The Real Reason We Procrastinate

The real reason why any of us procrastinate is because of our thoughts.  Positive thoughts drive productive action and negative thoughts drive inaction or unproductive action (such as reaching for a pint of ice cream).  Trying to change your actions without examining your thoughts is like trying to get a broken car to go without looking under the hood.  You can try pushing the car, you can try having a tow truck come along and pull it, but it’s going to be a slow, painful process and you’re not going to get to where you’re going nearly as fast.

But once you understand that your actions are driven by your feelings and your feelings are created by your thoughts, it becomes a lot easier to get to the source of the problem.

Find The Root Cause

When you’re procrastinating about something, whether it’s preparing a presentation for work, starting a job search, or going to the gym, take 10 minutes and write down all of your thoughts about why you’re not doing the thing you wanted to do.  In other words, all of your reasons.  This is called a thought download.  It’s like doing an inventory of what’s going on in your brain and it’s the equivalent of a mechanic looking under the hood of a car.

Let’s say for example that you want to start looking for a new job but you’re not taking action.  What are the thoughts that you’re thinking when you don’t feel like setting up informational interviews, applying for jobs, or updating your resume?

  • If you have the thought that you don’t have time, that might create the feeling of anxiety or apathy, which drives inaction.
  • If you have the thought that you are tired and deserve a break, it’s likely to create the feeling of lethargy, which also drives inaction.
  • If you have the thought that you no one will want to hire you, that will create the fear of rejection or maybe even shame, which will drive the “action” of wanting to hide and distracting yourself with Netflix.
  • If you have the thought that job searching is going to be painful and uncomfortable, that will create the feeling of dread, which will drive you to stay in your comfort zone and watch Netflix.

You get the idea.  Just identifying the feelings that are creating your inaction, and understanding the thoughts that are creating those feelings can have a powerful impact because once you understand it, you’ll be in a position to change it.

Have Compassion For Yourself

It’s very important that you have compassion for yourself when you’re becoming conscious of the effect your thoughts are having in your life.  We all have these kinds of negative automatic thoughts.  It’s part of our wiring, so there is no need to judge or shame yourself for this.  Realize that you are not your thoughts.  You are a human soul with a human brain that generates 60,000 thoughts a day.  Try to become the Watcher of your thoughts to get some distance from them.

When you are ready, look at each of the thoughts that is creating a negative feeling and leading to inaction and ask yourself “who would I be without that thought?”  Imagine letting go of that thought and seeing what that would feel like.  This exercise helps you realize that the negative thought is completely optional.  Your brain may want to go back to it because it’s familiar, but you can gently remind yourself that you could be a person without that thought.

How Do You Need To Feel To Take Action?

The next step is to figure out what feeling would drive you to take the action you want to take.  Usually we need to feel motivated, determined, or committed to take action, but you may need to find a different feeling that will propel your action.  What is it?  Write it down.

Then brainstorm a thought that is believable to you that would create that feeling.  For example, if you want to create the feeling of motivation, you might need to think “I am willing to go outside my comfort zone in order to find a job that I love.”

Or perhaps it motivates you to think about how you could help others if you got the right job, so you could choose the thought “I have so much to offer to an organization with a worthwhile mission.”  That spark of motivation can drive you to take small steps, such as writing down all that you do have to offer and using that list to update your resume or write cover letters.  The more you act, the more evidence you will create to support the thought that you do have so much to offer.

There is no right or wrong thought here:  it just needs to be one that (1) you can believe, and (2) will create positive feelings to drive you to take action.

This is a game changer, because our actions are what create our results.  What results to you want to create in your life?  Imagine the possibilities!

Go forth, grow, and bloom.



How To Grow Your Mind

What’s Your Mindset? 

One of the most impactful books I’ve ever read is Mindset by Carol Dweck.  I recommend that you buy and read it immediately.

What does mindset mean? I like to define it as a collection of thoughts and beliefs that determine what you believe is possible and how the world works.  As I’ve discussed before, your thoughts create your results, so it’s worth looking at which type of mindset you have.

Dweck holds that there are two types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

The Fixed Mindset

People with the fixed mindset believe that you either have certain abilities or you don’t, and if you don’t naturally (or currently) have an ability, you might as well give up and go home.

