How ready are you to make a change?

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Do you yearn to make a change in your life?

Do you feel stuck in a job that stresses you out, doesn't light you up anymore, or pays you well but is unsatisfying? Do you dream of starting something new? Is external change coming at you and you have an opportunity to rethink what you really want? Does the prospect of an empty nest open possibilities you want to explore?

I speak with women who ponder questions like these all the time. 

And I truly relate — because that’s just where I was a decade ago. The business I’d founded and was proud to have built was no longer exciting me. I knew I was ready for something new, but had no idea what it would be or how to figure it out.

The only way to make change in your life is to be willing to change.

Lots of women want to make a change in their professional or personal life, but the prospect of having to change — changing outlooks, habits, getting out of your comfort zone — can be scary. And when we are afraid, we have a tendency to shrink back and cling hard to the known quantity of the status quo.

Are you clinging, or are you ready to embrace the process of change?

I remember thinking it would be great to magically make the perfect change happen. But I knew, as you do, that there is no fairy dust that will instantly make the situation you are currently tolerating perfect — or a magic pill that will give you the answer to what your next great career move ought to be (or the best move forward in your personal life).

That's why so many women tolerate what they say they want to change. It can feel daunting to step into the process of change, or even know how to get started.

Here is how to get clear, and how to move forward if you’re ready to change your life.

1. Assess your level of desire.

Ask yourself these questions: 
How tired am I of what I have been tolerating? 
How much do I want to bring change into my life? 
Do I want it enough to take a big new step — even if that means calling on myself to be bold?

In my case, I knew I was willing to initiate a change and step into the work of finding a new career direction that would excite me when I woke up every morning. (I had been longing for that missing feeling for too long!)

What about you?

When you answer these questions honestly, you’ll know if you are ready to start on the path of change.

2. If you want to get started, get support.

Embarking on a big change is easiest if you have a guide to help you. This is not a good DIY project! Getting support will not only ease the anxiety this decision may bring up, it will accelerate the pace at which you will move through the process of change.

With the help of a seasoned coach, you will be in safe hands as you get clear about what you want, assess your best opportunities, and move forward. 

3. Embrace the process.

This powerful, life-changing work will teach you so much. Anticipate it with excitement! 

Even as you will be called on to look deep, and set a course that may have unexpected turns along the way, you'll have help. That help will support you when discomfort arises as you step outside of your comfort zone, rise and grow, and then face new moments that call for courage.

This process is an incredible path to growth. 

This is how you make your desires your reality. 

This is how you can transform your life!

I have lived this process, and am honored to guide women through it every day. I know that you can proceed with confidence when you invest in yourself and your future, as I did a decade ago. 
I now live with the delight of a life that fulfills me in more ways than I ever imagined possible. I’d love to see that happen for you.

Let’s talk about the future you want to create — what’s possible for you.

Drop me a note, or leave a comment below, if you feel ready to consider initiating big and important change in your life.


Choose a word, change your year

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Now that we’re a week into January, the holidays are behind us and a big, promising new year is stretched out ahead. Lots of women I speak to find themselves asking how they can make this the great year they yearn for. 

Rather than make some quick resolutions — that even with great intentions are hard to sustain — they wonder what they can do to make this their best year ever. They ask what key actions they can take that will have impact. They wonder how to get started. And they are concerned about how can they sustain momentum.

If you relate — if you want to be more aware and awake in your life so you stop drifting and start making the changes you want — try these suggestions:

1. Choose a word of the year to guide you

It may sound simple, but when you take the time to thoughtfully choose a word to guide you for the year ahead, amazing things happen.

Last year I wrote about my process for choosing a word that embodies layers of meaning and really nails it for where you are in your life right now. I offer instructions that you can easily follow, as well as examples to inspire you. Here's how you can pick your powerful word for this year.

2. Stop looking for quick fixes

We all wish there were magical ways to make change fast. And we all know that in order to make important changes — and for them to stick — time and commitment are required. When you acknowledge and accept that the changes you want to realize — everything from weight loss or better health, to a more harmonious relationship, to a less chaotic pace of living, to having more satisfaction at work — will take time and focus to shift, you will be able to take the small, deliberate, consistent steps each day that will add up to big change over time.

3. Start saying “no” 

When you have a clear word for your year and you are ready to take small, consistent action in your life to live guided by your word, you will quickly realize that you must do less to be able to bring attention and focus to what really matters. 

