Making Peace

Sometimes we set goals and we make the plan and we just can’t seem to get any traction. We are acting but nothing is coming together. We are doing all the things but it just doesn’t seem to stick. Hopelessness and frustration set in and it becomes more and more tempting to throw in the towel. When our steps forward are harder than they should be and we find ourselves just forcing every action, we have to ask ourselves what is going on behind the scenes? Is there an opportunity to make peace and release some dead weight?

What we miss in those instances is the opportunity to pull up all that baggage that is keeping us stuck.

During our lives we have so many experiences that teach us about ourselves. From those experiences we start to draw conclusions and formulate all the beliefs that mold our understanding of ourselves.

I’m an awkward runner. I don’t like to cook. I’m not good with small talk. I don’t like to step outside my comfort zone.

Those thoughts are all based upon empirical evidence from our past experiences — someone once told me I run really awkwardly, I botched a homecooked meal for a date once and it was horribly embarrassing, etc.

Now we add to those thoughts additional perceptions about our life experiences —

I shouldn’t have done that, I should have known better, how could I have let myself gain this much weight, how could I have been so reckless?

Our self judgments and criticisms relating to our past experiences are also in the mix. We look at past experiences, decide how the experience was “supposed” to go, and then we pile on the blame on ourselves for the bad thing that happened. We punish ourselves for events based upon some manufactured notion of how things were supposed to have played out.

When we use our pasts to criticize ourselves we are fighting our truth. We are pretending like there is some master plan that is comprised of nothing but unicorns, daisies, and margaritas. We imply that our plan is not supposed to include dark nights, mishaps and challenges. This sounds ridiculous as I write it down and I suspect it is striking you as ridiculous too — but this is what we do! Any time you believe It shouldn’t have happened that way you are suggesting that the bad thing was never “supposed” to have happened.

What if the bad thing happened exactly as it was supposed to?

What if that experience was meant to be part of your path?

What if it was supposed to teach you something critical?

It is so much more empowering to own that negative experience and use it as a learning tool than it is to try and erase it, bury it, and beat yourself up over it. You are never going to win your battle with reality — it happened. Period. Why waste any energy thinking that it shouldn’t have happened? What is that getting you?

If you find yourself plugging away toward a goal, going through the motions but not getting anywhere, it might be a good opportunity for some introspection. What is going on behind the scenes that is keeping you stuck? What energy and belief do you need to face and make peace? For my weight loss clients, peace often comes in form of learning to love their body in a new way. It means letting go of their guilt and disdain for themselves and approaching weight loss from a place of compassion. For those of us who have had experiences with abuse, it’s about learning to forgive yourself.

When we blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for our past choices (whether the cake or the marriage!), it is the most insidious kind of judgment.

We deny trust from ourselves. We deny compassion for ourselves. We deny ourselves the insights that could come from that experience — that were MEANT TO come from that experience.

Those quiet self-judgments might not be at the forefront of your mind in every moment of your day but they are there and they are keeping you stuck.

If you buy into the belief that you are a failure who has no follow through, you are never going to lose weight. If you blame your past relationships traumas on your poor judgment, you are never going to open up to new experiences. When you see yourself as the cause of all your problems, past and present, you are always on edge waiting for yourself to do it again. You will expect your past “failures” to repeat in every new opportunity, every new relationship.

When all you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail.

When all you have is self-judgment, every new experience will look like a new opportunity for you to fail (again). There is no way you are ever going to succeed with any goal if you don’t believe at some level that you are good enough, that you can do it and that you are right where you need to be.

That’s the crux of it: you are right where you need to be. Everything in your life that has happened has brought you to this place. Stop begrudging where you are and start looking for the lessons. Be an anthropologist of your life — what were all those hard lessons supposed to teach you? See the kernel of good in all that has happened and make peace with your past.

You can’t berate yourself into success and you can’t just go through the motions ignoring your baggage. Success only comes from within so you might as well start there.

I am a certified life and weight coach and I help women all across the country create a better relationship with themselves. I am passionate about helping women find their power and start creating the life of their dreams. I would love to help you too. Check me out by signing up for a free coaching session, your life is waiting.


Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

Relationship Decisions

Have you ever considered what it is that makes a relationship? Is it  set of standards we keep for ourselves and the other person — promises we commit to upholding? When I say I have a relationship with someone what does that even mean?

I believe that our relationships with the people in our lives are based purely in our minds. Our relationship does not exist independently of each person; rather, the relationship is completely dependent upon each individual. Each person has their version of the relationship that they keep and create within themselves. Each person may see the relationship differently and they most certainly will see themselves differently within the relationship as compared to how the other person may see them.

Having reached that conclusion, it follows that:

 our relationships with others are simply a compilation of thoughts about the other person.

That’s it. Knowing that, we then have complete autonomy to make the relationships in our lives whatever we want them to be.

