Check Out Judy Wilkins-Smith’s Story

Check Out Judy Wilkins-Smith’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Judy Wilkins-Smith.

Judy, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am from South Africa, born and raised. In 1996, we relocated to the USA for a business opportunity that fell through. My father was killed, I was helping raise my sister’s kids, and it was either go crazy or write a book. Doing research for the book, I stumbled into Family Constellations and learned the practice which then evolved into Organizational constellations and that led to becoming a top executive and life coach. I work with top executives around the world as well as some of the most famous people in the world. My own addition to Family and Organizational Constellations was Emotional DNA. You don’t just inherit your physical DNA you also inherit your Emotional DNA and your inheritance contains all the clues you need to create the life you want if only you know how to see it. And that happens even if you don’t know your family of origin. All the clues are contained in your thoughts feelings and actions and so are all the possibilities.

All of this led to the book Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint being commissioned by Sounds True. It is doing well and has been translated into seven different languages. People who read it call it the little secret that changes lives. I have since done countless podcasts and appear regularly on TV shows like the Maria Menounos show. I am grateful and happily successful. My biggest dream is to see large numbers of people realize that they are a remarkable life if only they know how to see it. We all have the ability to create remarkable lives if only we know how to decode what’s ours and use it to create a legacy.

I started with nothing but commitment and a determination to make a difference by showing others where to find their remarkable!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Ha ha ha. Sorry. People who meet me always think it has been smooth sailing. My father was killed, my sister got divorced, and I helped raise the kids. I got divorced, my mom got cancer, and that was a two-year journey, and then she broke her pelvis in seven places. I wrote the book during her cancer walk while still maintaining a full practice and driving two hours for cancer treatments and then with the pelvic fractures that was a three-month stint where I went to the the rehab center every day to be with my mom after work and before I got back to do laundry and do client notes. A year into Mom’s treatment with all the stress etc I had to have my gallbladder removed and my daughter had a medical scare.

All of this made me more and more committed and determined to succeed and show people that life is and can be wonderful depending on our choices and lenses.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I guess it all goes back in some ways to a teacher who told me in 4th grade that I wouldn’t be a doctor – like I said, I would be, I would work with people’s hearts and minds, and a fellow student would be the doctor. Turns out she was right. I often talk about that. I did go into the medical arena, became a medical technologist, and then went into vascular technology and autotransfusion.

When I left the teaching hospital a physician and Zulu gentleman told me I might be leaving but I would find a way to represent them in the world. I laughed but when my father was killed in the US and they failed him in all of my specialties that door closed for me. I ultimately wound up going into Family and Organizational Constellations Work which has its origins in the Zulu culture and then became a top executive coach around the world and I am fortunate enough to work with very famous and successful people.

What sets me apart is that I do not just focus on the origins and effects of family or oganzational patterns, I focus on their inherent potential and how we are prompted to use what we’ve inherited to create incredible lives. You don’t just inherit your physical DNA, you also in herit your emotional DNA but it’s yours to shape and sometimes train smashes are actually portals to possibility.

I specialize in showing my clients that what looks like a challenge is often simply an invitation to step up and shine, and then we look at how to do that. I am known for getting clients to the next level by cutting through obstacles and illuminating opportunities. I also specialize in turnarounds for executives who are stuck or have lost their way, but most of all, I am known for creating visionary leaders. In companies, I am known as the coach who gets people promoted once they understand their gifts and strengths.

I am most proud always of my family and their courage. My mom who battled cancer and my daughter who is a kind and caring physician as well as my talented and successful nieces. I am proud of the book I wrote that has been translated into seven languages and whose popularity is growing amongst the psychology and self-help community. I am proud of all the letters I receive from people who have attended my events and who turned their lives into the superhuman life it was supposed to be. Life really is a big adventure and once you understand that you begin to invest in the adventure you want, not the one you think you were served.

What makes you happy?
Family – I love my family around me even when there are disagreements; I know they have my back, and I have theirs. Disney World – the world makes sense in the world of magic it always has. I love magic and have since I was a kid. I get the magic of the soul; I think it’s my first language. I understand what people are going through and why and how the universe is in support of us. It always has been, and it always will be. Disney is where my soul feels right at home.

People fulfilling their potential and gaining insights along the way makes me super happy. It’s why I do the work I do; I LOVE watching people get to their aha’s and then move through them to the fuller version of themselves. Writing books and sharing what I know with others. Home. I love home. It’s so important to me. It allows me to center and breathe and belong. A LOT of adventure. I like good experiences that stretch me and make me go wow. Growing and learning. I am always learning and often from my clients.