This one is tough for many women who consider themselves accomplished multitaskers, get excited about new ideas all the time, and/or recognize that they tend to be people-pleasers. 

The truth is that we all have limited time and limited energy. This is the perfect time to start saying “no” to things that spread you too thin or are not in alignment with your priorities. This may feel uncomfortable, but you do not need to apologize when you say “no.” You can simply say that you have other commitments and thus are not able to help with...  do...  take on...  etc. Give it a try. With practice you can get comfortable with it, and you'll find that saying “no” will open important space for you to focus on what matters most.

4. Remind yourself of how capable you are

When doubt shows up, look back at last year and notice the times that you tried something new, were able to find courage when you needed it, or handled a challenge. Acknowledge things you learned and impact you made. All of these reminders will bolster your confidence when you need it.

5. Take consistent action

Having selected a word of the year to guide you, and preparing yourself for the time and patience needed to make meaningful change, then opening space in your life by saying “no,” and bolstering your confidence for stepping up in new ways, you will be ready for the last key step — making a commitment to take consistent action

Taking action and sustaining the commitment to continue to do so — even when you hit places of feeling discouraged or sagging motivation or lack of confidence — is the biggest challenge. It’s easy to get fired up at the start of the year. (Think about the crowds at yoga classes and gyms in January and February that thin out by March!)

The beauty of selecting a word of the year that embodies what you want for yourself this year is that you can more easily stay committed to living into it — even at the times you struggle. After all, that’s the meaning of commitment!

Are you ready to make that kind of commitment to yourself?

If you are, you will be able to look back at this current year a year from now and smile at what you created in your life!

Remember that getting support will make it easier for you to stay committed to the change you want to make, the growth you desire. Ask someone to be an accountability buddy. Attend workshops that will enlighten and inspire you. Join a group coaching program or reach out for one-on-one coaching support. 

I would love to hear the Word of the Year that you choose.

I am eager to hear about how you have selected a guiding word. Share your word in the comments below, or email me to let me know. And let me know why you chose it, and how you are stepping into making this the year that you are envisioning today.

My word for this year?

This year I chose DEPTH.

I intend to go deeper in my work with clients, my writing, and my painting. This demands that I get more support in my business, that I say “no” more often, and that I remain mindful of my intentions and honor them. I have already begun living into my word and it feels great!

I wish you a big new year — one of growth, commitment, accomplishment and joy.


If you’re looking for another way to change your year, you can consider having a coach to support you to get clear about the life and work questions on your mind — to live the big life you long for — so that you can set clear objectives and get help to step into your future with intention and commitment. If that’s something you want to explore, I welcome you to set up an Introductory Coaching Call with me. There’s no cost or obligation for us to meet. Simply complete the Coaching Inquiry Form and I’ll be in touch to make a date with you.

A perfect time for reflection

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Most of us are super busy during the holiday season — getting ready, traveling, celebrating in all sorts of ways. There’s lots of emotion in the air (and often a mix of emotions). 

Happily, we get a short respite between Christmas and the start of the new year. 

I treasure this space. With festivities behind us and so many people on holiday, things get quiet. I find this to be a perfect time for reflection. 

Reflection is something most people never get to doing. Life is always hectic! But when you make time to slow down and look back great things happen.


The benefits of taking time to reflect

Meaningful reflection requires time and space. You must slow down and get quiet, and that in itself is an important gift you can give yourself. 

Taking time to reflect enables you to gain perspective. Rather than drifting from day to day and week to week until a year has sped by without any insight, when you create focused, quiet time you can see so much! With thought and attention, you can consider what worked in your life, and appreciate yourself and celebrate your accomplishments. You can also spot the patterns or habits that kept you stuck. 

The insights gleaned from reflection afford you tremendous opportunities for moving into your future. This is a time to consider what you want to build on, as well as what you want to do less of — or stop doing altogether. Consider the qualities you need to cultivate or nurture to live your best life. Start to consider the goals you want to set, and how you can reach them.


5 tips and suggestions for meaningful reflecting  

Why not create a special ritual for this process? You might even want to begin an annual tradition of reflecting. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Set aside some time for yourself at a particular time of day and find a place you like — a cozy nook, in front of a fire, a special chair — to settle into.

  2. You might want to ask someone to be a partner. Sitting together, you can do some thinking and writing, and then share your insights and ideas with one another.

  3. Designating a lovely journal for reflecting can make this a more special experience. And the journal can also be your place to note reflections at regular intervals during the year. (You might reflect monthly or at the start of each new season.) Your periodic reflections will help you stay clear and aware as you move through the year.

