Jan 30, 2024 | Podcast

Choosing A Word of the Year with Rebecca Arnold and Rebecca Eller-Molitas

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About the episode:

Choosing a word of the year is a tradition that so many of us practice at the start of each new year, but how often do we really think about the impact it could have beyond it being a name for our hopes? Today on the Prosperous Empath®, I sit down with two wonderful women and members of our UNBOUNDED Mastermind Community, Rebecca Arnold, executive & leadership coach; and Rebecca Eller-Molitas, adult education consultant, to discuss the practice of choosing your word of the year. Throughout our conversation, we share how you can use your word of the year as a touchstone to make better decisions, generate clarity, and hold yourself accountable. You’ll take away bite-sized pieces of wisdom that will help you elevate your goal-setting and experience of life. Do you always wait until January to set new goals? Can you modify your word of the year throughout the year? Is it possible for words to carry feminine and masculine energies? These are just some of the questions that we untangle during the episode. Whether you’re already set on your word of the year or are still in the process of choosing one (like me), I know you’ll enjoy this conversation!


Topics discussed:

  • What having a word of the year means and how it can help you claim a new way of being in the next 12 months
  • How to choose your word of the year and the process of landing on the right one for you
  • How to attract more of what you want in 2024 for joy, confidence, and prosperity
  • Reflections on our past words of the year and how they’ve impacted the course of our lives
  • Navigating feminine and masculine energies that are rooted in words and language


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood  13:33

Hello, ladies. I’m so excited to have you both on the podcast today.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  13:49

I’m thrilled to be here. Me too.


Catherine A. Wood  13:54

Um, well, I was sharing a little bit before we shifted gears that I always find it a little awkward having conversation with more than one person because there’s like those, those like, Okay, who has the mic now who’s going to talk now. So hopefully we can get through that real quick. And today, we’re going to talk all about our relationships with our Word of the Year, which I know the two of you have landed on for yourselves, and I haven’t yet. But before we do, I would love to give you each an opportunity to introduce yourself and maybe a little bit about kind of who you are in the world what you do, because I love that we’re each bringing different perspectives to this conversation.


Rebecca Arnold  14:38

Start so I’m Rebecca Arnold. I’m a Holistic leadership coach. And I support folks who are mission driven leaders who are seeking holistic success in lots of ways. So they’re often in the fields of medicine, law, higher education, K 12 education. And people have referred to me as a straight talking big article. which which I love. And someone wants called my coaching, psychical exfoliation, which I think is the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. Please


Catherine A. Wood  15:10

repeat that. What was that?


Rebecca Arnold  15:13

psychical exfoliation like exfoliating your psyche? Yeah,


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  15:18

I love it. That is who you are. We’re done here. I’m Rebecca Ella muitas. I’m an adult education consultant, I work with people who are either administrators or educators, teaching and leading adults, usually in areas like English language learning, digital literacy, high school equivalency, or workforce development.


Catherine A. Wood  15:53

I love that you both have kind of this background in education that you’re bringing to the conversation and I hail from the world of economics. So these are like, some very different backgrounds and fields. And when I think of word of the year, it’s, you know, it’s like totally different, right? Like, it’s not based in theory, it’s not based in data. I’m curious, like, what what is it? What does it mean to you like, what does having a word of the year mean mean to you? Your each Rebecca, so I’m not going to call you but feel free to just respond when you feel inspired.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  16:34

For me, this is my first word of the year, and I am trying out because I need some sort of touchstone to look back to and it can’t be something long and complex, because that’s just not how my days runs. So I’m gonna try a word that I want to touch back to when I’m making decisions or trying to trying to figure out which branch of the path I need to take.


Catherine A. Wood  17:03

We’ll see how it goes. That’s cool. Like I hear kind of a touchstone to support your decision making process.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  17:11

Absolutely. That’s, that’s the hope anyway.


