Giving Yourself Permission to Dream

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Hi Friends,

I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about we get from survival mode back to dream mode and let me tell you, it’s all about getting visionary.

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the movie Cinderella. I wanted a Gus Gus in my life more than anything. I would fantasize about carrying him around in my pocket and the two of us getting caught up in mischief all day. 

Now, Gus aside, one of my favorite songs from Cinderella is “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” I recently heard Christina Perri’s cover of it and it was like hearing the song for the very first time. The lyrics go…

“A dream is a wish your heart makes

When you're fast asleep

In dreams you will lose your heartaches

Whatever you wish for, you keep

Have faith in your dreams and someday

Your rainbow will come smiling through

No matter how your heart is grieving

If you keep on believing

The dream that you wish will come true”

All of my favorite themes: dreams, grief, and faith.  

Dreams are a unifying force—we all have them. But the thing is, not all of us feel like we have permission to get on the court with our dreams. Some of us feel like dreaming is for the select few—that not everyone gets to have their innermost desires met—in work or in life. This can be even more true for those of us who are marginalized. And sometimes, like after 2 years in a pandemic, we just feel too zapped to dream. I so get it!

But I’m here to convince you to dream anyway. Joy is an act of resistance and joy is an active ingredient in the journey to make your dreams come to fruition.

When I first left my marketing agency in my late 20’s, I was so disconnected from my desires. I was newly diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases and was coming to terms with my own behaviors that had set me up to miss the mark. Life felt so topsy-turvy and I felt nowhere near dreaming. It took me about a year of healing and coming out of fight or flight mode before I could even think about what was next. 

Every day I took a micro step. I meditated, I set boundaries, I journaled, I moved my body and made the best choices I could until I felt safe enough to dream again. This is a valid and important part of the process. And the resulting steps I took are what led me here—doing my juiciest life's work.

I believe in your dreams and that doing the work that lights you up is your birthright.  

Real talk, getting on the court with our dreams is one of the MOST vulnerable things we can do.  It asks us to bare our souls, to be really honest about the wishes our hearts are making, and to walk towards them publicly, knowing full well that we may miss the mark (if I had a dollar for every time I have!). It can be really freaking scary.  

However, a wise person once said, on the other side of our greatest fears are our greatest dreams. If we can shift those fears just a millimeter each day, before you know it, you’re walking towards a place that feels like home. What micro step can you take today in service of your dreams?


My favorite things to support dreaming 

Inside The Nourishment Journal I have a whole section on how to write your dreams and shift the mindset blocks standing between you and your wildest desires.  

This book on Free Play has been instrumental for me. For those of us that spend so much time at work or behind a computer, we can forget the importance of play and creativity. This starts to loosen the threads and gives you permission to free your inner child.

This meditation I made for you on the dream for your life one year from now 

The Artist’s Way” is a tried and true method for unleashing your creativity and discovering your truest desires. It takes discipline and consistency but yields major results.  

 Let this be the permission and sign you’ve been waiting for.  

To dreams,

Amina xx

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The Great Prioritization: The New World of Work After the Great Resignation

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Hey friends,

The Great Resignation, as we’ve been talking about for months, has led to a sort of workplace revolution. Burned out, bummed out, and undervalued, many of us decided it was time for a seismic change. 

Enter: The post-pandemic (meaning the world after living in a pandemic, we must acknowledge that it’s still raging on) paradigm of work, where there is no space for the old-school management styles that exert power over and dictate terms to its workforce. 

Real talk—the modern workplace is broken. Let’s take the 8-hour work day, for example. The 8-hour work day was established in 1867 to protect workers who held jobs brought about by the industrial revolution, who would routinely work manual labor exceeding 12 to 14 hours. It was intended as a protective mechanism. 

And did you know that the work day was originally designed around men’s hormones, to work around their 24-hour testosterone cycle? ​​The workplace wasn’t designed to support everyone and it’s even more ill-fitting in 2022. 

Work is markedly different than it was 150 years ago. Heck, it’s way different than a decade ago and we need to support our employees and teams in a way that honors who they are, what is happening in their roles, and what is happening in the world. So if you’re considering a shift and are exploring a more supportive work culture, you may want to ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my goals for my career in the near term and long term? Does my current organization and role align with those goals?
  • What do I value in work and in life? Are those values reflected back in the organization?
  • What are my needs around salary, paid time off, work-life balance, etc.? Are my needs being met?
  • Is the company culture and structure evolving with the times? How do I feel about that?
  • Does the company have initiatives to develop talent and support underrepresented folks in the workplace? How do I feel about that?