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Moving Beyond Victimhood: The Great Unconscious Metapattern Of Our Time

Moving Beyond Victimhood: The Great Unconscious Metapattern Of Our Time

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names shall never hurt me,” was an old adage way back in the early 1800s. For over 200 years it soothed and encouraged many a bullied student and adult. But no longer.

Today, it seems we are the walking wounded, insulted by everything. Names hurt us. Not being honored with the right pronoun hurts us. Not getting enough “Likes” on a social media post hurts us. Someone offering information we don’t agree with hurts us. Seeing historical statues of former slave owners hurts us. Our skins are thin. Suffering has become a badge of honor. And the more we publicly acclaim our suffering, the more there seems to be of it. (In other words, what we focus on materializes right in front of us.)

This is not to dismiss the reality of trauma. The world is full of it. Child abuse. Sexual abuse. Emotional abuse. Racial abuse. Gender abuse. Deliberate ritual abuse. Hunger. Starvation. War. Famine. Humanity carries the heavy epigenetic burden of all of these things—inherited ancestral patterns that take the form of thoughts, choices, and actions aligned with pain and suffering, lack, judgment and subjugation.

But humanity also carries the possibility of greatness. We also carry the inherited ancestral patterns of strength and courage, forgiveness and compassion, fairness and justice, a desire for change and evolution, love, and respect, mutual support and community. These higher emotions and strengths more than outweigh our shortcomings … but only when we choose to focus on them. We move into greater and greater possibilities and integrity only if we commit to those things, claim these traits as our own, and proudly live them.

Understanding Metapatterns

As the word implies, metapatterns are major patterns that affect many. Nationalism is a metapattern. Economics is a metapattern. Religion is a metapattern, and so is victimization. There isn’t a person, a family, a community, a government, a nation in the world that hasn’t seen suffering, abuse and inequality at one time or another. We have all been victims. There is nothing special about it. What is special is rising above it.

It is the nature of all systems — a family system, political system, religious system, a business system — that patterns within the system that are suppressed, excluded, and unacknowledged keep repeating. Abuse is a perfect example. For hundreds of years, societies suppressed acknowledgment of abuses perpetrated on people — women, indigenous peoples, people of color, pagans, Jews, Muslims, Christians, gays. As a result, the abuses kept on repeating with increasing prevalence and force. Which is exactly what we’re seeing now.

It is an incredibly healthy thing that we are now in the process of getting these deeply traumatic abuses and wounds out into the light and are discussing them. However, unless handled wisely, we run the danger of becoming the victims of past victimization by turning on perceived perpetrators and victimizing them. The old “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” philosophy unconsciously lives in a lot of people’s thinking. That, too, is an inherited pattern. A pattern destined to leave us all blind and toothless unless we can turn it around and realize one very important point: The opposite of being a victim is not being a perpetrator.

The opposite of being a victim is mastering your world, mastering your patterns of thoughts, feelings and actions. The opposite of being a victim is stepping into authenticity, self-expression and joyous creativity, freed from the patterns that shackle us to the past.

Moving Beyond The Victim Pattern

So, how do we go about going beyond the victim metapattern? First, we need to understand that generational symptoms — patterns of thoughts, emotions, choices, and actions — are inherited. Clinical studies have proven that emotional trauma experienced by our parents and grandparents (and even further back in our genetic line), leave physical markers on our genes, affecting gene expression. These markers make us prone to the same kinds of trauma, over and over again.

The patterns of victimization — unconscious ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that attract abuse — are literally passed down epigenetically from generation to generation. This is what is termed “emotional DNA.” The same holds true for abusers/perpetrators. How many times do we find that an abusive parent was also subjected to violence as a child? Too often. The inherited pattern of being an abuser is also passed down.

The next thing we need to do is see that abuse and victimization are not serving our personal growth, happiness, or overall social advancement. We need to understand that anger and outrage, lashing out, seeking punishment, and reparations for old sins is simply a continuation of the very dynamic we’re hurt by and angry about.

Metapatterns are in us. And they are destined to unconsciously drive us and run our lives (from one side of the issue or the other) until we see them, acknowledge them, and choose to change and elevate their shape and effect. Only then can we move beyond them.

