The Risky Business of Change

We find comfort in a routine. So why do some people feel the need for a change? And is this a positive or negative? Who will be affected by the change? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. What change are you looking for? Personal? Professional? To get you out of a rut? To bring yourself into a safer or better environment? As you can see, change is not just black and white. There are shades of gray.

Whatever your reason, a change can be filled with adrenaline and uncertainty. Change can bring about self-reflection, self-doubt, and personal development. Change can also be very rewarding. Change can lead you to new and exciting experiences.

But, what about that routine you are clinging to? Do you really want to shake up your career? Do you wonder if your environment could be worse so you stay with what you know? The reality is, change will happen whether we like it or not. Your job will morph into new tasks and assignments. Your children will grow and leave home. Your body will tell you it isn’t the same as it was twenty years ago. The change will happen.

Little changes or baby steps are great for tackling goals that make us timid. Smaller goals are less overwhelming. Learn as much as you can so your decision process is supported by what you already know. Then take a step and keep looking forward.

Take your time. Unless there is a good reason to rush, enjoy the journey. Make sure you are good with your decisions even if they are uncomfortable. You are likely to have mixed feelings at some point. Even if the change is a positive one, there may be consequences.

To keep change from being a negative task, keep it positive by looking for the joy in it. What has been good? Take a minute to reflect in a journal, sketch a doodle, track your progress and your thoughts about how it’s going.

Once you have committed to your change, keeping it up may be more difficult than you expect. The 21/90 rule of building habits says that if you commit to a goal for three weeks, or 21 days your goal will now be a habit. Continue the habit for the next 90 days to make that change a permanent one.

In the book Atomic Habits, author James Clear offers a framework for helping you make changes. He also notes that if you are having trouble making a change, the reason might be the method you are using. The math of even a small change looks like this:

1% BETTER EVERY DAY

1% worse every day for one year. 0.99(365) = 00.03 1% better every day for one year. 1.01%(365) = 37.78

-James Clear

Don’t let the fear of change keep you from becoming the person you want to be. Take the risk. Don’t hide from it. Don’t rush it. Embrace the change. Be 37 times better in just one year!

You can attain your goal. If you need help where to begin, contact me to schedule your consultation.

References:

https://www.bustle.com/articles/77336-why-the-things-were-most-afraid-of-are-actually-the-thing s-we-want-the-most

https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2015/03/12/10-reasons-why-change-is-important-for-personal-develo pment

https://medium.com/achology/the-six-stage-process-of-inter-personal-change-c137bc8603e https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/personal-change-management.html https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inside-out/201308/6-steps-personal-change https://www.capespace.com/how-the-21-90-rule-helps-you-build-good-habits-and-a-better-life/

https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-Proven-Build-Break-ebook/dp/B07D23CFGR/ref=sr_1_ 9?dchild=1&keywords=personal+development+and+change+in+books&qid=1620757394&sr=8- 9

Meeting the Best Version of You

“Most people live- whether physically, intellectually, or morally- in a very

restricted circle of their potential self. We all have reservoirs of life to draw

upon of which we do not dream.”

How many of us find ourselves in a rut time and again; struggling to pull

ourselves out? My hand’s raised! Riddled with anxiety, doubts, fear, and

feeling lost in all this madness. You know- what if we’ve got everything

wrong? What if our very definition of happiness and success is faulty and

we’re somehow missing the whole point of life?! Allow me to share 5

simple, yet groundbreaking practices I embraced that changed my life- and

surely will change yours too!

1) Get to the Root!

Most of us deal with our problems at a symptomatic level, perhaps

because getting to the bottom of them is harder. So we give into smoking,

drinking, slacking, binging, and what not- all instantaneous pleasures

that ultimately create an ever deeper void. And we all KNOW that,

don’t we? So why not take the plunge once and for all? Start living

mindfully and be honest with yourself. Is it a relationship that needs to

be worked on? Is it a job that you wish to leave? Is it a past trauma

that needs addressing? Get RAW and REAL. Trust me, it’s only the leap

that seems daunting- but it saves you a ton of useless anxiety and

stress that will creep up back into your life the more you avoid it. You

don’t need to see the entire ladder, just take that first step!

