The Career Ceiling That Every Female Professional Needs To Know About – And It’s Not What You Think

My clients sometimes ask me whether I see a career ceiling in the legal industry or other professions that keeps women from being promoted and reaching their true potential.

My response: Absolutely. But there’s one that you might not know about.

There are definitely very real barriers to women aspiring to rise to the top echelons of their fields. Discrimination and bias unfortunately still exist across many industries.  Family demands still fall disproportionally on women’s shoulders.  Sexual harassment and unequal pay still exist. These barriers are real and any actionable cases of workplace gender discrimination or harassment should definitely be addressed in full force to the available legal and organizational support mechanisms.  That’s the ceiling that we all know about and we should do everything in our power to obliterate it.

But there’s another ceiling that also needs to be understood.

The ceiling that I’m talking about here is a very real but invisible barrier that keeps female professionals from reaching the highest heights.  It keeps us stuck, confused, and playing small.  

The ceiling that I’m talking about exists in our own minds.  It is the one that keeps you from believing that you are capable of achieving whatever you want to achieve.  I call it the Belief Ceiling.  If you don’t know about it, it can be hard to realize that it’s holding you back.

Once you discover that ceiling, you can smash it to pieces and continue your upward journey.

Understanding The Source Of The Belief Ceiling

The Belief Ceiling is a collection of beliefs, both conscious and unconscious. A belief is really just a thought that you continue to think until your brain believes that it’s the Truth. Sometimes beliefs come directly from what our parents or others told us when we were children. Sometimes they are conclusions that we reach from past experiences. Sometimes they seem like universal truths that we all accept.

When Roger Bannister broke the record of the four-minute mile (previously thought to be impossible) he shattered a collective Belief Ceiling. Shortly thereafter, other athletes started doing it too. Once they believed that it was possible, they expanded their abilities.

Whether you’re bumping up against a collective Belief Ceiling or one that is uniquely yours, the result is the same. When we tell ourselves that what we want isn’t available to us, our brains stop trying to find a way forward.

If you have thoughts that are limiting you, such as “I don’t know if I can do this” or “I don’t know how” or “I could never”, I can assure you that you’re not alone.  I coach high-achieving women who have already attained success in their careers and they still grapple with thoughts like this each time they set a new, more challenging goal.

Humans have unlimited potential.  I often marvel at the power of human ingenuity, especially when we have a compelling reason to break through our collective Belief Ceilings. And yet for most of us, our self-perception is so much smaller than our actual abilities.  It limits us in ways that are difficult to see when we’re in the thick of it, trying to navigate our next move.  

Part of doing the work we came here to do is learning how to recognize and break through the Belief Ceiling. 

Here is what you need to know.  

Don’t Confuse The Belief Ceiling With External Circumstances 

One of the trickiest aspects of the Belief Ceiling is that your brain will tell you that something outside of you is keeping you stuck.  For example, you might have thoughts like “women just can’t get ahead in this industry” or “I can’t win at work AND be present with my family”.  And when you think thoughts like that, your brain will find plenty of supporting evidence to prove those thoughts true.  

But even if there are real obstacles, telling yourself that they are impeding your progress is not a good use of your time, energy, and skills.  Here’s why.  

First, as you may have noticed, you can’t control external circumstances (including what other people say or do) and it’s mentally exhausting to try to change something that is not in your control or argue with what is.

More importantly, when you think that you’re being limited by an external circumstance (be it your boss, your employer, your colleagues, or systemic bias) you likely feel discouraged or maybe even defeated.  And when you feel discouraged and defeated, what do you?  How do you show up at your job?  Confident, strong, and resilient?  Probably not. 

When you’re feeling discouraged or defeated, you probably shrink back or second-guess yourself. Perhaps ask yourself “what’s the point?” and stop trying.  That’s because discouragement drives inaction almost 100% of the time.  That is a problem because inaction doesn’t get you closer to your dreams.  

