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July 25, 2019

Construction paper, scissors, tape, and some Wine!

Growing up as a Navy Brat when my Dad would be out to sea the cruises would be anywhere from 6 months-1 year and for a young child without a good understanding of time, it was hard to conceptualize that amount of time.   When we were 3 months away from my Dad returning home my Mom always made a paper chain so that we had a visual of how long we had left. Every day we would get to remove a link from the chain and as we watched it dwindle down the excitement would grow.  The count was always however many full days were left and “a wake up”, which meant the day he was returning because we just had to wake up that day, i.e. 12 days and a wake-up. Once you got to 9 days and a wake up we were “single-digit midgets” because the number of days was no longer two numbers.  

Now that I am a mom of a soon to be 4-year old I have started using the paper chain for him.  We are not using it to count down anyone coming home, but we are using them to count down our trips to visit my parents in Alabama.  At the 3 month mark from when we are making the drive down, I put together the chain and we start taking one off each morning. When he asks if we are going now, I can direct him to look at how big the chain is and remind him that we will be going once we throw away the final link in the chain.  I have also discovered that not only does it help him to have a visual of this abstract concept of time but it helps me also. It is exciting for me to watch as the chain gets smaller, and to know that removing a link each day means seeing my parents is getting closer and closer.  

When I made the most recent chain I got the construction paper, scissors, the marker, tape, and my wine and started cutting.  As I was putting the dates and the countdown numbers on the chains somehow my countdown ended before they should have and I had extra chains for my dates.  So I just stopped worrying about the countdown and simply put the dates on each chain. The scissors I was using were from when my 17 and 15-year-old niece and nephew were little and the plastic coating was slowly coming off in my hands but they were still sharp enough to cut the paper.  About halfway through our 3-month countdown, the humidity made the tape come off of my links and the chain came apart. So I got the glue out this time and was organizing it to put it all back together and I discovered that I had a few duplicative dates in my chain, which explained why my countdown didn’t work the first time around.  I removed the extra days and our countdown continued, and it was then that I realized that wine and chain making is clearly not things I should combine.  

It is amazing to me that something as simple as making a chain out of construction paper can be so memorable and a tradition that is continued into a second generation.  I hope that my son remembers this as fondly as I do from childhood and continues it if he ever has children of his own.

July 8, 2019

The One Giveaway That You Are Still A Work In Progress


This October marks the five-year anniversary of the start of my entrepreneurial adventure. I could have never imagined the magnitude of this journey when it began. See this adventure is much more than just building a business (which is huge in itself), see it was the start of some much needed inner work. Inside of me, there was some serious healing to do, years of emotional trauma piled on by the damaging distraction of constant high professional demands. This mixture left me completely disconnected and disengaged. I found myself wandering through the days questioning if I was worth anything at all. I was convinced professional aspirations, even at times, life aspirations were pointless. 

It took leaving the corporate environment and being in a place where only I was responsible for my success to get real. To realize the damage that was done and the disconnected person I had become. Out of survival, I began to grow, I began to heal and return to pure self, the person I was destined to be.

The Path to Growth Continues

But saying all that, it’s almost five years later and the path to growth continues. Last week in my episode of Work Love Live, I shared the moment of clarity surrounding the common phrase, life’s about the journey, not the destination. There truly is no destination, we are living each day for the moments. Knowing that living in those moments and being fully present is creating ripples that are changing the world. Not questioning how, or who are we, or what more must we do, simply knowing by being fully present we are changing the world. 

It is in full presence, that we are able to utilize our full capacity and share our talents with the world. Even in saying that and having that awareness, it doesn’t change that I still have so much left to heal. Recently I experienced a dead giveaway of how much work I still had to do. It was clear at that moment that five-years had not undone nearly 20 years of self-sabotage. 

The moment occurred during a professional networking mixer and it wasn’t the first occurrence. In fact, every time this occurred it was in a similar environment, a professional context and it always came out of nowhere. I never see it coming and usually do not realize it is occurring until it’s over. 

The One Dead Giveaway

What I am referring to is the act of verbal diarrhea. However, this verbal diarrhea is linked to unprocessed emotions that are still trapped within and therefore, they only reveal themselves when triggered. Professional networking events are typically pretty safe because people stay in a lane, the conversation around religion and politics are at a minimum. For most, it’s simply nice to meet you conversation. Yet, if you engage with individuals for too long a period, the first level of trust is established and we begin to take risks in our conversation. This is a natural part of relationship building, connections at a more vulnerable level will be stronger. 

Nevertheless, it is these discussions that open the window of opportunity for being triggered. For me specifically, I randomly rant for five minutes on an issue that emotionally charges me. The most recent occurrence, the rant was on diversity. 

