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How 'How' Hampers

It is inevitable. We’ll be deep into a coaching session and uncover a big ol’ ah-ha around what’s holding the client back. It’s this mic drop kind of moment where we both sit back and revel in the revelation.

And then it happens. The client asks the biggest, hardest question… how?

  • How do I do that?
  • How do I change?
  • How do I get there?

Oh friends. If I had the answer I’d be writing this from my yacht parked in the Mediterranean next to Mr. and Mrs. Sean Carter. Tossing a Cartier ball across the water with Blue.

Alas my yacht dreams have yet to be realized, but the reason has nothing to do with me and everything to do with this three letter word.

Allow me to explain how. ;)

You’re Thirsty

How is usually preceded by another three letter word, but. “But how do I… “

But = lack.

Lack = thirst.

When you’re coming from a place of lack, you basically abandon all creative thinking and relinquish control, keeping yourself stuck in the lack of a foreseeable solution. For further tips on how to quench being thirsty, see the pervious blog.

You’re Overwhelmed

How embodies the feeling of stuck, and when we’re stuck we tend to spin out into overwhelm about what to do next.

It’s cool, it happens to the best of us.

To combat overwhelm, which inevitably follows 'how', get into action. I’m not talking life changing action, that’s too overwhelming, but simply identify one small thing you can do to move in the direction of an answer. Not THE answer necessarily, but an answer. Do that thing, do it now. Then tomorrow, do another small thing. Rinse and repeat till you suddenly find yourself knee deep in a plan.

You’re Intuitive

Here’s the big secret, I don’t have the answers to your 'how', but you DO. If you quiet down the fear, the ego, and listen deeply, you’ll hear that inner voice who’s completely at peace and knowledgeable about exactly 'how' to move forward. You can find it through journaling, meditation, repetitive motion. Showering and long runs tend to be my brainstorm magnets of choice.

Once you quiet the noise, and are able to tune inward, your next steps will flow to you with more ease than you could imagine. Your job is to listen and trust it. The more you do, the clearer the path starts to become.

You’re Attached

By clinging to the one and only perceivable way you believe it can happen, you're basically telling the Universe, "It’s my way or the highway, Bud!" Not the best stance for cosmic negotiation.

Small actions will showcase the energy of commitment toward what you desire, so the Universe can start engineering some potential support.  By not holding onto the end goal of your ‘how’ super tightly, and taking a small step in the general direction of where you want to head without desperate attachment, you’ll open yourself up to opportunities that may not be visible to you in this exact moment.

Next time you hear yourself utter ‘how’ from that state of desperation, check yourself. Check in with yourself, drink a big ol’ glass of water and take one small step in the direction of what you most desire.

And if you end up parked next to the Carter's yacht because of it, may I be so bold to ask for an invitation?

 

 

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Quench Your Thirst

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Quench Your Thirst

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You know that feeling.
You’ve just Got. To. Have. It.
The job, relationship, raise. You want it so bad it pains you.
This feeling = thirsty.

When we’re thirsty, we are completely focused on the lack of having what we want. And this feeling of needy desperation doesn’t leave us with much perspective, opportunity or creative energy.

The best way to move in the direction of what you desperately desire is finding a way to quench your thirst.

Here are three tips to start feeling satisfied.

Get into gratitude
When we are seized by the somewhat paralyzing thoughts of what we don’t have, the single best way I’ve found to reverse this thinking trap is to get ourselves into an appreciative state. What are all the things you have in your life to be grateful for? Make a list, say them out loud, see how long this list can be. Being in gratitude is a research backed way for us to feel more abundant and in turn, far less thirsty.

Seek the desired feeling
Imagine you had the thing you’re longing for. Now ask yourself, how would that make me feel?
Get to the baseline feeling the object your thirsting over will provide, and then be in that feeling as much as possible. Seriously, go do whatever you have to do to feel the way you want to feel.
If your thirst for a partner is about feeling loved, remind yourself of all the love you currently have. Shower yourself with self love, give your Mom a call, snuggle your pup, treat a friend to a coffee date. Find as many ways to be in the feeling your thirsting for so you begin to quench it with the abundance of, in this case love, available to you right now.

Drink a glass of water
I know, I know, I’m being quite literal here, but it works! When you’re feeling that longing for what you lack, go fill up a big ol’ glass of water and drink it down. Symbolically you’re reminding your body, and mind, when it's in a panicked or a desperate sense of lack that you truly have all you need at your fingertips. You are fully capable of quenching your own thirst. Enjoy this full feeling, be in gratitude for it and go ahead and pat yourself on the back for the hydration boost.

