I serve modern women who crave sassy + classy solutions for adulting because #thestruggleisreal
I've been thinking a lot about the conversations I have had lately with women about what happens when we give our power away or when we shift out of our power to accommodate, please or support someone else. I've been contemplating how we can remain in our personal power, putting our wellbeing and needs first WITHOUT being rude or withholding time, love and attention from others.
It seems to me that a great first place to start is understanding what we need, why we need it and how we can fulfill those needs.
Learning how to turn inward and identify what it is that we need is a foundational component of remaining in our power. It's not rude to have your needs met. I think it's so interesting how often we put our needs last. How we value putting others first, being adaptable, pleasing and making sure our loved ones have what they need to be happy and sustained.
I recently heard one of my mentors say "I no longer compromise my wellbeing".
Whoa. I no longer compromise my wellbeing.
Yes! But, wait, how do you do that?
Great question! I'd like to start with the definition of wellbeing; the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. You may be wondering whether or not it seems rude to focus on your wellbeing. I always like to think about behavior and intentions over feelings when this kind of guilt kicks in. Is it even possible to be rude when one is comfortable, healthy or happy? Can't we show up for others in a much better and more grounded way when we are comfortable, happy and healthy? I think so! I don't know about you but when I'm irritated (which is the opposite of "comfortable" in my mind), distressed and not feeling well, I am hard to deal with. I get bitchy, demanding, resentful and frustrated with others. I often feel like I am not in control and a victim of my circumstances rather than the bad ass powerhouse that I am when I am happy, healthy and comfortable.
Life can NOT knock me down when I am standing fully in my power.
I have found that attending to my wellbeing allows me to have access to my personal power. Standing fully in our power takes some practice. It requires introspection. It also means that we have to be willing to ask for and receive the things we need if we are unable to fulfill them for ourselves. I personally believe that it is impossible to meet all of our needs on our own which is why it's essential to practice requesting and receiving as we attend to our wellbeing.
What would it take for you to be comfortable, happy and healthy in 2018?
Being comfortable this year could mean that you attend to your spiritual needs, physical needs, mental and emotional needs. Maybe it means that you need a new comforter, upgraded running shoes or to update your eyeglasses prescription so you aren't squinting all day at work in front of your computer.
Being happy this year may mean that you end your relationship, start a new relationship, work on your relationship with your partner or even with yourself. Maybe it means that you watch a cute kitten video on utube every morning. It could mean that you start a happiness jar and keep track of what is going on in your life so that you are more aware of the goodness that already surrounds you.
Being healthy could mean setting some firm boundaries and STICKING to them. It could mean that you commit to eating greens 1x a day for 5 days a week. Maybe it's time for you to get your heart rate up and sweat more than you did last year. Maybe it's time for some yoga or eliminating soda....(that rhymed!).
How can you attend to your welbing?
What first steps or commitments do you want to make to yourself this year?
Who will be on your 2018 roster?
Maybe you need to make a short list of friends to prioritize because quality relationships matter. Not everyone shows up and offers what we need when we need it. Who is going to make your short list this year? Which gal pals do you need in your corner when the going gets rough?
Maybe you need a killer accountability partner to keep you on track for your 2018 goals? Learn how to pick a good accountability partner here.
Maybe it's your year to level up and get solid support to help you hit those projections you have in mind and create the forward momentum you crave! There are all sorts of coaches out there who specialize in helping you get where you are going. There are coaches to help you with your writing, speaking, relationships, life, business and so much more!
Maybe it's time for you to heal. That monster you shut up in the closet is rattling the door and threatening to bust out of hiding only to wreak havoc on your life. I highly recommend therapy for healing and taming beasts.
Maybe this is the year to take yourself off the market and remain single. This singledom could mean that you focus 100% on you......or you may find that you want to explore your sexuality and experiment with a few new partners.
Maybe 2018 will be a year full of adventure?! Are you craving the beach, mountains, jungle, ancient ruins, street food, the wind on your face? It could the time for a solo-adventure, girls trip or a getaway with your partner.