My personal diversity story is one that I recently had to begin to own and I still struggle with. Making the big move from the west to the east coast at 16 caused more trauma to my psyche then I realized. Doing the work that I do, I have had the privilege of beginning to peel back the layers on the onion of that story. Yet, it still has many ugly releases waiting to be processed and awoken.

These random outbursts are not so random, they are a reminder that I am still a work in progress. I still find it challenging to not regret the occurrences of verbal diarrhea. I inevitably always over analyze the conversation and start creating an imaginary timeline of consequence. Believing that five minutes just changed the trajectory of any possible success I might have in my business and life. The truth is that these occurrences are incredibly humbling and keep me in a place of connection. They keep me on my path and limit the temptation to give into ego, a place where I lived for many years. 

Next Time

So the next time you find yourself in a moment of regret because something you shared might not be “politically correct” but it is your passionate truth. Recognize your feelings of shame as humility and spend a moment in gratitude for the reminder, because you are meant to do great things and we need the work you are destined to do.

June 14, 2019

Trust Your Gut: It’s Your Intuitive Guidance

When it comes to the world of business, logic is a must. We can’t make decisions strictly off of feelings, we need facts, data, and spreadsheets. But I guess my question to you is, why can’t we make decisions off of feelings? Sure, I get it, it’s massively uncomfortable. The amount of risk seems daunting because there isn’t logic to make the decision safe. However, if we go back through history, I am pretty sure the game changers in this world made a decision based off of a feeling.

Despite this, we are trained in our professional lives to present things logically, to make sound decisions that are logical. While learning this, we have slowly lost touch with the feeling. Feelings are a skill too. Feelings are a direct tie to energy and everything has energy. To add to that, everything’s energy is interacting with each other as they come in contact. This unavoidable mingling is what causes feelings of love, admiration, dislike, disgust, and frustration. Feelings and energy create our team dynamics and organizational cultures. So ignoring them seems illogical to me.

Intuitive Coaching is a professional development service we offer at Leadership Arts Associates that is all about reconnecting you to that feeling. We believe by strengthening your feeling, you’ll be even more aware of the feelings, aka energies, around you. This is one of the greatest tools that a leader, formal or informal, in an organization can possess.

Showing the Good to the World

Today I was watching an episode of America’s Got Talent and one of the judges, Julianne Hough made a statement about Millenials. She said that she feels that the Millennial Generation is about showing the good to the world, the good in the world and the good within themselves. I found this fascinating since the Millennial Generation has sparked quite a debate regarding their intentions and work ethic. But, I have to say I agree with Julianne.  I believe that this generation is about good and once you reconnect with your energy and the energy around you, you will be amazed at the good that is present. The good that you underestimated and the good that is waiting to be tapped by your guidance and mentorship.

See it is these gut feelings, the awareness of energy, that allow us to see the potential in others and organizations – even when they can’t see it themselves.

During Intuitive Coaching, you are guided through a series of abstract exercises (such as an Intuitive Card Reading) and questions that are designed to increase your awareness, as well as reconnect, remind and reiterate your purpose.  

Curious about what this “feeling” feels like?

Well, to get a taste, try this simple exercise.

  • Think about an emotionally charged moment, preferably happy, but sad will work too.
  • Think about the moment in great detail, almost as though you are reliving it.
  • Then direct your awareness to your body, scanning your body to find where the feeling associated with that moment is living. Commonly, it is found in the chest, heart, stomach, and even throat.
  • When you find a place in your body where it is living, compress the energy there almost as though it is a ball. Hold it there and feel.
  • This is a taste of the powerful feelings you encounter regularly which can be used for guidance.

To learn how this feeling can guide you, schedule an Intuitive Card Reading or Coaching session today.

June 14, 2019

5 Ways to Respond to Stress with Yin

For most, work and stress go hand in hand. Stress itself is not bad. Stress in extreme doses on a consistent basis is when the problems begin. And since stress is commonly directly tied to our work, we compensate by taking care of ourselves less and tell ourselves to just push through. Resulting in a life set on the constant setting of survival mode.  A life that isn’t much fun to live.

As I mentioned before, stress itself is not bad. What we need is stress in a balanced form for our lives. This balanced form manifests differently for each of us. This should be no surprise since we are all unique individuals with our own unique needs.

It is our individuality that makes corporate wellness programs difficult to implement because one size will never fit all when it comes to what we each need. Regardless, there is still a strong common need to address the unhealthy levels of stress many are experiencing regularly. Our culture has become reliant on Yang solutions.

