Tag Archives: Empowerment

How To Move From Self-Rejection To Self-Love In a Day (And How a Photo Shoot Can Help)


In my work as a career success coach, I work with women of all ages, sizes, and styles, and one theme has become very apparent – women are incredibly tough on themselves, full of self-rejection, shame, humiliation and doubt, particularly about their looks, their weight, intelligence and their worthiness.

I can count on one hand the number of women I’ve spoken with who feel “just great” about themselves.  The vast majority of women I interact with are indeed brilliant, accomplished, talented and creative – in short, amazing — but feel somehow that they are not good or worthy enough.  I call these women “perfectionistic overfunctioners” – doing everything for everyone around them, and striving so hard to get an “A” in every single endeavor and aspect of their lives.  I should know – I’m a recovering one.

Since “getting an A” is not possible in every activity or area, women then fall short of their unrealistic expectations, and feel even worse, seeing their “failure” as validation that they have to work harder and be better.

Know that I’m not judging here.  I feel deep love and compassion in my heart for all these women, because I can empathize fully.  I’ve done a lot of internal work around this, and I’m proud to say that I now know how liberating it is to free oneself from needing to get an A, and how fabulous it feels to jump off of the never-ending hamster wheel of doing more than is healthy, more than is appropriate, more than is necessary.

I’ve seen first-hand that once you power up, build appropriate boundaries, and start speaking up and honoring what you want and who you are, you begin to operate very differently in the world, and grow happier and more accepting of yourself and everyone around you. You begin to embrace your “imperfect, just-right” functioning rather than striving for an impossible goal of perfection.  But I’m not always there – I fall down and forget to love and accept myself.

I experienced a wake-up call on this several weeks ago, when I spent a day at a photo shoot in Connecticut, for my new website.  The day’s experiences took me from self-rejecting, shameful and worried (once again) about my looks, my weight, etc., to loving it all – embracing myself, my foibles and flaws, my talents, and who I am at my core.  I saw how the right kind of experience (with the right kind of people who align closely with your values, your heart, and your worldview), can help you move from self-rejection to self-acceptance in a few short hours (or in an instant).

I realized there are 5 key stages of transformation from self-rejection to self-love, and if we gain awareness of these stages, and have the courage to move through them, we can accelerate our own growth.

The 5 stages of transformation from self-hate to self-acceptance are:

Stage 1: “I don’t rate – I’m just not good enough.”

I started the day of my photo shoot afraid – afraid to share my wardrobe choices, reluctant to express what I really liked in terms of style, color, makeup, hair, jewelry, inhibited in my movements and physical presence.  I compared myself in my mind to the thousands of other women my wonderful photographer Jacklyn Greenberg had shot before – young and old men and women who I thought were beautiful and charismatic (so it seemed to me).  Along with headshots, weddings, and national events, Jacklyn does “risqué” photography as well, all of it stunning.  Some clients are naked or are only partially dressed and from Jacklyn’s website, all of them seemed gorgeous, vibrant, and unabashedly free.

I thought, “Oh, no – this is going to be a very long day.”

Stage 2: “Wait, maybe I’m not so bad.”

As the first hour progressed, with the help of the fabulous Jacklyn and wonderful make-up artist D.D. Nickel, things changed and I changed. I moved from fearing everything about me was wrong and inferior, to remembering that what I am – inside and out – is not terrible — far from it. I started to see how my fears– about my looks, weight, age, clothes, wrinkles, skin, tummy, etc. – are universal and the only thing keeping me stuck in my insecurity was me. Interestingly, it wasn’t the make-up that made me feel better – it was the understanding that — unadorned — I was just fine.

Stage 3: “Hmmm…I guess I do have some unique, valuable qualities.”

Then, midway through, something interesting happened.  I saw through their eyes that — as I let out who I really am — sharing my authentic personality, what I care about, my quirks, how I’m different –  the shoot went much better, and the day became raucously fun. I forgot I was being photographed.  We talked, shared, probed, guffawed, and as I connected more deeply with Jacklyn and D.D., I saw how my qualities could be seen as unique and valuable – to the experience at hand, but also in relationship with these great new folks I was partnering with, and even in helping spread the word about their work and the stunning property (Winvian) we were lucky enough to be shooting on.

