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As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

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Turns Out I Was Ready

Today’s post was contributed by valued Celebrate Life (my private Facebook group), Merry Lynch Pavlak, an ex-pat living in Poland. In case you missed it, be sure to read part one of this series on being ready (even when you’re not) here.

Come to find out…I was ready!

I was offered an incredible opportunity to facilitate a program at the local university in Lodz, Poland, called, Empower Her Future. Not only is this a dream workshop for me, but I am an American living in Poland and I do not speak the language. Talk about overcoming some limiting beliefs! I had them all coming at me, all at once. I am 66 years old and wondered if I was relevant to the 18-35 age group of all women. 

When the roster was delivered to me, the women were from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Mongolia, Yemen, Serbia, and Azerbaijan. Thoughts of lack flooded my mind. I am from a small town in Maine, a state that has fewer than 1 million people (about the population of Delaware). A state that has a white, Angelo-Saxon population. What do I know about diversity, about war, about the cultural demographics? 

The war in Ukraine is a short 10-hour drive away. We feel it every day as women and children from Ukraine flood the streets of Poland. Russia is the invader, the bully in the sandbox. So how do we not push our judgments or criticisms of ALL Russians are bullies to the few that are? How do we as women come together in a group to self-discover our dreams and ambitions in a place of solidarity instead of angst and retaliation?

I had doubts, big ones. Asking for help was something that I needed to do, but who would I turn to? This was bigger than me… so I thought. 

How I ‘Got Ready’

I first turned to the organization that I partnered with, TTI Success Insights, who donated DISC assessments to help bring the participants to an even playing field. DISC assessments look at innate human behaviors. There is no comparison to schooling, education, demographics, profession, or background. These are deep seeded behaviors. Doing this allowed me to level the playing field. 

I then turned to other international cultural coaches to get a take on their thoughts. And finally, I reached out to a pastor. My doubts were bigger than me… so I thought. Once I took the focus off me and onto the process everything changed. I stood in my truth. I pulled upon my strengths. I looked to the wisdom that I hold. I stepped into my greatness.

Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. As women, we tend to be embarrassed by our weaknesses when this simply means we are human. It means that there is someone else that enjoys working or playing in our weakness, that is their strength. It is the reason opposites attract. 

By utilizing these computerized assessments, I was able to focus the conversation on each woman’s abilities, interests, goals, dreams, and desires. It was empowering for everyone. I grew as a facilitator; the women grew as individuals and then as a group. We came together, we shared, we spoke our truth, we laid down the hammer of judgment. 

Defining Moments

The program ended with a vision board workshop where each woman designed her path for growth in a visual format of her choosing. As each woman completed their visual representation of the person they were about to become, I asked that they share that with the group. When we announce our dreams to others, we allow them to help hold us accountable. The world is spinning so fast that it is easy to let ourselves down as we care for others. By sharing our dreams, we silently give others permission to dream as well. It makes for magic, camaraderie, and empowerment.

If you ever doubt that you are ready or that you have enough or are enough try this simple, yet powerful exercise called Defining Moments. 

A combination of timeline and values exercise will help in defining your ways of being that are important to you. A place for you to draw a line in the sand of what is important to you right now in this moment. 

Our values change as we grow, your values statement is always a work in progress and will lead you to always achieving your goal. You will look at both positive and negative experiences that have occurred in a three-to-five-year period.

 This is a snapshot of your life. Please do not hold judgment of yourself when performing this exercise. It is just a place to notice and to learn.


  1. Think back over a three-to-five-year period of your life, noticing and writing down on the timeline events that were both positive and negative. The positive experiences will be placed above the dotted line while the negative experiences you will write under the dotted line. In total think of between seven to ten experiences, negative and positive.
  2. Each experience has taught you a lesson or has left a mark, or you might refer to this as a value. Something you either want more of or less of in your life. Around each positive event above the dotted line write the values that were present. For the events that had a negative impact write the values that were missing at that time.
  3. Review each of the values that you listed around each event. Which of the values are most interesting to exciting to you? Which ones do you want more of in your life or are important to you in your life right now? Circle three to five of the most important values to you currently.
  4. The highlight would be to take these three to five words and build a sentence using them that you then can say to yourself several times a day. Think of it as a personal affirmation. By turning your negative self-talk into a statement that is absolutely 100% true of the person to whom you really are, you begin to turn your attention to growth and positivity instead of lack and fear. 

Never forget, you are ready for what life throws at you. By staying in the present, you place your attention on the process instead of the outcome. That is where the magic happens.

Merry Lynch PavlakHi! I’m Merry and I specialize in igniting human potential.

We all have dreams, and it’s my professional passion to help you achieve the life you’re dreaming of. Through vision boarding, 1:1 coaching, or my unique in-depth life envisioning courses, we’ll get you started on your brave new second act in life. Find me at BravingMidlife.com

April 18, 2023


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