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Follow Your Flow

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“When someone makes a decision, she is really diving into a strong current that will carry her to places she had never dreamed of when she first made the decision.”

- Paulo Coelho & Jess Edwards

I’ve been reflecting on my professional journey a lot recently.

The discomfort of major growth periods, the deep satisfaction of the joyous moments can flood back to me in an instant. But what really stands out is this idea of current.

Of how making what may seem like a small decision begins to shape and guide you toward calling, toward purpose.

9 years ago - I looked up my corporate ladder and thought, damn, this isn't for me... but what the heck is?

6 years ago - I wrapped grad school and shifted my career trajectory, accepting a role leveraging my degree in leadership and organizational development.

4 years ago - I walked into my first coach training and discovered my calling.

3 years ago - I began coaching women in my organization. Helping them get grounded in who they were so they could lead from their authenticity, finding meaning in their work and their lives.

1 year ago - I longed for a larger impact, and left to launch my coaching business, helping women align who they are with the work they want to do in the world.

Today - I look back and see that the start of this journey was an internal restlessness.  Very much like a current. It pulled me closer and closer to my calling, toward what was next.

Each move edged me closer to purpose. Helping me feel more alive and energized by each step, more lit up by the work I was doing, all as I got closer to the work I’m meant to do.

Trusting this current hasn’t always been easy, but it’s helped me grow and gain the knowledge necessary to pour all of this experience into gentling the journey for the women I have the honor of coaching in my practice.

And I wish the same for you. May your current always be strong, may you have the courage to follow your flow. 

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SoulCycle Life Lessons

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Anyone who’s been reading my blog from the beginning knows I have a special place in my heart for spin class. The loud, heart pumping, sweat dripping workout is one of my favorite go to’s. This past June, I was offered the spinner’s dream, to join SoulCycle for a complimentary month.

Let me start by confirming the cult rumors are true. I mean, am I the only one not wearing their branded clothing? These SoulCyclers are serious!

I fully expected to end the month jonesing for my next candlelit endorphin rush, having fully drank the Kool-Aid, but instead I was surprised to have walked away with a few life lessons instead.

Inhale intention, exhale exhaustion

Inhale intention, exhale exhaustion has become a bit of a life manta for me. Each breath gives us an opportunity to set our intension for the day, for a meeting, for a conversation. Each breath gives us a chance to reset. To bring us back to the larger picture of what we want and intend for our careers, lives, selves. It’s become a reminder to reset my mind when I notice my breath, and release what isn’t serving me. When I’m exhausted, I’ll forcefully exhale to relieve my tension or overwhelm, and take a deep inhale to reset my intention for how I want things to be.

Don’t be breathless, be sore

So many people around me during class would be flying on their bikes. A pedaling blur of fast, with zero resistance, and basically missing the point. It’s not about how fast you go, but the effort behind each stroke. Hello busy-ness metaphor!

Busy does not equal meaningful. The sweet spot in our work comes from being intentional with our time and effort in order to create meaningful outcomes. We want to end our work weeks with that same good kind of sore, where we know hard work got done and done well, rather than collapse from the breathlessness of busy.

It’s not about money or time, but how bad you want it

You have to get after. You have to show up for what you want in your life. Not having enough money or time are excuses for not really wanting whatever “it” is for you. And that’s ok! Maybe “it” isn’t the thing you really want or need, maybe the timing isn’t right. But when you truly set your sights on “it”, the wanting becomes so focused and intense, everything else starts to fall away and the road to where you want to go rises to meet you.

You can be tired and still be strong

Once we start getting after “it”, it can be exhausting. You might fall down or feel beat, but you’re still strong my friend. It is this strength, that will carry you forward. Take a moment to be tired. To see how you’re improving, growing and inching closer to what’s next for you. Take a break, rest, recoup, take damn good care of yourself, so when you're ready, you can get after it again in a fiercely strong way. 

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Three Quick Tips to Combat Imposter Syndrome

You did it! You nailed the interview, got the huge new gig, and said fond farewells to your old colleagues. There’s oohhh-ing and ahhhhh-ing at your fancy new title and big name organization. You’re moving on up!

Then it hits you, maybe the night before you first day or the moment you close the door to your new office, “Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into? I’m not qualified for this! They’re going to discover they made the wrong choice, and I’m screwed!”

