Who the Fuck needs a Life Coach?

It has come to my attention that marketing professional coaching
is much, MUCH harder than marketing amazing massage therapy. 

If I ask you for referrals to my massage practice, you can probably think of at least a dozen people who want one or who can benefit from it.  If I ask you for referrals to my coaching practice, you probably know at least a half dozen, but how would you KNOW they need a coach? 

In thirteen years of practicing massage, I never had to pay for advertising and I certainly never had to educate people about what it is that I do.  People know what a massage is and many of us (me FIRST!) are addicted to the stress release, pleasure, comfort, relaxation and overall feeling of well-being that comes with massage.  Many people are realizing that massage is an essential part of their health care budget, and include it as a regular part of their self-care.

If you have an amazing massage therapist and you hear someone say that their back hurts, or that they started running and have tight hamstrings, or that they suffer from tension headaches, you know from personal experience that massage is helpful, and you feel confident saying so and recommending your therapist.  Massage therapy is pretty mainstream, so if you find yourself in need of massage, you feel comfortable asking friends for recommendations.  But, who the fuck needs a life coach? 

Maybe a better question to start with is, 

What the fuck does a life coach do?

When my therapist first suggested that I would make a great life coach, my response to her was, “Is that a thing?”  So I am never surprised when people haven’t a clue about what I do or who needs/wants professional coaching.

Coaches are NOT therapists, psychologists or counselors. If you are clinically depressed, please seek help from one of these professions. Coaches do not give advice or delve into the roots of your issues.

Coaches help you clearly see where you are,
then help you map a path to where you want to go.

Humans sometimes struggle with getting to where we want to be.  We might know what we want and just can’t quite figure out how to get there.  Or maybe we KNOW the steps required to get us there, but we can’t quite motivate ourselves to take those steps.  Sometimes we can’t even figure out WHAT the hell we want because we have so many thoughts cluttering our minds.

People may struggle with time scarcity and feel overwhelmed. 
We sometimes deal with financial scarcity that can create cycles of fear and worry.  During transitions in our lives, we can sometimes feel unanchored, and unsure what course to chart next.  If we have many paths before us, sometimes we can’t choose.  And if we have any difficult emotions attached to the situations we are going through, that’s when things can get challenging. 

It is immensely helpful in times like these to talk to someone who is not emotionally attached to your outcome, someone who can help clarify your thinking and help you find your way forward to where you want to be.

That’s what life coaches do. We help clients overcome obstacles to get from where they are to where they’d like to be.

How do we do that?  By having conversations about values, goals, and habitual thoughts and behavior patterns.  By looking at what influences their energy socially, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and environmentally. 
By discovering ways to increase energy in all those areas.  By replacing fear with faith, which has a very different vibration and attracts very different energy into one’s life.

So, who the fuck needs a life coach?

People going through one of the struggles mentioned above.  People who never have the energy to do what they love doing. People who want to reach their goals.  People who want to manifest their dreams.  People going through any kind of transition like changing careers or relationships, moving to a new city, or empty nesting.  People struggling to reach their health goals.  People who have lost their confidence or have low self-esteem.  People who know they want MORE from their lives, but aren’t quite sure more of what.

Me.  I need a life coach.  

One of the BEST parts about my coaching school was that we constantly had peers coaching us for practice.  I was practicing my coaching skills which was extremely valuable, but receiving coaching weekly had the added benefit of tremendous self-growth along with an increased understanding of what it feels like to receive the benefits of regular coaching.  My mother looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I was still being coached regularly.  “But you are a trained coach, why do you need one?”

GREAT question!  There are a lot of ways in which I can and do coach myself all the time to change habitual thoughts from my past that do not serve my goals.  But I also pay two professional coaches for regular sessions.  I have an In the Flow coach who helps keep my energy and enthusiasm high, and I have a life coach to help me plan my goals, improve my relationships, and be the best version of me that I can be!  I also follow a business coach on Facebook to pick up lots of hints and tips on how to grow my coaching practice.

So, who needs a life coach?  Everyone NEEDS a life coach!

But, who can coaching help?

Coaching can ONLY help those who are willing to show up for themselves, and take the actions required to get out of their own way and get to where they want to go.

Here is the most important question:

Who the fuck is READY for a life coach?

If you know a truly amazing life coach, who do you refer to her for coaching?  

Coaching is becoming more common, but when someone finds themselves needing a coach, they may not feel comfortable asking for recommendations.  They may not think any of their friends know a life coach.  It’s just not that main stream.  I mean, really, is life coaching a thing?

PLEASE keep your ears open for key phrases like these:

I always feel so overwhelmed!
I’m tired all the time. I have no energy. 
I want to change (something), but have no idea how! 
I have tried to change (something), but I always fail. 
My life doesn’t matter. 
I’ll never reach my goals. 
Is this all there is to life? 
I want more from my life, I just don’t know what. 
Why can’t I stick to my own healthy intentions?
I have to do everything myself. 
I’m in a rut and I can’t get out. 
I want to complete (some large goal) but I have no idea where to start!

Anyone saying these things will benefit from coaching.
If you regularly say these things, contact me for a chat!

When you hear phrases like these from friends, you will be helping us both by giving them my name and contact info. 

I will be delighted to schedule a 30 minute session to see if coaching is a good fit for the challenges they’re facing.  No obligation. No sales pitch.  If it seems like coaching can help, I’ll tell them what I offer my clients.  If I am not the right coach for them, I have an extensive network of other coaches with varying specialities that I am delighted to refer them to, and a LONG list of free resources that might be all they need to set them on the path to their dreams!

This is partially about building my practice, but it’s mostly about making sure people have the support they need to succeed in life! 

That’s what I am passionate about! 
I want everyone to live the best possible version of themselves!

Grow on!

