Kelli Benis

Occupation: Realtor

Website: www.todaydecide.com

Instagram: todayidecide

HOW DID YOU IDENTIFY YOUR PASSION AND THE WORK THAT SATISFIED YOU VERSUS WORK THAT JUST PAID THE BILLS?
While I love helping people navigate through the biggest purchase they will likely make, it is not what consumes my thoughts and fills my daydreams. My passion is empowering women to respectfully understand their past and then to encourage them to make decisions today that bring them back in line with their true selves. This passion stirs my soul, it consumes every fibre of my being. To disregard it and not take action, no matter how small that action is, would take the light from my eyes and leave me in a heap on the floor.

WHO WILL ETERNALLY BE A WOMAN YOU ADMIRE AND RESPECT, AND WHY?
Maya Angelou: She had a calm and clear power about her and it flowed effortlessly through all of her work. Her wisdom and grace were a gift and serve as a roadmap for those of us who choose to use the tattered threads of our past to weave the beautiful tapestry of our futures.

IN LIGHT OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR HASHTAG #WHYITRIBE, WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE WHO WE ALREADY ARE TODAY?
Celebrating ourselves and who we are today requires self examination through non judging eyes. It begs us to see in ourselves what we admire in others. It requires us to be present, loving and content with ourselves. There is no work that is more important. To build our daughters up and shift their understanding of what makes them special, we first must let them observe us doing the same.

NAME A TIME RECENTLY WHEN YOU SAID SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF/HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
I recently read something that I wrote as a contribution to a book which compiled letters from several women who had suffered some sort of abuse. These letters were addressed to the people who had abused us. I hadn’t read or even thought of this since I received my copy of the published book several years ago. When I read my letter to my abuser, I could feel the power behind it and I was reminded of my determination to always seek out the silver lining, to use pain as a springboard for inspiration and to refuse to stay stuck in the muck. My heart swelled with pride and in that moment I truly felt that I was enough.

WHY DO YOU THINK WOMEN SHY AWAY FROM CELEBRATING OR PRAISING THEMSELVES SO MUCH?
Part of it is worry about society seeing that as too much bragging or being conceited. That is our external programming. What I think the bigger reason is for shying away is that we are so busy seeking approval and watching others for clues on what is acceptable, trendy, or popular that we rarely have the deep inner reflection that allows us to fully see how amazing we truly are.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO DISCREDIT COMPLIMENTS YOU ARE GIVEN?
This was something I used to really struggle with until I realized what a compliment is. Now when I am given a compliment, I see it as an acknowledgement from someone else that some part about me, or something that I have done has connected with someone else and they are expressing that. I remind myself that if I discredit their compliment it really is telling them that their opinion is not valid and telling myself that I am unworthy.

WHO WAS THE FIRST FEMALE TO TEACH YOU OR INSPIRE YOU TO FEEL THAT #YOUAREENOUGH?
My mother often praised and encouraged me but I am not sure that I truly accepted that praise at the time … I do now.

HOW DOES SOCIETY REINFORCE THE IDEA THAT WE, AS WOMEN, ARE NOT ENOUGH AND HOW CAN WE TAKE THAT POWER BACK?
Our product advertising tells us what potions and lotions and hair serum we need in order to “fix” our wrinkles, cellulite, yellow teeth, flabby arms, stretch marks etc etc. If we felt pretty good about ourselves before, we sure don’t after.
Taking our power back can start by simply recognizing that advertising is predatory and feeds off of our need to be accepted as “perfect”. When we consider what makes us beautiful naturally and celebrate that in ourselves and others, we soon are able to laugh at those attempts to shake our foundations and spend our money. Case in point, stretch marks are often caused from one of the most powerful things we as women are gifted with, our power to give life, to build perfect little humans one cell at a time and to house them in our bodies until just the right time for them to meet the world comes. Now that is power! Hold that in your heart for a few moments and see if it is possible to feel ashamed of your stretch marks ever again.

ARE WE TOLD ENOUGH AS YOUNG GIRLS THAT #WEAREENOUGH? IF NOT, HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS MESSAGING FOR YOUNG GIRLS TODAY?
I think today we send mixed messages. On one hand we are told we are enough and we are pretty and we are smart and capable of anything we want to do. In the next breath we are told that unless we are meeting the approval of our teachers, bosses, publishers, spouses, the list is endless, that we are not validated. It sounds like this… You are so gifted and your message is important but how does that make money? Sure, that’s a great idea you have but it will interfere with your job and raising the kids, maybe just consider doing that as a hobby.

WHAT WOULD YOU GO BACK AND TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF, TO ENCOURAGE SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-LOVE?
You are a magnificent soul and you have inside of you all of the wisdom you need. Pay attention to what moves you deeply and calls you to action. That is your purpose, follow that where it leads.

WHERE DO YOU THINK THE NEED TO COMPETE WITH OTHER WOMEN COMES FROM? IS IT TAUGHT?
It stems from a scarcity mindset where there are only so many spots available and if you want that spot you need to claw your way to it. If someone else is similar to you they might take your spot. Reach in front of them, raise your voice to be heard and make sure you are seen. Scarcity mindset is everywhere right now but I also see that we are growing tired of competing and have begun to shift that mindset. Thank God

WHY IS THE TRIBE MOVEMENT IMPORTANT?
THE TRIBE movement offers everyone a seat at the table. It embodies abundance and respects the diversity that every voice brings. When we feel valued by others we are more apt to understand that we are enough.

HOW ARE YOU TRYING TO KEEP YOUR SELF-ESTEEM UP IN THE MIDST OF THIS GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND WHAT ADVICE WOUDL YOU GIVE TO OTHERS READING THIS?
Everyday I am trying to do one thing that I didn’t have time for before. I am being gentle with myself when the nigglings of fear come in while at the same time encouraging myself to find peace in each moment.