Stage 4: “It’s ridiculous (and a sheer waste of time) to hide – I’m going let it all out.”

Towards the end, the idea of hiding was long gone.  I wasn’t afraid, shy, or reluctant – I was excited, energized, and inspired to be even more of myself.  I saw clearly how stepping up and powering up to share myself in the most authentic, vulnerable way possible was the ONLY way this whole thing would work (in a photo shoot and in life ).

Stage 5: “Ok, I can honestly say – I love and accept myself.”

Finally, at the end of the day as I was driving home, tired but exhilarated, I felt a flush of self-acceptance (dare I say self-love).  I had done something that was scary and challenging for me.  I had stepped up to a very high vision for where I want to go – in my life, in my career, in my professional pursuits — I held out high hopes for I wanted for and the outcomes I’d dreamed of, and I pushed myself to be real enough, and courageous enough, to make this happen.  Not just because I went to a cool photo shoot, but because I believed in myself and the idea that I’m worthy of putting myself out there in the world in a bigger way.

At the end of the day, I was able to utter to myself exactly what my spiritual therapist years ago implored me to state as an affirmation every day – “I thoroughly love and accept myself.”   In the past, I coughed up a hair ball every time I said that.  Now, with each day, it’s much easier.

*  *  * *  *  *

Some women might read this and think, “Wow, what a narcissist Kathy is!” because we’re culturally trained to think that if we love ourselves (and dare to whisper that we love ourselves), we’ll be self-involved, selfish, and self-absorbed.  I challenge that idea.  Self-love is desperately, vitally important and needed in the world today. You simply can’t have a wonderful, rewarding and happy life and career – and you can’t be of service to others fully — if you don’t love and accept yourself – flaws, gaps, foibles and all.

We’re imperfect as humans – that’s undeniable.  But can’t we love our imperfections, embrace our uniqueness and our authentic selves, instead of exhausting ourselves spending so much time, money, and energy hiding our true selves from the world?

Do you have the courage to walk through the five stages of self-hate to self-love today?  Are you ready?

How Carving Out Time For What Matters Most To You Changes Your Life

Kathy at UN Women for Peace March

Kathy at UN Women for Peace March to end violence against women

I’m sure that you, like me, struggle each day to juggle your important conflicting priorities. From dedicating precious time to family and friends, to doing your work well,  to focusing on your health and well-being, to using your creativity, to helping others, to getting enough sleep – there are an unlimited number of important areas in our lives that we attend to daily.  But amidst all of this, are you dedicating time for the things that matter MOST – that make you feel alive, inspired and ready to be more?

In my coaching work with women, we speak daily about the importance of identifying your highest priorities, and honoring them. But in reality – DOING this is far more challenging than talking about doing it.  But when we do – when we say YES! to making the time to pursue what matters most to us – it dramatically changes the shape and direction of our lives for the better.

I had an experience of this yesterday – a deeply humbling, inspiring and moving day that made me realize suddenly that I want to do and be so much more.

I was invited to attend the U.N. Women for Peace annual awards luncheon, and then join a hundred others in a march in NYC to support ending violence against women.  As a person in the media, I’m grateful to receive many invitations to exciting events, and I have to turn many down each month.  But when I learned of this event, in honor of International Women’s Day, something inside me knew I had to make the trip to New York City, and participate.  I had a feeling it would be a game-changer for me, and it was.

I listened with awe and humility as I learned more about the UN Women for Peace (UNWFP).  Founded in 2008, under the patronage of H.E. Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, UNWFP promotes and advances the goals of UN agencies whose missions are to provide opportunities for women through social, cultural, educational and empowerment programs while partaking in a global peace building process. UNWFP focuses on supporting and funding UN humanitarian programs for women in developing countries and countries in conflict, and by providing scholarships to benefit underprivileged women to study at the University for Peace in Costa Rica.