What will happen if you share this blog post?
Who will you help? 
Who do you know who is currently facing life challenges? 
Who do you know who’s been struggling awhile to reach a goal? 
Who do you know who is in transition and could use some support? 
How many of the key phrases above have you used recently? 
What is your biggest goal? 
What steps are you currently taking to get there? 
What steps are you avoiding?  Why? 
What’s holding you back?

Yelp Reviews from Cyndi’s Coaching Clients:

What TEA am I Brewing?

How we FEEL is always the direct result of what we think.

Managing your mind and deciding what you want to think is the secret to creating a happy life. Don’t believe me?  Let’s say for example that you have been let go from a job you love, through no fault of your own.  Some people think being fired causes the emotions that follow, but the situation is ALWAYS neutral. 

The situation is not good or bad, it simply is. The story we attach to the situation causes us to see it as positive or negative.

Our thoughts cause our emotions.

The thoughts we choose cause the emotions that follow.

*Neutral Situation = employment status

Thought choice # 1 Negative thoughts: Oh my God!  I got fired! What will I do for money?  I have no savings and it might be months before I find a job!  How dare they let me go after all I have given this company!  Why is this happening to me?  I’ll probably never find a job that pays this well again.  WHAT will I do without benefits?  What will people think?  I’ve been fired from a job I love!  This is the end of the world.  I can’t believe they would do this to me!  I’ll be out of money before I find work!  This is a disaster!  What will I tell my family?!  This is the WORST time to be unemployed!  I need to take the FIRST thing I can find so I can pay my bills, no matter how awful it is or how miserable it makes me.  This is terrible, terrible news!
Emotions created by thoughts – fear, anxiety, frustration

*Neutral Situation = employment status

Thought choice # 2Positive thoughts: What a wonderful opportunity to find work that I am passionate about!  This seems like just the right time to move on to bigger things.  I have no idea what comes next for my career, but it’s going to be wonderful!  I am embarking on the next segment of my ever-improving professional life!  What do I want to do next?  What really excites me?  This is so unexpected and delightful!  I feel like a door has opened to a room FULL of opportunity!  There is a purpose to everything.  I think something wonderful is about to unfold!  What PERFECT timing for something new and exciting!
Emotions created by thoughts – excitement, hope, enthusiasm

How can there be such different emotional outcomes from the SAME situation?  The situation is neutral – it cannot cause emotions. 
The thoughts we CHOOSE to think cause the emotions we feel. Period.

It requires some effort to improve our thoughts, but it’s totally worth it because, here’s the kicker; 

Our emotions drive our actions.

We sometimes think that our actions are based on our logical thoughts.  If that were true, we would all be fit and active because logically we KNOW that eating right and staying active keeps us healthy, happy, and living longer.  We frequently set intentions to eat healthier options, or to increase our activity levels. 

But what usually happens when we “don’t feel like it”?
Does that feeling drive the action, or is it the logical decision we have made to eat right and work out?

Right?  Nine times out of ten “not feeling like it” trumps our healthy intentions and we end up on the couch watching Netflix with a bag of potato chips instead of going for a walk or making a salad.  To create new actions that align with our intentions, we want to think thoughts that cause the emotions required to drive our actions.

In other words, instead of just thinking whatever thoughts you normally think that result in the actions you normally take, decide what actions you WANT to take, and then figure out what kind of thoughts will drive you to those actions.

For example, let’s say that our intention is to be active for 20 minutes after work, and eat a salad once a day toward our goal of being more healthy and fit.

Possible Thoughts and Probable Outcomes

I need to lose weight, so I have to take action.
I HAVE to find a way to be more active and eat right.
The last thing I want to do after a long day is work out!
I get so TIRED of making salad every day!
I’ve tried and failed to lose weight my whole life!  
This never gets easier.
Why bother?
Who cares?

PROBABLY not going to motivate anyone off the couch and away from the frozen pizza that’s fast, easy, and calling their name.

Those thoughts are easy to come by.  They pop into mind with no trouble at all, bringing with them all variety of doubts, second guessing and even more unhelpful, demotivating thoughts.

What will change if we try thoughts like these?

I want to feel energized, so I am taking action! 
I ENJOY the way I feel when I move my body every day! 
I enjoy finding new ingredients to make salads interesting.
The last thing I want is to feel worn down.
Staying active keeps my energy high! 
Chopping salad honors my health and brings me closer to my goal! 
It takes less time to make salad than it does to earn money for pizza!
One small step each day leads to my success!
Today is the only day I need to focus on. 
I make the effort because I want vibrant health and well being!
I have learned a LOT from past attempts, and can avoid pitfalls. 
This time I am determined and will stop for nothing!
I have listed all obstacles that have prevented me from reaching my goal in the past, and created a strategy to deal with each one.
THIS is the way I reach my goals!  

These thoughts take slightly more effort to conjure and require PRACTICE.  They pop out of mind much more easily than they pop in, but they are worth the effort because they bring with them
1) confidence that you can reach your goal, 2) courage to keep trying even if things don’t go exactly as planned, and 3) more thoughts that keep you feeling encouraged and moving forward.

It’s easy to see that these thoughts have a better chance of motivating a person away from the pizza and onto the elliptical, right?

So what TEA am I brewing?

TEA = Thoughts.  Emotions.  Actions.

Thoughts cause emotions.  Emotions drive actions.  

To drive the actions we WANT, we need to choose thoughts that generate the emotions that drive us in the direction we want to go.

“I hate salad!” drives us one way.

“I make salad daily to bring me into alignment with my intentions, and help reach my goals!” drives us another way entirely.

To reach the destination we desire, we need to find the driver (create the emotion) heading to that destination!

Grow on!

What TEA are you brewing?
What thoughts are keeping you from your goals? 
What thoughts can you choose to practice instead?