Panic sets in and your mind starts reeling through all the ways you’ve hoodwinked your way into this role. A role that you’ve desired and strove toward with blind ambition for as long as you can remember.

What the hell is happening?

You my friend have been hit by a case of imposter syndrome.  It’s estimated that up to 70% of us feel we’ve fooled others into thinking we’re more talented or competent than we believe ourselves to be. 70%! That’s just depressing.

A new job, a promotion, heck even being on a volunteer board or entering into motherhood can create feelings of fraudulence. You likely feel if anyone were to pull the curtain back when you aren’t looking, they’d surely find a trembling kid, totally unsure of the "right way" of doing things and making it up as she goes.

Imposter syndrome is a natural response to constantly rising to the height of your capabilities. It means you’re stretching and growing, you’re developing and showing up for bigger and better experiences.

Still feeling like a fake? Well, here are three quick reminders to prove to yourself that you, my friend, most certainly do belong.

You’re not alone

Everyone had to start somewhere… and odds are they were scared sh*tless on their first day of that big new job or position too. Not too many people go around openly sharing how terrifying a new role or project was for them. With 70% of us suffering from Imposter Syndrome, I guarantee that during big moments like these, most of us feel like the real Oz who's hiding behind the curtain.

You’re here

Which means you’ve accomplished a lot.  Odds are your new organization isn’t filling a quota by hiring you for this new role. You are here because of all you’ve accomplished. So write down all your successes, your accomplishments, what you’re most proud of achieving for fodder when you’re feeling terrified. Success always exists in the rearview mirror, so keep this list of accomplishments in your back pocket as a shot in the arm reminder for when fear overwhelms.

You’re awesome

Yes, you. As a person, not a title or fancy new position, but honest to goodness you. It might come as a newsflash, but we exist as people outside of our professional selves. If work has you feeling fraudulent, think of all the amazing ways you show up outside of your professional life. As a friend, in your hobbies, at the gym, whatever reminds you that work alone does not define all of who you are. Let your bevy of robust awesomeness ground you with confidence. 

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Resiliency: The Art of Making Lemonade

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I like to think of resiliency as the art of turning life's lemons into lemonade. I mean, have you heard Beyonce’s new album? Girlfriend made ALL the lemonade out of those lemons!

While your process of bouncing back may look different than say Beyonce’s, there are four key elements you can put into practice to help you create our own blend of lemonade when life hands you a bowl full of lemons.

Feel Your Feels

Scientifically, we have a hopeless circuit that gets triggered by upsetting events resulting in intense feelings of sadness, anger or the need to dive headfirst into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. This is both biological and completely normal. It is only after we allow these feelings to clear out that hope swings back into action. After all, how can we recognize hope if we have never felt hopelessness? So go ahead and give yourself a few days, or pints, to get over not getting the promotion or that very public social media blunder. Know that you’re likely to round the corner toward feeling hopeful again once you’ve allowed yourself to process and wallow for a bit.

Control what you can

Obviously we can’t control the outcome of the job interview or if you get that raise you’ve been working hard for this year, but learning to control what we can is a way to strengthen our resiliency muscles. By staying focused on what’s within your grasp, you actively resist the anxiety spiral of ‘what if’ or ‘why me?’. Get focused on your talking points for the interview or building your case for that raise, even if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted, you’ll bounce back faster knowing you tackled the situation in a controlled and empowered way.

Be flexible

Some think of resiliency as “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!” That’s true, to an extent. Trying hard is part of it, but perhaps more importantly, is the willingness to try again differently. The art of building resiliency is a willingness to consider different ways to solve a problem and assess the effectiveness of the outcomes. Thinking of different approaches and perspectives will help you build new pathways toward bouncing back, and help you move forward with purpose.   

Talk it out

Please know you do not have to have it all together, or get back on track alone. I’ve built my entire business on helping people strengthen their resiliency through discussing their problems and what arises while doing so. Talking to others who’ve been where you are, or can help you try on a different perspective, is a way to put resiliency into action. No one is perfect, we’ve all stumbled and found a way to learn and grow from it. Sharing our ‘lemons’ with a BFF, coach or mentor helps us realize others have been there too, and we’re not alone... often inspiring us to make some damn good lemonade.

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Intentions Over Resolutions

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It’s the start of a new year. Each of us is likely making a list of resolutions. The things we want to change about ourselves, our bodies, our lives.

