal agency.  I had succumbed to believing I was a “victim”.  Only a few years prior to this event, I was a happy-go-lucky person who never suspected I would land in the Mental Health ward for a few days.  It did not matter that I had served 20 years in the Air Force and had learned tenacity and courage, there comes a time when even strong people can be “beaten down” from workplace bullying and discrimination.  It happened to me on my Mother’s birthday, March 18, 2014, which is three years ago, from today’s writing.

I have overcome childhood sexual abuse, extreme harassment in the Air Force, and 14 severe counts of harassment were served up when I received retaliation for reporting my managers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  Somewhere in the middle of all this chaos, I sensed that I was supposed to experience this “madness”, for I knew I wanted to help others who are harassed and discriminated in their workplace.  While looking into a metal mirror on my third day in the Mental Health ward, I realized that I had become my own worst nightmare and enemy.  Never mind the yellow and purple skin that reflected a pitiful image back to me—I had had enough of myself!  It was time to find not the survivor in me, but the woman who served 20 years in the Air Force under some abusive leaders and managers.  I gathered up my strength and told the head Mental Health nurse that I was ready to check out and begin my new life.  I was released.

Who would ever guess that I would become a subject matter expert (SME) on workplace bullying and discrimination?  I became a certified life coach with iPEC and learned how to get my own life in order before I started helping others as a Personal Power coach.  I realized that my tool bag was getting pretty full with “skill sets”.  I had also become a consulting hypnotist so I could help others. I drew on my 27 years of working in Human Resources to not only “settle” with my former government agency and without a gag-order to remain silent, but to use my knowledge to help others who face harassment and discrimination in their work environments.

As time went by, I have had the opportunity to be on over 50 radio shows, featured in seven magazines, lauded by the Christian Science Monitor, and sent to educate 30 Senators on the need to protect government employees who speak out about government prohibited personnel practices. The mirror I look at these days provides a reflection of a happier, more empowered woman.  The Mental Health Ward was a lesson that I needed to find personal growth and accountability for my own life.  Life is very good these days—I am now a government sub-contractor.  Yes—a consulting company hired me so I can continue to utilize my skills in the government and in the private sector. One day I am in the Mental Health ward and the three years later (to the day)—I am a workplace bullying and discrimination subject matter expert that is in great demand.  We must never give in to our fears, but keep our eyes on the prize.  Life has lessons, but they can bring out the greatest version of ourselves if we seize the opportunity to be accountable and see the “silver lining” in everything.

 

 

Five Tips Before Hiring a Life Coach

Dawn breaking her chain

There may come a time that you want to hire a Life Coach to “break-through” some barriers in your life or to help you gain clarity on an issue. You may want to become more empowered and understand why you are attracting bad acting people into your life, for example. Hiring a Life Coach can be very beneficial in your personal life and business. There are many coaches out there—some with lots of training and some who have taken a weekend course. Some have had no training at all. There are coaches out there that you would not want to spend even five minutes with because they are not truly a coach. Coaching has many potential benefits if you find the right Life Coach. Here are some:

—Achievement of your personal and professional goals

—Breaking through blocks or perceived limitations you may have

—Organization, focus, and achievement of goals

—Improved personal empowerment and personal power

—Increased self-awareness

—Healthier boundaries with others in your life

—More confidence and self-esteem

—Higher energy and well-being

—Realization of your gifts and talents and how to use them

How do you differentiate all the coaches out there? There are many coaches out there, and they are not equal regarding results. Life Coaching is a transformative process, where your results are driven by your efforts, relating to your personal goals. Working with a Life Coach may require regularly scheduled meetings with a coach while providing self-awareness and accountability. So, how do you find the right coach for yourself?

First, be sure you know what you want to achieve in hiring a Life Coach. For example, you may want to overcome fears of moving forward in your life, so you will want to hire a coach that can help with transformation. Many coaches have niches, and that helps to define their best type of client, with the work that they do as a coach. Some people have dealt with abuse or bullying, and they want to break-through their feelings of being a victim or feeling small in their lives.