There is no such thing as “I have a terrible relationship with my sister.” That is only an opinion. That opinion is one that the holder inevitably has all sorts of support for: evidence culled from the parties’ history to *prove* that the parties have a terrible relationship. That interpretation of the past and that perception of the evidence is completely one-sided. It is all founded in opinions of the individual person. Those opinions, when taken together, do not create a fact.

When we decide to believe something–my boss is jerk–our brains will get to work finding all the evidence of that belief within our present and past existence. Our brain will not sort through the data in an unbiased manner and weigh the information to determine whether that belief is true. We have already concluded that it is true and now our brain will seek evidence to support it. This is confirmation bias, in its simplest state.

We must become aware that we make decisions in every moment about our relationships.

We have made conclusions about our relationship with each person we encounter. If we want better relationships or different relationships in our lives, we have to change the way we think about the people in our lives. If you want a better relationship with your sister, you have to stop believing that your sister is a selfish little brat. You have to stop telling yourself that the two of you will never see eye to eye.

When we treat our perceptions of relationships as factual, we foreclose the possibility of ever having a different relationship with the people around us. So often, we wish we had better relationships with others but we overlook our role in the relationship–the only reason a relationship is “good” or “bad” is because of where you are choosing to focus your interpretation of the relationship. You will never have a good relationships with someone when you are only focusing on the negative aspects of the relationship.

I find it easiest to put into context with people we love implicitly–whether that’s a parent, a child, a niece or nephew or even a pet. There are people in our lives that we love completely. They have faults and shortcomings that we overlook because we love them. We choose not to focus our energies on the facts that they always borrow your clothes and never return them, are always broke, or can’t help to stop peeing on the carpet.

We focus instead on all the positive aspects of the relationship–that is why it is so easy to think of them so fondly! It is not because the relationship is inherently good; we have simply chosen to perceive it that way. There could certainly be people in this world who would not be willing to overlook a partner’s messiness or irresponsibility with money, who can’t get over a pet who periodically has an accident. For those people, those relationships will not be characterized as good because they are not choosing to focus on any of the goodness.

This does NOT mean we have to think lovely thoughts about all the people in our lives.

What this does mean is that we have to start taking ownership of the relationships in our lives. We get to choose what kind of relationships we have. We get to choose how to think about the people we encounter. In that way, we are choosing the types of relationships we participate in. We have complete control over whether  a relationship is good or bad.

How we interpret and participate in our relationships is a focus of many sessions with my clients. Whenever you feel challenged by a difficult relationship, it is an opportunity for you to take control of your life and start making decisions about the types of relationships you want. It is an opportunity to do your own work and examine why you are choosing to focus on certain aspects of the relationship. If you have a relationship that is challenging you, there is no time like the present. Sign up for a free hour of coaching with me and let’s see what we can do!


Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

Disappointment

As my clients learn to take more ownership over their feelings and their actions, one of the challenges they face is how to address negative experiences. Their immediate inclination is to shift to a new thoughts to try and feel better about the situation. But reality is that sometimes things will happen in our lives that we don’t want to feel good about. So what do we do?

Many of the things we do (or don’t do) in our lives are because we are chasing (or avoiding) a feeling.

We get married because we want to be happy. We don’t volunteer to speak up because we don’t want to feel embarrassed. We don’t ask for more money because we don’t want feel ashamed if they say no.

We spend a significant amount of energy in our lives calculating how certain events may or may not make us feel and we then choose to act based upon those estimates. It seems logically self-protecting. Why would we set ourselves up for a failure or embarrassment? Why would we take any action that would make us feel terrible?

This recently came up when I had a client tell me how she blew an important deadline. She was overloaded and low on sleep and it just slipped her mind. Despite the fact that is wasn’t a career-ending mistake and was completely salvageable, my client felt terrible. She was overcome with disappointment in herself — I should have been more organized, this shouldn’t have happened, I let everyone down. She explained to me that, in the days that followed, she just kept trying to shift her thoughts to a “better” thought. To one that didn’t make her feel so terrible, but it just wouldn’t stick.

The problem was that my client was resisting her feelings of disappointment. She was trying to cover them up by manufacturing prettier thoughts. She was running away from that experience and, not surprisingly, it wasn’t working.

Why? Because she was disappointed. She didn’t want to feel good about her oversight. The truth was that she WANTED to feel disappointed (but she didn’t really want to FEEL disappointed). She didn’t want to feel good about it but she didn’t really want to experience the disappointment either.

Whenever we have an experience that we don’t want to feel good about, we cannot give in to the temptation to try and cover it up. We must allow the feeling of disappointment to be there. To run its course. We can’t try and cover up the 50% of our life experiences that aren’t sunshine and roses.

There will be hard days and we cannot simply write off half of our lives.

Half of the time it’s going to be hard and painful. We have to practice accepting that. We also have to practice processing emotions.

When we resist negative emotions and try to bury them with better feelings, the negative feelings simmer below the surface and compound. They will eventually make their way to the surface. It might not be today but it will likely be at some inappropriate time–when you are stuck in traffic on the way to meet a friend for happy hour and you burst into tears….when your spouse asks you what time you will be home for dinner and you bite his face off.