2) Seize the Day

Here’s where we all mess up bad! Seeing ‘Happiness’ as a

‘Destination’. I’ll be happy when I get that new house. I’ll be happy

when I finally get into that body shape, etc. We’re never really

living the present moment for what it is because we’re so caught up

in a so-called “perfect” future scenario. Switching off this mentality is

HUGE! Value your time as your most precious currency and build

gratitude for ‘what is. Not ‘what will be’. Savor each bite of that

delicious meal, engage in deep and meaningful conversations with

your loved ones, and cherish even the little things that make your soul

happy!

3) Channel Main Character Energy

This phrase is all the buzz with Gen Z these days, guys! Being the Main

Character means believing that YOU are the main protagonist in your

life. This is YOUR story. Now, this doesn’t mean you start overromanticizing

life or become all narcissistic- Nope. None of that. In

fact, it helps to see the ‘silver lining’ in even the most mundane of

things in your life. Thinking of yourself as the hero of the film means

that whether you’re in a rough patch or doing great it’s all part of the

plan and things WILL work out for you eventually! It’s appreciating the

beauty of every moment and soaking it in You’re as special as anyone

else, and your unique self is your SUPERPOWER!

4) Welcome the Unknown

How many of us are slaves of fixed routines, going about the same

schedule every day- and then complaining how life just isn’t as fun?

Why not take a cue from your younger self? Our carefree, child-like

wonder and curiosity are what made us so happy when we were kids. As

we get older, that spark somehow fizzles out and we just “accept” the

humdrum, dull rhythm of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Step

out of your comfort zone and join that workshop that you’ve been

wanting to. Take that trip. Sign up for that class. Do it NOW. It’s never

too late to learn new things and discover unknown facets of ourselves

along the way!

5) Connect More

You know the secret to happiness is pretty simple- ‘It grows greater

when shared’. Gandhi said that the best way to FIND yourself is to

LOSE yourself in the service of others. You might find success, fame,

money- but none of it means much unless you have someone to share

it with. Remember- Your passion in life is for you, but your purpose is

for others. That’s the secret to living a life of true meaning and

fulfillment. To connect more, help others, share your joy, and spread

the love!

“People aren’t really looking for the meaning of life as much as they

are looking for the experience of being alive!”- Joseph Campbell

Spring Cleaning to Declutter Your Mind

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.”

When it comes to spring cleaning- simply dusting off those cobwebs from the corner of your room or re-organizing your space isn’t magically going to make your life better! The first step in crafting the life you want is by getting rid of EVERYTHING you don’t. Just like the land awakening marked by spring- decluttering your mind to start afresh with a broader, new perspective on life is something we all could use, right?! So let’s go ahead and break down ‘5 key Things to Throw out for a Joyful Life.”

1.Comparison

Comparison has been rightly recognized as ‘the thief of joy as it literally robs us of our peace and content. Especially, the glitz of those fancy social media posts can easily make our lives feel lackluster indeed! But what we often tend to forget is that we constantly compare our ‘behind the scenes with someone’s ‘highlight reel.’ Fears and insecurities are universal- but shifting our perspective can change our outlook on life. Filter your feed to follow realistic and uplifting content, practice gratitude for a bird’s eye view on life, and redefine what success means to you personally. When dealing with such things, our greatest weapon is to simply choose one thought over another!

2. Quit the Negative Self Talk

If we were to listen more to our ‘inner genius’ and not our ‘inner critic’- we’d be far ahead in life! We need to realize that the annoying voice in our heads that constantly berates and belittles us is, after all, under our own authority. The minute we acknowledge that the power of running this internal dialogue is our own creation- we can mindfully manipulate our emotions and change the narrative altogether. Negative self-talk can be a tough habit to lose, but we can use a simple technique of ‘spot, stop, swap’ to unlearn this conditioned behavior. Journal about your thoughts, recognize a pattern, stop the dialogue, talk back to that voice, and then replace it with a positive self-affirmation. Go ahead and praise yourself loudly, pat yourself on the back, and let your inner cheerleader take the lead!

