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. 

What legacy are you leaving?

redwood treesIt’s a Sunday morning and I’m sipping my coffee in a redwood forest listening to the sound of birds with my little dog curled up in my lap. My daughter and her friend are roasting bagels over a campfire as the sun and smoke filter through the trees. I can’t think of a better way to start my day and I realize I have my Mom to thank.

We went camping occasionally when I was a kid but when I was about 14, my Dad announced he was done. “Too much work for too little reward” he declared and it’s hard to argue with his logic. He bought my Mom a lantern and a hatchet and supported her love of the outdoors. My mom not only continued to take her children camping, but started going by herself and inviting girlfriends to join her.

My Mom did what she wanted to do, even though it wasn’t expected or even socially acceptable. Nearby campers would ask if she was okay all by herself. Her friends expressed concern about joining her for the day but leaving her alone at night. Her grandkids look forward to camping with her at the beach every year but at almost 80, she admits her preference is to go camping by herself.

My husband doesn’t like to camp and I do. I know for sure that it is my Mom’s example that makes me believe I can do what I want. I am here with my daughter, not just showing her how to start a fire, but that doing what you love is important, whether it’s normal or not.

We give our kids lots of legacies, some we are proud of and some we aren’t. Without even realizing it, we are giving our kids their “shoulds”. My Mom gave me my belief that “I should keep my house clean” and “I should cook dinner for my family”, not because she told me to, but because that’s what she did. I believe my husband should do all our yard work because that’s what my Dad did. As we approach the college years, I’m remembering that my Mom forked over her entire annual salary for my brothers tuition, with gratitude and appreciation. I’ll be channeling her positive outlook as it looks like I’ll be following in her footsteps in a few years. Did you realize how easily parents influence our beliefs about gender roles and what we “should” be doing?

Sometimes I worry I might be setting an expectation with my daughter that “Moms are responsible for all the childcare, money management and housework” and she will feel guilty someday if she doesn’t do everything. Occasionally I have imaginary conversations with my son’s future wife apologizing for his lack of domestic skills and his expectations that she should be in charge of running the house. Even if I am leaving a legacy of gender stereotypes, I hope I am also demonstrating the importance of doing what you love. I like managing the kids sports, activities and planning birthday parties. I like cooking for my family and TRYING to maintain a beautiful home. With my messy house and my occasional declarations of “You are on your own for dinner tonight”, I hope I am also modeling imperfection and setting priorities aligned with my values.  I hope my kids will believe in the importance of being themselves.

What is the legacy you are passing on to your kids that you are proud of? Where do you model imperfection that your daughter or daughter-in-law will thank you for someday? Is there anything you would love to do but haven’t because your Mom didn’t set a precedent? Jump over to my Facebook Page and tell me what you think.

The most powerful influence on your daughter’s life.

You work hard, taking care of everyone and everything. You are responsible and you get things done. You’ve been invited to a super fun event with super fun people. It’s right up your alley: relaxing, interesting, inspiring, and will leave you feeling more like yourself when it’s done. Sounds good, right?

But here’s the thing…..it costs money AND it requires you to be away from your children and regular duties for a day or two.

If you are like many Moms, you’ll hear yourself saying things like “We don’t have the money”, “I can’t afford the time away” “I can’t leave my children” “Who would take them to school?” or “I’m fine, I’ll just stay home, I don’t NEED to go.”

Now picture this…..Your child has been invited to a super fun event with super fun people. It’s right up her alley: relaxing, interesting, inspiring and will leave her feeling more like herself when it’s done. It costs money and requires her to be away from her regular duties for a day or two.

If you are like many Moms, this is an easier thing to say yes to. We like spending money on our children. Their happiness is our happiness. It’s no big deal if they miss their night to do dishes or have to reschedule their dentist appt. We are happy to facilitate their fun, but struggle to allow ourselves the same.

