This moment of transition

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As you savor the last days of August, you cannot miss the changes in the air.

School has started or is about to start. (In Boston, that means college students with U-Hauls filled to the brim will soon jam the streets!) People are returning from vacations. Calendars are a lot more crowded. Traffic will soon be even worse, slowing everyone down.

And, the air will be crisp and refreshing. Energy will buzz as new projects get started. Focus always begins to get sharper as many of us consider the opportunities and possibilities for this last season of the year.

As you think about next week and heading into September, what do you want to create?

What priorities will be at the top of your list?

What will you commit to doing — differently? for the first time? with renewed energy?

Think now about how you want to feel when you look back at the final four months of the year and head into 2020.

And make a plan.

Three things you can do now to end the year on a high note.

1. Embrace this moment of transition and get clear.

Take some time to consider the questions I posed above.

Write down your thoughts — a brain-dump is a great way to start. You’re likely to have a long list of ideas and possibilities.

Next, reflect on your notes and begin to shape what showed up. You may want to make categories for items related to work, health, relationships, personal pleasure, etc. You’ll then be able to focus on choosing your top priorities.

Remember, many good ideas will have to be put aside. If you aim to focus on too many big things you’ll be splattered! None will get the time and attention needed for you to realize significant progress.


2. Next, get specific.

With your top one to three focal points in mind, think about what is realistic to complete for each of them in the last four months of the year.

For instance, if you want to write a book, or renovate your kitchen, think about what can reasonably be accomplished in four months. Specificity will be key. Break down big projects or ambitions into small, doable bites.

For example, to begin a home or office renovation, you can first get clear about what's not working now and what key elements you want the finished project to include. The next step may be to collect images that appeal to you for ideas on color, style and use of space, before you reach out to meet with designers and choose a contractor.

With a framework for discrete steps, schedule time on your calendar to work on each one.


3. Commit to taking consistent action.

Being clear about your priorities, breaking big projects into small, doable chunks, mapping out a plan, and scheduling time for each step are all important. But that effort will only lead to solid results if you commit to taking small action, followed by more small action, week by week.

It will be easy to get sidetracked, because life happens! But when you know where you are headed and have a strong desire to reach your outcomes, it will be easier to say “No” (even to exciting possibilities) and stay on track. And it will make it easier for you to attend to the inevitable, important interruptions that will come along and get back on track.

Remember, even the best plans will need to be modified. Surprises will show up. Mistakes will happen. New ideas will emerge. In every case, evaluate the situation, correct course as needed, and keep moving forward.


One last suggestion.

Be sure to acknowledge and celebrate each small milestone as you complete pieces of your big projects. This gives your brain a jolt of pride and satisfaction. And that will make it easier to maintain continued commitment to your project.

I'll be excited to hear about the projects you choose to make your focus in the coming months, and to hear about how the work progresses. leave a comment here or drop me a note.

I’m rooting for you!

How to get past the diabolical duo of fear and perfectionism

There's a strange paradox I see all the time. Accomplished professional women who strive to build great careers, launch businesses, or make big shifts in their personal or professional lives often trip themselves up.

So many of these women have big ambitions, big ideas, and even big plans but can’t get things moving. Or they make a start and can’t build momentum.

What holds them back?

Two big culprits are fear and perfectionism — and often a combination of the two. These two forces are the underlying issues that keep so many people playing it safe (tweet this).

They slow them down — or keep things from getting started at all.

“It’s not good enough yet.”

Have you said these words to yourself?

You’ve been thinking, planning, and laying groundwork for something new and important. Maybe you’ve prototyped a new product, or completed rigorous training, or see the opportunity to build an awesome business. Maybe you’ve gone as far as building a new website. But the thought of actually showing it to the world or taking the next steps feels terrifying.

After all, what if it’s not good enough — or you’re not good enough? What if people won’t like it? What if you’ll be judged — by a relative, a colleague, or in the vast social media world?

Fears like these, that sit atop the perceived need for everything to be perfect, have stopped many worthy and important new things from getting off the ground.

Here are 3 ways you can turn things around

1. Stop listening to the fear

Focusing your time and energy on more refinement or additional preparation — or holding off on taking action — may feel like a safe way to protect yourself. But this is actually a way of telling yourself, “I’m willing to stay where I am right now.” 

If that’s not what you want, I’m here to tell you that you have the power to choose not to let the thoughts that drive perfectionism and fear rule you. 

It may sound simple (and maybe a little odd), but when you hear thoughts like those you can talk back to them.

Start by acknowledging them. Be aware that these thoughts are your ego piping up, trying to maintain the status quo (which feels oh so comfortable). 

This is your opportunity to be compassionate to that voice, but to firmly tell it you are in change and you’re running the show. 