Symptoms Of Victim/Perpetrator

How do you recognize when a pattern or metapattern is affecting you? It shows up in our language and as symptoms: discomfort, irritation, a block to some desire, boredom, a lack of progress, ill health. Sometimes it manifests as a variety of symptoms. When it comes to the metapatterns of victimization, some generational symptoms passed down epigenetically from one generation to the next are:

  • Seeing oppression everywhere
  • Hatred for the perceived oppressors
  • Seeing discrimination even when it isn’t intended or doesn’t exist
  • A sense of not being seen and respected
  • Clinging to past wounds, past actions
  • Unworthiness
  • A sense of always being put down
  • Inability to prosper

As well, there are generational symptoms of perpetration passed down epigenetically from one generation to the next. It’s interesting to note that some symptoms of past victimization and past perpetration are the same. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Guilt
  • A subconscious desire to be punished or to fail
  • Self-sabotage
  • Anger and the continued desire to inflict pain and suffering
  • A sense of unworthiness
  • Apologizing for everything, even when no harm is done
  • Inability to prosper

In a quick example to show how this works, Hua Ming (a pseudonym) came to the US on a university exchange scholarship from China. After graduation, she chose to stay in America and became a citizen in order to continue her work at a prestigious laboratory as a geneticist. In time, she recognized she felt blocked. She was frightened by her growing responsibilities at work. She was frightened by the increasing expectations of her American fiancé and her upcoming marriage — frightened to the point she was considering throwing it all away and moving back to China.

When Hua Ming decided to pursue professional guidance for her anxiety, she realized it was really more an issue of not being able to live up to Western people’s assessment of her value. She couldn’t understand how she was suddenly worthy. “I can’t do what they’re asking of me,” she thought. “My boss expects me to lead this next team project. My fiancé thinks I should go for my PhD and an even higher position. Who do they think I am?”

Looking at Ming’s family heritage, it wasn’t hard to uncover the pattern of unworthiness grounded in her ancestral pattern of gender discrimination. Her parents had been terribly disappointed to have a girlchild. Low expectations had plagued her all her life. Despite her determination to rise above those low opinions of her — a determination that had carried her far from her homeland — the unconscious inherited sense of unworthiness as a woman and lack of value was dragging her down.

Through an understanding of emotional DNA, family patterns, and metapatterns, she finally got to see that the unworthiness she was feeling wasn’t really hers, but rather inherited emotions piled on top of a negative upbringing. She was able to work through those negative emotions. Instead of remaining a victim to the old patterns, she was able to see how far she’d come because of them and what she had to offer. She turned the negative into the positive. She saw her true strength and courage. She thanked her ancestors for the gift of unworthiness that had fired her determination to become more, and given her the opportunity to change the past patterns of victimization that were plaguing not only her but her whole native country.

Time To Shine

It’s time for humanity to choose to move on from the victim mindset. Past abuses are past. The only reason they continue to plague us in the present is because we are unconsciously repeating the old patterns that are begging to change. Our deep system-wide unrest, bitter unhappiness, and intolerance of abuse and discrimination in all forms is a joyous red flag waving saying, “Let go of the bitterness. Let go of the intolerance for the intolerant! Let go the judgment of the judges! Let go of victimizing past perpetrators. That’s all part of the old pattern. Let go!”

Focus on the adventure and possibilities. Possibilities open hearts and doors. People are craving a bigger reality that allows them to participate in and co-create a happier, more fulfilling, and exciting world. Steve Jobs summed it up best when he said, “Blessed are the crazy ones who believe they can change the world. Because, indeed, they can.”

Judy Wilkins-Smith, author of Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint: A Powerful Guide to Transformation Through Disentangling Multigenerational Patterns, is a highly-regarded, international organizational, individual and family patterns expert, systemic coach, trainer, motivational speaker and founder of System Dynamics for Individuals & Organizations. Check out one of her live events and learn more!

Imposter Syndrome: Busting the Myth and How to Escape Self-Doubt

Imposter Syndrome: Busting the Myth and How to Escape Self-Doubt

By Judy Wilkins-Smith

Most of us are raised to believe there’s basically something wrong with us. We pick up the chronic message from society, media, and, (unfortunately) often our own families, that we’re not thin enough, smart enough, funny enough, successful enough, rich enough, responsible enough, and on and on.

To balance out the scales and soothe our damaged self-esteem, we read self-help books and go to seminars to help fix what we think needs to be fixed. And all the while, we’re rarely given any positive reinforcement or told what’s right with us. Even worse, we even more rarely give positive reinforcement to ourselves.

Interestingly, one of the quickest, best antidotes for flagging self-esteem can be found at work. After all, you were hired to do what you do because of your abilities and expertise. Right? Unlike our family and social arenas, our bosses desire, encourage and expect success.

Of all the places in our lives, we not only have the space to shine in our jobs, but we also have a mandate to do so. Right? Which is pretty much the complete opposite of our personal lives. 

Your career may be the antidote for low self-esteem

This makes our careers the perfect incubators for growing ourselves into the people we want to be. Thing is, the negativity society has baked into us all too often invades our professional lives as well. Many clients tell me they feel they don’t have what it takes to qualify for the positions they hold. Despite their abilities and knowledge, they find themselves hanging back and playing small.

They let doubt creep in the door and sabotage their ideas. Even my most successful clients end up with Imposter Syndrome, where they don’t feel they deserve the position and money they’re paid. And they’re terrified that someone will find out they are a fraud.