  4. You can approach the process of reflecting in a range of interesting ways. One possibility for getting started is go through your calendar and review the entries for each month, then note insights that come to mind. 

    Another approach is to create lists as your jumping off point. Try noting your top 10 highlights of the year or top 10 lessons learned or the 10 most important things you want to stop doing in the future. Next, jot down WHY each thing is on your list, and what you learned related to the entry. Before long, you’ll have a rich array of insights.

I would love to hear about how you reflect on the year that’s winding down, and what your big aha’s and take-aways are. Leave a comment here, or email me.

I would be happy to hear from you if you want to talk about how coaching can support you to live with clarity, intention, and commitment this year. I welcome you to get in touch to talk with me about how I can help.

I wish you and yours a New Year of living big!

Stepping up in your life — or playing safe

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After a powerful session with the women in my 4-month group coaching program, I reflected and realized how far each of them has come in the work. We are 3 months in, and while each woman has had a different focus for the work she’s doing in her life, each is courageously stepping up in ways that are impressive. They are all saying “YES” to their lives.

Observing their great work inspired me to share stories about what it has meant for these women to move beyond their comfort zones — which each of them has been doing.

What does it take to make bold moves?
How do you get started?
How do you stay on track, even when challenges arise?

Here is the first story in a series that I want to share with you.

What does it take to set a vision and step into action in spite of hesitance, resistance, and even fear?


1. Step one: Setting a big goal

Creating a long-range goal that entails stepping up to do something new — and something that’s outside of the space you operate in successfully and feel comfortable with today — requires courage.

When you have a big "Why" for something you really want to go for, you can more easily create a big goal.

My client has a vision for work she wants to do in five years. Is it a stretch? Yes. Is it important to her for a number of fundamental reasons? Yes. Knowing why it means so much to her helped her to get clear about what it will take to make it a reality and commit to moving ahead.

2. Step two: Getting started

Taking early steps was not so hard for this motivated woman. She reached out for coaching support. She used her network to meet with other women who had succeeded in doing what she wants to do and got their advice. She’s been doing research into this new kind of work and what it takes to get it. She joined a group of other women on this path in order to get education from the program and support from peers.

3. Step three: Keeping the momentum going

After getting the ball rolling, she hit a snag. It was time to begin creating a document to use to pursue this new work and a host of self-critics showed up.

First, the Impostor Syndrome came calling and asked: who is she to go for such a big opportunity? It reminded her that she does not have all of the typical expertise that is often sought after. And, Perfectionism showed up to impede her. She doubted that her efforts would be “good enough." These, in turn, invited Procrastination to join the party. Weeks went by without a single word written.

Coaching provided an antidote to the trio of self-critics. The first thing we addressed was helping her to believe that the distinctive expertise she has to offer is, in fact, important to many forward-looking organizations. An article in a respected business publication confirmed that fact. She was then able to acknowledge and own her expertise and ease up on the grip of the Imposter Syndrome. 

Perfectionism and Procrastination were shooed away by her making a commitment to write a really bad first rough draft of her document. After that she knows she can trust herself to edit it and get input from others to polish and refine the work.

This woman is now fully on track to moving into a bigger future, knowing how she will be able to move through each phase of the process she is mapping out. And, the lessons she is learning and skills she is building as she pursues this big goal are helping her in her current work, as well as having a positive impact on her personal life.

Will she run into other challenges of confidence or resistance? Will fear show up as she moves ahead? Undoubtedly.

But, having a strong system in place to get the support and advice she needs will keep her moving forward. As well, she knows that these resources will accelerate her progress compared to going it alone.

I welcome you to comment below or email me and let me know about the big dreams you have, and how you are pursuing them — or, if you’re playing it safe but yearn to say “Yes!” to your life in new ways. What are your questions about getting started?

And, if you are curious to learn about private coaching, or the impact of my group coaching programs (I’m launching a new group program this fall), click on over to inquire about coaching. When you complete and submit the Coaching Inquiry Form, I’ll be in touch to make a date with you.

Six months in, six to go!

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July has arrived, and with it the realization that this year has hit the mid-point. This is a perfect time to pause and think about where you are as you head into the second half of the year.

Here are some ways you can take stock:

1. Check in with your word-of-the-year — or choose one now

If, way back in January, you chose a word to guide your year, this is a great time to revisit the word you selected and reflect on how you've been using it to inspire and guide you the last 6 months — or how you want to reconnect to the word you chose and have it inspire you now.

