"I struggle most with time when..."

I want to hear from you about your relationship with time!

But, just to get the conversation started, I’ll tell you some of my fill-in-the-blank answers.

I struggle most with time when...

  • I operate from a place of magical thinking, believing I can accomplish more than is actually humanly possible in a given day.
  • I mistakenly believe I can outrun the clock.
  • I follow my distractions instead of going all-in on one thing at a time.
  • I tell myself the story of not having enough time.
  • I get too big-picture in my thinking and forget that the here and now is all I have to work with.

What about you? Tell me about your time struggles in the comments, or email me if you prefer a little privacy.

(#tbt to October 9, 2016, when my husband and I found ourselves inside a giant hourglass in Colorado. ;-) Not really. We were in the south-central part of the state, where the Sangre de Cristo mountains surrounded us as we climbed the tallest sand dunes in North America. The dunes are estimated to contain over 5 billion cubic meters of sand. It was a strenuous climb that involved lots of stopping to empty our shoes, but time stood still. We were fully present. And we made it to the top of Star Dune, at 750 feet, where we took out kites from our backpack and sent them up into the sky.)

Examples of small steps you might take today

BUSINESS

  • Come up with a list of five specific people you want to serve.
  • Ask ten friends, family members, or coworkers to subscribe to your email newsletter.
  • Reach out to a former client in a meaningful way; ask her what she needs right now.

HEALTH

  • Post a request on Facebook for physician recommendations in your area.
  • Set a timer to remind yourself to get up from the computer every 40 minutes to stretch.
  • Replace your third cup of coffee with a glass of water.

RELATIONSHIPS

  • Instead of your usual phone date this week, FaceTime with your parents or your kids.
  • Put a note in the mail to that friend you haven’t talked to in a while but think about all the time; no fancy stationery necessary, any old paper will do.
  • Before you and your love fall asleep for the night, share with each other your favorite part of the day.

Do these examples spark some ideas for you? Declare your small step in the comments, and I’ll cheer you on. Encouragement is more vital than you might think!

The truth behind your Shiny Object Syndrome

Here’s a question and distinction I’d like to invite you to consider: Is your SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME actually a FEAR OF COMMITMENT in disguise?

You’re highly cerebral, exceedingly intelligent, interested in learning about everything. Curiosity propels you. Your mind does wild amounts of work every hour of every day—processing, considering, scheming, dreaming, problem-solving, puzzling, you name it. The list of things that fascinate you is infinite.

I suspect boredom is something you remember feeling quite a lot as a child in school; maybe even as a young adult at a pointless and brainless minimum wage job; and possibly in your first few serious, college-age romantic relationships.

You weren’t challenged. Your mind was restless. It all felt too easy and stupid.

Shiny Object Syndrome became your way of navigating and staying engaged with the world. You grew accustomed to chasing whatever piqued your interest because that feeling of piqued interest is both addictive and life-giving, and it reassured you that you wouldn’t die of boredom.

But that same chasing is a crutch now. It’s a familiar excuse and it’s an acceptable way to not commit to any one thing. (And if you don’t commit to any one thing...you can’t fail at any one thing. It’s genius, really.)

To be clear: I believe you’ve got a whole slew of interests and passions. Of course you do—you have a brilliant and hungry mind.

But I also wonder if you’re afraid to commit. Because you’re afraid of becoming bored, sure—but more than that, because you’re afraid of giving everything you’ve got to this one thing. Of giving yourself over absolutely. Of being all-in. Of sticking it out for the long haul, come what may: failure, restlessness, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and everything else that’s possible when we make and move forward with a choice.

If you’re willing to ditch Shiny Object Syndrome in order to lock it down and commit to one Big, “Impossible” Thing at a time, I can help. Leave a comment below (“I’m ready!” will do just fine), and I’ll take it from there.

You're more ready than you think

I don’t believe you when you say you’re not ready. I just don’t.

I believe you’re scared, sure.

I believe you’re cautious, absolutely.

I believe you’re uncertain about how this thing will shake out, yup.

But not ready? I don’t buy it.

