Q&A: Lissa Rankin, Founder of OwningPink.comby caroline
Good morning and welcome to another installment of our “Q&A” series! Today we’re featuring Lissa Rankin, MD, a Pink Medicine Woman Coach who practiced as an OB/GYN physician for ten years. She’s also the founder of the online community OwningPink.com, a motivational speaker, author of the books What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax, a professional artist, a workshop leader, and a Mom.
Lissa started a simple blog in 2009 to document her personal quest to integrate all the fragmented facets of her being that made her whole.OwningPink.com immediately caught fire with readers from all walks of life who were seeking their authentic selves and saw in Lissa a transparent, growing soul and kindred spirit. OwningPink.com has grown strongly and steadily in its first two years and now hosts more than 30 authors, coaches, and healers, spawning a community of over 70,000 social media followers and over 500,000 readers.
1. You talk a lot on OwningPink.com about people “getting in their own way”. Why do you think we self-sabotage? Is it ignorance or fear of finding what lies beyond our current lifestyles?
Even when we get clear on what big dreams we wish to conjure in our lives, our greatest fear is the fear of change. Even staying put in a situation that makes us miserable feels more comfortable than facing the unknown, and almost always- big dreams command change. Change, while it can be thrilling, is inherently uncomfortable.
Change can be scary, whether it’s good or bad. You might think that our greatest fear is failure, but most of us are just as frightened of success!
I love what Marianne Williamson says:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
I know I face this in my own life. Since I was a child, I dreamed of publishing a book, going on a big book tour, meeting fans, standing on stage, and talking about what lights my fire. And yet, when I had two books published within a month and I faced a 20 city book tour, I freaked! Even though my dream was coming true, my mind wandered into Fantasyland, and I found myself thinking, “What if Oprah calls? What if I get offered my own TV show? What if the paparazzi follow me and I never have any privacy again? What if nobody loves me for who I am, they just attach to me because I’m a superstar?”
None of those things actually happened, but even imagining great success led me to constrict. I could literally feel myself shrinking. It was so tempting to sabotage the whole thing, but at least I was aware of my tendencies.
So I applied the 16 step process I outline in my Get Out Of Your Own Way e-course and managed to avert the disaster I might have created if I wasn’t mindful of my tendencies. By getting clear on the limiting beliefs I held and eliminating the unnecessary obstacles I was tempted to erect, I was able to overcome my fears, step into my power, and manifest what I had always dreamed would happen in my life.
2. I’ll admit it: I’m afraid to face my fears and I’m sure a lot of the people you work with are, too. Why do you think assessing one’s fears is an essential component in seizing what he or she wants from life?
If you don’t learn to overcome it, fear will always slam on the brakes. The goal is not to become fearless- that’s impossible. We all feel the fear. The secret sauce lies in being able to dissociate from the fear so you don’t let it rule your decision-making.
I call my inner voice of fear “The Gremlin.” The Gremlin spews evil-nothings in my ear and hisses about how I’ll never amount to anything, I’ll fail when I take big risks, and I should just get over myself and set my sights somewhere lower. The Gremlin is always afraid that there’s not enough- not enough money, not enough love, not enough time. He’s a mean SOB who threatens to clip my wings if I identify with his words as the truth.
But when I manage to distance myself from his voice, I diminish his power. He goes from being the Great And Powerful Wizard to being merely a small, little man with a big microphone, quivering behind a green screen.
To dissociate from him, I make fun of him. I send him to time out. I try to befriend him, and when he nips at me, I pet him like a nasty puppy and muzzle him so he can’t bite.
Then I can tackle whatever I’m afraid of, and The Gremlin is harmless. He can keep prattling on, but I don’t have to fall under his spell. It frees me to take risks, put myself out there, let my freak flag fly, and go for it!
3. How do you think the environment in which a person exists contributes to his or her overall feelings of well-being?
Putting yourself in an environment that resonates with your authentic self (which I call my Inner Pilot Light) certainly makes things easier. I live in a coastal town in Northern California, where I have ocean, mountains, and redwoods all within a mile of my house, which nourishes me because nature feeds my soul. When I’m surrounded by nature, I find it easier to be creative, spiritual, centered, loving, abundant, and whole. I fill my house with art, build personal altars in the spots I hang out the most, light incense, and surround myself with fresh flowers because those things make me feel sparkly. Plus, my tribe lives here, so I feel connected to like-minded people, which greatly improves my sense of well-being.
Is environment essential to well-being? No. With the right mindset, you can feel vital anywhere. If you learn how to ground yourself, adjust your attitude, tap into Divine love, and find your joy from within, you can achieve a sense of well-being in a prison cell. But is it easier if your environment fits who you are? Absolutely.
4. Do you believe healthy choices, like what we eat or maintaining an active lifestyle, play a significant role in achieving a positively-charged life?
You betcha! Although my definition of “health” is bigger than how most doctors define it. Sure, eating an organic, whole foods, mostly veggie-based diet, and moving your body in ways that resonate with your Inner Pilot Light can improve your sense of well-being. But I don’t want people to settle for feeling merely “well.” I encourage people to aim for feeling “vital,” that feeling you get when you’re totally juiced up and filled with what we at Owning Pink call “mojo” (aka MOre JOy).
In order to achieve this state of vitality, you have to nurture all the facets of what makes you whole- not just your physical health, but your creativity, your spirituality, your relationships, your career, your sexuality, how you engage with the planet, and why you’re here on this earth. In my opinion, you can’t optimize the body without nourishing these other parts of who you are.
Most importantly, you have to do be unapologetically YOU as you seek to achieve this kind of vitality. You can’t fake it by doing it someone else’s way. You have to find your own voice, express yourself in a way that’s truly YOU, and honor your individual tastes, desires, needs, and dreams.
When you do, you’ll achieve the kind of health that makes you sparkle.
5. I know you think having FUN is necessary in order for each one of us to achieve his or her goals. How do you like to loosen up?
I’m a dance freak. And I’m not picky. I’ll listen to anything except heavy metal. So when I want to loosen up, I’ll crank up my Ipod, grab my 5 year old daughter, don a tutu and some maracas, and rock out to Lady Gaga.
I also LIVE for rollercoasters. I mean I have an unnatural obsession with them. For my birthday, my hubby took me to Six Flags on a weekday, when it was deserted, so I could just keep going on the rollercoasters nonstop. Within 3 hours, we’d been on about 20 rides. My hubby was green, sitting with his head between his knees on a bench, and I was like “More! More!” He finally sent me off on my own, so I could raise my hands over my head and scream my head off all the way down the hill.
I guess I’m a bit of a risk taker. Either that or my inner child just didn’t get to let off enough steam when I was a kid, and I’m making up for lost time.
Read more from Lissa on her blog, here.
“I once thought I had to put myself in a box and choose who to be. But I now accept that, while I am so many things, no single identity defines me. I am more than what I do. We all struggle with who we really are and whether our lives reflect our truest selves. I now strive to be authentic, in all aspects of my life, whether I’m healing or painting or writing or teaching, and I encourage others to do the same.” ~ Lissa Rankin