And, if you did not choose a word for yourself, but want to know how you can choose one to guide you in the final half of the year, check out my blog post about how to approach this wonderful practice.

2. Revisit the plans you made, the dreams you dreamed, the goals you set

Many people make big plans, dream, or set ambitious goals for themselves as the year begins. If you were moved to do something like that, now’s the perfect time to think about what’s happened to those ambitions.

If you have let things slip, this is the time to reconnect with them, review your progress to date, and decide if you are still feeling the same motivation. Maybe something has shifted in an important way and you will see different or more beneficial opportunities. Maybe you will have an idea for a simpler or better way to approach a goal that you struggled with.

Maybe your assessment will show that you are ahead of where you expected. If that’s the case, now is the time to decide if you want to expand on the goal, if the pace has been working or if you’ve pushed harder than you’ve liked, or if you want to celebrate the completion and embark on a small additional goal for the last six months of the year.

And, consider what lessons have you learned — lessons that you can build on now, or that will shine a light on modifications that will make it easier to proceed.

3. Commit to the actions you need to take now

Having great intentions does not ensure progress or success. Commitment is needed! And true commitment requires you to make specific plans and follow through.

Now is the time to start listing what it will take to accomplish your objectives. This is a good project to do when you have some quiet time (maybe on a beach?) to sit, think, and get real about all the steps that will make your wish a reality. Then, with a detailed list in hand, it’s time to schedule each step in your calendar. Be realistic as you do this. Consider the time each task is likely to take. Work around vacations, major family events, conferences you’ll be traveling to, etc. The more carefully you schedule the tasks, the more likely you’ll be to stick with your plan and make satisfying progress.

And, look for someone who can help you stay on track. Who do you know that wants to be intentional in the second half of the year and might be a good Accountability Partner? This is a great way for you to support one another — and to celebrate your successes, too!

And, you can consider having a coach to support you to get clear about the life and work questions on your mind — to live the big life you long for — so that you can set clear objectives and get help to step into your future with intention and commitment. If that’s something you want to explore, I welcome you to set up an Introductory Coaching Call with me. There’s no cost or obligation for us to meet. Simply complete the Coaching Inquiry Form and I’ll be in touch to make a date with you.

You can break free when you’re stuck — here’s how.

At my workshop I held recently, Dear Future: Getting ready for what's next, I led a group of remarkable, accomplished women through a series of exercises and experiences designed to help them take sure steps into the futures they want.

What I see every time I begin to work with great women like these, is how many similar challenges keep them stuck and frustrated. To the outer world, they look like dynamos. Inside, they often feel:

  • Overwhelmed by their day-to-day lives — which makes it nearly impossible to get out of the weeds and see the big picture

  • Rudderless — because they lack clarity about what they truly want

  • Unsure about how to get moving forward — or how to sustain momentum when they do take first steps

  • Plagued by perfectionism — which they recognize inhibits them, but nonetheless, they feel powerless to change

Do some of these issues resonate for you? 
Do they make you feel stuck too?

If the answer is “Yes” (to any or all of these challenges, or others that come to mind for you) I have good news.
You are not alone — and you can take these 3 sure steps to get unstuck:

1. Say no to isolation.

When we face a challenge in isolation, we compound the challenge. We circle around alone in the muddle of our mental clutter. Frustration builds and we struggle more. 

Some of us (and I was one of those women!) feel we need to figure things out alone. Seeking help makes us feel inadequate and ashamed about feeling unable to bring enough intelligence and determination to figure things out and solve problems ourselves.

And, because so many accomplished women tend to compare themselves to friends and colleagues, they think that they alone struggle with their challenges. If they could open up to other women, they’d know they are not alone — and they would be exposed to new ideas, strategies, and support.

When we look for opportunities to safely connect to and open up with peers, the benefits are enormous. 

2. Look for support

When you’re ready to end isolation, you have some choices. You can seek out ways to connect and get support like this:

  • Reach out to a friend who cares deeply about your well-being, listens well, has some objectivity about the matter at hand, and is not oriented to telling you what to do or to "fixing" things for you. Not all of us have such a friend to turn to, but if you are fortunate to have that friend, invite her (or him) to spend some quiet time with you to listen to your concerns, and ask you questions that will help you find clarity and answers.

  • Attend a workshop that’s focused on the challenge you face. Look for a leader whose message resonates for you and who will attract like-minded participants. Show up with the intention to be open and to learn.