Here are some examples of the fixed mindset:

  • People are either naturally talented or they aren’t. If you can’t do something easily or well from the outset, it’s best to do something else.
  • You’re either smart or dumb. There’s no way to grow your intelligence.
  • If you have to work hard at something, it means you’re not naturally gifted.
  • You’re either creative or you’re not. If you’re not creative, don’t even try to come up with ideas.  Leave that to the creatives.
  • Relationships are either meant to be or not. If we have to work at our relationship, it means we’re not meant to be together.
  • You either have an ear for music or you don’t. Don’t even try to pick up an instrument if you’re not naturally gifted.
  • You are either confident or you’re not.

The biggest flaw with the fixed mindset is that it’s a complete lie.  It’s simply not grounded in reality.  The people who are doing big things in the world are working hard, developing their skills and talents, and growing their abilities.  History books, biographies, and auto-biographies of successful artists, writers, inventors, scientists, etc. show us that people learn and develop as they go.  They try things and fail, they learn, they keep trying and failing, they keep learning, and eventually they create the results they want.

The fixed mindset is also the biggest dream-stealer on the planet.  The belief that you can’t learn something new and grow your mind is not only untrue, but it creates the feeling of discouragement, which drives people to give up or never even try in the first place.

And it’s not just those deemed “untalented” who are limited by the fixed mindset.  People who are naturally talented and believe in the fixed mindset are also harmed by it because they have the fear that if they try something new and fail, it would mean that they’ve lost their talents or abilities.  They believe it’s better to stay safe with what they know than trying to innovate or develop.

The Growth Mindset 

Thankfully, there’s another (much better) mindset: the growth mindset.  According to Dweck, this mindset recognizes that people have an amazing capacity to learn, grow, and improve over time.  According to the growth mindset, innate talent is pretty much irrelevant:  it’s what you do with whatever talent you have that matters.

The growth mindset is also backed up by science.  Dweck has proven in her research that people can grow their intelligence, creativity, confidence, skills, abilities, and even the quality of their relationships through hard work and trial and error.  But here’s the amazing thing:  the main factor that determines whether a person will actually grow her abilities is her understanding that her mind is capable of growing.

To prove this, Dweck’s team taught the growth mindset to a group of school kids by showing them that every time they stretched to learn something new and difficult, the neurons in their brain would form new and stronger connections and over time they could get smarter.  But they did not give this same lesson to the control group.  Then, Dweck’s team watched the grades of the both groups over the next semester.

The grades of the kids who had been taught the growth mindset started getting better and better, whereas the grades of the kids in the control group got worse over time.   (After the study was over, her team decided to teach the control group about the growth mindset, too.)

To learn more, you can see Carol Dweck’s amazing Ted Talk here:

You Can Change Your Mindset

Just like the kids in Dweck’s study, just knowing about the growth mindset gives you the ability to change your own mindset.  So now that you’ve read this post, you have the ability to change your mindset.

After I learned about the growth mindset, I decided to learn how to play the guitar.  Dweck’s book allowed me to realize playing the guitar was available to me, whereas I had previously believed that it wasn’t.  All it took was understanding that I could grow my mind.  Learning the guitar was hard, especially at first.  But the knowledge that the more I practiced, the more neural connections I could form in my brain allowed me to power through and keep trying.  And it worked because now I can play songs that seemed impossible when I started.

It’s also possible to have a growth mindset in some areas of your life, but a fixed mindset in others.  For example, you might believe that you can develop your skills in your current job, but think that becoming more creative or entrepreneurial is impossible for you.  Dweck’s book shows us that beliefs like this are completely optional.

In what areas of your life have you been applying a fixed mindset?  Now that you know that you can grow your mind if you’re willing to take on the challenge and stretch yourself, what are you going to learn?  What skills would you love to master?  What would you love to do that you always believed you couldn’t do because you weren’t talented, smart, or creative, or brave enough?  Now that you know, you can grow.  It’s a beautiful thing.

So go forth, grow, and bloom!



What You Can Control

First, The Bad News:  What You Don’t Control 

When you’re feeling stuck in your career and you’re trying to make a change, it can feel like you’re at the mercy of circumstances outside your control.

