How To Create Work-Life Balance

Is work-life balance a real thing?

After a couple of decades in the working world, I’ve asked myself this time and time again.  Do people really have a work-life balance?  How do you do it?  Is it sustainable?

I tend to err on the side of optimism, so I will say that I believe work-life balance CAN exist, but it may not look like what you’d anticipate.  There’s no one-size-fits-all mold for balance, it’s more of a dance.  Once you know the steps, you’ll be able to recreate it for yourself no matter what’s going on – whether it be a pandemic, a new job, or learning to work from home.

First of all, let’s define what work-life balance looks like. 

This is individual to you, so ask yourself these questions to get started:

  1. What would you like more time for in your personal life?
  2. What areas of your work are draining you?
  3. What control do you have over your work schedule?
  4. How can you conserve your energy at work?
  5. How can you protect your energy at home?  (psst, if you’re looking for ways to protect your energy and feel more grounded, you might like my free guided meditation linked below!)

guided meditation link

When you get clear on which areas in your life are violating your sense of balance, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a better equilibrium for your work and personal life.  Noticing the ways in which you are OUT of balance can help you start to take steps to swing in the opposite direction.

Set A Boundary

Once you’ve determined the areas where you’re feeling overworked and the activities you’d like to see MORE of in your personal life, it’s time to set some boundaries.  You’ve probably heard this buzzword a lot lately, so let’s define it for context.

My preferred way to think about boundaries when establishing work-life balance is like this:

Boundaries are clearly defined statements, rules, and actions that support your wants and needs. 

In the context of work-life balance, you’ll use boundaries to protect your time and energy and to advocate for what you want and need.  This sounds pretty simple, but boundaries are REALLY EFFING HARD to communicate.  In general, use these tips for communicating your boundaries to create a work-life balance:

  1. Get as CLEAR as possible about your desired results for your boundary.
  2. Employ the use of technology to support you (use calendars, reminders, and digital well-being controls to help you enforce your boundaries). 
  3. Get your mind on board when you’re communicating with others.  Many of us are nervous to communicate boundaries so they can come out half-heartedly or with a negative tone – often because we’re anticipating the other person’s judgments.  Remember this: your tone will help others decide how to receive your information, so if you can tell someone with a smile, No, I’m not going to do that extra project, but THANKS!!! You’ll feel better, the other person will feel better (maybe a bit confused at why they feel good about it), and you don’t have to walk around feeling guilty about saying no.  Celebrate your boundaries and the people in your life who are your true supporters will celebrate them with you.

Fill The Gaps

When you’re done setting boundaries, it’s time to think about what you want MORE of.  Your boundaries are protecting your time and energy, so now what?  In general, if you don’t find a tangible replacement for the time and energy you are spending working, you’re more likely to flounder in your new free moments and revert back to your old behaviors.  Choose something you’d like to do instead.  What would help you feel more balanced?  What do you want more time/energy for in your personal life?  Schedule those activities for yourself with TOP priority in your calendar.  Having a tangible commitment to yourself will help you feel more balanced and productive at the same time.

The key to work-life balance is this: constantly assess your wants and needs, set new boundaries, and let the old ones go.  Balance is a moment, not a permanent state, so remember to return to it and assess what you need as you go so you’re not ever swinging so far out of balance that you’re feeling lost or drained.  If you’re having trouble with boundary-setting, you’re not alone!  So many of my clients struggle with this at first, so if you’re in that camp, schedule a free consult call with me, and I’ll hook you up with my best advice to get you started.

Networking For Introverts

If I had a list of the top 3 activities that make me uncomfortable in my business, attending networking events might hold the #1 spot.  As a small business owner I’ve challenged myself to find ways to get over this fear and the benefits have come back to me 100-fold.  At every networking event I’ve ever attended, I meet at least ONE person who I work with in some capacity in the future.  I’ve helped these new connections build their businesses, coached them through new relationships, been featured in their newsletters, panels and podcasts as a result of getting brave and showing up. 

If you happen to live in the Twin Cities, check out my favorite place to meet new people: GirlCreative!

