Meet Heidi Day, a very intentional woman. As a trauma to transformation coach, emotional intelligence practitioner, and Six Seconds Preferred Partner, she spends a lot of her life helping herself and others make intentional choices. 

Heidi Day is one of those people you meet and think, “Wow, I could literally listen to this person talk all day long.” She is vibrant and soulful. She jigs a little dance as her local, organic juice is placed on the table, genuinely thanking the waiter, Lazarus, by name. Her beautifully crafted words pour out slowly, sweetly, and richly. She is intentional with her words. Our interview transcript is so packed with bite-sized gems of wisdom that I hardly knew where to start.

 
Let’s start with the impactful work she loves. Heidi Day is a trauma to transformation coach. While she does work with survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and sexual assault, she champions the idea that trauma need not be severe to be worth exploring. “Trauma is any experience, relationship, or environment that negatively changes how you see yourself and how you walk in the world.” Her mission is to destigmatize these darker stories in our lives. “My voice and my brilliance comes from helping people understand that you have trauma, I have trauma, they have trauma, and it’s really okay.” Heidi pauses and redirects her gaze to me, “it’s not until we can stand in our darkness that we can truly stand in our light.” 
 
As a trauma to transformation coach, Day knows well that learning to stand in our light doesn’t happen overnight. We make choices, moment after moment and day after day, that slowly shape who we are. “If we want to be in a different place, we have to make different choices,” Day says, “that takes practice and commitment and being willing to step out of what we know.”
 
Though making real, lasting change takes a lot of personal dedication and work, Six Seconds’ Choose Yourself model lends a simple and meaningful starting point for making intentional decisions. The Choose Yourself model consists of four competencies that provide a roadmap for making the most purposeful and powerful choices. Heidi Day walks the talk of choosing herself, and I asked her to share with us how she practices living her most intentional life. Here is Heidi Day on her stories and practices of exercising optimism, applying consequential thinking, navigating emotions, and engaging intrinsic motivation.

 

 
Working in a field so focused on pain might sound difficult, but her unique work is a product of how she chooses to exercise optimism. Day knows that trauma, when dealt with in a healthy way, brings about positive change. “I truly believe that everything is happening for a reason,” Day says, “life doesn’t happen to you. It happens for you.”

 

 
“Everything– death, divorce, abuse, loss of contracts, accidents happen FOR you. There is a gift, and it’s our job to find the gift. It’s a treasure hunt.” As a survivor of abuse herself, Day really walks what she talks. Her traumatic background (and her growth from it– read more here) provides the soil in which her purpose in life has grown: to help others heal from their trauma.
 
Day’s practice of optimism gifts the opportunity for both herself and her clients to hunt for the treasure in challenging experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A few years ago, Heidi Day was incredibly busy. With two children, she was running an ambitious and well-known coaching non-profit, juggling speeches at big conferences and coaching at women’s shelters with her beloved family life. As Day says, “having a non-profit as an individual woman minority and a mom and a wife… it’s a lot!”
When she gave birth to her third baby, she felt a tug to shift her priorities toward her family. So she took a moment to step back, be intentional, and Apply Consequential Thinking: “Is this how I want to continue showing up as a mom?,” she asked herself. After weighing her options, she decided she wanted to spend more time with her children and end her non-profit. “I decided to to pivot away from my non-profit and just be in mommy world.”

 

Optimism shows us we have options. Consequential thinking shows us which option we should choose.

Now that her youngest child is a bit older, she has yet again used her consequential thinking to weigh her work/ life balance options. Feeling the pull of her healing and transformational gifts, she has decided to re-enter her coaching work, but more intentionally this time. She knows the non-profit world is too time-consuming for her life right now. She has decided to do only private coaching so that she can set her own schedule. This way, she can continue prioritizing time with her family.
As her values and priorities shift, Day continuously Applies Consequential Thinking to make intentional choices that best serve her work/ life balance.