Those feelings will find a way to get out and whomever is on the receiving end likely doesn’t deserve it.

Aside from the fact that resisting those emotions is futile, there is a practical reason for allowing yourself to feel the disappointment. If we don’t accept that negative 50% of our emotional experience, we never get good and experiencing those emotions and moving on. Instead, we create patterns where we resist and avoid those emotions so we start to believe that we can’t handle them.

When we spend our whole lives avoiding those negative vibes, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to learn how to experience them. To learn that they won’t kill us. To learn that we can experience those emotions and keep moving. Think of it as emotional aversion therapy — we have a hang out with those emotions so we are no longer afraid of them.

When we create a pattern where we fear those emotions, we spend our lives trying to avoid them. It makes perfect sense that we would avoid those emotions that aren’t familiar and that we don’t understand. Of course, they would seem scary! But what if you could explore and come to intimately understand those emotions? What if those emotions were no longer so scary?

Consider what you would do with your life if you weren’t afraid to feel embarrassed? What would be different? What would you accomplish?

As I mentioned at the outset, we spend our entire lives taking actions or not taking actions because we are chasing or avoiding certain feelings. Those feelings are just vibrations in your body. They won’t hurt you. They are created by your thoughts and you have complete agency over those thoughts. But rather than using your brain to try and erase negative emotions, what if we allowed ourselves to experience negative emotions when it is warranted? What if we became practiced and comfortable with those emotions we typically avoid? Then our lives become a series of actions we take simply because we want to; because we know that whatever the outcome, whatever the feeling or negative result, it doesn’t matter because we have no reason to avoid it.

Allow yourself to experience the 50/50 that is our lives. What other choice do you have?!

As attorneys, I know that some days, weeks, and months can feel more like 80% negative and 20% positive. If you need help working through the yin and yang of your life, set up some time to get some free coaching. What do you have to lose?


Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Believing New Things

One of the questions I get most often when coaching my clients is:

How do I stop thinking that?

Once we understand the correlation between our thoughts and how those thoughts are creating our present reality, the first thing my clients want to do as professional perfectionists is FIX it. Once we understand the equation, we want to clean it up and get back to work.

As attorneys, it is our job to strategize, navigate, and fix problems. When we realize that our brain is part of the “problem” it is natural for us to want to fix it.

The problem is that our brain is a formidable adversary and, no matter how much coaching we do, will we ever be able to build you a brain that only thinks, productive, worthy thoughts.

So we must learn to co-exist with our nasty little thoughts.

We must stop fighting them! Unproductive thoughts will always be part of our reality. The key is getting to a place where we see those thoughts as neither good nor bad. Simply a sentence our brain is really good at offering us.

Whenever we botch a big project, our brain is always going to want to tell us that we don’t belong, we will never figure it out, etc. We are SO GOOD at thinking those thoughts! It is natural that our efficient, primitive brain would continue to do so.

So what do we do?

(The second most common question I get from my clients.)

We see the thought, we understand the negative impact it is having on our life, and now we are ready to change it, right?!

Nope.

We want to erase the “bad” thought. We want to shift to a new thought or build upon ladder thoughts to feel better or create the results that we want. However, when we jump right in like that, we continually find ourselves back at the original thought and more frustrated that we can’t make the shift.

This is a sign that we are not yet ready to move on to a new thought. We keep coming back because there is a part of us that still believes the original thought. We don’t yet see it as a set of words that pop into our head.

There is still a part of us that hasn’t accepted it as an optional description of reality.

What we have to do in that situation is to challenge ourselves and force a paradigm shift. We’ve all had those experiences in our lives where suddenly a long-held thought or belief is completely deconstructed due to something that we’ve learned, witnessed, or experienced. We need to create that same type of paradigm shift within ourselves about that thought.

For each of those automatic thoughts that we want to move away from we have to really start asking:

Is it true how?

Could I understand things differently?

Where does that thought come from?

Why am I choosing to believe that?

What if that weren’t true?

What are the facts of my story?

What if nothing has gone wrong?

Can I imagine this another way?

What if I did know what to do?

Questioning and challenging the thought will allow your mind the space to start examining whether or not that belief is really true. It helps us get to a place where we can accept that the thought is just a thought–it’s not a fact and other alternatives exist.

Once we start dismantling the belief and seeing it as just that a belief or optional thought, only from there can we starts shifting to a new thought.

Whenever we find ourselves in a mental thought boomerang, it’s a sign that we’re not ready to accept that belief as untrue. We tried to move forward with a new, contrary belief while we’re continuing to believe the old thought.

In order to solidify the shift, we have to come to a place where we accept that the original belief is optional.

We have to allow ourselves to dismantle that belief and start seeing poking holes in it.

If you don’t allow yourself the space to dismantle that belief it will always pop up and continue to derail any shifting that you are trying to make. First we must disprove the thoughts and loosen its grip on ourselves.

Many of my clients have struggled to “clean up” their negative thoughts patterns unsuccessfully. They come to me frustrated with their inability to move to higher mental ground. This is part of the process we work through in the coaching space–dismantling closely held thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that aren’t serving you.