And yet, to serve their companies (and themselves), they actually need to bring the best of themselves to the table every day. And to do that, they have to believe in themselves. But how do you transcend years of social putdowns, negative comparisons, cultural conditioning and smallness?

Let me tell you what I tell my clients: Transformation is simply a matter of switching focus and changing your perspective. There is no such thing as “Imposter Syndrome.” Actually, you have “Pioneer Syndrome.” Nobody has all the answers all the time. But you are willing to go in search of them, and that is a quality of a good leader.   

Instead of sitting around thinking about your shortcomings and all the things you don’t do really well, I want you to write down every little thing that you do know how to do well. I don’t care how insignificant it might seem or how much it doesn’t seem to relate to your work. I want you to write it down. 

Are you into beading as a way to relax? Can you unscramble word puzzles in nothing flat? Do you notice the smallest changes in your surroundings? Do friends come to you for advice? You never follow a recipe, yet people rave about your cooking? Write it all down. Take your time and make sure your list is comprehensive. I don’t care if it includes bathing the cat. (Do you have any idea how hard that is?) 

Now, look at that list. You think beading is meaningless? It shows you’re a meticulous detail person with an aesthetic eye. Unscrambling word puzzles means your brain is super good at making sense out of patterns. Noticing changes makes you keenly observant. Your friends come to you because you’re a good listener and good at solving relational issues. Your culinary flair shows fearlessness and an ability to pull together seemingly unrelated ingredients to create something new and delicious. 

All of these supposedly simple things reveal powerful abilities and gifts only you can bring to the table. Every client I ask to do this process ends up really surprising themselves! Now, the next thing I want you to do is add your character attributes to this list. For example, kindness, gratitude, resilience, perseverance, etc. Even if you’re naturally modest, do your best not to hold back. 

Now, look at that list. Hello? You’re a powerhouse! The only problem is, you’ve just never been taught to see it let alone use those capabilities or, heaven forbid, actually list them.

Combine your character list with the list of all the things you can do, and imagine taking that list with you to work every single day and showing up as that person. Would you be more of an asset to your company? Would they be able to see who you really are? Would you? Could you kick the Imposter Syndrome to the curb at last and finally realize that you are a pioneer, not an imposter?

Transformation is perception

Now, make the “other” list—you know, the negative one with all the flaws and faults you’re all too familiar with. Write down the ways in which you fail and aren’t good enough, as well as the character attributes that go with that list. Place this negative list side-by-side with your powerhouse list. Guess what? Both lists belong to the same person. You’re looking in a mirror that reflects all of you.

Everybody has good points and not-so-good points, strengths and weaknesses. Welcome to the club. Nobody’s perfect; everybody’s human. However, my point is, which part of you are you focused upon? Which list do you live with day after day? Can you see that the list you choose to focus on every day is the version of yourself that inevitably shows up? Can you also see that the things you aren’t good at are simply opportunities waiting to be explored?

Knowing that your choice will shape your career and your life, which list do you choose? And remember, most likely, you have inflated the list of your flaws out of habit, repetition and negative reinforcement from the world around you. As well, most likely, you have deemphasized your strengths and positive attributes out of fear of appearing prideful or over-inflated. 

So many people believe that genuine change is almost impossible to attain when, in fact, it really boils down to a simple matter of rewiring your brain by choosing where you place your focus. It isn’t rocket science. It’s a step-by-step process that anyone can do. So? Which list do you prefer? What thoughts, feelings and actions do you want to invest in? Take the time to consciously decide, then follow through with the steps outlined below.

Focus on your strengths

At the moment, the world is deeply locked into the perception that it is flawed and broken. You can see, quite clearly, which list society has (so far) chosen. In the West, we’ve been rigorously trained to focus on our weaknesses and been told to strengthen them. And yet what about focusing on our strengths? The opposite of Imposter Syndrome.

A long time ago, I read a quote from the health guru Deepak Chopra, MD, and he said something like this: “What do you do when you’re great at tennis but really bad at math? Take tennis lessons or hire a math tutor?” This is a “glass half-empty versus glass half-full” question. Instead of doing what most people do and hire the tutor, what about embracing the half-full glass and taking tennis lessons? Maybe you’re the next Serena Williams and don’t even know it!

Changing your life begins and ends with changing how you view yourself. But sometimes old habits are hard to break. If, despite your desire to change and focus on your strengths, you find yourself drawn back to the negative list that keeps you small, you may well be expressing an old unconscious and unresolved pattern of being loyal to somebody in your family system who also stayed small. If this is the case, ask yourself:

  • Who in my family is negative? Who thinks small? 
  • How am I invested in being like them?
  • Who thinks big and how are they judged or perceived in the family?