  • Consider working with a coach — either in a group coaching program or for one-on-one coaching support. Seek a seasoned coach with a strong track record and effective tools you can learn to use. But most of all, choose someone with whom you feel the right chemistry, trust, and eagerness to work with. Seek someone who will lovingly challenge you and call you out when you make excuses; someone who will see more possibilities for you than you may be able to see for yourself; someone who will hold you accountable to the commitments you make.

3. Take a first step — even a small one!

It may sound obvious, but when you are in a place where you’re stuck, you overlook the fact that taking action is required to get unstuck. It will likely feel pretty uncomfortable to take action when you feel uncertain or unclear about what to do. But action is what’s called for, and this is the time to urge yourself to move forward in spite of some discomfort. 

Remember that you can begin small! Your first small steps will get you in motion, and momentum can build from there. Here are some great options:

  • Make a list of people who you'd feel could be good listeners related to what’s on your mind. Your next step will be to choose one of those people to invite to meet with you for coffee and a conversation.

  • Think of someone who has moved through a challenge similar to one you are facing and reach out to ask if they have resources to suggest.

  • Check out coaches that colleagues recommend or web searches bring to your attention.

  • Download the Roadmap to Clarity, a process I recently developed that will guide you to get clear about a question on your mind. It will also help you to identify and implement small action steps that will bring meaningful change into your life. (Lots of women have used the Roadmap to Clarity and I’ve received tremendous feedback on its impact. And, you can use it many times, to address a range of challenges you want to work through.)

The wonderful news is that when you start taking action — even small action — and make a commitment to continue taking small steps, you will realize that you are no longer stuck! You will be on a path to creating the changes you want in your life. And, as you bring in desired change, you will usher in more joy and satisfaction. Keep moving, and the true experience of Living Big will be yours!

Drop me a note or leave a comment below to let me know what you try, and what works best for you to get unstuck. 

And, I am happy to extend an open invitation to you to schedule a complimentary Introductory Coaching Call with me. Simply complete the Coaching Inquiry Form and I’ll be in touch to make a date with you.

What if you lived this dream a year from now?

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One of the most gratifying things about being a coach is hearing from past clients with updates that demonstrate the ongoing impact of the work we did together.

I received an email today from a great woman who wrote to me in response to my last blog post (about how to get started to bring important change into your life). She wrote to say she loved the content, and always enjoys what I have to say.

What really lit me up was the description that followed — about all the things that are going so well in her life. You see, she had been struggling with many things in a big way a year ago. So it was great to read that she continues to love the new work she started doing as a result of our coaching, and that she's living at a perfect pace.

The ripple effects? Her career change and success enabled her husband to shift into doing new work that they’d both been dreaming of for a long time, and it’s going gangbusters. And, to top it off, her young adult children are thriving. They also have time for a lot of fun in their lives now — free of the stress and worry that had been getting in the way for so long.

She closed by recalling a key moment in our work that brought her inspiration and gave her courage, and said she continues to refer to it daily.

Reading this truly made my day! (There’s a huge grin on my face and my heart is swelling!)

How to start bringing important change into your life

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One of the big issues I see people deal with after attending my Dream Big Vision Board workshop is moving forward to bring dreams, ambitions, and visions into reality. And, even if you have not created a vision board to get clear about what you want to be and do and have in your life, most of us have ideas about how we want to bring change into our lives or make progress or grow in important ways.

Taking the first step can be daunting.

We tend to think we need to be bold and brave and strive to make heroic changes — and thoughts like that can bring up all sorts of resistance. All of a sudden it can feel scary to make a huge change. Confidence can slip away at the thought of doing something so big. Coupled with that, the prospect of failure and the shame we envision can be paralyzing. Or, we tell ourselves we're not ready yet and so we put off getting started. And sometimes, our doubts tell us it’s useless to try.

Even accomplished women who have a deep desire to step up to living a bigger life can get stuck this way — and they may be especially prone to setting huge expectations for themselves and getting tripped up. 

Here are 3 steps you can take right now to get started on making important change in your life.

1. What do you want? It’s time to get clear!

It’s exciting to anticipate making big important changes, but if you are not clear about what you really want — and why — you may jump in and find yourself having to back up and refocus. Why risk hampering yourself like that?

Sometimes we want something new in our lives, but that feeling is fuzzy. Say you are exhausted by overwork and you want to more day-to-day sanity in your life. The why is not hard to figure out, but what exactly do you want? 
- More and better sleep? 
- Getting rid of bad clients who drain your spirit — and learning how to avoid them in the future? 
- More support from family members, or finding helpers like a bookkeeper or VA? 
- More time for exercise and other self-care? 