Schedule a free consultation and check it out for yourself.


Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Feeling Defensive

As lawyers, it is our job to be right. To get the right answer, to find the right solution, to have the right words. In truth, you could say that about any profession, unless you are a meteorologist (no one is ever surprised when they are wrong). No one likes to be wrong.

Many of my clients struggle with being wrong because of what they make that mean about themselves. If they are wrong, it must mean they are not good enough, they aren’t cut out to be lawyers.

I recently had a mini-session with a young attorney who was telling me about her horrible work environment. When I asked her to give me an example of how her horrible boss had berated her, she said that he told her the memo she prepared for him was terrible and that she completely missed one of the most important legal issues. “What were you thinking?!” he had said to her. And. She. Was. Pissed.

How could he speak to me like that? I don’t deserve to be treated like that. He completely embarrassed me in front of all my colleagues.

As we talked about it, I asked her to answer this question: what exactly she was thinking when she turned in the memo? I just wanted it to be over with. I hate working for him. It as a terrible legal issue and I just wanted to be done with it. The more we discussed it, we discovered that the memo was not great, was not well thought out, and she had, in fact, missed an important legal issue. Everything this partner had said to her was true.

When we feel ourselves getting defensive, the most important question you can ask yourself before you explode on the other human is this:

Are they right?

Is it true?

If it is true, what am I making that mean about myself and why?

Whenever we are feeling defensive, it is because you believe that part of whatever criticism you just received is true. If it wasn’t true, at least in part, it wouldn’t bother you.

If someone were to say to me, That article you wrote for the paper last week was pretty terrible, it wouldn’t bother me. I wouldn’t care because I didn’t write an article for any paper. There is no truth in that statement for me. It doesn’t resonate with me at all.

However, if someone were to say to me, You and your partner should have kids, you’re going to regret it, my hair would practically start on fire. That hits a mark because it hits on thoughts and doubts that I have had about my life. It challenges decisions I have made and second-guessed. There is a possibility that, some day, I might regret our decision not to have kids. It hurts because I have grappled with and questioned the truth of that exact statement.

For many of us, when people hurl these types of comments at us, we ignite. We get defensive, we get angry and indignant.

The reason we are defensive is because we see that fleck of truth and we don’t like what that means: it reminds us that they might be right.

For my client, acknowledging the truth of what her partner said meant owning the fact that she didn’t do a good job. When she opened herself up to that possibility, what quickly followed was the conclusion that she was not cut out to be lawyer. She just wasn’t good enough. She was never going to make it. Those thoughts made her feel hopeless and scared.

Instead of working through those ugly thoughts resulting from the truth of the statement, we resist all of it.

We push it back onto the other person. We try to argue that what they said wasn’t true. It is always easier to be angry and defensive than admit our faults.

If we allow the other person to be right, at least, in part, we have to examine what that means for ourselves. What are you making it mean when you do a sub-par job at work? What are you making it mean when you regret a decision you made years ago?

Most of us make those mistakes mean something terrible about ourselves. We allow ourselves to conclude that we are bad people, less than, failures. Defensiveness and anger are a means to avoid those thoughts and feelings. It is a way to cover them up and distract from what you are really feeling and thinking about yourself.

Life is yin and yang, good and bad.

If you can take full ownership of the uncomfortable parts of life, acknowledge and accept when we mess up, how much easier would life be? What if we could mess up and not torture ourselves for it?

So how do you stop this cycle? First, whenever you feel yourself getting defensive, stop and recognize the parts of the criticism that you believe; recognize the critical thoughts you have had before.

Second, recognize that you are making your failures mean something terrible about yourself. You are beating yourself up every time you aren’t perfect. That is the root of your avoidance. It is why you are getting angry and defensive.

If you can allow yourself to fail gracefully and simply own it when you mess up and not make it mean something negative about yourself, there is nothing to avoid. There is no reason to be angry or defensive.

Could you imagine how my client’s relationship with that partner would change if she was able to respond, “You know what, you’re right, I can do better than this. I apologize and I will use this as a learning experience.”

Commit to believing that every failure is simply one more step on your path to figuring things out. Each time you mess up is another opportunity to learn and grow.

It’s what makes you human and being human means you are never going to be perfect.

How many relationships have we contaminated by being defensive when we knew, deep down, we were in the wrong but didn’t want to admit it?

How many times did we allow our mis-steps to be fodder for self-deprecation?

Stop doing that to yourself. You are a human and that means you come equipped with a certain level of imperfection. Instead of resisting your imperfections, own them, accept them as a part of life and love yourself regardless. Do not resist them and cover them up with anger and defensiveness. It’s not serving you and it’s not true.

Need support? Sign up for a free consultation and take the first step to cleaning up your relationship with yourself and those around you.


Photo by Vera Arsic from Pexels

Relationships

Our relationships with the people in our lives are at the root of every challenge in our lives.

Our relationships with others play a significant role in our happiness. How do we improve those relationships and overcome adversity in our relationships?

