33 Things to Help you Thrive in College and Beyond

1. Choose a college that is a nourishing and good fit for YOU, and quiet the noise of what you believe the outside world is preaching. Listen to your intuition. College is a formative time which will strongly inform your future happiness and wellness, so choose wisely. 

2. Get used to being average. Being at the top isn't always attainable. Plus, it can be lonely up there. 

3. Stay in touch with those you love, and who love you in return. It will help keep you anchored and centered, especially when life turns you on its side. A weekly text or phone call is sufficient. Trust me, you will lose your way every once in a while, and it is a gift to have a safe place, literally and figuratively, to land. 

4. Get to know your professors, especially your favorite ones. They are experts in their field and welcome interaction and inquiry. They're also good people for recommendation letters down the road. Show them who you are and ask them about their journey. It's a win-win exchange. 

5. Face your fear. Go through it. See it as evidence that you are growing and pushing outside your comfort zone. 

6. Live in the ring, not on the periphery. Take calculated risks, and be willing to be vulnerable. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is where the gold is. Staying safe feels good in the short run, but it doesn't further you on the road to growth and success. Take the class that interests you but is outside of your major, talk to that person that you have been wanting to get to know but haven't had the guts to approach, speak up in class even if you feel that you don't have anything to offer, switch your major to what truly lights you up, choose to stay sober at a party and leave early instead of drinking too much and having regrets in the morning. 

7. Have the hard conversations. Dig deep. Your relationships will reflect this. 

8. Food is fuel, use it as such. Too often, food becomes an emotional buffer that creates a crazy train of short-term feel good, and long-term battle of not being at peace within your own body. Be smart about balance and moderation. And remember, lots and lots of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

9. Question everything, especially those thoughts and beliefs that cause you suffering. You're free to change, and to be fluid with what you think and believe. Nothing is off the table. 

10. Love fiercely.

11. Give people the benefit of the doubt. It's not personal. Some people are going to like you, and some will not. And it has nothing to do with you! It's all about them. Love 'em anyway. Everyone is fighting their own internal battle. 

12. Your health and safety are more important than anything. 

13. Sleep. It is sacred. Honor it. You need it. Without it, you will crash and burn.

14. Find opportunities to grow.  You know you are growing when you are uncomfortable.  Live in the discomfort and know that you will eventually get on the other side of it.

15. If something isn't working for you, shift gears. Pivot. Baby steps. That one small step has the ability to change the trajectory of your life. Be intentional about your daily practices and choices as your daily patterns create your life. 

16. Make time for quiet and reflection. Every.Single.Day. Get your thoughts on paper and outside of your head/body which allows for a different perspective. Shame thrives in the dark. No more hiding. 

17. Choose your friends wisely as they will influence your choices and who you become. I heard recently that you are the average of the five people with whom you spend most of your time. Set the bar high.

18. Celebrate differences and everyone's unique gifts. You will be surrounded by people who are good at things that you aren't, and vice versa. Instead of comparing, consider appreciating the differences. It makes the world better, and you feel a helluva lot better. "Comparison is the thief of joy." Amen. 

19. Ask the question "Who Am I" and have fun living into it. There are a lots of parts within you that are begging for attention and cultivation. Have fun getting to know the light and the dark, and integrating ALL parts of yourself. Nothing is off limits. Learn how to work with it all, and lean into you. And know that you never totally arrive. It's a forever quest to get to know yourself. Welcome to the journey! 

20. Long-distance relationships don't have to hold you back from getting to know others, and experience all the growth opportunities that present themselves on a regular basis. Keep growing. If your signifiant other is the one, they'll be there at the end of the road. Promise. Give each other the breathing space needed to evolve and grow. Everyone wins. 

21. Speaking of relationships, do them in person. Snapchat, insta, and any other similar apps don't count. Be real. See their faces. Read their body language. Learn the nuances and navigate the awkwardness and wonder of in-the-flesh conversation. Drink them in! This is where true connection resides. 

