Entries Tagged as: Books

Interview with Alexia Vernon, author of Step Into Your Moxie

January 17th, 2019, Comments (0)


I was recently given a copy of Step Into Your Moxie by Alexia Vernon. The book was full of great tips on how to step into your truest, most powerful self, so that you can express the things that you are here to share with the world. I liked her tips on how to speak back to the voices in our heads with questions like, "What are other possible options?" and "How is my judgment undermining me?" The way she describes it makes me think of a tool I use, which is to imagine what the nicest mom in the world would say to me as a way to counteract negative self-talk. I hope you enjoy this interview with Alexa and if you want more, check out her book

What does it mean to “step into your moxie”?

Stepping into your moxie is the ability to walk into any room, or onto any stage, present your ideas, unapologetically, and have them move people to take action. I love the word moxie because it suggests a way of thinking, a way of feeling, and a way of behaving that activates speaking up and disrupting the status quo. This is what Step into Your Moxie is all about — amplifying your voice, visibility, and influence in the world — even if, especially if, you have previously struggled to do so in your work, your community, or in your personal life.

You encourage your readers to identify their go-to filler words and use the practice of “Stop and Smile” to weed them out. Tell us more.

To step into the fullest expression of your moxie, it’s vital to ditch words and phrases that sabotage your influence. Many of these ineffectual words emerge as vocalized thinking, or as filler words, which we speak when we are not exactly sure what to say next. I’m referring to words and phrases like um, so, like, okay, anyway(s), and you know. We use them when our brains and mouths fall out of step, and we need a moment to realign. These are some of the most damaging words to our own (and others’) perception of our moxie, and fortunately, some of the easiest to weed out. Enter the practice of Stop and Smile. When you Stop and Smile, you literally stop what you are saying, even if it’s midsentence. And you smile, and breathe, and make eye contact with whomever you are speaking to (rather than concede to the temptation to double-check that the sky is still blue or that your shoes are scuff-free). Whether you Stop and Smile for a millisecond or for half a minute, you resist the temptation to vocalize your thinking with an um, so, like, okay, anyway(s), or you know, and prioritize connection over verbal communication.

You say it is important to “begin with the end in mind” when devising communication. Can you explain what you mean?

Most of us devise our communication the same way — from the beginning to the end. Spoiler alert: this is the wrong way! Because when you craft your communication linearly, it often does not lead you to your destination — or powerfully move people to take action on your ideas. Whether your goal is to prepare for and master a daring conversation, a negotiation, or a presentation, when you “begin with the end in mind,” you start by asking yourself: What is my call to action? Then, you ask yourself: What does my audience (whether it’s an audience of 1 or 100) need to hear from me right before? And how is this leading them toward my call to action? You answer this question for yourself. And then you keep asking: What does my audience need to hear from me before that? until you work yourself back to the start of what you want to say.

You encourage your readers to stop labeling the sensations they feel in their body during visibility opportunities fear. What do you propose they do instead?

If you are anything like me, or at least who I used to be, my hunch is that when you are on the cusp of doing (and especially saying) something big, important, and paradigm shifting, you label what you are experiencing in your body as fear. However, what you are feeling in these moments is your body acknowledging that you are on the cusp of something important. If you mine your life to uncover the moments when you felt like you busted through your own glass ceiling — when you spoke your truth, negotiated your worth, crushed a sales call, or found the words to have a daring conversation — my hunch is you didn’t feel like you were on a beach vacation. Rather, you felt like a colony of butterflies had migrated for the winter into your thoracic cavity. This is normal. This is you on the brink of stepping into your moxie. And the last thing you want to do is to shove that sensation back down or create a narrative around it that positions you as a victim or martyr rather than as a protagonist — which is what you are. If you want to consistently step into your moxie, speak up and out, and do it in a way that moves people to take action, you must learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable. That starts with giving yourself ample opportunities to role-play what you plan to say so that you’re old hat at feeling your sensation and speaking through it by the time you have an audience, whether that’s an audience of one or one million, or something in between.

What advice can you offer women who need to have a daring conversation but aren’t sure where or how to begin?

This is one of my favorite chapters in the book, “Conflict Is the Pits, Until It Isn’t.” When you find yourself in situations in which you know conflict is possible, and similarly know that a conversation needs to happen to prevent you from feeling like you are trying to tread water in a sinkhole, you have four choices. First, you can avoid the conversation. Second, you can wing the conversation. Third, you can mentally script what you plan to say, and have the conversation over and over in your head. Or fourth, you can plan out your conversation, role-play it, and then show up and have it. Clearly, my preference is for readers to choose number four. In order for it to feel like a viable option, it’s important to shift from seeing the kind of conversation you know you need to have as “difficult” to seeing it as “daring.” For difficult conversations happen when you see yourself as the recipient of conflict (real or perceived) rather than as the co-creator of your situation. When you choose compassion, curiosity, creativity, and collaboration, you shift a difficult conversation into a daring one.

# # #

Alexia Vernon is the author of Step into Your Moxie. Branded a “Moxie Maven” by President Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, she is a sought-after speaking and leadership coach who delivers transformational keynotes and corporate trainings for Fortune 500 companies and other professional groups and organizations, including the United Nations and TEDx. Visit her online at www.alexiavernon.com.

Creative Every Day Check-In: March 2 – 8

March 2nd, 2015, Comments (1)

So sorry for the delay this week, we've got a house full of sick kids! The monthly theme will be here soon! This weekly check-in post is a place for Creative Every Day Challenge participants to share their creative activities. 