We simply decide.

When we think about our relationships with others, the “relationship” itself is never really truly defined. What comprises our relationships with others?

I believe that our relationships with others is self-created. Our relationship with other people is something that lives only in our minds. We make decisions about other people. We choose what we want to think about them. From that place we characterize the relationship–good, bad, challenging, irreparable, complete. We make those decisions and “create” the relationship within ourselves. Completely independently of the other person.

Think about it. Have you ever had someone in your life whose understanding of your relationship was completely out of line with your understanding? Think about your former boyfriends or girlfriends. When that relationship ended it is unlikely that you were both in complete agreement about its demise. What is more likely is that one of you thought things were going fine and that nothing needed to change and the other thought the relationship had run its course.

How can it be that two people have such divergent understanding about the same relationship?

Because there is no singular relationships that is shared and agreed upon by both parties.

There are two different relationships as understood by each person. Each person made unique decisions about the relationship’s virtues and drawbacks and interpret the relationship from that perspective.

If that is the case, then it follows that we can simply choose whether or not to have a good relationship with each person in our lives.

We can simply decide whether to believe a relationship has run its course or whether we are in it for the long haul. We simply have to decide.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean that you SHOULD maintain all the relationships in your life or that you should always choose to love the people in your life. You can choose to break up with spouses, friends, and family members if that is your choice. But what I am saying is that there is no inherent “good” or “bad” relationship — we make choices to characterize a relationship one way or the other. We simply have to determine our justification for those choices.

If you want to believe that your boss is a terrible human being who is overly critical, insecure, and passive aggressive, that is your choice. From there you can decide that you don’t want to work at that job anymore or ask for a transfer. But the point is recognizing that you are choosing to think of your boss and your relationship with your boss in that way. It is not inherently true. There is room for dispute and disagreement in your characterization of him.

There is no such thing as just having a “bad boss” as if that were the justification for your poor relationship with your boss.

You are simply choosing to focus your energy on criticisms and judgments of your boss and interpret the relationship through that lens. You could similarly choose to focus on the positive aspects of the relationships or see him through a lens of compassion.

The choice is yours. You can choose to have a good relationship with your boss and operate from that space. That choice will likely require you to see him with more compassion and less judgment than you have in the past. That will require you to stop believing that he is inherently bad and you are a victim.

Take ownership of the relationships in your life and choose how you want to think about them.

Choose what you want to believe about your past relationships and challenging relationships.

Your opinions about others and your relationship with them are not factual. They are your opinions and nothing more. Those opinions will color how you show up in the relationship and the aspects of the relationship you focus on.

If you want to believe that you have a horrible boss and therefore have to leave your job, so be it. But imagine how much you could grow and the skills you could develop if you could learn how to see the relationships differently. If you could choose to believe that you have a good relationship with your boss and act from that place instead?

If you want to have a horrible boss, believing that you do is an assured way to get you that experience. If you want to have a boss that challenges you and helps you become a better employee, the first step is believing that you do and acting from that place instead; interpreting your experience through that lens instead.  Give it a try.

What will it get you if I’m right? What will it cost if I’m not?

Most of the time it is our experiences with other humans that brings most of life’s challenges as well as its high points. Don’t let a “bad” relationship go without first experiencing what it has to teach you about yourself.

If you need some (free) support with a challenging relationship, I would love to visit with you. The work we do with other humans is truly life changing.


Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

“I Wish…”

I was thinking today about all the phrases we use in our daily lives that bog us down. Those little sentences and thoughts that seem so innocuous but also important:

  • Some day when…
  • I can’t…
  • I don’t know how…
  • I’m not sure…
  • I would like to…
  • I wish…

Whenever we chew on these thoughts, we are investing in their truth. We are allowing ourselves to believe that there will be a day when….or that our abilities are limited…or that there are things we want to do but aren’t doing. Lastly, when we start a thought or a statement with “I wish…” we are arguing with our reality and lamenting our circumstances.

What good is it to think “I wish…”? Has that wish ever come true simply by wishing it?

Dreams don’t come true simply because we release them into the universe. Dreams come true because we choose to stop wishing and relinquishing our control. Dreams come true because we stop wishing and start acting.

And I’m not talking about grand banana dreams here, either. I’m not talking about wishing for world peace. I’m talking about wishing that our day-to-day lives would be different.

I wish my boss would treat me differently.

I wish I enjoyed my job more.

I wish I made more money.

THOSE types of little, every day wishes are toxic.

When we allow ourselves to daydream about how we “wish” our lives were different, we are implicitly giving up all of our power. We are suggesting that the only way our circumstances could be different is if a fairy godmother plucks our wishes out of the ether and makes them happen for us.

“I wish” statements are not powerful. They are weak.

They suggest that there is nothing to be done other than sit around and wait for our wish to be granted by a benevolent god.

It’s like that parable of the lottery ticket.

