Music to open your heart

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Ah, inspiring music.

A list of favorites could be enormous , but if I had to choose just one song, it would be John Lennon's Imagine.

I am also a huge fan of David Byrne, and adored experiencing his new America Utopia creative tour de force. (If you have the opportunity to see it, go!)

What music or artist is at the top of your list — and why?

What do you listen to to get inspired? energized? to relax?

What are your top-10 favorites?

Please share!

A simple morning check-in can have a big impact

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A client recently mentioned that she starts each day with this question:
How do I want to treat myself today?

I have been asking myself a variation of this question each morning, that was suggested to me be a colleague:
How do I want to feel at the end of the day?

And here are a few other great options to consider as you start your day:
Who do I need to BE today?
What is most important for me today?
How can I slow down today?
How will I acknowledge myself for [ fill in the blank ]?


Starting the morning with a good question like one of these sets you up for a day of intention. Rather than simply drifting through the hours, you will have more focus.

Why not pick one that feels appealing and ask it of yourself each morning this week?

You may want to switch around and see which question works best for you, or set a rotation of questions to use during the week.

And at the end of your day, make a note about how the question had an impact. You are likely to experience important shifts as you bring more focus into your daily life.

Email me, or leave a comment with other good questions you’ve used at the start of your day, and to share the impact of this practice after you’ve tried it.

Just as my client told me about the way her question has been a game-changer, we can all learn from one another and inspire each other when we share great ideas.

The power of a great quote

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If you have perused my site, you have doubtless found many of my favorite quotes that relate to creativity. Because of the narrow format in the sidebars where they reside, I chose short quotes to share.

This longer one is a favorite and its message is so important.

A wonderful quote from the brilliant Anne Lamott 

”Oh my God, what if you wake up some day and you‘re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen."

How do you relate to this?

How can you live your biggest, juiciest life today — even in one small way?

Books I love and recommend, plus a few cool articles

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There are new books and articles published all the time, and lots of great staples related to creativity. Here are a few of the books that connect to expanding creativity that I find myself returning to — and recommending to my clients — over and over.

The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All 
Tom Kelley and David Kelley

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield

Making Art a Practice: 30 Ways to Paint a Pipe (How to Be the Artist You Are)
Cat Bennet


Paul Graham's article, How to Do What You Love, is candid and brilliant, with clear thinking about how we come to comprehend the concept as children, the traps of prestige, the impact of money, and the power of always producing. (“‘Always produce’ will discover your life’s work the way water, with the aid of gravity, finds the hole in your roof.”)

This recommended article is actually an NPR story about the way that Texas musician Bob Schneider started “The Song Game” with other musicians. It has helped all of them to beat procrastination, ward off self-criticism and create brilliantly. You can read the story but I recommend you also listen to the way it aired. You'll be inspired!

A short article with some sound tips you may appreciate is 7 Steps You Need to Take to Be Creative at Work. A companion article is 6 Ways to Be Creative Absolutely All the Time.

Another short article with some sound tips you may appreciate is 7 Steps You Need to Take to Be Creative at Work. A companion article is 6 Ways to Be Creative Absolutely All the Time.

I’d love for you to comment below and share your favorite books, as well as articles you’ve found with big, inspiring ideas about creativity.

5 questions to ask yourself now

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Asking yourself good questions is a great technique for getting clear and getting real. Here are five questions I ask my clients — and that I take time to answer for myself — each time we transition to a new quarter. This practice is a great way to check in four times during the year and take stock.


1. Am I being real?

Are you showing up fully and authentically? Or, are you trying to be what you think people expect you to be, or want you to be? Maybe you are afraid to show the world (or segments of the world) your true self — afraid you’ll be “too much,” unliked, or are simply uncomfortable being seen.

If your answer is less than a whole-hearted YES, think about why you may be holding back.

What to do next: If your answer was, "No," consider how you can make a small change, to show up as your true self in a particular situation. Starting with a small effort lets you test this out, and from there you can consciously bring more of yourself into all parts of your life.