Join in the ChallengeYou can sign-up for the 2015 Challenge here!

Ways to share: Once you've signed up, you can leave a comment on this post and/or use the "Mr. Linky" widåget below to link to a blog post(s) or flickr image of your creative activities during the days of 3/2/15 - 3/8/15. 

The widget below is an optional method of sharing your creativity that makes it easier for others to check out what you're up to. You can use it to link to a blog post (or posts) or flickr image during the week listed. Or if you have a bunch of posts and don't want to link to all of them, you can link to your main blog page once. Do it in a way that makes sense and is fun for you! If you're unsure about how to use the widget, check out the "How to use the Mr. Linky widget" section on the Creative Every Day Challenge page. (If you're reading this in a RSS reader or email subscription, you will not see the "Mr. Linky widget", so click on over to the blog to use it.) If the Mr. Linky widget is missing from this blog post, it's probably a problem with their server and it will come back as soon as it's fixed. You can always leave your link in the comments. There is sometimes a slight delay in your link/image showing up in the Mr. Linky widget, so if you don't see it immediately, check back in a little bit.

You can also take advantage of the great CED flickr group to post your images and see what others are up to. If you're on Twitter or Instagram you can use the hashtag #CED2015!. Find us on Facebook here.

Theme: March's totally optional theme is Books!

Happy Creating!

Happy New Year!

January 3rd, 2014, Comments (4)

Here's to another year of fantabulous creating, exploring, connecting and living!

On New Year's Eve, Annabelle and I created some fun fireworks art with white chalk and glitter glue on black mat board. Fun! 

If you're looking for a way to wrap up 2013, plan ahead for 2014, and a great a way to explore this month's "past, present, future" theme, then I recommend checking out Leonie Dawson's 2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook, which you can now get in a physical book format or in a download and print yourself version. I've done this workbook for years now and it's a great way to focus your goals and action steps, while honoring all you've accomplished in the year previously. Enjoy! 

Have you selected a word for the year? This is another ritual I like to do each year. This year I chose the word "live" because I want to really live all the big and especially the little moments this year. 


September 18th, 2012, Comments (10)

Inspired by an essay in Patti Digh's upcoming book, The Geography of Loss, I created this piece recently. I've found that you do get stronger from experiences of walking through the fire. This was painted with acrylic on paper.

Writing aRound and a Giveaway!

July 24th, 2012, Comments (35)

Another idea to play with the round theme before the month is up is to gather with a few friends (or do this via email) and write in a round. You could each write a line (or paragraph) of a story (or poem) before passing it to the next and marvel at where it goes!

I once did this idea with 5 canvases and 5 friends. Each person started a canvas and played with it for about 30 minutes before passing it on to the next person. We worked on the canvases throughout the day, eventually ending up with the canvas we started with, an original piece of art touched by many hands. So fun!

There are loads of fun ideas, prompts and inspiring tidbits in A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie. A great style for writers looking for daily inspiration, the book has 365 short essays, a bit of inspiration for each day of the year. And at the book there is a list of 52 writing prompts, one for each week of the year. If you're feeling stuck or unsure where to begin, this book will surely give you something to run with.

One of the suggestions that reminded me of the circular theme this month was day 29, titled "First things first." The author mentions writer, John Irving, who writes his last sentence first. That blew my mind! But what a great idea, to start with the ending and then work your way back to it.

Would you like a copy of A Year of Living Dangerously? Simply leave a comment (make sure to include your email address, so I can contact you) and I'll select a winner by Friday, July 27th. Good luck!

Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Becky!

Day 23: Last page of Annabelle’s book

November 23rd, 2011, Comments (10)

Here's the last page of Annabelle's book. I can't wait to read it to her! I know at first, she may just want to eat it (hehe), but I think it will become a special book to her someday. I'd like to make more! Maybe something with collage that I can have printed and bound elsewhere. Hmm, something to think on.

For those who celebrate, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope your day is filled with family, great food, love, and hopefully a bit of time to create!

Day 22: Annabelle Loves…

November 22nd, 2011, Comments (6)

Another page in the book for Annabelle today. She definitely loves her mommy and daddy!

Day 6 – Emily and the Deer

November 6th, 2011, Comments (22)

A quick drawing today, using some new brush pens I picked up. I had no plans, just started to draw and the deer came. I seem to be connecting with deer lately. I'll have to look them up in my Animal Speak book!

I hope you had a beautifully creative weekend!

Day 5: More book pages

November 5th, 2011, Comments (18)

Today, I finished up the cover and the bath time page for A's book that I started a few days ago. I read her the first few pages and she seems to like it!

I also worked a little bit on the larger painting I started on day 1. I also want to share a bit of creativity from my family history. My grandmother made this sweater for my future child, before she passed away and before her Alzheimer's disease got bad. I didn't know about it until my mom gave it to me at my baby shower last April. Today we put it on A and it fit perfectly. Thank you, Grandma! We love it!

Day 2 – Book for A

November 2nd, 2011, Comments (25)

For Day 2 I wanted to do something in honor of my daughter turning 6 months. 6 months!! A whole half a year. Remember when half a year was important? When you'd say, "I'm 8 and a half!" Hehe.

Back when I was still pregnant, Mindy of wishstudio gave me a blank board book as a gift and this week, I decided what I wanted to do with it. I decided to create a little storybook of things A loves. So far I've done two page spreads, one for cats (you can see above) and one for music, two things she adores at this point in her young life. I'll later do pages for bath time and for mommy and daddy.