Choose Both And

Both, And: What We Need Now

Have you noticed how unprecedented all of this is? We’ve never had a global pandemic like this one, or a president like this one, and we’ve never been able to see into each other’s lives with the clarity the way that we can right now because of the internet. It’s all true, what we say: These are crazy, unprecedented, uncharted waters.

And, yet.

There’s a lot about this that feels familiar to me. We are still people, attracted to fear at 10x the force that we are attracted to light… and yet we yearn for proof of connection and compassion. We want to be seen and heard and loved… and sometimes, we want to be left alone. We want to feel agency, we want to feel important, and we want to contribute… while at the same time we want to let go, hide away and be left to our Netflix and Switch and novels. This “navigating equally matched competing forces” is one of the things that make us human, in my mind.

Being drawn by these competing forces within us usually leave us uncertain and unsure. What’s the “right” thing to do next? When we try to “get it right” and not be “too much of one or the other” we end up in a gross grey middle ground where we just worry and we don’t act:

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We've got each other

We’ve got each other

As we’ve been launching our mastermind*, Alyssa and I have spoken to A LOT of therapists and coaches. We know that the last few weeks have been intense, stressful, and uncertain.

We are feeling it, too.

The theme we’ve heard is that everyone feels like they are in crisis mode- on their own behalf on behalf of their clients. It’s fear central: business fears collide with health fears which slam into the fear we feel for the wellbeing of our client. It feels as though our foundation has been shaken.

And yet, it is our belief that coaches and therapists are the EXACT people we need to lead right now.

That means me, and that means you.

Who else is trained to lead with calm steadiness? Who else specializes in navigating fears, staying grounded, being flexible, and managing distress? We are.

We also realize that you’ve been working REALLY HARD to grow your practices, and we don’t want fear or uncertainty to halt that progress. Turning away from business-building right now will feed that feeling of being carried away from your goals by this crisis.

We care about you, your practices, and your momentum.

So, how do we hold steady, show up with calmness and peace, serve our clients, and continue moving forward during challenging times?

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Three secrets that grow your practice fast

The three secrets that grow your practice fast

In October 2018 I launched my first group coaching program. The group that came together was a fun-loving, passionately dedicated, extremely supportive crew.  Together we dove into refreshing websites, rewriting copy, getting out into the world, and generally going all-in on our private practices.

To our collective delight, everyone was full by the end of the program. Imagine that, will you?  We started as a group of people who had private practices and amazing therapeutic skills, along with a lot of confusion (and, if we’re honest, some fear) about whether and how to get clients.

The next round of this program (the Build Your Practice Accelerator) starts up in March and to prepare I’ve been watching our recorded calls, looking for clues about how and why the program worked so well. While I was watching, one of the mastermind members spoke directly to the mystery of it all:

“You know, it’s strange. I’ve been trying to figure out what we’ve been doing that has been so effective. I mean my website is a lot better and I’ve got all these ideas, and I’m enjoying the business side of having a practice for the first time EVER… but it’s not like people are mobbing my website and I’m not running around all over town networking with lead magnets… the only thing I can come up with is confidence… and clarity… and the fact that I’m actually doing something to promote my practice for once.  Do you think that’s all it is?”

Is my client right?  Is it ONLY confidence, clarity and action? And, maybe most pressingly, is the word “only” even appropriate in that sentence?

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New Year, Same Me

Everyone who really knows me knows that I LOVE a good New Year Resolution. I’m always getting excited about potential and possibility, and a New Year seems like a great excuse to return to a thorny situation and see if a renewed effort can bring me some progress. This year is no different, except that the thorny problem to which I am returning is on a different wave-length. In prior years, I’ve returned to all the things I want to be different:

  • Making more money in my practice
  • Being more consistent with my posting
  • Eating more vegetables
  • Being more patient with my kids

This year, though, I want to be happy with what is.

I’m me, and that’s enough.