Rebecca Arnold  17:17

Yeah, I think for me, it’s sort of a perspective I want to bring to the year or a lens. And it I’m like, super fascinated by neuroscience. So there’s full we have this whole like infrastructure in our brains that help us filter in and filter out, like filter and what’s relevant and filter out what’s less relevant. So to me, I feel like a word of the year helps me filter in more of what I want and less of what I don’t, because I’m always looking for that thing then. So it’s helped me kind of as Rebecca eller said, like, prioritize, but also what kind of experience do I want to have, I talk to other people about my words, so they remind me of it, which is very helpful. So I feel like there are lots of ways it shows up for me, once I’ve identified it.


Catherine A. Wood  18:09

I can’t remember when I started choosing words there. It’s at least from the past five years, but I feel like I’ve been doing it longer. So I kind of dug back. But as an ontological coach who coaches being, for me, a word of the year has always supported me in claiming who I’m becoming, like claiming that way of being that I want to call more into my life, my experience of living my experience of my time, my energy, my relationships, my work. It’s, it’s kind of like always, for me encapsulated my work and my own commitment to practice what I coach. Yeah, I


Rebecca Arnold  18:59

love that because it is like, it’s almost like we have this buffet all the time of how we want to be and show up and all of that. And it’s sort of like picking the entree that you’re most interested in for that year. Yeah.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  19:15

I completely agree with that. That’s why I needed one word. I feel like there. I have goals, but there are too many things on that list for me to have them at the top of my mind all the time. So I was like, oh, yeah, an untrained word. As you said, that will be nice.


Catherine A. Wood  19:31

Rebecca eller you were the first one to share with me a couple weeks ago, this idea that you don’t like doing goal planning at the beginning of the calendar year that you kind of follow a different calendar. And I have been reading so much more about that ever since hearing you share about it first. And I would love for you to share a little bit more about like what is when do you do goal planning and why do you do it on a different calendar because I feel like that people are really wanting to hear more of that like more of that permission to do things differently to do it on their own terms.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  20:11

It sort of depends for me on what type of goal it is, this year, I have tried to combine my professional and personal goals all into one big goal. Tracking, keeping up with sort of the stem, I guess, might be too formal of a word for what I’ve got going on over here. But I, because I work in academia, my life sort of rolls on an academic year, or like a fiscal year. And new year for me very much feels like July. I also have very severe seasonal affective disorder. And I live in Chicago. So I can’t be trusted to think clearly about what is the best things in life in December in January. And I know that about myself. So I do not even try to muddy my brain’s waters with goal setting at that time. But one thing that has worked really well for me is that I, I typically start personal goals at the time that I feel like they’re needed. I don’t confine them to any particular schedule. Because I know from we have lots of research on this and education, if you make somebody wait too long to access the thing they’ve built up the courage to do often they don’t start. So I let myself start when I need to. If I decided to exercise in October and waited till January, nothing would happen.


Catherine A. Wood  21:48

I love that. I mean, I think that’s one of the reasons New Year’s resolutions is such a setup for a faceplant for so many people is because we put so much pressure on ourselves when we wait till that start of the year. And, and I I totally resonate with that whenever I commit to a new habit, I always do it in the moment. There’s seemingly no rhyme or reason to it. And sometimes I get really annoyed because oftentimes my habits are like in service of something whether it’s a holiday or an anniversary, and then I you know start in complete out of alignment with that date. So then I don’t even get to celebrate the completion in alignment with whatever reason I started it for.


Rebecca Arnold  22:30

I like the September cycle of certain goals. Like the you said academic year before Rebecca, and to me, the new year starts in September for goals. And it’s like the freshness like I love school supplies when I was kid, like getting a new planner or school supplies was like, my favorite thing in the whole year. So do you feel like there’s a newness that still for me come along in September that in January doesn’t feel like there’s collective sort of energy around it, but it feels like there was a fork thing to it. That just feels really unnatural, especially in this like I live in New England and it doesn’t feel like that a time of creation and generation feels like a time of resting and taking care of yourself and going slower and all about


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  23:23

and nothing about January feels fresh to me.