If your answers to the above highlight that your current role may be lacking, this could be your time. And if you’d like to explore how to make that transition as aligned and easeful as possible, that’s something I can help with if you want some clarity.

To new structures and new roles,


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How to Radically Uplevel Your Work with the Five Catalysts

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Hi my friends,

Goodness, do I have a confession for you. I spent the first few months of 2022 in what my friend Lacy Phillips calls The Magic Dark (you know, that moment where it’s darkest before the dawn) and I almost broke my business because of it.

It all started in January when I was telling myself a story that I was bored with work and needed to add something new and exciting. But little did I know that it was actually a very sneaky form of my own subconscious sabotage. 

Was I really bored? Maybe. Did it have anything to do with work? Most certainly not. It had everything to do with me putting down my old programming of being in constant “doing” and shifting more into “play.” But I was so resistant to the belief that my next level of success could be easy, that I thought I’d try and sabotage my business just to prove myself right. Oooooff. 

Round and round I went—jockeying between allowing the voice and fear of my subconscious to drive the car and occasionally allowing my higher self to step in and take the wheel. 

And I’m not going to lie to you…it was grueling. I was batting my subconscious, gladiator style, every day. 

I was flooded with storylines like:

  • “It has to be hard.  Anything worth doing is, right?”
  • “Who am I to have it easy?”
  • “If it’s easy, people won’t be able to connect with me or see themselves in me?”
  • And my favorite— “suffering is noble.”

Someone hand my subconscious sabotage an Oscar for this performance, please!

The fear-based part of my brain kept saying I couldn’t have my next level of success without a fight. That it wasn’t allowed to be easy. And since our beliefs direct our thoughts and our actions, I was moving through life trying to make my subconscious right. 

Until I said, “No f*cking more” and allowed my higher self to get louder than my subconscious. 

About a month in, I realized something was up.  So I sat down to really look at myself and how I was showing up in the business. And I GOT BRUTALLY HONEST with myself and made a list of all the ways I sabotage my own success when I get freaked out. Here are a few cute ones to give you a sense of what I’m working with:

  • Staying in a state of confusion 
  • Not doing the assignment all the way and telling myself it’s done and that it didn’t work! (this is a sneaky one!)
  • Allowing doubt to hang around all day
  • Working too hard and pushing until I get sick and then have to give in because I’m sick

For a few hours each day, I reminded myself of these things:

I am not my fears

I am here to evolve my lineage 

I am here to heal the ancestry

I am here to change the definitions of success

I am here to make it feel easy 

I am here to remind all the people that look and feel like me that it MOST CERTAINLY CAN BE DONE

My success is your success and I REFUSE to let you down

So when my subconscious roared, I roared louder. If these messages resonated with you, please use them for your own daily affirmations.

What my subconscious was really trying to do was to show me where I didn’t feel FREE. It had nothing to do with my business and everything to do with my mindset, where I wasn’t allowing ease and play in. 

We all have those parts of our subconscious—big and small—that may try to take us out. But we don’t have to succumb to the belief or the programming. We can flip the script and it starts with getting clear. 

If I’ve learned anything from this magic dark is that I am unstoppable. And I don't mean that in a gross hustle-culture type of way. I mean that when the going gets tough, I stay in the work.  Even when the work is to surrender and do nothing. If you’re in a similar place, I deeply feel you and am sending you all the love and tools to help you shift and claim your unstoppability.

I’ve put together a little quiz for you to figure out where you might be taking yourself out. It’s called The Five Catalysts and underscores where you may need a little boost in order to fully embody the dream. Clearly, my mindset and faith needed a little bolstering, but I am so glad it did because the level of awareness that bloomed through as a result of my magic dark has been nothing short of magical. 

Head on over here to take the quiz and get the worksheet to get clearer on where you might be unknowingly interrupting your success. 

Say goodbye to sub c sabotage!

Amina xx

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September Career-o-Scope

Posted by Amina AlTai on

As we head into Autumn here in the northern hemisphere we are being asked to go deeper, to bring radical truth-telling and new ways of doing things to our work and relationships.  The world is asking for more "out there" ideas—are you ready to share yours?

