Do you want your life to be even better? Study Success

Life is pretty good, right?

You’ve got a lovely family, meaningful work, but you’d like to turn the volume up on your life. One way to improve your life is to study successful people. Find someone you admire and pay close attention to WHY you like them so much. I recently attended a memorial service for an AMAZING women. 

Katie was one of those people you just feel privileged to know. While her death was a tremendous loss, her life was a HUGE inspiration.She had a way of giving her full attention to you, making you feel listened to, cared about and important, while also raising the bar and encouraging you to be even better. She prioritized her female friendships, always making time for parties, gatherings and social connections of any kind. She was full of vibrancy and joy and I’ve assigned her a permanent place on my committee of spirit guides. 

You can draw inspiration from others or your own past successes. Do you remember the feeling of falling in love? Amazing feeling. If you miss feeling that much excitement, exuberance and joy, study it, and see how you can bring that feeling back into your life today. When we’re falling in love, we obsess. We are “blinded” by love so we only notice the good stuff. We look over the rude comment he makes to the waiter, we don’t even notice the stinky socks on the floor. Our thoughts are all positive, all the time. We’ve told our brains where to look, so that’s what we focus on and it feels amazing. Love isn’t something that happens to us, it’s a state we create by focusing our minds in one, very positive direction.

Want to feel more loving? Notice the love that surrounds you every day. Obsess about it. Watch movies about it. Read romance novels. Watch people reunite with loved ones at the airport. Share your love with strangers and family members alike. Watch how it grows and expands.

Want more beauty in your life?  Pay attention to it. Take pictures of that flower growing through the crack in the sidewalk. Look into the mirror and appreciate something about your physical body. Go to a botanical garden, a museum or a beautifully designed building. Bring something of beauty into a corner of your home.

Get the picture? In what area of your life would you like to “turn up the volume”? More abundance is available to you any time just by looking around at the abundance of cars, people, clothing. You just need to decide what you want, then study success in your own life and in others.

Sometimes parenting is so overwhelming, it’s hard to KNOW what we want, because our families wants scream so loudly in our ear. If you struggle with this, sign up for the 14-day Supermom Challenge, and learn how to listen to YOU again.

letting go of worry

He got cell service on a hike and texted me this. Amazing.

My son was leaving to go camping for 3 nights in Yosemite with his friends. I have been SO GOOD about not worrying or micromanaging, like seriously, they don’t even have a camping reservation. Ever since I started doing research into the skyrocketing rates of anxiety and depression in teens, I’ve been much more cautious about putting my worries onto my kids.

My son is 18 years old. A man who makes his own decisions. He’s camped before. He knows what he needs. So I don’t go over his packing list with him. I want to communicate enthusiasm and show that I trust him. So I sneak things in….

“What’s the weather going to be like in Yosemite?”  He answers “probably nice”.  “Did you check? Sometimes it snows in the mountains in June.” (He looks it up! Yeah! 40 degrees at night, Score 1 for Mom!)

I say, “I know you aren’t planning on cooking while camping, do you want to bring that box of granola bars from the pantry?” “Sure” he replies. (He grabs one. For four days. Score 1 for the teen)

After he’s left, I notice his warm North Face jacket still in the closet. I text him, “Your jacket is here. I’m worried you aren’t going to be warm enough.”  “I’ll be fine”, he says, “I brought a long sleeved shirt and a windbreaker.” ……me, silently aghast…. “Can you ask your friend to just throw an extra sweatshirt in the car, just in case?” (He doesn’t, and he never got cold. Score 1 for the teen)

Me….squeezing one more text in before he goes out of cell range….“Do you know what to do if you see a bear?”  “Yes, Mom” He replies. (the old me would have told him what to do, showed him youtube videos or warnings so I’m giving myself a 1/2 point for this one). I don’t even remind him not to keep food in the tent. Or say 3 people have already died in Yosemite this year. Or tell him not to wander off a waterfall. So proud.

Over-parenting is fear based parenting. It can make our teens not want to listen to us, it can increase anxiety and depression in kids because they pick up the message that world is scary, can’t be trusted, and that they aren’t strong or capable enough to handle adversity.

So what if my teen gets hungry?!  So what if he gets cold?!  This is how they learn what they are actually made of. Right!?

I felt totally justified in my worrying. I felt like I was being a typical MOM. That it’s my role and responsibility to worry about his safety and well being.

But maybe it’s time for Moms to teach without FEAR. Could I have gone over his packing list with enthusiasm, instead of presuming he’d forget something?  Just because my brain starts looking for everything that could go wrong, doesn’t mean I should communicate it to him.

Some schools are deliberately putting kids into adverse environments, forcing them outside of their comfort zones in order to build self reliance, resourcefulness and confidence. I love this idea. Over parenting has helped our teenagers live cushy lives where they don’t get to test their mettle in the real world. Maybe a little constructive adversity is just what they need to thrive in this dynamic world?