Does your mom fly under the radar at all costs, never bringing attention to herself at work or at family gatherings? Was your dad afraid to advance and be the first in his family to get a college degree? Did your older sister go out and start her own business and draw fierce criticism for being “dangerously irresponsible” from your parents and/or other family members? These are the kinds of “Imposter Syndrome” things to look for. Find the places where you or your family members struggle, are dissatisfied, dogmatic, or stuck. 

If you find such people and events in your family system, now you know where the habit of being small (aka Imposter Syndrome) came from and why it’s so hard to switch focus from the old list to the new. It’s not you. It’s just an inherited emotional DNA pattern in your family. And you’re being asked to break the mold!

Ask yourself:

  • When did this pattern begin to show up in me?
  • What was happening in my life at the time?
  • What could have triggered this pattern?

After you answer those questions, ask yourself: “What is my biggest desire? What do I want to change or experience in this particular area?” Be sure to write your answer down. Now, to help move in that direction, be sure to:

  • Post your desire statement where you can see it every day.
  • Post your powerhouse list next to it.
  • Acknowledge yourself and speak your powerhouse list out loud until you feel it in your body. 
  • Let yourself really experience appropriate pride and satisfaction knowing what you can do and what the best you is really like. Feeling positive emotions will help cement your positive list as a truth in your mind and body.

Commit to this. Some studies say it takes up to 40 days to rewire new thoughts and actions into your brain. But your brain has to tell your body a story that the body believes. That’s why engaging your powerhouse list every day is so important. Once your body believes the story and feels appropriate emotions about the story, your journey begins.  

And remember—you’ve already done most of the work. You’re not trying to become somebody better or new. This is not Imposter Syndrome. You already are that amazing creative genius in the kitchen who also easily cooks up new software solutions at work, making the whole IT division look good. And hey, remember—you can also bathe a cat.

In Honor of Cecilia: Stretching, not breaking

In Honor of Cecilia: Stretching, not breaking

My late friend and colleague Cecilia used to always say, “There’s a fine line between a stretch and a break.” In my last blog, I spoke about bandwidths and how to move beyond them. But to return to what Cecilia said, it’s important to note that when we notice a limitation and stretch toward a new goal‚ that we stretch. Not break.

A stretch may be small—just a couple of degrees beyond our normal bandwidth. But even the smallest stretch opens us up to expansion. It inspires confidence. We find we can stretch again and yet again. Stretches tend to be enough to excite us and can build up what is known as the “winner effect.” This is where we begin to rewire our emotional DNA into the “can-do” mode.  We experience more aliveness and become more of ourselves. 

A break on the other hand, can happen when we’ve been too ambitious and pushed ourselves beyond our current actualizing potential. Overreaching and not achieving a goal can activate stress hormones and tell us, again, that we’re failures. This hurts and does not inspire confidence to try to expand our bandwidth a second time.

Unless we have been through a difficult period, life is at its most exciting when we have dream and goals. And after a hard period, sometimes peace is the goal. Dreams and goals invite us to evoke more and more of our true selves. Of course, they also require a stretch. And there is nothing more exciting than when we’ve stretched and had a dream come true.  Conversely, making a dream so ambitious that it is unachievable can set us up for a world of disappointment.

When I work with organizations that have encountered a break—a failure—one of the first things I ask them to do is to list both their failures and their successes. I find it fascinating that most corporate managers are used to listing failures but find it difficult to list what actually did work, When they finally do make that list, they are frequently surprised to find they actually have taken steps toward a particular goal. They may not have hit it—yet—but they indeed have accomplished a stretch and find they have a new starting point. 

My point is, even a break can serve as a positive motivator when you understand that it may be part of a stretch  Goals don’t always have to be reached in one gigantic, effortful push. Sometimes they simply require a couple of stretches. 

NOTE: Stretching may feel easier and build up a “winner effect” quicker. But you don’t want to be afraid of going all out. Just remember, if you do experience a break, it’s simply asking for another step to get you to your goal. It’s only a failure if you label it as such and make no further effort.

A stretch may make you feel queasy without feeling easy, but when you achieve it, you know you have grown beyond your limiting emotional DNA.

Pro tip:  Take any area of your life where you put up barriers or resistance and ask yourself what one small step you can take beyond that. Congratulations! You have just engaged the art of stretching!

To find out more about your emotional DNA and how to make stretches a part of your daily life, join me at one of my live events. 



Busting Your Limiting Bandwidth

Busting Your Limiting Bandwidth

Bandwidth is defined as the area between upper and lower limits. In systemic work it refers to what we are and aren’t allowed to accomplish in any given area of our lives. For the most part, our bandwidth, whether it’s our relationship bandwidth, our health bandwidth or our money bandwidth, is determined by family patterns and the rules we have inherited from our family system.  