True readiness has nothing to do with fear, caution, or uncertainty; being ready doesn’t require the presence or absence of specific feelings.

 

This is difficult for you to grasp, I know, because somewhere along the way, you got the idea that readiness is linked to emotion—hell, that readiness IS an emotion. You’ve long thought you need to FEEL ready before you ARE ready.

Let me tell you something: Readiness is a decision. It’s a commitment. It’s active.

It doesn’t happen TO you. You CHOOSE it for yourself.

So, when you say you’re not ready and I say I don’t believe you, what I mean is this: I know you’re capable of deciding to be ready; I know you’re capable of commitment; I know you’re capable of take acting whenever you want to, regardless of how you feel.

You’re far more powerful than you think. I see it in you.

Isn't it time you commit to that first, small step of sending me a message (“Helen, this resonates with me!” will do just fine)—so I can tell you, specifically, just how powerful I know you are?

Cutting loose vs. letting loose on a Friday

“Sometimes the biggest gain in productive energy will come from cleaning the cobwebs, dealing with old business, and clearing the desks—cutting loose debris that's impeding forward motion.”

David Allen wrote this in his book, Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done.

I haven’t yet read that book, but the concept is something I help folks put into practice on the second Friday of the month when I host Get It Done Day. The event is free and open to whomever wants to show up, and it’s largely about what Allen says: sweeping away the dust, finishing up projects, and making space for clarity and peace. It’s pretty nice that it’s held on a Friday; the participants get to glide into a weekend with a huge feeling of accomplishment, productivity, and energy.

It’s a better alternative to the burned-out, brain-fried experience that so many escape from on a Friday at 5 p.m.—and then escape TO some sort of over-medicating situation (booze, greasy food, late night, un-boundaried decisions) in an effort to recover...to compensate for what felt bad about the week...for the procrastination and the flagging energy and the unavoidable avoidances. In an effort to find balance.

Get It Done Day is about cutting loose. (Cutting loose isn't the same thing as letting loose.) Get It Done Day doesn’t remind me of my wild Friday nights, tearing it up at the Lithuanian Dance Hall in my Baltimore days or at the back room of Rapture in my Charlottesville days.

But it does feel fun. It feels like camaraderie and good collective energy to tackle the stuff no one wants to tackle...but that we all know we must tackle eventually.

I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling pretty damn balanced, not because I'm letting loose tonight, but because I cut loose on a Friday afternoon, when it would’ve been easier to write off the week and hope for the best when Monday rolls around again.

If you’d like to invite some sensible balance into your weekend, come join us for one of the next Get It Done Days, always on the second Friday of the month. (Use that hyperlink to register; it's FREE, but I require a headcount.)

Now, go eat a banana and get some rest. Don't do anything that’ll make you feel like garbage tomorrow.

The only way I know to ensure I'm using my time wisely

The only way I know to ensure I’m using my time wisely is to be all HERE.

Wherever ‘HERE’ is, I’ve realized just how important it is to locate myself mentally and physically in this exact moment (physically is obviously easier...until teleportation becomes a thing)—and to try my damnedest to be as stunningly present as possible.

This is not an easy task for me.

I know you struggle with it, too.

We live in our heads (though I prefer to say we “have rich, inner lives”). Where our bodies are located is sort of an incidental, right?

But it gives you the feeling that you’re not really living...because, while you’re HERE in a physical sense, you’re THERE in a mental sense...and THERE isn’t located in the present moment.

(Stay with me.)

THERE is either someplace that already happened or has yet to happen. (Yesterday or tomorrow.)

So it doesn’t actually exist. (How could it when it’s either history or future?)

HERE is the only thing that exists.

And time doesn’t pass you by when you’re HERE. Because your body and brain are present, together, in this exact moment—you don’t get that loopy, oh-my-god-I-spaced-out-where-the-hell-did-the-day-go feeling that happens when half of you has been living HERE and the other half THERE.

Are you willing to be all HERE with me? To slow down time and make the most of whatever we’re given?