My business is enough. My parenting skills are enough. My impact is ENOUGH. What would be possible for me if I really believed those things? That’s what I’m going to find out this year.

New Year, Same Me*.

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Getting Your Story Straight

Recently the four of us (collectively, The Crowells) stumbled across baby videos of the small ones learning to walk, crawl, and talk. Much oohing and aahing ensued. Then came a video with an actual adult… it was me with my daughter, who was 2 at the time, showing her what it’s like to see herself on video (when you turn the cell phone camera around in selfie mode) and she was laughing which made me laugh. Oh how we laughed! It was adorable. I said, “Someday- when I’m gone- you’ll be watching this video and crying, “‘Oh, how I miss my mother!'” Yes. I said that. Sorry. My husband, who is hip to my game and not having it, then said, “Not if I marry some other woman who hides all the videos.” I, obviously easily riled up, said “What?! Why are you remarried so soon? And why would you remarry a woman who hides the videos!”

Blood pressure up, heart pounding, furious brow

Some escalating back and forth ensued while our children are watching, confused. “Wait… what do you mean when you are gone!?!” It took me quite a while to calm down from that. (My husband is a bear poker, he knows how to calm me down, but he’d rather rile me up. Such is the story of soul mates.) And here’s what you already know:

It was entirely made up.

Our brains don’t discriminate between the stories we are telling ourselves and the things that are true. What story are you making up and then worrying about? Is it that people are judging you? Is it that people don’t like you? Is it that you aren’t a “math person?” Is it that you are lazy? All of that is a choice- these are stories you are choosing to tell about yourself. And that choice has consequences. Once you’ve said it, your brain is going to respond. Get worried, see the world through that lens, build up the back story to support it, turn it into a belief, and then you’re stuck. Watch out for the stories you are telling yourself. Choose the good ones.

How to get a book deal: A behind the scenes look

Forever and ever I’ve wanted to be an author. And forever and ever I thought that was impossible. See, I’ve got this eye thing from childhood seizures (long story, I’m fine now) that makes it really hard for my eyes to see typos (I also CANNOT find Waldo, but that’s a story for another day). And to me, that felt like an insurmountable problem!

It’s not like people didn’t like my writing… they would read my blogs, and told me they enjoyed my emails… but I assumed they liked it because I have a quirky sense of humor, not because it was GOOD or anything like that.

Or at least that’s what I told myself because:

There is no dream scarier than the one you have buried deep in your heart.

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changing our mindset

Changing the Way We Think About Victories

What comes to mind when you read this: “VICTORY!”
Is it an image of a sweaty, smiling, totally fit person with all the right gear arriving at the top of a mountain, gazing in wonderment at the vista she’s earned?
Sometimes it’s like that. And isn’t it nice!
Sometimes, however, it’s something more like army crawling through an abandoned and collapsed coal mine, ravaged by intense claustrophobia, coming face to face with rats, and totally cut off from the light of day. When you finally emerge into the still dark cave before the opening into rainy day beyond, there’s no happy dance. You just put your head down and ask, “Can we be done now?”

That’s a victory, too.

It’s the victory of making it through burnout. It’s the victory of really being there for someone you love who has cancer. It’s the victory of coming out the other side of an autoimmune flare up. It’s the victory of launching a product that flops. It’s the real stuff of being a hero.
Be proud of these victories, too.

What’s your Coffee Bean?

When we returned from vacation last month, my family arrived home late and went straight to bed only to wake up and realize that there was NO COFFEE ANYWHERE IN MY HOUSE. My husband’s position was that it was “fine, I’ll survive.” I was… less like that.
I get up at 5:30AM and was cranky and off my game for an hour and a half before it occurred to me… “Two weeks ago when we left for vacation we took our coffee grinder with us, and some of the those beans fell out. I think they are still in the way back of the pilot.”
COFFEE BEANS. Just outside!
I ran outside in my pajamas and dug around on the floor my car for coffee beans. I collected them in my shirt the way you do when you are foraging for berries in the woods. I got just enough and headed to the stairs to grind my way to the nectar of the gods. I reached for the banister to climb the stairs and CRASH! Coffee beans dropped out of my shirt and onto the ground.
Noooooooooooo!
I stood looking at them for a full minute.