We come into January hot, focused. Ready to get after our new year goals.

But come February, it’s the same old story, we start to fall permanently off the wagon. In fact, 80% of people fail to stick to their resolutions! That’s a lot.

It’s no surprise. Change is tough. It’s hard to make changes stick, especially if we are prone to binary thinking... I’m on the resolution wagon or off it, it's all or nothing, black or white, good or bad.

This is why I preach setting new year intentions over resolutions.

Intensions encompass the gray area of missing a workout or feeling unmotivated for a day or two. They allow us space to breathe, refocus, and start again. Intensions have an inherent sense of compassion.

Cause we will trip, want to quit, throw in the towel. It’s human nature. It’s part of the change journey.

But if we cut ourselves some slack, approach missteps with a sense of self compassion versus condemnation, we are far more likely to recompose ourselves and carry on, with purpose, toward what we intend for 2017 and beyond.

Intentions are the starting point of any dream. And the idea of having my dreams come true versus my resolutions achieved has a much more romantic and fulfilling ring to it, don’t cha think?

So, let me ask you, what are you intending to create for yourself in 2017?

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The Gift of Presence

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With the hustle and bustle of the holidays in full swing, it’s hard not to be in a constant state of motion. All the grab bag giving, feast preparing, party going, is festive and fun, but can be even better when we remember to be fully present in these special moments.

With all my family home for the holidays this year, I’m consciously working to honor our time together by giving myself the gift of being present. I truly believe it is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other, and ourselves.

Here’s how I’m planning to stay grounded in all the season’s special moments.

Back away from the cell phone – It’s oh so tempting to see what everyone else is up to via social media, or get sucked into a Googling spiral on the origins of wassailing and suddenly chunks of time have disappeared. Checking our phones can be mindless, habitual and steals our presence. So rather than carrying my phone around the house with all too easy access, I’ll be stashing it out of the way and, mostly, out of mind.

Lend a hand – A great way to remain present is to pitch in. Whether it’s helping to wrap last minute gifts, taking my nieces to the park to expel some energy or getting busy in the kitchen with Mom, small gestures of service fill me with gratitude and keep me focused and present on the task, and person, at hand.

Personally connect – When we’re surrounded by ALL our family, friends, relatives, it can be hard to personally connect with everyone. Rather than slipping into a food comma on the couch watching the Christmas Story marathon with my siblings or in-laws, I’ll be making time to connect with each of my family members. A simple 10 minutes is enough to see what’s new in their world, how they’re planning to spend NYE or what they are hoping to achieve in 2017, helping ground us all in the present holiday moment.

Mini time-outs – It may seem counter intuitive, but if I’m feeling overwhelmed or in need of a break, I give myself permission to have a self-selected time out. 15-30 minutes of quiet behind a closed door to rest my eyes, meditate, or read a chapter or two can be a wonderful way to reset. When I reemerge, I’m back to being fully focused on those around me.

The holidays are packed with warmth and joy when we are fully present to enjoy each moment. As you head home for the holidays, or find time to connect with whomever you love at this magical time of year, give the gift of being present. The memories will last a lifetime. 

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Reconnect to Your Values

Plenty of us make choices based on what others want, society’s definition of success, what’s easiest, or what will cause us the least amount of discomfort in the moment.

Decisions like these are the hallmark of being out of alignment, of living small. In accepting the “way it is”, over reimagining the way it could be, we put ourselves inside the box. It’s here where we settle for good enough, and sell out on our dreams of wanting more.

From this perspective of smallness, it becomes nearly impossible for us to imagine and hold onto a larger, more fulfilling vision for our lives. We forget what it is we truly want, what brings us joy… we forget that we know.

That’s right my loves, we know. We can reconnect to our knowing and intentionally realign our lives.

Gaining clarity around values ignites the process of rediscovering what you want, your calling, your vision. As you begin to realign, you start to see what choices need to be made in order to begin living a larger more purpose driven life.

If you are ready to reconnect to what’s most important to you, in order to redefine success and set the direction of your dreams, join me for my workshop, “Start Living Large… on Purpose,” this Thursday, November 17.

To register or learn more, check out the invitation here

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Be the Change.

