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, With Love

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 hiding 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. #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:  How cool is that?! 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.  xo!  #choosetothrivenotmerelysurvive

 

 

Resume Building? Shift to Person Building.

There is no denying that a checklist provides structure and clarity, and a resume often becomes the embodiment of this list; however, when the checklist becomes the focal point and end game, the cultivation tends to be externally driven and the opportunity to grow from the inside out is lost.  Resume building is important, but only so long as the individual is following suit and growing in depth and breadth in collaboration with the checklist.  

Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former freshmen dean at Stanford, made this very apt analysis about the cost and underbelly of focusing solely on resume building and not on person building:  "Each year my students were more and more and more and more accomplished. The grades, but not just the grades: the scores. And not just the grades and the scores but the awards, and the accolades, and the activities, and community service, and leadership, and, and, and, and, and, every other prospect for perfection. Yet each year I noticed that more and more could tell you what they’d done but not so much why they’d done it. Could tell you what they’d achieved but not so much about what mattered to them. These students were far more interesting to look at on paper than to talk with in person. Was any of this stuff really their passion? Did they even know what that word meant or was it just something someone said they needed in order to get into the quote unquote right college? "

This past summer, I worked with a bright young lady who was struggling to find her fit in college as a junior. She was desperately searching for something that truly gave her purpose and meaning and yet, she was falling short.  She felt lost.  It appeared that the school, the major, the lack of fit were all the problem.  Instead of focusing on the externals and changing her circumstances, we chose to shine the light on how she could change her perspective and attitude toward what was in her control, and shift some of the habits and behaviors that were not feeding her and ultimately not getting her closer to her goal.  As we were discussing her possible next steps, she mentioned the need to improve her resume and decorate it further because she felt it needed to be more impressive to prospective employers.  Instead of going this route, I proposed that her work, and our work together, was to no longer be driven by the checklist, but focused on her own personal development.  In understanding her thoughts and those things that she desired, it helped her get closer to what was important to her, and ultimately who she was and who she wanted to be in 10 years.  

Granted, it is the resume that most often gets you in the door, but once in the door, employers will take notice of your authenticity.  Not just do you possess the skill set needed to perform the job.  Are you self-aware?  Do you possess a sense of humility, drive, curiosity, and tenacity?  Are you capable of thinking outside the lines?  Do you know how to take the initiative and not seek approval every step of the way?  Are you a team-builder?  Collaborator?  Do you think ahead about the needs coming down the pike?  What are your gifts?  Curiosities?  Do they align?  These are just a smattering of the things that employers are looking for.  An impeccable resume only goes so far.  Understanding the what and why helps you make more informed choices.  And your resume becomes an extension of you, not just a mere list.  You want to be the full package, not just a bright shiny object. Dig deep, dear ones.  You are worth it.  ox

Creating Healthy Patterns

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern."  ~ Annie Dillard

You are what you repeatedly do, so being intentional about the substance of your daily habits and patterns is essential in creating your reality.  Your day to day choices become your life.  Plain and simple.

As you get older, it gets harder to create new habits because it requires energy and awareness to shift gears and try new things.  Operating on autopilot is a lot more comfortable and efficient for your brain so unless you explicitly teach it to do something else, it prefers the well-traveled path.  Probably the hardest part of developing new habits is the initial energy involved, and having to work hard at getting good at something again.  My kids would tell you that you have to suck first before you get better. The good news is that you don't have to be better than where you actually are at that very moment in the process.  There's no need to keep score.  And most importantly, there is no place for judgment (even if it has been hard-wired into your being from an early age!) since that holds you back from trying new things and unleashing that untapped potential within.

A great example of being okay with wherever I am is building my business as a life coach.  Each step along the way asks me to be okay with wherever I am in the process and not judge whether or not it should be something else.  Like being somewhere else on the journey.  As a person who likes to be good at things, it has been a hard but valuable lesson in appreciating the very process of the unfolding. I have learned that writing this blog post (and all of those preceding this one!) without judging it, and posting it is part of honing that tool of process and not being wed to the outcome has been an important step in that direction.  An unexpected bonus from the actual practice of writing a blog has been finding my voice and establishing a pattern.  It has helped me to get more clear on what I am teaching, what my work entails and from where I come in coaching my clients. 