Pinpoint what it is your really want. Because without knowing, how can you begin to bring that change into your life?

Let’s use another example, and take the process of getting clear a step further.

Say you want to relocate. Do some writing about what your reasons are for making a move. And, list your criteria. You may desire a warmer climate, or seek less costly housing, or a location with better job opportunities, or some combination of those factors. Maybe you need to have access to an international airport, or need to live near a major medical center. Get all of that down on paper. Next, rank the importance of each factor, as you will likely need to compromise on some of your criteria. The more information you pin down, the smoother and clearer your process will be going forward.

This is a doable and crucial first step — and, you’ll have started taking important action!

2. Set your sights on one or two small steps to keep going.

Rather than set a huge goal and try to tackle it in one great stride, think about one or two small, doable steps you can take now to move forward. We’re going for wins, and building momentum.

Let’s say you are in an unhappy professional position and want to move on to find work that will be more satisfying and meaningful, or you want to find an organization with a culture that feels like “home.”

Having started with Step One — getting clear about what you want and why — and having established the criteria for a great next job, you can decide on one or two doable small steps to take next.

You might first choose the most appealing option on your list and dig in to learn more. Rather than jumping in to a full-fledged job search, you can start by reading up on the sector or job type, or companies in the industry sector. Then identify people you can meet with — or people you can reach out to and ask for introductions. Prepare a solid list of the questions on your mind about the kind of work, available opportunities, compensation, etc. 

Once you have set up and had a few productive conversations, you’ll be on your way. And, when you are ready to confirm what you want to go after, you can plan for the next small step to take — like creating a tailored resume and a great cover letter.

3. Build in accountability and support. 

When you tell someone that you intend to do something important, and regularly keep them up to date on your progress, you are more likely to stay on track. Accountability is a powerful motivator and keeps your momentum strong. 

The key is to get that support from someone who truly cares about you and your success — someone who believes in you and will support you in a positive way. You can seek out an "Accountability Buddy” and set up a schedule for check-ins. And, having a coach can be a great asset when you are trying to make important change and want to do it as smoothly as possible. Because, inevitably there will be bumps in the road, times when your confidence dips or your best next step is unclear. Having a capable guide to get you through the rough patches and help you to see the way forward and stay on track will accelerate your progress.

Life presents us with an ongoing series of opportunities to grow, change and expand. And every time you decide to step into what’s next, you’ll be called on to commit again and take consistent action to reach your next level. 

Some final thoughts.

As you go through each step along the way, remember to acknowledge yourself for setting your intentions, committing to taking action, and for each small piece of progress as you attain it. Celebrate your ongoing commitment, your ability to leave old limiting mindsets behind, your willingness to make big change, your courage to persevere, and your creativity and resolve. 

And finally, be sure to celebrate your successes!

I would love to hear from you as you undertake or move through periods of important change in your life. Comment below or email me — I always read what you post or send.

And, if you want to talk with me about how coaching can support you to step into the big life you desire, just complete my Coaching Inquiry Form and we'll make a date for a call (there’s no obligation or cost for this deep heart-to-heart conversation).

Is this the year you’ll get unstuck?

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Here we are on New Year’s eve. 2018 is starting in just a few hours. This is a moment to bid farewell to 2017 and consider what you will create in your life in 2018.

I recently wrote to you with suggestions for end-of-year reflecting. If you missed it, it's not too late to do some thoughtful looking back — and taking that look will certainly inform your perspectives on the new year you are stepping into.

When we commit to making time to look with clear eyes at the year that’s ending, it helps us to be in the delicate moment of “in-between” — the space between the end of where we have been and who we can become. This is a rich moment for thought, for appreciating ourselves, and for creating a personal vision for the future. And, with a vision for the new year — whether it’s clear or less well-defined — you will be able to start setting intentions for what you want to create in your life this year.

As I have experienced over the years, there is a great deal to learn when we look clearly at our past — not to rehash or to sit with regret, but to see it all and have it inform our lives moving forward. Because we all have things to acknowledge and celebrate. And we all have things that trip us up and block us. 

Life gives us these challenges over and over  — and thus there is endless opportunity for personal growth and expansion. Some things tend to trip us up again and again, but with insight, guidance, and new approaches, we can learn to deal with them better over time. And, when new kinds of challenges show up, as they inevitably do, we are able to apply what we have learned and make our way with more insight, confidence, and ease.