A Crucial Key to Reaching our Goals

From Rachel Hollis in Girl, Wash Your Face: “When you boil it down, that’s the heart of the problem with my father. He couldn’t understand what to do with a small child, let alone a girl. Since he didn’t understand me, he often unintentionally muted the parts of me that made him uncomfortable.”

A million times I have revisited a moment from when I was 5 years old.  I had been dancing all day, exploring my new found love for music and movement.  I waited excitedly for my father to come home so I could show him how well I danced, because I knew without question that dancing was something I did really well!  I LOVED the way I felt when I moved my body, and I loved the way the music made me feel, and I was one with the Universe and all things when I danced!  I couldn’t wait to share that feeling with him.

My father’s reaction after my one-song recital was, “I guess that will be OK when you’re old enough.”

All I heard was, “You’re not enough.”  I might be enough one day in an OK sort of way, but NOW, in this present moment, I am not enough.

After reading Rachel Hollis, I realize that my dancing made my father uncomfortable.  At five years old, my radiant light shown brightly, and my father marginalized me and made me doubt, because he could – in NO way – relate to my exuberant joy.  

This was a man who angered easily when I didn’t meet the conditions he thought appropriate for a child.  But WHAT was “appropriate” wasn’t defined, and therefore I was always guessing how to behave, trying on new masks I hoped might please him enough to get him to love me, or show affection, or at least set down his beer.  The one mask I dared not wear was Authentic Cindy (I didn’t spell it Cyndi back then) because he had already shown me how displeased he was with, and how unloveable and unworthy of love was Authentic Cindy. 

I learned this because every time I was truly, authentically, exuberantly me, the message I received was vehemently “don’t be that.”  (*Please see side note below.)

The problem with suppressing the authentic self  is that once we realize we can only be truly happy living as our authentic self, it may be hard to recall our authentic self.  It is hidden, buried deep beneath a pile of discarded masks that didn’t fit and didn’t attract the unconditional love we were hoping for.

Unconditional love is what we all seek.  So we bend ourselves like pretzels to meet conditions that might make us lovable in the eyes of others.

The problem with suppressing the authentic self  is that once we realize we can only be truly happy living as our authentic self, it may be fucking SCARY as hell to step back into the authentic self – the role we were born to play.  Because so much energy has been spent trying NOT to be that.  So many thoughts have accumulated telling us that ‘who we truly are’ is unacceptable, unloveable or unworthy.  

Reframing these thoughts will take time, but there may not be anything more important we can do to reach our goals. 

Without the element of self-love, goals for self-care are fruitless. 
We give up making healthy improvements because we believe we’re unworthy or unimportant, or whatever other limiting belief we have learned and integrated.

Reframing these thoughts will take practice but it’s crucial.  I schedule time each day to think my new improved thoughts.  I spent YEARS practicing old thinking patterns, so changing those patterns now takes practice to form new neural pathways.

Reframing these thoughts may require therapy. I certainly needed one-on-one help to see that changing my thoughts about myself was essential to reclaiming the authentic me that I was born to be. A good therapist or counselor can be immensely helpful at restoring self-love and self-care to healthy levels.

I am wild and audacious and loud.  My authentic self is fearless and fails forward without regret.  She is filled with joy that spills out naturally and noisily.

I am done living small because it might make others uncomfortable.  I am done wearing masks to get the approval of others.  Because If I cannot live the full, expansive version of me that I came here to be, then that makes ME uncomfortable.  I will pursue my passions and I will shine my light, and I will help others remember the light inside themselves.

If we want unconditional love (and we do!) then we must love ourselves unconditionally in all our flawsomeness.  We must love the darkness and the light.  We must love our flaws, missteps, and failures and feel entirely worthy despite those perceptions!

Unconditional love starts on the inside.

If we change to gain the approval of others, we will never love ourselves unconditionally.  When we love ourselves every day in all conditions, we don’t need the fucking approval of others.  And when we truly feel love for ourselves no matter what, that is what the world reflects back to us!  

We can stick to our healthy intentions and reach our goals because we know our own value and deeply accept our self-worth.  More people see our authentic, confident selves, and are drawn to our energy and inspired to love themselves unconditionally!

And isn’t THAT what we want from life?  To live deeper self-love, greater confidence, and absolute worthiness while inspiring our fellows to deeper self-love, greater confidence, and absolute worthiness?

I believe it’s what we all want at our core.

Grow on!

What parts of yourself do you mute so that others are not uncomfortable?
What are you telling yourself about that muted part?
What will change for you when you live the life you were born to live?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much self love do you currently have?
(1 is low and 10 is LOTS)
What will it take to get that to a 10?

*side note – My father was not an bad person.  He was just doing the best he could with what he had to work with.  I hold no resentments for his behavior and understand that those experiences helped shaped me into the AWESOME human being I am today.

Why we Give Up

There is only one reason that we fail, ever.  We fail when we give up.  As long as we haven’t given up, as long as we keep trying a new approach, a different tact, a fresh perspective, our dream is still a possibility!

So, why do we give up on our dreams?

We persist or give up based on our own personal habits, or patterns of action.  If you grew up in a home where persistence was rewarded, it’s likely that you don’t give up easily on your dreams.  You have probably developed habits that keep you moving forward even after what others might see as major setbacks.  If this sounds like you, this post probably won’t hold many insights for you.

If, on the other hand, you grew up in a home where your parents said they would do something and then didn’t follow through, you may have never learned how to map your way to the goals you are wanting, or plan strategies for the challenges that will arise.  You may have developed the habit of letting yourself off the hook, or making excuses for why you didn’t succeed. 

These are roadblocks to living your dreams.

Reaching our dreams requires changing our actions.  But continuing our habitual actions is always going to be easier than change, because it’s the familiar pathway we have practiced over time, the habits we have built, the thought patterns we’ve entrenched.

Let’s use weight reduction as our example because this is one that millions of people including most of my clients struggle with.

