Friend, Therapist Or A Life Coach?

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If you are reading this, chances are you are experiencing a problem and one of your personal values is to do something about it. You have likely weighed your options of venting to a good friend against seeing a coach or a therapist. I’ll start out by saying it’s not uncommon to hear this “Why should I hire a life coach when I can talk to my best friend? I don’t need a therapist, I have Julie. I don’t want to open up to a stranger.” and so on and so forth. Does this sound familiar?:)

As a general rule I don’t take on clients who do not believe in this work. Big part of success is believing in yourself as well as believing in getting help. I wrote this blog in hopes of bringing clarity to your decision making process on this subject. At the beginning of my path as a coach I encouraged everyone to get professional help over venting to friends. Of course I saw the value of opening up to friends but it wasn’t as effective to feeling better long term. When someone asks me if they should rely on their friends or see a coach I’d like to ask this question. What should you include in your regular diet, the fats, the protein or the carbs? Fat will keep you full and satisfied and give you energy. Protein will support your muscle mass and keep you strong. Carbs will help you stay full and fuel you. Can you sustain healthy living on just one of these foods? Which one should you stick with? The answer is - you can but not for very long.

This is precisely my approach when deciding whether to hire a coach, therapist or vent to a friend. You need all of the above in different quantities and at different times in your life. What is the difference between the three? Are they truly interchangeable? Let’s talk about the definition of a good friend. Here is mine: Someone who sees eye to eye with you and shares your beliefs. Someone who will take your ‘side’ and support you in any situation.

Next, let’s look at therapist. Borrowing this definition from Google. Therapist helps to resolve problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, and/or somatic responses (sensations in the body).

I think we can already see that a call with friend and therapy session are not remotely the same. Both add value but one is peanuts and the other is peanut butter. Sometimes peanuts are good, other times you want the butter. With that said having a close friend is the most beautiful thing. If you have been blessed with one, you know what a treasure such connection is. Sometimes all we need is to feel a touch of relief when being heard and understood. When it comes to long term healing and evolving we need someone who sees outside of our beliefs and blind spots. Someone who has a trained eye to what we cannot see. Someone who knows of things that we don’t even know exist. A good healthy relationship is extremely beneficial to our getting better. In fact, one of the things you would hear from such friend is to go see someone to get help.

As for the life coach, I like Tony Robbins’ definition - someone who helps you identify your goals and develop an actionable plan to achieve them. I would add that these goals are in every area of your life. Wanting to feel better is a goal. Wanting to be successful is a goal. Creating a strategy for losing weight is a goal. In my own experience with therapy and coaching I have found that therapy mostly addressed my past while coaching addressed future. Both in their own ways help shape our future, however, coaching is more future focused.

To get an amazing head start - make sure you have all three areas covered for yourself. Get your time with your friend when you want a familiar soul to comfort you and support you. Sign up for therapy when trauma is present. Throw yourself into the hands of a coach when you are ready to blaze forward.

Anatomy of Motivation

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Several months ago I reconnected with an old friend.  She offered dinner and good times, but I left her house that evening with the whole world.  In her presence something changed in me.  The gooey state of mind I have been in lately vanished.  There was something about the vibe she gave out.  Her outlook on life was bold and determined.  She was full of ideas for the future and already executing on many.  She wasn’t bragging or trying to be better, this is who she was.  The epitome of self-motivation, I thought to myself, and being in her presence you couldn’t help but start believing in yourself immediately.  She made me think of my dormant ideas and the excuses I had relied on.  I was couldn’t wait to drive home to start getting my ideas out into the world.

 

After that visit I went home and wrote out all my ideas and plans for execution.  This is how you get motivated, I thought.  I just need to spend more time around people like her, because it literally rubs off on you.  What was it exactly that reignited my own motivation?  I was simply hooked!  What do we want after all – how to get motivated or how to stay motivated?  I think it’s both.  Motivation just like any emotion is a temporary state of mind.  We can prolong it, but staying in it 100% is unrealistic and should never be our main goal.  Instead, focusing on creating the most favorable and efficient day is where I would concentrate my energy.  You know you are on top of your game when motivation makes an appearance. 

 Here is my list of all things motivation.  Let’s dive in!

