The Key to the Kingdom of Moxie

Just THRILLED to have the moxilicious Sandi Amorim back with us today. You may remember when she rocked the house with How to Reclaim Your Moxie, in which she shared several ways to get your moxie groove on. Today she’s back with the keys to her kingdom. 

The Swing, an every time you sit on it you revisit childhood print by Lea Keohane (click image for details)

Once upon a time you had moxie.

You were born with it.

And then life happened, and your moxie was conditioned out of you, suppressed. I know this from personal experience but also from working with hundreds of people over the years. People just like you wanting to get back in touch with their moxie, but not sure how to do so.

I shared a possible first step my first time here talking about moxie. But it’s an ongoing challenge because your lizard brain will do whatever it takes to keep your moxilicious self suppressed!

Lizzie, as I call my lizard brain, is that primal part of your brain that exists solely for your survival. When Lizzie gets talkin’ in your head it usually sounds like a broken record, stuck on the old stories of your past; stories that displaced your moxie.

FYI. . .Lizzie and moxie do not play well together!

And so I get asked all the time how to kill off that sneaky ol’ lizard. But you can’t kill it off and it’s never going away – and believe it or not, that’s a very good thing!

Instead, I’m going to share a process to turn down Lizzie’s volume so you can get on with what you’re really here for – shining baby, SHINING!

How to Free up Your Moxie

What story’s been keeping your moxie down and what age were you when it first showed up?

Listen, there’s more than one story, and you’re probably thinking you can’t do this exercise because how could you possibly narrow it down? BUT there’s always ONE story that drives Lizzie’s obsession with keeping you moxie-free.

That story. . .what is it?

And here’s a tip: The story doesn’t have to make sense. In fact, it’s usually illogical, but that DOES make sense because a child made it up in the first place!

Here’s my example:

I’m the oldest of three kids, and for the first four years of my life I was the only child in our family. Four years of running the kingdom, the undisputed princess.

Cue grim music. . .

And then my parents brought home a bundle of joy that completely blew up my world. When my sister was born my moxie lost some steam and a new story emerged.

“There must be something wrong with me because mom and dad had to get a new kid, so I guess I’m not good enough.”

I’m not good enough.

That story lived like the truth and each time I said it, thought it, and believed it my moxie shrank back just a little bit more.

Right then, back to you. You have your version of my example.

What’s your primary story?

Chances are as you let your story rise to the surface your breathing will get a bit shallow, your shoulders might feel a bit tense as you resist, not willing to go further.

And therein lies the key to freedom and getting your moxie back.

That you don’t let yourself go there allows the story and Lizzie’s obsessive replaying of it to dominate your life, keeping your moxie buried so deep there’s not even a whiff of it.

This is your opportunity to be with it. And notice all that comes up. Trying to get rid of it or kill it off will only have Lizzie dig in her heels!

Keep breathing and noticing. It won’t take long for the story, and the anxiety along with it, to begin to dissolve. Do this each time it rears its nasty head and you’re moxie will begin its return.

This exercise is based on the Zen Theory of Change which says,

I free myself not by trying to free myself but my simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment in which I am imprisoning myself.

Yowza! Trapped by your own thinking.

Which brings me to the next question.

What are you so afraid of?

Say it. Name it. Get it out of your head, as detailed as you can so that you begin to hear the ridiculous nature of that story.

Riduculous because you’re now an adult believing a story made up by a child under stressful circumstances.

Here’s the thing, when Lizzie turns up the volume increasing the level of your anxiety, you’ll immediately go back to the past to find evidence that your story is real. And when you give in, you block your natural, creative, resourceful abilities unless you return to your breath and noticing.

And what there is to do is notice and breathe. Notice and breathe.

Maybe you’re saying, “Don’t tell me to keep breathing, it takes more than that to get my moxie back!”

If you say so, yeah, it does.

But what have you got to lose but some old stories and a smelly lizard breathing down your neck!

And more importantly, what have you got to gain?

Hello moxie and welcome back!


That was awesome Sandi! In my story “I disappoint” my Dad. No full self expression in disappointment! Even today I worry about being a disappointing wife and mother (and even blogger) not living up to everyone’s expectations. It is only when I give up that story that I am able to enjoy the juice of living. Thank you so much Sandi! I promise when I feel old Lizzy pushing the old narrative I will give it up and let my moxie shine! ~Kathy

24 thoughts on “The Key to the Kingdom of Moxie

  1. Wow, this really made me think. I know about stories, and limiting beliefs, and all that jazz, but had never considered that it all boiled down to one primary story. After reading, I sat here for a while and drilled down through all of the stories that came to mind, and what I was left with is “I am wrong” (or possibly, “I am wrong, and being wrong is bad” or “There is something wrong with me.”). Very similar to “I am not good enough.” I wonder if ALL of our stories, when deconstructed, end up at that same core belief. Very interesting!

    And Kathy, this is my first visit to your site…I love it! Not only is the content great, but the site itself is absolutely gorgeous — one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

    • I’ve done a lot of work on stories and have come to the belief that there’s usually one primary story running the show. Is that true? I dunno, but every single time I’ve done work on childhood stories it comes right back to the one I shared. Usually the same for my clients.