Tom Stern who wrote The Practicing Mind says that "the goal is not the destination, but rather the compass that guides the journey." I love this.  Keep heading in the direction of your goals, enjoy the process, and stay on course.  Inevitably, adjustments will need to be made along the way (that's the beauty of the adventure!), so recalibrate when and where needed, and recognize the gold in the process.  You got this.  #babysteps. #itsallgood.

 

 

Introverts and Showing Up

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung

As a self-proclaimed and Myers-Briggs labeled introvert (I certainly have extroverted qualities, but for as long as I can remember, I have leaned and related more toward my introversion), I find that there is nothing sweeter than quiet time where I can reboot and replenish after the emotional output required in my day to day. My preference in relationships and social gatherings is the one-to-one or small group dynamics versus the bigger groups and large parties.  It is in the more intimate settings that I feel a sense of connection and authenticity.  The bigger and less intimate gatherings have always felt more on the surface, less substantive, and not as safe.  For a long time, I struggled with my bent toward this and actually thought something was wrong with my wiring.  Why wasn't I more comfortable in this life and the many daily interactions that I had from being on sports teams to school to being part of a big family?

One of my greatest desires since I was a little girl was a need to belong and be safe and be known.  When those criteria were met, I could operate at my best and take risks.  I think this is true for most of us.  When we feel safe, we can grow and be free.  

Interestingly, I began to default to my introversion and avoiding social interactions whenever life got to be too much.  Only until I came upon coaching and started looking at the WHY of my motivations and what thoughts created those feelings did I begin to wonder if I was overly relying on my introversion and using it as a shield.  An armor.  A place to hide.  What was I afraid of?  At the time, I couldn't articulate it.  Now, I can say that it was the thought that I was not enough, and showing up as I thought I needed to show up, and not as I truly was, required incredible amounts of energy. 

Fast forward to working my with fabulous clients and I am starting to see a very common pattern with my self-proclaimed introverted students.  As they peel away the layers of years of habits and behaviors, what appears to be their introverted tendencies in situations that require vulnerability, there is often a mode of self-preservation and protection.  This protection is in place because of the fear of being truly seen and known and being rejected once they are "outed".  One of my clients told me that she worries that if she were to truly share her thoughts with her friends and family, it would be too much for them to bear.  She felt her deeper and more intimate thoughts were seen as outside what would be acceptable.  There's a fear of just being too much on all levels. Another client told me that he has always been known as the nice guy, nothing more and nothing less.  He is tired of this label and longs for more, but his fear of not being liked by everyone takes precedence.  He admits that being nice can be exhausting.  It leaves him feeling empty.  And lost. Why? My guess is that by going against the grain and trying to morph into something "more acceptable" requires considerable mental energy. 

I am completely fascinated by how we try to mold ourselves into the person that we think is desirable, but by doing so, we totally lose our way and become liked by people as someone that we are not. What the what?!  It makes no sense and yet we do it all the time!  I choose to believe that people do us a favor by not liking us since their thoughts about us are more about them than they are about us. Regardless of what we do, they size us up pretty much from the get-go and either they have thoughts that are for us or against us.  It really requires no energy on our part.  We can just be who we are and be that very well.  Their assessment is all about them.  But, that is for another blog.  :)

As an exercise for my clients, I ask that they foster an awareness when the desire to "hide" or close down creeps in, and then understand what is going on to create that trigger.  Is it that you truly are spent and need to recalibrate, or is it because you would prefer to avoid a person/situation and fall back on your introversion as the excuse?  It's all in the awareness of the thoughts surrounding your actions, and what is driving your behaviors.  Stay clean on these things, and stay true to who you are and what you need.  In time, the desire to hide will not be such a strong force/motivating factor because you will own who you are and make no apologies for it.  You will start showing up just as you are, in whatever setting you find yourself.  It's all good.  Much love!  ox

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. ~Joan Didion

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

If I could tattoo this quote onto the bodies of my students, I would. Literally. I wish I could take credit for it, but its genius is from Theodore Roosevelt.  

