Discover your purpose

Are you too busy taking care of the kids to discover your purpose?

I want to tell you a story about an amazing woman I’ll call Sara. She has poured everything into her role as Mom. She volunteers for the PTA, hosts amazing birthday parties for her kids, makes cupcakes for the soccer team, drives a minivan and loves it. Sara is ALL IN on this Mommy thing. But at night, when the kids go to bed, she drinks a little too much wine and eats a little too many brownie bites. She’s happy with her life, but she knows something is missing. There is a nagging voice inside her head that knows she’s meant for more. Although Sara craves more purpose and meaning, every time she tries to figure out what to do, she gets confused, overwhelmed and filled with doubt. She doesn’t like feeling this way, so she fills her life with more distraction. “Let’s sign Kylie up for basketball and maybe being scout leader won’t be so bad.” The busier she is, the less she has to face this void that seems to be getting louder, despite the wine, kids and carpools.

Parenting our kids can be a really convenient, socially respectable way of avoiding our own calling. What Sara doesn’t realize is that this void, this nagging yearning for more, is her ticket to a really wonderful and exciting life! What keeps her stuck, is she doesn’t have the tools to walk through the doubt, the fears and the confusion. Here’s a typical conversation I have with my life coaching clients.

Client – “I have no idea what I want to do with my life.”

Me – “Ok, well, let’s pretend for a minute that you did know. What do you think it might be if you DID know what you want?”

Client – “Well, this would never happen of course, but if I could do anything, I always thought it would be fun to be a ______________.” (real estate investor, writer, event planner, firefighter, stay-home Mom, travel blogger, photographer, life coach, interior designer, nurse, etc.)

The client already knows what they want, or if they don’t have an exact job title, they can clearly describe exactly what they want. But discovering your calling and admitting it out loud can stir up a lot of fear. Fear of failure, fear of being who you are, fear of what other people will think, just fear. So instead, she talks herself out of it and gets back to focusing on the kids.

Parenting is a convenient decoy because it’s honorable, wonderful, difficult and very consuming. It’s only in those quiet moments, late at night, when we face ourselves, that we know we are hiding from our greatness.

What Sara doesn’t know, is hiding from her true calling, has a cost.  Overtime, she will start to become more negative and cranky. She’ll get frustrated with herself & her family, embarrassed that she can’t stop eating brownies or be happy with her current role. She might even focus in on or create another problem (health, weight, money, relationships, kids) all to avoid dealing with something that would be a such a wonderful part of her if she could allow it in!

If you relate to Sara and countless other Moms who yearn for more than just motherhood, take 10 minutes of quiet time, pull out a journal and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I really, really, really, really want?
  2. What is the feeling I’m trying not to feel?
  3. What’s the worst thing that could happen if I followed my dream?
  4. What would I dream if I knew I could not fail?
  5. What would I do if I could not care what people think?

These questions will get you started. But it really does help to have some outside perspective to help you see where you are blocking yourself from your own happiness and success.

Don’t waste time, schedule your free discovery call today. www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

What’s your currency?

I was reading Amy Poehler’s biography, “Yes, Please!” and she talked about a moment of awareness in middle school that I loved and have been sharing with my summer camp girls. I’m roughly paraphrasing, but it was something like, “I realized I was never going to be the girl who turned heads, the girl all the boys wanted to be with, the most popular, the most athletic, or the smartest. But I was funny. So I decided my sense of humor would be my currency and I focused on building that.”

Middle school is the time kids start turning to the world around them and noticing what’s in, what’s out, how to blend in and not get made fun of. Kids 11-14 are trying to figure out who they are and who they are “supposed” to be and they look to peers and media for the answers. This often creates a perfectionistic image of the ideal look (height, weight, hair, skin, clothes, etc.) to the ideal friendships (outgoing & extroverted but a deep connection with a best friend, constant fun activities surrounded by friends, published on social media) to the perfect intelligence (smart but not too smart, confident but humble, get good grades but don’t work too hard). Yuck!

When kids buy in to this perfectionistic ideal they spend all their time and energy striving towards something impossible and exhausting.

This is why I loved the idea that kids could just chose their currency. Choose ONE THING they are going to focus on, expand on, and take pride in. Instead of trying to be perfect in every area, kids could decide they are already good at this one thing, and not worry about everything else.

What I found at my Launching Girl Leaders camps is that this was a really hard thing for the girls to reflect on. It was SO EASY for ME to identify their special skills, gifts and talents but it was hard for them to see in themselves. 

Here’s an example of some “currencies” these girls came up with

  • I’m really good at telling stories.
  • I like to ask questions and answer questions and am the first to volunteer, this seems to put other people at ease and helps them feel comfortable.
  • I’m really good at trying new things and physically pushing myself to the limit.
  • I love children and think I’m good with them.
  • I’m super determined. When I decide I want something, nothing will get in my way.
  • I really love animals and am inspiring my family to eat less meat.
  • I’m a good listener. People like to open up to me.
  • I’m nice to everybody. When someone’s friends are being mean, they know they can always sit with me at lunch.
  • I love playing games: board games, sports, video games. If I turn homework into a game, it makes it so much more fun.

Here’s your homework Mamas: I want you to help your sons and daughters, identify their currency. Give them some suggestions and ask them, “Which of your personality traits are you most proud of?” “How does this trait benefit others around you?” “Which of your talents would you like to focus on this year?” 

Then identify your own currency. I know that you have lots of traits that make you amazing. Pick one that comes so naturally to you, it’s like breathing. Think about what your friends and family praise you for. How does it feel to focus on this one thing that you already good at, instead of any shortcomings? Remember that without even trying, you are already good enough.

Would you like a career that is more in line with your natural currency? Schedule a free discovery call and lets talk about some new possibilities for you.

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.