And maybe I can start by letting go of worry, trusting that we live in a safe and wonderful world, with many helpful people.

He ended up having a great time and everything went perfectly. (Score 100 for the teen)

 

 

 

Managing the inner critic

Brains are so funny.

My webinar on Thursday (click here if you missed it) talked about how important it is to be nice and supportive to ourselves. Especially for our girls today, who are surrounded by perfectionistic expectations, we Moms need to be very careful not to add fuel to the fire. We’ve got to learn to manage our inner critic who says things like “I ALWAYS say the wrong thing.” or “I NEVER get it right” or whatever mean criticisms are being dished out.

So it was pretty ironic that RIGHT AFTER teaching this lesson, I walked the dog and listened to MY inner critic spew her mean girl criticisms at me. Luckily, over the years, the voice has eased up, but it still offers way more “things I should have done differently” than “things I did well”. The basic theme of my inner critic is “You didn’t do everything perfectly”. Which is handy because, of course, it’s always true. What really made me laugh, was coming home from my walk to see an email from someone who attended the webinar saying….”Torie, that was PERFECT!”  

This is one of the biggest problems of how social media is effecting girl’s mental and emotional well being! It doesn’t matter who tells them they are smart, pretty, talented, kind, etc. The beliefs they have about themselves are WAY more powerful and can drown out any other opinions. Unfortunately, we can’t just STOP thinking a thought, even once we realize it’s bad for us. The first step is to DISBELIEVE the thought. This comes from recognizing we have a choice. 

I remember teaching a workshop at the She’s All That Conference (it’s coming up again soon, come if you can!). The participants were asked to fill out evaluation sheets at the end of each session. I didn’t feel I had done as well as I could and my inner perfectionist was BERATING me. The funny thing was, as I was hearing how terribly I did, I’m also looking at the words “Outstanding” “5 out of 5 rating” on almost every evaluation paper! The contrasting opinions made me stop in my tracks and ask myself, “Who do I want to believe?” 

Surprisingly, I wanted to believe my inner critic!  I knew I could have done better, and I really like doing the best job I can do. I was afraid if I believed the evaluations, I wouldn’t try to improve.

I hear clients doing this all the time. We try and motivate ourselves to take positive action, with NEGATIVE emotion. “I’m so fat” does not actually inspire healthy eating. We tend to take care of things we love, not things we hate. “I’m a terrible mother” does not make us more patient and loving with our kids. It makes us more reactive and inconsistent. “I’m going to die if I get a bad grade” might motivate us to pull out the book, but it makes it harder to actually study.

Managing this inner critic is so important. Don’t let yours run rampant and say whatever she feels like saying. Listen to her, understand her motivation, but manage her so that she isn’t the one in charge. Our daughters are watching and listening and they need us to show them how. 

 

Please join my TWO free webinars this week: 

  1. Is your child always on her phone?  Does your son throw a fit when you take away his video game? This webinar will help parents (and teens!) understand media addiction and how it effects the brain. Tuesday, March 27th at 8:00pmPST

  2. The rates of anxiety & depression in teen girls are skyrocketing and most suffer for 11 years before receiving treatment. Don’t less this happen to you. Join me Thursday, March 29th at 8:00pmPST night to understand what’s happening to girls and to learn how to help. www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/sign-up.                                                  

Where are your kids getting their dopamine?

Our bodies and brains are wired to release a “feel good chemical” called dopamine when we eat, have sex, or exercise. We also get a dopamine release from creating something, accomplishing something or being in the flow state of learning.

Our culture has introduced many more dopamine producing activities to younger and younger children: Sugar, caffeine, TV, movies, porn, youtube, video games, social media, are all designed to flood massive amounts of dopamine into our systems. Our current culture seems to promote fun, excitement, productivity and keeping busy.

The problem is that our brains and bodies aren’t designed for this much dopamine. Some experts theorize this is one of the reasons we are seeing such a huge increase in ADHD, depression, anxiety, addictions and other brain centered differences.

Not everybody reacts the same way. I can’t get out of shopping malls and casinos fast enough but I have family members who come to life and love the dopamine release of shopping and gambling. When my kids were little, my daughter could be in a room with the TV on and barely notice, but the TV had a hypnotizing effect on my son that turned him into a zombie. We tend to gravitate towards things that give us these delicious hits of dopamine. When we get rewarded with dopamine, it motivates us to come back for more….and more….and more.

Can your kid sit in a room with her favorite sugary treat and not be tempted? If you take away the cookie or the ipad, does your son hyperfocus on the object until he gets his dopamine hit? Can your teenager sit with her phone nearby and not be tempted to check it? Every text alert or social media “like” is designed to release dopamine and create addiction.

When we don’t reward our brains with dopamine (by checking our phone or eating sugar, etc.) we can create anxiety and insomnia. But overtime, the flooding of dopamine in our systems creates addiction and increased feelings of depression.

So basically, the world our kids are growing up is a challenge to their mental health.