Some of us embody inherited patterns—limited thoughts, feelings, emotions, choices. actions—that pretty much guarantee that we never experience healthy relationships. Others carry patterns that allow only limited health. In business, patterns and mindsets hold people back from getting into leadership positions. But the most glaring example of limited bandwidth is found within the area of money. 

Depending on our socioeconomic class, caste, culture, and upbringing, we each have a specific bandwidth within which we can operate monetarily, depending on the family and social patterns and the family conscience in play. I have clients who make it in the world financially, and then lose or give their money away because having a lot of money wasn’t allowed or achieved earlier within their family system. They unconsciously feel guilty that they have more than their father or mother or grandparents ever had. Which means they’re still tightly locked into the bandwidth of how much they can or cannot have or make.

If they don’t see the pattern and acknowledge the source of their limitation, they cannot make the transition and expand their money bandwidth. They will chronically lose all that they have gained in order to stay within the family conscience and return to their comfort level. 

Money is a strong teacher and mentor. It dares us to expand. But true expansion can only happen when we’re willing to move beyond the limiting thoughts of our family system. Part of the art of shaping our money bandwidth lies in listening to our inner voices and their messages. Are they telling us stories from prior generations or prior events? 

If you’re chafing under the limitations a narrow money bandwidth has imposed upon your life, good questions to ask are:

    • What is my biggest fear around breaking through my money bandwidth?
    • Is it a valid fear?
    • When did it begin?
    • What was happening in my life at the time?
    • What might happen if I pushed through this fear and expanded my bandwidth? Might money become an ally instead of something to be feared?
    • What could I do that I cannot do now if I busted through my limiting money bandwidth?
    • How could I better serve with an increased bandwidth?

Doing this kind of questioning can expand your bandwidth in any area of your life. Look at a place where you feel limited.  See if you can identify the limitations of your bandwidth and then ask yourself what one new thought, feeling, or action you could take that would allow you to expand—even just the tiniest bit. And then do it again.  And again. Pretty soon you’re going to discover that change and growth are not scary. They’re the place where you can finally relax and exhale.

I often ask clients to identify their various bandwidths by writing down on a piece of paper where and how they are limited. For example, say you can’t seem to break into the six-figure income bracket. Write “six-figure income” on a piece of paper. Or maybe $150,000 —whatever your upper money bandwidth limit says is “impossible.”

Place the paper on the floor. Then walk toward that piece of paper and notice the thoughts, feelings, and actions that arise.  Once you’ve done that, imagine one step beyond that limit. Write another, bigger figure on a piece of paper and place that beyond the current bandwidth limit of 150K.  Now, walk toward that, noticing what it feels like. 

  • Is it as scary as you’ve imagined?
  • What other feelings can you sense?
  • What are your thoughts as you stand at that place beyond 150k?

Standing in this new space, you have literally, physically moved beyond your old bandwidth.  Now, new possibilities are available. Try it!

Join me at my live events to learn how to expand your bandwidth (including your money bandwidth!) and step into new paradigms. 

A DIY Constellation

A DIY Constellation

In my previous blog this month, I explained a little bit about Systemic Work & Constellations, and how facilitators use the 3D mapping process known as a “constellation” to dimensionalize issues and reveal formerly unknown/invisible patterns, relationships, images, ideas, conclusions and reactions we carry about events, issues and family members. These unconscious patterns all too often end up running our lives until we identify them, see their gifts and then use those gifts to grow in a new and remarkable direction.

Below is a framework, that will enable you to create a basic constellation on your own, map out a personal issue and come to a new understanding and transformation.

1) Name your issue. Pick your own issue. For the purpose of an example, let’s say you want to understand why you can’t seem to break into a six-figure income bracket, no matter how hard you try. (And you’re trying hard!)  

  • List all your current thoughts, feelings, and actions around this issue.

2) Create a constellation around your issue. For the sample issue above you would write down the name of each person in your family on individual pieces of paper—Dad, Mom, yourself, siblings, grandparents (if they’re close) and any other close members of the family. Also write the word “money” on its own piece of paper.

  • Take your pieces of paper and lay them out on the floor in a spatial relationship to one another as it feels right for you. Notice where money lands and notice who it’s close to and distant from.
  • Walk through your constellation. Being able to see and walk around an issue gives you a multi-sensory experience that may trigger previously unconscious connections/insights about money into surfacing.
  • If you don’t have room to do this in a way that enables you to actually move between the pieces of paper, then set up your constellation on a tabletop.