22.  Failure means that you are trying. Don't give up. Ever. 

23. Along with your major and university requirements, branch out and take some classes that are outside the norm and that are of special interest to you. Expose yourself to new ways of thinking and being as you will develop parts of yourself that you didn't even know existed. You might even turn on a light within that guides you on a whole new path. Regardless, it broadens you and makes you more whole. In the end, that's what it's all about. 

24. Don't be afraid of not knowing. Whether it be a major path or pursuing a relationship. Venture into the discomfort and figure it out. Explore. You'll come out on the other side with more clarity and dimensionality. Substance over fear. 

25. Consider tracking your online time, and limiting your phone/social media time to 2 hours a day. You'll feel more rooted and connected to others, less preoccupied with the what appears to be real but isn't, and more at peace. Meaningful connection is not online. Instead of the internet, go for the innernet. 

26. Focus on the process, not the outcome. There are so many learnings in the actual doing. Stay present and don't carry the anxiety of the future and trying to live up to expectations. Same is true for the past. Drop the guilt. Lighten the load and shed the excess baggage so you can focus on the experience. 

27. Serve. Contribute to the greater whole. Make a difference. It's not all about you. Bring your gifts to the world and SHINE!

28. Forgive. If not for any other reason than for yourself. It will free you. 

29. Your thoughts are not facts. They are the result of you making sense of your life experiences, the family from which you come, your friends, your DNA, and any other influences. If they are no longer serving you, question them. And if needed, create some new thoughts that nourish and motivate you instead of diminish you. 

30. You cannot control people or circumstances. You can only control your thoughts about circumstances. Manage your emotions and what you make things mean so that you are able to respond as you choose to whatever crosses your path. Contrary to popular belief, you are not at the whim of others; in fact, only you are responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. No one can make you feel or do anything. This is your ultimate superpower. Use it to your advantage. 

31. Life is hard so why not choose your hard, instead of the hard choosing you? Be proactive. No victim mentality. Own it and take accountability for what you create. Life doesn't need to happen to you. Make it happen for you. It's all in how you approach it. 

32. Expand your perspective, become friends with all walks of life. Different cultures, religions. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. Learn about other perspectives. Ask questions. Be curious. 

33. Be yourself very well. Rock it out. No one can be you better than you so get moving and start shining! 

Cheers to the journey! x

A Million Dreams

"I close my eyes and I can see a world that is waiting up for me, that I call my own. Through the dark, through the door, through where no one has been before, but it feels like home. They can say that it all sounds crazy. They can say I've lost my mind. I don't care. Call me crazy. We can live in a world that we design. Cause Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be. A vision of the one that I see. A million dreams is all that it is gonna take. A million dreams for the world that we're gonna make." 

LOVE this. Not only do I marvel at the voices and the lyrics from the Greatest Showman soundtrack, but I appreciate the messages conveyed. By building your truth and integrity muscle, and cultivating your unique gifts and fine tuning your own voice, the world takes notice and benefits. After all, this is why we are here, isn't it? To become who we were meant to be? To shine and share our gifts, and contribute to the greater whole. Unfolding into this truth takes courage, and it requires an inner compass to guide you, especially in the face of a world that is often preaching otherwise. 

Create your world, the belief systems and mindset that accompany it and feed you, and then learn how to navigate the inevitable hard in all of its various forms, and know that it will show up at least 50% of the time. By accepting that life is hard, you are able to choose your hard; don't let the hard choose you. It's the difference between making life happen for you versus life happening to you. Are you ready? 

 

Living a Good and Meaningful Life

What does living a good and meaningful life look like? How does that version of you show up in the world, and how can you be that person every day? 

Two things that are at the heart of being your best and living a good life: 1) focus on the fundamentals, and 2) be consistent and thoughtful with your daily practices. Healthy habits create an optimal life so I recommend looking at your eating habits, sleeping patterns, exercise, quality of relationships, belief systems and thoughts, and actions/inactions. Get clarity on these things and identify what is working, and what isn't. Be honest. Shift from automatic pilot mode to awareness so that you are fully accountable in creating what you are seeking. 