2. Am I letting fear take the reins?

This is a big one for all of us. Taking a clear-eyed look at where you may be operating based on fear lets you consciously make shifts that can have a profound impact.

Most of what we fear is not perilous, and can be overcome with clear perspective and getting support.

What to do next: If you are holding back because you are afraid to fail at something new or challenging, try taking baby steps to test the waters.

If you are afraid to speak up about something on your mind, let a trusted friend help you practice ways to express yourself and encourage you to do so.

When you take small steps, and continue taking additional steps, you will gradually build confidence. Things are rarely as scary as they seem when unexamined.


3. Am I living small?

This question holds many more questions, such as:
How can I bring some boldness into my life?
How can I take steps to embark on a burning desire?
How can I lead in new ways?

What to do next: Pick one way you see that you are living small and explore at least five ideas for small steps that can open you up in new ways.Then pick one to test now.


4. Am I taking action?

Some of us are full of ideas, but hesitant when it comes to implementing them. Some of us habitually procrastinate. Some of us feel stuck — around a particular issue, or in general. All of these can drag us down, and often cause pressure and stress.

What to do next: If you realize that there are ways you are not taking action, this is the time to begin committing to taking small, consistent steps. Once you begin, momentum can build. And even if you hit rough patches along the way, the flow and energy you’ll experience when you commit to ongoing action will amaze you.


5. Am I celebrating my wins?

High achievers typically feel the need to do big, heroic things to feel worthy of celebration.

The truth is that when we acknowledge and celebrate micro-wins we have the satisfaction of accomplishment. It’s a big deal for our brains to get a boost like that. And it gives us energy to continue down the path we have set.

What to do next: Celebrate small wins like three straight days of keeping a commitment to stay in action around a particular initiative; or inviting someone to have a conversation you’ve been putting off; or (finally) asking someone for help.


The common thread.

You have probably noticed that small steps are the key to living more authentically, to living without fear, to shifting from keeping yourself small, to getting into flow and building momentum, and to reaping the benefits of celebrating your wins. All of these are doable if you set the bar low enough that you can clear it with ease. And when you continue to take small, doable steps, learning and adjusting as you go forward, the impact adds up dramatically.

Drop me a note, or leave a comment to share the insights that come up for you when you answer these questions. And, tell me about the small steps you are committing to taking, too.

Start taking a small step or two today, keep it going, and imagine what it will feel like to have truly moved the needle by the time the next quarter rolls around.


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!

A movie that will change you

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Having heard rave reviews about the film, Maiden, I was sure I would enjoy it.

I knew it was about the first all-female crew to race in the Whitbread Around the World Challenge yacht race, so I expected to be inspired. This award-winning documentary did not disappoint.

The suspense of the race was certainly riveting and the documentary was wonderfully made.

But the most remarkable part of the film was the seeing the determination and commitment of the young Tracy Edwards. She decided to embark on the audacious effort of getting funding for a suitable boat and recruiting an all-female crew — in 1989. And, having done both, she courageously lead that crew through challenges that would have crushed most of us.

Against tremendous odds, she persevered — she found a way to make all of it happen. She withstood withering ridicule from the press and her sailing peers. She coped with enormous doubts and crushing pressure. And she never gave up.

She not only showed the world it could be done — she grew in immeasurable ways. As did her fabulous crew.

Watch the trailer here. Then find a theater where it’s playing, and go to see it. Every minute of this film is worth savoring.

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.


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!

What are you most thankful for?

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With the US Thanksgiving holiday just days away, I am thinking about all the goodness for which I am deeply grateful, and I expect that you are, too. 

One thing I am endlessly grateful for is the resource of creativity that is available to me and the opportunity to bring it into my life in every situation. So I’m thinking about new ways I can express my gratitude — as well as how I can inspitre the people around me to do that in fresh ways.

If the idea of bringing some creativity to this special time of year appeals to you, I’m happy to share some ideas you may want to try.