Want to add an extra does of woo? Before you drink the water, send it thoughts of gratitude, abundance, love, anything positive. Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto has demonstrated when focusing positive thoughts on water beautiful molecular snowflake like patterns are created, while negative feeling thoughts create harsh dark indecipherable structures. Check out Google Images to see the visible results of charging your water with positivity and enjoy drinking it down.

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The Wind Down, Round Up

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December. It’s that time when we’re holly, jolly and “ho, ho, holy crap where'd the year go?!” It’s once we’re past Hanukkah, Christmas and Kawanzaa, ready to turn the annual page, when I feel most compelled to reflect and set my sights on how I want the new year to be.

My original intention with this post was to share what this process looks like for me, but upon reflection, it’s really not a one size fits all kinda thing. In fact, there are some really incredible resources that might be the exact fit for your new year planning and beyond.

With that, allow me to share some of my favorite things:

Reboot Your Year

Reboot, a great coaching organization, has a fantastic free email series focused on deep reflection. This 5-day email course offers Buddha like poetry, koans – which are phrases to meditate upon, and 20-minute guided journal prompts. If you’re looking for a quiet, zen like way to recap and revive, this will help you do just that, all between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Desire Mapping

Any client of mine will tell you my go to strategy in determining what’s next is tuning in to how you want to feel, and letting those feelings guide your intentions. (more on intentions below) Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map book and planners are my hands down go-to’s when determining what gets priority on my agenda in the year to come. It’s become my sacred intention setting and reflection strategy throughout the year.

Intentions Over Resolutions

At the top of 2017, I wrote a short blog post on why I believe it’s most important to set your intentions for the new year versus making a laundry list of resolutions. To me, intentions feel so much more compassionate and "in it for the long-haul". Influenced by Desire Mapping, and what works best on my end, it’s worth the quick read.

Zing Collaborative

My dear friend, and Achieving Alchemy co-creator, Sarah, wrote an amazing blog post at the close of 2016 focused on some big coaching questions to consider for end of year reflection and planning. It’s basically like having a coach in your pocket, helping you get focused on what’s most important to you next year.

Tools to keep it all alive in 2018:

Calm app

I believe in order to be at our best, our most intentional, we need to create mindful awareness. Building in a pause before our reaction. Calm is my favorite meditation app for whatever you want to work on. Awareness, anxiety, restful sleep, they have a variety of meditations and, maybe most importantly, lengths ranging from 2-30 minutes helping you fit mindfulness into your schedule on a daily basis.

Desire Map Planner

Mentioned above, this planner is what keeps me anchored in my intentions and focused on how I want to feel the whole year through. I’ve always been an aspirational planner user, never lasting beyond March. Yet this journal like datebook has become my bible the whole year through. 

Champagne Moments

How would you design your week so that by Friday at 5, what you accomplished would be worthy of popping a bottle of bubbly? That’s the idea behind Carrie Bentley’s champagne moments, from Life Hack Bootcamp. I discovered this genius productivity method through Amy Porterfield’s podcast, and it’s seriously upped my "get sh*t done" game ever since.

Accountability

Having accountability in any goal, project or intention will amplify your discipline to a whole new level. As you start to think about what’s important for you in 2018, who can hold you accountable in getting there? You could hire a coach (shameless plug and sample session link here), confide in your boss, chat up a mentor, teacher, leader. No matter who it is, you want them to hold a high bar for you, have your best interest at heart and hold you to your larger vision for 2018.

Recommended Reading:

The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasticha – A quick, easy read on Neil’s research backed 9 secrets to happiness. I agree with them all.

The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard – It’s like a polar plunge for claiming your personal power and refusing to settle for smallness.

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna – A book full of whimsy and wisdom on the road to purpose. It’s one I go back to for a shot of creative inspiration again and again.

Find Your Why by Simon Sinek, et all – A follow up to the infamous “Start With Why” that walks you through determining your Why page by page. Pro tip: start with Why and then create goals based on your How’s.

The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte – At this point, it goes without saying, but use this one to identify your core desired feelings and set some goals with soul.

Whew, here you have it!

I should mention, none of these are affiliate links, but truly great resources I have in my back pocket at all times.

Happy reflecting, planning, holidays and new year to you and yours.

Lots of Love - Jess

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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 it. 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

Bowl of Lemons

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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