A good place to assess the quality of your daily practices and the depth and breadth of your life is to reflect on 2017 and what worked and what didn't. What helped you thrive, and what interfered in achieving your goals of a life of meaning, goodness, and mental wellness? With whom were you at your best, and with whom did you lose your way? Where did you feel most anchored? What energized and focused you, and what distracted you? Where were you able to serve? Contribute? Have purpose? By becoming aware of how you are showing up in your life and the choices you are making along the way, you have the power to continue with life as usual, or recalibrate and pivot where desired. It all goes back to your daily actions and the "micro-transactions" that are creating your reality. Are you anchored in practices that cultivate what you are seeking?

As a life coach, I help people get to the heart of what is going on and why, and then set to work on shifting things in an upward and more meaningful trajectory. I love what Abraham Maslow calls "soul oxygen" - what one can be, one must be. In order to be what we can be, we need to be finely attuned to what is getting us closer to ourselves, and what is steering us off course.  Imagine feeling better and having the motivation and momentum necessary to rise to another level. 

Living a good and meaningful life is possible. It's closer than you think. What are you waiting for? Cheers to the journey ahead! ox

 

 

Be the Buffalo

Thanks to my friend, Stephanie, I had the unexpected pleasure of reading an article last week about, believe it to not, the difference between buffaloes and cows and how they navigate a brewing storm. Who knew how self-actualized buffaloes were? Not me. Regardless, it was an apropos metaphor in illustrating the choices we have as humans to respond to the figurative storms in life. 

When a storm is brewing and rolling in over the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, buffaloes and cows react very differently. Cows choose what seem most natural to human nature which is to turn away from the impending doom and attempt to outrun it. As you might guess, the storm inevitably catches up, and the length and intensity of the struggle is magnified due to their avoidance. On the other hand, buffaloes turn toward the storm and choose to take it head on. They have more of a "bring it" mentality, along with having that intuitive knowing that although pain will be inflicted, there is cultivation in weathering the storm. They are better for it. 

So, consider being the buffalo and heading into the storms and messiness of life, instead of running away and going for the exits. The hard times are going to hit, regardless. No one is immune from pain and struggle. Knowing that your greatest growth and learnings are found in going through the hard and not around, why not go through? #bethebuffalo #hitthehardheadon

 

Being Uncomfortable

As a life coach, I am a huge advocate for being uncomfortable. It sounds counter-intuitive but it is really where the gold is. Why? Because it is our discomfort that can be our greatest teacher. Unfortunately, as human beings, our tendency is to avoid feelings of discomfort by numbing, checking out, avoiding, and circumnavigating at every turn. Social media has become a convenient and easily accessible mode of checking out. Food and alcohol offer numbing agents for many, while gaming and pornography offer an outlet for others. There is a misguided belief that something is wrong with us if we are uncomfortable. Quite the contrary. 

"Accept things as they are and make any uncomfortable moments your friend. You then have the power to change from within." 

I often tell my clients to "Go through the pain and unease, do not go around it." Through not around. Two prepositions, but one is very different from the other in action and behavior. The more that we go through the hard, the struggle, and the unknown, the more we learn about our mettle, and what is begging for attention and cultivation. It is always a bit surprising to my clients when they get to the other side of their struggle and they are still in tact. And better for it. The energy expended in the going through is scary and intense but so much more efficient and beneficial. 

Consider going through today instead of going around. Befriend the discomfort. Be with it and own it. Let me know how it goes. 

The Next Level

“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” — Leonardo DiCaprio

Many of my clients felt like rock stars in high school, but when they get to college and post-college, their extraordinariness is common. The competition is daunting, and they aren't so special anymore. And to make matters worse, they have had little to no reflection time to figure out that ever pressing question: Who Am I? and what am I doing with my life? So, instead of taking stock and doing a reboot, they revert back to what has always worked for them. They go back to being the person that they have always been, and there is no recognition that something different is needed. The landscape has changed, but they do not have the tool set to shift gears. 