Catherine A. Wood  23:28

Yeah, that’s so interesting. It’s so interesting how we kind of how when we create space, we can tune into reinventing our own goal setting and planning processes that work for our nervous systems, our personalities, perhaps where we live in the world like I’ve always defaulted to January as my time of year when I set my new goals, I think simply because that’s what I’ve always done and seen. And now hearing you both is making me wonder like I wonder what my own cyclical calendar is. Well, let’s shift to talking about words of the year because Rebecca Arnold, I know you’ve been doing them for years. I know Rebecca eller. This is your first year I’ve been doing them for years as well. Rebecca, how have they gone for you in the past?


Rebecca Arnold  24:26

They go really well for July for January and February and then I need other people to remind me. But there are a few things I do that. I have a personal dynamic where sometimes I rebel against my own structures. So I set up some things to like protect myself against that. One of which is giving myself permission. As excited as I am in January about a new word. I do give myself permission to let to release it and decide on a different one. If at any point it no longer fits. And that helps me to hold it much looser. But I haven’t yet given up my word but knowing that I could just gives me the feels like it’s a little looser and more free. It as Rebecca said earlier, it’s really like a touch point throughout the year and my husband, my husband always knows my word. My family knows my word. And so they’ll point out to me sometimes that there’s a moment where I’m living into that, which I really appreciate because having that external kind of accountability and support around it helps me to to remember kind of what I committed to and what I want for myself. Hearing


Catherine A. Wood  25:36

you say that makes me wonder, do they always point to your word when you are living into it? Do they also point to it when you’re not?


Rebecca Arnold  25:46

They haven’t yet but I would not put that above them. asked in a sarcastic


Catherine A. Wood  25:57

I feel like there’s always the blessing and the curse of inviting our family members to holding us accountable. Right. It’s like, great when they’re supporting us and calling us in, but like I know, for me, my husband, like he’s my accountability structure as well. And sometimes like, it’s just really irksome. But I will say today’s day, I think today’s seven days 78 of going swimming every day in the water. And when I was in Chicago, and Rebecca eller I feel like I finally understand seasonal affective disorder after being with you in Chicago for 10 days. There was only one day, I didn’t want to go in the water, and I was gonna just take a cold shower. And he’s like, No, honey, you have to go. You said you would. You’ll you’ll feel bad if you don’t. And I was like, Damn, you’re so right. Okay, let’s go. And I was so grateful. Because I really needed that reminder in the moment.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  27:02

I think were you going in Lake Michigan?


Catherine A. Wood  27:03

I did. I went and Lake Michigan every day.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  27:06

Wow. I’m so impressed by that.


Catherine A. Wood  27:10

Lake bluff. And you know what, there were lots of other plungers there. They didn’t stay in as long as I did. But it was fun. It was like a whole community.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  27:25

Well, let’s,


Catherine A. Wood  27:26

I’d love to hear a little more like, Rebecca, what if some of your words been in the past? And what do you what do you notice, like the outcome of them has been if you’ve noticed any shifts.


Rebecca Arnold  27:40

So last word, last year, my word was delight, which I noticed how often I used it once I identified it. Like, I would start to point out like, I am delighting in this experience. And it was a really nice, almost like a pause in whatever I was going through to kind of acknowledge what the moment was. And I feel like I would start to kind of set up more moments where I was like, am I going to enjoy this or not? And like, Is this something I want to lean more into or opt out of my momentum of that definitely Wayne throughout the year, I felt like I was better at that at the beginning. So I’d like to this year have more intention around it, maybe have some kind of a structure where I plan an activity, maybe an activity a month or something like that, that is like really fully leaned into what my word is.


Catherine A. Wood  28:36

I feel like that speaks to I mean, a couple things like I hear first of all, just a reminder that we often need structures to support our intentions, whatever those look like. And something you said earlier and you just repeated it, but it’s like the idea that sometimes we just need to own what we want and then allow ourselves to forget about it to really like to not be so attached to creating that experience. So we can allow the the magic, the wonder the possibility of that experience. To come to life, you know, like I have, I have this little it’s called like a wishing. It’s called a wishing. I don’t even know what it’s called anymore. But it’s like a it’s a it’s a Native American ritual, where you put a wish in your little jar and then you hold it close. And I’ve had this for several years and you just kind of claim what you want and then you forget about it. And I think that sometimes, like really powerfully claiming what you want and then allowing, allowing the How to unfold allows you to fulfill in your own experience sometimes in a more A beautiful, possibility filled way.