If you’re a fellow introvert and you’re like, NO WAY, STEPH… I HATE NETWORKING WITH A FIREY PASSION! – Never fear!!  I have a foolproof strategy for overcoming the pre-event nerves right here:

1.Choose A Goal

My number one tip for navigating networking events as an introvert is to go in with a specific goal.  A good goal will help remind you of why you’re putting yourself out there in the first place so when you try to talk yourself out of going, you can simplify your mission.  Some of the goals I’ve had the best success with have been really easy:

  • Meet one new person tonight
  • Give your business card to three people
  • Take two photos at the event and share them to IG (tag the event organizer!)

Choose something that you know you can follow through on and give yourself permission to leave after you’ve accomplished it.  #sweetsuccess

2. Check Out The Geography

Another way introverts can get more comfy with networking events is to locate the touch-points of the event.  This is really about getting the lay of the land and knowing where you can go if you find yourself standing awkwardly in the middle of the room.  Locate the front doors, the bathrooms, the snack table and the drinks.  When you’re not sure what to do, find your way to one of these touch points, do your thing, then take another sweep of the room.

3. Give Yourself A Timeframe

If your introverted tendencies are making you want to quit before you even start, give yourself a timeframe.  This is another way to goal-set for your networking endeavors.  If you know you only have to stay for 20 minutes, and your goal from step one is to talk to at least one person, you know you’ve got to do it quickly!  Your time will fly by.

4. Invite a friend

Bringing a wing (wo)man who is looking to meet new people too can help take the edge off if you’re nervous about networking.  Share your goals with your buddy and go after them like it’s a group project. If your efforts to meet someone new don’t pan out, you can find solace in the fact that you’ll have a friendly face to debrief with afterwards.  If you’re someone who shells up and gets pretty nervous about events, inviting a friend might be the accountability that will help you follow-through.

5. Choose an icebreaker

This tip is great if you’re someone who often feels socially awkward or tends to freeze up when you’re meetings someone for the first time.  Many of my fellow sensitives & introverts can agree – seeing people in person can get us pretty tongue-tied!  Having a few go-to questions can help take the edge off.  Some of my favorites include:

  • How did you hear about this event?
  • How do you know the host?
  • What are your passion-projects right now?
  • Where is your next adventure?

Realistically, there’s no way to take the awkwardness out of meeting new people, especially if it’s not something you do very often!!  Networking and talking to strangers is a skill that will get easier the more you practice, and hopefully, if you’re a fellow introvert, some of these tips will help make your next event a little more comfortable.

How To Leave The Service Industry

Want to listen to this on the podcast?  Click below!

As someone who has left the service industry and built my dream job over the course of the past 6 years, I can say that this dream is 100% worth pursuing.  Leaving the service industry and pivoting into your dream career might seem daunting at first, but there are some very tangible steps to help you get on your way.  I’ve packaged up the process I used myself plus some tools I’ve learned from coaching others to successfully pivot into their dream careers after leaving their previous careers as hairstylists, customer service reps, bartenders, and servers, and more.

Step One: Explore your options. 

The first step to leaving the service industry is to explore your options to clearly identify your dream career path.  Service industry jobs are exhausting in more ways than one, and one of the downsides can be having very little downtime or energy to explore what else might be out there.  Here are some easy ways to start:

  • Begin by understanding your energy to determine what type of job might suit you.  Many people who are in the service industry are actually sensitives and introverts who just like to help people.  You might find that your energy would be better used in a virtual environment or with the opportunity to work from home.  Conversely, you might gain your energy from face-to-face interaction with people, in which case you’ll want to explore careers in a team or office environment.

 

  • Chat with friends or friends of friends about any jobs that are potentially interesting to you.  If you’ve worked in the service industry for your whole life so far, it can be hard to imagine any other way to live and make your money.  Chat with some of your friends who live a different lifestyle than you do.  What are their jobs?  What exactly do they spend their days doing?  Even if their job isn’t directly interesting to you, this type of exploration can help you discover what you like and what you don’t.  These conversations can be really beneficial as you create your game plan for leaving the service industry.