But there’s another option. You can notice that there may be external obstacles without also believing that they have the power to keep you stuck.  You can choose to think that your success is inevitable even when those external obstacles exist.  How would you feel if you thought that?  Determined? Committed?  

How would you show up differently if you felt that way?  I’m guessing that if you believed your success were inevitable and you felt committed to making that a reality, you would take action and get unstuck.  Maybe you would get another job or maybe you would start your own business or maybe you would create the change you want to see exactly where you’re at.  And if you committed to taking that kind of action, your success would be inevitable.  

Your Belief Ceiling Is Hiding Options 

My clients often come to me because they’re confused or lacking clarity about what to do next.  But most of the time, after we explore possibilities, I find that they know exactly what they would like to do. They just don’t think they can actually do it because of the way they are currently thinking about themselves and their life circumstances.  They have thoughts like “I’m not sure if I can do it” or “I might fail”. 

I call these “dead-end thoughts” because nothing good can come from them.  If you observe what happens in your own mind when you decide to think these types of thoughts, you can see that they lead you nowhere.  They don’t help you actually get closer to what you want to do.  They don’t help you figure it out.  They create confusion and doubt, which inevitably drive inaction and keep us stuck. 

But when you believe that you are capable of achieving any goal, you see clearly the options before you and it’s easier to figure out the one that you really want.  

Notice What Is 100% Factual—And What Isn’t

One of the main problems with limiting thoughts and beliefs is that they feel so true to our brains.  They feel like facts, not thoughts.  That’s why it’s often difficult to separate out the facts from the thoughts in our own brains.  

Facts are facts but thoughts are completely optional.  If you see that a thought you’re having is keeping you stuck, you can decide to change it to a thought that feels more motivating.  

For example, the thought “I don’t know what to do” feels really true when we’re struggling with a decision. Telling yourself “I don’t know” causes your creative mind to check out completely.  It believes that thought and so it has no reason to go looking for solutions. And when you don’t find solutions, your mind uses that as evidence to reinforce the original belief.  

But it’s not actually a fact that you don’t know what to do.  The moment you absolutely have to make a decision, you pick an option and go with it and the world continues.  “I don’t know” is an optional thought that keeps us stuck.  

Conversely, it’s just as easy to think a more productive thought, such as “I am determined to figure this out.”  This thought assumes that there is a solution and it brings your creative mind back online and ready to go to work to find a way forward.  

This is not about positive affirmations that you don’t believe.  It’s about shifting your thought patterns to focus on what is actionable to you.  You do this by practicing thoughts that create the feelings that will drive you to take action and create the results you want. 

Since thoughts are optional, there is no good reason to continue having thoughts that are keeping you stuck. 

Applying This To Your Life

Our brains have the remarkable ability to form new neural connections throughout our lives, which are strengthened with use. This means that you can form new thoughts and new beliefs at any point in your life. In other words, you can shatter your current Belief Ceiling if you commit to discovering it and breaking through it.

Here are four steps to help you do that. 

Step 1: Awareness. Become aware of the ways in which your current beliefs are holding you back.  You can get a good look at them by answering these questions in writing:  

  • If I knew I could not fail, what would I do?  
  • What is keeping me from getting what I really want?  
  • Why am I feeling stuck?

Write down ALL of the things.  Then take a step back to analyze what you’ve written.  Circle the statements that are 100% factual.  As in, everyone on the planet would agree with you.  (For example, not everyone on the planet would agree that “there are no good work/life balance jobs out there.”)  The statements that are not 100% factual are the thoughts and beliefs creating your belief ceiling.  

Step 2: Observe the results. Notice what results those thoughts and beliefs are creating for you right now.  

  • How do those thoughts cause you to feel?  
  • What do those feelings drive you to do or not do?  
  • What are your results when you show up that way?  
  • Do those thoughts take you in the direction of what you want?  Or do they keep you stuck?  

Step 3: Notice how they are optional. Notice how these thoughts–like all thoughts– are 100% optional and decide whether you want to continue to have them.