Message from the Universe: Overall message from spirit—Underworld

I laughed a little when I pulled this card because #scorpio and I always happen to pull something a little dark or connected to transformation.  This card is asking us to either go inward and tend to the uncomfortable, or it’s acting as a GPS to show you where you are right now.  If you don’t find yourself in the “underworld” in this moment (bless you!) this card is asking you to pause and consider what needs to fall away. If you are in the underworld (uff, I’m right there with you) it can feel a bit like trial after trial, or loss after loss.  But this is where we are reborn and transform.  As we head into Q4, and journey towards nearly two years of a global pandemic, how are you transformed?  How can you sit with the discomfort that is, and surrender a little more? This one felt so spot on as I recently described myself as “Bambi learning to walk for the first time.”  Anyone else feel me?

Myself: What you need to know for internal work—The Seeker

 It’s time for a major energy and vitality boost.  I know we’ve all be languishing (thanks for naming it, NYTimes) and The Seeker is inviting us to infuse our lives with our natural vigor.  The essence of The Seeker is a childlike sense of love and wonder—a feeling that the world is a beautiful place.  For many of us, it feels as if life has robbed us of that lately.  The Seeker is asking you to put your stake in the ground for a reclamation around this idea.  It’s not so much that we need to put an end to all stressors (hello, reality!) but this card is asking us to slowly and lovingly nurture our sense of wonder.  You're being urged to swap “what if everything goes wrong?” to “everything unfolds in highest service to me.”

 My work: What you need to know in regard to your work in the world—The Revolutionary

I love this card! The revolutionary in the context of your work is asking you to challenge the status quo.  At work, are you trudging along and flowing with the way things are?  If so, it might be time to bring in the energy of the revolutionary and build a new world with your work.  Revolutionaries are natural leaders but often ahead of their time.  The ideas can be considered “out there.” But never in human herstory have we needed more “out there” ideas.  How can you get on the court with your more revolutionary ideas at work?  What new and divergent concepts want to be birthed?  If you’ve been waiting for permission to go renegade—permission granted. 

Relationships: What you need to know in regards to your relationships—The Magi

The Magi represents an invitation to look and go deeper.  It asks you to examine what you think you know about your relationships—and then go further.  In this context, I think of this card as an opportunity to unearth any limiting beliefs around your relationships.  The Magi sees through illusion so this card in the space of relationships is asking you to move past the smoke and mirrors or the surface level of relationships, and mine for what is really there and what you believe CAN BE there. Do you feel worthy of a powerful, supportive group of humans that take you and your work to the next level?  Do you have your league of champions that rally and cheerlead for you every step of the way?  If not, it’s time to ask yourself, “why?” 

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Boundaries Can Mean Avoiding Burnout or Asking for a Promotion. Here's How to Do Both.

Posted by Amina AlTai on

 Burnout is at an all-time high. Indeed, the job aggregator, conducted a survey of 1500 employees across several categories and concluded that over half (52%) of survey respondents are experiencing burnout in 2021—up from the 43% in their pre-COVID survey.

For the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) now recognizes burnout as a real workplace phenomenon. I characterize burnout as extreme stress to the point that our mind or our bodies give out or demonstrate extreme fatigue and resistance. This can manifest as lethargy that is so severe, that we’re unable to complete normal tasks. When we’re experiencing burnout, we may struggle to feel connected to workplace challenges because we simply don’t have enough energy or enthusiasm to move through them. Our brains and bodies become so exhausted that it impacts our ability to problem solve, be creative, and sometimes even get through the work week.

Burnout doesn’t just impact our work life, though. When we are so depleted to the point that we have difficulty carrying out everyday tasks, it can also wreak havoc on our home lives. I have many clients who were not only suffering in their careers but were carrying home that extreme exhaustion which intercepted their ability to show up fully for their loved ones as well.

How can we avoid it?

Take a break. According to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Americans lengthened their workday by one full hour during the pandemic. We also saw a rise in unused time off as up to 92% of Americans cancelled, postponed or didn’t book a vacation due to the global pandemic. We simply aren’t using our PTO but it’s vital to our physical and mental wellbeing that we take breaks to refresh our bodies, our minds and our perspectives.

Many of us feel like we can’t afford to fully disconnect and take a vacation. Even taking a summer Friday, an extended lunch break, or eating lunch away from your desk can help. I recommend a 90/10 rule for my clients. For every 90 minutes of focused activity, allow your brain and body 10 minutes to decompress and recuperate.