      And then, even if you get the primary story, what happens is we try so hard to not be with it, not accept it, etc. that it lingers and lives on ad nauseum. Like seriously, when I now have the thought “I’m not good enough” I could easily vomit because that’s so NOT the story I want to be the source of my life!

  2. My story is “not enough”…I was born very early (that’s me, so lovin’ life I jumped right into it!) and lived my first month in an incubator. Already ‘different’…with people incredulous I was alive. And, that story has continued throughout my life…I enthusiastically jump into something (mm, as examples: movie worthy relationships, raising my children on a boat as a single mom, deciding to be a location independent solopreneur)…I experience Divine, then am told I cannot believe you are *still here* do you know how lucky you are? *grin* Aligned, yes; in love with world, yes; “lucky’, not so sure….My new story, that I live and teach: Life doesn’t have to be struggle, and is as magical as I allow it to be 🙂
    I would love you to “zap” me, Sandi…electrify this already abundant radiance!

    • Oh my God Joy, how much fun would we have together! I was also a preemie (2 months early!) and impatient ever since 🙂

      And yes, life is magical…I’d like to borrow that story please!

  3. Did you know Moxie is a soft drink (do you call it soda in Canada?) manufactured here in Maine, where I live? It’s a weird flavor — impossible to describe — but I’ve always loved the name. And the sound of the word “Moxie.” Great post, Sandi. You’re on fiyah!

    I hear the words, “Just who the hell do you think you are, young lady?” My mother is spitting them out at me between her clenched lips. God did she intimidate the hell out of me. Mom was terrified of raising a spoiled child because she so badly wanted her father’s approval, and Granddaddy didn’t approve of spoiled children.

    My first night home from the hospital, I kept crying. Three times Mom checked to make sure I was okay and then left me to rejoin my father in the living room. It was their cocktail hour. The fourth time she said to my father, “That child has to learn she doesn’t run this house.” And so she let me cry. I was a fast learner. By the third night, I didn’t let out so much as a whimper. I got the message super early on that what I wanted and needed didn’t matter. In fact, I wasn’t even supposed to have wants and needs.

    How do I know about my first night home from the hospital? Because my mother told the story over and over — I guess she thought it was an example of her good parenting. Oh my God, she was clueless, especially for a psychiatric nurse. She even told my business friend, “Oh, Carol never gave me a bit of trouble until she turned 40.” I cringed and later said to her, “Do you have any idea how incredibly sad that is?” She didn’t.

    Anyway, my moxie disappeared at an early age. I think the only reason I didn’t completely disappear with it was I had a father who worshipped the ground I walked on. (Probably another reason Mom was such a strict disciplinarian.) But it’s taken me lots and lots of years to even understand that it’s okay for me to have needs and wants, much less express them or have them filled. And as for moxie, that’s been even longer coming.

    But you know what? My moxie is that much sweeter for having taken so long to resurface. If my mother were still alive, I would answer her question, “Who the hell do you think you are, young lady?” this way. “A bright and shining star that refuses to allow her light to be dimmed one more minute. Stand back, Mom, and put on your sunglasses, because my brilliance is going to blind you.”

    Wow! That felt good. Thank you, Kathy and Sandi, for letting me tell my story and welcome my moxie back. Watch out world!

    • You know Carol, your moxie is alive and well and beginning to thrive! Truly a testament to your genius my friend. Thing is, it never went away. Rather its volume got turned down to stay safe in the world your mother created for you. Another example of Lizzie looking out for you, and isn’t it great that she’s got your back? 😉

  4. Tricia says:


    It’s been ages. I’ve been hiding in my hole of small, falling prey to old stories and ideals and conditioning that have confronted me in the past year since moving back to my home town.

    My story is similar to yours. I was the princess number one child too, and then my brother and sister – twins – were born and I felt invisible. I decided to become a good girl and very independent at an early age, desperately hoping to be praised for taking such excellent care of myself. The praise never came, of course. It was more a matter of feeling ignored even further because I didn’t appear to need the attention.

    For me, my story shows up as “I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH” and there’s also a dose of “I’M FINE THANKS, I DON’T NEED YOU!”

    Fortunately, there’s a deep longing and drive inside of me to play big, and when I’m not doing that, I get really angry and frustrated. That pushes me to get real with myself and have a chat with “Lizzie,” as you so gorgeously call her.

    My goal at the moment, to keep my moxie on, is to do something every day that’s “big” and is a step towards creating the life and work – on my terms, by my own design – that I so deeply crave.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I hear you.

    • Tricia,
      The stories we grow up with, stories we tell ourselves and stories we have forced upon us as children – so many stories that impact our ability to live life fully expressing the gorgeous moxie we were born with.

      I hear and feel your story, and it connects us as human beings walking the same path. That connection and the work that helps us break free of the stories is what I love most about my life.

      Thanks for being here. It’s so good to get YOU and your moxie here on Bliss Habits. xoS

  5. Tricia says:


    Me again. Here’s why I’d love to win a session with you:

    I want to get out of the corporate world (only been in there 4 months – more than enough!) and create my own business again – on my terms. Even though my job would appear a dream to most people – I work the hours I want, with a boss I really like, get paid very well etc etc, I feel like a fraud. I know I have to do something about this.