3. Remove Perfectionism

When our end goal becomes perfectionism and not progress- we’ve fallen off track. You see, striving for an ‘all or nothing attitude can be tiring, career sabotaging, and significantly limiting behavior. It can make us procrastinate further, depressed, cranky, and overall unproductive.

Adjust the expectations of your goals to give yourself the permission to enjoy the present. By practicing self-love and compassion, one can start accepting failures as a part of life without being overwhelmed by them. Swap ‘Why is this happening to me?’ with ‘What is this trying to teach me?” Everything isn’t about the outcome or the destination- it’s the journey that counts the most!

4.Stop Pleasing People

Your personal worth and happiness need to come from within first- external validation is secondary. Prioritize your ‘me time’, set boundaries, learn to say no to people, and honor your time and energy. You deserve your own love and compassion more than anyone else! You could be the juiciest peach in the world, and yet there will always be that one person who dislikes peaches.’ So quit filling in that void with how you perceive yourself through others, and instead invest in yourself. Strive to be kind and helpful, but WITHOUT doing a disservice to yourself. After all, there isn’t any point in pouring out of an empty cup, now is there?!

5. Drop the grudge

Holding a grudge is like letting someone live rent-free in your head! It’s such an unnecessary weight we burden ourselves with- when instead, clarity and forgiveness can tremendously help liberate us. It’s okay to feel hurt, but not to let that feeling define us. Process the emotion in your own way- journal about it, talk to someone, take therapy- Feel it. And then Free it. You don’t have to forgive the person for what they did, but for your own peace of mind. This is about you, not them.

Grudges don’t make us stronger, just bitter. Likewise- forgiveness doesn’t make us weaker but sets us free. Remember that we cannot always avoid the wave, but we can definitely learn to surf! & isn’t that the whole idea?!

Decluttering our minds from unwanted weeds is like embracing the nature of the ocean. Sure there might be waves that come and go and ripple the surface-but underneath, the sea always remains calm. For some, dropping these habits may be difficult to do alone. Consider having a friend hold you accountable, or seeing a therapist or life coach. An accountability partner can keep you on track and change your self-limiting beliefs for good.

 

Students are more than just a letter grade

In a time when we are seeing an all time high in rates of anxiety and depression among adolescents and teens, what can you do to help make the school year less stressful? It’s important to recognize that there is more to a well adjusted student than just high marks and achievements. Yet in a system that seems to be focused on high test scores, celebrates publicly students who make the honor roll and social media splashing “perfect” promposals, how do you let your child know that they matter too?

Don’t get me wrong. Academic achievement is great and those students who earn all A’s absolutely deserve recognition. But it’s important that your children know they are more than just a letter grade and your grade point average does not determine your value as a human being. Focusing on the following 4 tips can help you do just that.

Teach your students to have a Positive & Growth mindset                                                                                          Studies have shown that it’s not just your IQ that affect your cognitive performance. Believing you are capable and that you can do it will actually set the stage for you to do your best. So when your kids are saying things like “I am so nervous for my test tomorrow” or “it’s so hard, I just can’t do it” encourage them to change that inner critic. Teach them instead to tell themselves “I’ve got this” and “I have prepared as best I can and whatever grade I get, it is good enough. You can also foster a growth mindset by watching how you praise your children. Instead of saying “you’re so smart” when they bring home test and homework scores, say things like “look how your hard work paid off. I am so proud of your efforts”. This teaches your children that if the take the time to study and problem solve, they can feel good about themselves regardless of the grade.