Second, be sure to research the coach you are thinking of hiring. Not all Life Coaches are equal. Some are well-trained, and some are just calling themselves a Life Coach. Unfortunately, there are no mandated laws on Life Coaching. Fancy marketing and a great website do not equate to a reputable Life Coach. Ask them if you can contact one of their former clients and be sure to trust your feelings when researching Life Coaches. If you have a consultation with a Life Coach, be sure that you are not being coerced to work with them. Some Life Coaches are well-trained in the art of closing the sale with a potential client. Life Coaches should never manipulate or bully someone to work with them. Again—trust your gut and think twice about working with them if you feel pushed to work with someone. Also, just because they are successful, does not mean they can make you successful if they are not the right coach for you.

Third, a Life Coach is supposed to help you with your transformation or achieving your goals. It’s about your agenda—not theirs. While they may see things differently than you do, they should allow the natural developing of your self-awareness and personal growth to unfold. They should never tell you what your next step is or control the coaching process with their agenda. Your agenda or goals should always come first.

Fourth, a Life Coach may ask you to sign a contract to work with them. This agreement is a professional contract between you and the Life Coach. They may also want to sell you a month or three-month package too. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can pay for one session and see if this Life Coach is a good fit for you. In some cases, it will take more than one session to help you to achieve your goal(s). You want to be mindful of your investment in yourself and finding the right Life Coach for your needs.

Fifth, keep in mind when hiring a Life Coach and if it does not work out, that you should ask to stop the services between you and the Life Coach. Be prepared that the Life Coach may not want to let you out of the contract, but an ethical Life Coach will want what is best for you and most likely will allow you to break the contract. The bottom line is that you want positive results when working with a Life Coach. There is nothing worse than paying a Life Coach and feeling resentful for less than desirable results. Be sure to ask a Life Coach what ethics they operate by if you are thinking of hiring them. For example, a Life Coach is not qualified to handle matters that should be addressed by a Mental Health professional. Empower yourself and make wise decisions–it’s your right to have a wonderful life.

Prozac or a Life Coach?

Dawn at her birthday party!If you had the choice, would you choose to take Prozac for “mild” depression or would you hire a Life Coach?  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability.  When it comes to what creates depression, you may want to consider the benefits of Prozac or any other mind-altering pharmaceutical or what paybacks you will get from working with a Life Coach.

It’s important to listen to your doctor and follow sage advice.  If you are dealing with depression—you may need pharmaceutical medicine to manage your depression. It may help you to find “stability” in your life or to find a way to cope with your depression. But—what if you could see how you have created your depression through hiring a Life Coach?  Sometimes you need another person to show you how you have become your own “worst bully” in your life.

For example, if you allow others to mistreat your or disrespect you, this could be causing you to have depression.  Working with a Life Coach who is well-suited to support your needs and goals can help you to “break” some habits that aren’t for you highest good.  See my blog on hiring the right Life coach:  http://dawnmariewestmoreland.com/2015/09/27/five-tips-before-hiring-a-life-coach/

If you have allowed yourself to be bullied by others, your self-esteem and self-love may be at an all-time low.  No one wants to be bullied.  It’s plain awful.   Often times, bullies target people who they feel are weak and easy to bully.   The harm—mental and physical can put you in a state of mind that is hard to overcome.  Every person feels their story is powerful to them.  Their perception is real to them.

One out of four women has been sexually molested, while one out of six men has experienced this also according to “Our Voice”, which is a non-profit organization in Asheville, NC that serves sexual assault abuse through counseling, advocacy, and education.  If you have experienced sexual abuse and have not been able to heal from it, you may be feeling insecure, have low self-esteem or self-love.   You may not mix well with others or you tend to be quieter than others.  Workplace bullies pick up on these tendencies and prey on those who they think are weak.

What if you could learn to love and respect yourself?  Chances are that you would have “healthier boundaries” with others.  You may learn how to be an “observer”, instead of an “absorber” when you deal with narcissistic bullies in the workplace.  Learning how to be a non-player in other people’s drama is very empowering and liberating.  Sometimes the greatest teachers are the narcissistic bully.

You can learn how to stand up to workplace bullying and you can find that with the right Life Coach. You will never find it by taking Prozac.  Now, don’t get me wrong—there is no “shame” in taking care of yourself and being on medication if you really need it.  Please make sound decisions when dealing with your health and well-being.  Listen to your doctor.