They may serve as a jumping off point for you to create your own new ways to inspire and share thanks.

1.  Set aside time to write a short note of appreciation for everyone at your Thanksgiving table. You can hand a note to each person in turn, or use the addressed envelopes as place cards on the table. And, if you’re filled with appreciation for people who live at a distance, mail them notes, too.

2.  Plan something special to say as you sit down to the Thanksgiving meal. It could be a new spin on saying grace, or a statement of love, or a vision of the abundance you foresee in the year ahead, for which to give thanks in advance. 

3.  I love the idea of creating a new tradition for everyone at your gathering. You can plan to bring a dash of surprising humor to the day, and plan to repeat that each year. Perhaps you’ll hand off the honor to someone for next year, to build a new tradition. You might add one new ethnic dish to the table each year. You might have everyone share a statement of gratitude starting with the oldest person and moving to the youngest. The possibilities are endless.

4.  Why not go around the table and ask everyone to recall and share a Thanksgiving memory? Or, you might invite everyone to bring a special dish from a Thanksgiving menu of the past that they recall with fondness. 

5.  You may want to bring a new look to your Thanksgiving. You might choose a color theme for your table settings. and even the choices of foods you serve. Before dinner, you might ask everyone to create a small drawing related to the holiday to adorn each place at the table. 

If you create other ideas, or if you try any of these ideas and want to share them, I would love to hear about the ways you bring creativity — and new ways to share love — to Thanksgiving this year. Add a comment below or email me directly.

I wish you and yours a Thanksgiving holiday filled with gratitude, love, joy and creativity.

With love,
Rochelle

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?

Getting into gear for the fall

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I'm taking a brief break in my series about how my clients are stepping up in their lives in big ways. Stay tuned for the second great story, that will arrive soon.

Right now I am thinking about this being the last week of August, and that we'll be celebrating Labor Day weekend in a few days. I'm tickled to see photos of cute kids with their backpacks leaving for the first day of school. And, I'm hearing stories from excited parents who just moved their teens into college dorms. A number of colleagues are savoring this last week when many of their clients are on vacation, as they get ready for a busier fall pace.

Even in the sweltering heat, we all feel change of one kind or another is coming. I, for one, am always excited about the new beginnings that fall brings.

How will you navigate this seasonal transition? Are you excited like I am? Does this time of year bring up anxiety (which is very common)? Do you feel overwhelmed at the number of to-do's filling your list, or are you ready to jump into the the new month and new season with enthusiasm?

As we move into this season of new beginnings, you can choose the mindset you want to bring to your life and work. 

Here are 3 ideas ideas that you may want to embrace. 

1. Welcome the opportunity for new starts

Whether your schedule opens up with your kids back in school or your calendar gets more crowded, think about the ways you can start anew. This is a great time to look at your opportunities and obligations with fresh eyes.

What do you really want to say "yes" to, and what do you want to decline? What priorities can you choose and what can you defer — or delegate to others? Give yourself permission to create new ways of operating as you step into the new season.

2. Savor the new

We often overlook all that we can appreciate and savor. Start with tuning in through your senses.

This is a time to enjoy the feel of crisp weather and brisk walks. As you pull out a favorite sweater and put on soft socks and a pair of boots, savor the coziness. 

New produce will soon show up in the markets that will bring great possibilities for what to cook, and new flavors to enjoy.

Color will abound as the tress put on their annual show. 

What are your favorite sounds of the season? Kids giggling at your door on Halloween?

What are the smells that excite you in the fall? For me it's logs burning in my fireplace and vegetables roasting in the oven.  

3. Explore new opportunities 

The new season can be a time for new learning and experiences. You have opportunities to try new things, to explore, and to expand in many ways that will excite and inspire you.

Will you take a class? Join a book club? Attend a workshop? Reach out to connect with people who share common interests? Take a day trip to a place you’ve been wanting to visit? Go to a museum or the theater to see something provocative?

