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You're Not Confused

“Wait, I’m confused…..”

How often have you started a potentially difficult conversation by feigning confusion? It was certainly my default response when I was actually angry and hurt but didn’t have the language to express myself without fear of blowing up the conversation or the relationship. It was also a strategy for buying time in the hopes that I would calm down enough to sweep the whole event, including my negative feelings, under my very full carpet. When we regularly replace the expression of our unwelcome or distressing feelings by feigning confusion, we slowly turn into an emotional version of the boy who cried wolf. No one, including ourselves, will believe us when we are genuinely confused.

I’m in the business of words; relationships and words. I can’t help my clients if I don’t cultivate a deep, intimate and trusting relationship with them. I’m also completely obsessive about words because they are the currency of...

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Body Purpose

Uncategorized Oct 10, 2021

“Mom, do you think you might have an eating disorder?” one of my children, who shall go unnamed, asked with more than a little hesitation.

My immediate reaction was, “Wait, what???” followed by confusion, anger and defensiveness. I have a complicated relationship with diagnoses. I welcome information but not the sense of being defined and limited that can accompany a diagnosis. Although I understand the necessity of giving and receiving it in service of progress and improvement, I have also seen the damage it can cause when we accept it as the final word and make it our resting place.

Human beings are incredibly complex systems and we all fall on a spectrum of physical, mental and emotional well-being. I hesitate to even use the words wellness or illness because short of extreme conditions of illness, most of the rest of us are comparing ourselves to other people whose mental, emotional and physical state we know nothing about.

So when I was asked a question...

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Doing Hard Things

 

What are the one or two questions you are asked most often? It’s worth slowing down to consider, because it says something about who you are, your priorities, and your deepest values. Be warned that this is not an exercise for those who are thin-skinned, take everything personally, and are not actually committed to self-growth.

In my life, two questions come my way regularly. The first one is, “What’s Life Coaching?” and the other is, “Why do you do Ultramarathon races?” For those who are new to the sport, an Ultra is any foot race that is over marathon distance. These events are almost always on trails and require training to overcome a host of physical, mental, and logistical challenges. SkyUltras are distinguished by requiring a minimum of 9800 feet of vertical gain/loss, are generally held at high elevation, and allow poles, crampons and when necessary, hands for scrambling.  

I have a complicated but...

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The Truth About Belonging

What does it mean, “to belong”? This is a question that comes up so often in my work with young adults, and I only wish I could help them understand and actually believe that the rest of us “adults” also struggle with this feeling.

Although intellectually most of us realize we are unique, we continue to search for our own special tribes and communities. The basic human need to belong is so deeply wired in us, that no amount of diversity education can dampen our desire to find a group of people “just like us”. In other words, at the same time, we give lip service to the beauty of being unique and diverse in our expression of humanity, we continue to look for a measure of homogeneity - a desire that has ancient roots.  

Our search for a place, group, and community to belong to, starts early in life. Even those of us who have been fortunate to be raised in families that offer a safe and unquestionable place of belonging will...

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The Gifts of Grief

As an adult, it feels silly to call one person my best friend. Many of us who have a few decades of life under our belts, have made friends in different seasons and appreciate each one of them uniquely, but may not see them as a best friend, as we might have in elementary school.

On Sept 11th of this year, I lost the privilege of seeing, hearing, and laughing with my best friend, Ahmed, the one human being who was closest to me for over 40 years. His extraordinary presence in my life has been replaced, only temporarily I hope, with another friend who follows me quietly through my days.

This friend is grief.

For someone whose vocation is built on the foundation of thought and emotional work, it’s been humbling to learn about a brand new emotion, one wholly unwanted yet so intimate. As a Life Coach, I help my clients gain the awareness and then the courage and skill to sit with their emotions without buffering through the endless number of means available to us. Over...

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5 Reasons for the Quarter Life Crisis

If you’re not yet familiar with the concept of Quarter Life Crisis, you’re not alone. It’s also likely that you are not a Millennial.

As a Professional Coach, a number of my clients are emerging adults. Generally between the ages of 18 and 25, they are facing some very real challenges as they transition from school and living at home to living independently and building careers.

It irks me when I hear the “older” generation (mine) assigning adjectives like lazy, entitled or confused to describe this group of what I know to be generally ambitious, conscientious, and hard working young adults.

To be sure, they are different from us, but no more than we are different from our parents’ generation. One significant and life altering difference is that they are not waiting until mid life to have that all too familiar crisis. They don’t want to wait till 45 to do what they can do at 25;  to ask (and answer) the life-defining questions that are...

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No Advice Please!

communication Sep 02, 2021

“I have no advice for you,” is my most often repeated reply to those who ask.  But isn’t that what a Professional Life Coach is supposed to do?  What do we get in return for our investment of time and energy working with a Coach, if not advice?

 

We are living through an Advice Epidemic.  One scroll through social media and it seems that everyone out there knows “how to” do things and live life more skillfully than you.  You should wake up early, meditate, eat keto, follow this guru, and of course, you should coach with me! Someone out there is living their best life and the proof is their ease with telling the rest of us what we should be doing.  There are so many “shoulds” coming at us at warp speed, it’s no wonder we keep going back for more. 

 

Their advice somehow carries more weight than our own knowledge, practices and life experience because, well, look how happy they are on Instagram!

...

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Filters Are Not Harmless

mindset Aug 26, 2021

I’m going to share a secret with you.  Great Life Coaching is not about helping clients reach their goals.  Setting goals and striving towards them is what I call the “chocolate-covered broccoli” of this work.

Of course, we get clarity on our goals and strive towards them.  More often than not, when working with a capable Professional Coach, we achieve our declared goals.  But that’s not what makes transformational coaching so invaluable.  Most Coaches will tell you that the actual problem or challenge our clients present with, is not the one we need to solve.  The main obstacle, the one that has been getting in the way of their success for years and often decades, is that of feeling they are not enough.

Enough for love, enough for the task, enough for success, and ironically, not even enough for failure.  We don’t go for our dreams and desires because we don’t think we have enough capacity to face failure. ...

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The Gracious No

coaching communication Aug 19, 2021

Last week’s blog, “Freedom As A Life Value”{ Add live link}, included one tiny sentence that invited an inordinate number of questions from readers!  In my list of 6 practices that have collectively allowed me to cultivate the freedom to give more time and attention to the activities and people that matter most to me, #3 was, “Learning the art of the Gracious “No””.

Oprah readily admits that she did not learn how to say “no”, until she was 40 years old, and learning to do so transformed her life.  So many of us equate the word “no” with being rude, unkind, and selfish.  Somewhere along our growth path, we became convinced that good people say “yes”!

For women in particular, we have not had many female role models from whom we might learn how to become skilled at saying “no”, in the multitude of ways that are kind, truthful, and gracious.  More often, we’ve witnessed...

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Freedom As a Life Value

mindset Aug 12, 2021

Last week’s blog, Find Your North Star, elicited a lot of responses and questions from my community.  “How can I find out my top life values?”, was the question most asked. But I also was asked to share my top values and the impact of each in my life.

 

It takes time, attention and brutal honesty to uncover the two values that are true drivers of our actions at any given point in our lives.  Many of us point to our “Show Values”, the ones we would like others to appreciate us for - the ones we wish to cultivate and exhibit more of.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and we are cultivating a number of secondary values that may one day find themselves on our top two list.  But our “Real Values” may be different altogether.

 

To understand our Real rather than Show Values, we must look at our actions - the day-to-day and often moment-to-momentt indicators of what matters most to us.  As an example, if...

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