(#tbt to August 20, 2016, when we located ourselves all HERE at my parents’ cottage in coastal Maine. Jigsaw puzzles make for excellent HERE activities—you’re physically HERE, naturally...but you must also bring full mental presence to the table; your mind has to stay HERE in order to make sense of the colors and shapes, and even the bigger picture.)

The allure of the before-and-after series...and why that approach won't work for YOU

You think everyone else is better at managing time than you are.

Everyone else is more focused and efficient.

Everyone else makes good decisions and sticks to them.

Everyone else navigates internet rabbit holes with ease.

You think no one else requires external deadlines to complete their projects.

No one else flakes out at the last minute.

No one else finds boundaries and resilience to be downright impossible.

No one else struggles with follow-through.

Here's what I see, though:

I see someone who's highly capable of learning and experimenting with new time management skills.

Someone who's stunningly creative and whose intuition doesn't always take the quickest route (for good reason).

Someone who's compassionate and won't ever make a decision that hurts her people. (And someone who might change her mind once she has new information.)

Someone who lets her curiosity lead the way.

Someone who has such a rich inner life, such a finely tuned imagination, that she knows she needs to outsource structure wherever possible.

Someone who can't bear to be a disappointment and is trying to learn that her mistakes are actually no worse than anyone else's.

Someone who has spent her life growing her heart instead of fortifying it (and just needs a hand wrangling some chicken wire around it now).

Someone who's so deeply introspective and knows herself so well that it's all she can do to not think herself out of action on a regular basis; sometimes she slips, though.

I see someone who values time, empathy, creativity, intuition, success, both self-knowledge and self-improvement, and (though you hate to admit it) perfection.

You don't expect it of anyone else (well, sometimes—astonishingly —you expect it of your partner, but then you check yourself), but you hold yourself up against it daily. As though it's the door jamb in the house with the pencil marks, and you've got a specific height to reach.

You know it doesn't have to be like this, but you can't conceive of an alternative that will actually stick. (You slide back into old patterns really easily. Know how I know? Because you're my people.)

I believe lasting change happens as a result of taking reeeally small steps. Like, teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy baby steps. SO little, in fact, you're not entirely sure what you're doing is sufficient. (It is, I promise.)

 

I want to separate myself from those sweeping-change, just-do-it, shiny and mighty overhaul-everything coaches who make you believe your efforts to change aren't sticking because you're just not trying hard enough. Or you just don't want it badly enough. That approach feels impossible for most of us because it's based on a belief that self-discipline is a set it and forget it feature—one that overrides who we are at our core.

Here's what I know to be true:

Creative, empathetic, and intuitive people don't set and forget anything. (Well, except maybe the slow-cooker.)

You're tuned in and turned on by so much, all of the time, and it's that attention and intellect and curiosity that makes you capable of such interesting relationships, creations, and experiences.

You can't and won't create lasting change in your life if it means steamrolling your fundamental brilliance.

Are you open to finding and/or creating an approach to habit change that's different from how you've approached it up to this point...but also aligned with who you are at your core?

Are you willing to surprise yourself?

Can you allow yourself to embrace course correction over course perfection?

Do you see validity in taking smaller steps than you thought advisable, or even possible?

If you answered 'yes' to these questions, then regardless of any unsuccessful attempts in the past, you do have what it takes to make lasting change in your life. And you don't have to become someone different in order to do so.

There's nothing wrong with you; you were just holding yourself up against the big and flashy before-and-after, overnight-success paradigm that's sexy as hell, sure—but impossible to embrace if you want to bring your whole self along for the ride (and of course you do, of course you should—you're brilliant).

Small steps, dear heart. Smaller than small. No such thing as too small.

How to start before you're ready

You’ve got the seed of an idea in your mind...and, right on schedule with spring and through no conscious effort of your own, it’s just started to push through the surface and show a little green.

Are you ready to begin work on it?

(Psst! Here’s a not-so-secret secret: If you say you’re ready, you’re ready; if you say you’re not, you’re not. I promise it’s that simple.)

Will you water it and put sunlight on it and cultivate it, knowing that it’ll put forth its own effort no matter what? Knowing that it’ll meet you more than halfway? (After all, that’s just the nature of an idea that’s in season.)

