Reflections on Changing Times: The New Trump University


So, we are in new territory with our current president-elect, Donald Trump. I have had the array of feelings that many people have had: shock, dismay, anger, and sadness.

I was in Kauai, Hawaii for election night, which meant before I went to bed I knew the outcome. I did not sleep much. I held my daughter and cried. I awakened a short four hours later in a state of anxiety that only could have been the entire world reacting to the news. My body was reverberating – and not in a good way.

As I always do when I awaken early and feel stress, I asked the angels for guidance. I then decided to get out of bed and watch the Kauai sunrise on my last day there, something I had not done all week. Change was already occurring. While on the beach, I drew the peace sign in the sand and watched the sunrise. It was symbolic of drawing a line in the sand. What I share with you below is my line in the sand; what will yours be?

What I know after reflecting, listening, and hoping for answers:

  1. This is a pattern disruption. In the corporate leadership coaching book I am currently writing, this is one of the themes of my coaching. Big things come along and they are what I call pattern disruptors. This event qualifies. The question becomes: What patterns will you allow this election to disrupt for you? If you are uncertain, let me give you ideas: anything you said you did not stand for in this election, but possibly are doing in your life, or where you are guilty of not honoring ALL of you and your values. What is it in your life that you simply will not stand for any longer? Where do you know you could be sharing your voice more in the world?
  1. This is an opportunity to love ourselves and our families more. For me, one of the pattern disruptors is to be kinder to myself and my family. Some of my old ways are just not going to cut it for me any longer. They are leftovers from archaic ways that were born of a generation that exacted fear and intimidation from children and I am complete with them. They no longer serve me. And my children will be peacemakers in this world. What no longer serves you that you WILL commit to letting go of? How can you love you and your family more? How can you take care of yourself better than you have been each day? How can you bring more love into this world?
  1. This is a time to shine your light so amazingly bright. The truth is that I have been afraid to publish my book on self-love – In Love With Me: The 10 Steps to Successful Relationships and Self-Love – due to my own shame and my fear about what people, including my family, might think. That small thinking is no longer tolerable for me. I know this book can help millions because those who have read it to edit or review it said it immensely helped them and has changed their way of thinking. They have asked me to get it out so others can read it. It will be out in the next two months. I am not doing this book for me, I am doing this for anyone it may help. I must shine my light so others can shine brighter as well. All of us who are here for the greater good of others, MUST stand up straighter; we must volunteer, get that book out, be an activist for our own values and causes. And if you are reading this and wonder what greater good you are here for, there is one. Just ask yourself and you will know. If you were placed on this planet, you have one.


  1. This is a time to release our deepest fears. The reality is that any of us who have lived or experienced what the president-elect has emanated are feeling shame and are being re-traumatized (whatever event happened earlier in our lives is now retriggered by having him in a place of power). Wherever power was used negatively against us, we are now dealing with trauma that is being brought back to the forefront by his comments and behaviors because he is now our leader. He reminds us of a time in our lives where we were not treated well. This happened for many during the months leading up to the election and it has hit us to our core right now. I ask you to look at what this is for you, because if you do you can heal this for the rest of your life. At some point in your life, this “power over” quite possibly left you “powerless” in some area. It is time to heal this and regain all your power. You can complete this fear of the old abuse of power. This truly can be your opportunity to let go of any hold a bully, sexual predator, discriminatory person, or abusive person has had on you for all these years. What we fear we manifest. YOU ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOUR FEAR.

We all have experienced our own lives so I can’t tell you precisely how this will look for you. However, what I know is that I have had deep fears of being in front of others in positions of authority, due to some of the same reasons that we fear Mr. Trump. I am afraid of being shamed, humiliated, or hurt when I am in front. What I must know deep down is that I am truly safe with myself and the people I choose in my life. And I must be safe with others in all my actions and words. Safety is a core issue in this election for me and I said it all along: I don’t feel safe with him. However, we are the only ones that can truly create safety for ourselves, it comes from within.

In mere hours after this election, I had a deep shift that was about the fact that if this is what it has come to in our country, then my fears are not worthy of being fed any longer. I am so much stronger than this – that is the bottom line. Look at what you know your weakest link is, or what your deepest fear is, and take this opportunity right now to release it so you can rise up to the be the human you were born to be. Whatever has held you back your entire life, let it go. And if you voted for Mr. Trump, whatever the fear or frustration was that had you vote for him, this can also be released at this time. Because I can guarantee you that whatever fear/frustration you voted from, you can only change this in your life by changing yourself. It will not come from Mr. Trump. In times of chaos, we get a blank slate. What will your new life story be? What will be changed in your life in the next four years? 

  1. This is a time to stand up for what we value. We can and we will stand up for ourselves and our brethren. I believe many of us have been too complacent or ignorant regarding what we can do to change things. We have to stand up powerfully, not in anger, fear, or hate, but to protect what we know in our hearts is right. We must use our voices to be heard. This is not the time to stay small and live in fear. It’s just the opposite, my friend. 
  1. This is a time to be vulnerable and REAL. Let’s be real and vulnerable with our loved ones about how much we love them and cherish them. Let’s be real and vulnerable about our deepest fears and how we can stand up to them. Let’s be real that we will stand for our values of dignity, respect, and equality for all. Let’s be vulnerable and say how much we love our country and we will do anything possible to preserve the strides we have made. That we will choose love over fear in every action and interaction. Most of all, may we remember not to judge others as it only breeds hate and contempt. 
  1. Ask those who voted for Trump what their biggest frustration is. And then just listen with a curious mind (another leadership coaching technique.) This will give you a lot of data if nothing else. I am also saddened by some of the posts I have recently seen and my first reaction was to delete these people from my Facebook. Now I realize I must look a little deeper to find the cause of the frustration people who voted for Mr. Trump voted from. 
  1. In some way Trump is a mirror for you. Sorry to be the bearer of this truth. If he frustrates you, there is something inside of you that is being mirrored. Just take a moment to reflect on this. There is no judgement but we are here to learn from this. I know my own anger and at times unkind words are my mirror. This feels vulnerable to write but until we acknowledge, we cannot overcome. AND WE WILL OVERCOME. It is our birthright to be our best self. No other person can take this right away from us OR give this to us (in the case that some think Trump is the answer). The answer always lies within us. Mr. Trump is just speeding up the process. We are all now enrolled in a four year course at Trump University. I plan to come out so much stronger, braver, and prosperous. Look for many more Trump University posts from me.
  1. LOVE. Again, I will be vulnerable. If you are reading this, I do love you and I do not care how you voted. Truly, I do not. I have so much love inside that has been so hidden and so run by fear. My love is about to shine in a huge way. Look for the release of my new book (12 years in the making) In Love With Me: 10 Steps to Successful Relationships and Self-LoveGod Bless the USA, land of the free and the brave.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. (The quote was originally cited by Gibran Khalil Gibran)

— John F. Kennedy, inauguration address, January 1961.

And for Your Life and All Future Generations…

–Shannon Rios Paulsen MS LMFT