Amy Kessel is a certified life coach, friend and colleague. Her work is all about helping women become more than selves – to unfold, or unfurl as Amy calls it, into their magnificience. I talked with her recently about unfurling as she begins a new program, Unfurling : The Journey, on September 12. Click for details.
What are the signs we can see or feel that it is time to unfurl?
Quite literally we unfurl when our cocoons are too small.
There’s no doubt in my mind that an absolutely essential phase within the cycle of transformation I call unfurling is the cocoon. This is the time-out we give ourselves in order to go inward, to incubate what’s coming alive, to regenerate and rest — not produce or exert.
The cocoon is an important precursor to your unfurling. It contains information you’ll need to commit yourself to the act of unfurling. And ignoring the call to do just that will deprive you of vital energy you’ll need when you DO burst out. Which you will.
The signs that an unfurling is near are restlessness and squirmy discomfort in the area of your life within which you are due for an upgrade. If you’re unfurling in the realm of career, you may notice that an element of your work feels suddenly claustrophobic or limiting. Or that you’re frustrated by the same systems you proudly put in place some time ago. Or that your clients no longer feel like your Right People.
Basically, it’s time to unfurl when how you are showing up in your world no longer syncs up with who you are at the core.
Where does the desire to unfurl come from?
The desire to unfurl is powered by longing. We long for ways to honor our values and to act upon our calling or life purpose, and we recognize the opportunity to do just that in unfurling.
Like fingerprints, we each have a set of values that is unique to us. These values underlie every decision we make and determine how fulfilled we are within our lives. We don’t choose our values : they simply constitute who we are. Honoring our values makes us feel good, and ignoring or squashing our values does the opposite.
Easy, yes? We all want to feel good!
An unfurling is foremost an opportunity to honor our core values. Right below the surface of what is unfurling are one or two essential values – for example, achievement/recognition or creativity/communication or legacy. The desire to unfurl is tightly bound to these values, and it gives us the boost we need to initiate unfurling action.
In addition to honoring our values, the desire to unfurl is generated by a calling. We are all called to bring ourselves to the world in a way that enables us to share our gifts. Small or large, widely visible or nearly imperceptible … our callings enable us to show up, share and serve. It’s through answering our callings that we contribute our authentic presence to the world. And unfurling is the act of rising to the joyful challenge of doing just that.
What makes it so tricky to unfurl as women entrepreneurs?
As you well know, being a woman entrepreneur – especially one whose business lives primarily online – puts you in a vulnerable position. In a sense, we ARE our businesses. We take things personally. We learn by doing, and that doing is seen and heard by our peers, our clients and our customers. And despite our best efforts, our successes and failures impact us on an emotional level.
Unfurling in business means leaving behind ways of being that don’t serve us, and signing new contracts with ourselves; contracts that require us to be authentic, honest and transparent. It’s important to remember that it’s not the business that’s unfurling, it’s YOU. And yet your unfurling will directly impact your evolving business.
The challenge for an unfurling woman entrepreneur is to implement changes in her business that reflect and support who she is becoming. The payoff for initiating change from the inside out in this way is truly sustainable growth for the company.
What practical strategies can keep us “on course” for our unfurling?
Unfurling is a natural cycle that happens to us again and again. The challenge is to harness its incredible power and wisdom. To be in partnership with your next unfurling (in business as well as in other areas of your life), watch closely for the stages of unfurling, and take action according to where you are:
The cocoon – time to draw back, to allow some slack;
The bursting out – time to focus your attention on your values, harness your strengths, say Yes to your calling;
The upward spiral – time to acknowledge your progress, face resistance when it arises, call in support;
And the pinnacle – time to integrate your learning and appreciate your new perspective.
Pay attention and your unfurling will reward you!
What can women entrepreneurs expect to experience/walk away with if they dove into your Unfurling: The Journey program?
The Unfurling program is a small group experience designed to bring you in right relationship with what’s unfurling in you right now. As a entrepreneur, working with your unfurling is an opportunity to gracefully move from one level to the next in your business, by stepping more fully into who you are becoming as a woman.
The program is a four-month journey toward claiming your spot at the table. You’ll recognize what’s calling you forth and allow it to influence how you strategically position yourself to best share your gifts and strengths as a entrepreneur. You’ll identify outdated beliefs and practices that no longer serve you, and replace them with more empowered ways of being. You’ll leave with a set of tools and practices you can employ in service to the unfurlings that will happen again and again, in business and in life.