 Mentor/Coach

As seen in my story above, having energetic driven people in your life is an amazing way to boost your own energy.  Choose someone who is focused not only on themselves, but who is genuinely interested in engaging others on their way to success.  How do you know if you are around such people?  They make you feel good about yourself pretty much always.  Do you have someone like that in your circle?  No?  Then it’s time to set an intention to meet such person and venture out beyond your own backyard.

 

Know Your Best

It’s crucial to know when your body performs best.  We will get ourselves closer to feeling the high of motivation when we plan to work on tasks during the best part of day.  Personally, I know that 8am to 11am are my best hours.  I feel easy about getting things going and have a natural inclination to do something productive. What is the best time for you? Time with fewer distraction, less junk food, highest level of energy. Know your best time of day, day of the week and place to be and plan to show up.

 

Physical State

This alone won’t get your business growing or your goals any closer, but feeling good adds a ton to your creativity potential.  Feeling upbeat can do magic things to your life.  The longer we can hold this feeling physically and mentally, the more we get our hands around the feeling of motivation.  Physical activity, solid sleep, nutritious meals (that don’t put you in food coma) are a sure way to feel ready to do something good.

 

Managing Your Mind

It always puzzles me that mind management is not taught in schools.  We have to find our own way to it.  When it comes to motivation, many of us believe in it occurring on its own.  Sort of like the feeling of happiness (not!) it just appears out of no where and we need to act on it fast.   When we observe that motivation doesn’t happen to us as often as we like, we become even less motivated and that is futile to our goals.  One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is this… What do you believe to be true about motivation?  Write it out.  Look at your thoughts and tell me, do you like what you see?  Will these thoughts lead you to feeling more motivated and driven?  Are they the sorts of thoughts that if I read them I would get inspired?  If so, you are in luck and your beliefs will work for you.  If you believe that motivation is scarce or that it only happens to special people or that some people just have more drive… you are setting yourself up to procrastinate.  In summary: Evaluate your thoughts – decide if these thoughts will serve you – introduce new thoughts (beliefs) – practice what you want to believe.

 

Anticipating Lack of Motivation

It wouldn’t be a complete list if we didn’t acknowledge that motivation will come and go.  If you are like me, more of your time will be spent without the high of motivation.  That is okay.  Plan on it, decide what you will do when it happens again. The following mantras are helpful when motivation is no where to be found.

  • It’s normal to feel unmotivated. 

  • No one can be at the peak of their performance 100% of the time. 

  • I will do what I planned to do anyway.

  • I don’t need motivation to stay on track.

  • I trust myself, I trust the process.

 

Just like that you have my motivation tool box! It’s my deepest desire to share my knowledge with the world and hope that it will make a positive change in someone else’s life.

 

The Story I am Living Right Now, or a quick reality check

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Hey there, girlfriend. Allow me to update you on the latest! I recently got married to the man I love and respect. We have been engaged for over a year and had planned a small intimate wedding with amazing Russian-American food. Everything and everyone cooperated and it was truly a good day all around.

The Chef of the restaurant pulled me out from the photo shoot to tell me he had made a salad for me, so that I don’t forget to eat. Our families arrived in time and took gorgeous photos before the rain hit us. We got ready together without rushing or running. My best friend from college flew in. My best friend from current life was by my side all day. My kids enjoyed the day and dressed up for the occasion. They thought it was their wedding too. The day of we planned a family photo shoot and dinner with 50 of our closest dearest friends and family. I planned to be present and feel love all day long. I did just that.

I think of that day as the epitome of doing our best and being out best. If this day was a chapter in the book, I would call it ‘One Beautiful Day’. Wouldn’t you want to be a part of this day too?

I could also tell a different story about that day. It would be so juicy… the day of sever thunderstorms broke out forcing us move the ceremony to another day. If you know me, I don’t like things out of order. I think we were a bit short on food. I could also tell a story how people held grudges because of some of the decisions that we’ve made in the process. What would I call this chapter - ‘I couldn’t wait for it to be over’ comes to mind. Both stories are true, but the first one feels like warmth and love.

If you and I set down for a minute, what would you share with me today? What would you name it if it were a book? Choose a story that makes you feel great.