The year of 2017 was a difficult one for Day. “I had my own bits of major traumas.” After major family upheavals including losing a parent very unexpectedly, she found herself swamped with logistical and emotional burdens. “I was feeling crushed. I was completely overwhelmed and feeling inadequate to manage what it was.” 

In these desperate times, the capacity to Navigate Emotions shines. She identified her emotion (overwhelm) and listened to what it had to tell her about her situation (“you have too much on your plate!”). Then, using the insight from her emotions, she made a plan. “I became my own best client by saying, ‘okay, what do we do here?'” She decided to take an immediate sabbatical with an undefined end date.

 

During this sabbatical, she gave herself the space to take care of both herself and the pressing needs of her family. While visiting hospitals and helping guide her dad through the unfathomable loss of his younger wife, she intensified her personal regimen of self-care practices.

In the end, the insights from her feelings of overwhelm led her to practice her Noble Goal more deeply. Heidi Day’s noble goal is “to help people find their tears so they can heal,” and her difficult year gave her the opportunity to turn her noble goal inward.

“I realized that 2017 was really about getting in touch with my tears afresh. As I create my own journey of healing, I can be renewed in how to support others as they find their tears and heal as well.”

 

Navigating her emotions of overwhelm and sadness transformed her traumatic year into an opportunity for better understanding and sharing her healing Noble Goal. What a beautifully intentional journey, indeed.

 

With a job that focuses so heavily on the wants and needs of others, the importance of staying true to her own wants, needs, and intentions is paramount. Day employs a tool in order to Engage Intrinsic Motivation that has stuck with me in the months since our interview: her use of affirmations. 
 
While research on the effectiveness of affirmations has mixed reviews, Day’s affirmations are different than the ones used in the research in one important way: she has hand picked them for herself. She doesn’t use affirmations from a deck of cards or from the prompts of a guru. They come from her intrinsically engaged place; a place that digs deeply into her personal values and helps her honor her intentional commitments to herself.
 
“I do this every morning,” Day says. Right there at our little table in a packed, bustling Atlanta cafe, she launches into the most decadent, full-force performance of her daily ritual, complete with graceful hand motions that follow each word. She nearly levitates above her booth seat as she slowly recites,
 
“I am consistent.
 
I am abundant.
 
I am impactful.
 
I am free.
 
I am whole.
 
I am enough.”

After a reverent pause, I respond “do you ever had difficult convincing yourself these are true?”

She bursts into laughter, and her eyes twinkle. “They are aspirations– all of those! Every last one of those are stretches for me,” she responds, “I believe that our beliefs create the container for which we live. You cannot live beyond your belief. So if I don’t believe it, I can never get to the place of living it.”

For those that have difficulty with Engaging Intrinsic Motivation, self-selected affirmations might help to fan the flames of core values and commitments. The act of figuring your affirmation wording helps to discern core values, and saying them aloud helps reinforce the importance of and commitment to these intentions.

With a profession beautifully full of Giving Herself, Heidi Day’s practices of Choosing Herself helps keep her healthy and energized. Her commitment to herself and her values certainly shined throughout our entire interview. I hope that her story and practices have inspired you as much as they have me to live a more intentional life.

To learn more about Heidi Day and her work, visit her website here.

If you are in need of simple, sweet reminders for practicing your intentional life, check out my weekly e-mail series, Illuminate, here. It is completely free and full of stories and practical tips for practicing a life full of intention and emotional intelligence.

Maria Jackson

Maria Jackson

Program Manager at Six Seconds
Maria Jackson enjoys writing about the personal side of practicing emotional intelligence. Her noble goal is to “nurture inner illumination,” and she feel grateful to work and live in a world where she can practice daily. She shares stories, tips, and inspirations for living EQ in Illuminate, a free, weekly e-mail column (6sec.org/illuminate). She'd love to hear from you at [email protected]
Maria Jackson