A man prays to god repeatedly and hopefully, asking god from the bottom of his heart to let him win the lottery. He offers that prayer every day for years and years on end. He never lost hope or faith that it would be answered and every day he humbly submitted his request. Every day, his prayer went unanswered and the man died poor and alone. When he met his god in the afterlife, he asked god why all of his prayers went unanswered and god replied “You never bought a lottery ticket.”

The point is this: we play a role in our dreams coming true.

We cannot simply offer up our wishes to the universe and sit back and wait for them to come true.

We have to act. We have to invest in our dreams.

Wasting your energy wishing that things in your life were different is living the life of the man in the parable. It offers the universe the energy of lack and dissatisfaction with life and that energy will only attract more lack and dissatisfaction.

When you start taking action to make your wishes reality, it requires a shift in perception. All those wishful thoughts become something much more active and invested —

I’m creating the life I want

I can take steps to improve my work life

I can improve my relationship with my boss

I can take action to be happier every day

These thoughts are powerful and take ownership over your life. Those thoughts will propel you to start taking action to convert those wishes to reality. Rather than living in a space of lack and dissatisfaction, your energy transforms into positivity and faith in your ability. This allows so much more positive energy to enter your life. And who knows, your wishes just might come true.

You have to start investing in those wishes yourself before you can expect the universe or god to partner with you to make them come true.

When you find yourself wishing that your life were different, it can be difficult to turn the corner. It’s easy to exist in wishful thinking; it’s hard to take ownership and start taking action. Sometimes all you need is a little support. Don’t be afraid to ask. (Psst, it’s free.)


Photo by Fineas Gavre on Unsplash

Negative Feelings

There will be bad days.

One of the drawbacks of living in a society where everyone is so interconnected and everyone’s lives are constantly on display, is that it blurs the lines of reality.

If a Martian were to observe our society solely through the lens of Instagram or Facebook, they would believe that all humans are incredibly beautiful, happy, and blessed. They would believe that on our planet, we have wide variety of products that we can buy to solve all of our problems: products that will make our bodies beautiful and thin, our bank accounts fat, and our love life abundant.

Not only do these outlets influence our beliefs about ourselves but they perpetuate the belief that we should be happy all the time. If we are not happy all the time, we are out of the norm. Think about it — anytime we see someone who is visibly sad, our question to them is invariably:

What’s WRONG?

As if being unhappy in any moment means that something is wrong with you. Something must be fixed. In fact, you can probably throw some money at that unhappiness and “fix” it.

When we buy into the notion that we are supposed to be happy all the time, we freak out anytime we are not happy. We don’t know what to do with those emotions so we avoid them, we resist them, or we react to them. We get into a mad scramble to get rid of them ASAP.

For some people, negative emotions means that someone has done something to them. Someone else is to blame. They lash out with anger and defensiveness which seem much more productive and valid than feeling guilt or shame. Instead of recognizing their role in anything and feeling shame, they reject that emotion. They reject the idea that they are faulty and lash out at those around them. They react to the negative emotions in a way that creates more negative ripples in their life.

They REACT to and RESIST negative emotion and in turn just amplify their problems.

Others spend most of their time avoiding the negative emotions. They reach for anything they can to self soothe and dull the emotion. Bad day at work? Feeling like a failure? Go for that extra glass of wine and a piece of chocolate cake. You deserve it. You’ve had a bad day.

They AVOID negative emotions and bury them in substances or actions that generate dopamine. This eventually creates more problems (excess weight, overdrinking, overspending etc.)

We’ve all been guilty of an impulse splurge.

But what is really at work is our desire to NOT feel those negative emotions of shame, self-doubt, or fear.

Instead of experiencing them, we bury them in dopamine hits from sugar, alcohol, shopping, sex, whatever. Or we throw the negative back at those around us — they are the problem, not us.

This approach only works for brief periods of time. Like a boomerang or a beachball held under water, eventually both will gain force and resurface even stronger.

Once we are done with our little excursion of avoidance, those emotions are right there waiting for us.

Only now they are stronger because we have over-consumed, gained weight, feel hungover, made poor decisions, etc. and we have to face those consequences ON TOP of the negative emotions we were trying to avoid.

Around and around we go ultimately only increasing our negative experience through out acts of avoidance, resistance and reaction.

I recently had a free mini-session with a client who believed she was “fine”. No problems, no negative emotions to deal with. Every time we identified a negative thought and tried to discuss the associated emotion, she would immediately shift and offer the other pretty thoughts she was thinking instead. She immediately shifted to positivity any time a negative emotion came up:

I’m not always thinking I’m a horrible person and a failure, it just pops into my mind sometimes. I really think I’m a pretty good person.

Then, two weeks after our first session she had a complete burnt out meltdown. She fell into a black hole and eventually had to take time off work to regroup.

She had spent so much of her energy ignoring all her nagging, self-judging thoughts and suppressing the associated emotions, that eventually it blew up in her face.

It is not sustainable to paint over the ugly parts of our feelings and just pretend like they are not there. 

Now my work with her focuses on examining those negative emotions and thoughts and truly processing them rather than resisting them.