UN Women for Peace also supports the UN Trust Fund To End Violence Against Women. The Trust Fund, established by the UN General Assembly in 1996, assists efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, provides services to those affected by violence and strengthens the implementation of laws and policies on violence against women and girls. The Trust Fund is particularly concerned with ending violence against women in developing countries and countries in conflict. The Trust Fund invests, through its partners, in long term solutions for a world free of violence. UN Women for Peace’s contributions to the Trust Fund directly fund these efforts.

During the awards luncheon, we heard from Trudie Styler -  winner of the 2014 UN Women for Peace Humanitarian Award – speak of her important work for the environment and human rights, through her role as UNICEF Ambassador, her fundraising efforts and documentary film work, and through her and her husband Sting’s Rainforest Fund, an organization devoted to protecting rainforests and their indigenous peoples.  We heard too from Dina Powell, representing Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, the 2014 UNWFP Achievement Award winner. 10,000 Women is a five-year, $100 million global initiative to help grow local economies and bring about greater shared prosperity by providing 10,000 underserved women entrepreneurs with a business and management education, access to mentors and networks and links to capital.

I share this experience with you because it was deeply inspiring to me, and it spurred me to want to figure out “how can I help in a deeper way?” In that three-hour experience, I met scores of women who are 100 steps ahead of me in how they are using their talents, gifts and passions to make an enormous difference in the world.  They aren’t wasting time – they’ve figured out exactly what matters most to them, and they’re putting their time, money, energy, passion and commitment into to it, full-throttle.  No excuses, no doubts, no confusion, no waffling – they are clear, focused, and passionate about their causes.  As Trudie Styler has so aptly shared, “If I’m connected to an idea, it just doesn’t let me go.”

I left with new resolve to find new ways to help women globally – not just those in the U.S. and abroad who want better careers and lives, but those who don’t have the advantages we have, who desperately need a supporting hand and beacon of light to help them build new lives for their children, their families and their communities.  I’m ready to do more.

Are you?

Do you know what matters most to you, and are you carving out time in your life to pour yourself into those issues and endeavors that make you feel most alive? My dear friend Charles Decker wrote on my Facebook page – “People find time for things that matter to them.”  I love this idea, but sadly, in reality, I see every day that it’s not the case.  So often, we stay stuck in our small worlds and our small spheres of influence, thinking we can’t do more.

In honor of International Women’s Day, I hope you’ll take today to stop your normal routine, step out of your box, and stretch yourself into new endeavors and causes that help remind you of why are on this planet, today.

Are you ready to carve out time and energy for what you care about deeply?

(For more about UN Women for Peace, visit

 (To learn more about building a career that makes you feel alive and of great use in the world, visit The Amazing Career Project, Ellia Communications and Breakdown, Breakthrough.)

How To Create Your Own Breakthrough

Kathy's Video Blog "Work You Love"

Welcome to Episode #8 of my video blog Work You Love!  I’m happy you’re here!

Ever wondered why, despite all your hard work and efforts, you can’t seem to get a break or move forward as you long to?  There are reasons for it – it’s not random or just coincidence.

This episode explores the critical blocks to creating the success and happiness you want, and also shares 5 key steps to creating your own breakthrough.

If you have the sense that no matter what you’re doing, the needle isn’t moving as it should in your life and work, you won’t want to miss this video.

Here’s my take:

The key steps to creating your own breakthrough are:

1. Do the inner work required to know who you are authentically, and what you really want.

2. Don’t fight against what’s happening – see what your life situation is trying to teach you.

3. Take concrete steps to change how you operate in the world.

4. Release your subconscious blocks to greater wealth, happiness, power, and success.

5. Bring more happiness into your life NOW, regardless of your external conditions.

Today’s top message:

CLICK TO TWEET: Doing the work of becoming MORE in this world is up to you. Realizing who you are is a great place to start – @kathycaprino #WorkYouLove

Thanks for watching, and wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

All Best,


What Do I Do When My Spouse Doesn’t Want Me To Make Changes?

Kathy's Video Blog "Work You Love"

Welcome to Episode #7 of my weekly video blog Work You Love!

