Helping kids set goals

and goal setting for parents, too!

Last month I got to spend 10 days traveling around England with my teenage son. It was so great to have that one on one time with him, exploring castles and cathedrals, seeing historical sights and beautiful architecture, and visiting wonderful friends. This trip was my son’s dream come true and I’m going to use it as an example of how to turn a dream into an accomplishment.

Before you start helping your kids’ accomplish their goals, make sure you are a living example. Do you give yourself permission dream? Are you setting goals that inspire you? When we become parents, sometimes our kids’ dreams become our own. Children need to see us creating lives that inspire us, not just living our lives through them.

Whether it’s your dreams, or your kid’s, follow these 6 steps to setting and achieving your goals.

  1. Make sure it’s YOUR goal, aligned with soul’s calling. If your kid sets a goal to get straight A’s, but he’s doing it for you or for his teacher’s approval, it’s not the right goal. If your kid wants to “be rich”, she’ll need to be more specific about when, why and how much. One way to tell if the goal is coming from your essence and not your ego is to ask yourself, “If nobody knew I accomplished this goal, would I still want it?”
  2. Make sure the goal scares you a little. We have an innate drive to grow and expand who we are. Setting and accomplishing goals are important because it helps us become a different, more expanded version of ourselves through the process. When I first suggested to my son that he start saving up to travel to England, he was full of doubts. “It’s too expensive” “I don’t have enough money”, “My volleyball team needs me”, “Dad and sister don’t like museums or historical tours, they’d rather go to a beach resort.” The doubts are a good sign! It means you have to grow! Write down all of them and question their validity. Are they really true? How could you solve these problems? It is a hugely valuable life lesson to learn that just because you think it, doesn’t make it true.
  3. Believe in your ability to accomplish your goal. In my son’s case, family members started giving him travel books, maps of England, advice on where to stay. They asked him when he was going, encouraged him. I bought him England T-shirts and watched travel shows and documentaries with him. He was so surrounded by positive peer pressure that it became hard for him to believe this goal would not happen.
  4. Get specific. What’s the difference between a dream and a goal? NUMBERS. Put a date on the calendar. Find out how much you’ll need to save. (My son paid for his own plane ticket and some spending money). This will trigger more negative thinking, “I’ll wait” “I don’t know” “Maybe I should save for college instead”. Write down your doubts, notice how it detracts you from your goal, and recommit. Accomplishing goals is about commitment, focus and belief. Instead of wavering, start using the word HOW. How can I make more money before June? How can travel during off season without missing school?
  5. Go to your future self for advice. Imagine you have already accomplished your goal. You are yourself a year into the future and you did it! Ask your future self, “how did you make it happen?” “What steps did you take?” “What did you do when you got side-tracked and lost focus?” Have your future self write your action plan for you. What research do you need to do? How much money do you need to make? Who is a good person to share this goal with and who isn’t?
  6. Stretch yourself. Setting goals helps us discover new things about ourselves and benefit from “strategic byproducts” that we couldn’t have imagined before. Your goal might be to lose weight but in the process you find out you are allergic to dairy and you love doing yoga. I had a client “hire me to help with her career, but ended up saving her marriage.” When we do things outside our comfort zone, that feel aligned with who we are meant to be, all sorts of good things can happen. As little sister watched big brother accomplish his goal, now she is saving up to visit her friend and travel through Costa Rica.

I am working to turn my dream into a goal. Saying it out loud was scary at first (another good sign!) but here it is. My goal is to live in Lake Tahoe for a month next summer. If you know anyone who needs a house sitter, let them know I’m flexible on dates!

Want help setting goals turning your dreams into reality? Schedule a free discovery call at www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me

Overcoming the fear of being your authentic self

Okay so I’m freaking out a little bit. Safeway just asked me to advertise my life coaching business on their shopping carts. Me? With my PHOTO!?!? Me? The girl who always sat in the back of the room and never raised her hand. The girl who HATED Halloween because people look at you (no matter what you wear, people still look, it’s a lose-lose!). I made sure I was never too smart or too dumb, too fast or too slow, too shy or too friendly. I found safety in blending in and I LIKED it that way.