Imagine a world that is fueled by the celebration of your differentness, versus a belief that being unique separates, diminishes, and/or threatens you? It is striking to witness this obsession with comparison and feeling less than or unworthy on college campuses. It is everywhere, and it poisons the well of your soul and paralyzes you from truly showing up in this world. Cultivating your gifts and curiosities is a heckuva lot more productive and courageous than shrinking back and hiding because you are fearful of the unknown and rejection.

Instead of playing the comparison game, why not channel your energies to what and who you are, and what and who you want to be? If you are in class with someone that is ridiculously smart, why not acknowledge it and take some pointers from them? Study with them. Analyze their note taking prowess. Ask them questions. Be curious! Learn. If you are around happy and healthy people, take notice of what they are thinking and doing to create this in their lives and implement these life-giving thoughts and behaviors into yours. How can you best take care of yourself today, and how can you best show up in this life today? Stop comparing—instead, acknowledge what it is that is drawing you in and speaking to you—and get to work on weaving those things into your own being and life! It all comes down to what you want, and what you are willing to do to realize this in your world.  Your life circumstances are out of your control, but how you choose to think about them and how you choose to behave as a result determines your outcome.  Nothing is off the table.  

"With envy out of the way, you'll have more space for your own greatness to emerge."  ~ Danielle LaPorte

Big love.  xo

 

Living Your Truth and Choosing a Major

"You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside your story, hustling for your worthiness."  ~ Brene Brown

Much of my work is informed by Brene's research and wisdom on courage and vulnerability which beautifully corresponds to my students' desires of seeking happiness and a sense of meaning and purpose as they navigate the world of college and choosing a major.  I see a handful of students on a weekly basis that are grappling with their desire to live freely and out loud, but they are afraid of being rejected and/or seen by others as not good enough. What if my peers think an Arts and Letters major is inferior to a STEM major?  What if I know I am a good writer and I love to write, but I am afraid that I will not live up to the expectations that my professors have of me so I'll choose a major that doesn't make me feel as vulnerable, like Science.  When we live our life according to what we believe others want, we are stuck hustling for our worthiness.  And this hustle is an exhausting and soul-sucking existence.  Hence, the omnipresent anxiety, depression, motivational issues, and feelings of unworthiness.

My role is to help students cultivate their inner world and answer some of the underlying questions that seem to be obstacles in their way.  For instance, for my freshmen and sophomore students, figuring out a major that truly fits with their gifts and interests is a huge step on the path of awareness and empowerment.  Maybe this means choosing Environmental Science versus Environmental Engineering, especially when they are drowning in the Engineering curriculum.  Or, going the Biology path when they find that their true calling is that and not Anthropology.  Or, going the English major route and not Pre-Medicine recognizing that their dreams of becoming a doctor are not completely washed away, but they are able to thrive and flourish in an undergraduate major that will lead them more wholeheartedly to that next step post-graduation. Maybe it is more unconventional, but sometimes taking the path less traveled is exactly what is needed to realize their dreams.  

Either way, when they choose what fits their curiosities and gifts, there is a fundamental shift in ownership of their choice, and this seems to make all the difference.  

Identifying what they want and why allows them to make more informed and proactive decisions which ultimately helps pave a smoother and more empowered path.  This freedom to choose organically brings a drive, passion, and determination as they move forward.  Magically, a lot of their resistance (lack of motivation and engagement, poor time management, anxiety, not seeking out help when and where needed) melts away and they rise to the challenge of a life that they are choosing.  No longer are they walking through the motions; instead, there is a light and fire within that ignites them.  