Maybe 2018 will be the year that you allow yourself to get clear on what it is that you want or how it is that you want to feel. I personally keep getting drawn to being more present. *See the info below on my Desire Map workshop if this is resonating for you.
What needs to happen for you to experience what you want to experience this year? What do you need to embrace? What will you need to let go of? I recently overhauled my calendar to make more space so I could feel more present and then my business and strategy coach said: "cut 20% more". Oh yeah! I immediately thought "game on babe" and I set out to eliminate more things that didn't actually have to happen before the end of the year and it feels AMAZING! Making this space has allowed me to really get clear on how I want to enter 2018 and I can't wait to take all of the deliberate action I have planned.
I absolutely love this time of year! I am not a huge fan of the consumerism of the holiday season but I geek out on crossing the threshold of one year into the next! On the winter solstice I popped a bottle of prosecco and spent a couple hours sipping on bubbles and going through my 2017 calendar. I sat with every win, struggle, joy, defeat, and accomplishment. I wrote down everything I was ready to release to the universe and welcome into my life on separate pieces of paper. I tromped outside with my glass of bubbly, my candle, and my sweet KotieBits. I lit the papers on fire and tears welled up in my eyes as I honored it all.
I couldn't have gotten through 2017 without this simple and straightforward strategy: Plan. Execute. Re-evaluate. Repeat.
I've been sharing this strategy with my clients over the last few weeks. Even though it seems simple and straightforward there is one glitch that messes people up. Most people can manage the planning part. A lot of people can work out how to execute important components of their plan. But, in my observation, most everyone gets stuck here. Something comes up, unexpected issues arise and things don't go as planned. Instead of moving on to the re-evaluation phase you get stuck internalizing the detour as a failure. Your plan falls flat and you make it mean that either the plan was faulty or that you suck as a human being.
Boom. You drop the plan and stop the forward momentum.
Here's the secret. Your plan is not faulty. You do not suck. ALL you need to do is move past feeling crappy about things not working out and take the time to re-evaluate. All you need to do is ask yourself what's working, what's not working, how you feel about it and then get clear on what you want to be doing (its ok if you no longer feel like doing what you set out to do). Then, make a few tweaks and wa-lah, you are back in action with an updated plan! From here it is as simple as getting back to executing. Then, keep taking action until it no longer feels good.....then re-evaluate, tweak and repeat again.
Re-evaluation is the most CRITICAL component of any achievement that has ever been made!
When we let ourselves think "I suck" or "my plan is shit" and don't push past them we end up internalizing negative self-talk resulting in self-doubt. This self-doubt keeps us from achieving what it is we are after. No plan is foolproof from the get-go. I have set times of the year that I re-evaluate my plans. I do this because it can be too easy to either spin my wheels on something that's not working or let the negative thoughts sneak up on me without realizing they are keeping me from making forward progress. I hope that this strategy is helpful for you as you set out to accomplish your 2018 goals!!
Have you noticed the insanity of Black Friday has already begun? Goodness, my inbox is getting filled to the brim! I realize that this email is going to add to the madness but I am offering you a few tips rather than a bunch of "hurry up and act now" deals.
As you travel on your personal development journey a curious thing begins to happen. You slowly but surely begin navigating yourself into a place where things feel better and your overall life satisfaction increases. It's not that you don't experience stress or difficulty its just that you are generally happier and more in tune with what is going on internally which gives you greater clarity about what you need and you become more adept at honoring those needs.
Personal development FTW!
I was on a coaching call with one of my delightful clients a couple of weeks ago. She was more distressed than I had seen her in a VERY long time. This is someone who I have worked with for a while and over the course of our working together, she has shifted many things in her life. She explained that nothing was wrong AND everything was wrong. Intellectually she knew that there wasn't anything wrong in her life but emotionally everything felt off. She was feeling crazy for feeling crazy. She was feeling insecure in her relationships. When her peeps noticed that something was off with her she created issues out of thin air because she felt like she had to have a reason for not being 100% in the normal zone......yet she had NO idea what was going on.
Real crazy making stuff!
