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.

A different kind of top-10 list

With the holidays upon us and the last days of the year winding down, top-10 lists will soon start showing up. We have all seen the typical lists of the top-10 films of the year, the top-10 world events, etc. In thinking about top-10s — which for me would include things like a significant birthday celebrated, the marriage of my nephew, coaching remarkable and inspiring clients, and a memorable trip to Paris — I decided to be grateful for all of those things, but to take a little different approach to thinking about how I want to compile my top-10 this time around.

I am thinking about the top 10 things I have learned that I want to take into the new year.

1. To start, I’m focusing on what I want to leave behind from this last year.

By reflecting on what went well and what things went awry this year, I will be able to leave behind habits and practices that I know do not serve me well. This will open the way for more of what I want to bring into my new year. What will I leave behind? For one, timidity. I have learned that when I take a step that feels big, and even a bit scary, it's always better than shrinking back. I will also no longer chase after every interesting idea I get or every opportunity that comes my way. I’ve learned that these distract me from my big priorities. Do you get the idea?

2. After reflecting on my last year, I will decide on the key things I want to create in this coming year and I will choose a word for my year.

When I have clearly defined my top priorities, for my personal life and my work, selecting a word that will guide me will follow. (I wrote about choosing a word of the year last December, and many people wrote to tell me they carefully chose a word to guide their year, too.) I learned that having my word was meaningful and inspiring, and that it was great to post my word where I saw it daily. I know this year’s word will help me to be focused and on-target, both with my new priorities and with how I want to live.

3. I will celebrate my achievements in this year and commit to celebrating my coming achievements in the new year.

We often lose sight of the things we have accomplished and achieved as we rush through our days — especially the small things that can have so much meaning. When we take the time to savor and celebrate ourselves for our successes, and celebrate things what we might overlook (such as trying out something new that is not a sure bet, or having a tough conversation rather than avoiding it), we encourage ourselves, and can appreciate that we are learning new skills and are growing in important ways.

4. I will make my visions visible.

For me, this includes making a vision board every 3 to 6 months. Creating a vision board is an incredible process, and the completed board provides a way for me to look at what I want to bring into my life on a daily basis, so I do not lose sight of what I want to manifest. Making things visible also includes writing down the top three things I will commit to each week and posting the list where I will see it often. The act of committing things to paper, and seeing them, is powerful.

5. I will get more help and support.

Last year I began to work with a great bookkeeper and wondered why I had waited so long to do that. My coaches are a big part of my support system, and I look forward to continuing my work with them. This year, I will begin to work with a virtual assistant to free me from daily tasks that take time away from doing the things that matter most to me and things that only I can do. I will also do more work with a great professional organizer to start the year with an updated filing system for my business, and to help me clear accumulated clutter in my office and home. And, I will think about other kinds of help and support I can enlist to make this a great year.

6. I will have weekly Accountability Calls with a colleague.

This is a practice I started in last year. In every call, we each report on what we accomplished in the past week, where we struggled, and what we learned, and we declare our top three priorities for the coming week. We close by picking a word to be our theme for the week. This has been a remarkable practice.

7. I will take excellent care of myself.

Having experienced a series of health challenges this year that are now, happily, resolved, I am well aware of the importance of careful self-care. I will pay special attention to what I eat and to my exercise routine. I will create a new daily practice that includes quiet meditation each morning, so that I will be centered, calm, and clear as I start each day. I will be tuned in to what causes me stress, and work to reduce those influences — and I’ll actively clear any stress that does come up.

8. I will show up, engage in constructive conversations, and take action related to civic causes about which I care deeply.

Current political developments are calling me to think creatively and partner effectively to be a force for sustaining and improving civil rights, ensuring social justice, building tolerance, protecting the environment, and more.

9. I will create as never before.

I know that when I write from my heart, and when I paint, and when I think creatively, and when I experiment freely, my life is enriched. Difficult emotions are transformed, I am fueled and inspired, I learn and grow, and I engage with others in amazing ways. I will also visit museums and galleries, attend live theater, music, and dance performances, and read as many great books as I am able. Creativity that I engage in and that I experience connects me to big, new ideas and accelerates inspiration.

10. I will live with love as a driver.

I know that love is powerful and positive, and that is what I want to be. I know that love is an antidote to fear and anxiety. So, I will continue to make “love” my watchword, as I have been especially focused on doing recently. I will check in with myself and ask if I am I serving myself, my family, my clients, my community, and the world with a full heart, and if I am modeling love and tolerance for those around me.

I am looking ahead to the next year with the desire to live bigger than ever. That desire informed my top-10 list entries. What will you include on your forward-looking top-10 list? How will you create the best year ever?

Let me know if you are making a top-10 list, and what your list (or lists) include. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

All my best wishes for the upcoming holidays and a BIG and happy year. Let's all look ahead to a year filled with love, creativity, joy, abundance and peace.