Rebecca Arnold  30:07

It reminds me cat of an A, you’ve done an activity in the mastermind of like claiming your desire writing down your desires. And I know you tell a story about looking back at the list you haven’t looked at in a long time and seeing how many have come to fruition. And I feel like there’s a similar way. I haven’t had similar experience with vision boards. Sometimes I’ll make them and then I forget where they are. And then I look at them six months later, nine months later, and like Damn, girl, like you did a lot on here. And it’s almost like your, like your cells ticket in or something or stickers conscious or something. I don’t really know. But but the mechanism is, but it feels magical. It


Catherine A. Wood  30:45

does. Wait. Rebecca eller I would love to tap you here is that academia voice? Any thoughts on why that works? Ah,


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  30:57

no, nothing brilliant. But I do want a second third that I if it’s a physical thing that works for me, too. Last year, I got a witch’s voodoo Moneyball, and I kept it on my desk all year. And I was very clear about the fact that I’m calling in money, I love your money. Come on, hang out with me. And it worked. And I just kept this little guy sitting on my desk. But for me, I think the biggest thing was buying it and admitting, here, I’m carrying this thing through the street. This is what I want.


Catherine A. Wood  31:31

Yeah. I mean, I love that you say that. I don’t know why it works. Like I don’t I don’t necessarily have the neuroscience or the the theory or the, like the data study behind it. But I have seen it work so many times for myself, and specifically for participants in the mastermind. It’s like having that willingness to claim what you want. And then allowing those desires to be witnessed powerfully. It I feel like it shifts your relationship to what you want from an idea into a having and into kind of a believing of yourself deserving worthy capable of having it.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  32:14

Maybe there’s something about clarity there. Like we talked about last week, if you’re not able to do something, or your processes breaking down somewhere, do you really have clarity on the vision of, of what you want? And I think that having an object like that, or for me an object? I don’t know if the word is going to work? Really? Let me focus.


Catherine A. Wood  32:42

Yeah, yeah, I think clarity is probably a key component of it. And I also think that so many of us have a very convoluted relationship with clarity because we soften think we need to have clarity before we commit to something before we start, when typically, clarity is something we generate for ourself in motion. Well, I just wanted to share because I right before we hit record, I was like whooping and hollering with you all because I finally remembered what my word of the year was for last year. And I erroneously thought it was prosperity. Which it wasn’t it was prosperity was the Word of the Year from the year past from 2022. But this year 20 Oh gosh, last year’s word. 2023 was leisure and I have had the most epic breakthroughs and leisure last year, like and I feel like I’m I’m still kind of Gosh, delighting in them. Like I have this entirely different experience of my time. Especially on the weekends. Like you know, like I no longer feel this urge this need like literally zero desire to work on the weekends. I feel so delighted in my experience of being in my home with my dogs, doing my dunk going from my runs listening to my audio book, I got a portable sauna from my hubby for Christmas, which is behind me like sitting in that after my dips cooking in the morning. Like yesterday morning, I cooked an Indian doll dish that I’m trying I’m trying to learn more Indian doll dishes to reach my husband’s heart because I know it’s through the kitchen. And I’m really trying there. I’ve got some work to do but but there is a complete different experience of it. Like I feel so much more leisurely in how I relate to my time and also in the permission I give myself to be unplugged or disconnected from when I’m not working like You know, now when I reach five o’clock, like as soon as we finish recording this episode, like I will close the laptop up, put it away, and I won’t even think about work until tomorrow like I will totally be present with my family. And that feels like something I’ve been longing for for a really long time. But I hadn’t created that, gosh, I don’t know, I think that spaciousness to allow myself that full experience of living leisurely. It’s wild, it’s absolutely wild to me. I can’t really can’t tell you how many kinds of times I’ve been like really, like caught off guard by how much I’m enjoying living in the moment.