Focus on Strengths not Weaknesses For some reason we as humans tend to easily latch on to the things that are more negative in our lives than the positive. If someone pays us a compliment we smile and say thank you and the moment is over. But if someone criticizes us, we ruminate about it for days! Likewise, if your students is struggling with a subject or an assignment, it is not uncommon to hear things like “I am terrible at this, I can’t do anything right”! Help them to recognize this generalized catastrophe thinking and point out that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and by focusing on our strengths we can foster better self esteem. You can let them know that there are those few people who learn things very easily and seem to excel in every subject, but they are the exception and not the norm. Everyone has different styles of learning and most students have one or two subjects where they really excel. Have them recognize their strengths in those areas and encourage them to explore how they might consider ways they could build a career around those skills. After all, if we pursue a career in something we are passionate about and that plays to our strengths, we are far more likely to be fulfilled and satisfied adults. Just like there’s more to students than grades, there is more to life than just a high salary. Start setting the pattern now for your children to focus on what they enjoy, what their strengths are and give them permission to recognize that ALL kinds of skills are valuable skills!

Avoid Comparison Comparing ourselves to other people is a trap we all fall into from time to time, and it is a game where you will never be the winner. In our minds, there will ALWAYS be somebody smarter, richer, prettier than us, the list goes on and on. Here’s the thing, there is NO NEED for us to compare. There is enough room in this wide vast world of ours for us all to flourish! And often times when students are comparing themselves to their classmates, they tend to be looking at their (perceived) weaker areas or flaws and holding them up at someone else’s (perceived) “best self”. Help your children recognize that they are living their own life, not the life of their friend or classmate and that THEY have special gifts and talents that are just theirs. It’s important too that your student knows WHATEVER those gifts are, they are valuable! The student who gets straight A’s is not necessarily smarter and their skills are definitely not more important. The world is full of all kinds of learners; dancers, engineers, authors, plumbers, and ALL of those skills are needed by society. So help your child to figure out what they are good at and encourage them to take pride in who they are as individuals.

Let students know that Failure is Normal and Acceptable I think we do an extreme disservice to our children by placing such an emphasis on getting the A, being the best, and pacifying them when something doesn’t go their way. And this is not a shaming session! I was a huge offender of this! But failure and mistakes are NORMAL parts of life and if we don’t create the space for it to happen we are grooming perfectionists who will struggle with anxiety in their adult lives and won’t have skills for dealing with disappointment. In addition, students who are afraid to fail will not learn to take risks, and taking risks is necessary for growth and innovation. So next time your student brings bombs a project, struggles with an assignment, or isn’t voted on to homecoming court, instead of doing everything you can to instantly make them feel better, help them identify their feelings and let them know that even though they are sad and disappointed right now, it will pass and they will be OK. This teaches our children that ALL emotions are normal and healthy and it teaches resilience! Raising a resilient, emotionally intelligent child is a huge gift! And that my friends is far more important and will carry them further in life than ANY letter grade!

From Crisis to Discovery

 

 

I am on a mission! A mission to redefine what I believe to be an old and outdated phrase with a new, more positive one that reflects what I think is really going on. Have you ever wondered why it’s called a mid-life crisis? When I hear that phrase I picture an older man leaving his wife, buying a red corvette and picking up a 22 year old blonde bombshell as his new companion. But in real-life, how many people do you know that have actually done that? Now, I am not claiming there aren’t any. I’m sure that does happen, and with the roles reversed too, older woman leaving spouse for younger man. But I think  more often than not, what is actually happening when a lot of us hit our later 40’s and early 50’s is this: The kids have finally left the house, which means life has naturally slowed down a bit, and we are left wondering, “what the heck now?” Read on to learn why I believe we can throw mid-life crisis out the window and embrace the mid-life discovery!

The Early Days: You know, that time when you are in your 20’s, still dreaming and planning your future, and some of us already working hard to make it happen. At this point in your life you have endless energy, very few responsibilities other than to yourself, and although I am not suggesting there are no struggles or hardships, it’s really a time of possibility, vision, and often times, a lot of fun. Life hasn’t become so routine just yet, and your enthusiasm and curiosity are at their peak!