Examples of external circumstances that you don’t control include:

  • Which companies are hiring
  • How many positions are available
  • Who else is applying for the same jobs
  • What your boss will say if you ask for a promotion or raise
  • Whether the partnership committee will nominate you up for partner

New career opportunities often require the approval of an external gatekeeper and many people start to get discouraged if they are putting themselves or their work “out there” and aren’t getting the response they wanted.  This is because they start to make the external response mean something really bad about them. But I highly recommend that you don’t do that.  Because you don’t need to.

Now, The Best News EVER.

The truth is that you have a choice about how you’re going to think about external circumstances and realizing that you have a choice will change your results and, ultimately, your life.

First, let’s get clear on some definitions.

Circumstances are facts that everyone would agree are true.  They are neutral and outside of your control.  In addition to the circumstances listed above, circumstances also include:

  • Anything that happened in your past
  • Anything that other people say, do, think, or believe about anyone (including you)

Although we’ve been conditioned to believe that our circumstances make us feel a certain way, it’s actually our thoughts about our circumstances that create our feelings.  Our thoughts are just sentences in our mind upon which not everyone would agree.  For example:

  • An attorney is pregnant and is about to take time off for maternity leave = circumstance
  • This is going to put me behind in my career = an optional (unhelpful, stress-inducing) thought about the circumstance.

Our thoughts are always optional.  In other words, we control our thoughts.  This is hugely important because our thoughts create our feelings.  And our feelings drive our actions, which determine our resultsThis is the Best. News. EVER.

It’s the best news ever because it means that, even though we don’t have control over our circumstances, we do have control of what we’re going to think, how we’re going feel, what actions we’re going to take, and what our results will be.  It means that you don’t have to be the victim of your circumstances or of what life hands you.  You can decide how to respond.

Warning:  You May Not Want To Be Happy All The Time

When my clients learn that they can control their thoughts and feelings, they sometimes try to feel happy all the time.  But sadness, anger, and other negative emotions are part of the human experience.  You may want to feel negative emotions in response to certain circumstances.  For example, most of us want to feel sad when someone dies.  When something happens that you don’t like, as yourself how you want to feel.  If you want to feel negative emotion, let yourself feel negative emotion.  Just realizing that you have a choice in the matter makes all the difference.

Case In Point

A client whom I’ll call Sherry was on the verge of tears during our first coaching session.  She was desperately unhappy at her current job and had been applying for jobs for months without a single job offer.  One of the jobs she had interviewed for ended up being offered to a younger candidate with much less experience.

Here is what was happening in Sherry’s mind:

  • The circumstances (facts upon which we can all agree) were: Job search for five months + five job interviews + no offer + one employer made an offer made to younger candidate.
  • Her thoughts (the sentences in her mind) about those circumstances were: No one wants to hire me.
  • That thought created the feeling of helplessness.
  • The feeling of helplessness drove inaction, rather than action. When she felt helpless, her mind shut down and started spinning in a downward spiral, and she was more inclined to rock in fetal position than keep looking for jobs.
  • When her mind shut down and started spinning in a downward spiral, her result just compounded the original thought: no one wanted to hire her because she wasn’t getting out there and talking to people.

When I showed her how this was happening and asked her why she was choosing to think that no one wanted to hire her, she was baffled and responded, “I didn’t know I had a choice.”  This happens to everyone.  We get so tied to our thinking that we believe our thoughts are facts and there is no other way.

I asked Sherry how she wanted to feel and she said “hopeful.”  We brainstormed thoughts that would help her feel hopeful and came up with this one:  “I have so much to offer and I’m committed to finding the right job for me.”

I asked her if she would be willing to go on 100 job interviews to find the right job.  After gasping at the number, she realized that she would be willing to go on 100 job interviews, if that’s what it took.  In her industry, going on 100 interviews would pretty much guarantee the result of getting a job offer.  (Other industries might require fewer or more interviews.)  Suddenly, the five previous interviews didn’t seem like so much.  She was ready to get busy and take massive action.  She was ready to start tapping into her network more and going on informational interviews (which is far more effective for job searching than her prior method of applying for job postings on the internet).  And that massive action would lead her to her desired result.