Rebecca Arnold  35:52

I’m like, I’m just really struck by your definition of leisure. Like your version of leisure feels so imbued with intention in a way that is very cat like.


Catherine A. Wood  36:12

I don’t even know what I said, What’s my definition of


Rebecca Arnold  36:14

leisure. Just I mean that there was so much sort of purposefulness, even though it’s time not with any particular agenda. It feels imbued with your essence and values. It’s like, there’s family and there, there’s health. There’s tight, like quality time with people you love. That is a piece it sounds like of how you experience leisure. Which I don’t know that that’s how everybody would necessarily define that. So it’s just cool from over here hearing how that has, how you’ve made it, you’ve embodied it in a way that is fully you.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  36:56

Yeah. I also loved your, your expression and your excitement around delight, which is Rebecca’s word. And I thought that that was really interesting that delight was part of that leisure for you.


Catherine A. Wood  37:13

Yeah, totally. Well, I appreciate Rebecca, are you pointing to like the physical expressions of it, because I feel like that’s often the sign that we’ve landed on our Word of the Year, like when we come to life when we’re lit up by it. And I’ve heard both of you share your words of the year for 2023. And I know you’re both lit up by them. I’m looking forward to creating that experience for myself too. But I would love to hear I’d love for you to share with my audience like, what are your words for the year? What was your process to land on them?


Rebecca Arnold  37:51

So mine is scrumptious. Yes. Weird, which I totally own. Because you know, I’m a little zany. And what I so love about scrumptious is that I’m a foodie. So like, obviously, there’s the foodie element of it. But there’s a when I eat something delicious, it is a whole body experience. It is like my mouth, their tastes are exploding in my mouth. My body is like a full body. And that is kind of the energy that I want to bring to this year to the different experiences I have. So if it’s a connection with someone or conversation, I want to feel like give me another and it just feels really alive for me. And I remember my husband, I were driving and I was like I don’t have a word for the year yet. Bla bla bla and we were just like in driving on the ocean. And it just kind of hit me in a flash. And it was such a no brainer. I was like of course yes, of course, scrumptious. And then for the rest of the weekend he was like is this scrumptious enough for you? But it is like you’re saying hat it is like I feel like it’s hard to know it when you got it kind of feel about it. And I’m I feel like it is kind of like the next level of delight for me, which I also appreciate. I feel like this year is built on last.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  39:23

Yeah, the moment you said it, I just had the most fun little visions of what it might look like when your family is calling you in or calling you out. whether something is scrumptious. I think that’s gonna be a lot of fun.


Catherine A. Wood  39:40

And hearing hearing the embodiment of scrumptious for you like that, like that just totally delights my whole nervous system. Like I totally feel that for you. And I also appreciate kind of how, who we’re becoming makes you Make space makes room for the next iteration of us like how delight make scrumptious possible. And I totally think for me prosperity made leisure possible. Rebecca eller, how about you? What’s your word?


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  40:17

My word is not as glamorous as scrumptious, which is fabulous. My word is enough. And even though I didn’t have a word last year, I had a witch’s Moneyball instead, money probably did make it possible, and also necessary for me to start trying to figure out where the lines of enough are, I paid off some massive, massive student loans in 2023. And that sort of lets me feel like I have permission to change some things about how I operate in the world. I was recently reading this book called The pathless path by Paul Millard. And in it he says that if we don’t define enough for ourselves, we default more. And that seemed really true to me in how I exist, and also a lot of cultural things in the United States. And I thought, yeah, I really need to figure that out. And he goes on later, to quote, All Jarvis, who wrote this book called company of one cat knows that I think, and in that they define enough as the upper bound of what’s required. And I thought that was a really interesting definition that I can’t decide if I totally did with yet, but I liked that it wasn’t like scraping by making dues sort of definition. So I get to toy around with that a little bit. But I have real swings of all or nothing in my life, especially in things like health, like I have to do hit workouts, or I won’t work out at all. And I hate those. I like going for walks and doing Gentle, gentle yoga where I roll around on the floor in my sweatpants. So I want to think a little bit about like, really what is enough on on the positive side and the negative side? Am I getting enough exercise or movement in my life? And lots of other categories in my life need that work to be applied to the as well? I


