Dear High School Seniors...

I woke up this morning after a restless night’s sleep. One of the main culprits? My thoughts. They were running rampant and unmanaged due to the insanity known as the college admissions process. This crazy train has been wreaking havoc recently in many of the circles that I frequent.

Along with coaching some of my client’s through this process, a few of my dear friends are walking this path with their children, and to top it off, our oldest daughter, Ellie, is in the throws of it as well. How do we help them stay grounded, keep perspective, and choose their thoughts and beliefs about the process from a place that they are always enough, that their worth is no more and no less because of an acceptance or rejection, and that they get to choose how to show up and create a marvelous college experience, regardless of the school that they attend?

By the grace of God, one of my very favorite humans and writers, Kelly Corrigan, just so happened to post this open letter today to every high school senior waiting to hear back from college admissions. You’re welcome.

So, dear ones, do yourself a favor and read this message from Kelly. Remember that whatever school is blessed to land you, and you to land it, you get to create and define your experience, not the other way around. Follow your curiosities, cultivate your gifts, be uncomfortable, do the hard, contribute to the greater whole, trust the process, and know that it’s all good. Be your own good news.

“There's a story about a farmer that's been circulating for thousands of years that's worth considering as you react to whatever news you get this week.

So there's a farmer, let's call him Joe. Joe had a horse, let's call the horse Big Red. One morning, Big Red ran away. Word spread and all his neighbors said something like: OMG that sux! to which Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.

The next day, who turns up in the farmer's field but Big Red, and he's brought with him with two more horses and all his neighbors said: Dude you're so lucky! And Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.

The next day, Joe's son, Joey, tried to ride one of the new horses and was thrown. He broke his leg and the neighbors said: Totally brutal, so sorry! And Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.

The next day, the army came through village, drafting young men for war. Joey was disqualified from serving--thanks to that brutal broken leg--and all the neighbors said: that's amazing! And Farmer Joe said: We'll see, and went back to tending his crops, best he could.

Point is, it is impossible to predict whether getting exactly what we want at any given moment will end up being a good thing, a bad thing or a sometimes good/sometimes bad thing, and the single biggest determinant is you.

Personally, I got 1090 on my SATs and was accepted to one college. I cried for days after I was shot down by my first choice. I let it change the way I thought of myself. I acted like the guy who signed the rejection letter knew me, like the whole grim process has spit out a fair judgment of me and my value and it wasn't pretty.

Many months later, I settled in at the only school that would take me, jumped into every club, project and class, and became more me than I had ever been. In other words, what began as "brutal" became "amazing."

There are so many kids I love in the class of 2019, my oldest daughter chief among them. I have been rooting for you all for so long. What I'm rooting for is your daily well being, grounded in a sense of your goodness and capacity that is impervious to both recognition or rejection.

So whatever happens, remember this: You are your own good news. You can create a future for yourself, full of connection and purpose. Beneath the fear of inadequacy and the self-consciousness that suffuses public evaluation, you're in there. You have gifts and power and will develop more of both. Tend your crops, best you can, and that will be enough. I promise.

We love you.”

#beyourowngoodnews

#farmerjoeknowsbest

The Light Within

As I was thinking about the power and beauty of light in our lives and beings, it struck me that the seasons of Hanukkah and Christmas are upon us, and both are imbued with the theme of light. I have always loved light, especially in the form of candles and Christmas tree lights. There is something so warming, so soothing, so lifting about light. It sews hope. It brings peace. It creates beauty. It elicits reflection. It shows us the way home.

How do we help our children cultivate this light within? How do we help them know this hope, this peace, this beauty, this reflection, this way home? How do we switch that light on? How do we keep that light on? How do we help them know that they are a light?

As parents, we can sense and honor the individual experience of our children so they feel seen, safe, and known by us. We want to help them develop the capacity to know who they are and belong but not lose their sense of individuality. It is a delicate dance. Show them kindness, compassion, and empathy. Help them walk in other people’s shoes, and know that they are not alone. Celebrate their uniqueness. Guide them in their unfolding of answering the question Who am I? Help them follow their curiosities. Cultivate their strengths. Find ways to contribute.

Something that I have become all the more aware of as my children venture out into this big, messy, complex, and marvelous world of ours is to be thoughtful about the family belief systems in which they have marinated and understand the power of those beliefs in coloring their view of themselves and the world. It is our responsibility to cultivate the grounding and the unshakeable core so that we help our children develop the capacity to flourish and shine, and to be good, loving people.

I love the knowing that there is a light within all of us to guide us, and it is our privilege to help illuminate this light in our children.

To all of you dear people, of all faiths and walks of life, may your light shine for all the world to see. May you celebrate these special festivals of light, and may the glow of each warm yours and the worlds’ heart. I see you. You are beautiful. Light a candle. Shine on. Namaste. ox

A New Adventure

It has been 4 months since we said goodbye to our cherished South Bend existence and embraced our dream of moving west to the Rocky Mountains to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity. The impetus for the change was to continue our trajectory of growth both personally and professionally, seek out more sunshine, shake up our comfort zone, and soak in the mountains on a daily basis.

We are 4 for 4, but new beginnings are not for the faint of heart.

Craig and I knew that pursuing this dream was a huge leap.

We had a lot of landscape to cover before we could make it a reality.

We started by looking at potential schools for the kids, checking out neighborhoods in southern Denver, calibrating our finances to buy into the Shred415 franchise (more on that in a future post!), testing the waters of selling our home, breaking the news to family and friends, and gearing up for a new adventure.

Little by little, we planted the seeds necessary to realize our dream.

It took about 10 months, but we did it. We covered our bases. We got all our ducks in a row. We said our goodbyes. We shed many tears. We took deep breaths. We teeter-tottered on being all in or pulling out altogether. We persisted. We had a few freak outs. We put one foot in front of the other. And finally, we made our way west in a 2-car caravan loaded to the gills and stocked with good playlists, awesome co-pilots, and a trusty GPS.

I think there’s a dream inside every one of us.

I once met a family that sold all of their belongings and traveled around the world for 12 months.

I have several friends who are training for a marathon and they wake up at the crack of dawn so they can get a workout in while the rest of the world sleeps.

I know a young man who is working two part-time jobs and taking 15 credit hours so that he can pay for post-baccalaureate classes and pursue his dream of going to medical school.

I work with a couple who spent their entire savings to buy into a business to continue their path of wellness and pursue an entrepreneurial dream. 

I am blessed to know a woman who left behind a stable and well-respected job to follow her dream of owning her own coaching business.

This is how it is done. This is how dreams are built. With conviction, discipline, courage, deep love, and a vision. With hard choices and daily habits. With intentionality and passion. With a willingness to jump into the unknown. Whatever it takes.

What is your dream?

Would you sell your furniture for a dream?

Would you say goodbye to the known and move across the country to pursue a new adventure?

Would you wake up a few hours earlier each day for your dream?

Would you fight for your dream? Make an effort for your dream? Go all in for your dream? Take a leap of faith for your dream? Feel discomfort for your dream? Face the unknown for your dream?

We can stay safe and comfortable. Or we can choose to evolve, dig deep, and push outside the lines.

Just like my friends and their stories, we all have a checklist that needs to completed in order to plant the seeds to cultivate that dream. Whatever your big dream may be…

Start doing.

Tie a knot and hang on, dear ones. Life is waiting! x