Although this commitment felt uncomfortable to her, I pointed out that she was already uncomfortable in her current job.  She might as well embrace the discomfort as part of her journey to success, instead of letting herself be paralyzed by it.  She left our session feeling hopeful, motivated, and empowered.  Her circumstances had not yet changed.  But she now realized how much control she really did have and she got back in the driver’s seat.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

Go forth and bloom!



P.S.  If you need help figuring out how to change your thinking about your current circumstances, contact me to schedule a free mini session and we’ll figure it out. You have more control than you think!

Setting Good Goals

The reason to set goals is not so that you can be happier when you achieve them.  I’m sure you’ve noticed this in your own life, but attaining a goal doesn’t actually “make” you happier in the long term.  We can see this when looking at past goals that we’ve attained in own lives, such as getting a degree, getting a job, getting married, and having kids.  We’re glad that we attained those goals, but we’re not usually floating around on a cloud of bliss forever after.

The real reason to set goals is that they help you grow.  They stretch us to become the next best version of ourselves.  And if you do goals right, hopefully you’ll have a ton of fun, enjoy the process, and be amazed at who you become along the way.

Moms Need Goals Too

After having kids, a lot of women often stop thinking about their own goals.  Holding down a job and keeping a family going may feel challenging enough.  You might be doing well just to plan dinner for tomorrow night.  Goal setting for the next year, five years, or 10 years seems too distant and removed from the daily grind.

But while goal setting isn’t urgent, it certainly is important.  It’s almost impossible to get somewhere or do something without first setting an intention to do so.

Having goals that are only about you—not your kids or family—is also important.  Sure, you will have goals for the family as well, such as travel goals or things you’d all like to experience.  But thinking about your own goals is key.  You want to know that at the end of your life, you’ll be able to look back and know that you did what you came here to do.

Make Your List

Many moms that I work with haven’t really considered their own dreams for quite some time and some have all but forgotten how to dream.  I ask them to write down 20 things that they want and just practice what it feels like to dream again.  Their minds will want to shut down by focusing on the “how” with thoughts like “I don’t know how to do that.”  Those kind of thoughts are not allowed at this stage in the process.  Just keep practicing dreaming of possibilities, even if they feel impossible today.

What is on your list? What do you want that you didn’t even know you wanted?

Pick One

There is actually freedom in constraining to one goal at a time.  Your mind will focus so much better on a single goal than it will on multiple goals and it’s hard to make any real progress if you’re juggling projects.

So look at your list and pick the one goal that you’d like to commit to working toward.

Write it down again, but this time be as specific as possible.  Create a deadline for achieving this goal.

Warning: Expect Negative Feelings to Arise

When you’ve picked a good goal—a goal that will cause you to grow and achieve something you really want—and you’ve written it down in a way that is specific, your brain will proceed to freak out.  Expect it. This is your primitive brain realizing that you’re planning to do something that could take you out of your comfort zone.  It’s going to tell you all kinds of reasons why you can’t achieve the goal. And those thoughts will, in turn, produce feelings of doubt, fear, and confusion.  This is all part of the process.  When you expect it, you can recognize it for what it is and keep going.

Break It Down

Next, write down all of the action steps that you need to take to achieve that goal.  From start to finish, what would it take to complete it?  Do not tell yourself that you don’t know.  You may need to gather more information.  If that’s the case, add that in as one of the action steps.

Then write down all of the obstacles that your brain can think of that might prevent you from achieving your goal.  The obstacles may be external, such your current work schedule, or internal, such as your own doubts about your ability to accomplish the goal.  Think about strategies for overcoming those obstacles and write them down.  Then add the strategies into your plan of action.

Then for each step and strategy, decide your timeframe and date of completion.  Put each step on your calendar.  Make them non-negotiable, as if they were lunch dates with your favorite writer or actor, which you would never postpone.  Then honor your calendar.  Commit to doing the work and you’ll be on your way.

If you need help with getting past your own internal obstacles, contact me to schedule a free mini session.  That’s my jam!

Go forth and bloom.



Figuring Out What To Do Next

When you’re figuring out what to do next, you are probably telling yourself “I don’t know” a lot.  As in, I don’t know the answer, I don’t know what I want, I’ve tried “everything” and I just don’t know what to do.

And it sounds reasonable because almost everybody says things like this.  The problem is that “I don’t know” is one of the worst thoughts you can have because it leads to inaction, which keeps you stuck in the same place with the same results.