Catherine A. Wood  42:36

mean, I think for so many of us who identify as ambitious, we all we live like our default orientation is to live inside of that all or nothing mentality. So redefining that metric for ourself based on kind of that once enough measure is I hear so empowering. It certainly was for me, and I love that for you. How do you Oh, go ahead.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  43:01

Oh, no, I was just gonna say I’m excited. And, and I had no thought process to land on that. It just sort of struck me like a bolt of lightning and one of our mastermind sessions, there was zero thought behind that. I was like, Oh, that’s my word.


Catherine A. Wood  43:15

Yes. bolt of lightning. I have been waiting for that bolt of lightning. I totally. That’s been my experience in the past. Like, what the heck. Yes. To that. Um, well, before, like, how do you how do you envision yourself practicing especially Rebecca eller, like having never had one before? How do you envision kind of trying that on for size over the next year?


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  43:47

I think I need some ways to remind myself of what it is. I really like this company that makes Tipperary tattoos box and they will customize one for you. And I was like, maybe I’ll get it like written on my wrist or something. And I’ll have different designs, and just try it out. I have a friend who does a piece of jewelry for her word of the year every year, and really likes that. But while I was talking with you, too, about a touchdown, I thought, you know, maybe I just need like the word of the year equivalent of a pet rock. I’m not sure. The first thing that I’ve applied it to though, is movement. So I settled on a very reasonable and not particularly ambitious number of steps that I wanted to average over a week over a month over a year. And I’ve been hitting that so far. The next little insight came when I was doing my laundry and looking at my closet and realizing I have way more than enough in there and it would benefit me to really scale that down and maybe even have some kind of uniform so that I can reduce the cognitive load of dealing with all that mess. Do


Rebecca Arnold  45:02

you feel like your decision of like, is something enough a cognitive process and everybody process or both.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  45:14

Because of how I operate, I think I will probably try to make it a cognitive process, at the very least. And then we’ll see if my body has some will probably have something to say about it as well. And I will resist it and then eventually come to terms with it.


Catherine A. Wood  45:34

That makes me think of a framework that someone introduced to me recently, we were on a coffee date, and she calls it the IU framework, the idea that we have to become aware of a new habit, a new way of being that we want to call in. And then we have to understand the impact the possibility, the significance of it in our lives, until it becomes an embodied knowing. And I feel like that really speaks to kind of the journey of becoming our words of the year like the idea of calling it in. And then understanding its kind of its reach its possibility. The difference it makes to like truly embodying it and the fabric of our life or lifestyle on how we show up.


Rebecca Arnold  46:24

It’s interesting, I feel like I need to embody it first. And then I feel like I can understand it better. It’s like the has to come before that feels like before I can sort of understand like, what are the pieces of that? What does that look like? What’s possible all of that? That’s interesting.


Catherine A. Wood  46:40

I am so looking forward to seeing you embodying it on mastermind calls this year.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  46:48

Let’s go. If you ended up in Chicago, I think that I need to take you to eat the glitter cake that Kat and I ate when she was here because I would say it is scrumptious. And you should definitely be part of this experience.


Rebecca Arnold  47:06

Well, I’m likely going to Chicago this year. So I will let you know.


Catherine A. Wood  47:10

Yes, because Rebecca Arnold has a book coming. So maybe Chicago’s on a book tour list. Is that happening? I’m looking forward to that episode when you come and we talk about your book. But maybe before we get there, and as we wrap for today, like I want your support and helping me land on my words of the year like Rebecca Arnold, your coach. So I know this is totally in your wheelhouse, but Rebecca eller I feel like academia is becoming more and more of a coaching modality. So I know you have your coach toolkit in there, how would you invite me to consider my word for 2024?


Rebecca Arnold  47:56

So I have a couple of thoughts. One is to make a vision board for yourself if you haven’t done that already, and kind of look at the gestalt of that and see if there’s a theme that emerges from it.