Most of the time we have a pretty good idea of the types of actions required to reach a goal.  If weight reduction is our goal the list of actions required to support that goal MIGHT include: move our body X minutes per day and X days per week, define a food protocol & check it with your doctor, plan your meals in advance, schedule time to shop for and prep meals, eat less XYZ, increase hydration, eat more produce, eliminate processed sugar, eat more fish, eat less meat.  The list goes on.

How many times have you decided to adopt one or more of these healthy behaviors?  How many times did you succeed?  If there were times that you did not succeed, why did you give up?

A change in action is not sustainable unless we also change our thoughts. 

Most of us give up when we try to adopt a new behavior because a change in action is not sustainable unless we also change our thoughts.  And the thoughts we have practiced up to this point do not support sticking to the goal, or we would have achieved our goal already. Right?

The thoughts we have practiced up to this point support giving up when it gets hard, giving in when we have a craving or something doesn’t go according to plan.  We let ourselves off the hook because we practice thoughts like, “I can start tomorrow.”  “One cheat won’t hurt.”  “It’s not my fault.”  By now a lot of us are realizing that thoughts like this are self-defeating and have created a pattern of failing to meet our healthy intentions for years or decades.  

I can’t start tomorrow because the present is the only moment in which I have any power. One cheat sets up a cycle of postponement that won’t get me to the finish line.  And a bump in the road may not be my fault, but reaching my goals is most definitely my responsibility.  If I don’t work for it when the going gets tough, who will?  And when the going gets tough, humans reach for what’s familiar and practiced – unless we make the effort to change the thoughts we are thinking.

Mindset is everything!

Changing our thoughts takes effort, but it can make the difference between staying stuck and reaching our goals.  You don’t need a coach to change your mindset, but coaching absolutely helps!  I know from my own experience and from my clients’ experiences that coaching transforms lives.

But there are books you can read and online courses to take if you’re not ready to invest in one-on-one coaching.  Here is a short list of my current favorites:

Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

It’s Not Your Money: How to Live Fully from Divine Abundance by Tosha Silver. 

Feng Shui Your Mind, Body, Spirit by Jill Lebeau & Michelle Dwyer

Freedom School by Ana Verzone includes courses in drinking less, building confidence, mindset, stop overeating and so much more!

If you think one-on-one coaching may be right for you, but you’re not sure it’s an investment that you’re ready to make, contact me to schedule a little chat!  You can ask any questions you have, I’ll tell you a bit more about how coaching works, and we’ll uncover your next best actions to move you toward the life that you’re longing to live! Zero pressure.

I want everyone to have a clear idea of how to get from where they are to where they want to be!

That’s why I like to include the Grow on! section. These questions help you coach yourself as you begin the process of growing more aware of what you want your life to be. That’s why I list resources for self-growth, like the ones above. These resources have helped me and my clients, so I know they can help you too!

Grow on!

What was your last self-improvement goal? 
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘highly’), how successful were you at reaching your goal? 
If you did not complete the goal, what was your reason? 
What self-improvement goal is currently calling your heart? 
Make a list of the obstacles that might stop you reaching your goal. 
Journal around what you will do when each of these obstacles appears! 

Go get it!  You GOT this.

Who Cares?

This insidious question can perpetuate a cycle of darkness that will feed itself to infinity if we do not disrupt the pattern.

“Who cares?” is a thought.  Thoughts are what cause our emotions.  Emotions drive our actions and the actions we take make up our life.

What sort of emotions stir inside you when you think, “Who cares?”
in relation to your own goals?  Not good-feeling ones, I’ll guess!

Because if YOU don’t care about your needs, desires, and goals – who does?  And thinking nobody cares what you want or need just feels shitty.  Am I right?

No one likes to feel hurt, and normally what humans do when we have shitty feelings is turn to whatever it is we have practiced soothing our hard emotions with.  At this time of year many people realize that they might be using their self-soothing tool too frequently for health, and try to reduce their use of food, alcohol, or whatever their substance of choice.

If food is your choice for self-soothing hard emotions, and you decide you want to reduce your weight for lots of great health benefits, what will be the normal response the first time you feel some hard emotions?  The average person is going to revert to eating something to numb those emotions!  It sounds ludicrous, but trust me, we all do this!  We revert to default patterns (habits) that we’ve had for years because that’s what’s familiar.  The average woman also then beats the crap out of herself for NOT sticking to her intention to do something different, even though all she really did was revert to the familiar pattern she’s been practicing for years, or even decades.

Disrupt the Pattern

When the difficult emotions arise, we can enter a hypnotic state that allows us to default to previous patterns.  Our first tool is awareness, always. We cannot change a behavior until we are aware that it’s happening.  Once we become aware, we must disrupt our normal pattern if we are to change it and form a new, healthier way of dealing with painful emotions. 

I often thought that if I could have a panic button to press as soon as I am aware of uncomfortable emotions that set off alarm bells, it might shock me into realizing that this moment is the ONE where I get to choose a different behavior.  When I get a thought that tells me sugar or pizza will soothe whatever I am feeling, I picture myself running around like a mad woman with an air horn, screaming at myself to wake up and pay attention because something important is happening, and that I need to be present. Sometimes I even heed her advice.

It’s always going to feel easier to get a pizza than to cook a healthy meal at home.  I mean really, who cares?  Who really cares if I feed my body crap that makes me feel sick and drains my energy?  This line of thinking will get me an extra large Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza delivered to my door every time!  If no one cares – do what’s easy.

There can also be an element of resentment toward our partner if they agree to order pizza even though they know it makes us sick every time we eat wheat and dairy, right? Cause that kinda PROVES the point that no one cares, or maybe they would have the self-restraint to stop me. More than one client has expressed a desire to rely on her mate for this type of support.