3) Examine your constellation. Notice spatial distances and relationships. Let’s say you ended up placing mom and dad surprisingly far apart. Or maybe another sibling or an aunt or uncle or grandparent stands between them. You might not have even been conscious of the interference or distance until you see the spatial separation you unconsciously created. Suddenly you see what’s been previously invisible to you.

Let’s take the example of mom and dad being placed far apart in your constellation. Why are they distanced from each other? Why have you placed your father closer to his father than your mother? “Well,” you say, “Mom was always on about wanting dad to make more money. And he never did. And that drove them apart.”

Why didn’t dad want to make more money? Look where he’s “standing.” Look where you placed him, next to that piece of paper on the floor representing his father. Maybe your dad didn’t make more money because his dad only made so much money and he didn’t want to outshine the father he admired. Unconsciously his way of being close to his dad may have been by emulating him and thus belonging.

Notice where the paper for money is situated. Is it closer to your mother/father/some other relative? Did they do well with money? Was there a money event in the family that sparked a whole slew of thoughts feelings and actions which in turn created mindsets? For example, a major stock loss? Losing the family home? Etc.

AHA! Suddenly your own issue about money comes clear. Maybe you struggle to break into the six-figure category because you, too, are unconsciously trying to belong by emulating your father just as he did his father.

The magic that happens with a constellation is that you get the opportunity to consciously explore a family issue that your father, mother, or other family members may not have investigated.

4) Identify the new pattern that wants to start.  The nature of all systems is to evolve and grow. The reason you’re unhappy and dissatisfied with your economic situation in life is because the family pattern of smallness is no longer working for you or anybody else. In this case, YOU are the family member that’s going to evolve the family system around the issue of money. You’re now going to identify and claim the new pattern that only you can start by first creating a statement that sums up the old money pattern in the family and stops the pattern from repeating. For example, “I see how all of us have struggled with money and it’s time for this to stop. I will think, feel and act differently around money.” 

Now you look towards a new, healthier pattern. You might create something like the statement: “I am the one growing wealth in the family.” Growing wealth is the new pattern you’re setting in motion. This is your driving statement and the fuel that will keep you learning about money and handling it differently for a different outcome. But just sitting there repeating your new affirming money statement won’t get you there. Now you must take action.

5) What might change if your issue were to be resolved? Ask yourself: “How will I look and feel different and how will my life look and feel different by adopting this new pattern of wealth acquisition?” Perhaps your answer is “I would feel safer.” Or “I could take my family on vacations and we could have more fun.” 

6) Make sure the new pattern gets you excited. Getting excited about your new pattern and your new goal ensures that you will invest in it by taking action. Your new goal must have a stronger pull for you than where you are now. For example, “I’m going to make a little more money than Dad” is hardly an exciting goal to get behind!

7) Determine one new thought, feeling, or action that will get the ball rolling in the direction of your goal. For example, “I’m opening a bank account specifically for vacations.” Or “I’m signing up for that real estate broker’s course so I can get my license and start my own business.”

Congratulations! You’ve conducted your first constellation. These steps may seem simple, but their effects are profound and elevating. I cannot overstate the power of constellation work. If you make doing this process a habit when you find yourself running into an issue or block, you will soon see things begin to shift.

Join me at a live event where we use this approach with human representatives. It yields remarkable insights and breakthroughs!




A User’s Guide to Understanding and Employing Systems

A User’s Guide to Understanding and Employing Systems

Systemic Work & Constellations is both easy and logical. And it is also complex, multi-generational and multi-layered. I often get asked for a quick User’s Guide for navigating systems themselves, so here it is.

To be able to use a system to our highest advantage, we first need to know what one is and how it operates. A system is a grouping of elements within a common base. For example, your family members form a family system. Our laws form a legal system. Roads and highways form a transportation system. Planet Earth and all the other planets form our solar system.

Obviously, we are all part of many systems simultaneously. However, our family system has the greatest mental, emotional, physical and spiritual influence upon us. Therefore, it is considered the primary influence and pattern maker in our lives. This is true, even when we don’t know our family consciously and/or are adopted. Religions, cultures, countries, businesses, economic systems and more are secondary systems that have a strong effect—just not one equal to that of our genetic family and the family that raised us.     

All systems have their own languages, governing principles, patterns, and rules. The systemic approach takes every aspect and member of the system in its entirety into account when dealing with an issue within the system. No one member of a system stands alone, in isolation from the whole without it affecting the rest of the system. Everyone belongs. The system itself is a whole—the sum total of its many aspects and parts.

Systemic facilitators use a 3D mapping process known as “a constellation” to dimensionalize issues and reveal previously unknown/invisible patterns, relationships, images, and ideas we carry about events and other members of the system, as well as our conclusions and reactions to them. If we imagine a family system being like a star constellation in the night sky, you get the idea. Each family member has a “fixed” position within the family system/constellation in relation to all the other members (stars).

