Posted on

Learning to Receive

Breathwork Meditation Healing Circle

As a coach, eldest child, woman, lifelong caretaker of my loved ones, and recovering rescuer, I’m accustomed to attending to everyone else’s needs. It’s easy for me to spot where others are burned out, and offer my assistance, which usually comes in the form of coaching.

While I recognize my own need for self-care, I have a tendency to do just that…give it to myself. If my body says it’s tired, I rest. If it wants to move, I move. If it is hungry, I feed it. If I am overwhelmed in a social setting, I find a quiet space to be alone. If it’s been a busy day, I’ll take a bath. I’m quite self-sufficient.

What I haven’t learned to do well is receive care from others.

It hit me the other day when I attended a Love Bubble breathwork class on the beach led by the amazing Jenna Reiss. She and I had met serendipitously at a Byron Katie event. Then we met again at a Gabby Bernstein event. I knew from her energy that I wanted her in my life. And yet, despite our ongoing efforts, running our individual businesses got in the way of our connecting in person again.

When I saw her social posts about leading a breathwork class, I jumped at the chance to see how we might collaborate on future workshops together. It didn’t even occur to me to attend simply to receive her gifts. So when she asked what “Love Bubble” meant to me, I responded as a coach, not as Jennifer. She invited me to drop my roles and responsibilities…and even suggested I put my body a little further into the love bubble circle of blankets to receive just a bit more.

It was exactly what I needed to shed the societal pressure of being the independent woman that doesn’t need anything from anyone else. To give myself permission to receive someone else’s care, to be myself with all my flaws and baggage in someone else’s safe and sacred space. To heal the parts of me that needed another layer peeled off and released.

Healing and spiritual enlightenment is not a destination; it’s a journey (which I recognize is cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true!). If anyone tells you they have all the answers and everything figured out, they’re unconsciously (or maybe even consciously) incompetent and my advice is to run the other way.

My experience in that love bubble was oh-so-delicious. My hands, lower arm, lower leg, and back of neck wrapping up around my ears were vibrating at such a high frequency that they felt tingly, numb and immobile. At one point I was laughing deeply, and another I was convulsively crying. My heart opened up so fully and my higher self shined through.

Through coaching, I have forgiven myself on the mental and emotional level for some things in my past, yet in that circle, I forgave myself even more deeply at the spiritual and soul level…and forgave others from my past that I’d been harboring judgment toward. It felt so lovely and so loving to let all of that go, peeling it off like a heavy winter jacket.

Aside from the freedom I felt afterward, it was a good reminder that it’s okay to receive from others. It’s okay to be the client and allow other’s gifts to be received.

If you’re like me and feel a strong need to never ask for help, I invite you to try it. Ease into it if there’s strong resistance. Because we all need each other. None of us are meant to figure it all out ourselves. AND by doing so, you’re allowing someone else’s light to shine and that is also a gift.

When we receive, we give…when we give, we receive.

Posted on

How to Find Your Driving Motivation & Why it’s Important to Achieve Your Goals

Lion Scratching Head on Bush

What we think we want is not always what we truly want. Often, there is a deeper desire hidden underneath the surface. When we connect with that driving motivation, it helps guide us more clearly.

The longer I coach and the more people I work with, I’ve realized that most often our root desire is freedom. (The others are either joy or connection. For the purpose of this blog, though, we’ll focus on the most common.)

Take any goal or desire, and ask yourself, “Why? What do I get from that?” until you can’t find another driving motivation beneath the last.

Let’s take money, for example. Often my clients come to me with a goal to make more money. When asked what more money (or a certain goal retirement amount) will get them, their response is “stability” or “security.” When asked what stability or security gives them, they usually respond with some sort of variation of, “the freedom to do whatever I want.”

If I have a client who wants to lose weight, we often find she simply wants to feel confident or accepted. At the root of that is connecting with the freedom to be herself without fearing other’s opinions. Sometimes it’s even finding freedom from her own self-judgment.

Another client wanted to be healthier. What did he think a healthy body would get him? The freedom to do all the activities, and go all the places, he enjoys.

My entrepreneurial clients, who are building their own businesses, are driven by the freedom that enables. They’re free to work on the projects they want to, work with the clients they want to, hire the people they want to, and set their own schedules. They have the freedom to work wherever they want, however they want. That autonomy is much juicier to them than the alternative of working for someone else, who would dictate their time, projects and goals.

Why do people enjoy vacations? Yes, it offers the opportunity to recharge our batteries. It is also a socially acceptable excuse to spend that time completely autonomously.

If you want to lounge all day and dance all night, you have the freedom to do so. You are free to go wherever and do whatever you want (within budget and legal constraints, of course). You are free from household chores, errands, work responsibilities and whatever burdens you carry at home. And if you’re like me, I also give myself the freedom to eat and drink whatever I want because, hey, it’s vacation!

What is it you want? Ask yourself “Why?” Dig into what that thing will give you. Keep asking until you’re at the root cause, your driving motivation. You might surprise yourself where you end up.

Once you find your driving motivation, ask yourself if there are other ways to achieve that right now. Finding that feeling state doesn’t necessarily require reaching big, far-off goals. It can often be found in simpler, quicker ways.

Use this driving motivation as your touchstone for decision making. When deciding between two paths, which one will get you closer to achieving your root desire — whether that be freedom, joy or connection?

I’m curious what you uncover. Please share your experience with this exercise in the comments!


Posted on

From Ball of Stress to Beacon of Serenity

Each day brings new opportunity.

Anyone who has worked with me, even as close as a year ago, would tell you that I’m a natural worrier. They’d tell you that I lived in a constant state of anxiety, trying to prepare and plan for whatever possible thing that could go wrong. By doing so, I actually made a lot of money and progressed quickly because it fit so well into the corporate tech culture of overworking martyrdom. My mantra was: “Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance.” As if I could keep chaos at bay by pre-determining it on a spreadsheet or list.

