PSA to my Sweet and Struggling High School and College Students

You didn’t mess up.

You aren’t a mess up.

You are messed up.

Time to get unmessed up.

Second and third chances exist.

Healing is possible.

You might feel broken, lost, helpless, and worthless.

These feelings are based on thought errors and a faulty belief system.

Your thoughts and beliefs are NOT facts. They are just the story you are telling yourself.

Let’s get to work in cleaning up your faulty messaging system.

Build a relationship with self that feeds you instead of diminishes you.

Even if you don’t accomplish everything on your check-listed existence.

You matter.

The world needs you.

A lot of things that are causing you pain and confusion right now will make a lot more sense in 5 years so tie a knot and hang on.

You deserve to flourish.

Our world needs your gifts.

Start answering the question, “Who Am I?” and gathering data points.

Time to cultivate and contribute.

I see you, and I am going to help you.

Coaching work changes the way you walk in the world. It helps you find your stride.

A recent mind-blowing poll: 1/3 of American college students have mental health issues.

5% or 10% of college students have had suicidal thoughts in last 2-3 weeks.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Time to get to work, my people!

I’m here when you’re ready. No time to waste. You’re worth it.

#healing #cultivateandcontribute #tellmemore

Xoxox

Embrace the Process

After my client learned that he was given a one-year suspension from the University that he has attended for the past 2 years for academic underperformance, he felt an overwhelming rush of fear, sadness, and regret.

It felt like a huge loss on so many levels. He felt like a failure. He wanted a second chance.

Even though he knew that the dismissal was warranted and would only be for a year or less, all he could think about was everything he would be missing. Everything he lost. And everything he could have done to shift his trajectory and choose healthier and better behaviors and outcomes.

One day, shortly after he received the news of his suspension, he and his Mom called me.

He told me his story and shared every reason why he wanted to go back. He vacillated between crying, apologizing, justifying, and speaking on his behalf.

Reaching out to me — an acknowledgment that he needed guidance and help, and the recognition and willingness to do the hard work ahead — reminded him of what was possible. Instead of wallowing in his present circumstances, he chose to dig in, take accountability, motivate and commit to righting his ship.

“You know,” I said, “if you are telling me today that you are committing to this process and doing whatever work is necessary to build the necessary self-awareness and life skill set to live a healthier, more conscious and happier existence, we can hit the ground running with the coaching relationship. I have a lot of experience coaching lost, confused, and wounded people. We can figure out some small daily steps that you can do starting in this moment that will shift your trajectory and get you back on track.”

“I am ready.” He said.

Our weekly 1:1 FaceTime calls began. Daily texts followed. Mindset shifts began to unfold.

He had a series of big losses in his life, including the deaths of some very cherished loved ones, and these losses carried with them heavy grief. As he learned, grief work was no small undertaking. Our immediate work was drawing out his story, getting a handle on his thoughts and belief systems on which he was subsisting, and bringing to light areas of change and growth. Reworking his story from a place of strength and not victimhood was key. He actively shed some of his old and self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors and cultivated some new thoughts and actions that were nourishing, and most importantly, more useful and helpful.

Because his feelings and behaviors are changing with his shifting beliefs, thoughts, and story, he is acting and engaging with his world from a more curious, grounded, and empowered place. Instead of focusing on the outcome, he is opening himself up to the process and the learning therein.

He no longer lets his brain go unmanaged and run the show. He is committed to a daily practice of curating healthy, motivating, and uplifting thoughts and pruning out the old, unhelpful, and negative ones.

He recognizes now that relationship with self is key to a meaningful and satisfying life. He also is learning that he can be in relationship with others and not expect that they need to make him feel a certain way or be in a certain way for him to feel good — he can do that for himself, regardless of what they do or say. He can let others be who they are with no agenda. He can wake up in the morning and feel his anxiety and know that it is his companion for the day, not his foe. It’s all in how he manages it. He can be free to feel however he chooses based on the quality of his thoughts. He can feel anything and survive. He is no longer a slave to his emotions as much as the manager and regulator of them.

Gradually, with each passing day, his thought loop is shifting from “I am not enough” and “I need certain external circumstances to change in order to feel better” to “I am in control of how I feel and how I show up in this world, regardless of what the outside world is doing. I don’t have to have all the answers. It’s just one step at a time. I am open to embracing the process and the learnings, and not focusing solely on the outcome.”

No idea how to love yourself right now? Take a walk. Do an online yoga class. Meditate. For 10 minutes or 50 minutes. Movement, mindfulness, and embodiment are wonderful integrators of body, mind, and spirit. Soak in the outside, breathe deeply, root yourself into the ground, feel your feet, and notice the energy moving through your body as you move.

No interest in journaling? Do a 10 minute thought download each day, emptying your brain and your many thoughts onto paper. No rules. No grammar or sentence structure needed. Moving your thoughts from head onto paper has a way of lightening the inner load and creates a different awareness. With 60,000 thoughts coursing through your brain each day, be conscious of what those thoughts are as they create your feelings which generate your actions and results in your day to day.

Create a life philosophy that is based in a growth mindset, a willingness to be uncomfortable, a curiosity.

Take one daily step — one awkward, wobbly, significant step — to move one step closer to becoming the person that you want to be. Create a routine that feeds you, lifts you, and keeps you engaged.

What’s your ONE small thing for today? A walk. A conversation. A nap. An uninterrupted study session. A new empowering thought.

Commit to doing it. Embrace the process. Transcend loss.

I’ll be here cheering you on! You got this.

#makethefirststep #shiftgears #tellmemore #embracetheprocess #shineon #itsallgood xoxoxo

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 those 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. Failure = learning. 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. Confidence comes from being authentic and showing up. Find your people. No more fear of failure. Get moving and start shining! The world needs YOU!

Cheers to the journey! x