Will it feel easy to do that? Probably not. But when you want something that’s important to you, you are called on to step out of your comfort zone and bring some boldness to the matter. 

And, remember that there is no such thing as “perfect.” So, share that news, too, when you respond to your fearful thoughts.
(You can read more about perfectionism and what to do about it here.)

2. Take action

Taking action — including some risks — is always the path to learning, growth, building confidence, and ultimately to reaching new and exciting places in your life.

Remember how many times Thomas Edison tried and failed before he created a light bulb that worked (he made 1000 attempts!). What if he had never started, or felt he needed the perfect solution right off the bat, or was so worried about how people would judge him that he did not get started, or became so discouraged along the way that he gave up?

Start with small steps and keep going — every small step counts. Stepping out of your comfort zone this way is not as hard as you might imagine. Continued action builds momentum. And you will find that action keeps fear at bay. 

3. Ramp up self-love

The foundation that will support you to implement steps one and two is actively emphasizing self-love.

If you have been following my work for a while, this concept will be familiar to you. If not — or if you want a refresher on the topic — here's an article that’s devoted to this important topic.

When you cultivate appreciation for all of your gifts, when you feel deserving of goodness in your life, and when you joyously love the amazing person you are, you will be amazed at how much easier it is to stand up to fear, ease up on perfectionism, and take action.

Drop me a note or comment below to let me know how playing it safe has been getting in your way and how these three strategies are making a difference.

And, if you think that coaching may help you to bring the important changes into your life that you desire, let’s talk. Take a few minutes and complete my Coaching Inquiry Form and I’ll be in touch to schedule a complimentary conversation.

Make this your day to step up and start creating something big in your life!

Let love be your secret power

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I hope your new year is off to a great start. For many, January was a time for making resolutions. If you set goals for the year, this is a good time to check in and take stock of how things are going.

If you are committed — and are taking consistent action — to the exercise you want to do more of, or the decluttering you set out to tackle, the job search you decided to initiate, or any other objective you have to make this a great year, I say, “Bravo!”

On the other hand, if you’ve struggled to get traction, take consistent action, or have had set-backs or feel discouraged, this is a great time to get back on track. There are still 11 months of the year ahead!

Here’s how to stay the course — or get back on track — as you pursue your goals and resolutions.

Leverage love!

Love is a powerful resource that’s always available to you, and that you can turn to at any time. Curious about how love will help you meet your goals? Here's the way this works.

Love powers your life in remarkable ways when you put it into action. And to help love do its magic, I suggest you begin with a simple technique: Pay attention to the words you say to yourself.

Because the words you use have a huge impact. The actual language of your thoughts matters!

It’s time to start speaking to yourself with love.

We tend to be incredibly hard on ourselves when we feel we are falling short in some way. If someone walked up to you and said, “What a loser! I can’t believe you didn’t make it to yoga class today!“ how would you feel? That would be harsh and mean, right? 

If you’d be unhappy to hear that from someone else, why would you use a similarly negative tone when thinking to yourself? Instead, consider loving ways to speak to yourself.

Loving self-talk about something that feels discouraging might sound like this: “Okay, you missed the yoga class today. Why not register now for the next one, and clear space on the calendar to be sure to get there? It will feel wonderful to spend that hour with a great teacher and so many lovely people! And, it will make the rest of the day so much more pleasant.”

Speaking to yourself with love will come naturally when you cultivate self-love in many ways. The idea is to stop being accusatory. Stop putting yourself down. Start treating yourself tenderly, like the deserving person you are.

Try these 3 easy ways to practice self-love and bring more loving self-talk into your life.

  1. Look at yourself in the mirror for a minute or two after you’ve washed your face each evening. Smile. Place a hand on your heart and say a few loving words to yourself. Yes, it will likely feel awkward, but if you do this every day for a week or two, it will get easier. Keep going! You’ll start to notice a shift in your self-talk throughout each day.

  2. Closely watch the words you choose in your thoughts about yourself. Do not label yourself in ways you would find unacceptable by others. Be positive, supportive, and encouraging — just as you would with someone special in your life. Reflect on the language you use and the circumstances when you give yourself the messages that most touch your heart, and find opportunities to do more of that.

  3. Treat yourself to small moments of delight — like time to sit and simply breath quietly for two minutes. Or take a break to walk in the fresh air. Or soak in a bubble bath. Or take a few extra minutes to savor the taste of your meal in quiet, rather than multitasking. As you take time for yourself, remind yourself of your talents and all the great things you do in the world. You might even want to start a self-love journal, where you can make a note each day of several ways that you are special. (Keep it handy and refer to it whenever you feel discouraged!)

While everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day as a single day for love, you can choose to fill your heart with love, and fill your thoughts with loving words about and to yourself, every day. This self-love will be an enormous help as you pursue the goals and dreams that deeply matter to you. 

And, there’s a bonus: The more fully you love yourself, the more love you will have for others 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!

How big are your dreams — and how close are you to living them?

I often talk to people in the fall, as they think about the year winding down and reflect on the big ideas they had back in January. So many women were sure about what they wanted and felt fired up to go for it 10 months ago.

Some wanted a new job, or to go for a big promotion. 
Some say they were ready to find love. 
Some wanted more harmony in close relationships. 
Some yearned for more excitement in their lives. 
Some wanted to lose weight.
Some wanted to grow their businesses, or shift the focus of their business.
Some knew they were holding back and wanted to show up more authentically and boldly.
Some were starved for more self-care and time for themselves.
Some yearned to have a bigger impact.

For all the determination and enthusiasm they felt at the beginning of the year, time after time I see the same thing: lots of excitement and talk early on, but little change or progress over time. Many of these women tell me about how hard they’ve tried, but that their attempts didn’t lead to the big results they were after.

Some will say that when it came down to taking serious action, they couldn’t really get started, or couldn’t build momentum, or they were unable to sustain their efforts. 

What inevitably follows? Discouragement, frustration, regret, self-recrimination, self-doubt, or a toxic combination of these negative emotions. Many feel stuck. Some will say their luck was bad. Some say that external factors or dynamics were working against them. They feel like victims of circumstance.

The ambitions they started with often weigh on them now. Many resign themselves to the status quo.

Why are scenarios like this so common? 

Even the most accomplished women can find themselves in a bind like this. Even when they’ve excelled professionally, they get stuck when pursuing personal ambitions or making progress toward bold new professional goals. 

If you relate to stories like these, I have good news.
You are not alone, and you need not settle. 

So, you ask, what’s the path forward?

I wish I could tell you there’s a magical, easy way to achieve what you had set your mind to back at the start of 2018 (or maybe years ago). But you’re too smart to believe that there’s a quick fix for making important and lasting change.

Here are the 5 steps it takes to make consistent progress to bringing your dreams and desires into reality.

1. A clear and important “Why”

When you have a goal in mind for something you really want, it needs a strong foundation. Think about the reason why you want to accomplish it, create it, or make that change in your life. Maybe it’s something you are unwilling to tolerate any longer. Maybe you have a picture in mind about something in the future that will be different if you do this. The how is always easier when you know why something is meaningful. And, getting clear about the why at the start will make it easier to stay committed to the effort required to achieve your goal. 

2. Willingness

Trying to achieve an important change in your life requires you to be willing to set clear intentions, willing to focus on the work to be done, willing to put in effort — and willing to sustain that effort, even when you fall short or experience set-backs along the way.

3. Belief

To take serious steps to make an important change or make a big ambition your reality, you need to believe in yourself. You must believe — in your bones — that you matter, and that you deserve the outcome. You must also believe that you can be what’s required to accomplish your goal — such being strong, or flexible, or resourceful, or committed, or confident, or resilient, or brave, to name some examples — which is the basis for believing that you really can create the future you want.

4. Commitment and action

Commitment is the key to stepping into the effort and seeing it through. This is where the proverbial rubber hits the road! 

As I said, many of us start the year with big ideas and enthusiasm, but never take more than a first step, or are unable to sustain the effort that’s required. When you bring commitment to the effort, you get into motion and can keep going — especially when you run into a rough patch, or your confidence flags, or you experience a setback, or you feel unsure of your next step. 

When you are committed, you take the endeavor seriously. You schedule blocks on your calendar for the time and effort that are needed to make steady progress. You work to create new habits. You reach out for help. You stick with your plan, small step by small step, and keep moving forward even when it isn’t easy. Commitment and consistent action help you to gain momentum and are the keys to sustaining your efforts.

5. Support and accountability

Lots of people go it alone — at least at first — as they attempt to bring important changes into their lives. That works for some people. But I have personally experienced, and seen with my clients time and again, that getting expert support and guidance makes a huge difference. 

Not only are goals reached, but they are reached more quickly and with less struggle when you have the loving support of a skilled coach. When you hit the (inevitable) places that struggle or discouragement show up, or you experience confusion about next steps, you have someone to turn to who helps you get back on track.

And, accountability is one of the big benefits of reaching out for support. It’s human nature to let yourself slide or stall unless someone is holding you to your commitments. A coach with whom you work on a regular basis can gently but firmly support you to stay in integrity with your commitments and keep moving forward.


If you are looking for help to finish 2018 with clarity and insight — so that you’ll have a running start for the new year — 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.

How would it feel to be living that life at this time next year?

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.