Telling ourselves “I don’t know” causes our minds to freeze up and keeps us from accessing our innate creativity and ability to find solutions.

Give Yourself Some Credit

When you tell yourself “I don’t know” you are not giving yourself credit for your brain’s amazing capabilities to generate ideas and solutions.  In fact, there have been plenty of times in your life when you didn’t know something and you figured it out.  By telling yourself that you don’t know how to solve your current problem, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice because that thought is blocking your inner wisdom.

There is a part of you that knows exactly what to do.  You can access that part of yourself by asking: “If I did know what to do, what would I do next?”  It’s a surprisingly simple way to tap into your inner wisdom and it’s so much more useful than telling yourself the lie that you don’t know.

Think Like A Scientist 

When scientists don’t know the answer to things, they test their ideas using the scientific method to figure out information, answers, and solutions.  Scientific progress does not come from thinking “I don’t know the answer” and going home.  To the contrary, scientists constantly think things like:  “I wonder how I can figure this out.  Maybe I’ll try A.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll try B.  Or A and B together.”  And on and on.  And thank goodness scientists do this because it brings us fantastic inventions that make life easier for the rest of us.

When you approach your own life in the spirit of scientific inquiry, you’ll be a lot less likely to keep telling yourself “I don’t know” and staying stuck.  I recommend that you banish “I don’t know” from your vocabulary and instead replace it with more productive thoughts that are likely to spark creativity and lead to taking action and getting unstuck.

Here are a few examples:

“I’m in the process of figuring this out.”

“I’m going to think of all the ways that I might try to solve this.”

“I know how to find a solution to this.”

“I’m going to try new things and gather more information until I find a solution.”

These thoughts help us get in touch with our creativity and problem-solving abilities.  They also encourage you to generate ideas that never occurred to you in your previous “I don’t know” mindset.  And ideas inspire action, which is how you move forward and get unstuck.

Are you ready to try this?  Refuse to tell yourself “I don’t know.”  Access your inner wisdom.  Practice creativity-inducing thoughts everyday.  And see where your mind takes you.

Go forth and bloom.



How to Get From Confusion to Clarity

There are two reasons that most people get confused about what to do next in their careers.  The first is lack of information.  This usually comes from not having investigated either your own internal desires or some external possibility, such as a new employer, industry, or field that you’d like to consider.  When I coach clients who are stuck in confusion and unable to move forward with creating change in their lives, they often believe that the lack of information is the cause of their confusion.

It may very well be that the client needs to take some time to gather information.  Yet there is an abundance of information out there on how to investigate both your internal desires and new career paths.  It is the substance of most career books, which are readily available.  I have found that if a client is not already looking for information, something else is usually going on.  Otherwise, they would have already started investigating on their own.  In most cases, the lack of information is not the real reason for the confusion.

The Real Source of Confusion

The real reason for confusion is fear.  Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of what people will think of you, fear of applying for a new job and being rejected, fear of trying something, possibly failing, and feeling humiliated.  It all boils down to fear.  And it takes a powerful hold on us.  I’ve mentioned before that our emotions are what drive our actions or inaction.  Fear is a powerful emotion that drives inaction.  We feel fear and we think it means that we shouldn’t go forward.

You’re Supposed to Feel Fear

What we don’t realize is that fear is a natural human response that happens whenever we consider doing something new.  Whether you want to call it your primitive brain or your inner critic, every person on the planet has a voice inside that comes up with reasons why we shouldn’t try new things.  It’s part of the human experience.  The difference is that some people—the people who are doing big things in the world—choose to act in spite of the fear, while others choose to listen to the fear and not take action.  People don’t often talk about how afraid they feel, so we think that we’re the only one who feels this way.  Yet this is universal.  I see it in every single client that I coach.  Fear just means that you’re human with a normal human brain.

Steps for Overcoming Confusion and Fear

When you’re trying to decide what to do next, ask yourself:  what would I do if I knew that I would succeed at all of the options that I’m considering? This question allows you to push your fears aside and let your higher-self identify what you would really love to do.

Then ask yourself what fears you have around doing that thing.  What do you fear could happen?  It’s usually that you’ll either fail or be rejected in some way.  Realize that this is your primitive brain coming up with reasons to try to keep you safe in your comfort zone.  Write down the reasons and then ask yourself “why that is a problem?” to get to the root cause.