They buckle down, stay up later, pile more into to their already full lives. They go into automatic pilot, and have no sense of what their intuition is telling them. Their day-planners are evidence of lives in constant motion, scheduled to the gills. With no down time. No quiet. No safe haven to retreat and reassess. And often, their network of friends have similar insane schedules and equally crazy lives so no one is able and willing to step off the crazy train and stop the madness. Take a breath. If only to question what seems to be the norm, but is toxic for so many. 

"They are not aware - because their lives are immersed in this, like fish in water - how ever­ present is their world of social media: the infor­mation barrage, the habitual messaging, the in­cessant appetite for immediate response. When they exit class or work, they talk on their phones, thumb­ tap text, look to see what they've missed in the time they've been away. They feel lost if not con­nected, umbilically, to the latest digital watering­ holes. It is relentless, addictive, brain-swiveling. But to them it is not unusual. The deluge and its unceasing demand for attention is not something they think of as stress-inducing."

Coaching offers a path to a more enlightened you by helping you to step back and assess your situation. Our time together will be about questioning everything, and then going about shedding old patterns, belief systems, and thoughts that are no longer serving you, and help you get your mojo back. It all starts with awareness which fosters a shift in perspective. By getting a handle on what is going on inside your mind and "cleaning house," you'll feel more organized, more energized, and more motivated. The only thing you will lose is an old version of you. Step into the moment brand new. 

A different and more adaptable you is needed to navigate life transitions, like college and life after college, and it all starts with the power of a good question. What is your why? You don't have to go it alone. What are you waiting for? #teamit #martalifecoaching

A New Day, A Fresh Start

Since becoming a life coach, one of my go-to thoughts when I wake up in the morning is, "Thank you for another day. A new beginning. How can I make it better than yesterday?" In past, I often would wake up and focus on thoughts about what I was dreading or what I wish I had done differently the day before. I still have a tendency to start there, but I am aware of this orientation, so I am able to gently move those thoughts to a more positive and empowering place. By doing so, it helps motivate me and set the trajectory for my day from a kinder and more hopeful place. 

So, dear ones, instead of waking up and allowing a barrage of negative thoughts to overwhelm your being, gently pull your thoughts back to a place of gratitude for what is and what is possible. Maybe it is thanking the universe for the gift of a new day which allows for doing something a little differently than the day before, or asking the question of how you can make today a good day. I often hear my clients say, "I hope today is better than yesterday." Or, "I hope something good happens to me today." Imagine if you came at it from the perspective of how YOU can create the good, and not be waiting for someone or something to make it good for you. It's the difference between being proactive and reactive. One helps put you in the power seat, the other puts you at the whim of the world. Which one would your prefer? #taketheinitiative #howcanyoumaketodaygreat #itsanewday

 

 

 

Let's Do This!

Last week, one of my Notre Dame clients said to me, "being able to talk to you on a weekly basis and process through things is really helpful. It helps me have a better handle on my thoughts and this heightened awareness guides my choices differently. As crazy as it sounds, I am living a healthier existence because of our sessions." ~ K.A. 

Guiding individuals in seeking their truth and being themselves very well is core to coaching work. As my clients get better at being themselves and aligning their internal world with their external choices, they are able to contribute to the greater whole. As the saying goes, "the rising tide floats all boats." Awareness informs perspective, wisdom, and insight which gives one the context for change. 

Through relationship we become. If you're ready to evolve and come into your own, give me a call. #letsdothis

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Make the World A Better Place

I posted this on my FB page last week, and I share it here on the blog since the sentiments and the spirit in which I do my coaching work have been strongly informed by my upbringing, and the irrepressibility, vulnerability, drive, brilliance, and heart of my dear father. He was himself very well. May each one of you get better and better at becoming YOU. Our world needs you. Cheers to you, Dad! x