The point is that our lives are supposed to be an equal balance of positive and negative. Good emotions and bad emotions.

We know we are happy because we have experienced the emotion of sad. We know we are excited because we understand how it feels to dread something.

If we don’t open ourselves up to experiencing the negative, we can’t ever truly understand and appreciate the positive.

When we convince ourselves that we are supposed to be happy 100% of the time, we set ourselves up for failure. We set ourselves up to avoid, react to, or resist our negative emotions to “fix” them. In the end, all of those approaches only serve to make us more miserable! None of them resolve anything. They simply magnify the misery in the long run.

What I offer as a solution is to simply co-exist with negative emotions and understand that they are a part of the human experience.

Be open to experiencing all that is available to us in this life — the good and the bad.

If we can stop freaking out every time we have a negative emotion and we can simply experience it, it will diminish in power and eventually will pass. We can adjust our thinking to stop spinning in toxic thoughts.

Fully experiencing the bad days is so much more productive and easier than patching up the relationships we destroy when we react with blame and anger or losing the 15 pounds we gain when we avoid emotions through food or other outlets.

Recognize how you are handing your negative emotions and ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen if I just experienced this disappointment right now?

After all, it’s just a vibration in your body.

Whenever you catch yourself reaching for the chocolate cake or buying needlessly on Amazon, examine your predominant thought and emotion. Are you trying to make yourself “feel better”? How is that working out for your waistline and your bank account? What is you just experienced the emotion and journal about it instead of eating or shopping?

I spend a significant amount of my time supporting my clients to process their negative emotions and examine the impact their choices to resist/react/avoid are having on their lives and I challenge you to do the same.

The process isn’t hard, it’s what you discover once you start doing the work that might surprise you.


Photo by Austin Guevara from Pexels

Sunday Mourning Blues

We’ve all been there….You enjoy a blissful, care-free Saturday. Your email was silent (or ignored). No surprise projects, no random client demand. You relaxed and enjoyed a mental break from work.

Then it’s Sunday morning and the dread sets in. It’s like Monday is a looming gauntlet, like a watery grave for a stubborn cat–don’t you dare make me get in there, GDI!

Many of my clients lose the majority of their Sundays to that Monday morning dread. “Sunday mourning.”

They spin in negative thoughts and mental sparring matches with their co-workers and clients. They imagine the worst case scenarios–

I swear to god if Associate Suck-Up stops into my office to brag about how he billed 20 hours this weekend, I am going to explode.

When Monday does come around, they are mentally exhausted and wound tightly, just waiting for an opportunity to prove their fears true and blow up on some unassuming victim.

Practicing law is no walk in the park, admittedly, but this Sunday torture is not helping the situation.

Is it useful to imagine the worst case scenario?

Is it helpful to anticipate a dumpster fire?

How is that benefiting you?

What impact is that having on your happiness, never mind your weekend?

What it’s like to sacrifice half of every weekend to your own mental torture?

It is nearly impossible to rationally examine any situation when you are overcome with negative emotions. Instead of thoughtfully examining our choices, we act with knee-jerk reactions from fear, overwhelm, or anger.

Our Sunday mourning feels so justified. We have all sorts of reasons why we feel anxious and depressed. The problem is that we can’t make a real assessment of any situation when we are frayed at both ends.

It’s certainly possible that your Sunday mourning routine is indicative of a need for a career change. BUT what is more likely is that you could change your career and find yourself swimming in the same Sunday Mourning pond.

When we find our brains overrun with negative thoughts about our careers, those thoughts are rarely isolated to that one circumstance.

They are often part of a larger belief system that will follow you no matter where you go or what you do.

I want to enjoy what I do for a living.

I just want to be happy in my job.

It shouldn’t be this hard.

I don’t want to do this anymore.

Thoughts like those will creep into other aspects of your life later on. The belief that your job and your life “should” be a certain way. You should be happy. Your career should be easier. The fact that you “don’t want” to do your job anymore matters. (It doesn’t!) Not wanting to do something is simply a thought. That thought will sidetrack anything you do. It is not helpful. Not wanting to do something does not mean there is a glitch in the matrix.

It likely means you are doing something hard.

Something that forces you to grow.

When you give credence to that thought “I don’t want to do this” you are allowing yourself to use the easy button. To avoid the growth. You are allowing your brain to become really skilled at NOT doing hard things.

None of these thoughts are good reasons to quit a job. They are thoughts you are choosing to believe. They are thoughts that open an escape hatch–an easy out. Cleaning up those thoughts will allow you to truly experience your job, unclouded by these judgments and burdensome beliefs. Then you can decide whether you want to do something else with your life.

Before you make any monumental decisions while in the despair of Sunday mourning, I challenge you to examine the thoughts and beliefs creating your misery. Those thoughts will go with you no matter what you are doing for a living.

“Where ever you go, there you are.”

You are really good at thinking those thoughts and you will keep thinking them even if you change the scenery.

What is it costing you? Have you allowed those thoughts to sabotage you over and over again?