But here’s the thing….staying small and invisible started to become boring. I became irritable, restless, itching for something new. We aren’t here to live a comfortable, easy life that looks the same as everyone else. We are here to GROW and growing requires us to overcome our fears, and I had a lot.

A friend of mine came to my “Talking to Kids about Sex” parent ed night last week. (The next Time for The Talk class starts Jan. 21, sign up with your kid today!). She had such a great time she told everyone she knew about it. As a naturally gregarious person with a career in sales, people can’t help but become enthusiastic whenever she talks. HOWEVER, as soon as she started talking about HER business, HER passion, she got quiet. She belongs to a travel club that she loves and wants to get more of her friends to join, but when I ask her about it, she deflects, “Oh, well, it’s just a hobby I do on the side.” I convinced her to give me her pitch me on joining her travel club and she stiffens up and switches to a more formal, less passionate presentation. I ask “Why did you tell more people about MY business this week than YOUR business? Her answer is simple, FEAR.-Do one thing every day that scares you.-

Fear of rejection. Fear of people thinking I’m pushy. Fear of people not liking me. Fear of being different. Fear of being seen for who you really are. When you are trying to be authentically you, you are going to separate yourself from the pack. We are social animals so this fear is natural, but rarely helpful. She could talk about my business because it wasn’t personal or important to her. Overcoming these fears gets easier the more you do it.

The first time I admitted that I “sorta, kinda, wanna be a life coach”, I started crying. I nearly had a panic attack writing my “about me” page on my website and could barely breathe the first few times I pushed “publish” on my blog. I’m so used to fear now it’s turned from a scary lion about to attack to an annoying house cat that pounces on your head once in awhile. When we do things that scare us, we don’t just accomplish our goal, we build a meta-skill that we can use every time fear shows up.

I no longer think putting my face on a shopping cart will endanger my life (I seriously believed it could). I’m sure someone will draw a mustache and boogers on my face but I think I can handle it now. I can’t say I will ever be able to shop with my face staring back at me from my cart, or even shop at that particular Safeway, but overcoming one fear at a time is enough for me.

The best books I have read about overcoming fear are…

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers

 

What can one small change do?

Imagine two different Moms. Both devoted to their kids. After years of intense time and attention poured into creating a great family, they both start to feel a little unsettled. Things they used to enjoy don’t seem as fulfilling. They have a longing for something new, different but they aren’t sure what. One Mom, I’ll call her Eileen, ignores this longing. She has the life she always wanted and doesn’t understand why she isn’t happy. Eileen tries to be grateful for what she has and keeps busy with social obligations. This longing doesn’t go away. She thinks about trying life coaching but she’s embarrassed and feels funny spending money on herself. In order to keep this restlessness under wraps, she suppresses other parts of her personality as well. She figures if she can just keep her kids happy, and do what she’s supposed to do, that’s enough. She starts gaining weight and worries about finances and the future. As the kids grow into teenagers, Eileen constantly criticizes herself for not being able to lose weight. This self criticism and embarrassment drown out the restless feeling. The thought of her kids going off to college gives her anxiety attacks. Without them, her life will be small and she’ll be left alone with her self-critical, anxious mind, not even realizing that it was her, ignoring her inner longing, that created her current unhappy state.

Now let’s take a look at the other Mom, I’ll call Elena. Elena pays attention to this longing inside her. She doesn’t know what to do but she feels an urge to start playing the piano, something she loved to do as a child but stopped. Playing the piano every day gives her the mental space to hear her inner voice more clearly. One day while watching her kids play at the park, a story took hold of her. This story, that seemed to download itself from the clouds into her mind, followed her home. She didn’t know what to do with it. She loved reading books but she wasn’t a writer. Ignoring this story caused the longing inside to get worse. One day, she was so sick of feeling yucky, she committed one hour a week to life coaching sessions. Working with a coach helped her trust the message her inner longing was trying to send her and move past the fear and doubt that it caused. She felt so free, she started running every day, giving herself more time to for this story to take shape. Eventually, the pain of not writing grew stronger than the fear of writing. Elena joined an online writing group and started getting up at 5:30am every morning to write her story. She continued to face her fears of having it published, having people read it, having people reject it. Elena got so good at facing fears, she felt invincible. Her kids watched this journey of Mom following her inner voice, overcoming obstacles and they learned to do the same. When her teens went off to college, they knew their Mom would be fine without them. They were proud and supportive of her, just as she was proud of herself and excited to have even more time to devote to this exciting life she had created.

Little things, over time, have a big effect. Learning to trust your inner guidance, going to bed 30 minutes earlier, cutting out soda, signing up for an art class, listening to Happier or other uplifting podcasts, hiring a life coach are small changes that can have a long lasting effect. As the new year approaches, think about one little change you can COMMIT to. Little changes grow into habits from which bigger changes can emerge. If you try to overhaul your whole life at once, it’s difficult to sustain.

When you get quiet, what do you feel yourself longing for?  It doesn’t have to make sense right away. Some of my clients have mentioned things like “I want to wear a business suit and heals” “I want more time in nature”  “I want to make money”  “I can’t stop watching HGTV”. These are all important things to listen to!

Don’t just go through the motions. CREATE the life your inner guidance is telling you is right for YOU!

Want more clarity on listening to your inner guidance and defining what’s next for you in 2017?  Come to my vision board party on Jan. 16th!

Ready to try life coaching?  I’ve got spots open for 2107. Sign up for your free initial life coaching call by clicking here. 

The only advice you’ll ever need

Lin* was a stay-home Mom of three school aged kids. She worked from sun up to sun down, striving to do her best. Even in the summer, she made sure her kids ate healthy, organic foods, practiced piano, played outside, spoke kindly and read books. Her life was dedicated to being the best Mom she could be. She read parenting books, took parenting classes, and treated motherhood like her career. When one of her kids got a bad grade, she felt like a failure. She thought she would be rewarded for her hard work, but she’s still waiting for the praise and accolades. With no report card or performance review, Lin struggles to know if her hard work is worth the investment.

Schools teach us to look to the outside for information, answers and feedback. We listen to lectures, read books, and internalize information that comes from outside sources. Then, we apply our knowledge on a test or presentation and await feedback to find out whether it was considered valuable. This system is subconsciously training us to rely on external sources for information, answers, wisdom and positive reinforcement.

Danielle* was a hard worker. She put in extra hours at work, was always more than prepared for presentations and was great at follow through. She believed that if she worked hard and did a good job, she would be recognized by her superiors and rewarded. Instead she gets overlooked for promotions and while she is well-liked by her team, she believes her financial compensation is not where it should be.

This week at my Girls Leadership Camp, I’m teaching the value of turning inward for information, accolades, and motivation. Big light bulbs go on when the girls get permission to listen to the answers they’ve had inside all along. Whether we call it gut instincts, inner wisdom, wise guide, or higher self, it is constantly giving us valuable information. When we turn inward for answers, we can tell if we are believing a lie, going outside our comfort zone, operating from our highest self, playing small, hiding, or avoiding. We don’t need praise or rewards, we just need to show up in our lives, and be the person we are meant to be.Dear Future, I'm ready

The only person you need to take advice from, is your future self. Imagine yourself twenty years into the future: What do you look like? Where do you live?  What accomplishments are you proud of?  Ask your future self any question you have, like: Should I ask for a raise?  Quit my job? Put my kids in private school?  What should I eat? What kind of exercise should I do? Should we move?  You won’t believe the wisdom your future self can offer you, once you build a relationship with her.

Danielle’s future self told her it was time to stop trying to downplay and minimize her efforts, and start believing in her value to the company. She got better at owning her accomplishments in front of her superiors, practiced self-confidence, and got the promotion and praise she deserved.