Today, I’m addressing Evelyn’s question about how to handle an unsupportive spouse who resists your making the changes you long to in your career.

Evelyn asks:

“I want career coaching now, however my husband is not a supporter.  I’m at a point where I want to start and own my own business but he is very risk averse and doesn’t want to intentionally gamble with the idea.

I am in a rut, I’m exhausted and I want to get re-energized and once again know that the work I do matters or offers me satisfaction. I am a middle manager in my career but also a wife, mother, community leader, active church member who feels like her job is sucking the life out of her. My husband thinks because of the uncertainty of times I should be happy I have a job that pays 6 figures, and I appreciate that, but I know that if I don’t figure out my career, reinvent myself or do something I’m going to burn out completely and my career reputation will be ruined.

Do you have any pointers that would help me convince my husband to believe you could help me improve my career outlook and pull me back from the edge of career suicide. He thinks it’s a waste of our hard earned money for no real gain.”


Here’s my take:



The key messages from today’s post are:

1) Don’t try to “convince” your spouse.  Just communicate powerfully, authoritatively, and masterfully that you can’t continue the way you are.  Share in a compelling way that it’s time to make some form of positive change, and you’d like his/her support to do it.  But remember – you don’t need permission to take control of your life.

2) Figure out how important this career shift is to you now.  If it’s critical, prioritize it highly, and do what it takes to create the changes you long for.

3) Remember – you don’t have to risk everything to bring about the shifts you need to be happier in your career.

Here’s a tweetable for you:

CLICK TO TWEET: Become the master of your own ship. Don’t let others dictate what you need, and what you can have.  @kathycaprino #WorkYouLove

It’s up to you – no one can do this for you.

Does your spouse support you in making the changes you desire in life and work?  How do you handle it? Share your candid thoughts below.

Thank you for watching Work You Love, and many happy breakthroughs. See you next week!


(For more on building a successful career you love, join me on November 19th from Noon to 1:00 pm for my FREE teleclass Breakthrough To Your BOLD Plan for More Happiness, Success and Reward.   Find out how to take your career to the next level of success, happiness, and reward!)


Why I Didn’t Tell the Truth, and Why You Don’t Either

Courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Last week, I got a call like no other I have ever received.  My last nerve was already frayed from a really challenging week, and I was running out the door to see my son play his last soccer game for the season (which I absolutely didn’t want to be late for).  I should not have picked up the office phone. But I did.

The young woman on the other line asked, “Is this, um (fumbling around for the name of the company), the coaching company?  I said, “Yes, this is Kathy Caprino.  What can I do for you?”

This is how the conversation went:

Caller: “Do you have a few minutes to speak?” 

Kathy: “Uh, I’m sorry, not really – but is this about wanting some coaching?”

Caller: “Well, yes and no.  My husband and I live in a Canada and we are moving to the U.S. but we are unsure what the best states are to move to, for the work we do. I don’t have any money to pay you for coaching, but I was hoping you would help.” 

* * * *

I receive now literally thousands of requests for free help – sadly, many that are disrespectful, rude, pushy — but I still find it very hard to walk away when someone needs help.  But this time, I felt very irritated at what felt like a total lack of understanding of the magnitude of what she was asking. 

The conversation continued…:

Kathy: “If you don’t have any money to pay me, how were you thinking this would work?” (I meant this as a challenge, but she didn’t get it.)

Caller:  “I thought we could both send you our resumes and you can review them and tell us what states are best for us.”

* * * *

At this point, my head exploded – right there, all over my desk.  This woman, who doesn’t have the courtesy to figure out my or my company’s name, and didn’t bother to share hers, has the gall to ask me to review TWO resumes, evaluate her line of work is as well as her husband’s, and tell her what states she should move to! I was floored. 

I went onto explain that I receive hundreds of requests each month for free help, and as such, I am unable to give tailored recommendations to folks who aren’t my clients. However, I have tons of free resources for folks wanting to change careers.  This type of career help she wanted (or “work” on my part) demands my time and energy, and that requires payment. 