For example:

“If I apply for a new job, I might get rejected.”    Why is that a problem?

“It would mean that I failed.”  Why is that a problem?

 “It would mean that I’m a failure.” Why is that a problem?

“It would mean that I’d be a worthless human being.”  Now we’ve identified the root cause of the problem.

If you’re making risking failure or rejection mean something terrible, such as that you would be a worthless human being, then of course you’re not going to want to risk failure or rejection.  It would, according to your brain, put your very worth on the line. But that thought—if I fail it will mean that I’m a worthless human being—is completely optional and it’s definitely not serving you.  You could choose a completely different thought, which would create a different emotion other than fear.

Because fear is a normal human emotion, we can’t always banish it from our lives completely.  And pushing fear away tends to make it stronger and make us feel ashamed of having fear in the first place.

The best thing to do instead is to find ways to take action in spite of the fear and the best emotion to help you do that is courage.

Here are some thoughts that you could choose to think to generate the emotion of courage:

  • I’m learning something new and that’s okay.
  • I am willing to feel fear and still take action toward my goal.
  • I have so much to offer the world and I am committed to doing the work that is important to me.
  • Making mistakes and failing means that I’m learning.

What other thoughts can you come up with to generate the feeling of courage?  If you need help moving from confusion to clarity, contact me to schedule a free mini session.

Go forth and bloom.



Choosing Your Priorities

What Are Your Priorities? 

Most of us make our big career decisions when we’re in our late teens or early twenties.  By the time we get to our thirties and forties, our lives look very different and our priorities have often shifted dramatically.  But we don’t usually take the time to consciously choose our current priorities for our lives and careers, which can lead to living out of alignment with what we truly want.

Focus on Five

I ask clients in my coaching program to think about their top five priorities and to make two lists: (1) their current priorities in terms of how they actually spend their time, and (2) their ideal priorities, or how they would like to be living.

When you constrain to just five things, you get a clear sense of what’s important to you and what’s not.  And when you have a written list of priorities, you can use it as a guide to help you make decisions about what to do and decline to do.  Because I work with professional working moms, their current lists usually look something like this:

  1. Kids
  2. Job
  3. Relationship/marriage
  4. Involvement in kids’ school or extracurricular activities
  5. Extended family or friends

What do your lists look like?

Put Yourself on The List

I have yet to have a client tell me that her own mental and physical health is a current top priority.  Yet, without that, it’s hard to tend to the other priorities.  Many women have the belief that putting themselves on the priority list is impossible because they just don’t have time.  But if you’re depleted—mentally, physically or both—it’s highly unlikely that you’re showing up as your best, most productive self to your family, job, friends, and other priorities.  When you realize that your own mental and physical health is what fuels your ability to take care of others, you understand that it’s not optional—it’s everything.

Putting yourself on the priority list does not mean that you have to require a huge time commitment.  For some, it would only require 30 minutes a few times a week for exercise and an extra hour or two on Sunday to plan and shop for healthy meals.  For others, it would require a few more hours to dedicate to a goal, such as finding a new job or working on a manuscript.

If your health and wellbeing are not included on the list, ask yourself why.  Write down the reasons you’re not currently making yourself a priority.  Chances are, you have the thought “I don’t have enough time.”  Although this may sound like a fact to you, it’s actually a thought.  You may have a job, a family, and other obligations.  But the thought that you don’t have time to make yourself a priority is completely optional and it’s also counter-productive.

When you think “I don’t have enough time,” you likely feel some sort of negative emotion such as stress, which probably causes you to spin in your head and have mini freak-outs when you could be using that time to do something productive.  Your inaction results in your not getting everything done, which provides further evidence for the original thought “I don’t have enough time.”

How to Create More Time For Your Priorities

If you want to change your results, you’ve got to start with your thinking.  If you tell yourself you don’t have time, you won’t have time.

To create more time, start with recognizing that you do have a choice in how you are currently allocating your time.  You may be choosing to work at a job is requiring a certain number of hours or choosing to spend time taking care of your children.  Recognizing that it’s a choice is the first step to taking your power back.  Instead of telling yourself that you have to go to work, say instead that you’re choosing to work.  You want to work because of the benefits it provides.  (You may ultimately choose to find a different job or career, but unless someone is holding a gun to your head and saying “work!”, working at your current job is still your choice.)