(I will outline a DIY constellation in the next blog this month so you can do one on a personal issue for yourself. So, stay tuned!)

However, patterns are unique to every member of the family system. Why? Because your mother, father, brother, sister and Aunt Alice all have their own unique experiences and relationship dynamics growing up in your family system. So, how each one of these family members views the family system itself is going to be different. If asked to create a constellation, every member of the family would create a different-looking pattern!

The point is, creating a physical image using representatives to stand in for family members, (you can use people, pieces of paper with family member names written on them, playing cards, whatever you can come up with) enables you to explore your family system and the relationships, tensions, opportunities and issues within it. But remember, the constellation you create will reflect the family system as you unconsciously perceive it.

The key word here is “unconsciously.” The whole purpose of a constellation is to give you the opportunity to identify (make conscious) the decisions, wounds and obstacles and/or opportunities and issues that are there for you. It’s an experiential approach that enables you to explore “what is” in order to move to “what’s possible” by making the unconscious conscious and the invisible visible.

This multisensory approach facilitates an embodied experience and visceral “ahas!” that shift perception, spark the brain to start rewiring, stimulate the heart to open and the gut to relax. By allowing unconscious patterns to reveal themselves in a constellation, both mind and body align to a new truth, igniting new possibilities.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll show you how to create a family constellation and examine an issue for yourself!

The Beauty of Obstacles and How to Turn Them into Strengths

The Beauty of Obstacles and How to Turn Them into Strengths

All too often, we stop short of our goals because of obstacles that often have their origins in prior events or previous generations. And yet obstacles are actually clues to the future we want and desire. They are actually pivot points to our strengths, rooted in our family system’s desire for change and evolution.

An obstacle is an invitation to refocus and stop seeing an obstacle—to look with curiosity and see it as an opportunity to turn sickness into health, poverty into abundance, and limitations into liberation.

For example, nobody in Paul’s family has a degree. The family ethic is all about hard work. He is really good at sketching and wants to be an architect, but his unconscious loyalty to the family’s work pattern makes him hesitant to venture into an arena he knows nothing about. This becomes an obstacle.

Now, obstacles are often solutions that have outlived their usefulness. Paul’s family emigrated from Puerto Rico. No one in the family spoke English. Blue collar jobs were the only option and that kind of work kept the family afloat. Then “blue collar” became a fixed pattern that couldn’t allow growth. 

It is when Paul focused on his passion and deep desire to create beautiful buildings, that he could see a different path forward. His desire outweighed the old pattern. 

When he is able to look at his heritage and can see the steps that led to who he is, he finds himself filled with gratitude and acknowledgement. Understanding that his desire to add to the family system is rooted in gratitude enables him to focus on and fulfill his own dream. Thus, he turns the obstacle into a strength. 

Once we understand what an obstacle is trying to show us, we very quickly realize that it is trying to grow the system through us and then we can shift the pattern.

While the system’s most important goal is to survive, its highest ideal is to thrive. We don’t want to stall out at the point of our parent’s success. We want to soar beyond it, growing the system and expanding its opportunities. Thinking about obstacles as portals to possibility aligns the head, heart and gut in a whole new way. When these three are aligned, there is no confusion, and everything is focused and invested in a single direction. 

Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint – #IATE with Judy Wilkins-Smith

Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint - #IATE with Judy Wilkins-Smith

Judy Wilkins-Smith is a highly regarded organizational, individual, and family patterns expert. A systemic executive coach, trainer, facilitator, thought partner, and leadership conference and motivational speaker, she has 18 years of expertise in assisting high-performance individuals, Fortune 500 executives, and legacy families to end limiting cycles and reframe challenges into lasting breakthroughs and peak performance. She is the author of the book Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint: A Powerful Guide to Transformation Through Disentangling Multigenerational Patterns.

In this inspiring podcast, Sounds True’s founder, Tami Simon, speaks with Judy about the deep work of transforming our ancestral patterns on the path of personal evolution. They discuss Bert Hellinger and the creation of constellations and systems-based work; engaging in a multisensorial experience of your system; reengineering what we’ve inherited as truth; illuminating our “unconscious loyalties”; how we can take a “quantum leap” that serves the entire system; how every system has its clear rules—both spoken and unspoken; Judy’s teaching on “building the weight” and doing the things you never thought possible; a constellation exercise for feeling a greater sense of belonging in our families; epigenetics and the imprinting of generational behavioral patterns; what neuroscience tells us about rewiring our thoughts, feelings, and actions; laying down a triumphant path instead of a traumatic path; decoding our emotional blueprint when we have a health challenge; and more.

Subscribe to Sounds True for more: Decoding Your Emotional Blueprint by Judy Wilkins-Smith: Sounds True –

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