The problem is, MOMS are the most powerful influence on daughter’s lives. Not friends, not TV, US. She is watching US to learn what it means to be a woman and a Mom.

What is the message our self-sacrificing sends to our daughters? 

That other people are more important than you are? That it’s ok to sacrifice your wants and needs for the sake of others?  That it’s okay for us to earn money and work hard, but when it comes to spending it we aren’t worthwhile? That life is about hard work, doing for others, and not about having fun, exploring new ideas or new experiences? That the older you get, the more boring and serious your life becomes?

I used to have a hard time leaving my kids, spending money on myself, or even recognizing how it would benefit me. It was like the anxiety and stress of taking the time away, wasn’t worth the imagined reward. My husband had to make me go. My parents had to give me money. It wasn’t until I started taking time away that I realized how valuable it was and what it felt like to be ME again. Sure I could indulge in a pedicure or Moms night out, but when it came to something personal and expensive, that was only important to me, it was hard. Now, I love going to life coaching events, yoga retreats, mastermind weekends, even traveling by myself!

I’m noticing this same difficulty come up for Moms who would love to join me at my Mastermind Event in Austin, TX but haven’t had the experience of taking time away and spending money on things that feel like fun.

Here’s what it boils down to…Would you want your daughter to live the life you are living? 

Of course we want our daughters to be hard working, self-sufficient, and giving, but we also want them to believe they have the right to relax, play and have fun.  Imagine what it would feel like to spend three days, just focused on you and your future. Eating what you want, being inside your own head, thinking your own thoughts, using your creativity, learning new life skills, connecting with other amazing women who share your passions, feeling more energized and excited to come home to your family. If my Mastermind Event in Austin doesn’t sound right for you, use your imagination to create a fun, inspiring, re-connecting event for yourself. Your daughter is watching to see what is expected of her as a women, why not make it fun.

If you are stuck in the SuperMom trap like I was, here are three steps designed to help you remember what it feels like to be responsible AND have fun. To be YOU and MOM.

  1. Do Nothing. Designate a day, an afternoon, or if this stresses you out, a half hour.  Start with whatever feels comfortable and set the intention to do nothing. You can be outside, inside, in the bath or in your car, the important thing is to be alone and DO absolutely nothing. When so much focus is spent giving to others, it’s hard to even know what you need. Doing nothing will help your focus turn inward so you can just check in with your children’s mom and ask “How are you doing? Are you getting everything you need? What do you want? What’s missing?” Stare into space, be with yourself, stop trying, stop doing, just be.
  2. Spend imaginary money.  If you HAD to spend $50. on YOURSELF today on something only you would benefit from, what would you spend it on?  How about $500.?  $5,000?  $50,000.? You are not aloud to save it, it must be gone by midnight. Find an amount that is slightly uncomfortable for you, and mentally spend it every day. This helps you loosen up and re-connect to the fun and frivolous side of you. When we focus attention on what we want (with fun energy), we feel heard and validated. Plus, we are more likely to actually get it.
  3. Create imaginary free time. Imagine you when you go to bed tonight, instead of sleeping, you get to have an adventure. You will wake up in your bed, fully rested and your family will have no idea, but you get to have a secret adventure every night. What would it entail?  Where would you go? What would it feel like? What sights would you see? Let your imagination run wild, even if it’s hard at first, keep at it oh responsible one. If you took my SuperMom Quiz and your result was Octopus, it’s time to work out your “ME” muscles and have more frivolous fun. 

If you want a big leap instead of simple steps, I’d love to have you join me for my Launching Girl Leaders Mastermind Event in Austin. You can stay for Martha Beck’s Gathering on the weekend as well.

Let’s have fun, the children are watching!

Have you learned these five powerful life lessons?

I’m offering a free call about the important life lessons girls can learn from friendship drama (it’s going to be SO GOOD, check it out and sign up!) but it also got me thinking, you can learn these life lessons from work stress, parenting, or any kind of relationship challenge. Take a look at these five life lessons and see if you have mastered them yet. You’ll know you are still learning if life keeps slapping you upside the head with the same lessons over and over again. 