Or will you hold back out of fear, out of a feeling that maybe right now isn’t The Exact Right Time to invest yourself, and next year might be better? In which case, that green that’s starting to emerge on its own? It’ll catch your eye every single time you walk by it...and remind you of what you’re not doing. It’ll be visual evidence that the idea is showing up and doing its part—so, what might be possible for it if you showed up and did your part?

A former client once told me: “One of the most transformative parts of working with you was learning to embody the idea of doing something before I feel ready.”

In our work together over the course of six mini sessions, we didn’t try to change how she felt.

Nope. We changed only what she did (or didn’t do) with those feelings.

She said it best: “I’m much more comfortable now with feeling ‘not ready’ and taking action anyway. You helped me change my mindset at a core level. And I now I don’t see it as an excuse to not move forward but instead as an opportunity.”

Want to change what you do (or don’t do) with your feelings? Comment below (“Seedling alert!” will do just fine) and include the best email address where I can reach you, and I’ll take it from there.

How would you explain it to a child?

As a human and as a coach, I stand against over-complication.

If it can be said simply, say it simply.

If it can be done easily, do it easily.

Shortcuts are usually good (unless they compromise integrity—use your best judgment).

Shorthand tends to get the point across.

Over-complicating serves no one, least of all you. It doesn’t even earn you brownie points or gold stars.

You want to be a hero? Volunteer to teach someone to read. Listen deeply when someone speaks to you. Help someone change a flat tire.

But don’t make things harder than they need to be. That’s not heroic. Valor is never attributed to the people who, for kicks, create more hoops for themselves to jump through. We don’t revere those folks; we pity them.

If you’re uncertain about whether or not you’re over-complicating it (whatever ‘it’ is), ask yourself: How am I making this harder than it needs to be? See what comes up.

If nothing comes up, try imagining you’re explaining the process to a small child.

What wouldn’t she understand?

What steps would need to be reconsidered because they’re just too involved, maybe even excessive?

How would you suggest she pace herself, to achieve this thing?

Should she try to do all the steps at once, or would you recommend she stretch them out over the course of a week or a month?

Do you stand against over-complication, too? But do you find yourself somehow over-complicating things anyway? Tell me about it below.

Why you procrastinate

Have you ever considered the purpose of procrastination?

TO AVOID DISCOMFORT.


The discomfort of starting something new or finishing something difficult, the discomfort of being a perfectionist who might not be able to do the thing perfectly, the discomfort of working on an undertaking that elicits some level of stress.

But there's often a bit of a fight against procrastination. We do it and we self-flagellate at the same time. We know it's not serving us to procrastinate...and yet, we can't seem to stop ourselves from avoiding the discomfort that we know the work will entail.

What I propose to you is to bring some awareness into the picture.

Instead of procrastinating blindly, thoughtlessly... And instead of railing against your procrastination—fighting it, obsessing over it, trying to force your way through it...

Shine a light on your procrastination. Focus your awareness on the why of it. Examine it—as well as your perceptions, sensations, thoughts, and emotions about it—without judgment.

When you notice yourself picking up a novel to read instead of researching that grant that could finance your painting career for a full year, do just that: Notice it.

When you keep telling yourself you'll begin writing your website copy just as soon as you've cleared out your email inbox (but you haven't yet put down that novel in order to tend to the email, let alone the web copy): Pay attention to yourself.

This awareness will become habitual, inserting itself earlier and earlier into the chronology of events, so that you'll start to observe yourself as you're following the distractions and avoidances, not just after the fact. Then, you can introduce some gentle inquiry to your procrastination-in-progress:

“Why am I avoiding this thing?”

“Where is there discomfort for me in this undertaking?”

“Am I sure there's discomfort, or might it be just that I'm fearing possible discomfort?”

And that's it. No cajoling or strong-arming necessary. This focused awareness is enough.

I’d love to know if this lands for you; leave a comment below and tell me!

For when you're feeling existential anxiety

“Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive.”