This is the meat of my work with most of my clients. Many of them carry toxic thoughts and beliefs about how their lives “should” be. Thoughts that cause them tremendous pain and cost them their happiness. Working through those thoughts provides them with the peace and space to truly move on and transform their lives.

Want a reprieve? Try it out for free today.


Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels

Frazzled (the worst F-word)

My early years as an attorney at a corporate law firm, can be summed up in one word: frazzled.  The panic that set in when you saw an email at 5:59pm on a Friday from that one partner that always had a way of destroying your weekend plans. Or that feeling you got when you were at lunch with your parents who were in town visiting for one day and you got a call on your cell phone from the office. And my very favorite, when you were in the middle of putting out one enormous fire and you got an email from a more important partner who wanted you to draft a new document within the next hour. Ugh. That feeling of sheer panic is the stuff nightmares are made of!

There is no downplaying the pressure and the stress that comes with practicing law. Learning to answer to many masters and prioritize important projects is a skill and it comes with practice.

One of the things I teach my clients is how to juggle the load and strategize so that when all hell breaks lose, which it will, you can better anticipate it and adjust accordingly. So often, many of us in legal practice simply put our heads down and let the blows keep coming. We don’t take the time to examine what is on our plate because that would suggest that (i) there is time to do this soul-searching and (ii) there are options that don’t involve just doing the work.

Many times I found myself or young associates failing to take appropriate inventory of their projects and workloads and, by the time they realized they were overextended, the only option was to pull an all-nighter or do sub-par work. And, let’s be honest, overnighters only yield subpar work so there truly is only one option (and that option will cost you).

This behavior is usually driven by our belief that there is no other choice than simply doing the work. What I would like to suggest is that there are limits to your ability to produce and if you fail to recognize and address those limits appropriately, your career will suffer.

The first step to this process is simply getting organized. Schedule time once a week (I use Friday mornings) to go through your projects list, update your projects list and prepare a list of all other “to do” items floating around your head and taking up mental space. Write. Down. Everything. This includes: calling the plumber, updating your address with the bar association, ordering groceries, cooking dinner, packing for a work trip, meal prepping, going to the gym. Everything. Write it all down. I also use this time to plan my meals for the following week.

(Side note: An easy way to coordinate your meals for the upcoming week is to create a private Pinterest board where you can save recipes solely for the upcoming week. I have a private board entitled “This Week” where I save recipes I plan to cook in a given week. Then, when my Friday morning planning session comes around, I pull up the board and order the groceries for those meals, schedule my grocery delivery, and decide which nights I will cook which meals. Life. Changing. Added bonus: if you have kids, this will allow you to vet recipes with them and get their buy-in for your upcoming meals — kids like food pictures too!)

Once you have this list, prioritize it. This doesn’t need to be an overly formal process, you just need to know what items need to be addressed immediately and which ones can wait until you are standing in line at the grocery store. Be ruthless in this evaluation. Not everything can be a priority — that is the thinking that gets you into the all-nighter conundrum!

Now that all of the things causing momentary panic in your brain are down on paper, put them on your calendar. Schedule everything. Give yourself plenty of time for each item on your list and do not forget to schedule “free time” as well as time to eat, rest, and breathe.

When it comes to work projects, be sure to schedule prep time in anticipation of any upcoming meetings and schedule blocks of “reserved” time where possible to account for shifts in priorities or unforeseen projects. This is about giving yourself the space to ensure that you are able to show up as your best, every time. You don’t have to be faced with the choice of turning in subpar work because of your poor planning. You are better than that.

Then the best part: throw the damn list away. Burn it. Whatever floats your boat. Just get rid of it and breathe in the knowledge that you have all of those little nagging thoughts addressed and scheduled. Your brain is clear.

This tactic is not going to protect you from those chaotic, unpredictable moments that are simply a part of life but what it is going to do is provide you with a much better understanding of your capacity at any given moment. It will allow you to properly forecast how you can (or cannot) handle the new project that lands in your inbox in shouty CAPS! The goal here is to free up your brain to allow you to forecast where your energy is going and determine when priorities truly conflict.

When you get all those BS “to dos” out of your head, you will be much less likely to get frazzled. When you have allocated time for all of the things on your to do list, it is much more difficult for your brain to pile on and get sucked into the blackhole of “when am I going to have time to do that, I still have to finish that project for client Y, and I haven’t done laundry for a week, and I still need to get a birthday card for my mom, and oh my gosh, I don’t have any freaking groceries! what am I going to eat this week?!” The spiral is a waste of your mental energy and a distraction.

This approach will take some practice but if you can get into the habit of truly examining what’s going on in your life, finding time for all of those things, and committing to stick to your plans, this alone can transform your stress level.

Practicing law is difficult and sometimes you will have to reorganize your carefully laid plans or have some challenging discussions about competing priorities. It happens. Success is about learning to honor yourself and your abilities and not expecting yourself to tackle every single thing that comes your way. There are limits to your ability to handle it all. Getting organized is the first step to recognizing those limits.

Clean up your brain and throw away your to do lists, I dare you.