Having been there before, I knew right away what the "problem" was, making it hard not to smile in acknowledgment as she told me how she was feeling. It was when she got to the "do you think it could be hormonal" that I stepped in to share my hypothesis. We, women, have gotten WAY too much backlash for emotional discontent making us "crazy" and mama (that's me) wasn't going to let her internalize that for a second longer.
I think the problem is that you are happy, so happy in fact that you don't know how to be this happy.
When I said this she looked at me blankly, like I might be crazy but I could tell I had her attention. I went on to explain that I thought the emotional distress could be coming from her brain scanning her environment looking for all signs or symptoms of something being wrong since it's wired to do that. After navigating a lot of difficulties, high levels of stress, and lots of change our brains end up on high alert. The little fear dude in the emotional control center of our brain is just freaking out up there trying to keep us safe. It seems to me that fear is the last emotion to calm down once our lives level out.
I think the other "problem" is that you are SO happy that you are already in protection mode trying to plan in advance to avoid anything that may make that happiness go away.
Bingo. Now things really started to sink in. I could see the relief hit her like a wave. I'm not always right when I propose hypotheses to my clients about what I think might be going on in their lives but this time I nailed it. "So, I'm not crazy?" No babe you are NOT crazy, you are just so happy that you don't know how to be this happy yet.
Being happy can be super stressful until you expand and learn how to receive that much goodness in your life. Here's what no one will ever tell you about being happy:
I have, of course, asked my delightful client for permission to share her story for the greater good of everyone on my list. She has given me that concent. It is very important to me that my clients know they can trust me with their innermost experiences without being worried I will breach that confidence.
I've often written about the importance of having good support in your life. We all need our families, friends, soul sisters, therapists, coaches and accountability buddies to stay on top of everything that life throws at us.
But how does one pick an accountability buddy you ask? Accountability buddies are the bomb dot com! The best part about an accountability buddies is that they are free. There is an exchange of energy but not monetarily which can be great for the empty pocketbook. There are a few important things to identify when choosing your accountability buddy, so you don't end up frustrated and have your goals fall flat.
What's in it for me? It's ok to ask "what's in it for me". Holding someone accountable and allowing them to do so for you requires a unique relationship. It's important to identify the vulnerability and trust required for an effective accountability partner. Here are some things you will need to ask yourself:
Once you know what you need and what you have to offer you can start scouting for the best candidate. Get Picky! I've had a lot of accountability buddies which is why I've come up with this list of things to consider. I've had successful partnerships that have lasted for short periods of time, long periods of time, gotten me to the finish lines of many half marathons, mindfulness challenges and business development goals. Accountability buddies can be an incredible support *just* when you need it but they can also leave you feeling resentful and frustrated which is why it's important to know what you are in for.
An accountability partnership is NOT a coaching relationship. I had an interesting conversation with my accountability partner the other day about how I show up in our weekly meeting. We chuckled about how obvious it is when I "put my coach hat on" and when I'm "being a friend while cleaning my kitchen". In our very first conversation, I made sure to clarify whether or not she wanted me to offer coaching support in our conversations. There is a big difference between loving up on your accountability partner as a friend and then switching to coach/therapize mode. Be very clear and conscientious about what professional skills and gifts you have to offer and how you will show up in your meetings with your buddy. If you are a professional coach or therapist you must have consent to offer formal support to your buddy. Please discuss how this will be handled up front so that there aren't any surprises or hurt feelings along the way.
Accountability buddies FOR THE WIN! 2018 is just around the corner, and it might be a good time to start thinking about what kind of accountability buddy you might want to consider to help you tackle those goals!
All of my clients deal with some form of anxiety. Sometimes it's a normal response to regular stressors and other times it's an exaggerated response to a situation that has a lot of unknown factors.
Anxiety is a normal part of the day to day but it does NOT have to rule your world, my friend! As a perfectionist and control freak in recovery, I have discovered a few tips and tricks to manage the discomfort that any kind of anxiety dishes out.