Let me know the ways you plan to create a mindset for expansion and growth as the summer winds down. I'd love to hear your favorite ways to approach the fall season, so post them in the comments below, or email me to share them. And, if you have questions about shifting into a positive mindset, I welcome you to get in touch.

And, if you're in the Boston area, check out the workshop offerings I have on tap for this fall. They may be just what you’re looking for!

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.

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.

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).

How to access all of your own wisdom

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So many of us live primarily in our heads. We think — hard and long. We look for and depend on data, validation, or confirmation from outside sources before we take action.

We are afraid to take risks, and are often desperately afraid of failing. We believe that all that thinking, analysis, and searching for confirmation will protect us from the possibility of failure. And certainly, if we remain in our heads and search for more and more assurance, we never make many attempts that could fail — but could also succeed.

This is a classic way we stay stuck — all the while telling ourselves the comforting story that we are simply being thorough, or doing our due-diligence, or getting fully prepared before taking action. 

All of this thinking is leaning hard into the left hemisphere of our brains. That’s the side that is logical. The side that seeks data and facts. Some of us even think of ourselves as “left-brained” types. But, the fact is that while the left hemisphere is super important, it is only half of our brain. And, we all have access to all of our brain-power — right and left.

Why do so many of us settle for using only half of such a critical resource? 

The right hemisphere of our brain is marvelous and is often under-tapped as a resource. People in fields like science, law, math, medicine, and engineering often feel wary of right-brain attributes, as they rely so much on facts, logic, and evidence. They think that right-brained people are artists, and they are uncomfortable about having anything to do with art.

This is a huge misconception. The riches of the right hemisphere are remarkable and valuable for all of us — and they are accessible to everyone. 

Here is how you can begin to tap into ALL of your wisdom:

Connect to and trust your intuition

The right brain is the place that our intuition lives, and our intuition is a huge source of our intelligence. When you have a “gut feeling” that’s your intuition talking to you. Pay attention to the messages from your body, too! In fact, your gut is considered a second brain. I urge you to actively check in and listen for what it is saying — because there is enormous wisdom in your gut feelings. When you override intuitive messages with logic, you will invariably find that your intuition was right. Trust it!

Embrace emotion

Emotions are connected to the right hemisphere of the brain, and connecting to your emotions is amazingly valuable. Emotional intelligence — being able to read people’s feelings, and your own feelings — is one of our greatest resources, and is crucial for effective leaders. 

Some people are scared of their emotions, and that is not so surprising when you consider the impact of strong emotions like anger or grief or fear. But when you cut emotion out, you are disconnected from important messages that help you make sense of things, experience things, and assess things. You are unable to communicate and respond effectively, and you are less able to feel empathy for others. All of this missing knowledge hinders you in big ways. (And strong emotions tend to come to the surface in spite of your efforts to suppress them, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, confused, and even out of control. Ouch!)

Create!

The right hemisphere of the brain is the place of idea generation, imagination, and creativity. And, our gut (our second brain) is the other seat of tremendous creative energy. It goes without saying that creativity is vastly important — in every aspect of your life.

The thing I have found, over and over, is that huge numbers of people have an absurdly limited idea of what it is to create. They are sure they are not creative, because they associate creativity with being Michelangelo or Mozart or Baryshnikov.

The truth is that there are infinite ways to create, and all of them are remarkable. And, all of them are available to you. 

First and foremost, start to think of yourself as a creative being, and consider what you can and want to create in every moment. 

  • You can create with food — in the preparation of food, the presentation, the combinations of flavors, and more.

  • You can create with color — using pencils or crayons for fun, or using color to make your ideas clearer for other people to understand, or choosing colors for an environment that will inspire or soothe or stimulate you, to name just a few examples.

  • You can create with words — in poems, in conversation, when journaling or writing articles or proposals. Or knock yourself out and start writing a book if you’re so inspired.

  • You can create with music — by playing an instrument, or singing to process emotions, or by choosing the music to play during a gathering with friends, to set the mood you want.

  • You can — and do — create when you bring any new concepts and ideas together, and when you set a vision. Consider these creative opportunities, expand your thinking.