Are there a few “quick-fix” steps I can rattle off to help you get past your personal blocks? 

No. 

We are complex beings. I know from diving into the work I have done over the years that it is possible to find the path to mastering challenges when these ingredients are in place:

Willingness 
You must be willing to engage in serious work. True transformation and growth occur when you are willing to embrace the mystery and go deep.

Belief 
We become what we believe. When you believe that you matter, you do not put yourself last. You are able to take steps to create what you desire in your life.

Commitment
It’s both necessary and worthwhile to build structure and space in our lives to create the future we desire. A deep commitment to yourself entails bringing the focus, and expending the effort, that are required to make important change.

This is what I teach my clients and share at my workshops, and yet I am called on over and over to return to the fundamentals of willingness, belief, and commitment as I expand and grow in my life. We never reach ”perfect“ and the learning never stops! This is ongoing work, but the beauty is that over time you will have tools to reach for, mindsets shifts to reflect back on, and strategies to employ. These help me — and can help you — to break through and climb ever higher. You can create an amazing future. You have the power to shape your life.

My intention is to bring you new and exciting ways to grow in the year ahead. Here are a number of ways I can serve you:

1. Experience coaching in a group. I will be launching a new group coaching program this year, following the success (and extended) coaching group I offered this year. Details will be coming soon.

2. Get support to make deep, lasting change. I am always happy to talk to you about what private coaching can look like for you. This is the most powerful way I can support you to get beyond the challenges that limit you to realize tremendous personal growth.

3. And, if you have a question, or an issue you are unsure about how to approach, I welcome you to drop me an email. Or, let’s make a date for a call. I am happy to help you think through what’s on your mind.

I would love to hear about significant insights you’ve had from reflecting on the last year, and the intentions you have for what you want to create in 2018. Leave a comment below, or email me to let me know. 

May this be your year to get unstuck and experience incredible growth and expansion!

Sending you heartfelt wishes for abundant happiness, love and creativity in 2018. Let’s all LIVE BIG in the year ahead.

What’s to be done about emotional clutter?

Photo: Jeremy Cai

As you consider that question, you may be wondering what I mean by “emotional clutter.” When I think about clutter of any kind, I think of a mess — a jumble that is confusing and complicated and filled with things that can be eliminated in order to create calm and order. In the emotional realm, clutter is similar. A mess of emotions includes many that are needlessly complex and often undesirable. Messes like that typically grow without awareness.  

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I have been thinking a lot about how we can simplify our cluttered lives. I recently wrote about starting with a focus on you (read The gift of simplifying here). I also urged you to consider the importance of decluttering your environment — and had tips to help you tackle that clutter (read Just say “no” here). 

Something important tied those two concepts together: saying “no.”

Learning what to say “no” to, and saying it with comfort (and without guilt!) is a key skill to build to simplify your life.

Today, I am thinking about another dimension of decluttering that will help you to simplify a hectic life — emotional decluttering. We often overlook the impact of emotional clutter in our lives, which builds when we don’t pay attention to it, and when we don’t consciously say “no” to tame it. 

Why is it important to do emotional decluttering?

In much the same way that a cluttered physical environment contributes to making us feel overwhelmed, we are often in a swirl of emotional clutter. And when we let that clutter fester and grow, it adds enormous stress to daily life. Emotional clutter distracts us, distresses us, and drains our energy. We pay a high price when our energy is sapped.

So, the question arises: What can we do to declutter a life plagued by emotional mess? Try this exercise and see what happens: 

Make a list of ENERGY DRAINERS

Start with a clean sheet of paper. Think about what you may be putting up with, and start listing what comes to mind. Consider what you put up with in both your personal life and at work. What do you tolerate, even grudgingly, that creates resentment, frustration, or anger?

Next, think about things you’ve taken on or accepted that drag you down emotionally and/or energetically. Your list can include people or situations in your life. This may take some careful thought, because we often take things on or accept things that drain us emotionally without being aware of, or acknowledging, the negative consequences.

Look at your list. Consider that these things often drain your energy for positive activities, and that they can impact your thinking in negative ways. Give some thought to that impact. Consider how long the things on your list have been influencing your life and the consequences of bearing the ongoing emotional clutter.

You may or may not choose to actively do anything about the things on your list now, and that’s fine. Simply becoming aware of them and articulating them will make you more alert to where they interfere and will also build awareness about their impact. With that new awareness, you may naturally start to address, or eliminate, or resolve them. 