 

  • Take a look at your finances.  How much can you cut back on work hours to give yourself space and time to explore your options, learn a new skill, or take an online course?  When I was eyeballs deep in my hairstyling career, I would work ten-hour days, come home, eat, zone out, and go to bed.  With this type of schedule, there’s no SPACE to discover something new or cultivate new skills.  When I was making my transition out of the service industry into my dream career, I looked at my lifestyle and the hours I worked and realized I could cut back my hours by 20% and still live fairly comfortably.  It was tight, sure, but I was getting one foot out the door in order to pursue my passion, so it was 100% worth it.  Take a look at your finances and your lifestyle and find ways you can cut back on your current work hours so you can create the mental and emotional space to learn something new.

 

  • Expand your community (a nice way to say network).  At EVERY networking event I’ve ever attended I’ve met someone who I have collaborated with in the future.  Getting out of your current bubble may sound uncomfortable, but it’s one of the BEST ways to create new opportunities for yourself!  We’ve all heard the old adage: we are the sum of our 5 closest friendships, right?  Well, if all your friends are in the service industry, it’s time to infuse your life with some new people, which will ultimately result in new ideas! My favorite networks are free- if you’re female and living in the Twin Cities, GirlCreative is an awesome place to start.

Step Two: Make friends and connect with others who are doing the thing you’re interested in SUCCESSFULLY.

Once you’ve begun to expand your network and you’ve connected with some possible career path options that light you up, it’s time to find the people who are already awesome at what you want to do.  Find helpful ways to connect with these people – and remember, do NOT EVER lead with the question, ‘can I pick your brain?’  

Here are some great ideas for making yourself useful and befriending a new connection that’s already in your dream career:

  • Offer to assist them with what they’re doing.  Do your research here, and drop them an email specifically offering to help them out with something they’re working on.  You can treat this as an unpaid internship, you will learn SO much from working alongside someone in your dream career as you’re preparing to leave the service industry.

  

  • Network.  Ask to meet these people for coffee (and buy their cup).  Always lead with the intention of finding ways to help them.  

 

  • Never ask ‘can I pick your brain?’

 

  • Focus on ‘palm-down giving’.  My old boss from my service industry days talked about this concept called palm-down giving.  It was the model he wanted us to use with our customers and each other.  Palm-down giving means you give and ask for nothing in return.  Everything you give is just that, a gift.  If you give the gift of time to someone who you admire and would like to emulate, you do NOT want to make the interaction feel transactional, like you would expect them to give something back to you.  If you’re giving your time or energy with a palm-up-what-are-ya-gonna-pay-me-back-with energy, it’ll be awkward for both of you, so just don’t do it.

Step 3: Begin healing from the trading time for money cycle.

This step is crucial in being able to wrap your mind around leaving the service industry to pivot into your dream career.  In the service industry, you trade your time for dollars.  If you work more hours, you make more money.  Do more haircuts, serve more drinks, just work a little more and there’s quick cash in your pocket.  In MOST cases, when you leave the service industry you will not make money in the same way right away.  It will almost always be a step ‘down’ from what you are used to.  It’s essential to anticipate this and to find ways to be okay with it, otherwise, the quick-cash mentality could keep you in the service industry forever.  It may be comforting to remind yourself that you can always go back if you decide to ditch your dream career. 

I like to ask my clients the question: if 5 years from now nothing has changed and you are still in the same job, how do you feel?  If you’re upset at yourself for not trying something different, it’s worth making your transition a priority, even if that means making less money.

Step Four: Build a bridge.

Making the decision to leave your service industry career and pivot into your dream career is just the first step.  While it might be tempting to quit your job and dive into your new career really quickly, this doesn’t always work.  In many cases, you’ll need time and space to acquire new skills, work your way up, create a website, or go back to school in order to do what you want to do.

Give yourself permission to build a bridge between where you are now and where you want to be. 

For example, I decided about 6 years ago I wanted to leave my job as a hairstylist.  I was working for someone else at the time and wanted to just quit my job and have a friend build me a website so I could start promoting myself as a coach STAT.  Most businesses take YEARS to build, and I hadn’t taken the time to build my network, reputation, or anything else.  Since I realized I couldn’t support myself fully right away, I built a bridge.  I left the salon to rent a chair and started doing onsite hair and makeup for weddings as my own boss.  I knew I could work a fraction of the hours and make MORE money this way, and the skills I’d learn from running my own business would help me build my coaching practice.  This bridge served me for 3 years while I got my ducks in a row, and now I’m fully transitioned.  