This is one of those unattributable, inspirational quotes that floats around in various hand-lettered memes—and I love it. It isn’t too lofty; it isn’t idealistic. It nails what I believe when I think about our relatively short lives—and how important it is to remember the bigger picture goal: to enjoy your existence while you’re existing.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal (a wildly quotable woman who left this earth far too soon) is known for a lovely variation of the above: “Make the most of your time here."

What makes you feel happy to be alive?

How are you making the most of your time here?

Share with me by leaving a comment. I always write back.

(#tbt to July 30, 2016 when my husband and I were full-time vagabonds...but without a house or motorhome. We lived out of backpacks and tote bags, and we got very well-acquainted with hotels. Travel still makes us feel happy to be alive—though I gotta say, we’re really glad to have a home base to travel FROM these days.)

How to turn a session with me into...three

SO MUCH of my transformative small-steps work with clients happens between our coaching sessions.

Between them?!

Yup. The biggest shifts occur within the client when she’s out there on her own, incorporating what we’ve talked about, experimenting with the challenges I’ve given her, and updating me via email.

It’s an awesome thing to witness, because SHE HAD IT IN HER THE WHOLE TIME. I just brought it out of her and then reflected it back so she could see it for herself.

One client summed it up perfectly: “The most helpful part of working with you was the ability to email you updates on the status of my [Big, “Impossible” Thing] and receive very thoughtful and in-depth responses from you that helped me understand my next step. Those emails were so valuable to me, I always felt like you gave me your very best and also that you were 100% cheering me on. I felt relieved when I wrote and sent you the emails. I felt inspired and encouraged when I received your responses. You helped me to see things differently and more authentically.”

I don’t leave anyone out in the cold during this work. It’s a supportive, co-created process, and I keep close tabs on your small steps because I want to keep showing you that you’re Making It Happen. If you take it slow and steady, I know you can do anything you want to do.

Have you thought about investing in a 90-minute session with me—but you’re not sure how far those 90 minutes will really get you?

You might find that 90 minutes, split into three 30-minute laser calls, is spot-on—as it was for my client. She showed up to our calls, did the work I gave her, and as a result: “The follow up emails are really where I stretched and applied your guidance.”

She also said this, which might resonate with you: “I have no doubt that a 90-minute session would be magical, but I preferred having a few sessions spread out so that I continued working with you as things began to shift.”

If you’re on a tight budget, consider three mini sessions. Email me with what you want to achieve, and we’ll break it down into three micro steps—which you can then take with 90 minutes of my support.

Even if the neighbors with the perfect lawn are whispering about you...

I spent all day Sunday out in the yard, cutting back dead things from last year and finding layers of crunchy leaves under hedges and in the nooks between tree roots.

It felt good to move my body in the sun. It felt good to do something physical after a long winter of minimal activity.

Before it becomes a simple matter of lightweight maintenance, our yard will require a whole lot more elbow grease—but there's something about the unglamorous work of getting everything up to speed that I love. The progress is so...visible, it's a hefty dose of instant gratification when it's most needed: on the front end.

You might feel as though you're in the weeds (see what I did there?) when it comes to your self-development; maybe you're in the thick of some seriously gnarly change at the moment, and maybe you're longing for a future in which the daily won't feel like so much of a struggle for you. You're filling yard waste bag after yard waste bag with last year's leaves and felled branches, and you haven't even gotten to the weeding yet, not to mention the out-of-control yews on the property line. You're pretty sure the neighbors with the perfect lawn are whispering about you.

Alternately, you might be in lightweight maintenance mode; maybe your therapy appointments and group coaching challenge you just enough—but on the whole, you feel like you've hit your stride and don't have to work too hard right now to be who you want to be. You're simply repositioning your potted plants on the porch so they get more light and maybe considering novel ways to stake this summer's tomatoes against the house. Weeds? What weeds? You don't even give them a single minute to rear their heads before you're All Over That Shit. The neighbors' lawn's got nothing on you.

Either way, I salute you. Being a human isn't easy. Having a human brain isn't easy. Engaging in human relationships isn't easy.

And yet, you're doing it. You're journeying with the rest of us, despite the difficulty.

Keep going.