My heart is both rejoicing and breaking as I compose this. It is with a heavy heart that I share the death of my dear Dad, Chuck Roemer, this morning. He succumbed in the end to the vicious and unrelenting disease of Alzheimer’s, but his being and core nature were never completely ravaged by it as he maintained a kindness, light, and goodness that defied all odds. It is hard to put into words the deep love and gratitude I feel toward him and the legacy he left us. He set the bar high. God blessed us with a loving, driven, disciplined, committed, vulnerable, competitive, smart, magnanimous, and principled man. He was never one to blend (to my dismay as a young person!), and he always was about making a difference and making the world a better place in any way possible. As your daughter, Dad, I thank you for loving Mom so fiercely, and teaching your five children that the most important lesson of all is learn to love and be loved. Very well. Although your light has been extinguished here on earth, I know that it will illuminate the Heavens and come back to us ten-fold. I promise to do everything I can in this life to do as you did: LOVE, SERVE, LOVE, HAVE FUN, LOVE, WORK HARD, RINSE and REPEAT. I love you forever and always, and being your daughter was one helluva ride. Shine on and fly, Dad! You earned your wings. xoxoxoxo

The Journey

"It's easy to fall in love with the GPS version of the universe.

There, just ahead, after that curve. Drive a little further, your destination is almost here.

Done. You've arrived.

Of course, that's not how it works. Not our careers, not our relationships, not our lives.

You've always arrived. You've never arrived.

Wherever you go, there you are. You're never going to arrive because you're already there.

There's no division between the painful going and the joyous arriving. If we let it, the going can be the joyful part.

It turns out that arrival isn't the point, it can't be, because we spend all our time on the journey." ~ Seth Godin

My husband and I just took our two oldest children on an 8-day east coast college tour. Many miles were logged, and our GPS was a godsend (most of the time!) in getting us to the next leg on our journey from Rhode Island to North Carolina and everywhere in between. What GPS didn't offer us were guideposts and answers for the day to day adventure. Stepping out of the known and the day to day routine allowed for a shift in perspective. New learnings. As the days passed, I softened to the crazy pace we had set for ourselves and found myself less preoccupied by where we needed to be next, and enjoying the journey more. Because, "it turns out that arrival isn't the point, it can't be, because we spend all our time on the journey." 

Remember, it's not about the destination. The gold is in the journey itself, and the space in between. #itsallgood

Who Are You? You Are A Beautiful Amalgam

There is so much more to you than the roles you play or from where you come. 

You have your own curiosities, and areas that are immune and safe from the outside world. Your insides are under construction as you navigate the landscape and get in touch with what resonates with you. Not just what sounds good to the outside world. But, what really jives with your being and what you know to be true. As you are learning, you are evolving — so yesterday's and today’s answer to your inquiry about "who am I" may be too broad or too stifling tomorrow.
Your journey warrants some intentionality. Some personalization. Some guts.

Here’s the most telling question to ask yourself when you’re in search of guidance and finding your voice:
“What fits me?"
That particular question destroys blueprints, and belief systems that never honored you in the first place. That question is truth and authenticity in a world that is enamored with shoulds, appearances, facades, and societal expectations. 

“So... what fits me?"
Finding the answer to that — from your relationships to your major to your extracurriculars to your passions — requires chutzpah, the audacity to experiment. It’s not as lickety-split as a quick fix, or as logical as a math equation, or as familiar to the masses. And you may not score at the popularity game — but the liberty and the empowerment will fit you quite nicely. Stay true to what fits, and you won't be sorry. x
 
 

Coaching and Therapy: A Powerful Combination

I am a big proponent of both therapy and life coaching as I witness the incredible gift that self-awareness and its relationship to living a healthier and happier existence breeds. About a 1/4 of my clients do a combination of both, and there seems to be a good synergy between the two. Why? Therapy tends to be more focused on past traumas and unresolved issues, and it gives context to the undercurrents at play in belief systems and behaviors, while life coaching focuses more in the here and now by identifying the client's personal goals, the obstacles that are getting in the way, and how best to proceed by developing a plan of capitalizing on awareness, cultivating a healthier mindset, optimizing strengths, and compensating for weaknesses. 