However, if you don’t learn how to set healthy boundaries in your life and to truly love yourself, you will probably be dealing with negative circumstances, over and over in your life.  It’s time to set yourself free from your “old stories”.  It’s time to own your “stories”, instead of your stories “owning” you.   Consider working with a Life Coach and learn how you can break your “chains” of dis-empowerment and live a better life.

Many Life Coaches have been in your “shoes” before and that is why they are attracted to helping others who have similar circumstances as they have in their life.   Some Life Coaches have worked on themselves and improved their own self-development before reaching out to help others.  There is nothing like being stuck in the “mud” and then overcoming the circumstances.

If you can learn how to become empowered, it’s like being taught how to fish.  Instead of someone giving you fish to eat, you learn to catch your own fish.  You become independent and trust yourself.  You get the point.  Claiming your personal power means holding yourself accountable to make wiser decisions and to get the help you deserve.  Many of the famous spiritual leaders in our world have gone through massive “transformations” to become who they are today.  They have been badly abused, they have overcome, and today, they are teaching others how to overcome.

In wrapping up, discern on which side of empowerment you want to be on—the side that keeps you weak and unhappy or the side that allows you to be the greatest version of you?  I hope you choose happiness and being empowered because you deserve it.

If you want more tips on standing up to workplace bullying and empowerment, check out www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com and be sure to follow Dawn Marie Westmoreland on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HealingThymeSvcs You will learn how Dawn became a successful government “whistleblower” through her story and how she is helping to empower others to stand up to workplace bullying as a national speaker, author, coach and HR consultant.

Dos and Don’ts on Social Media When You are Being Bullied at Work

Dawn empowered on the bridgeIt feels great to share your concerns or your victories on social media. It can feel gratifying to get approval or “likes” on your posts.  But—can your social media posts backfire on you?  Yes, they can.  If you are venting about your workplace bullying and using a person’s name, you could be committing defamation of character.  According to http://thelawdictionary.org/article/how-do-you-prove-a-defamation-of-character-claim/:

 Slander and Libel

“There are two different types of defamation of character. The first is when someone verbally says a false statement about you. This is referred to as slander. The second is when someone writes down or publishes a false statement about you. This is referred to as libel.

The Final Step

Once you have proven to the court of law that the statement made against you was, in fact, false the last step is proving that the statement caused some form of damage to you or your reputation. Most lawyers are going to tell you that despite being the last step in the process proving that a statement has caused you harm is the most difficult part of the process. First of all, there is a clear different between a statement having the potential to cause you problems and the statement actually causing you problems. It is only considered defamation of character if the statement has actually caused you harm, not if it has the potential to cause you harm.

In order to win the claim, you are going to need to prove that the false statement has always ruined your reputation. If you are a business owner, for example, you would need to prove how the statement has had a devastating impact on your business. The unfortunate truth is that this does mean you will have to wait for the false statement to cause problems in order for the court to take action against them”.

Everyone has “rights” and if you “verbalize” or “publish” derogatory comments about another person, you could end up with a liability suit against you.  This could get very “sticky” as you will have to prove your comments as being “true”.  This could have the potential to tie you up in court and legal fees for years.  Is it worth it? Most people who are dealing with workplace bullying need an outlet to express their concerns and seek guidance from others who are experiencing the same issues.

A safer way to join a Facebook group that supports people who deal with workplace bullying is to make up a fake (pseudo name). I recommend never using another person’s name in your posts or comments, but discussing your issue in “general terms”.  If you join a Facebook group under your “real name”, be careful with what you post.  Keep out names and circumstances that could be “used” against you if it falls into the wrong hands.  There are cases where the bully or their attorney has compiled social media posts to use against the “bullied”.  It would not serve you for your highest good to have the “other side” to have ammunition to use against you.

Documentation that presents compelling evidence can be very powerful.  If you have made social media posts that could be potentially damaging to you if it gets in the right hands, do your best to delete these posts right away.

There is no way that a Facebook administrator, who is in charge of a Facebook group will be able to know who is the “bully” or “bullied” in their groups.  Anyone can request to join a Facebook group or Twitter group.  Always be careful and If you have a court hearing or an Equal Employment Opportunity Community (EEOC) hearing, the “bully” or attorneys representing the bully may attempt to find a way to access your social media to see if they can find “evidence” or posts that could help them “leverage” control over you.  For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

For example, if you are pursuing an EEO hearing, you have signed a “statement” that you cannot discuss your case, except with certain professionals.  Your case can be thrown out by the EEOC because you “discussed” your case with others that don’t fall under the criteria of the EEOC.