Life Lessons Letter from Unconfident Girl

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Dear friend, recently I have been thinking about the lessons I’ve learned so far. I’ve had so many painful, but valuable lessons. I want to share them with you. You might find them both entertaining and useful. If so, my lessons will have served a double purpose. They started out as beliefs of the unconfindent girl and grew into something bigger. Here is what I mean by it. Early in my twenties I was naive, motivated and yet not confident as a young woman. I was obsessed with making the uncertain future certain. I was sure that my main goal in life is to allow happiness to come in and avoid pain at all costs. If I am really good, I will succeed to live happily ever after. Boy, was I wrong about this. Thank you universe, I was wrong about this. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, my biggest life lessons:

Life is half negative emotion, half positive emotion. I know, I know… this really sucks to hear, but it's actually great news. It’s the sour moments in life that make us truly appreciate the happy moments. Without the loss we cannot feel the joy of gain. It’s the contrast of events that gives us a full human experience. You and I both tried to make life 100% positive experience. We all do. It’s a recipe for continuous disappointment that leads to losing hope on having it all figured out. Dear friend, next time you feel down, take the lesson and know half of the time we will feel positive emotion and the other half is for negative emotion.

Don’t avoid failure, instead focus on learning how to deal with it. I can say with 100% confidence that I spent all of my twenties building barricades to avoid failure, pain and disappointment. I can also say with 100% confidence that I have since experienced all of the above many times over. What did I do wrong? I focused on preventing instead of embracing that failure is part of life. It’s not even a question whether or not we will experience failure. The question is when it happens what are we going to do? Are we going to spend the rest of what is left dwelling on it? I say not. Dear friend, claim your lesson as soon as you get back up and come with a plan for next time.

Friendships need to be managed. I went from expecting people to read my mind to not needing people to not relying on anyone else. I have since learned that the middle ground is where it feels best. To do that I needed to learn to speak my truth, make asks, come from a place of love and befriend boundaries. These 4 are always with me in my cheat-sheet. If I am upset, chances are I am failing to honor one of them. Dear friend, if you have not managed your relationships yet, start by setting loving boundaries before you find yourself stretched too thin and in a hoard of unhealthy friendships.

Lastly, there is not a single thing or person who can make us feel confident. At first I thought it had to be the relationship. When that happened, confidence didn’t show up. Then I expected motherhood to give me confidence. Confidence was a no show again. Finally, I knew money was the answer. When I make my first 100K, then I would feel it. You guessed it right. Money had nothing to do with it. Dear friend, your confident self is waiting for you to claim it. Think back to your most proud moment and remember how you’ve felt in great detail. Remember what you thought and said, how it felt, where you were and your surroundings… You will feel a wave of emotion overcome you. THAT is how you bring out the confidence.

Love,

Your Now Confident Girl

Finances and Divorce Conversation with Grace Pomroy - Financial Educator, Speaker and Coach

I have a soft spot for everyone who makes our lives better. I love everything coaching! It’s worked so well for me and many others. I have recently met Grace Pomroy, an amazing woman entrepreneur in the financial arena. Every time I hear finances, I think about my relationship with money. I think about how scarce money was after divorce. I also think about losing my house, not making enough to pay for daycare at certain points. I think about the shame I felt about it all. Grace and I talked divorce and finances, happiness, generosity and non-negotiables.

If you want to learn more about Grace and how she can help you, find her here!

I hope you find this blog post at the perfect time for you. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

Pulling The Thread or How To Start Making Progress

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If you've met me in real life, chances are you’ve heard me say 'keep pulling the thread'.  In case we have not met, let me to explain.  Imagine a tangled up thread that you want to untangle. Maybe your kids played with it and then your cats and then it was stepped on.  Now that you want to untangle the mess, you try pull it in different directions and loosen it up.  May be you even try employing a stick to help it.  Eventually you get it just right and have yourself a thread free from knots and ties.  It will be worn out a bit from all the manipulation, but it’s nice and free now.  In my mind many difficult circumstances are just like a tangled thread.  It’s a big mess and you don’t know where to start.  If you let it sit there, it remains a tangled mess.  If you try to untangle it, it may even appear to get worse at first. 

