Krystal Gabriel: Type A. High-Achiever. Ambitious. Alpha. Go-Getter.
I used to wear these as badges of honour. They got me far: NCAA Division I athlete. MBA top of the class. Award-winning businesswoman. World traveller, working with some of the most purpose-driven & progressive companies, teams & leaders…
From the outside everything looked good. On the inside, nothing was ever good enough, and the pace I was revving at was not sustainable.
Relationships crumbled, serious injuries occurred, burn out happened, family members passed away, and through it all I just kept going.
Then, at 33, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in shock but wasn’t completely surprised. I had been speeding past warning signs for a long time, too busy chasing achievement and trying to maintain the perception that I had it together, all the time.
With cancer, my primary “push through” approach to navigating adversity no longer worked. My body said, no.
I started to see patterns in how I’d been navigating numerous areas of my life. I would pick arbitrary timelines for healing/moving through difficult experiences. I’d get annoyed with big emotions that seemingly got in the way of getting things done. I didn’t know how to truly relax, I’d spread myself too thin, and I neglected parts of myself in the process. Cancer wouldn’t let that continue. The diagnosis gave the muzzled parts of myself a megaphone. Turns out they had a lot to say.
If I’m honest with myself, up to that point, I hadn’t been ready to let go of the superwoman complex and perfectionist tendencies I was certain had led to my success—even if they were killing me. I was hiding from my own truths because facing them meant I had to change some things. Maybe a lot of things.
I had to understand my true motivation for over striving and who I was doing it for.
I had to let go of trying to do everything at the highest level all the time.
I had to get out of my head and into my body.
I had to learn to ask for help, receive without guilt, and to love my emotions and sensitivities.
While my inner warrior allowed me to face these uncomfortable truths, chart my own integrated healing path, and advocate for myself in my journey, it was slowing down, trusting, and finding peace in chaos and uncertainty which largely saved my life.
I was forced to rethink my approach to work, love, healing, and to how I treat myself.
In that, I started to play with the idea that maybe the strongest thing I could possibly do was to soften. I started asking different questions – What if Superwoman was as dedicated to softness, rest and vulnerability as she was to being a warrior goddess? What if she embodied all parts of herself and knew when to call each one forward?
And so, the inner work of becoming an integrated and fully expressed “soft and solid” woman deepened and continues:
Strategy and Soul
Structure and Flow
Discipline and Play
Power and Sensuality
Action and Stillness
High Performance and Happiness
Boundaries and Vulnerability
Neither at the expense of the other. Not anymore.
I still have big goals, ambitions, and dreams – I’m an Aries, an Ox, an Enneagram 3 after all – but I no longer believe I have to sacrifice vital parts of myself to have everything I want. I can lead and love with all of who I am. I can succeed on my terms while also being healthy, fulfilled, and deeply connected to myself and in my relationships.
Since being diagnosed with cancer, I’ve heard the stories of countless women with a similar kind of journey — women who discovered that their old, rigid approach to achieving was unsustainable, women who worked tirelessly to be “good” but were left feeling anything but free, women who abandoned parts themselves and ignored their own guidance only to realize they were living a life that wasn’t their own. I realized that, as women, most of us reach a point where we can’t keep going as is. Something breaks—the nagging feeling that something is missing/off gets unbearably loud, and we realize that no amount of striving or outward success will make us feel how we really want to feel; fully alive.
And so, we start the brave search for a new way; a deeper connection to ourselves and a life that encourages our full expression in all areas.
I believe there is a new kind of woman emerging. She is embodied, fierce, magnetic, deep, soft, and free. Through her heroine’s journey, she is integrated.
Part of my mission is to help women reconnect to the parts of themselves they’ve been denying for far too long. To revolutionize their approach to building a life they love. To being, doing, and having everything they want in a way that is sustainable and an extension of who they are…before the breaking point.
Krystal is a strategist, facilitator, educator, and writer. She has an alphabet soup behind her name – MBA, ICF Integral Professional Coach, 600hr Love, Sex & Conscious Relationship Certified Coach, NLP Practitioner, and Coach, Emotional Intelligence (EQi 2.0) Certified, Copy Writer. Her new website, book, and program are coming soon!
Connect with Krystal: