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

The only problem you will ever have

Friendship problems can be confusing, overwhelming, and very common. But really, all problems boil down to just one thing: The problem is we think we shouldn’t have problems.

Friendship problems are here to help us grow. Our problems teach us about empathy (for ourselves and others). They help us figure out who we are, what we like, and what we are willing to tolerate. Conflict helps us to let go and move on, or bring our relationship to a deeper level. Conflict teaches us the importance of advocating for ourselves and communicating our needs in a respectful way. Friendship problems are a super important learning opportunity!

Nicole* could feel her friends pulling away. They started sharing secrets and planning things without including her. They were still kind to her but she felt left out. What should she do?

Shay* was ready to branch out and make new friends. She loved her old group but was ready for something new. Despite her efforts, her old friends were not interested in bringing in any new ones. Shay didn’t want to hurt her old friend’s feelings, but she felt pulled to expand her social circle. As she did, her old friends got mad and unfriended her. Shay wants to shake off the guilt and sadness she feels so she can enjoy her friendships but she doesn’t know how.

Please join me for a mother/daughter workshop and tea, all about female friendships on Saturday, Nov. 16th from 1:00 – 4:00. You and your 10-14 daughter attend together for this helpful and fun mini-retreat. We’ll use our friendship issues, conflicts and girl drama to learn some important life lessons and build skills around empathy, self-compassion, positive self-talk, asking for what you want and standing in your power. Games and activities will help reinforce the lessons. Tea and goodies will be served and the cost is $60. per mother/daughter pair. ($30. individual price). This afternoon workshop will be held in my home so space is limited!

Reserve your spot today by clicking here: 

http://lifecoachingforparents.com/classes/mother-daughter-workshop/

pre-teen girls texting while hanging out at their school

*Names changed to protect these sweet girls

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?

Lessons white parents can teach white kids about racism

If you are like most people I know, hearing about racial tension in our country makes you sick and disheartened. You love and enjoy people for who they are, not the color of their skin. You can’t imagine disliking, let alone hating someone, because they look different or come from a different culture. You worry that talking to kids about race will make them pay more attention to something that maybe they shouldn’t. It would be nice to protect kids a little longer from the horror and embarrassment that is racial injustice, racial inequality and racial discrimination. Rather than telling kids the wrong thing, many of us err on the side of not saying anything at all. 

Here are 4 things white parents can tell their kids about race.

  1. Value diversity. Encourage your kids to seek out friendships with people who look different. Look around at your own group of friends and see how ethnically diverse it is. Think about branching out and expanding your circle, not just to include people of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds but different political, religious or socio-economic backgrounds as well. Learn to value diversity to expand your own horizons, buck stereotypes and show your kids how we are more alike than we are different.
  2. Allow your kids the opportunity to be a minority. It is really hard to know what it feels like to be a minority until you’ve experienced yourself. Find cultural festivals in your area and take your kids to them. Sign them up for a class or camp where they are the only one of their race, religion or gender. Talk about how it felt and how they coped with that environment. How would it effect their personality if they lived that way everyday? What could the other kids do to make them feel more comfortable?
  3. Watch out for fear. When you see scary things on the news, it’s natural to catastrophize and think the whole world is going to hell and we are not safe. This sends our reptilian brain into a tailspin looking for more things to worry about and evidence to prove the world is a dangerous place. What researches know is that fear leads to hatred. When we don’t feel safe, we look for someone to blame. We lose access to our higher selves and our logical brains. For those of us who find it easy to love people of all races, the most important thing is to keep our hearts open. If watching the news increases fear, don’t watch. Continue to believe the world is a loving and accepting place and act accordingly. If worries and fears have taken over your brain, read The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, Phd, the best book I’ve ever read for decreasing anxiety and fears. 
  4. Teach your kids to stand up to racist humor. Tell them that saying nothing means you are saying racial discrimination is ok. I have managed to surround myself with people who know not to make racial comments or jokes around me but teenagers get a lot of it and they don’t know how to react. The “teenage experts” I consulted (currently in the back seat of my car) say the best way to teach other teens their jokes aren’t funny is to not laugh. When someone is trying to be funny and you give a serious look and say “that’s wrong” or “not cool” or something similar that changes the energy to a serious tone, they will get the message.

We think our kids will pick up on our open-hearted feelings but I believe it requires a more deliberate approach. Racism is a part of our past and our present, whether we like it or not. Honestly addressing it, and giving our kids tools for stopping it, will help all our kids feel like they helping it not become a part of our future.

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.