Young-ish: You’ve been at this gig for a while now. Routine is routine. Your life likely looks something like this. Monday-Friday, wake up, get kids dressed, ready, and off to school, or if you don’t have kids, skip straight to this next part. Work 8-5,maybe 6, then head home for any of the following scenarios: Soccer practice, homework,dinner, cleanup, fall into bed exhausted. Or, workout, shower, dinner, more work, maybe some TV (or truthfully you’re both scrolling through your phones), fall into bed exhausted. On the weekends, it’s clean-up, catch-up, and maybe dinner and drinks with friends. Is this fun? Sure. Is it fabulous? Truth be told, you don’t even know any different. Life gets so busy and you just keep going, just keep doing, until 15-20 years go by and one day you have time to breathe.

Mid-Life Discovery: Notice I did not say crisis here! Here’s the thing, I think it can “feel” like a crisis. You’re a little older, hopefully a little wiser, and you start to find yourself thinking “there has to be more than this”. At this point, I think people start to panic. They feel lost. They realize that they have been so busy being spouse/parent/employee that they don’t even really know who they even are anymore. They realize that their not exactly feeling happy, and that’s scary! Does that mean your marriage is a mess or your job is awful? Not necessarily (although for some people they may find this is the case). Take a deep breath though before you decide to toss it all aside and go buy yourself a sports car! This is just a new opportunity. A new phase of your life. A time when you can REALLY step into who you are and what REALLY matters to you! And if you don’t know? Well what a fun adventure! You are at a point in your life when you don’t have to answer to your parents, if you have children, they are well on their way, and it’s finally YOU TIME! So avert the crisis and deep dive into discovering you! The next few decades are out there waiting!

-next week I will share some tips on how to get started on that deep dive

 

 

The Most Beautiful Gift is Knowing you Have Touched Someone’s Life

This post is a bit lengthy, but if you have a teenager, please read on. I recently received this paper that a teenage client of mine submitted for her personal statement assignment. I cried when I read it. Not just because I was so touched by her words, but also because I am so happy and proud of her for all of the progress she has made. Being of service fills my soul. Coaching is my passion. And she gave me permission to share her story in the hopes that it might help other teenagers that are struggling just like she used to. (I have removed her name for privacy.)

“It’s the effin’ process” bursts out of her mouth every single time I get frustrated. It is her go to line. First and foremost, she is my personal coach, which is very similar to a therapist. However, she is also my role model, and I push myself to be more like her every day. She is spunky, carefree, and incredibly successful. Not only does she encompass all those wonderful characteristics, but she is also creative, helpful, and honest. Her life experiences and coaching abilities can alter people’s lives forever, and I know this from first-hand experience. She changed my life for the better, and I will always be incredibly grateful for our relationship. She is remarkable, and her name is Becky Barror.

I remember the day we met like it was yesterday. My mom and I walked into this “stranger’s” house to have an initial consultation. My hands sweat as I shook her hand and took a seat on her brown, velour couch. She casually told me about her life and how she became a personal coach. Then, she let me talk and talk and talk more as tears dripped down my face as I shared some of the hardships I had faced in the past and present. Now that I look back, it puts the most pure smile on my face. When I started this journey of self-love and personal growth, I was the epitome and definition of broken. Becky saved me from myself, and a simple “thank you” just does not seem like it is enough. I started out keeping all of my emotions and thoughts buried deep inside, and I never would speak my truth. I was horrendous at communicating, but Becky changed that by encouraging me speak my own truth. On top of that, I was also a hypocrite as I thought my way was the right way. I was so set in my ways. I made life impossible and cut the best individuals out of my life. I remember as clear as day that I was constantly worried, and all I wanted was to be safe. However, safe for me meant I was unable to live my life to its fullest potential. To add to being safe, fear consumed me in all aspects of life because I was so afraid of getting hurt.