  • Who would you be without the limiting thoughts? What would your options be?
  • How can you reframe your current thoughts in a way that will help you feel more motivated to take action and move toward your desired results? 
  • What is another thought that is just as true but more motivating?  

Step 4: Choose a new belief. Create a new overarching belief that you can use to break through the beliefs in your Belief Ceiling.

What is one overarching belief that will crack your Belief Ceiling? What can you believe today that will help you begin to take action toward the results you want? “I can figure this out” is a good one. If you have trouble believing that you personally can figure it out, you might try a more de-personalized thought, like “there is a solution to this” or Marie Forleo’s famous phrase “everything is figureoutable”. If you believe there is a solution, your brain will go to work to find one.

Knowing that all thoughts and beliefs are optional and that you can direct your brain to create new beliefs just by being intentional about what you tell yourself, what are you going to choose to think about yourself and your abilities?  

The limit is whatever you decide it is.  

How to Make Decisions That Will Help You Get What You Want

There’s a saying that goes something like this: To get something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. That’s absolutely true but I would argue that there’s a lot more to it than that. You’ve also got to think differently than you’ve been thinking, believe differently than you’ve been believing, and make decisions differently than you’ve made them in the past.

Decisions are really just thoughts and beliefs combined with action (or sometimes inaction).

To get different results, it’s worth taking a look at how you’re currently making your decisions.

Decision-Making From Your Past Versus From Your Future 

Once we have established ourselves in our careers, the most obvious way to make decisions is to look backwards, at what has worked or not worked in the past.  

The problem with this method is that it can be incredibly limiting when we’re trying to create something new or different. Making decisions as the person you have been, instead of the person you want to be, can leave you feeling clueless about what to do next.

Thankfully, there’s an alternative. It requires a little bit of imagination and also being open to the possibility that you can achieve what you want. It also requires using the uniquely human part of your brain that is called the prefrontal cortex. It’s what allows you to envision something that does not yet exist, create a plan, and then take action to move you forward.

Go To The Place Where You Already Have Your Desired Result 

The key to getting what you want is making decisions as the person who has already achieved your desired results.

Imagine already having exactly what you want.  

Imagine having the job, house, money, or book deal that you want.

Imagine being calm, confident, collected, organized–or however you wish you were showing up in your life.

Imagine actually being that person.  Inhabit that space for a while in your mind.  What would your days be like? What would your weeks be like?

Then ask that version of yourself:  What should I do next to get closer to that result?  

Would that version of you tell you to watch Netflix or work on your manuscript? Does she want you to avoid looking for a new job or commit to finding something you’ll love? Does she want you to avoid looking at your finances or finally take control of them?

Belief Comes Before Results 

Stepping into that next version of yourself requires you to adopt a new belief system about what’s possible for you and then take action from that place, not from where you are now.

I had a client who wanted to present her research at conferences in her field, but she was terrified of public speaking.  She had presented her ideas to peers before at conferences and had one experience of freezing up on stage that had made her want to avoid repeating the experience.  She was making the decision to avoid taking action because she was convinced that she wouldn’t be able to handle another experience like that.

But part of her knew that she didn’t want to spend the rest of her career hiding.  She had ideas and research that she wanted to share.  And she realized that not sharing was not doing anyone any favors. It was not helping others in her field or patients who could benefit from her research. And it definitely was not helping her to have the career she wanted.

During a coaching session, I invited her to step into her Future Self, the part of her that already knows how to successfully present her ideas.  What would her Future Self tell her to do?  

The answer was clear and unequivocal: “Apply to present at the conferences.  Put your work out there and share it with the world.”  This felt terrifying to her primitive brain, the part of her that wanted to stay safe from potential criticism.

But with some coaching and learning to manage her mind, she learned that she could handle the discomfort of putting herself and her work “out there”.  She allowed herself to feel the discomfort of being in the spotlight. She learned that she could do hard things and that it was worth it to create that results that she wanted.  