Catherine A. Wood  48:13

Go ahead. Okay, so in response to that, so I, I still have my vision board from last year, which was a multi month long journey that I’m not willing to give up yet, because I love this vision board. Maybe the most beautiful one I’ve bought yet. So I will revisit her when we get off the call. Great.


Rebecca Arnold  48:40

I also I don’t know the thing that’s coming to mind is like when you are underwater in the middle of your dunk. What are some things that you are saying to yourself and is there anything there? That is fodder for your word of the year


Catherine A. Wood  48:57

so when I’m dunking it looks different, whether I’m solo dunking or when whether I’m with a group, but there’s like a sheer delight and joy of dunking. When I’m by myself it feels like a meditative process. It feels very, very meditative and and like a demand of being present. Like I feel fully present in those moments.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  49:30

I was thinking about your dunking as well. You have talked about it on some past podcast episodes and I don’t Instagram very well but I know that you have also put it there. And every time I have heard you talk about it. I think it brings up a lot for you. And also you are very animated when you talk about it. And it makes me wonder if there’s something in what what motivate them motivated you to dunk or catalyzed the decision to dunk. Like, if there’s a word there potentially that is allowing you to access all these other feelings.


Catherine A. Wood  50:14

I love that reflection. So, as do most of my habits, when I started dunking daily, it was just kind of like a in the moment decision that simply became a commitment. And I and I do I feel super like I feel fully embodied dunking like it is the total embodiment of my essence. And, and I feel like who I am in the world, right? Like, it is that kind of like, you get all or nothing. But the word I will say like I’ve been sitting with different words, I’ve been trying on different words, because usually I know like, well before the New Year. And the word, the word, the closest word that I’ve landed on, is, and maybe this isn’t the exact word, but it’s, it’s either or some variation of of claim. Because there’s a lot I want to claim in 2024, like, I want to claim motherhood, I want to claim the next expression of our home, our family life, the next expression of what my business looks like, in being a mom. And when I think about the dunk, like, you know, there’s a lot to claim around dunking while potentially being pregnant. So I and people’s opinions about that, you know, like there’s almost like a, like, a needing to trust my own trust my own intuition. Trust, what feels good in my body trust what I know to be true. allow myself to be impacted by other people’s opinions, but then, you know, follow my own wisdom. And there’s also something that feels a little confronting for me about the word claim, because it feels very masculine. And in my first years of business, most of my results were produced with that real kind of hustle mentality, right, like, a real striving energy that is, so not how I operate anymore. So um, yeah, I don’t know if maybe there’s like an expression of claim that is from a more embodied place.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  52:56

I love a thesaurus, I think you get a task of the thesaurus to help you with this.


Catherine A. Wood  53:02

That’s a great practice, I can totally take that on as another invitation.


Rebecca Arnold  53:07

This from writing, I have this the emotion thesaurus, which is


Catherine A. Wood  53:12



Rebecca Arnold  53:13

So I’ll look a look through here and send you some pictures, if you know anything, but it has all the physical, it has the definition, the physical finds of it, the internal sensations, mental responses, use that you’re in it, and then accused of it being suppressed, which is awesome, because there’s just a lot of clutter. I really appreciate the what you’re wanting to call it around like the more feminine energetically version of claim. And as you were talking like, two words that came to mind. Were vitality and serenity, which feels like a kind of wonder if you have two words this year. If there’s like a kind of yin yang sort of play going on for what you’re trying to integrate or working with.


Catherine A. Wood  54:11

That could totally be it. Like I sense that there’s a reason why I haven’t landed on my word yet. So it may look differently for me than it looks in the past. It’s interesting you say serenity serenity is my life purpose. I don’t think we’ve ever distinguished your life purpose. But anyway, there’s a there’s a tool from the accomplishment coaching toolkit that supports folks in naming, distinguishing their life purpose, which for many of us, we often attribute as a doing like something that we have to do some problem in the world that we have to solve for, rather than like it’s the it’s the full expression of ourselves living on purpose. which for me is serenity. Yeah, that feels very intimidating.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  55:08

You see something that came to mind for me and please, you know, do what this what you will, because a word is, I think a very personal thing and you can’t, nobody can see what somebody else’s word is. But in my mind when you were describing what the things meant to you, I kept hearing the word heart. And I thought that that was a and to me, that was the mental image of, of how you were describing claim. And I also really resonate with what you said about a word feeling like a masculine, maybe aggressive type of energy. A big part of my work is sales. And I often hear people say, eat what you kill, and it is nails on a chalkboard for me, I hate it. I like to say harvest what you grow.