There came a point in the fall of 2018 when my mom decided she did not care what financial burden might result. She knew I needed someone to guide me through some difficult times. Becky was referred to my mom by her long-time friend. She knew many people who had worked with Becky through different hurdles in life that were thrown their way including changes in jobs, divorce, death, and general well-being. When I had my first official session, she was just too much for me. She was so positive and could rationalize through anything. Over time, she started to grow on me. However, at the time, I did not believe in her strategies. I doubted her. Becky helped me uncover some of my faults. First, I was very judgmental to the point that I hated most people, which makes me sound like a monster. Once Becky started to talk me through this, I began to judge less. She pointed out and helped me realize I needed to work on trust. I have major trust issues that stem back to middle school. It was the faith I lacked, which Freire explained was needed to communicate effectively (Freire, 1968). I came to Becky close-minded but also determined to work, especially since my parents were willing to pay for me to seek the help I desperately needed. I was so stubborn, so it took a special person to help me change. With her ways, she’s changed me to be open-minded about everything and anything. Last summer I had no drive to take action, but with Becky’s guidance, I now act on what I say. I started out silent and non-existent, which is long gone.

As time went on, I was stuck as an individual. I cried every time I had a session with her, and I thought that defined me as weak. However, Becky made me realize the opposite; it was just emotions. While working through my struggle, she made me reflect on the truths I believe. When putting action and reflection together, like Paulo Freire said to do in the “Pedagogy Of The Oppressed,” I started to view things differently, and it changed my outlooks on certain ideas. Continuous reflection has changed how I see the world as a whole (Freire, 1968). I took and still take advice from Becky like it is the rule book of life. She has pointed out all of the lies I have made up about myself, others, and situations. She made me realize lies I did not even know I was telling myself. Then, I slowly started to accept myself and others once I started affirmations, journaling, and working out. Together, Becky and I have built mutual trust, but that is one of very few relationships that I have faith in. I am not going to lie, during this period there were times I despised Becky because deep down I knew she was right. However, the things she was telling me I did not like to hear. To explain myself a little bit, I am the definition of humble, but in a bad way. I always would put others first, neglecting myself. Now, Becky has made me see myself as a priority but not that I am better than anyone. This ties to Freire’s thinking on the “true elements of dialogue” under the idea of humility. She made me realize everyone is unique in their own way. During this time, I was single-minded and did not take anyone’s opinion as plausible. I changed my reality. I was a “naive thinker” because I did what people thought I should do. Now, I do what I want to do.

I met with Becky on a regular basis and worked extremely hard to find what was missing in my life. I found my purpose and self-worth. Before, I had no feeling or meaning in my life. Now, I have faith in other people. I try to understand people’s beliefs and values before shooting them down. Because I was closed off, this impacted my relationships. My friends and family would not share their ideas because I did not try to understand them. At one point, I got cut off from my best friend because she was afraid of my judgement. Becky made me step into other people’s shoes, and I realized none of us are “perfect.” I am a perfectionist or should I say was? Becky taught me through proof that no one can be perfect as it is impossible.

Over time, I have become more accepting and less judgmental since I started this relationship. I started out shy and unwilling to be heard. I have not lost myself in this relationship, but I have bettered myself to be who I want to be. My favorite part of my relationship with Becky is the deep conversations we have. While working on my communication, I have become more positive and I see things from different viewpoints. Becky told me that when I love myself, things will fall into place. Boy was she right! I want to believe and trust people, but it frightens me a bit. Therefore, I continue to work on it. Our communication is like no one else’s because of truth and honesty. We now text all the time, and she has opened my eyes to new things like yoga. I have so much trust in Becky, and I can tell her everything because I know she will not judge. I trust her enough to tell her the good, bad, and embarrassing. When Freire explained profound love, he emphasized the need to be open-minded because you cannot communicate if there is fear (Freire, 1968). Also, I have done more critical thinking with Becky than anyone else. We do it constantly, and I truly believe it is what pulled me out of my rut. Happiness is now abundant in my life, and I truly believe like Waldinger said that effective communication does make a person more happy and fulfilled (Waldinger, 2015).

Today, the “effin’ process” continues, and every day, I make the slightest bit of progress. If this process were a math problem and I added up all of the little bits of growth from the first time I met Becky, the outcome would be staggering. Our relationship has been life changing for me. She has become like a best friend and a second mom to me. When I need her, she will always be there to coach me. I trust her, and I love her. I know my future holds great things for not only me, but also for our relationship.