Second, test the thought that you don’t have time against reality by keeping a time journal for a day (or a week) of every waking hour, so that you can see how you are actually using your time.  Often people are shocked to learn that the story they’re telling themselves about lack of time does not match up with reality.

Third, commit to choosing to live in alignment with your true priorities.  This will require thinking different thoughts than you’ve been thinking.  Instead of thinking “I don’t have enough time,” practice thinking “I am committed to figuring out ways to focus on my top priorities.”  And then brainstorm ways you can fit in some pockets of time by asking yourself questions like:  What are ways that I can choose to spend my time differently than I currently am?  What are the ways I can find more time for what matters most to me.

When you start to make yourself a priority, you will show up in a much more positive way to the other areas on the list because you’ll be coming from a place of abundance and health.  If you need help figuring out how to do that, contact me for a free strategy session.  I guarantee there is a way!

Go forth and bloom.



Photo credit 

Feeling Stuck? Here’s The First Step Toward Taking Action

One of the main reasons that career decisions can be so hard once you’re a mom is that it can seem like you’re limited by your external circumstances.  My clients often feel economically or geographically constrained by their mortgage, kids, spouse, etc., and they get stuck in the rut of thinking that those circumstances are preventing them from taking action or having the life that they want.

You do have a choice

Even when you feel constrained by your circumstances, in reality you always have a choice.  Our circumstances are not what cause us to feel stuck.  It’s our thinking about our circumstances that creates the feeling of being stuck.

The first step is recognizing that you always get to choose.  When a client that I’ll call Jane came to me, she felt utterly trapped.  She told me that she had to stay at her job that she hated because she had to pay her mortgage.  She said she desperately wanted to move back to California, but she insisted that she had to stay on the East Coast because her husband didn’t want to leave his job.  She said that she couldn’t leave her job because she had to provide for her kids and because their family relied on her income.  But the problem was not her circumstances.  It was that she didn’t realize that she had a choice in the matter.

Telling ourselves that we “have” to do something that we don’t like is a negative thought that creates negative emotions such as dread, feeling trapped, or even despair. Realizing that we actually have a choice changes our feeling about our current circumstances.  And how we feel drives the actions that we take (or don’t take), which determine our results.

In reality, Jane could choose to leave her job and use savings to pay her mortgage or default on the mortgage.  Or she could choose to sell her house and move to an apartment with more affordable rent.

She could choose to divorce her husband and move back to California.

She could even choose to leave her kids behind.

When I offered those as options, Jane did not want to do any of those things.  She did not like the consequences of doing those things, but when she realized that it was her choice, it put her back in the driver’s seat of her own life.  It allowed her to take 100% responsibility for herself and leave behind the powerless victim role that she had been creating with her prior thoughts.

Own Your Choice

Let me be clear that I’m not advocating for defaulting on your mortgage or leaving your family.  What I’m advocating is that you consciously make a deliberate choice about what you really want and then own that choice like a boss.  Because that’s where your true power lies.

Notice the difference:

  • “I can’t quit my job because I have to pay my mortgage” becomes “I choose to work at this job right now because I want to pay my mortgage and live in my house.”
  • “I can’t relocate because my spouse doesn’t want to leave” becomes “I am choosing to find opportunities here because I would rather stay with my spouse here than divorce and relocate.”
  • “I have to support my kids” becomes “I am choosing to work for money to provide for my family.”

This is more than just semantics.

The thoughts that we choose to think create our feelings, and those feelings drive our actions or inaction.  When we think negative thoughts (i.e. that we “have” to do something) and we feel dread, trapped, or despair, those negative feelings keep us stuck in inaction or drive us to take actions that don’t serve us, such as reaching for a pint of ice cream.  When we deliberately choose, we feel empowered, which drives us to take massive action and get unstuck.

What about you?  What are you telling yourself that you “have” to do or you “can’t” do?  What feelings are those thoughts creating for you? What are those feelings driving you to do (or not do)?  What result is that creating in your life?

If you want more help figuring out how to get unstuck and start taking action, contact me to schedule a free strategy session.

Go forth and bloom.