Who do you think you are?

Is there any woman who left her childhood or adolescence unscathed by this question?

I know I’ve heard it more times than I can count. If you did, too, I’m guessing it came from a family member, a teacher or even a friend.

I’m willing to bet you’ve had another woman ask you that question — and not in an inquisitive and supportive way — but in a way that was meant to have you check yourself on your presence and power.

I’m done with devoting another second of anxiety, shrinking or doubt to the “check yourself” line of questioning.

I’m almost 45 years old; I know who the fuck I am. Feels good, too. And I want other women to feel that freedom, too; that’s the mission of all of my Body of Work coaching, workshops and events I create.

I’m in Maui, Hawaii this week on a working retreat with the women in my business mastermind that’s being led by my friend and coach, Susan Hyatt (she knows who the fuck she is, too : ).

My route to getting here the other day was a little crazy, and that’s just how traveling is sometimes. Getting to Hawaii is about a 12 – 16 hour deal, depending on your airline, layovers, etc.

The last time I was in this beautiful state was almost exactly eight years ago when my son was born and I flew ahead of my family to take custody of him at the hospital in Kauai.

Nothing like the uncertainty and stress of a seven hour flight delay (and pending cancellation) to remind you of who you think you are; and that’s exactly where I met myself in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport on Sunday.

This wasn’t just a one-announcement seven hour delay, either — it was an hour by hour decision that kept getting pushed further and further into the day every time a gate agent took to the announcement system to let us passengers know the status.

What I really wanted was for the circumstance to change and to be on the plane NOW, but that was not to be.

I could have also groused and complained (I did some of that, but not for long).

I could have gotten two or three Starbuck’s lattes, eaten airport junk food and sat in an uncomfortable chair, or on the floor, huddled next to an outlet to charge my phone.

I watched some of the people at gate C4 do this. I saw a couple of people charge up to the desk of the gate agents and lob insults and accusations — red-faced, angry and tired.

It finally came to a point where our flight (if it wasn’t cancelled — which was on the table) was going to delayed for another four to five hours.

I had a decision to make. And that decision didn’t have anything to do with finding another flight and maybe a hotel.


I had to decide who I wanted to be in that situation. I got real cozy with who I think I am as a woman living her life, dealing with day-t0-day choices and dilemmas. 

Here’s what: It’s my belief that a lot of people think that who they are going to be in certain situations depends on factors like this:

  • the belief about what is “happening to me:” This is the idea that something or someone is not meeting your needs and the subsequent abdication of personal responsibility for how you respond and react (and yeah, yeah, yeah — American Airlines screwed up — that’s a given and I get it, so let’s put that aside)
  • the belief that they don’t have a choice: There’s always a choice. Not making a choice is a choice. A choice begins with a thought. Choose carefully. Notice what you’re telling yourself about the situation, about other people — about you.  

I was posting about my airport experience in real time that day and I got messages from people asking me how I got myself to a place in life where I could handle things like a bullshit flight delay to paradise with grace, humor, fun and what looked like effortless problem solving.

I’ll tell you how — and it’s my biggest bottle of life coaching secret sauce (no charge): I ask myself two questions with great love and openness: 

“So, who do you think you are, Laura Wagner?”

and then…

“Is that the woman you want to be?”

Who do I think I am? “Resourceful. Patient. Clever. Elegant. Graceful. Hilarious. A queen and not a princess. A creator and not a follower.”

Is this the woman you want to be? “You’re goddamn right it is. Now, how will we act accordingly, beautiful?”

I then asked myself the question of how I could find a little luxury or softness in the environment of concrete floors and crowds of people. “Where can I get to a place to take care of myself because I am tired and worried? What actions can I take to help myself make a plan for what’s next if my flight canceled? And is there any fucking way to make this fun? For real. FUN. Not just bearable.”

Who do you think you are? 

You are whoever you choose to be in every moment. It is not a final destination; it’s an ever-evolving process and practice.

Here’s another bottle of life coaching secret sauce for you — NO CHARGE (I just love that about me — always thinkin’ ; ) …

 I repeatedly make this statement for myself and fill in the blank:

I am a woman who ______________________________. 


You can complete that however you want to; here are a few of my faves:

  • I am a woman who thinks of the next best step. And then takes the next one, and so on.
  • I am a woman who looks for what’s RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER that might help her situation (hullo, American Airlines Admiral Club day pass). 
  • I am a woman who’s waiting for her first class flight to work on her business and play for a week. 
  • Since that’s how I roll / show up in life, I am also a woman who sits in a well-appointed airline lounge to charge her phone, work on her quarterly plan and drink a glass of prosecco in the middle of the afternoon. And I’m also a woman who texts her friends trashy memes here and there because I love those people, miss them, and fuck — it’s fun

See how this works? It’s taken a lot of practice to know who I am and how I want to show up in the world, and it’s never done — that’s the best part.

And the last thing I will tell you is probably the most important thing I want a woman to know about who they think they are.

Show up big. Surpass your self-imposed limitations. Be that girl. Don’t listen to those bullshit thoughts and cultural messages that might sound like this:


“Well — it must be real fucking nice to drop $50 on a glorified living room and glass of wine while your flight is delayed — who does she think she is? Not everyone can do that.”

“You’re gonna play? You’ve got to pay. You don’t just get to go on a trip away from your family to focus on your work and get to experience it unscathed. Who do you think you are?” 

Those didn’t come from someone else — those are thoughts of my own creation.

I’m human. I hear myself and understand how I can fight with myself.

I know that part of who I am as a woman — as a human being —  is to have those kinds of thoughts (I’m my own worst ass kicker) where I’ve learned to compassionately witness myself saying “don’t be too much…don’t ask for too much…don’t share too much…don’t spend too much…don’t cry too much…don’t laugh too much…don’t play too much.” 

And I know this isn’t native to my mind. There are so many women who hear this  — who are told these kinds of things and then hardwire the thoughts that follow. Who do you think you are?

You are whoever you decide to be and your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

Bring your mind to that higher level and you will become a woman who dwells there. You will be a woman who makes choice after choice that will lead you to the big life you desire — and that’s whatever you want it to be.

Who do you think you are? 

I am a woman whose flight left an hour earlier than anticipated. I am a woman who watched two movies in her first class “condo” on her way to a location so very precious to her and her family. I am a woman who continually shapes her body of work. 

Shine on.

Want to create your own Body of Work and stopping putting your life on hold until you (I’ve heard all of these):

  • lose 25 pounds?
  • don’t feel so exhausted? 
  • aren’t so busy?
  • have more time?
  • have more money?
  • get a new job?
  • get settled? 
  • have more courage?

Stop putting yourself and your life on hold; you are a woman worthy of your own attention. I’m a womanhood whisperer — I’m here to help you see what’s possible and encourage you to live it out. Check out my current offerings here.



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3 thoughts on “Who do you think you are?

  1. Davlina Ramsey

    This is fabulous! I love this. Very much needed to hear this. Thank you!

    1. You’re so welcome, Davlina. I appreciate your kind words — thank you for reading!

  2. As someone who has worked for AA. in London Heathrow, many moons ago, I can’t tell you how relieving it was to have a passenger NOT go off in your face over delays/cancellations.
    And you know what? Those that were of the ‘why get angry over what I can’t change?’ mindset, well, let’s just say that they were the first to be upgraded.

    Karma ?.

    Patience and understanding is always rewarded. If not by others, by yourself.

    Great read and I’m signing up to read more.