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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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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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Courage Is A Verb

communication Jul 22, 2021

“Courage” is a word I think about often. Maybe because it’s a word I hear several times a day in my coaching conversations.

 

It’s one of the unique aspects of this work - the work of creating change and transformation - that folks inevitably come to believe courage is a requirement. I certainly thought so, and held back from taking even the smallest step towards change, because I assumed that I was just not a courageous person.

 

I thought courage meant bravery. I thought courage meant taking some big outward action that was impactful and made the world a better place. I thought courage was a badge bestowed upon people like Rosa Parks, NASA astronauts, and Bear Grylls! It’s embarrassing to admit how far I am in both temperament and action from any of these magnificent humans. I’m practically afraid of everything - heights, speed, moths, outer space, jail, rainforests, the ocean… the list is shamefully long.

 

But do outward...

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Don't Go Breaking My Heart

communication Jun 10, 2021

One of my favorite coaches, authors, and all around humans, Jason Goldberg, says this about Professional Coaches, “We are in the PR business - permission and reminders!” Boy, is that true, and one reason I know I will have a Coach by my side for as long as the universe allows me!

 

Kids generally don’t feel the need to ask for permission until adults teach them the concept, and most make it a life requirement. We often take this belief that we need permission from “adults” in our own lives, and feel a measure of shame about it. We feel ashamed because our conscious mind says, “Come on, grow a pair, you’re a big girl now, you don’t need anyone’s permission.” But our subconscious mind, which data shows is the actual driver of our actions, says, “I don’t know if I’m allowed. What if I fail and I’m blamed, humiliated, shamed, etc.?”

 

And we are not wrong.

 

In my work, I’m...

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Is Help a 4 Letter Word?

Growing up and well into adulthood, “How do I make it happen??”, was the question I asked myself most often.  I was raised and also had an inclination to be independent, resourceful and high achieving.  Bars were not set low in my family, and I not only accepted that life view but took it to a higher level because (for whatever reason) what was good enough for others, had to be broken apart and reimagined by me.  Not me and others like me, but me alone.  If I couldn’t achieve, create, or solve something by myself, then it wasn't worth attempting.  It was the tree falling in the forest analogy playing out in my life continuously.  If I didn’t do it all by myself, then do I really deserve any credit for it at all? 

Decades later, David Whyte’s words of wisdom helped me understand the belief that I should be figuring things out entirely on my own, is not unique to me. “Help is strangely something we want to do...

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Is Failure the Opposite of Success?

A dear and wise client of mine, Jo, sent me a text last night with a seemingly simple question.  She asked, “How do you define success?”

I read this text at the end of a day that felt like anything but successful.  I had failed to finish a 50-mile race that I had trained for with great commitment and dedication.   As a Coach who helps clients clarify their singular and unique definition of success and then partner with them in creating a road map to achieving their goals, I know all about this process.  I understand the difference between intention and commitment, as well as the difference between saying what we want and doing the work that is required to make it happen.  But here’s the thing; sometimes it’s just not our day.  Shit happens that is out of our control, and we don’t get what we want (for now).  Is that a failure? I say yes. It’s a failure in that we fell short of our goal. But failure, as...

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Surrender is a Wormhole

I come from a family of high achievers. My work as a Life and Leadership Coach has me in constant conversation with leaders who would proudly carry this label.  But in pushing the borders of exploring what it means to live a happy life, it has become clear to me that being a high achiever is no longer a badge of honor or a marker of life satisfaction.

Achievement by its nature is about doing.  As a Coach, I am committed to helping my clients create sustainable action plans to reach their desired goals.  I also help them stay on the path that has them knowing they are moving in the right direction, no matter how long it takes.  Naturally “doing” is a big part of this work.

Except sometimes “doing” is not what is required at critical moments. For those of us who were raised to be “doers” at any cost, the answer to any dilemma is always “do more”.  But what happens when we hit a wall, and deeply feel - whether...

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Life Coaching is Not Hourly Work

Life Coaching continues to be mystifying to most.  It certainly was to me, until the previous decade of my life.  Folks don’t understand the difference between Coaching and therapy, as well as the myriad of other methods that exist within the space of human potential.  And because Coaching is a fast-growing field with a low barrier to entry, there is an understandable measure of skepticism that it faces.

 

One of my larger life goals is to bring legitimacy to the field of Life Coaching and contribute to the public understanding of this profession as being valid, valuable, and just as necessary as any other profession like law, medicine, or sports.  I do this in two ways - by building a thriving Coaching business that speaks for itself, and by devoting an extraordinary number of my working hours to demonstrating what Coaching is.  Notice I said demonstrating and not speaking about the benefits.  When we try to explain what something is,...

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