Had she made the decision based on her past, she would’ve stayed safe in her comfort zone.  But making the decision as her Future Self gave her what she needed to move forward.  

Try It Out For Yourself

Imagine yourself three years into the future.

What would your Future Self want you to start doing today? What would she want you to stop doing? What would she want you to continue doing?

When you’re at the store and thinking about splurging on a new outfit, imagine having that same outfit hanging in your closet three years from now. Is your Future Self glad that you bought it?

When you’re feeling unhappy at your current job and deciding whether to start a job search, imagine yourself three years from now, having a job that energizes you. Is you Future Self glad that you invested in yourself instead of staying with the status quo?

What does your Future Self want you to believe about what’s possible for your life?

Take her advice. Those actions and beliefs are the key to getting from where you are to where you want to be.

Have a beautiful week.



P.S. If you’re struggling with making decisions from your past instead of from your future, I’d love to help you get unstuck and start moving forward. I offer free strategy calls to help you figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be. I have only a few spots for these calls each week, so schedule yours here.

Talk To Yourself More Than You Listen To Yourself

A Simple Yet Powerful Strategy For Success

Dr. James Gills completed a double triathlon six times when he was in his fifties.  

When asked how he did it, he said: “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.”

He continued, “If I listen to myself I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired-too old-too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.”

Managing Your Thoughts Involves Proactively Deciding What You’ll Say To Yourself

Dr. Gill’s practice is exactly what managing your mind looks like in your daily life.  

You’ve got the old, automatic thoughts that feel true and also are your default way of thinking because you’ve been practicing them for probably most of your life.  

Then you’ve got the thoughts of the part of you who knows that your success is inevitable and that you are capable of achieving what you want.  Maybe you’ve never practiced these thoughts or maybe you used to think them but have forgotten about them.  

Regardless, you can start today by choosing thoughts that will help you feel how you’d like to feel and then deliberately saying them to yourself more than you listen to the old default thoughts.  

This Is A Skill

Just as Dr. Gills said, this is a skill that can be learned.  

Most of us are not born thinking this way, and we’re certainly not taught to think this in school or anywhere else.  But just by reminding yourself on a daily basis of the thoughts that you want to think, you’ll begin to create new neural pathways and those new thoughts will become easier over time, just like every other skill you’ve ever learned.

Does it happen overnight? Of course not.

Is it worth the effort? Definitely. 

Will the old thoughts come up on a regular basis?  You can count on it.  

Can you learn to overcome them?  Indubitably. 

Try It Out

What do you want to tell yourself today?  

Write it down on post-it notes.  Put it on your phone as an hourly reminder throughout the day.  

Those daily repetitions, one after another, are what will lead you to what you really want.  

Have a beautiful week! 



My Wish For You In The New Year

When I was discerning whether to become a coach, I worried that maybe coaching wasn’t enough of a contribution.  Despite feeling called to be a coach, doubt and fear still tried to dissuade me.  

Then I realized something:  If I do what I’m called to do—helping other women become their very best selves—then I’ll be empowering them to do what they are called to do.  I’ll be helping them go out and make their contributions. That felt right. That felt like “enough.”

My goal now is to help 1000 women become their very best selves.  

Just imagine the impact of that. 1000 women who are going after what they want, refusing to play small, trying new things, coming out from the shadows and showing up as the women they know they can be in their careers, relationships, and families.  It gives me goosebumps.  

As we embark on a new year, my wish for you is that you allow yourself to become the very best version of you.  

The person who knows exactly what she wants to do in this life. 

The person who has a clear purpose.  

The person who knows that she is capable of living that purpose and achieving her goals.  

The person who stands and speaks confidently and allows herself to be seen and heard.

The person who is willing to go outside of her comfort zone and grow. 

The person who is willing to do the work of looking within and managing her mind, so that she can show up as the person she wants to be and have a better life.

The person who is willing to try, fail, and learn.

The person who is committed to living in alignment with her core values.  