Back in 2014 I had myself a tangled up triple mess.  In short I had two minor children that I now was solely responsible for, a mortgage that I couldn’t afford even if I tracked every dollar in my budget, a car payment, daycare expenses and a job schedule that didn’t accommodate raising children.  I can still remember the blank stare that I had back then.  All I could think about was how messed up this is and I cannot opt out. Without any clue what to do, I started pulling the thread.  I took some good and not so good advice, I attended workshops, started dating, borrowed money to build out a rental in the basement of my house, went out to social gatherings, put too much money on my credit card and… I was routinely late for work and the first one to leave for the day. If we worked together we probably wouldn’t be friends. Few years had gone by and nothing felt like progress. I still wasn’t sure if I was moving in the right direction or just floating around. It was clear that nothing was for sure. Looking back I can tell you what I know for sure now.

I know for sure that looking for answers creates answers…

Trying different things creates different results…

Action doesn’t require assurances that it will work…

Trying new things opens doors to more answers…

What I know for sure is to keep going we start by pulling that thread until we get ourselves a worn out, but free from knots and ties thread. 

RoadMap2You Places THIRD in 2018 Twin Cities Collective Nomination For Best Small Business!

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Friends, I am happily sharing this wonderful news with you! I was recently nominated as one of the top 5 local small businesses. At the end of the voting, I was selected to take the third place! This award is so so fun to receive. It reminds me of how fun this journey of growing your own business can be. As a life coach my passion is within working with people. Having the interactions with them, helping and learning. The business side of things is another animal. As a business owner I have to be my own IT, marketer, sales, product developer, you name it! This award reminds me once again to keep going, to do what I know best and the rest will work out. I am thrilled to have contributed and impacted many women’s lives this year. Thank you for voting, thanking for sending the good thoughts, thank you for trusting. Let 2019 roll in!

Helping Women Thrive After Divorce with Becca Erickson's

Several weeks ago I set down with Becca Erickson, the co-founder of Emerge Mother’s Academy, to share my story. In the midst of my own crisis, years ago, I binge-read anything I could get my hands on related to post-divorce resilience. I wanted to find proof that anything is possible and so I did find it. This interview is my story about falling, rising and what got me here. My goal is to spread the wisdom and hope. If you are in the middle of building yourself back up, this podcast episode is for you. To you, the woman is looking for answers.

Listen to this episode now

Say Yes To Compliments

In recent years I have been paying a lot of attention to giving and receiving compliments.  We all love getting them, but for some reason many of us are not taking them for what they are. I am pretty certain I’ve rejected compliments all my life.  Actually, it’s considered to be good to pull fake modesty and slam it all over the compliment. I know it sounds strange, but most people doesn’t take compliments well.  You, too, may be rejecting compliments.  

Let me explain.  A compliment is a thought turned into words to acknowledge someone's abilities, looks or efforts.  It sounds often like this - "I love your dress", "You look great", "I loved your book".   Simple, fun and kind. In my experience, there are two ways to respond to compliments.  One is by saying a thank you.  The other is to say thank you and compliment the other person right back.  Both make you and the compliment-er feel acknowledged and appreciated.  Really, there is nothing more to it.  But how do we do in practice? Let's take a closer look some of the common responses:

You look fantastic!  What have you been up to?

- Really?  No, I've gained 10 lbs.
- Oh please... this is not my best.
- Are you serious?  I don't know what you are smoking.  I was drinking last night, didn't sleep at all, etc.
- I have looked better.
- She must not be sincere, I don't believe her.
- Please stop it, you are going to make me blush.
- Why would anyone compliment me on this?

We've just missed the opportunity to feel good and put the to other person in an awkward position.  This serves no one. So what is the alternative? The question is, why not say just yes?  Even if you have looked better, say yes today.  Say yes to everything and fight the urge to dismiss the words.  Say yes even when you know you this wasn’t your best effort. Our only job is to thank the other person and stay in the presence of words.  It's sooo powerful to stop and think about the compliment.  Let the positive emotion rise up and thank the universe for this unexpected gift.  Think about the words and look at overcome with gratitude on person.  You do look good enough.  Your work was done well enough.  The one tiny thing they are thanking you for was enough.  Your mere company is just enough.  You are enough.
 
Say yes!  Take ALL compliments.  There is no upside to denying yourself a moment of joy.  Let people shower you with kind words.  Let them show you what they see.  Let them see the good in you and feel amazing doing it.