If you could use a hand with your heavy-duty or lightweight work, a conversation with me will help. I've witnessed this again and again. The sweet spot is 90 minutes, which is why my single sessions run that long. You don't need to do anything but bring your whole self to the call (i.e. be willing to share, don't hide anything or hold anything back, stay open to the possibility of transformation, trust that I'll hold your heart with care, prepare to be amazed).

Go here to purchase and book.


We can be on the phone together as early as Monday.

Your Big, "Impossible" Thing vs. your day job

You’re struggling to really sink into your project, because you’ve got responsibilities that prevent you from hanging out in that sweet headspace where the magic happens.

You get home from the day job, and by the time dinner and dishes are through, maybe a load of laundry, you’ve got an hour or so before you need to get to bed...just to start it all over again tomorrow.

You want to know how you’re supposed to build your Impossible Thing (no air quotes this time, because some part of you really believes it’s a lost cause) when you can barely find the time to get into it, let alone get lost in it.

A measly hour before bed isn’t enough; it just doesn’t feel even remotely worthwhile, and yet, you’re watching as week after week slips by like this and your dream reliably stays out of reach.

You watch the inspirational videos and walk away with the message that maybe you don’t need nearly as much sleep as you think you do (uh, no thanks, Gary V), and that if you were really and truly committed, you’d do ANYTHING to make this dream a reality.

So: Do you scale back to part-time work so that you can swap some money for some time? Do you put half as much effort into your job and squirrel away energy for your Thing? Do you start saving up bits and pieces of your salary so you can buy yourself a job sabbatical?

Hold up. Your first step is to consider all your options so you know what you’re working with.

Guess what? That’s my wheelhouse. I’m an expert excavator and deep-desire archaeologist. I notice the details and nuances that many others overlook or flat-out miss. I ask really good questions because I’m curious and because I’m not one for small talk. And I’m highly skilled at taking what we discover together and helping you determine your next right step—especially if you’re someone who knows she wants a future that’s different from her present, but has no earthly idea where to start. I can help you move from analysis paralysis to a small steps plan that makes sense for you and gets you closer to your Thing.

Ready to consider your options—with me by your side, of course? Leave a comment ("Help needed!” will do just fine) with your best email address and I’ll take it from there.

How to answer the "What next?" question

As a human and as a coach, I stand against self-stifling, playing small, and shrinking down. I stand against templates, scripts, flowcharts, formulas, Spanx, and anything else you have to squeeze yourself into—and then exist in uncomfortably.

For the record, I’ve used all five at one time or another—because I didn’t trust that I was good enough (i.e. skilled enough, capable enough, smart enough, intuitive enough, smooth enough) as I was. My clients have done similarly and for the same reasons.

Are you relying on what someone else says to do because you don’t quite believe in yourself?

It’s not a bad place to start, I’ll tell you that.

But after a while, you see that you’re not getting the traction you’d hoped for, so you’re starting to doubt everything—whether or not you’re even following the right experts, whether or not you’re doing it right, whether or not you missed some important step along the way, etc.

You’ve gained some experience, you’ve tried the outsourcing approach for a beat, but you suspect it’s finally time to look within yourself to determine your next set of steps. Ironically, you might find that there’s nothing there—you’ve looked outward for so long that you don’t really have any best practices of your own; you’ve refrained from developing opinions because “they” know best.

So, what are you supposed to do now? You can’t go back (you know that way stopped working some time ago), and you don’t feel confident that you know how to go forward.

If you’re ready, I can help you find your inner compass. (I promise you, you have one.) And then I can help you create a map with it—a map of your small steps toward your destination. Because really, who knows better for you than you? (That’s a rhetorical question. NO ONE knows better for you than you.) Chances are, you just need to get a little quieter than you’ve gotten before, in order to hear what you’ve known all along.

The answer to “What next?” is within you, and I can help you get to it in 90 minutes or less. Email me if you’re ready to start the conversation that will move you forward.

When quitters win and winners quit

In our conscientious effort to finish what we start (“Quitters never win and winners never quit”—anyone else remember seeing that on a motivational poster in your middle school classroom?), we forget that there actually exists many perfectly legitimate—nay, important—instances when cutting and running is best.