That is the person who will be a better version of herself one year from now.

I am endeavoring to be a better version of myself, too.  

Every day.  I try new things.  I fail.  I learn.  I grow.  I look back and ask “What didn’t work? What do I need to do better?” (There’s always something I need to do better.)  

I coach myself daily, I get coached weekly, and I ask for help all the time.  

And what I’ve noticed after doing this for a while is that I am becoming a better version of myself.  Far from perfect, but better.  

I still get overwhelmed sometimes, but I don’t stay stuck in overwhelm anymore.   

I still feel afraid when trying new things, but I don’t let fear stop me from doing what I want to do.  

And I continue to ask:  What do I need to do better next time?   

And it helps.  Little by little, I grow and become a better version of myself.  

It’s making enough of a difference for me that I can’t help but want to share it with others, too.

By showing my clients how to use the coaching tools to create whatever results they want in their lives, I’m giving them so much more than just a wish.  So much more than dandelion seeds floating through the air.  

What I’m giving them is a guarantee:  if they work the tools, the tools will work for them.  

So that they can become their very best selves.  In love with life, in love with their careers, and thriving in both.  

What about you?  Are you ready to become the very best version of you?   

Let’s live, grow, and bloom in 2019.



What Is Your Life Purpose?

Many people spend more time and energy planning their next vacation than they spend thinking about what they want for their lives.  But when the vacation is over, you still have to go back to your life.  It’s worth taking a long, hard look at what you love about your life and career, and what you want to change, so that after your next amazing vacation, you can’t wait to get back to your life. 

Life design involves many different components, including defining your core values, your current priorities, and your goals.  And it’s not just what you want to do, but also who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world.

Life design also includes defining your life’s purpose, preferably in single sentence.  This is not because having a purpose will make you any more worthy or valuable as a human.  You are already 100% worthy just because you’re human.

The reason I recommend defining your purpose is so that, going forward, you can be purposeful in living your life in a way that is more enjoyable and meaningful to you.  If you bring intention to what you want your life to be about and then you go about living that out, it will change your experience. 

You Get To Decide

There is no right or wrong purpose for your life.  No one else’s life purpose is more valuable than another’s.  We adore the Mother Teresas of the world because of their selflessness and impact on others, but not all of us would be happy doing that kind of work, nor would we be as good at it.

Many people who want to create beauty or art worry that that purpose is not as impactful or important as the work of people who are literally saving lives, fighting injustice, or ending poverty.  But just imagine a world without human-created beauty:  no music, no art, no movies, no performances, no beautiful architecture, no poetry, no pictures, no stories.  It would be crushing to our souls.  The people who are on the front lines need the beauty that others create.

Others just want their purpose to be taking care of their own families and they worry that that purpose is too small.  But size and recognition do not equal purpose.  You can have a fiercely purposeful and meaningful life by focusing on your own family.  The main thing is to be intentional about defining your purpose and then living it out every day.

This needs to come from you, your heart, and your internal desires.  Not what you think you should do.  Not what you think others will view as important.

Write It Down

If you knew and accepted that you are already 100% worthy and complete as a person, what would you decide to do with your time?

What delights you?  What makes your heart open up?

Write it down.  I want to ____________.  Or: I want my life to be about ______________.

When You Define It, You Begin To Live It

Because you’ve defined your purpose for yourself, you will start living in a purposeful way.  Maybe your everyday life doesn’t change much on the outside, but you will notice an internal shift.

For example, if your life’s purpose is to be a loving mom, then you don’t have to change your external circumstances.  You can just be intentionally more present and loving when you’re with your kids.  You get to be more purposeful in how you show up as a mom.

On the other hand, maybe you find that it’s time to make some changes in your life to facilitate living out your purpose.  Having a clearly written statement of purpose will be your North Star as you make changes.

But even before you make any changes, I encourage you to live out your life purpose in who you are, no matter what your current circumstances are.  Write your life purpose on post-it notes around your house, at your desk, and in your wallet.  Remember it when you wake up in the morning and reflect on how you lived it out when you go to sleep at night.