Lin’s future self reminded her that she loved being a stay-home Mom. That she wasn’t choosing this life to create perfect kids, but because she enjoyed it. When Lin switched her focus to having the most fun possible, her kids relaxed, the stress level went down and everyone felt permission to pursue the interests they loved the most.

What advice would your future self give you today?

How to make your dreams come true

Launching Girl LeadersI just had a dream come true. A group of amazingly wonderful women gave me their time, money and attention for three days to teach them how to use my Girls Leadership curriculum. This workshop I call Launching Girl Leaders, was held in Austin, Texas a fun city where folks from all over the country came who share my passion for teaching social & emotional leadership skills to girls. I feel so blessed, so proud of myself, but also kind of amazed that I actually pulled this off.

When I started life coach training, there were a lot of questions like “What would you dream if you knew you could not fail?” or “What would you do with your life if no one was watching” and “Name your top 5 wildly improbable goals.” I had a really hard time with this. I wasn’t a “dream big” kinda gal. As I broke through some of these mental blocks, my hearts desire seemed to center around teaching classes to other women and girls, traveling to speak, and one that felt really bold to me was “being paid to travel”. I know these may not be your dreams, but since I’m sitting in the Austin airport reflecting, I figure I’ll write down how I made my dream come true so that I’ll remember for next time. Did you make your dreams come true by following a similar path? How can you use these to help you move towards your next adventure?

Here is my 5 step plan to making YOUR dreams come true.

  1. Figure out what YOU want? If you are going to spend your life working towards a goal, you better make sure it’s the right goal for YOU. If you think about a generic goal like being famous, rich, or living on a tropical island, get more specific. Why do you want these things? What would you do once you got it? Notice whenever you feel jealousy. Notice whenever you fall in love with a book, a movie, a person, a job. These are all important signs.
  2. Look around you, what do you see? Computer? phone? paper? chair? pencil? clothes? Everything you see began in someone’s imagination. When we are kids, we are really good at imagining things so clearly they feel like reality. We put on that tiara and heels and we ARE a princess. We crawl under the table and bark, we ARE a dog. The older we get, the more we use our imaginations to picture bad things happening. We worry, we anticipate and prepare for the worst. Imaginations are very powerful so make sure you are using it on the things you WANT to have happen, not on the things you DON’T WANT.
  3. Expect fear and resistance to come. Every time we try and grow in a new and positive directions, fear and resistance will come along for the ride. I did lots of crying, hiding and feeling afraid. Trying to create something new outside our comfort zones is hard, especially if it’s something important to us and true to our essence. I could not have accomplished my dream without the help of a life coach, it’s a great stage to bring one on board.
  4. Get clear on your “WHY” and make sure it’s achievable. I had to keep reminding myself that my reason for creating this event was to “grow a side of myself I’ve never grown before”. To create a workshop and host it in a new city, rent a conference room, serve food & drink, advertise to people who don’t know me, type up all my lessons, create binders and a workshop event that is worth the $500. price tag, was all new for me. When my goal is to GROWTH, I know that it’s achievable. I either get what I want, or I get an education. Make sure your WHY makes it impossible to fail.
  5. Have more than one baby. In order to not let obstacles get in your way and bring you down, it helps to have more than one “baby” at a time. When you really want your dream to come true, we need to detach from the outcome and be happy with whatever happens. This is hard to do! If you are like most Moms, you poured a lot of time, attention and worry into your first born child but with your second, you found it easier to relax and enjoy him or her without stressing. Dreams are the same way, when we want something really badly, our energy gets clingy and needy, not the energy of success. When we have another baby or two to divert our attention, we don’t put so much of our identity, ego, and importance on this one dream coming true.                                                              

Are you good at letting yourself dream?  Is there something you’ve would love to do but don’t know how to do it?  Even if working towards your dreams fills you with doubt, confusion and fear, it’s still worth going for. You wouldn’t have the dream if you weren’t meant to make it happen.