What do I do now?

Well, when you are all in on something you get down on your hands and knees and pick up those coffee beans. One at a time. In your pajamas. In full view of your neighbors. With zero shame because COFFEE.

What are you all in on?

What will you drop everything for, embarrass yourself for, and risk communicable diseases for? It’s helpful to know the answer to that question.

how to live your best life

Here’s to you, fellow swimmers!

Sarah LaFleur the lovely creator of MM LaFleur was speaking at a Change-makers chat last year and she describes what it takes to succeed (and I would say that it’s what is required to be live your best life) this way:
Imagine that you are stranded on a deserted island and you want to swim to an island that docks cruise ships that you are pretty sure is “over there-ish”. Too far to see it exactly but you have a good feeling. You joyfully throw off your shoes, get down to your bathing suit and wade out into the warm water close to shore. “This isn’t too bad!” You say, with the naïvetée of the uninitiated. “It’s a good thing I took those swim lessons in 4th grade.”
And you start to swim.
And swim.
And swim.
“Am I still swimming? I’m getting kind of tired.” You stop, and doggie paddle for a while to look around and see how far you’ve come.
You can very clearly see the island you just left. There’s your palm tree with the delicious coconuts. And the hammock you made out of palm leaves. And your little rain catcher made out of an animal skin (that was gross, but needed) propped up on sticks. Looking in the other direction you see… nothing. No island, no cruise ship, no dolphins ready to carry you to safety on their backs. You look back at your little island.
“Some fresh water would be pretty good right now,” you think. “Maybe I should go back?”

What do you do?

It’s entirely rational to go back. Back to the coconut tree and the rainwater and guaranteed (loneliness but) survival. And you can always hope someone will come and save you, right? And that’s what almost everyone does. Who can blame them?
But what do YOU do?
You keep swimming. Because the waves and chill and the muscle spasms and jellyfish are the opportunities you needed to practice believing in yourself. To get deep into the mental game of being in action without guarantees, to practice not giving up on your creations, to claw your way one exhausted stroke at a time, into the belief that you are good enough, right now. You’ve got what it takes, no matter where you are, no matter how you got here, and no matter whether you land on the island with the cruise ships.
And so, here’s to you, fellow swimmers!

importance of self care

Creating A Saner Tomorrow

Sometimes we are smart enough to take a break and sometimes the universe knocks you down so hard that the only way to survive is to take a break.

I’m having that wake up call right now

Earlier this year I fell carrying my son to the hospital. When your 6 year old son is on his way to the hospital and you fall, it’s really only you who falls. He was (and is) fine. I, on the other hand, fell hard on my outstretched hand, spraining my elbow in 3 spots. And I was banged up kind of everywhere. But I kept going despite the pain. I worked in his hospital room, planning for a product launch that I executed. Despite that it was getting worse. Despite that it was starting to spread. At one point, every major joint in my body hurt at the same time… but I can handle it! I “had to” because I was in the middle of a self-imposed free call campaign. 100 calls in one month. Even though my coaching practice was full, and the timing was right to take a damn break.
In between calls, I would lie down to recover, my exhaustion was so extreme. I think that was my last chance to pull it together on my own. I didn’t and got sidelined.

So much pain, everywhere.

I could’t walk, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t work. Finally. I stopped working.
That was about 6 weeks ago. I’m feeling better. I’ve got help and I’m coming to grips with how overworking for the love it is almost as bad as burnout at the hands of other people’s expectations.
So, my friend I’m asking you- are you taking care of yourself? Are you ignoring the signs? Please don’t do it, it’s just not worth it. Let’s create a saner tomorrow, together.

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