Three examples that are most common among the clients I serve:

BAD BOOKS

Obviously ‘bad’ is subjective, but if you’re not enjoying it, it’s time to put it down. Plain and simple as that. You don’t need to power through; in fact, powering through means losing the opportunity to read a possibly excellent book from the number of books you’ll read before you die. (I’ve got a great article on this; leave a comment below if you’d like the link.

PROJECTS THAT HAVE BEGUN TO FEEL LIKE CHORES

If you initiated it to have fun or to express your creativity or just because it looked kind of interesting, but over time it’s become something that resembles homework: Let it go. This isn’t the violin you begged for, were gifted by loving parents, and are now obligated to play for the rest of your life. You are an adult now—one who understands the importance of commitment, but is no longer required to pursue hobbies that have lost their sparkle.

RELATIONSHIPS THAT HURT

Ahh, this is a hard one because aren’t we supposed to work (and love each other) through the rough patches? Yes...and no. Some rough patches are untenable. Some rough patches turn out not to be patches so much as a giant swath of land that disappears into the horizon. A friend who is a narcissist. A sibling who will not relent or respect. A partner who is as destructive as he is codependent. An angry, abusive parent. If the relationship hurts you a good portion of the time, you’re not a quitter for leaving it; you’re a saver—of yourself.

What’s something that’s no longer serving you...but that you’re struggling to walk away from, because you see yourself as a committed finisher?

Reacting vs. creating: a client story

She came to me wanting to feel good about how she used her time on this earth. She was craving the reassurance that she was spending it wisely—but she had a skewed idea of what ‘wisely’ meant. And she didn’t know it at the time, but she was seeking permission to adjust her definition.

Her actions told me she believed ‘wisely’ demanded breakneck productivity during all waking hours; an inhuman amount of creative focus; and regular recognition for her work, in the form of clients and opportunities, accolades and income.

This unrelenting pressure she put on herself often wore her down. Thoroughly exhausted her. Drained her reserves of energy and motivation until there was nothing left. At which point, she required even more rest than she would’ve needed had she built it into her days from the get-go. This inspired guilt and endless self-flagellation. It also made her want to numb out with bad TV and naps.

She perceived the fleetingness of time in the way we all do—only she was REACTING to it (by letting it scare the stuffing out of her and then inspire a frantic scramble to do All The Things, right now...something she absolutely couldn’t sustain) instead of CREATING with it (by leveraging the present moment, the only thing any of us has to work with, while also honoring her humanity).

She was driving herself so hard to get results in what she deemed a timely fashion that she drove right past the destination she desired and into burnout. And numbing out. And generally feeling as though she was on the world’s shittiest merry-go-round: fighting time...and herself in the process.

When our work together was complete, she told me the guilt was gone; she knew she needed to keep building those breaks into her days. She wasn’t a robot, so she couldn’t attempt to operate like one. Certainly not if she wanted to create real ease and success for herself in her time here on earth.

Are you ready to reconsider how you use your time AND find a sustainable and rewarding way to create what you want with the time you have here? Reaching out is the first step. Leave a comment below to continue the conversation. 

Are you a hurdler, too?

You don’t want to take small step after small step; you want to leap from here to there, smoke rolling off your heels, growing pains averted, accomplishment shining like a trophy on your shelf.

You’re not saying you want it to be easy (well, not really)...but you do want ease. And speed, come to think of it. Is anyone taking notes here?

Small steps feel piddly to you—amateurish, low level, for people who aren’t as motivated and sharp and quick-witted as you are.

But whenever you go big, you wind up going home. The leaping isn’t working for you. It’s landing you not quite in Burnout, but somewhere between Losing Steam and Shiny Object Syndrome. You get distracted (somehow, by your own self). Something else looks more interesting. Easier. Higher rewards for less legwork.

Rinse and repeat.