It helps to remember that building new behaviors and habits was NOT your first thought, so why would it be the first thing on your partners’ mind? Our partner is as new at trying to change the behavior as we are. It’s highly likely that your partner also wants to self-soothe. Or maybe they know the pizza makes you happy and they want you to be happy! Ultimately it’s not their decision how you soothe. It’s yours.

Why does this matter?

If we can be aware in the moment of choice – the moment when we hear ourselves think “who cares?” – what will change if we substitute the question, “Why does this matter?”  Why does it matter that I cook at home when it’s EASIER to eat pizza?  Why does it matter that I cook at home (stick to whatever intention you are trying to stick to) when nobody cares?

It matters because if I don’t care about my needs, desires, and goals, nobody will!  It matters, because when I was thinking with clarity and talking to my coach, I made choices based on my own
well-being and I set intentions for what I want for my life!  It matters because I deserve to have my needs met.  It matters because I want to be healthier than I currently am.  It matters because “I” matter!  

This has everything to do with understanding that we matter. 
You matter. I matter. Each and every one of us matters!

If someone else kept telling the person you love most that nobody cares about their needs and desires, you would rise up like a mama bear to defend their needs and desires!  Allow your inner mama bear to defend your needs, desires and goals.  When you become aware of the thought, “who cares?” be fierce in defense of your own needs, and the goals to which you aspire!   Remind yourself sternly that YOU care because your health matters, because YOU matter!

If you can’t bring yourself into alignment with the belief that you do matter just as much as the next person, please find yourself a counselor or an amazing therapist.  (MY therapist, Jill Lebeau, is freaking AWESOME and I am delighted to recommend her!)

If you understand (or at least can begin to see) how much you matter, and want to change some habitual patterns of thinking or behaving, maybe coaching is right for you! 

Email me at cyndicombs@gmail.com and tell me as clearly as you can, why you are considering hiring a coach, and what specifically you would like to discuss.  We’ll get you scheduled for your free 30-minute session and grow from there!

Grow on!

What do you turn to for soothing? 
In what ways is that habit harming your health? 
How ready are you to let it go? 
Why do your goals and intentions matter to you? 
How much do YOU matter to yourself? 
Who is responsible for making sure your needs get met? 
Make a list of ways you can self-soothe without harming your health! 
BONUS POINTS – Share ideas for healthy self-soothing in comments!

DITCH the New Year’s Resolutions!

I am not suggesting that we give up our goals.  Goals are crucial to creating the life we dream of living.  They give destination to the intentions that drive us, and the values that guide us.

Goal = destination.
Intention = driver.
Values = navigation.

All three are crucial when it comes to guiding our lives, so when I suggest that we ditch the new year’s resolutions, it’s not because goals aren’t important, it’s because BIG goals often feel overwhelming or unobtainable.

Daily intentions on the other hand are amazing tools, and weekly and monthly resolutions can also be super helpful because human beings have amazingly short attention spans.

Daily Intentions vs. New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s use one of the most popular new year’s resolutions as an example.  A very large number of people will resolve to lose weight in 2020.  I like to reframe that goal as health improvement through weight reduction, so let’s look at weight reduction as our goal.  

Example Woman wants to reduce her body weight by 40 pounds. 
If she simply uses “I am going to lose 40 pounds” as the New Year’s resolution, statistics suggest that she has an 8% chance of success.  Anyone who has tried to reduce their body weight knows how much effort it can take to drop just 5 pounds.  The full goal can be too big and too non-specific to provide the motivation required over the long term.  If losing 40 pounds is the goal, then seeing that first two or three pounds fall away seems insignificant, when really it’s a HUGE big deal that can be celebrated as the first milestone, and used as a foundation upon which the rest of the goal can be built!

If, on the other hand, Example Woman sets a goal to lose two pounds this week, and supports that goal with daily intentions that align to that goal, her chances of success grow exponentially.  For example, her daily intention might be to avoid desserts and move her body for 20 minutes every day.  Or maybe she chooses to focus her intention on walking 12,000 steps each day, and eating a healthy green salad with dinner instead of buttery potatoes or french fries.  Maybe she’ll choose to simply stop snacking after dinner for 6 nights this week and give up sugary drinks.  Each of these small goals aligns with the bigger, overall goal, and each of them is easier to focus on, and easier to achieve.

Example Woman has three possible outcomes:
1) She reached her goal and has a foundation of success and confidence to motivate her forward. 
2) She achieved partial success and can make small adjustments to do more of what worked and resonated for her, while doing less of what she didn’t enjoy or didn’t seem as effective. 
3) She made no movement toward her goal in which case it is obvious that what she did this week didn’t create the results she wants, so she can adjust the plan to try something different next week.

This process allows more space to review what is being achieved, which pieces of the process are creating the results we crave, which pieces of the process we enjoy (and therefore will be more likely to continue), and which pieces we do not enjoy (and therefore may want to find a different perspective from which to view it, or a different way to approach it entirely.)

Every time we reach that small daily or weekly goal, we’re building confidence in ourselves and our ability to create what we want to create.  Every time we stick to our intentions, even when we don’t feel like it, we build confidence that we can depend on ourselves.  We create the evidence that we always follow through, that we will do something when we say we will.  Our self-esteem grows as we walk our talk and reach our goal.

You know that picture you have in your mind of you standing at whatever finish line you aspire to?  The picture you imagine of you living the results you want to live – whether it’s a novel you are writing and want to publish, or the optimally-functioning, healthy body you are creating & maintaining, or that new language in which you wish to be fluent. You CRUSHING it. You thriving and prospering and happy. Yes, THAT picture.  Take a minute and really SEE it in your mind.  Allow yourself to feel the emotions that will flood you in that moment of triumph. 

The difference between living that picture and having it remain an unfulfilled dream is in how we map our route to get there. For most of us, taking a million baby steps will get us to the BIG goal faster than trying to arrive in one or two giant leaps. 