Don’t beat yourself up if you have made defamatory remarks about a bully.  Just be mindful in the future and protect yourself.  You never want a bully to hold “power” over you, especially if you can prevent it.  Reach out to resources that can help or encourage you.  Be mindful of social media groups or any group individuals that focus only on the “negativity” of their situation.  Everyone’s story is powerful to them.  The caution you must take is to be mindful of each person’s contribution to the group.  Are they positive or negative?

It is very cathartic (healing) to share how you feel about your bullying situation.  However, some people will not make the effort to improve their situation.  They will wallow in their sorrow because they appreciate the “pity” attention they receive. Some of them will complain and spew negativity, but they will do nothing to help themselves become empowered.   I think most people want to become empowered and want to know how to stand up to workplace bullying.  Pay attention to the people you surround yourself with because their “energy” will rub off on you.

Last, reach out to support groups or create your own ones so you can get the help your need and the support you deserve.  Be smart and remember, “You are always on Parade”.  You are observed by people who are visible and not visible in your life.  The best revenge for workplace bullying is living well and succeeding in life.

If you need help with your own workplace bullying or discrimination matter—you can find resources on my website at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com

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

 

HR

Are you a bullied employee in the workplace—should you go to Human Resources (HR) for help? Yes. The HR department may be part of your management when it comes to your work hierarchy. If you have an HR department where you work, it may be an internal work obligation 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. Here are five insights on seeking HR’s assistance with your matter:

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 any information you share with them, to the director or top manager in your company. Your leadership will likely want to know if there is dissension in their work environment. 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, embarrassment, and time spent on litigation, but settlement comes out of the tax payer’s pocket.

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 if it becomes an EEO claim or more. HR may turn-it-around on you and state comments that make you fear that you may lose your job over your concerns. However, be sure you still work with your HR department to show that you addressed your matter with them. Turn around and send a clarification email to HR and share what you understood took place at the meeting.

Always print that email out and hand-carry it to a safe place for keeping. Never keep it at work. Third, 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. The internet is a great tool to access work policies, statutes, and more.  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 an excellent site to check out: Pro Bono Legal

Fourth, 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 as an employee.  They may later be involved in attempts to fire you, discredit you, or slander you. Bullying is not illegal; however, harassment and retaliation are unlawful according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can learn more here: EEOC

Fifth, I want to wrap this up that there are many good HR employees out there and many who care about your circumstances. You may never know if they genuinely want to help you if they don’t give you the support you need and deserve. Sometimes, HR personnel are told they must support their management. You can still move forward to another person for help or reach out to the EEOC for more help at EEOC. You can always take other actions, and you can use the email documentation that you reached out to your HR personnel for assistance. It can come in handy when seeking legal support, unemployment compensation, and in the case of pursuing litigation on your matter. You have the right to be treated with respect in your workplace and to know your rights as an employee. Bullied employees have the power to help themselves, along with bystanders who witness bad-acting behavior in the work culture.

 

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

It is ok to be a “Maverick”

For many years, I like others, have been “conditioned” in what to believe in, what to wear, how to do things, and have been told to support a myriad of other beliefs. When we have rebelled against something we did not like or have “buy-in”, we may have been scolded or received some kind of disapproval from others. Like many, we seek approval from others. Hey, it happens! Abraham Maslow states that one of our basic needs is to belong, love and be accepted according to www.goo.gl/eLB2qZ

While there are many mutual beliefs that people like and accept, there are also beliefs that we should discern on. Each of us has our “soul’s calling” and should be listening to our intuition that will give us many answers. If we follow the herd all the time, we may get lost in in a sea of doubt and fear. I believe some people are operating out of fear and insecurity. They dress like everyone else, “buy-in” to marketing that makes them feel inferior and motivates them to buy products and services they may not need. Now, I believe everyone should be wearing professional clothes in a professional venue, but I am talking about the person who will buy the latest fashion just so they will fit in with others who are also following the latest fashion trend. Why not consider clothes that flatter you and wear a style you like?