What can we do?

  1. We need to become really deliberate about where we get our dopamine and not just follow a “If it feels good, do it” mantra.
  2. Observe ourselves and our children closely to see where we might be flooding our systems with too much dopamine.
  3. Re-wire the brain BEFORE we become addicted and show signs of depression and anxiety.

I have a lot to say on this topic and invite you to join me for a FREE Webinar called,

“How Much is Too Much?” Screen time, Dopamine and Mental Well Being.

In the meantime, here are a few life hacks below to help you and your kids conquer this challenging culture.

  1. Establish a Streak – Middle School kids have discovered a dopamine hit from “maintaining streaks”, or seeing how many days in a row they can text friends about silly things. Instead, establish a streak of how many days in a row you made your bed, walked your dog, ate a vegetable. Mark it off on a calendar and celebrate your victory. Check out the app Calm and start a meditation streak.
  2. Create Something – When we can get immersed in a project, creative or not, it can give us a healthy dose of dopamine. Many of us think of art or music but for me, creating webinars, class content and writing blogs count. Encourage your kids to create a Rube Goldberg, a fort, or cooking project.
  3. Seek balance. Don’t let your kid play a video game WHILE also watching TV (choose one!). Turn off ALL alerts on their phones so they don’t hear “So & so posted a new video!” No cell phones while studying, or in the bedroom while sleeping. Buy an old fashioned alarm clock. Try allowing movies and video games only if interspersed with exercise. Save sugar for special occasions.
  4. Music! Turn music OFF on video games but turn it ON while your child is doing an activity you’d like to reward. Playing music shoot hoops outside or while they set or clear the table, might help them linger and want to do it more often.

Is your kid not acting in line with your expectations?

It can happen at any time: 4 weeks, 4 years, or 14 on up.

The child we’re parenting, doesn’t match with the one we expected to be parenting.

Ida’s* story….

Ida thought she had the ADHD thing under control. She adapted her parenting style, adapted his diet, bedroom and after school activities to allow him to be his best self. This Supermom worked with the school teachers and counselors to make sure they understood what his challenges and strengths were. Ida worked hard to help him fit in with the school system and peers, while helping him appreciate his unique gifts. And then he turned 14 and the sh*t hit the fan. Nothing seemed to be working. He was emotionally out of control, stubborn and rebelling against everything she’d worked so hard for. This was NOT what she was expecting. 

Emma’s* story…

Emma was a quiet, gentle, loving mom. She could be content to stay home all day, reading and tinkering in her craft room. Co-sleeping and baby-wearing made her feel closely connected with her daughter. She imagined doing puzzles and art together, quietly co-creating beautiful things. By the time her daughter was 4, Emma was exhausted. Her sweet baby turned into the bully of the playground: pushing, pulling hair, biting, you name it. She would climb anything she could, using furniture to build towers to access higher and higher places. Her art activities lasted about 20 seconds and resulted in huge messes in the house. Emma’s relationship with her daughter was more about keeping her alive than creating beautiful things. 

So what does a Mama do when her expectations are different than her reality?

  1. Take time and recognize that it’s your expectations that are causing you to struggle. When you think thoughts like “She shouldn’t behave this way” or “He should have figured this out by now!” you are making things harder. A better thought to think is “This isn’t what I was expecting and that’s ok.” 
  2. Give yourself permission to grieve the loss of the dream or expectation you had for your kid. Another way to say this is “Be kind to yourself”. Allow yourself to be sad that things aren’t easier and forgive yourself for wanting things to be better. It’s our job to hold a higher vision for our kids but we can do this WHILE accepting they aren’t there yet, and that’s ok.
  3. Hold a higher vision for YOURSELF. What if you’ve got the exact kid you need to help you fulfill your destiny? What if these challenges you are dealing with, are teaching you something you couldn’t learn any other way?  Could it be possible that this crazy kid of yours is growing a side of yourself you didn’t even know you needed to grow?

Ida’s teenage son helped her break out of her belief that “the only path to success is to follow the rules”. Watching him carve his own path through adolescence taught her to let go of expectations and and control and trust in a greater plan. She realigned her values, let go of her people pleasing addiction, and learned to prioritize the things SHE loved doing. By following her son’s example, she made time for mountain biking every weekend, and yoga every day.

Quiet, gentle Emma learned to set clear and consistent boundaries with her daughter. For a long time, she tried to avoid taking the leadership role but once she got the hang of it, she got hooked! She started setting appropriate boundaries in all her relationships, built up so much confidence and self pride that she started selling her art online. She gives herself plenty of breaks from her high energy daughter so she can still be her introverted self. Even though her daughter is still a challenge, she appreciates the lessons she’s learned from her and loves the person she has become because of it.

If you are struggling with a kid who isn’t acting the way you think he/she should be behaving, schedule a free life coaching call. Let’s find out where you can let go, find acceptance, and see if there is a divine lesson in here for you?

 

*names have been changed to protect the exhausted