When  Example Woman reaches her goal of eating a salad daily and increasing her activity level, she can count herself successful even if the number on the scale hasn’t changed yet!  There are myriad factors that contribute to health improvements and weight reduction and they are NOT the same for everyone, so if the goal is to change that number on the scale, and that’s the only marker being used, it can be REALLY frustrating for Example Woman “A” if Example Woman “B” is doing the same things but getting different results just because of her genetics, or the part of her cycle she’s in, or the amount of water she is drinking.

Let the weekly goals be specific and achievable.  We get bonus points if we can make them specific, achievable and FUN! Thinking that physical activity needs to be unenjoyable is a very limiting belief! Open your mind to the infinite possibilities available to us! Make a resolution to try one new activity this week that engages your body.

So ditch the year-long resolutions in favor of short-distance goals paired with daily intentions that support those. You’ve GOT this.  I believe in you.  If I can improve my life one step at a time, anyone can do it.  I believe in us!

Grow on!

What is ONE healthy new habit that you could start doing each day?
(twenty minute walk, more leafy greens, drink water every hour, floss twice, positive affirmations, meditation, the list is endless)
What will change for you when this new activity is a habit?   
What is one habit you could quit today that would have the biggest impact on your health and well-being?

(using tobacco, drinking soda, eating sugar, being sedentary, drinking alcohol, and nail biting are a few that yield quick benefits when released)
What will change for you without this habit?
How much money will you save?

Fear vs. Faith

Before electric lights and heaters, the long, cold dark of winter practically knit itself into endlessness at winter solstice.  People had to face the dark with fear or with faith.  Winter holy days began being celebrated to bolster our faith in the darkest part of the year, and celebrate the return of the light.  This holiday season, celebrate the return of lightness to your heart!

Fear and faith cannot exist at the same moment because one supplants the other.  So which one do you choose on the regular?

Whichever one you have practiced becomes the vibration that comes naturally.  One reason people seek a life coach is because they have been living in a vibration of fear for the most part, and are ready to trade that vibration for one that feels better.  Worry, doubt, judgement, overwhelm, anxiety, perfectionism, control issues, resentment.  All of these stem from fear.  

I am NOT saying that there is anything wrong with these feelings.  All of them are completely normal for human beings.  What I am saying is that when people experience more of these fear-based emotions than faith-based emotions, it feels pretty crummy.  Some people decide they WANT to feel better than crummy.  Some people get overwhelmed by the slew of negative emotions that keep attracting more fear-based thoughts that bring more icky-feeling emotions.

It is NOT my job (nor my desire) as a coach to tell people that they shouldn’t be having these emotions – quite the contrary!  Emotions are our internal guidance system like our GPS and exist to give us a signal.  All emotions are valid human experiences.  No emotion is “bad.”  It is simply a signal.  Emotions signal to us how we are thinking.  When we think thoughts that do not serve us, and drain our energy – we get a signal in the form of negative emotion.  The signal simply says, “you are having thoughts that drain your energy.”  What a person chooses to DO with that signal (emotion) is completely up to them.

Some people beat themselves up for experiencing negative emotions because they have gotten the idea somehow that negative emotions are bad, and by extension, they are bad for having them.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

You are not your emotions. 

If you feel angry about something – NORMAL!  If you feel sad about something – NORMAL!  As a life coach, I never try to talk anyone out of experiencing an emotion.  I’m not asking clients to act happy when they do not feel happy.  Coaching is not about ignoring bad-feeling emotions or squashing them down, or sweeping them under the rug, or pretending you don’t have them. Own your emotions!  If you feel sad, it’s totally fine (and healthy) to admit it.  Say it out loud.  “I feel sad.” “I feel angry.”  If you are a human being, then it’s understandable that you WILL experience these emotions sometimes.

The emotions that come up for a person are the emotions that come up.  We cannot control our emotions.  But it is incredibly important to learn how to MANAGE our emotions if we want to exist with other human beings who also have emotions.  Again, this does NOT mean denying the emotion or burying it so as not to ruffle someone’s feathers, because THEIR emotions are THEIR job to manage, and NOT your responsibility.

Managing our emotions means that we allow ourselves to feel the emotion, but we don’t allow our emotions to define us or to spill over onto others.  For example: Experiencing sadness is completely normal & healthy for humans.  Being sad, or becoming sadness, or letting sadness “be” who you are is not normal & healthy.  If someone gets to a point where they feel sadness is a defining characteristic of their life, it will be very helpful to explore this with a therapist or counselor.

Letting the emotions spill over onto others is also a sign that the emotion is taking over, and not being managed.  In other words feeling angry is a normal part of life.  Yelling at others because you feel angry is not.  It means the anger is controlling you, and not the other way round. Again, it will be very helpful to explore this with a therapist or counselor.

Now, some people are going to think that it’s OK to yell at someone if they “made me angry.”  While it may appear that way on the surface, that’s not really what happened.  

When someone says or does something, that something is NOT causing your anger.  The “something” is neutral until you assign it meaning.  And here’s the really cool thing – you can assign any meaning you want!  The way that we assign meaning is by telling ourselves a story about the “something.”  

For example: You spot a friend on a busy street and wave.  You are sure she saw you but she did not wave back.

What does this mean?  Nothing.  But usually the mind will create a story to give it meaning.  And the type of meaning assigned is going to be based on the kinds of thoughts you think on a regular basis.  

If someone tends to have a lot of negative (fear-based) thoughts about others, or (fear-based) thoughts of inadequacy about themselves, the story the mind tells might be something like one of these: “Well she was rude!  How dare she ignore me!” “I know she saw me, why didn’t she wave?  Maybe she’s not really my friend or maybe she heard about what happened the other day!” “What if she doesn’t like me anymore?”  “Well she’s obviously not my friend.  I guess I can delete her number.”

