24 Dec

Ninja Barbie, a Shield to protect and overcome Pain!

How many of us have experienced pain in our lives? I dare say all of us! The pain of being excluded, the shame of rejection… those negative emotional barbs that we get handed by people throughout our journey (their pain and judgment). I am a transformation and performance coach, and to do my work, I needed to transform so I could walk the talk; I had to get to know my Ninja Barbie. The shield I had created to keep me safe to help me overcome my pain, that fierce inner warrior that would forge the way for me and help me survive another day!

As I started really understanding me, I realized that I was suffering from intense disconnection and separation from others. You see, in my story, I was “shamed” because of my divorce, my religion, my color, and my actions as a young child. For me to show up for my life, I built a resilience armour that would carry me through the most challenging times toward creating the life I have today. That shield is so aptly named Ninja Barbie.

The Gift of my Ninja Barbie

When I was in Ninja Barbie mode, I could get out of an emotional place and power forward. I could separate my home life (where I was in huge amounts of pain) and focus on my work life. My career was where I excelled, which made me feel worthy, fuelled my confidence, and provided what I needed to take care of my daughter and son. At work, I could channel my survival mode into focus; I was incredibly driven and learnt what I needed to avoid negative feedback, shaming or blame. I was living in a state of adrenalin. I was feeding off my stress hormone, which again fuelled my journey and career trajectory. Am I grateful for the Ninja Barbie protection that carried me and at times still slips into place? YES, I am for the following reasons:

  1. Helping me navigate the most painful period of my life
  2. Giving me the courage to RISE and face another day when all I wanted to do was lie down and not get up
  3. The determination to achieve my goals and more
  4. The ability to move through judgement and fear to survive and make a life for my children and me
  5. To carry my pain in a way that kept me moving forward.

Could the Ninja Barbie stay in place? The answer is NO. You see, the armour of my Ninja Barbie was slowly suffocating who I really am. I was surviving from day to day; I was not thriving. I was alone in a world filled with people. My pain seemed to be locked into my armour, and I was wearing it bravely, yet it was too heavy. I was starting to suffer mentally because living in a state of proving and scarcity is not a place of abundance and full potential; it’s not a place of joy and freedom. Living in my Ninja barbie was a place filled with anxiety, stress, and rigidity.

Taking off My Ninja Barbie; Releasing my Pain, Embracing my Freedom

I don’t believe it’s easy to lay down our armour when we have used it to stay safe for so long. Recently in a coaching session, I had a client ask me if she could use her sword in the “Arena.”(Where we show up and are seen for who we are) to protect herself. You see, we had been working on her transformation and her ability to be seen, be free and be herself. I shared with her that staying safe was something we needed to give ourselves through love and presence. When I am deeply connected with myself, my feelings, and my essence, I can recognise that interactions with others can be in the space of openness, honesty, generosity, and curiosity. My deep love for me first keeps me safe and allows me to empathise and connect with others. I can have the courage to communicate boundaries, accountability and also clarity. Why take off the armour?

  1. Under the armour, you are not able to connect with your emotions in a healthy way; you will struggle with love for yourself and love for others.
  2. Your armour will be a heavy weight to carry; it is forged with your shame and fear stories, and it is a hard exterior that can eventually take you into a very dark place.
  3. You will struggle to enjoy the feeling of deep human connection, trust, friendships, and love (our armour always makes things conditional!).
  4. You will struggle to be the ME you want to be because your armour will take you down coping behaviours that are never good for your mental and physical health.

Taking the armour off, ONE story at a time, Choosing YOU!

When I first realised my armour hampered me, I was stuck in a strange place. Am I not choosing ME by wearing my armour?  I think that is what we tell ourselves when we come from a place of fear and protection. Choosing me means taking power away from my armour; I choose to live to unlock my potential. I choose to really get to know ME and forgive me, accept my story, and connect with love.

How do we start?

  1. Remember who you really are, not the Ninja Barbie armour that has been your shield for so long.
  2. Understand your story, walk through it with love, honour your courage and love yourself deeply.
  3. Learn to be present and to disconnect the fear switch that triggers your armour. (I always imagine my armour activating like in the movie Transformers!)
  4. Trust that your inner self can navigate you through challenges.

Living a life of freedom to be you is worth it! I chose ME, and I am living a life of peace, love, and thriving, not simply surviving!


Christina E. Foxwell is the founder of Ignite Purpose where, over the past decade, she has supported leaders in their navigation of their teams and helped people find their purpose and flow. This has led to her supporting them in their own life-changing journeys to follow their passions, transform their lives, and grow into the people they were always meant to be. The modalities she uses in her work are: CBT, ACT, Mental Fitness, Performance Science, Behavioral Profiling, and Positive Intelligence.

With over 20 years of experience in HR, recruitment, consulting, training, coaching and executive leadership, Foxwell he has been on two global executive teams, and led a sales consulting team in Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Now, after realizing there was a missed opportunity in people and organizations, and the gap between people and performance, she coaches executive teams, CEOs, leaders and their team to develop their growth and impact their cultures and performance.
Foxwell is the author of four books. Her first two works are children’s books on emotional intelligence, The Adventures of Oscar the Pufferfish: Owning my “pop” and The Story of Astra the Unicorn Finding Her Belonging. Grow Me is a guide to growth. Her latest book, The Glass Angel, is a powerful look into transformation change and perseverance.

Her life’s journey began in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and ultimately landed her in Sydney, Australia. The road to where she is now was paved with hardships and turmoil. She experienced domestic violence, PTSD, and divorce before she found a path to healing and building a life of gratitude, forgiveness, and love.

In addition to her work, she also has many other passions including, painting, writing, teaching, coaching, and spending time with her family. Her most important roles are wife, mother, daughter, and grandmother of one.

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