And, you may decide that you are ready to make deliberate changes — ready to say “no” to the emotional clutter that is sapping your energy. If you are ready to take action, start by choosing an item or two on your list that you feel most comfortable addressing. Take small steps, and continue as you feel ready to address more of the troubling items on your list.

As I have often said, it’s okay to ask for help


Just the way there are some household and office decluttering challenges that are best tackled with the help of a professional organizer, there can be challenges clearing emotional clutter that feel daunting to take on alone. It may be easier for you to say “no” to the excess “stuff” in your environment than to making changes in the realm of emotional clutter, where habits are often deeply entrenched.

Coaching can be valuable if you are ready to make a commitment to shifting the mindsets that hamper you, so that you can stop saying “yes” when you truly want to say “no.” It will provide support and guidance for you to set healthy boundaries of many kinds in your life, so that you can live without emotional clutter — and live big.

The trap of going it alone

Is there a big lesson you’ve learned the hard way in your life? A key lesson for me had to do with feeling like I had to do it all on my own. And I see it all the time in my coaching work. Lots of people are hung up on this issue.

Why do so many of us feel that if we don't figure it all out and do it all ourselves, we’re not good enough? Not smart enough? Not working hard enough? Not proving how capable we are?

This has been coming up over and over, so I want to shed light on the subject.

1. The root of the “I have to do it myself” mindset.

My story stemmed from a parent who was self-made (and very successful), and who took great pride in having done it all on his own. But the unspoken subtext of that message took me a long time to identify: there was shame if you needed to reach out for help. So, I was determined to prove my ability to do it all on my own. And that took a toll on me in many ways.

It was, frankly, impossible to be great at everything that needed to be done in my business, and exhausting to carry such a huge load in my family at the same time. When I finally sought help of many kinds, the pace of success in my work — and my personal life — was thrilling. (Early additions to what I think of as my “team” included my housekeeper, and later a brilliant coach. More recent additions to my team have been a fantastic bookkeeper and a great virtual assistant. Each person I bring into the mix lets me do more of what only I can do, and lets me do it better.)

Do you know the root of your story about doing it all on your own?

2. The “Am I worth it?” trap.

I see a lot of people who feel unworthy of asking for or getting help. This is a sign that lots more self-love is needed! Because we all deserve what’s best for us and what will let us be our best in the world. And, while making a financial investment in ourselves may feel daunting, there are options even when resources are limited. If you are a whiz at writing marketing copy, try and barter with someone who has a skill you need (say, nutritious cooking or deep-tissue massage) and would benefit from your services. Be creative to get the help that will make your life and work smoother and less stressful.

3. The “Where do I start?” question.

All of us are different, and we have different needs at different times in our lives. There's no “formula” for what help will be the most beneficial for you. You may need coaching support to make an important career change. You may need a great pet-sitter so you can travel on short notice without stress. Maybe investing in a personal trainer is what will make the biggest difference for you in the next year. Perhaps the services of a professional organizer will help you to resolve chronic low-level stress you feel when working in your office. Take the time to think about all aspects of your life and work, as you consider the kind of support that will benefit you the most. Then make it a priority to find the help you need.

Do you have a story about doing it all on your own — or what happened when you brought great help into your life? I’d love to hear it. Please leave a comment below.

Are you ready to show up and take action?

People often ask me about coaching — what it's really about and how it differs from therapy.

The short answer is that therapy is about looking at and focusing on the past, while coaching is all about creating a better future.

What challenges are you facing that you want to get past? What do you want to create — what big ambition or dream do you yearn to realize? What's blocking you, keeping you stuck? Are you tired of living with those barriers and feeling ready to work to change entrenched patterns and habits?

The good news is that a coach can help you see past limitations, give you powerful tools, and support you to make big change and realize your biggest ambitions. But you have to be ready to show up and do the work. You need to be open, honest, and willing to be vulnerable. You need to face issues that may be uncomfortable. You need to be ready to be challenged and to courageously make changes.

When you work with a committed and capable coach you won't have to do it alone. You'll have help and support along the way. But you need to show up and take action.

Are you ready? I welcome you to reach out and contact me. We can schedule a time to talk about the deep work I do with private coaching clients, or if an upcoming group coaching program would be a good way for you to get support and accountability in the company of an intimate and committed group of women. Either approach will help you to get clear, make and keep big commitments, and take big steps to realizing your dreams.