When we trust our intuition or our “gut” we are seeking our own validation on answers we need. For example, if we have an “icky” feeling about someone, we should honor that feeling. It does not necessarily mean that the person is not a good person, but they may not be the right partner, business consultant or employee that is right for you. We should always honor our “higher knowing” and trust it. Believe me, I have struggled for years trusting my intuition, even when I saw the “red flags”. I finally realized that I was denying myself the most accurate and best answers. When we constantly seek validation and approval from others, we are giving away our personal power. This is not to say that we should not seek sage advice from a mentor or a professional. We need to look within and trust ourselves.

Every one of us has the right and ability to shine our “light” brightly and to do our soul’s calling on this earth. We cannot do that at times when we are so worried about being proper, fitting in, seeking constant approval from others, and that we are afraid to open up our own wings and fly. We become liberated when we learn how to stop seeking approval and validation from others. There are times that we will not be accepted! If you are trying to improve yourself, your friends and family may become very uncomfortable or even threatened. That is their story! I find that people who get “triggered” by others may have a need to heal their past and their old stories. Insecurity can stem back to childhood or anytime we became insecure in our lives. We become more empowered when we heal our old stories, whether that is through a clergy member, a wise friend or coach.

Work with someone who can really help you. Generally, you will move faster when you work with a qualified person who can help you “shift” faster in your life, then if you did it alone.  It can be very uncomfortable trusting our intuition at times. Sometimes, I will question my own intuition, but that is only because I have an “expected” outcome of how I think things should work in my life. The best thing I can suggest is being open to the best possible outcome and it may be far different than what you think will happen. I remember saying that I would give anything to stand in front of Congress/Senate and tell them that the “Whistleblowing” laws that are in effect now, are not working to protect people like myself. I was a Veteran Affairs “Whistleblower” who suffered two years of horrific bullying for turning in my management for prohibited personnel actions.

I kept wondering how I could make it to Washington, D.C. after I “settled with the Veteran Affairs in March 2014. I use to work in the Pentagon years ago, when I was in the Air Force. I had worked with congressmen/women and senators through my Air Force work then, but I had no idea how I would connect with them at the time. I live in Asheville NC now.

Nearly one year later, I was paid by the Concerned Veterans for America to talk to Senators about the need to protect “Whistleblowers” like myself. What a great feeling to be in Bernie Sanders’ many-peopleoffice the day after he announced that he was running for president! Did I see this trip coming? No! Never in my wildest imagination, could I have seen this coming. I admit, it’s hard to “let go” and “trust” sometimes, but it’s vital for our “souls calling”. Living from the heart and not the mind, takes guts and courage. Even I work on my own issues regarding fear. Nonetheless, I would still encourage you to trust your heart and your intuition.

I bet you will have more clarification and peace in your life. Because it does work. I authored a book, “The Empowered Whistleblower: A Practical and Spiritual Path to Personal Power. I address overcoming dis-empowerment through my own stories. You can get a complimentary copy of my first chapter at www.TheEmpoweredWhistleblower.com and you can get a print or kindle-version at http://getbook.at/Dawn Here’s to your success and being authentically “You”!

Feed Your Confidence, Not Your Fear—Tips to empower your confidence

Dawn Picture at RRHow often do you “buy-in” to your fear?  Isn’t it self-defeating and un-empowering? It can be down-right crippling.    If you continually feed your fears, you are going to stay “small” and deal with non-serving beliefs about yourself.  Kick your fears to the curb!  You will always feel some “fear” in your life.  Fear is normal and can actually help empower you to make wise choices in your life.  But, when fear controls your life and holds you hostage—it is time to divorce your fears.  Now you may be thinking that this is not so easy, but let me assure you—you can do it if you want to release your fears.

For example, I talked to a lady recently who felt inspired to be a motivational speaker.  In fact, she was dreaming about it.  Now, your dreams can be a powerful sign for you to take action.  Her fear of standing in front of others and what they would think of her was keeping her from taking the action to fulfill her dream.  This happens to many people and some people can “break-through” it and others need a little assistance.   Did you realize our fears can be a form of “gremlin” that can actually protect us? That’s right! Let me explain.  In the case of this lady, her fear aka “gremlin” was protecting her from being embarrassed in front of others and people finding fault with her.   In reality, this kind of “protection” keeps us small and a “leader in hiding”.   For goodness sakes!  There are people out there that really need you and your services. They are only going to connect and resonate with you.