Breathing is an excellent place to start. There are a ton of different ways to breathe in the kind of expanded way that increases the oxygen to your brain, slows your heart rate and clears your mind. Not all mindfulness works for all people so the free guided meditations offered on Tara Brach's website here are a great place to start.
Anxiety often paralyzes you before you can remember what to do to feel better. One of my personal favorite techniques to combat anxiety, overwhelm or distress of any sort is to use my Emergency Self-Care Cheat Sheet. This is a spin off tool that came from doing Safety Care Planning with suicidal veterans. You see there is research that shows the brain freaks out when it is under duress and it's important to have certain information at the ready so you don't have to do critical thinking in the midst of an emergency. Saftey Care Planning generally includes having one sheet of paper that includes a list of support people, their phone number, and address, a list of things that provide comfort, physician/psychiatrist name and phone number, the national suicide hotline. These tools vary a bit but you get the gist.
Introducing the Emergency Self-Care Cheat Sheet! I developed this tool after some stressors left me paralyzed for weeks at a time. I could pull myself out of the pit but only very slowly and with GREAT effort. After a few rounds of getting knocked out like this, I crafted a plan so that my overwhelm and anxiety in certain situations only slowed me down rather than leveling me. I pulled out a sheet of paper and jotted down 30 things to do to feel better when the going gets rough.
The Basics: Breathe. Eat. Sleep.
Those that increase the heart rate: Go for a walk with Kota. Run as far as you can. Punch the air till you feel silly. Scream into a pillow or out loud alone in the car. Hit the gym.
Stand by's: Call your mama and/or BFF. Get a massage. Mani + Pedi. Sit in the porch rocking chair.
For Serious: Schedule a healing session with your shaman. Send an SOS to your Life Coaching Circle. Find a therapist. Schedule a vacation.
For fun: Listen to music. Read a book. Eat some cake. Go for afternoon drinks. Buy something new. Watch u-tube videos of giggling babies and/or puppies.
Others are edgy: Wear matching bras and panties. Flirt with my husband. Break something.
I found that some of these worked some of the time but not all of the time so I started playing around to figure out what worked when. Interestingly enough as I've been writing this blog over the last couple of weeks I found myself in a tough situation and for the first time since I developed this tool I knew exactly what to do when shit hit the fan. All of that practicing in stressful situations left me with clarity so I knew what to do when the going got rough! I hope that you find this useful! All you need is a piece of paper, a creative list of things that you enjoy or like to do when life throws you a curveball (list both positive and negative coping skills) and then reference the sheet during hard times.
I have the most incredible clients! They are smart, organized and put together. They manage a billion details simultaneously. They pay attention, and they care. They are educated and highly trained in their crafts. They are hard workers, amazing mothers, and attentive learners.
But guess what? It is not at all uncommon for me to hear stories of how the men in their lives question, doubt, and talk down to them. Their boyfriends, bosses, co-workers, family members, and husbands outright tell them they are stupid or that they have only achieved what they have because of their looks. They deal with information, communication + affection being withheld. My gals credentials, credibility, motivations, and intentions are regularly questioned. They are accused of being at fault when sexually harassed.
One of the most infuriating components to this is that they all know they regularly have to deal with these issues. Worse yet, I see the after effects. I see these incredible bomb ass women shrink, doubt themselves, spend tons of energy staying on guard so they can minimize what they have to deal with next, block their potential and vacuum packing their lives so that no one finds out. They stop dreaming, and they blame themselves. Their anxiety increases and life satisfaction decreases. They feel powerless and out of control. They become depressed and miserable. They think that there is something wrong with them. This behavior is normalized, and though uncomfortable they are used to it.
So let me tell you THIS
I decided to do a little research today. I found this article from Psychology today which lists 15 Common Forms of Verbal Abuse in Relationships which I found helpful. I am sharing these things with you because I know how often women hide the things that we deal with because we don't want anyone to know. If you find yourself in that boat, please know that you are not alone and that it is not ok.
There are many factors that can have an impact on what we think is within our reach. The way we were raised, what our parents told us we were capable of, where we grew up, our access to education, our religious upbringing and/or experiences with verbal, physical or sexual abuse.