  1. People get to do whatever they want. This life lesson drives us all bonkers because life would be so much easier if people would just do what we tell them to do!  But as we all learned, you can’t make a baby sleep, eat or poop, if they don’t want to. You also can’t make people like you, be nice to you and you can’t make your husband remember Valentine’s Day. You can’t make bosses treat you fairly. You can’t make your husbands pick up his socks or take out the trash. You can’t even get kids to get their homework done, if they don’t want to.  Just like the book, “He’s just not that into you”, realizing “People get to do whatever they want” will set you free.  It helps you stay in your power, and take control of the things you actually have control over. If you get frustrated with how other people are behaving, then life is still trying to teach you this lesson.
  2. The only constant is change.  One thing we do that helps us feel safe in the world is we categorize things into two categories: black & white, good & bad, mean & nice. The problem is, life isn’t black and white. There aren’t “mean girls” and “nice girls”, we are all just girls, sometimes we say mean things, sometimes we say nice things. Believing we are only one or the other, sets us up for perfectionism and self-hatred. People are always evolving. Your best friend today might change her mind tomorrow. Your boss thinks you are great today, so she gives you more work tomorrow. You are feeling good financially so you move to a nicer neighborhood, now you feel poor. Black & white thinking gives us the ILLUSION of safety, but an easier way to go through life is to remember we are constantly evolving and to focus on how we want to grow.
  3. Feel your feelings. If you are fully engaged with life, you are going to experience negative emotion. We don’t get to pick and choose some feelings and not others. To be fully human and feel fully alive, we need access to our full range of emotions. When friendship drama happens, or any challenge in life, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to feel a feeling all the way through. Where in your body does that feeling show up? What color is it? Does it have a texture? Does it appear to be solid, liquid or gas?  Getting really familiar with your emotions creates a long lasting and trusting relationship with yourself. You aren’t dependent on other people to act a certain way because you know, the worst thing that can ever happen to you is a negative emotion and you’ve got it down. Once you realize you can feel any feeling that comes your way, you have nothing to be afraid of.
  4. You get to decide what you make it mean. Your friend doesn’t want to be your friend anymore. You get fired from your job. Your teen has depression. Your husband forgets your anniversary. Bad things happen but you get to decide what you make them mean. You can decide to make it mean “I’m a loser.” “I’m a failure” “Nothing ever goes my way” “My husband doesn’t love me.” but those thoughts don’t feel good. You get to choose the thoughts that feel good to you. “My husband doesn’t care about celebrating anniversaries” might feel freeing. I give my husband permission to forget our anniversary” might feel empowering. Many people experience something negative and without even realizing it, they pick up beliefs about themselves that aren’t true “I’m unlovable” “I’m not worthy” Stopping the negative self-talk is the most important step to living an honest, fulfilling life where you know your power and trust yourself.
  5. What do I want? Every life challenge or experience is giving another clue about who we are meant to be. Our job here on Earth (as I see it) isn’t to follow all the rules and live a perfect life, it’s to figure out who we are meant to be, and be that person!  To use the natural gifts we were given, to help make the world a better place. When someone betrays your trust, your job is to use that experience to add to your list of “This is what I want” and “This is what I DON’T want.” That’s it! No drama necessary. You hate your job? (or lack of a job?)  Be specific and add a few items to your list. I want more autonomy around my time. I want co-workers who get my sense of humor. I don’t want to sit at a computer all day. I don’t want to work weekends. The older we get, the more we get to know ourselves. As our list becomes more refined and specific, our life becomes more finely tuned to who we really are and what we really love to do. Do you have a passion for empowering girls? Click here

Obedience training for kids

I confess, I keep making the same parenting mistake. My problem is I love, LOVE. I love cuddles and affection, I want everyone to be happy all the time, including myself. The first time I learned there was a negative consequence for my constant quest for peace and love was substitute teaching. (Every pregnant Mama should substitute teach before they give birth…very quick feedback in a short period of time!) It was awful: tears, chaos, climbing on furniture, yelling, and the kids were pretty bad, too.