You may find that you want to re-define your purpose later down the line.  That’s completely fine.  It just means that you are following your heart as you go and being thoughtful about how you want to live.

And when you’re thoughtful about how you want to live and you design your life with intention, you will find that you have more of what you want, more of what you love, and more of what matters to you.  It will not be perfect because, after all, it’s still a human life.  But it will be a life that you’ll love to return to after your next vacation.

Go forth, grow, and bloom.



Why Goals And Growth Are Essential

When we’re in our twenties, we’re constantly striving, stretching ourselves, and growing by earning our degrees and landing our first jobs.  Once we achieved our desired success, we’re supposed to feel content.  When we don’t feel content, we sometimes start to wonder what’s wrong with us.

It turns out, that nothing is wrong with us.  What is wrong is the expectation that, once we achieve our goals, we should be living happily ever after and that there’s no need to continue growing or setting goals.

In fact, growth is our natural state of being and when we forget that, we lose a hugely important component of a fulfilling life.

In 2006 and again in 2016, psychologists Carol Ryff and Burt Singer researched what factors contribute to having well-being and what they found was that there are six factors that are commonly found in people who had the highest levels of fulfillment and well-being:

  1. Personal growth
  2. Self-acceptance
  3. Life purpose (defined as having meaning, a sense of direction, and goals)
  4. Positive and healthy relationships with others
  5. Mastery of the environment (feeling confident and capable that you can manage your own life and do your work well)
  6. A sense of autonomy

But the two factors that diminished the most as people reached their 30’s, 40’s and beyond were personal growth and life purpose.  In other words, these things made us happy in our 20’s but we’re not focusing on them much as we get older.

But that decision not to grow has a cost.  The researchers found that people with a clear life purpose and who continued to grow are more likely to have greater well-being and remain healthy and physically stronger throughout their lives.

When Is The Last Time You Thought About Your Life Purpose and Personal Growth?

When you’ve got young kids, a job, and a household to manage, it can feel like you’re doing really well just to feed and clothe everybody.  Contemplating your life purpose, goal setting, and personal growth might seem too exhausting. But if you’re just surviving, then you’re not thriving.  And if you’re not thriving, then you are robbing both yourself and the world of the opportunity to fully experience YOU as your best self.

The good news is that you can thrive even if you have a hectic work schedule and a busy family life, if you learn how to manage your thinking and the feeling of overwhelm.  You can learn how to create time for yourself, to contemplate your life’s purpose, to think about what you really want for your life, and to make the changes you want to make to get there.  You are not at the mercy of your circumstances—you are in control of what you do.

Your Happiness Is Important

It can be tempting to believe that, if you have achieved prior goals and have built an externally successful life, your current state of discontent is not really a big problem.  Maybe you think of it as a “first-world problem,” as if the feeling of unhappiness were somehow less genuine just because all of your material needs are met.  I disagree.  I believe that lack of happiness and fulfillment in one’s work (and life) is a big problem, not only for the individual, but also for the world at large.  That’s because the feeling of discontent drives negative actions that don’t do anybody any good.  Stressing out, anxiety attacks, overeating, over-drinking, over-working, over-shopping, and disconnection in relationships are driven by the feeling of discontent.

In contrast, positive feelings drive positive actions that benefit both the individual and the world.  Taking massive action, making a contribution, connecting, creating new things, and serving others are actions that are created by the thriving mind.

Thriving minds are the ones that create and innovate, that make the technological, scientific, business, legal, educational, and creative breakthroughs.  They are the ones that will figure out to how to end poverty, how to stop global warming, how to inspire the next generation.

What do you want to contribute?  What goals do you have that you’re not currently working towards?  How do you want to grow?  If you need help with this, contact me for a free strategy session.

Go forth, grow (as if your life depended on it), and bloom.



Where Do You Want To Be A Year From Now? 