Catherine A. Wood  56:09

I literally that reminds me of a book that we read in the unbounded mastermind, Rebecca Taylor, I wonder if you’ve ever read it called Cassandra speaks? No, you would love it. This, the author is the founder of the Omega Institute in upstate New York. And she talks all about the power of language, and how we need to restructure our language so that it’s more aligned with our values and how we want to operate and lead in the world. And so much of the language that we use in business is masculine based on warfare and aggression and kind of violence and how we need to bring more of these values of collaboration and femininity and intimacy and relationship and planting so I completely resonate with that. Well, I’m I’m like so appreciating this conversation because I feel like so many of our listeners are likely in either camps right like in either of your camp with their already landed on their word of the year, they know how they’re going to practice it, they know some of the structures that have worked for them in the past, or that they want to try on for size this year. Or you may fall in my camp where you don’t know your Word of the Year, which is, it’s, you know, it’s something to surrender to and, and trust, the divine timing of allowing it to unfold. I love all kinds of the resources that we each shared from our own journeys that have supported us in distinguishing our words of the year. Something I don’t think I’ve ever shared with the podcast or with either of you before is there’s a book that I always revisit at the beginning of every year. I’ve done it for the past decade. It’s one of Louise Hays first books called words. Gosh, I think it’s words and numbers. Have either of you heard of it? So Louise Hay is the original founder of Hay House, but she she’s done a lot of research on numerology. So she wrote this whole book that helps you distinguish your number of the year. And then she has, let’s see nine principle numbers and then to kind of call them Angel numbers. And based on your date of birth and the calendar year, you can distinguish your number and changes every year. And I for the last decade, I’ve done this for my best friend Emily for me and since my husband came in the picture for him, and Rebecca eller it’s so funny that you mentioned hearth because that is totally in alignment with my number of the year based on Louise Hay is numerology. So I will I will revisit that. And for those of you who haven’t landed on your number or your word, I invite you to check out that book because it’s it’s wildly apt.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  59:06

I’m so impressed that that’s what you’re reading at the first of every year because for me, it’s always some middle aged woman who gets magic and inherits like a cookie Victorian house somewhere. That’s my first of the year book. I’m still waiting for that. No luck so far, but I think I still have time.


Catherine A. Wood  59:26

That’s awesome. Well, this was delightful. I loved having you both join me. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. And I I look forward to having you both on the podcast again.


Rebecca Arnold  59:40

Thank you so so much fun.


Rebecca Eller-Molitas  59:41

Thanks, ladies



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Exploring Sensitive Leadership with Nina Khoo

On this week’s episode of the Prosperous Empath®, we’ll explore how to effectively lead as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), mitigate challenges, and work with your strengths. I’m thrilled to sit down with Nina Khoo, a Sensitive Leadership Coach and a Master NLP Coach who helps HSPs understand and embrace their unique wiring so they can become confident and empathetic leaders. It’s common for Highly Sensitive People to believe that they’re not capable of effective leadership and struggle with overwhelm, perfectionism, and second-guessing. Nina and I uncover how our greatest strengths can sometimes be the traits we feel most self-conscious about and pose a central question: How does a Highly Sensitive Person protect their gifts as a leader? As an empath and an HSP, your brain is physiologically wired to take more information in and process it more deeply, which can be an incredibly powerful leadership skill. Yet, it can also lead to overwhelm and self-criticism. Through our conversation, you’ll learn how to approach leadership in a more sensitive, empathetic, and compassionate way so you can own your gifts and make a bigger difference in the world  

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