Last evening, I was talking to one of my clients who recently began therapy, and when I asked her how she differentiated the work that she and I were doing and the work that she was doing in therapy, she said, "I see therapy as going back in my life and addressing some of my earlier experiences and how those have colored my beliefs and behaviors up to now, while I see our coaching relationship as a way for me to have a game plan for my life going forward. It's a life philosophy. I want to live my truth, contribute to the greater whole, and have an epic life." Sounds good to me! Cheers to the journey ahead! x
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Roots and Wings

Hodding Carter in his book, When Main Street Meets the River, quotes a very wise woman who once said to him, “There are only two lasting bequests that we can hope to give our children—roots and wings.”


The conflicted relationship that exists between emerging adults and parents when it comes to making life decisions is real.  You feel betwixt either way:  If you don't follow your parent's advice, you face the possibility of making a mistake and risking their disappointment.  On the other hand, if you always seek and follow the advice of your parents, you never truly feel equipped and worthy of standing on your own two feet.  

Be clear about your own interests and curiosities, know where your strengths and gifts lie, and then discern if you are making choices in alignment with these.  The wisdom of knowing what is going on inside of you, and the ability to communicate the path you are navigating and the way that you are ultimately choosing to go, even if you are struggling to know if it is true for you and it differs from your parents desires, is a gift that you can give to both yourself and your parents. It is a way of educating and enlightening them on what you believe is best for you and why.  And if your parents are willing, they will hear you out and take time to understand and respect your process, even if it might deviate from theirs.  Knowing that you have a process, and understanding what that process is, can alleviate a lot of parental concern. 

So much of a parent's need to control and fix what seems to be going awry is the belief that you, the emerging adult, are not equipped to make a well-informed and risk-free decision.  But, here's the thing: Only until you have the trust and belief in yourself to make the small and significant life decisions, will you come to know yourself and understand what works for you and what doesn't.

As you have probably figured out, nothing is risk-free or a sure thing.  Whatever the outcome of a decision, you have the learnings along the way that give you good data points for future decisions. It gives you an ownership and responsibility that you would not have had you had your parents' hands been commandeering the decision.  With this personal ownership, comes investment, awareness, and maturity.  You can bet that the next time a decision presents itself, based on previous choices, you will be more informed as you choose your next path.  Regardless of what the decision entails, whether it be big things like: choosing a major, deciding on a school, picking a partner, securing a job, choosing a roommate - or smaller things like what to eat, when to study, and what extracurricular to sign up for, the more you have the breathing space to make your own decisions.  

Your parents give you roots and wings in this life, and with these roots, you can spread your wings and ultimately fly.  Job well done!  May you keep on showing up and choosing the next best thing. Baby steps. Your parents and I will be cheering you on along the way!  xox

 
 

For You, Dear One

If you feel vulnerable, or armored, or vulnerable and armored. If you sometimes embrace your insecurities and sometimes struggle with them. Whether you are an extrovert, or an introvert, or are sometimes seeking the company of others and sometimes desiring quiet. 

If some days you wrestle with the feelings of being lost and unanchored, and some days you experience moorings and being centered. If you speak your truth, or don’t know what your truth is. Whether you are full of passion, or uncertainty, or sometimes passion and sometimes uncertainty. If you feel seen and known, or hide from the fear of rejection. If some days you stay in the arena, and other days you choose to stay on the periphery. Whether you feel isolated, are seeking, or have found yourself. If you are choosing to show up, or dial it back, but no matter what, you keep walking. 

Wherever you are, in whatever state you are, I see you. Keep walking. #itsallgood

 

Your Tribe

"Be around the light bringers, the magic makers, the world shifters, the game shakers.  They challenge you, break you open, uplift you and expand you.  They don't let you play small with your life.  These heartbeats are your people. These people are your tribe."

The more you come into your own, the more you will attract and fall in with your tribe. This group can be comprised of 1 or 10. It doesn't matter. What matters is that they are your people, and when you are in their presence you feel stronger, better, and more at home. They get you. Validate you. Challenge you. Dig you. Stretch you. Love you. Get comfortable in that skin of yours, own your choices, behaviors, and story, and seek your people. They are out there. And they are ready to welcome you home. 