Get support. Many organizations offer career and wellness coaching as part of their employee perks. Ask your HR department what resources are in place to support your wellbeing and help you move through or avoid burnout.

Set boundaries. Oftentimes, we reach burnout because we’ve been doing too much for too long without any respite. Occasionally, that can be due to a lack of boundaries. If your managers consistently ask you to do more without the opportunity to pause and refill your metaphorical cup, it’s time to reinforce stronger boundaries. A lot of my coachees have suffered from burnout and have been afraid to advocate for better boundaries for fear that it will impact their growth trajectory at work. I believe we can’t afford not to have good boundaries, because if we burnout, and it expresses itself as illness or disease, that can be very challenging to recover from and impact us in an even bigger way. Stronger boundaries might not necessarily mean less work. But it might mean less work that is zapping your energy and keeping you away from the work you really want to do. Which brings me to my next point on self-advocacy.

We know, from the aforementioned data, that most of us are working harder than ever and some of us may feel ready to ask for a well-earned promotion. However, is the pandemic the right time to ask? I have met with countless coaching clients over the course of the last year asking themselves the same questions. The answer is a little complicated.

We want to bring the highest degree of consciousness to the conversation as this has been a challenging time for so many. We’ve seen lay-offs, furloughs and hiring freezes that have complicated the job marketing and promotion track—but that doesn’t diminish your contribution or mean it’s not time to ask for a promotion. I simply invite you to do so strategically and thoughtfully. When thinking about asking for a promotion, consider the overall company performance, your individual contribution and the timing.

Before you schedule your promotion conversation with your manager be prepared with data and business cases to support your rise in the company. Ask yourself, how is the company performing? Is the business viable from the information you can gather? If they’re downsizing, have a hiring freeze, or going through layoffs, you may want to pause your ask. If the company is performing well and growing, this could be a good time to make your case.

As you prepare for your conversation with your manager, ready your unique business case. Get clear on what you have contributed to the business over your tenure, and particularly during the challenges of the last eighteen months. How have you supported company growth, your coworkers, and cross-functional teams to be successful in this time. Outline both qualitative and quantitative examples, if you can.

Lastly, before you have your conversation, consider the timing. Most organizations follow promotion cycles that land at particular times in the calendar year. If you’re asking for an off-cycle promotion, gather any data from employee handbooks, past emails or HR to see if this is common practice. Having examples to point to of previous off-cycle promotions will only strengthen your case.

Now that you’ve done some of the prep work and are ready to make the ask, I invite you to follow the STARS format outlined below.

S—Set the context

As you’re scheduling this conversation with your manager, you’re going to want to give them context to the meeting. Very few people respond well to surprises, so you want to make sure they know what they’re walking into. Choose logistics thoughtfully so they feel comfortable and open. Before you walk into the meeting, check your own intentions. Are you intending to demand a promotion because you’re long overdue for one? Are you intending to demonstrate how wrong they were for passing over you in the last promotion cycle? You want to clear out any negativity before you go into the conversation, so it doesn’t cloud your ask.

T—Tell them your why

This is where you prove the business case for your promotion. Since you did prior research, you’ll have examples for how you added value to your work, your teams and the business overall. A promotion is often about alignment and leaving a space you’ve outgrown to develop your

abilities in a new space. Demonstrate what you’ve outgrown and what you can contribute to that new space and why this growth is so important for you and the business.

A—Ask with confidence

Be direct and clear about your ask. If your manager is unclear on what you’re really asking for, they can’t support you, so directness and transparency go a long way in conversations like these. Do not sidestep the tough stuff because you feel uncomfortable. Be direct, but kind and empathetic and make the ask with confidence. If you don’t feel confident in what you’re asking for, your manager will pick up on that. Remember your why as you make the ask to bolster your confidence.

R—Reinforce your why

Once you’ve made the ask, reinforce your why. I caution you not to overdo this, you’ve already made your case—you’re just underscoring why it’s in the best interest of everyone involved.

S—Send a follow up to emphasize your why and next steps

As you bring the conversation to a close, express gratitude for their time and how they have supported you. Agree on next steps and timing and then send a follow up email to reinforce the ask, the why, the timing and the next steps that have been agreed upon. Follow up as often as it makes sense to both of you. If there is no progress made, establish next steps.


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