If someone tends toward more positive (faith-based) thoughts, the story the mind tells might be something more like one of these: “Wow she must have been really distracted to not even see me here!”  “We’ll have a good laugh next time we talk when I tell her I saw her but she didn’t see me!”  

Nothing has meaning until the human brain attaches a story to it, so pick your stories wisely so instead of depleting your energy, and leaving you full of fear or worry, they add value to your life & build your faith!

Fear-based thoughts drain energy.  Faith-based thoughts boost your energy, or at least don’t diminish your energy.  And you get to choose!  If you tend toward a habit of fear-based thinking, you may find your energy depleted a LOT. 

It takes practice to retrain your brain, but reclaiming your energy is worth the try!

Grow on!

What fear-based thoughts are you entertaining?
How do they affect your energy?
What faith-based thoughts come easily?
What affect do these have on your energy?
What will change for you when you shift to more faith-based thinking?

I have NO control!

You know what I am talking about.  MOST of us have said, “When it comes to XYZ, I have NO self control!” Or, “I can NOT resist XYZ!” (XYZ = your drug of choice)

XYZ is that THING that you won’t resist because it is simply too tempting, too delicious, too delightful to be missed!  And with the holidays arriving, most of those temptations spawn myriad opportunities to succumb to our desires in the guise of celebrating
the season, or reducing seasonal stress.

What is it for you?  For many MANY people it is sugar.  For some it’s alcohol, or pizza, gambling, or shopping.

But let’s be clear.  What we are truly saying is that ‘something external has power over me.’  We are handing our power willingly to XYZ.  WHY do we hand our power away willingly?  

Because it’s an excuse to do what we want to do anyway!

Period. In any other situation we fight to keep our power and stay in control.  We don’t like being told we ‘have-to’ do something, and we resist being forced into anything. Unless we want to do something
and need an excuse to shift blame away from ourselves.

Giving away power is an energy drain by itself (power=energy).  Compound that with the fact that giving in to XYZ often makes us feel guilty (another energy drain) for not sticking to our intentions, and that XYZ is often something that depletes energy all by itself (like sugar, dairy or booze), and you can see why believing that you have no control DEPLETES our energy exponentially.

So, if we want to stay energized, it’s KEY to understand that we ARE in control, always.  The choice is always ours.  (Unless we are truly powerless in which case it’s important to consider treatment for addiction or compulsion.) We are either choosing to align with our intentions and keep our energy intact, or we are choosing to abandon our intentions for XYZ, which leaves us exhausted and depleted.

The choice is always ours.

Strike a power pose and confidently align with your healthy intentions!

The word ‘resist’ is tricky, too. 

We cannot resist anything because to resist it we must be focused on it.  We want to distract or realign our focus rather than resist.  When distracted from XYZ, we don’t have to ‘resist’ anything, because we have chosen to focus elsewhere.

Instead of saying, “I can’t resist free candy,” how possible is it to reframe that thought so it focuses your energy on something you do want?

“I choose to eat healthy snacks like apples and dates because they align with my powerful intention to regain my vibrant health!”  That feels pretty powerful to me.

Maybe you prefer something simpler, “I eat only the foods on this list,” and then create a list of foods you LOVE that align with your health goals.

Self Nourishment through the Holiday Season

Whatever you celebrate, this time of year brings stress to millions, and millions of us turn to food for comfort in times of stress. My friend, Michelle Dwyer is hosting this fabulous event to help you nourish yourself this season instead of the old cycle of indulging and then beating ourselves up for it.

Grow on!

What is it that you have been telling yourself you cannot resist?
What will change in your life when you choose a different thought?
What new thought resonates for you?
How will you choose to show up for yourself when you feel stressed this season?
If you change a behavior you have been refusing to change, what other changes will you feel inspired to make?
Who else will your new choices impact or inspire?

Everyday Giving

“Every time you come from a place of, “I need to get X” today,  flip that impulse around and make it about giving.”

“For example, if you realize you’re out of toothpaste, instead of focusing on getting some, focus on giving the drugstore your business; on giving the employees a smile and a hearty “thank ye mucho!”; giving thanks that you have the money, bodily ability, and transportation to make the dental adventure happen; on giving your teeth the love and attention they deserve, etc.”

“Do this all day with everything and take note of how that flip
shifts your energy, your focus, and your results.”

I super, uber-love that quote from Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass Every Day!  Go back and read it again.  Go on, I’ll wait here.

I read it often and love the way it feels when I let it seep into my bones!

When I was a kid and people told me it was better to give than receive, I thought they were NUTS!  As far as I was concerned nothing beat tearing the wrapping paper off a gift!  

And don’t get me wrong, to this day receiving a thoughtful gift that conveys the message that the giver knows you – REALLY knows what makes you smile and goes to the trouble to get that for you – is a great joy that uplifts my heart tremendously, splendiferously, fully and completely! 

But that joy is tiny when compared to giving a gift that lets the recipient know that you see them, you know what makes them smile and went to the effort to make that smile happen.  My kids are grown now, but when they were little, I remember the sheer bliss as I watched them open gifts on Christmas.  I still try to get them each one thing that lights up they’re face because seeing them light up feeds my soul.

So when I read the Jen Sincero quote above, it really struck a nerve.  What if I can bring that feeling of giving to every aspect of my life?  How cool would that feel?!  And my next thought was “I want my whole life to feel like giving!”

So now I try to embody this idea.  

And I say “try,” Master Yoda, because sometimes I DO, and sometimes I just forget and fall back into the habit of going after and getting what I need.  This is the familiar vibration most of us have known since growing to adulthood got us user-focused on the need to GET enough money to pay our bills.  It’s a process. 

Developing the vibration of a ‘getting’ mindset took decades.  Allow yourself at least a month to practice the giving mindset described by Jen Sincero, and see what feels different for you.  What BETTER time to practice than from Thanksgiving Day until the new calendar begins?