Nice, loving Mommy is always my default. It’s only when things aren’t working, that I have to switch gears and put on my authoritative hat. I used to think I had to be mean in order to get kids to obey me. Trial and error taught me the happy balance between commanding respect while being clear and kind. 

Lately, my dog has been misbehaving, showing me that I’ve been coddling and pouring on the love, but with not enough discipline. I started watching the expert in authoritative leadership, Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer. If you haven’t watched him, you HAVE to check him out, even if you don’t like dogs. There is just nothing like this on TV and it is truly FASCINATING. If you are like me and “Alpha Male” energy doesn’t come naturally, these 4 lessons of leadership are key to getting kids and dogs to obey you. 

  1. Calm Assertive Energy – This is GOLD people! Have ever watched a teacher easily manage 30+ kids, cheerfully and effectively, and wonder “How the heck does she do that?” Calm, assertive energy is what we feel when we are in our power. Dogs and kids can sense it and are quick to respect our authority. They may push back, but when we stay consistent and calm, they feel our conviction and they back down. I wanted my son to play fewer video games. If I stay wanting, pleading, bribing, he won’t respond. It’s the energy of a weak leader and kids don’t respect it. If I feel “mean” or “bad” for taking them away, he will disregard my authority. When I physically removed them, wrote down very clear guidelines around when he could play and what the consequences were if he violated the rules, and he snuck them back in! When I asked him why, he said he didn’t think I meant it. He’d figured I would forget like I have in the past. Actions, energy, body language, and consistency, speak louder than words. Think about stopping your toddler from running into a busy street. You are quick to act, clear in your instruction, and 100% convicted and consistent. It’s clear instruction, delivered with assertiveness.
  2. Expectation – Cesar Milan says, “You need to picture your dog obeying you in your mind.” The dog will respond to your vision. If I look around me right now, I see a computer, a table, a pen, a pillow, and a dog bed.  Everything I see, began in someone’s imagination. Vision, the ability to imagine something happening before you see the results, is HUGE!  If we believe, “My kids can’t stop bickering” we will create that result by ignoring and tolerating fights. If we imagine our kids getting along, and then we hear a raised voice or a snide remark, our ears perk up and we correct the behavior and stop it before it escalates.  We have to imagine that what we want is possible, before we can create it. 
  3. Respect the nature of the beast – Cesar always reminds people that their pets are DOGS first and dogs do things differently than people. To get a dog to comply, you need to understand the characteristics associated with it’s SPECIES and BREED. You can’t have a herding dog, and expect it lie around all day. As parents, it’s important to respect the nature of our children, and their individual personality traits. All kids need to play, move their bodies, have friends, choose what activities they want to master, etc. Some kids are born to tinker, to compete, to create, to talk, to daydream. Think about what your expectations are and make sure you aren’t asking your child to go too much against his or her nature.
  4. Enter into their world – Cesar communicates with dogs in their own language. He uses body posture, energy, and sounds, and it works like magic!  As parents we are so often in our world, with our agenda and time frame, trying to get our kids to put on their shoes and get in the car. Jumping into our kid’s world isn’t easy but it is SO effective, especially when they are young. Let’s say your preschooler is enjoying an imaginary world of cars and flying turtles. If you get down on the floor and engage with her in playing for a minute, then fly the turtles to her shoes, and park the cars along side. With the imaginary world unbroken, it is so much easier to put shoes on and have the turtles fly and into the magical cup holders of the carseat. Let’s face it, their world is often a better, more lovely place to be than our world anyway. Enjoy the opportunity to step into it and get cooperation at the same time.