December is the perfect time of year to think about where you are and where you want to be this time next year.

If you don’t know where you’re going or where you want to go, it’s really hard to get there.

Realizing our dreams and achieving our goals requires being intentional in deciding exactly what we want, narrowing our focus, creating an obstacle-proof plan, and then taking massive action to create our desired results.

If you’re stuck in confusion about where you want to go, the first thing you’ll need to do is get clarity. Who do you want to be?  What do you want your core values and priorities to be right now?

Goal Setting Is A Spiritual Practice

Some people view goal setting as simply a way to be more productive.  Others shy away from goal setting because they believe that focusing on the future diminishes their experience of the present moment.  But I view it as a spiritual practice.  When you ask yourself “what do I want to do with this one precious life I’ve been given?”, you’re getting to the core of your very purpose.  Imagine you’re at the end of your life looking back.  What would you want to have done?  What would have mattered the most to you?  Good questions invite good answers, so write down these questions and then answer them in writing.

Then think about how you can start making progress toward your lifetime goals in the next year.   Write down the question: “What do I want to do with this next precious year of life that I have the privilege of living?”

Do you want to have a new job?  Or finally get that promotion?  Maybe it’s writing that book you’ve been wanting to write?

Or maybe it’s not the “what” you want to do differently, but the “how.”  Your goal might be to show up as the mom you want to be.  Not a “perfect” mom, but an authentic, happy, peaceful mom with your kids.  Maybe you love your job but you want to figure out how to show up more confidently and stop holding back.  Or maybe you’re ready to finally figure out how to get control of your time and your life, and learn how to plan so you can stop feeling so overwhelmed.

Whatever it is, take some time to allow yourself to imagine a better version of your life.  Nothing that you truly want is impossible. It is available to you if you set an intention and commit to getting it.

Ask Your Future Self

A powerful exercise is to write a letter from your future self.  This is the part of you that already knows what you want to do.  She already knows that you’re capable of doing and having what you want in your life.  We all have a future self that is a source of inner wisdom.  She (or he) will guide us, if we’ll just ask.

A good way to get in touch with your future self is to write down three questions:

  • What should I stop doing that I’m currently doing now?
  • What should I start doing that I’m not currently doing?
  • What should I continue to do that I’m already doing?

Really do this on paper. Sit down, write the questions, and then write down your answers.  What is your future self telling you to change?

Decide And Make A Plan

Once you know what you want, you need to create a plan for making those changes.

Our brains get overwhelmed with too many changes and are already resistant to change in general, so I recommend that you constrain your focus to one major goal per quarter.  This will be your focus goal.

Decide now the order of your focus goals: which do you want to achieve in Q1, Q2, etc.?  You can still work on more than one thing each quarter, but your focus goal is going to be the main event.

For example, if you have the goals of losing 20 pounds and writing a book, your brain will not like starting both of those at the same time.  You’re likely to have more success if you stagger your goals.  For example, you can focus on the weight loss in Q1 by changing your eating habits, meal planning, adding in exercise etc., while you write down ideas for your book in a journal as they occur to you.  Then in Q2, when you’re already used to the healthy habits, you can focus on sitting down to start writing chapters of your book without reaching for chocolate to get you through the discomfort and sabotaging your weight-loss goal.

Plan ahead but be nice to yourself when planning.  You need to set yourself up for success!

Imagine Your Success

Imagine yourself where you want to be.  Think about how amazing it will feel when you get there.  How will your life be better when you’ve achieved it?  Taste the sweetness of that success now.  That feeling can help propel you to make the changes you need to make.

Write down your goals in several places.  Carry them with you in your wallet and read them everyday.  Keep them top of mind so that next year at this time, you’ll be celebrating your successes and triumphs.

There’s nothing better than actually becoming the person you know you were meant to be.

Go forth, grow, and bloom.



P.S. If you need help clarifying your goals, creating a plan to reach them, or taking massive action, let’s talk in a free strategy session to get you where you want to be.

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.