As a parent of four children myself, I struggle with knowing when to loosen the reins and when to push on the accelerator.  Ideally, we find ways to support, guide, and LOVE our children while also respecting their need to feel like they are capable of making sound decisions.  A good barometer is to recognize when something seems more about the needs and desires of the parents, versus what, in fact, the young adult is communicating (either verbally and/or non-verbally).  It's a dance, but a very worthwhile one. What I often observe with my students is they are often acting on what they believe their parents want, rather than following a path that speaks directly and more intimately to their own passions and interests.  I think we all desire for our children to be happy and well, and sometimes that means letting go of what we envisioned for them and allowing them to engineer and create their own path.  Ultimately, they will thrive and find meaning and purpose on the way which contributes to a life well-lived.  

 

 

Be Open to Plan B

I received an email from one of my students ("Maria") who is soaking in the blessings of a well-deserved and much-needed spring break at home.  She came to me in early February struggling with anxiety and feelings of darkness as she tried to navigate the vicissitudes of college life. Recently, she came to a realization that seemed to give her perspective on why she has been struggling so mightily, and I thought I would share it with you since it might just help those that have been operating from a similar place.

When Maria arrived on campus in the fall, she had a very clear view of what her freshman year would be, and exactly how everything should play out.  In her mind, this meant that her freshman roommate would become her best friend, her GPA would be close to a 4.0, she would thrive in her intended major without too much struggle, and her happiness would be guaranteed because she was at the University of her dreams so she would fit in with everyone and all would be well. What Maria didn't plan for was that if and when her beliefs and the thoughts surrounding those beliefs did not pan out, there was no plan b.  And with no plan b, there was little to no ability to be flexible and adapt to the unexpected and often difficult things that life presented her with on a daily basis. 

One of the key things that Maria and I set to work on was creating the awareness around her thoughts and recognizing that she had a set belief on exactly how things needed to play out so that she could be happy.  Instead of being open to the process of the unfolding, she was completely wed to the outcome that she believed was best and if things deviated from this, she felt that she was a failure.  Once she started seeing the pattern of her thinking and how it was manifesting in her life, she was surprised at the power of her thoughts and how it had dictated the misery she felt each and every day.  Instead of appreciating the gift of having a roommate with whom she got along and enjoyed spending time, she focused on the fact that they were not best friends so somehow that was seen as a failure.  Since she was not able to perform well in her intended major classes, she made the hard decision to shift into a different major that was more aligned with her true strengths and interests, but because it wasn't STEM related, she deemed this a failure. These failures in her mind kept compounding, and instead of approaching things from a more open and compassionate mindset, she felt more and more broken and unworthy of being.  

Slowly, Maria has been peeling back the layers around her thoughts and belief systems, especially those that are not serving her.  She is realizing that those things that she felt were non-negotiables and essential for her happiness, are no longer set in stone.  Maybe there is another way of looking at things and seeing them from a new and softer place that allow her to embrace the unknown and not be as wed to the outcome.  She is learning how to be true to what is best for her (which is another unfolding for her since she has never really known what she wants apart from what she believes that outside world wants and expects from her), and this is making all the difference.  

May each one of you experience the grace and breathing space of living your best and most authentic life without believing that it has to play out a certain way.  Bring everything you have to the table, and then let the pieces fall where they may.  It often manifests not exactly as you might have envisioned it, but it can be better than you ever imagined.  Stay open, be curious, have fun, and celebrate the unfolding!  Happy Friday, dear ones!  xo

Find the Grace in the Midst of the Messiness

There is choice in the midst of the fullness, chaos, pain and challenge of our days. It is true that there are circumstances that you cannot change, but your thoughts and feelings around these life events are absolutely up to you.  If you choose to come from a place of enough and leverage what is, your outcomes will reflect this.  Hands down. 


I just got off the phone with a client and he talked about how happy he is to be home, and how aware and present he is in choosing to be in each and every moment.  In past, he would focus on all the things that were not in his family, versus what was.  Today, after a lot of his own work, he is choosing to come from a place of focusing on what IS.  There is a lot of good in the midst of the dysfunction. He is setting boundaries where needed and letting go in other places which is allowing him to engage with those that he loves without being consumed by them.  A huge shift.  