Yang, which is commonly shown with it’s Yin companion in symbolic format, is associated with the day, heat and action. Many of us live daily with our lives comprised of Yang, running errands, making dinner, work demands, pretty much the majority of our daily routines are forms of Yang stress. Then in an attempt to combat these high levels of stress, we compound it further by utilizing additional Yang stresses. These are things like working out, watching TV, indulging in food or beverages. Whether it is physical stress, overstimulation or overworking/numbing the liver – these activities are demanding a great deal from ourselves.

Therefore, I propose establishing balance by utilizing Yang’s great compliment, Yin. Here are five of my favorite methods for utilizing Yin to establish balance in my life.

Sleep

Sleep is the number one way that the body rejuvenates itself. I always give myself permission to rest when my body is asking for it. This proves to be a challenge for us when we have a long list of to-dos or deadlines. This is where it is key to have a daily self-management strategy in place. Know exactly what MUST be completed that day, not what would be nice but what is an absolute MUST. Being real about the MUSTs and the “would be nice” tasks empowers you to make decisions when your body is asking for you to stop for the day.  

Breathing

It is amazing to me how many individuals do not take the time to learn the skill set of breath. When we are not breathing effectively our body is not getting the oxygen it needs to function effectively. Of course, this was a skill I took for granted for many years because it came as part of vocal training back in the days when I was chasing the dream of being a pop star. But I digress if you are new to the world of breath work. My recommendation as a starting point is abdominal breathing. This is a simple breath where you focus on filling your belly on the inhale and emptying it on the exhale. As you gain comfort with this breath begin focusing on slowing and extending your inhale and exhale.

Yin Yoga

I never ever imagined that I would be a Yogi. Back in the days when I was a semi-regular at the Crossfit gym, I was convinced to try a Power Flow class and strongly disliked it. At the same time, my body was physically being destroyed. I was on some crazy weight loss journey where I would physically kill myself at the gym multiple times a week with not enough recovery in between. It was in this time of physical that I was convinced to try a Slow Flow class for it’s added benefits for muscle recovery. It was in this class that I realized the parts of my body that I was neglecting. Which happened to be the exact parts that needed attention for my body to recover. Yin Yoga is one step further it is a beautiful slow flow practice done predominantly on the floor. Utilizing props you are able to hold poses to stretch the fascia surrounding muscle groups for 2-7 minutes, deepening the stretch and maximizing the benefits.

Qigong

Qigong has many forms, ranging from a style of martial arts to the gentle rhythmic movements often commonly associated with the practice. The form I am recommended is the slow gentle rhythmic movements that are meant for purging, tonifying and regulating your personal energy. It is our personal energy that plays a key role in our ability to show in the world and do what we want to do. Qigong for me has translated into the ultimate self-care practice and it is slowly healing decades of self-sabotage.

Silence

Finally, hit the silence button and listen to the world around you as it unfolds. It is when we embrace the silence that we are able to not only hear others but hear ourselves. Sometimes the answers we are seeking are within, but we can’t hear them because we won’t stop talking and listen. Moments of silence are not only beautiful but powerful. Seek them out actively and embrace them when you randomly stumble upon them.

There are so many other ways to bring Yin into your life, these are only my current top five. In addition, my descriptions only scratch the surface of the powerful potential of each of these methods.

Go ahead, give one a whirl, we offer Qigong and Yin Yoga classes at Leadership Arts Associates on a weekly basis. I am so passionate about adding a little bit of Yin in your life – that these classes are free. I challenge you to find some balance by incorporating Yin and see what happens.

June 14, 2019

The Top Five Benefits of Coaching

Three years ago when I decided to start my consulting business, I realized that I would need someone else to help guide me in that process. That’s why I looked for a coach. You may find yourself in a major life transition and partnering with a coach will be a way to help you navigate that big change.

Here’s what I gained working with a coach.

Personal Learning and Development

Working with a coach gave me permission to invest in my learning and development. Since I was transitioning from working as a teacher to starting my own consulting business, I decided to work with a business and leadership coach who would help me channel my passion and expertise into a viable business.

Gain a Clearer Sense of Purpose

My coach guided me through a series of reflective exercises to discover what I value, who I want to serve and my strengths so that I became more clear about my greater purpose.

Question Assumptions and Perspectives

I only know what I know so working with a coach helped me question assumptions and perspectives. I’m able to talk with my coach and share with him I have about consulting and he offers other knowledge that helps shift my perspective and challenge my assumptions.  

Strategize practices and Techniques That Support Reaching Your Goal

My coaching journey has been going into its third year. My coach offers me new habits to practice and new techniques to execute that make me reach the new goal I’m aiming to achieve.

Stay Accountable to Action Steps

My coach serves as a bridge the gap between where I am now and where I want to be by keeping me accountable to my action steps.

Check out these other articles on the benefits of coaching.

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