Many of the women who come to work with me are hurdlers. They think fast, so they want to do fast. Slow feels impossible. Small feels inefficient, maybe even like it doesn’t count. By the time we’ve completed three months of coaching together, they’ve transformed into tightrope walkers; they operate deliberately, with precision, focus, and a plan. From experience, they know that small steps are the only sustainable way forward. They’ve changed the relationship they have with themselves into one of trust and steadiness. There's no rush; they’re working on today and not getting ahead of themselves.

Want to create a new relationship with yourself and your wildest dream? Email me and we’ll set up a time to speak.

What happens when my dad teaches me something about trees... (Hint: METAPHORS)

When my parents were visiting, my dad walked with us around the yard and, per our request, pointed out the places where we've got lilies coming up, where our future vegetable garden will be happiest, where we might want to plant our dwarf Alberta spruce (we chose a live Christmas tree last year)...that kind of thing. It was great—who knew it would feel so empowering to get really acquainted with our property? (Maybe you knew this already.)

One thing I keep thinking about is the suckers in our trees. Since my dad pointed them out, I see them everywhere (and not just in our trees, but in trees all over Appleton). You'd recognize them as the thinner stems that shoot skyward off the main branches of a tree. They're so perfectly...vertical, I'm surprised I never noticed them before.

The suckers on a tree zap water and nutrients, but they're not parasitic; they're just the tree's response to some stress or injury, an effort to grow more branches and therefore stay alive. And you're meant to prune them back before the tree's leaves return in the spring (and certainly before the suckers themselves age, turn into bark-covered branches, and become almost impossible to remove), because they ruin the tree's shape and divert energy from the rest of the tree.

I always assumed trees should be left alone for the most part. Obviously dead branches need to be dealt with, but besides that—and maybe topiaries (the poodle of the tree world)?—I thought grooming and shaping was nonessential to tree health.

I found an article on a website called The Spruce, and they say this about watersprouts (aka suckers):

In nature, they are perhaps a way for a damaged plant to recover, but in the garden, they are considered to be a waste of energy put towards weak, out of place growth. As tender, young growth, watersprouts are believed to be a vulnerable access point for pathogen attacks. Certainly, in an orchard and other situations of highly regulated growing shapes, they are a nuisance, breaking the good architecture of the plant with weak wood that won’t bear fruit.

Oof. The writer in me sees nothing but human-related metaphors here.

So, today, some food for thought:

  • How have you dealt with your damage?
  • Are you holding onto past coping mechanisms and, in the process, creating opportunities for more struggle to sneak in?
  • Do you see ways in which you're wasting precious energy, nurturing the non-fruit-bearing parts of yourself out of fear or a scarcity mentality?

And taking it one step further:

Is it possible your 'suckers' (sounds dirty—but I promise I'm not going there) are the result of some perfectly legitimate and necessary actions you took in the past...but are now hindering your next level of real growth?

 

As always, leave a comment below to continue the conversation.

This is your very first step

I can share with you all the best tips for approaching your Big, “Impossible” Thing. I can help you figure out what your first small step is—or, if you’ve already begun (go, you!), I can help you figure out your next small step. I can work with you to create an effective and consistent roadmap for going after and getting the thing you want.

But what I can’t give you is your WHY. WHY you’re driven to pursue your Big, “Impossible” Thing in the first place. The deep need or desire that’s at its core. Only you feel that in your heart, and only you can communicate it to the world.

If you’re not so sure you know your WHY, that right there’s your first step.

Before roadmapping or logo-designing or outlining or editing a single page on your website or sending an email inquiry—before all of that comes the very preliminary, very crucial step of determining WHY you need to realize this vision in your lifetime.

Without your WHY, you can spend all the time in the world on the legwork of your Big, “Impossible” Thing...and still not have a sense of clarity (and that essential resolve) when it comes to the big picture.

A WHY flings you out of bed in the morning. A WHY makes those necessary admin tasks a whole lot less of a drag. A WHY opens your eyes to opportunity and paves the way for serendipity.

Though I can’t just hand you any old WHY, I can help you dig around and determine yours. I promise you it’s there inside you—you only need a little assistance to articulate it.

Are you clear on your WHY? Leave a comment below, or email me—I’d love to learn what you’re up to, and WHY it’s so important to you.