My WHY

Who I am and how I live my life on a day to day basis is about helping people thrive and be their best. I teach my clients that happiness is a mindset, a choice. How you want to be and engage with yourself and the world is entirely up to you. Circumstances are out of your control. But how and what you think and do with those circumstances is your call. On your terms. I have the privilege of helping you get your groove on, and step into what makes you that unique and fabulous human that you are meant to be. 

Once you get clear on your why, and what motivates you and keeps you showing up each and every day, you capitalize on this WHY and formulate a daily routine that helps you achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams, one day at a time.

If you are seeking a road map for life, get in touch with me. Rather than struggling mightily to find your way, let's join forces and figure it out together.

Life coaching is an agent for change and transformation. What are you waiting for? 

Cheers, dear ones! x

Hello, Parents!

My coaching practice is brimming with young adults that arrive at the college doorstep well-groomed, well-loved, sparkly clean, and with an impeccable resume to boot; however, they often run for cover and crumble under pressure when life throws the inevitable curveballs. Why? Because that high-achieving young adult is still developing and learning how to navigate the myriad of obstacles that life is throwing at them. They are smack-dab in the middle of figuring out who am I and what than means. The struggle is real, and it is normal. They have not yet developed the problem-solving skills, mindset, and grit to absorb the blows of a bad grade, an argument with a roommate, or a difficult professor. Instead of seeing adversity as though something is terribly wrong with them, I teach them how to improvise, take accountability, and become super resourceful and adaptable to deal with difficulty and the convoluted nature of all things life.  

Against popular opinion, putting yourselves OUT of a job is exactly where you want to be going if you desire for your children to be truly successful in their own right. This does not mean to withhold the nourishing practice of loving your children and supporting them as they navigate their way through the world. Quite the opposite. The only difference is that instead of doing it FOR them, you are helping them to learn the tools necessary to do it for themselves. 

Recently, I have expanded my offerings to include a monthly family package which encompasses the daily/weekly work I am doing with my students while weaving in the parent/s on an as needed basis. I am finding that this approach is more holistic in nature, as it offers an even greater body of wellness for not only the student, but the broader family whole as well. 

Let's get to work! xx

 

Time to Exhale

Hooray! You made it through your first semester of college! And for those of you who maneuvered your way through semester three, or five, or seven - job well done. Either way, as you are finding out, this college journey is not for the faint of heart as it can be raw, intense, discombobulating, and unforgiving. More than likely your tank is empty. You are spent. I totally get it. It is probably the most you have ever grown as a human being in a four month span of time, barring your infant and toddler years. Take a deep breath and let it all sink in. The good, the bad, the ugly. Acknowledge the visible, but mostly invisible interior signs of growth.

Growth in any form is largely uncomfortable and exhausting, and college offers prime growth real estate with its new and unchartered territory.  I like to refer to it as the perfect time to reboot. It is the space between your previous existence and the current one under construction. As you are learning, life will take you on a grand journey if you allow it. This openness to the adventure will allow you to reach landscapes and heights that you never imagined possible. Think about it: you are definitely wiser and none worse for the wear than when you arrived on campus in August. If you experienced discomfort, awkwardness, confusion, and insecurity along the way, this is a good sign that you stepped outside your familiar which is precisely where you need to go in order to grow. It seems counterintuitive to seek this kind of growth, especially when misery seems to accompany it, but it is absolutely your greatest teacher. So, regardless of what semester you have under your belt, hold your head high. You did it. You are still standing, learning, and growing - and that, my friends, is something to celebrate. 