What we hope for in life, love, relationships, and career can be hijacked by our fear that we aren't worthy or deserving.
We may have an idea about what kind of salary we would like to make, the qualities we hope to find a life partner and know that we want a life without pain and struggle. But deep down we don't actually believe that we can have those things. We doubt whether or not we deserve to have the things we want. Disappointment and failure over time can pile up over time and it can be easy to blame ourselves. "Of course that didn't work out, who was I kidding". It can be easy to start disconnecting ourselves from our hopes and dreams as a self-protective measure. Disappointment sucks and getting your hopes up only to have them crushed eventually starts to feel silly.
Day to day disappointments can leave us feeling like things aren't working in our favor because something is intrinsically wrong with us.
Self-reflection and introspection can reveal where and how we doubt our worthiness and deserving. This way of gathering information can help us see places to be kind to ourselves and when to ask for support. It takes an effort to challenge our limiting beliefs enough to push past them to a more fulfilling life. Limiting beliefs are the number one thing that a person can shift to unlock untapped potential in the quality of life.
As a coach, it is my job to believe in you 100% even when you don't believe in yourself.
It doesn't matter to me if you don't believe you are worthy or deserving because you've had an abortion, yelled at your family, had an issue with extasy, are having an affair on your husband, made a bad investment, had sex with 3 people in the same weekend, stole some sticky notes from work, slept with your professor, drove drunk, dropped out of college or stayed with him after he hit you.
You are already hard enough on yourself and you get judgment everywhere you turn, you sure as hell don't need it from me.
There are already enough voices out there telling you that something is wrong with you, that you are utterly fucked for making that decision, therefore, you are not worthy enough to have a few of your hopes and dreams come true. It is my job to show up 100% in non-judgment to help you tap into self-compassion and forgiveness so you can slowly but surely get to a place of trusting yourself and cultivate an environment where your dreams can sprout and you can take the necessary actions required to move to you a life that is full of all the good stuff.
It's my job to believe in your capacity and your divine right to be happy regardless of anything you have been through.
I was talking with someone the other day who wanted to know how I responded in coaching sessions when my client "didn't do the right thing". I explained that never happens to me because I don't presume to know what is "right' or "wrong" for my clients. I believe in taking action and learning and growing rather than "success" and "failure". I confused my inquirer. He then asked me "well why would they pay you for advice?". I smiled because my clients do not pay me for advice. They pay me to not judge them or tell them what to do. They pay me to feel confident and clear about what next steps they want to take but it never comes from me giving them advice. Clear knowing about what to do only ever comes from within. And, sometimes it takes a little help from a coach to uncover.
I always offer text support to my clients in between sessions. I do this because I know that my peeps benefit from support on the spot. Boundaries are important but access to support while in the midst of creating change is just as important. This week I got a text from a client that said:
"How do you stop selfish feelings when you do something for yourself?"
This came up because I am encouraging this client (along with all of my other clients) to honor what they know they need, want and desire. We can become so accustomed to dis-honoring our truth that we end up feeling selfish or bitchy when we make a claim to our truth.
Using our words to set a boundary is the outer layer, the inner layer is coming to terms with how we feel about ourselves once we've uttered the words. I offered my client the following suggestions to help ease her conundrum about being selfish:
I gave this homework to a different client struggling with a similar issue. The core here between both women is the same: putting others first so much that they were feeling powerless and out of control. Putting ourselves first, honoring our truth and trusting ourselves to know what we need is often labeled as "selfish" or "bitchy, " but it doesn't have to come across that way.
You can be nice + kind while setting firm and clear boundaries.
One does not need to get angry, use attitude, be forceful or use elaborate explanations when honoring our truth. You want what you want, and that's ok no matter what. When you use introspection, take responsibility for your side of every equation and honor your truth it becomes about doing what is right for you not being an asshole. I think we all worry about hurting other peoples feelings, how people will perceive us and whether or not we are coming across as rude. The whole point with setting boundaries is about respect. Honoring and respect.