When You Feel Guilty For Marrying Your Now Ex-Husband

Last week I connected with a friend who has been recovering after divorce for a couple of years.  She is a smart, successful and beautiful. She is now a sole parent of their two children.  I asked her how she was doing and she blurted out - I am trying to forgive myself for choosing the wrong guy.  I feel guilt for marrying a man who is not the best father for my children.  Suddenly I felt a hot wave wash over me.  I, too, spent many months feeling deep guilt about bringing children into this world with an unfit parent.  Someone who one day typed the message “I am done”, shut the door behind him and unsubscribed from being a dad.

I have tried countless ways to reconcile the choice that I made.  I mean… I chose the guy and said I do and stayed with him for a decade. Why did I think he was a great choice? There were many books, therapy sessions and bitch fests with the girlfriends. Some of these things helped a little, others helped me make a shift toward letting the guilt go.  Outlining thoughts one by one is my favorite way of sharing information.  Today I am sharing with you the four perspectives that helped me move away from guilt into a space of healing.  But first, why let go of the guilt and heal?  Wouldn’t it negate the lesson that I deserve? No, it would not.  The lesson is learned the moment we realize it was not the best choice.  It is through self-love, support and acceptance that we can move forward effectively.  The reason to let go of guilt is so we can be loving and understanding parents.  So we can show our children that mom is a human and makes mistakes too.  So we can be our best selves and invite healthier relationships into our lives. So we can feel happy and content more often.

WHEN YOU FEEL GUILTY FOR MARRYING THE WRONG PERSON, consider these:

I. Feeling guilt is not therapeutic

Let's look at what the purpose of guilt is.  Why do we express it to others?  We feel awful about what happened in the after math of the decision.  We make ourselves feel bad in hopes of learning the lesson for next time.  Growing up most of us had parents that made our mistakes feel very unpleasant.  The more guilt we feel now, the better our decisions will be in the future.  In retrospect guilt impacts our future decisions and confidence in a negative way.   When we are immersed in guilt, we don't make the best decisions for ourselves or the kids.  We make decisions based on fear.  And if life taught me anything, decisions based on fear rob me of my full potential.  They rob me of going all in and dreaming big, because I need to be really careful this time.  Feeling guilt is neither therapeutic, nor preventative.  All that we need to do is recognize what we no longer want to have in our lives and decide to do differently next time.  Guilt has us looking back, which is the opposite direction of hope, happiness and thriving.

II.  Having your own back is a must 

No matter what happened, one thing we should always give ourselves is having our own back.  It requires nothing but supportive thoughts for ourselves (something we do all the time for our dearest friends). Trusting that at all times we do our best.  I know you'll disagree and say this wasn't your best.  It certainly isn't your best today or you wouldn't be here looking for answers.  But trust that you make the best decisions based on what_you_know_today.  Your best will always shift and that's the beauty of wisdom.

III.  All relationships have expiration point 

As much as we refuse this notion, if you we look at our past relationships of any kind, we'll see that all of us have had relationships that faded, finished or completed.  While I believe all relationships serve a purpose, not all are meant to last a lifetime.    Our relationships with ex- husbands lasted exactly as they should.  Nothing have gone wrong there. They run its course and are now complete.  Thank you for the beautiful moments.

IV.  Feeling compassion for him

When it came to letting go of the anger for having to raise the children by myself, not much helped long term.  I didn’t choose this life, I didn’t choose to be a single mother. I wanted to be angry all the time, I wanted revenge even.  I imagined that he'd come back and want to see the kids, but as time passed the less likely it seemed.  Revenge wasn't an option:)  I started learning about forgiveness.  At that time I have experienced an amazing uplifting and relief after forgiving a family member from a long term pain.  I got a taste for what forgiveness does for me. I decided that I had to move toward forgiveness for my ex husband.  I knew he wouldn't feel my forgiveness, but I would.  He wouldn't benefit from it, but the kids and I really would thrive if I could forgive.  It is to this day one of the hardest things to do for me. I found a form of forgiveness that resonated with me. I chose to cultivate compassion for him.  Knowing that living your life far a way from your own children, made me feel compassion for him.  Knowing that he is not able to live his best life in exile made me feel more compassion.  When I imagine living away from my children for more than a month, I feel tremendous pain and compassion for his state.  No one in their right mind would choose this life.  I give compassion to him and myself.

When it comes to taming guilt, always remember that the purpose of life is to live a full vibrant life. It is both the dark and bright moments that make it vibrant. We wouldn’t want it any other way.