Next step: recalibration. Thankfully, winter break offers a time for replenishment in the form of TLC, rest, reflection, exercise, home cooking, ice cream, Netflix, friends, and family. Take advantage of it all. Soak it in at the cellular level. While settling in, make room for reflection to process through the unfolding of the last 4 months (no judgment, just awareness!), gain some clarity on where you are at this moment on the journey (again, no harsh judgments as much as being a compassionate witness to what has been and what is), and then brainstorm what you would like to change, what you desire, and what are possible next steps. Creating space for this process is vital in setting the trajectory for your second semester. Goal setting and getting clearer on what piques your curiosity and what lights you up, even if it means shifting majors, is a good step. For some it might mean seeking out time management/organizational help, or finding a new friend group. For others, it takes the form of integrating a new hobby or weaving in the creative. Whatever it is, cheers to the process. I look forward to picking up where we left off and hitting the ground running, dear ones! Until then, get some sleep and take time to exhale. #itsallgood
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Love Yourself First

I came across a quote this morning that beautifully touched on a common theme in my college students : "So many years of education yet nobody ever taught us how to love ourselves and why it's so important." It is striking to me how few of my clients understand this concept of self-love. You can be loved by others to the very depths of your soul, but this love doesn't take the place of the responsibility that you have in loving yourself.  Self-love takes practice just like any other skill. 

Here are a few small steps that my students are taking to love themselves:

1. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing that I do is think about 3 things for which I am grateful.  And if I can't come up with anything, my tried and true is always to just be grateful for a new day and the opportunity to try again.

2. My self-talk is atrocious and ever since you told me that we have over 60k thoughts a day and the majority are negative, I was mortified.  Seriously?  So, whenever I feel myself going down a negative path (which is often!), I bring it back to: what is the next best thing that I can do for myself, right here and now? 

3. I am playing the piano again.  Only a few times a week but it is enough that I am feeling connected to more of my creative side and that has given me something more pleasurable than focusing everything on my academic load. I miss my music.  

4. I am doing a media fast because my anxiety is heightened when I am connected to social media right now. I need a break. 

5. Although I am finding that there is a never ending to-do list in college, I am making time for my friendships. Just last night I had a group of girls that I am just getting to know come up to my dorm room and hang out for a few hours.  We listened to music and just got to know one another better. So good for my spirit and something that I have really missed from high school. I felt a little guilt but it was so worth it. 

6. I raised my hand in class today even though I was terrified (I even put my hand down at one point but the professor saw me and called on me anyway!).  The professor treated me kindly, and best of all? I didn't feel stupid. And all the sweeter was that by asking the question, I understood the concept better in the end. 

7. I ate at Chipotle with my friends last night and instead of over-indulging, I was more aware of how the food tasted and took my time. I wasn't beating myself up and devising a way to go workout to work off the excess food like I normally do after eating. It felt strange, but kinda amazing at the same time.  

8. I am no longer hanging around with a friend that is not a positive person in general. Whenever I was around her, I didn't feel the freedom to be myself and I was always apologizing for things that I was saying or doing which were only exacerbated by my awkwardness in her presence.  

9. Instead of working out to lose weight, I am now trying to focus my thoughts about exercise on wellness and taking care of my body and myself.  Nothing over the top either.  Maybe 30 minutes of cardio and weights and I'm out.  It feels great and it's so much more doable than trying to fit in an hour (which I rarely find the time to do anyway and then I would skip it all together).  

10. I'm not a small talk kind of person but I realized that I needed to be open to more surface exchanges early on with potential friends and then allow the depth to occur more naturally. I now have a group of 10 guys that I hang out with that are awesome and it feels great. Remembering that my close friendships from high school didn't happen overnight, but over 4 or more years, was a good reality check, since I desire to have those kind of friendships right now. I am trusting the process and it's a lot more enjoyable and not as stressful. 

Namaste, dear ones!  ox #loveyourselffirst

Paradigm Shift

Client:  Life dramatically improved after we first talked.

Me:  What has transpired since we last met?  

Client:  My self-worth has grown considerably by actively choosing to think about situations in such a way that I am not dependent on what another person thinks of me.  This was a huge paradigm shift for me.  I am seeing the world now through my own eyes and not through the eyes of everyone else.  It was monumental and incredibly helpful.  - T.W., Notre Dame student

THIS is why I love my work.  Life coaching is not merely a transactional exchange, but it has the capacity to be a transformational one. As Plutarch said, the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.  xo!  #choosetothrivenotmerelysurvive