  • And here's what you may never have considered. You can create when you deliberately choose a creative mindset. Every time you create a response and choose your course of action, rather than reacting, you are creating in your life. You can create what is right for you, what will align with your values and lead to what you want, in every moment.

Can you think of yourself as a creator now? 

Test it — and start today

There’s no time like the present to start thinking about how you can embrace all of your intelligence and bring more of it to everything you do, both at work and in your personal life. Pay attention to what changes, or shifts, or expands as you exploit the benefits of leaning more into the gifts of your right brain!

I welcome you to share your experiences and ideas and results, or questions. Comment below, or email me, so we can compare notes, learn from one another, dig deeper into this topic.

Love is in the air

Having a day to focus on and celebrate love feels like a glorious gift in the middle of winter. And with the especially frigid temperatures (and snow and ice) we’ve had in New England these last months, I feel enormously grateful for the warmth of this powerful emotion in my life now.

But I have long observed that many of us have a narrow concept about love. We often think about it in a very limited way. 

We think about romance — and romance is great — but love is so much more than romance. (And, romance requires a partner — and not all of us are partnered.) We think about the external symbols that the commercial culture emphasizes, like flowers and chocolates. And while it can be lovely to receive a thoughtful gift at any time, bouquets and sweets have little to do with the true glory of love.

When I think of love, I think about the magnificent and vast energy that love holds and how we can bring more of that into our lives and our world. Here’s what I mean.

Start with self-love

I always teach my clients that everything good we desire in our lives starts with loving ourselves — and that it’s much easier to create the life we want when we fully love ourselves. In fact, the ability to create in every and any way is bolstered when we practice self-love. 

Further, the sabotage of our self-critic can be mollified when we cultivate self-love. 

And, we must be filled with love for ourselves before we can truly love others in the fullest possible way.

When you appreciate yourself and your talents and gifts with a full heart, when you feel deserving of every kind of goodness in your life, and when you are able to forgive yourself for inevitable missteps, you are on the self-love path. You will naturally want to take good care of yourself — think good nutrition, ample sleep, exercising in ways that you enjoy, reducing what adds stress to your life, and more. You will feel great about pursuing things that enrich your spirit — think spending time in nature, attending concerts, taking singing lessons, reading great books, or embarking on adventures. This mindful way of living and caring for yourself lovingly will open your heart in magnificent ways and open your creative channels as never before. 

With strong self-love in place, the magic of love expands

Truly loving yourself allows you to love others more fully. A natural desire to share the joy in your heart will fill you. Of course it will flow most fully and abundantly to those who are special in your life, and they will likely notice that your ways of engaging lovingly are sweeter than ever. But you are also likely to be surprised at how much more inclined you feel to smile and share kindness with strangers in the course of your day. You may even be able to forgive more easily, with the insight that those for whom you have held hurt feelings are sorely in need of more love in their lives. I predict that you will find yourself spreading love in many new and beautiful ways.

You’ll start to notice a ripple effect

With abundant love in your heart, your expressions of love will be felt by others, in both subtle and obvious ways. Picking up on the magic of loving energy will enhance the happiness of those with whom you interact, and they too will be likely to feel and express more love for those around them. It’s this loving energy that expands and can change the world in amazing ways. I see it often, and I hope you will experience it as well.

So, in this season when love is the central topic of conversation and advertisements and celebrations of many kinds, I ask you: Even as you may be thinking about expressions of love for others, what can you do to love yourself now? What concrete thing can you do to shower yourself with love, and make yourself feel special? (Because, you ARE special!)

And, if you want to make a commitment to yourself to cultivate self-love, why not email me this week to tell me your ideas for self-love this week — be it taking a long soak in a bubble bath, cooking up something special to enjoy with dear friends, going to a matinee to see a film you've heard great things about, or anything else. 

And, next week, email me again to let me know what you did, how it went, and what you plan to do in the coming week to keep self-love in flow.

I’m sending you BIG love.