I want to get new clients, so I focus on giving people my attention and listening skills.  I focus on what they are wanting or needing and which parts of that are within my power to give, or which parts I can at least give them resources for that can help them move in the direction they desire.

I give hints and tips about how I am navigating life’s waters in the hopes that people take comfort that they are not alone in their story, or that they find ways to overcome whatever may be weighing them down or holding them back.  

When I want to get something, I give something first.

I need to get information?  I give curiosity and kindness to those who may have it.  I need to get groceries?  I give a cheerful greeting to all that I meet and lend a hand to a vertically challenged person that wants to buy something on the top shelf.  I need to get car repairs? 
I give my mechanic and his staff my friendly attitude, my money, and referrals!

Grow on!

What do you most need to get right now? 
How can you think about that from a perspective of giving?
What will change for you when you shift from a mindset of getting to giving? 

Overcome the Overwhelm

Feeling overwhelmed? You’re NOT alone!

Most humans (and I would venture to guess ALL parents) feel overwhelmed at least some of the time, and especially during the holidays.  But what is overwhelm?  The dictionary defines it as “bury or drown beneath a huge mass.”  When most of us talk about feeling overwhelmed, we are not literally being buried or drowned beneath a huge mass, but the thoughts we think about our to-do list make it feel like we are.  So it’s our thoughts that make us feel overwhelmed.

The cool thing is that once we realize how we think about and prioritize our never-ending to-do lists, we can release MOST, if not all, of what people define as overwhelm.

Infinity and Beyond

Remember – We are eternal beings, so we can never get it “done.” 
You can stop stressing that you never get to the end of your to-do list.  You never will.  No one does.  Don’t let them tell you they do.  

It helps to remember your WHY.

Analyze each item on your list and ask, “Why do I choose to do this?”

You are at choice and you CHOSE to put those things on your to-do list.  If an item feels like it’s being imposed on your list, ask yourself WHY you are allowing it to be imposed.  Maybe you love someone that needs you to do it, or maybe it just has to get done.  Why does it have to get done?  So the bills get paid.  So the kids get an education.  So the relationship feels secure.  There is a WHY for every item on the list.

If you can remember why you want to do it, it won’t drain your energy like it does when you think you have no choice.  No one wants to feel they’re being forced to do anything, and that feeling of powerlessness drains our energy.  Any time we feel we “have to” (should) do something, or “need to” do something, it drains our energy.

Change your thoughts.

If you resent or dread doing an item on your list, you have at least three choices.  You can decide it does not really need doing and just ditch it.  You can delegate it to someone else.  Or you can change the way you think about it so it won’t drain your energy.

For example, if an item on your list is to dust and vacuum the house.  Why are you doing that?  Do you feel like you “should” because you have guests coming to dinner?  Does it need doing because the house is dirty?  Does someone else want it done?  Do you choose to do it because having a tidy home lifts your energy?

When we feel we “should” do something it’s usually because we fear others will judge us if we don’t do it.  We could choose this if we wanted to, but we do it because we will feel shame (around what others think) if we do not do it.  THAT drains the energy right out of your toes! Doesn’t it?

Needing to do it is not as draining as having to do it, but it still drains us.  There is a reason for it to get done (the house is dirty) but I still feel at the effect of circumstances, instead of in control of my choices.

Does that resonate for you? 
Don’t take my word for it, check in with your gut.  

Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do because it needed to be done?  Of course!  We all have.  We all know someone that works a job they don’t love because they need the paycheck.  Talk about energy draining.  If we are doing anything because we feel we have to, or need to, just adding it to our list drains our energy before we ever take action.

Don’t you feel most inclined to do it cheerfully when you are choosing to do it?  It seems like a quick easy chore that lifts our energy for our effort!  I like a tidy environment.  I feel most clear, focused and creative in a tidy, organized space.  It takes 10-15 minutes to do the dusting and run the vacuum, and then I FEEL BETTER!  

Yes!  And I have energy to spare on whatever I love to do!

Speaking of what you love to do…

Most importantly, how many items on your list answer the “why” question with “for the fun of it” or “because I enjoy it”?

If the answer to that is zero, don’t feel bad!  You’re not alone on this point by any stretch of the imagination.  Most of us tend to let go of what we want to do in favor of the ‘have-to-do’ and ‘need-to-do’ items. 

Why? Because many of us were taught that doing what we WANT before what we SHOULD makes us selfish.  It does not make us selfish!  It makes us happy.  It makes us resilient.  It makes us creative and thoughtful, and it energizes our lives.

Add something to the to-do list right now simply for the pleasure it brings.  Do something you love daily and just WATCH the difference it makes in your energy level!  At least add something once a week that you do just for the joy of it.

It can be anything you love.  Read a book.  Soak in a long hot bath.  Go to the movies and book dinner at a fine restaurant.   Avoid movies and restaurants so you can afford to travel.  Pick up that yoga practice you put down.  Write that book you’ve always wanted to write.  Go dancing once a week.  Create a three-minute dance party in your living room every day.

Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, add it to your calendar now. Make time for it. Make time for you, and there will be more time and energy for the to-do list!

Grow on!

Look at your “to-do” list and ask yourself, “Why do I choose to do this?”
Which items on your list can be ditched?
Which items on your list can be delegated? 
Name one activity that you enjoy tremendously that you have not done in a long time?
What is one activity that LIFTS your energy every time you do it?
How can you fit those activities into your schedule?
Why is it important for you to choose something just for the joy it brings?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I hope this post helps you shift your thoughts enough to relieve some of that stress.  If not, consider hiring a coach to help you shift your energy from exhausted to energized!

I offer a FREE session to anyone considering hiring a coach, so we can discuss the ways that coaching can help, and see if partnering together would be of benefit for your situation.  If I am not the right fit for your coaching needs, I have a list of AMAZING certified coaches at this link.