    “Lizzie” is having a field day at the moment, giving me a very hard time by ranting and raving about all the reasons why I can’t do it. Not earning money is a massive one.

    Any help with unsticking the superglue would be oh-so appreciated. It’s hard for me to admit I need support (see above comment: I’M FINE THANKS!). And I do need it. This is too important for me to walk away and forget about it.

    Thank you so much.

    • You’re like a sister from another mother!!! I’ve got the “I don’t need you” thing as well and I love when I can help someone blow that Lizzie belief up!

      Methinks it would be an explosion of epic proportions!!!

  6. Joanna Saunders says:

    When I was a little kid, I was moxie personified. I had fun, I laughed, I played. Slowly the words crept in. I was a very curious kid and as i do now I have always loved people. I always wanted to know about their lives. I was so interested in how people got to where they are today. More words crept in. “Things like you are so bad if you were my kid I would hang you from the clothesline by your thumbs” or when I asked questions of others “Nosy parker’s don’t live long” When I became a teenager my sister told me I didn’t have a conscience. These words slowly drove my moxie away. At 18 I married a guy who (after we were married) told me I laughed too loud, I talked too much. I really needed to be more like his sister. Squishing complete!!! No more moxie. The message I got was: You are stupid!!!! (Funny I never let my kids call each other stupid when they were growing up) After many years and a lot of processes my Moxie is BACK!!! I still love people, I still love finding out how they got to where they are now, I still laugh too loud.
    And I am CURIOUS. I am not stupid – never was. Now I am a coach so guess what I get to talk too much too. Ha Ha ha lovin’ life!!!

    • And isn’t it extraordinary that you are BACK, louder and more curious than ever??? Love that you’re sharing your experience and gifts with others now Joanna! The world needs more YOU.

  7. HI Sandi, To be honest, I’m not even sure what my moxie looks like any more. She’s been hidden behind stacks of paperwork and smothered under layers of toxic office work environments. She’s been stifled by the need for a stable job and sold for the price of a steady (and yet meager) pay cheque. She’s been exhausted meeting everyone else’s needs and helping them achieve their highest goals. She’s been stuffed into ‘grown up’ office clothes that get tighter by the month as she is suffocated with more and more numbing food. Her paint brush was taken away and replaced by a photocopier. Any help you can offer my poor little moxie would be greatly appreciated! She’s scared and nervous but she’s had ENOUGH! xx

    • Lorinda,,
      First off, thank you for sharing so honestly. Your awareness of how your moxie’s gone missing is the first step. Then, I’d suggest doing the work to get clear on what your primary story is. What did you decide about yourself as a child? That story is probably running your life and has totally suppressed your moxie. The good news is that you can recover and unleash it. Your moxie didn’t go anywhere, it just got small and buried way down deep. But it’s still there!!!

  8. Hmmm, one primary story? Well the first one is probably the same as Carol’s: Dr. Spock said don’t feed the baby more than every 4 hours. When it’s bed time put her in the crib and close the door. Whatever you do don’t pick the baby up – that will spoil her! Instant message: your needs don’t matter. But still there was a bit of moxie. Then one baby sister came home and then another, I needed to get quiet and not be in the way. I kept waving my hands, trying to shout and laugh. Stern admonitions: ‘children should be seen and not heard.” Lizzie was listening and Lizzie started toning me down so I wouldn’t keep getting in trouble. It’s taken a lot of years to reclaim that Moxie – and I’m still just flirting with her. But we’re getting closer & closer.

    So, yes. I’ll notice and breathe. Notice and breathe. and slowly we’ll step closer.

    • One of the things I’ve been noticing is what happens when people really get how that primary story dominates their lives. It’s eye-opening in a way that makes is suddenly easier to take the first step towards change.

      So what’s your primary story? Needs don’t matter or YOU don’t matter. Big difference.

  9. Bringing back the moxie to my life means focusing in on what will truly help me help the most people possible. I’m a scanner and ADD infused, so I have trouble with the shiny object syndrome. I need to be more focused on 1 thing – helping people build great relationships through work happiness and ethical marketing.

    I’ve been working on this focus by making my list smaller and delivering on a regular basis, but I still struggle with my focus.

    My plan is to cut out all distractions and deliver 1 thing each week. I think it’s possible, but I have to get my confidence (moxie) back in line.

  10. Sandi, thanks to your example, I immediately thought of my own birth order. I am the baby of the family. There are so many people to look up to and to seek approval from. I was over-parented by loving siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles. I love them all, but I need to stop thinking about what they think and enjoy doing my own thing. I will welcome my moxie back by living in the moment and enjoying my life, my talents, my strengths and giving of myself freely to those around me. I will not “parent” my nieces and nephews and friends and everyone I know just because that is what I am used to doing. I will let others be and love them for who they are and for who they aspire to be. My parents and my sister have passed on from this life and now I only have my big brother. He is so encouraging and loving and I reciprocate unconditionally, no more judgement or approval, just love!.

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