Category Archives for Challenges

escape from stress

Escape

There are times when you are walking down the road of life, whistling your tune, thinking your whatever thoughts and then… snagged! A vine of worry sneaks out from the forest and wraps it’s thin fingers around your foot.  It whispers your name creepily. And you feel yourself suddenly, and without any real reason, caught up in the emotional field of worry. Nothing has changed except that maybe you’re tired? Maybe you ate too much sugar? Who knows why? It almost doesn’t matter.

This happens to me almost once a day. Sometimes it grabs me just a little and I’m able to shake it off easily, and probably once a week it grabs me big time and I have to launch a counter-attack to get myself free.

Here are my tools for escape, I hope they are useful to you!

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I agree with me

We Don’t Have to Agree About Me

In my 40s (I’m 42, thanks for asking) I woke up to a story I was telling myself that was causing me a lot of drama.The mindset goes something like this “We need to agree about me.” Or, loosely translated, “You need to believe about me what I believe about me, or I’m not going to be able to believe about me what I want to believe about me.”

Here are a few everyday examples.

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blogging on a daily basis

Six Lessons from ^Almost! Daily Blogging: A behind the scenes look

Today marks three full weeks of The ^Almost Daily Catalyst! Seth Godin has been encouraging me (and, you know, the other 4M people who follow him) for 2 years to blog every day, but it always felt like such a big ask.

I started as more of a blogger than a coach, then the coaching took off and the blogging dwindled to maaayyyybbeeee once a month. And yet, the call of regular writing was always running along in the background like an excitable little dog.

“Bark! Bark, bark!” he says! (That’s dog for “Hey! We could write a blog about that! And this! And that! We totally have enough to write every day! Let’s do it! It will be SO. FUN.”)

Unfortunately, those thoughts were being “managed” by these super “helpful” thoughts:

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how to believe in yourself

What Do You Believe About You?

This week we discussed how mindmanager, our brain’s gatekeeper, and overworked executive, can be encouraged to support our goals rather than “sticking us back in front of the tv” of familiarity. But I realized that I hadn’t clearly explained why mindmanager is so persnickety in the first place.

Why can’t we engage with any goal we want, any time we feel like it?

Ok, so first let’s clarify that the thing you want to do is difficult. No one is blocked about things that are easy! “I want to binge on Netflix but every time I sit down to watch, I freak out and disengage” said (almost) no one, ever.

When things are hard, they involve:

  • Times when you don’t feel like doing it
  • Times when it’s physically or mentally draining to keep going
  • Times when you feel so emotionally vulnerable that you almost can’t stand it.
  • Times when you really, truly just don’t know what to do next

What happens in times like these? Do you dig in and push through? Or do you disengage and check out? This is when mindmanager either needs to be on your side, or you will drop back into familiarity.

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how to live with chaos in your life

F*ck It!

This message is brought to you by the coronavirus, two and half weeks in.

[Tuesday, March 31st, 6pm] I think the lesson from today can be summed up neatly with this two-word, oft stated phrase in the Crowell Home: F*ck it.

I’ve decided that for today Imma let go into the mess. Really relax into the chaos. Settle into the shit, and get comfy.

Here we go:

I spent my entire day on zoom, which was glitchy AF as the entire world suddenly logged into it (F-You, Zoom! YOUR internet is unstable!) “connecting” with clients (F-You social distancing! I want to hug my people!) and being emotionally available (F-You self control! I’m going to dip my OREOS in wine!) while also taking care of my kids (F-You color coded homeschooling schedule! One tap for the next 5 hours? SCREENS!) and trying to stay on top of the mountain of videos I’m creating for my classes (F-You youtube auto-translate! Why must it take 73 clicks to find you?!?).

And for good measure: F-YOU New York Times app of doom, Facebook panic button, and [SAY IT WITH ME]:

F-THE-H out of you, Coronavirus.

Fuck all that, is what I’m saying.

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clearing out the clutter in your mind

What’s a Mind, Anyway?

My posts for the past week boil down to one piece of critical advice: During the coronavirus crisis (and, actually, always) it’s very important for you to realize that you have CHOICE about what you think, what you feel, and how you act.

Not total choice, obviously, but a heck of a lot more choice than most of us are exercising.

And listen, I’ve heard every version of how that’s not true:

“Some people have depression and anxiety or worse, Amanda. They aren’t at choice about how they feel.” They have more choice than they know, and I want them to see if they can find some. Will their choices make them feel all better? NO. But I’m not going to let that stop me from encouraging them to do what they can to feel more at peace TODAY.

“Some people have lost their jobs and have no money and nobody is hiring right now, Amanda. What do you want them to do?’ I want them to know that even SUPER hard times don’t have to be the only thing happening in your life. Where can you find joy? What delights you? How can you get a little bit of that TODAY?

“Some people are sad, angry, and frustrated, Amanda! And what’s wrong with that? You shouldn’t shame people who are feeling entirely rational, albeit negative emotions.” I would NEVER shame anyone for feeling badly.

And I never said that exercising your choice about how you think, feel, and act during the coronavirus would mean that you will feel great all the time.
How bizarre would that be? Our world is in crisis, people we know are sick (and maybe we will be, too), and there are real worries about how we are going to recover from this economic free fall. Being present and intentional often means feeling sad and angry and frustrated. That’s totally fine.

AND! Being present and intentional can also mean feeling grateful. It can involve laughter. Sometimes it means that you restrict your exposure to the news so you can be present with your kid without that crushed feeling in your chest. Sometimes it means that you tell your husband that “If pajamas are on my body, NO ONE WILL SPEAK about the coronavirus!” All of those things are allowed.

Being alive during a global crisis does not mean you have to BE in crisis.

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Fear has the gravity of a black hole

Fear Has the Gravity of a Black Hole

Yesterday I wrote to you with a new Coaching With Gloria video about how you get to choose whether you live in a competitive world or a collaborative world. But it’s not only your beliefs about the competitive/collaborative nature of the world that you get to choose and then create by the way you show up, but it’s also way more than that. Two other huge reality markers that you get to choose and create are fear v. presence and scarcity v. abundance.

There is nothing more fundamentally “alive” than fear. All sentient beings have fear, even the single-cell organism in the petri dish will pull away from sudden bright light. And, the more complicated the brain involved the sneakier fear becomes; by the time you get to human beings (Oh, ye of the prefrontal cortex, most complicated brain structure on the planet) fear can show up in literally any costume. Here are some of fear’s favorite characters:

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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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when your strengths are your weakness

When Your Biggest Strengths Wreak Havoc

Have you ever noticed that the thing that other people admire about you is the same thing that gets you into trouble? Me too. People ask me all the time “How do you do so much?” And I come up with some kind of mindset related truth, “Get your head clear and begin to take steps!” Which is true… but another equally true statement is, “Be a pathological finisher who overworks until you run yourself into the ground!” So, can we shortcut the growing pains for a minute- think about your greatest strength and just admit that you are going to overdo it and start working on getting that extremism under control. Driven to climb the big mountains…and sometimes you sulk about a board game so much that no one in your family wants to play with you? So generous and caring with your friends and family that they wouldn’t know what to do without you… but you never make enough time for YOU to finish your novel? So creative that you write poems and paint pictures that bend our perception of time and space but you just cannot focus enough get the bills paid? I feel you, friend. Now you know… how will you control your biggest strength when it starts wreaking havoc?