If you are noticing how your life or your business is unfulfilling or that issues are coming up that are making you uncomfortable, that is probably your sign that you are not where you need to be right now.  It’s time to step up and “break-through” your self-made wall that is keeping you on the side of unhappiness and fulfillment.   Don’t be looking for others to rescue you. They have their own issues to work on.  You empower yourself when you do the work needed to step into the person you want to be on this earth.  Now, let’s kick that door down!  If you only realized you are giving away your personal power when you are constantly seeking answers from others. You are your own “expert” in your journey of life. Why not follow your own inner guidance and trust that you can positively change your life.   Are you ready to kick that door down?

First, realize that living “small” and playing “safe” may have protected you in the past from being embarrassed or dealing with critical people.  Just own it and don’t judge yourself.  It served you in the past.  However, if you are really ready to move on and be more empowered, you must have a “talk” with your fear aka “gremlin” and tell it that it has served you well in the past and has protected you.  You may even feel thankful for the protection it served you.  But, you are ready and willing to spread your wings and get the training you want, join a toastmaster’s organization or speak up for a raise in your job now.  Tell your fears or gremlin “thank you and to hit the road now”, because you feel protected in your knowledge that you are able to move forward and that your inner guidance is now going to empower you.

Second, keep some kind of record so you can later realize how far you have come with your own personal-growth.  Often times people take things for granted and fail to realize that even little baby steps are steps of empowerment and lead you in the right direction on your journey.  I find that the more things you express gratitude for, the more grateful experiences will pop into your life.  This has been proven over and over again.  I could share so many amazing opportunities that have entered my life because I express “gratitude” daily.   The heart puts out more energy than the brain does.  Let your appreciation for your personal self-growth and gratitude come from the heart.   Have fun with it and be creative! Some people will write notes and put it in a jar to read later.  It can be helpful to read when you are having a bad day.

Most people can use a little more “confidence” once in a while.  As a hypnotherapist, I created an MP3 called “confidence” that can be listened to in a comfortable place where you will not be interrupted.  It is a guided meditation/hypnosis session that offers suggestions of relaxation and confidence.  Hypnosis is simply a guided meditation.  When you can access your subconscious through meditation/hypnosis, you are able to use mind over matter, with positive suggestions to help you achieve an outcome you desire.  Be sure that you don’t listen to it while operating any heavy equipment.   Always seek professional medical help if needed, this audio cannot replace medical care that you may need.  Here is to more empowerment and staying on the journey to self-growth, self-love, and self-respect!  You can access the “confidence” audio here:  http://dawnmariewestmoreland.com/confidence-hypnosis/

 

Dawn Westmoreland knows what it’s like to be un-empowered and feeling like a “victim”.  After blowing the whistle on her former government manager, Dawn endured two years of retaliation and bullying that resulted in her landing in a mental health ward for three days.  Dawn checked herself out and promised herself that she would never be a “victim” again and she would help others who wanted to move forward in their lives.  Dawn later settled with this government agency and began training to become a Life Coach that empowers professional women today.  She is sought out by media and has finished over 30 radio/magazine interviews about her journey and how she is empowering women today.  Dawn has begun writing her book about her story and tips for others to overcome their “old stories”.  The Christian Science Monitor also has praised Dawn for her bravery and empowering women today.

Five Reasons Why I Was Able to Overcome My Miserable Life

Dawn and VirtueWe all experience miserable life experiences from time to time.  We may get a divorce, a spouse lets us down or we absolutely hate our job.  I could go on and on about miserable experiences, however, I would rather share my experience with you about “overcoming”.    When you are able to “own” your old stories, instead of your old stories “owning” you, empowerment and liberation prevails.   It is that simple.  Why live in misery, when you can feel better about your life and your circumstances.  Let’s go ahead and jump in and take action to “overcome” the misery we experience at times.