As I sort my thoughts and emotions around what is next for our country, the only words that feel important enough to share this morning are from a poem I wrote over the summer. Maybe read it out loud to yourself, or someone else, today. That is all. That is enough.

 

 

You’re enough. You’re more than enough.

You’ll be fine. You’ll be more than fine.

You are loved. You are more than loved.

You are supported. You’re beyond supported.

You are whole. You’re more than whole.

You are connected. You’re more than connected.

Let yourself shine.

Now. Today. Always.

Be the sun. Be the change. 

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Program Yourself for Success

I’ve always been a girl with a plan.

I grew up knowing I should be a good student in order to go to college and get a satisfying, or perhaps "status-fying", corporate job. I’d marry a great guy from a successful family, and we’d go about our lives with a couple of kids, house in the city, etc, fully embracing the American Dream.

Sound familiar?

As it turns out, much of what I “thought I knew” was actually a compilation of noise based on how those around me were defining success. When I hit my late 20’s I woke up to a life that was pretty successful by their metrics, but was utterly unsatisfying to me.

It can happen to the best of us. We are slowly consumed by success as defined by others… our parents, friends, colleagues, society. Our perception of success slowly hardens into a subconscious one-size-fits-all definition.

That is until we wake up to this simple fact - we get to choose how we define success.

To get there, you need to let go of the big picture programming you’ve likely subscribed to throughout your life, and craft your own authentic idea of what you find satisfying.

As you do, you’ll likely begin making new choices to start defining your own truly personal metric for success. It’s one of the first steps on the path to a larger, more purpose driven life.

If you want a bit of help defining what success looks like to you join me for my workshop, “Start Living Large… on Purpose,”  on November 17th, from 6-8pm.

We will begin creating new meaning around a definition of success that's aligned with your values, and helps crystalize your vision for a larger more purpose driven life.

For details, check out the invitation here

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3 Ways to Beat Resistance

We all know the saying. What you resist, persists.

Resistance is a force within each of us that beguiles us into remaining small. It keeps us stuck in patterns that block us from thriving and living large. It persists when we accept it as normal versus choosing to push past it. Getting stuck in our narrative of smallness.

We can overcome resistance. It starts by recognizing how resistance persists for you, making a different choice and taking action against it.

Recognize your story

Our stories run us. An easy way to recognize them is to examine your most frequent thoughts. What is constantly cycling through your mind?

“I’m not ____ enough, I’m too busy, I have to be productive, I have to prove myself, I’m too tired, I’ll start tomorrow.”

This is how your resistance is showing up. These thoughts are keeping you blocked from peace, success, love, etc.

Ask yourself why? Why do I feel I have to be productive? Is it because it satisfies my need for control? Is it cause if I’m not productive, I’ll be outed as not being smart enough for this job?

Keep asking why till you get to the bottom of the thought and expose your fear based story.

Recognizing your resistance narrative presents you with an opportunity to choose again.   

Realize you are making a choice

Our repetitive thoughts literally become entrenched neuropathways in our brains. When we let these stories of resistance run us, they become our mental default.

Are you choosing to stay safe in your comfort zone, even if you’re miserable and unfulfilled, over the vulnerability of personal growth and betterment? Are you choosing to stay in your ho-hum relationship or career because you don’t believe you are worthy of more?  

Once you’ve identified your resistance story, you have a choice to change it. Practice choosing a new thought when the old one shows up, over and over again, to actively carve new pathways in your brain.

If you catch yourself thinking, “I’m not really happy in this job, but it’s a paycheck.” Reframe your story and choose again. “I’m worthy of having a meaningful career, and each day I have the opportunity to learn more about what this looks like for me.”

Take Action… Now

Resistance thrives in procrastination. We don’t tell ourselves, I’m never going to get a promotion, we say I’ll ask for the promotion tomorrow/when my boss is in a good mood/when the time is right.

Resistance hates action. Action sets wheels in motion. Action takes a stand against our smallness, our resistance.

If you want to take a stand against resistance find a way, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, to take action. Not tomorrow, today. Right now, and every day going forward.

Make a choice to move closer to your goal and dreams Every. Single. Day.

Choosing to take action paves the pathway to your new story. One where you are larger than your resistance.

 

Simply put, resistance = fear. Fear of the consequences of following your heart, becoming who you truly are. Make a conscious choice to change your story and live your purpose. The world needs your large, authentic, purposeful self. 

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