I said I’d be happy to share my free resources in an email.  Unbelievably, instead of backing off, she kept on and said, “But could I ask just one question?”

I said “NO. Send me an email with your question, I’ll forward along some free resources that should help,” and I hung up. I was furious for the entire night (and late to the soccer game).

Now I realize that much of this involves an ineffectual boundary of mine that needs to be bolstered.  But what I really wanted to say was this,” Would you walk into a Hertz Rental Car business and ask to drive one of their cars from Albany to Rochester and not pay one red cent? It’s disrespectful to ask a career coach to help you with your career in this way and not think of how to offer any way to compensate him/her.”

I wanted to share another truth too which is, “YOU personally need to do the work of building your career, not ask others to do what you should do.  Have you done any research at all on your own to try to determine which locations are best for you?”

The problem is, I didn’t say any of this, nor did I share the most important message, which is “I feel it’s rude and selfish of you to continue pushing for more, even after I’ve said no.”

I realize that everyone’s “truth” is subjective, and the caller may have had a completely different view of this entire interchange.  That said, it’s critical for a happy and well-lived life that we share our version of the truth (as lovingly as we can) when it’s important to.

So why didn’t I confront the caller and tell the truth as I saw it?  Here are the 10 reasons why:

1) I didn’t want to be disliked or appear offensive

2) I was afraid she’d tweet out that I’m a mean, nasty crabapple if I told her the truth about her disrespectful request

3) I second-guessed my feelings and thoughts (that perhaps she was just ignorant of the right protocol of asking for help and not being pushy)

4) I’m so overwhelmed with the number of requests I’m receiving for free help this year, that I’m resentful (of a lot of things)

5) I don’t like myself when I’m mean, and telling her what I thought about her request felt “mean” to me

6) I typically regret when I’m hurtful and not kind and gentle

7) The angry truth in my head can make a BOOMING sound, and I’m afraid to unleash that

8) I love to build up people’s confidence, not tear them down

9) I have a reputation to uphold (of being a kind, compassionate person)

10) Finally, it’s challenging for me to tell the truth in an appropriate way when I’m that stressed and angry

When I look back at these reasons (both subconscious and conscious) for not telling the truth to this caller, I can see now that these reasons are just latent fears and excuses. 

Here’s how the list above translates into fears:

I was afraid…

- Of being rejected and punished, or creating a bad reputation if I spoke up

- Of trusting myself and my instincts to go with what I wanted to say

- Of letting go and saying “no” to people and endeavors I no longer want to focus on

Finally, there is one more reason I didn’t tell the truth.  I knew that the “truth” I wanted to share was on the mean side (lacking in understanding and compassion), and was not coming from my highest self.  I also realized that at that moment I lacked the adequate self-mastery to neutralize my emotions so I could tell my version of the truth as I like to, with as much love, care, and kindness as possible.

These are long-standing challenges and fears of mine that have stemmed from my upbringing and childhood.  In short, I was afraid to tell the truth as a kid. It’s taken me years of therapy, energy healing work, introspection and internal work to get to the place where I am regarding being honest.  But clearly, there’s more work to be done.

I share this to help you understand that even folks with some training (I’m a trained marriage and family therapist, career coach and speaker) around truth-telling and communicating powerfully, sometimes fail to tell the truth as they want to, when they want to.  I share this too so that you might begin to look at why and when you don’t tell the truth in your life and career.

What have I learned from this?  That I need to start speaking up more and if that makes me more unpopular, so be it.  I’m prepared for that. I also need to create a stronger boundary so that those who want to take advantage of my time and services without compensation, can’t get through to me so easily. I need to say “no” when the answer is “no.” Finally, I have realized that I need to take care of myself more these days when the professional demands are very high and my time to restore and heal is minimal.

All great lessons that are highly relevant to today’s professional women.

Now’s your turn…are you failing to tell the truth (as you see it) in your life and work, and is that getting in the way of your health and well-being?

Review my list above of the fears that keep us from sharing the truth, and see if they resonate. If so, now is the time to speak up (and confront, if necessary) more consistently, confidently and lovingly.  Do it with me.

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