First, every experience in your life is a growing opportunity for you.  I had an experience a couple of years ago where I felt another person had demeaned me after they asked me what I had been up to lately.  I then shared with this person some of the rougher parts of my week. Their comments back to me were very harsh and cut me to threads at the time.  I actually cried because those comments made me feel so small and unappreciated.  I later realized that I had received a “gift” from this person because the experience reminded me of being a young child and getting a verbal lashing from my grandmother.  My grandmother was very stern and had grown up in an orphanage.  She was a very good person, but gave very tough love to me.  I never realized that I had unresolved issues with my grandmother.  The experience of receiving unkind and cutting words helped me to realize I needed to heal the past with my grandmother.  What an eye-opener and a gift for me!  I made peace with my grandmother, who has been dead for many years.  I no longer get as “triggered” by unkind people.  I fixed that problem.

Two, my life felt out of control and I was barely keeping up with my own self-care.  When you work too much and neglect taking care of yourself—you are going to pay a high price.  Your mental and physical health may begin to decline.    I experienced this myself when I ended up in the VA Mental Health ward for three days.  I neglected myself and wore myself out working too many hours on my two court cases against the Veteran Affairs.  The stress and my own neglect on self-care got me a three day stay in the Mental Health ward.   Not fun and the food really sucked there too!  Today, I schedule in self-care in my daily calendar.   I meditate, pray, get massages, receive energy work from a friend, and fit in the best thing I can afford to do, that helps me when I need it.

Three, we always have choices in our life. Have you ever looked back and realized you may have not made a good choice?  We all do!  For example, I had a consultation on the phone the other day with a female who had “bought in” to the fact that she should follow her parent’s advice for her career path. This was a truly gifted lady who wanted to work more in the “arts” and not work a boring job just for the benefits.   She was suffering from so much guilt and wanted the freedom to be herself and work in jobs that were more to her taste.  As children we may become conditioned by our parents who really love us and want the best for us.  However, when we become adults, we are giving away our “personal power” when we let others control our lives.  Most of us have been guilty of this at one time or another.   I use to give away my “personal power” all the time by trying to fit in with others or by trying to please others too much.   Today, it is much easier for me to “catch” myself before I give away my “personal power”.   I have my own choices to make and I am 100% accountable to myself. I encourage you to look at how you have given away your own “personal power” and make a decision to love and respect yourself more.

Fourth, can you think of someone who takes advantage of you or someone who is always complaining?  Don’t they just suck the energy out of you?  Some people call them Energy Vampires.  As I said earlier, we all get to make choices in our lives.  I found the best way to handle these kind of people is to set boundaries in our lives.  You don’t have to let another person abuse you or make you their sounding board.  Setting healthy boundaries with another person can be as easy as telling a negative person that you would rather not hear them complain about their life all the time. You could ask them to start telling you positive aspects of their life or avoid them as much as possible.  I often do this when I experience constant negative outbursts from people.   I also enjoy reading and recommend “Assertiveness for Earth Angels”, which is a book from Doreen Virtue.   This book describes many different kinds of personalities people have and how to become more assertive with each one.

Five, you must show up for your life.  If you are just riding the roller coaster of life and you are not in control, it is time to be accountable to yourself.  If your spending is out of control, get professional help.  If you can’t stand up for yourself, hire a life coach or hypnotherapist who can help you become more empowered in your life.   The worst thing you can do is think you cannot afford it.   The real truth is you cannot afford not to get help.  The real expense could come in the form of debt that financially drains you or an expensive divorce that drains you financially and emotionally.   You must invest in yourself and your life.  I do—I work with a business coach, who also has a coach and so on and so on…..  You always want to work with someone reputable that is doing better than you are at the time.  This way you are learning and growing. It has really paid off for me in so many ways.   I have made sacrifices to work with a coach so I could achieve the results I wanted, in a much faster manner than if I had done it on my own.   It was well worth it and I encourage you to invest in yourself so you can obtain the results you want in a faster manner.   My life is now happier, more peaceful, and I am excited to be a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist, who gets to help others become empowered.  We all deserve to have happy and have empowered lives.

If you feel kinda “stuck” in your life and need a “break-through”, request a complimentary 20 minute strategy consultation with me at www.DawnMarieWestmoreland.com/contact

Here is one of my testimonials—“Dawn helped me to “break free” of some emotional baggage that was stuck for quite some time. It was quite surprising at first, but a calming sense of grounding and peace followed. Her loving energy made me feel nourished and focused. Wonderful experience. Will have to do it again!”