(If you’re someone who’s looking to start your own beauty business, I’ve packaged up all my best advice from my award-winning beauty biz in the course linked below:)

Step Five: Set goals and take small steps toward your big picture every day.

It’s important to keep your end goal in mind when it comes to leaving the service industry and pivoting into your dream career.  You’ll want to remain connected to why you’re doing what you’re doing because this will help you take the steps towards your dream every single day.  New careers are rarely born overnight.  Break your transition into small, actionable steps and execute on them every day.

You might feel some resistance to this step.  If you’re like a lot of people (including me!) once you’ve made the decision to leave you want to do it NOW.  You might also be feeling fear about how you’re going to make your dream career work.  These feelings are your new friend, and they will be a part of your journey every step of the way.  These feelings are resistance, and you’ll feel them often as you navigate this sometimes messy path.  If you can understand what’s happening and move forward with consistency rather than letting that resistance dictate your action, you WILL get to where you’re going.

Steven Pressfield says, “overcoming resistance is more important than talent or anything else” , so when your inner critic starts going off about how you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re so far behind, just breathe, let it go, and take your next step.

(You might also like my blog post about how to set goals for the life you want instead of the one you think you should have).

Step Six: Open yourself to learning/being the newbie. 

The most important thing to remember here is that you’re going to go from a career where you knew the ropes to be the total newb.  This is something to embrace! Let yourself learn, give yourself space to grow, and find ways that you can enjoy this process along the way. 

Want some more support as you navigate this transition?  Let’s talk!

5 Questions To Help You Make Any Decision

Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what will happen every time you’re making a big decision?  Maybe you’ve spent hours researching, learning, soul-searching and consulting your psychic to find the answers… only to be paralyzed by all the possible outcomes!  If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.  Making big decisions is hard!  And lots of people avoid the biggest decisions in order to live a more predictable life.

But if I’ve learned anything about what makes us tick –  I know this: there’s nothing you can do to make sure your decisions are completely risk-free.  There’s also no way to consider every single angle and every possible outcome.

Here’s what you can do: focus on the variable you have the most control over, and that is YOU, my friend!  The better you know yourself, the more success you’ll have with making the ‘right’ decision, whether it be big or small.  Not sure where to start?  These five questions will help you successfully make any decision:

1.What is my desired result?

Many times we think we want a particular outcome and discover that’s not actually what we were searching for.  The more clarity you have around what results you’re trying to achieve, the better your chances are for success.  Get crystal-clear about your desired result and you’ll know if your decision will get you closer to it or further away.

 

2. How would I like to feel about this decision?

The thing about decisions is… sometimes we avoid them because we’re avoiding the feelings associated with them.  We get uncomfortable and think it’s the decision weighing on us, and many times it’s actually the indecision itself that gets in the way!  How would you like to feel as a result of this decision?  Connect your feelings with the desired result from question 1, and you have more evidence to make the best choice.

 

3. If nothing changes and I never make a decision a year from now, how will I feel?

This is called future-pacing.  Some decisions feel urgent and this question will help you get to the bottom of it- do you need to make this decision right now, or can it wait?  If you ask yourself this question and your answer is: I would hate my life a year from now if nothing changed” then it’s time to make a move.

 

4. Have I considered all my options?

Listen, as I said before, there is no way to consider every possible option or outcome in a situation – but you can consider a lot of them!  With decisions big and small, many people tend to over-simplify.  For example: when I was thinking about getting out of the beauty industry (I was a hair and makeup artist), I thought I had next to ZERO options.  I could rent a chair somewhere and go back to school or… wait tables?  Be a bartender?  (I hadn’t considered all my options).  Once I cleared some of the self-esteem blocks with the help of a great coach, I was able to see the world open up before me and notice I have MANY marketable skills.  I just needed to consider all my options.