Appreciate the journey, dear ones!  And know that each step of the way there is grace and goodness in the midst of the messiness.  Peace and love!

 

The Gift of Effort

What I have learned in this life is that effort is more important than result.  

You might take big, audacious, and courageous action and get no tangible or desirable result.
You might push, you slog, you show up, you give it your all.  And yet, 
The grade doesn’t improve. The relationship doesn’t last. The game is lost.  You're left with that feeling of devastating defeat. Miserable failure.
But that’s not actually the reality, because when you deliver what is in you and you try your best, you never really “fail.”
Simply by trying — especially when the end result is not a sure thing —  you are meeting the challenge by cultivating the act of completion and doing the best you can with what you have, and where you are.  

There are hidden nuggets — hidden miracles — that are born when you try.
You might not witness these miracles immediately playing out in front of your eyes. But they are unfolding in your being. Because you showed up.  You gave what you had.  You tried.
Trying is not a waste.
Trying is not an all or nothing.

Trying is always worth it.  The happiness in your life depends upon measuring yourself based on your effort, and the quality of thoughts that you have about that effort, not about whether you win or lose.  Deliver what is in you and meet the challenge without being wed to the outcome.  #truehappiness

 

Seeking Perfection

Alright, dear ones.  This morning I came across this brilliant and chilling NY Times article about the pressure of perfection (click on NYT Source link below for details). This is my WHY in creating the collegiate life coaching business.  

While I was an academic advisor at the University of Notre Dame, I saw many gradations of the deep struggles that Kathryn DeWitt and Madison Holleran experienced, and it broke my heart. This stuff is for real, and the more young people that I can reach and teach the skills and tools needed to live this life journey with courage, strength, resiliency, and awareness, the better.   

This article speaks for itself, but it begs for a more candid conversation and a rallying around the path of seeking and living your truth.  College offers the canvas to begin the unlayering process of finding out who you are and what your purpose and passions are.  Life coaching helps you do this peeling back from a place of curiosity, kindness and compassion.  By harnessing your mind and generating healthy, productive thoughts that align with your heart, you will change your life.  I promise.  Email me (coaching@martabrummell.com), and we can get started!  

Source: http://nyti.ms/1LMHNQb

Inside Out and Outside In

This past weekend, my husband and I and our four children went to the movie "Inside Out.”  Every one of us loved it!  

The majority of the film is set inside the mind of 11-year old Riley, who's depressed about her mom and dad's decision to move them from the Midwest to San Francisco, separating her from her friends and her childhood foundation. Riley's emotions are determined by the dance between five core emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. There's a control headquarters that the five primary emotions compete with each other to control, and at various times, different emotions hold court, but never to the exclusion of the others. The dominant emotion hears what the other emotions are saying, and can't help but be impacted by it.  And so it is true in our own lives.  We cannot help but be impacted by the various emotions that we are having.  The key is to learn how to acknowledge and feel these emotions, and then channel them accordingly.  

Initially, Joy seems to be running the show.  But soon we realize that Sadness has just as much of value to contribute. Anger, Disgust, and Fear are useful as well, and none of them should take precedence to the exclusion of the rest.  Allowing for one, some, and/or all of these emotions as part of our experience is permitting us to be just as we are, and absolutely where we are.  Not one of these emotions is good and/or bad.  They just are.  

We have no real control over our emotions, only over what we choose to think about them and what we choose to do about them. By learning how to manage our mind, we have more control over our thoughts which inform our feelings, and spawn our action/inaction, and create the results we get in our lives. By integrating our hearts and minds, and by being in touch with both our thoughts and feelings, we are able to align and engage with ourselves and the world from our truth.  Riley is not simple; she is human.  And her humanness makes her life experiences beautiful, messy, complicated, and rich.  #itsallgood.