I wore busyness with pride like somehow being unaware of whether I was coming or going was a crown of prestige. In conversations with friends, social currency came in the form of who got the least amount of sleep and most amount of emergency emails late at night or early morning to respond to. I was important, damnit. The dark circles under my eyes and five cups of coffee a day jitters proved it!

At one point, completely disconnected from how rude it was, I put my cell phone earbuds in my ears while holding my phone ready to answer at a moments notice while in a one-on-one meeting with a coworker that still had fifteen minutes remaining. My mind was preparing for my next meeting before I even finished the one I was currently in. My thoughts were always in the future of “what’s next, what’s coming, what should I be anticipating?”

My cellphone only left my body to shower or sleep, and even then, it sat less than a foot away from my face on my nightstand in case I heard a beep that would wake me to check it, no matter what time. I recall responding to an email from Scott Coker (former CEO of Strikeforce, current CEO of Bellator) at 1:30 AM because I heard it come through. He’s a night owl and didn’t expect his employees to work that late, and responded to my response with, “Go to sleep. You can deal with this in the morning.” I thought it made me a better employee to always be on, always be responding, always be there.

The reality? I was a stress-case. I stress-ate unhealthy food as a reward system for working hard. My lower back would regularly seize up or go out and was in a constant state of pain. I powered through it, refusing to rest.

One time at Intel, when I had just been assigned to manage the CIO and her IT organization’s internal communications, I threw out my back the night before I was to have my first meeting with her TA (Chief of Staff) and Deputy TA. Despite the spasms of pain that would permeate my body every time I moved my foot, I was determined to not show weakness or “excuses.” I feared that if I rescheduled because of my back, they would think I wasn’t fit to do the job.

Therefore, I clenched through showering, dressing and driving (which in hindsight was extremely dangerous) to the office. I gave myself an extra twenty minutes to slowly inch my way from the parking lot into headquarters. My pain was noticeable enough that a few other employees who I’d never met before offered to carry my laptop bag on my behalf. I finally made it to the conference room where I waited 10 minutes past the start time of the meeting before I sent an email to my new colleagues, who responded that they both decided to work from home and were on the bridge waiting for me to dial in. I almost started crying right then and there, but it would have been too painful to sob.

My level of stress stressed those out around me. Happy? Who had time for that?!

Fast-forward to taking a job as the head of marketing for Angels Baseball, where I thought I had really, truly “made it.” I had a fancy title, my own parking space nameplate, corner office with a view (despite the cliche) and a large team to lead at a recognizable sports team. I went in high-strung and ready to kill it. I was going to prove I was worthy of their faith in me by being the first one in and the last one out. I skipped lunch most days, and when I ate, it was a microwaved bowl of oatmeal at my desk. I put my sweat and tears into marketing even once I got home after my hour and a half commute. This was it, this was going to make my career.

Yet, I was miserable. I won’t get into the details as to why, but after a few months of working there, I spent most of my commute home crying. I was so frazzled that my emotions were always at the tip ready to spill out. Six months in, my husband finally said: “If you’re that unhappy, quit.”

“I can’t quit,” I said. “What will everyone think of me?”

In the end, I did. My husband, who had left his job of 15 years so that I could pursue my dream job in Southern California, hadn’t found his next job yet. We were both unemployed and I was panicked about money and how we’d survive.

Not only did we survive, but we THRIVED! With no idea when we’d land our next paycheck, we had the most amazing three months of my life.

We enjoyed waking up on our own with no alarm clock. We switched our phones’ notifications to silent for email. We walked our dog together out along the beach three times a day together while talking and enjoying our environment. We sat next to each other on the couch while job hunting the first half of the day, then we went and explored the second half of the day. We found the best happy hours for each day of the week to eat and drink on a budget that ended up costing less than it would for groceries to make it. We rode our bikes, ran, worked out on the beach, swam, attended free yoga on the beach classes, and went to various other free meet-up events to simply experience new things. We spent time reading books for FUN and not for business.

Our cost of living dropped immensely with no longer paying for dry cleaning, haircuts, and our propensity to constantly buy new shoes and work outfits. We didn’t feel the need to go to expensive dinners on the weekend as our reward for a week of hard work. Instead, we wore the same 7 sets of jeans and shirts week after week. Flip flops are the bomb, by the way. We cooked a lot at home because we enjoyed trying new recipes and cooking together. Our car-gas bill went down with no longer having long commutes.

We learned to live with so much less. And we appreciated so much more.

What other time in my life will I get the opportunity to spend every day with my best friend before retiring and not because we’re on vacation? This time was such a gift.

It was also a major reset on our perspectives and our stress levels. I had gotten so out of touch with my body and my mind that I didn’t even realize the toll that it was taking on my health and my own emotional well-being. I found myself again.

We also realized we don’t need as much income as we thought we did to live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle. It even shifted how we look at our retirement and the level of savings and investment we set. We would much rather have the time together than the ‘things’ it would buy later.

With this reset, I also morphed my philosophy on work and career. It is possible to life the life you crave. Now, I look forward to my work each and every day. I still have impact, I’m still productive, and I’m still making money. Yet I’m free of stress and my mind is present in my life.

I feel more stability now than I ever did in corporate because, as an entrepreneur, my time is mine and I can go as far as I want to reach. I’m only accountable to myself and I know that anything I put my mind to, I can achieve. My fate is in my hands…and it tastes delicious!

If you want to find the confidence to pursue the life you crave, or if you want to learn how to break down the walls of stress and live more freely, I’m accepting new coaching clients. The first call is free! Email me at inversioncoaching [at] gmail [dot] com.