5. Do I know anyone else who has made this decision successfully? 

One of the best ways to get to the bottom of tip # 4 (above), is to tap into the wisdom of someone else who has already walked your path successfully.  There is always someone who has walked a road before you, and even if their situation isn’t identical, it can be helpful to hear about their journey!  Search out similar stories as you consider your options – it may help you find the confidence or clarity you need to make your next choice.

 

Almost every decision will lead to another one that must be made.  Your life is a series of choices.  You’ll get better at making them when you break through some of the resistance you might feel.  Honestly, in many situations, taking action one way or the other is better than no action!

 

This quote really says it all:

“Make a decision and make the decision right.  Line up your energy with it.  It doesn’t really matter what you decide, just decide. There are endless options that would serve you enormously well, and all or any one of them is better than no decision.”  -Esther Hicks

 

The Books That Changed My Life

It might sound like an oversimplification to say ‘books have changed my life’ – but it’s absolutely true.  I’m a HUGE advocate for self-education and personal development – and one of the easiest ways to do that is through great books! 

In fact, I  can trace many of my biggest life transitions back to a specific book.  In this post I’ll share the books that changed my life.  If you haven’t read them, I highly recommend checking them out!

Book One: Conversations With God

This three-part trilogy has been one of the only collections of books I’ve returned to again and again.  I’ve probably listened to the audiobooks at least 3 times apiece!  If the title throws you for a loop, don’t fret.  It’s not a ‘Jesus’ book.  You won’t be hearing bible verses or parables (for the most part).  The book begins by the author Neale Donald Walsh talking about an angry letter he wrote to God.  He was down on his luck, having a hard time paying his bills, and decided to take it up with the Big Guy In The Sky with some angry prose.

According to the books, God answered back.  His pen started moving independently of his mind, and God answered him.  The three books are a question-answer format actual ‘conversation with God’. 

Now, whether or not you believe such things are feasible is completely up to you.  You do NOT need to buy-in to this being a real experience to get major wisdom from this book.  The ideas presented in this book about who we are, what we’re here for, relationships, the institution of marriage, politics, community and so many other topics are beautiful and thought-provoking.  There is at no point a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ to live according to this book series.  Every nugget of advice in this book is outlined as a choice we can make about what we want and who we want to be. 

When I heard the words in this book, I was at a pivotal point in my life.  I’d spend years living for other people and had ‘forgotten’ I had choices about who I was and how I wanted to show up.  I was living in a house I hated with a husband who was abusive, had hit a ceiling at my job, and honestly didn’t recognize myself anymore.  The words in this book spoke to my soul – and for the first time in a LONG time, I remembered that the expression of mySELF mattered.  It inspired me to shake off all the ‘should’s’ I’d been living up to and the people I thought I had to please in order to uncover who I truly was underneath.     

Key takeaways: We are all made up of the same ‘stuff’ – in this book they call the stuff God.  In this way, we are all expressions of God, and our job, our purpose here on earth is to literally be ourselves.  We are God expressed.

Book Two: Quench

I read this on a whim because one of my online business-guru crushes was hosting a virtual book-club.  It has CHANGED my life.  The book is about proper hydration, and mainly about eating the right balance of foods in order to fully fuel your body and your brain.  I learned about how to move properly throughout the day for proper hydration (so great since I work at a desk now!) and some really yummy smoothie recipes I use every morning.  With just a few tweaks in my diet and routine, my energy skyrocketed, my productivity went through the roof, and I was finally able to feel hydrated after my hot-yoga sessions.

Key takeaways: Drink cucumber juice every morning.  Add ground chia seeds to an afternoon beverage for extra hydration, and take some time every day to stretch and twist your core to send hydration through your whole system and flush out toxins.

Book 3: The E-myth Revisited

This book was written for me and for every person who leaves the service industry to start their own business.  (For a step-by-step process for how to leave the service industry, check out this blog post here).

The E-Myth Revisited is a business book for non-business people.  It introduced me to the difference between working IN your business and working ON your business – which was really eye-opening.  As a former hair and makeup artist, my tendency was to make more work for myself because more work = more money.  When you own your own business with this mindset, it totally shoots you in the foot.  The E-Myth taught me to think more like a visionary, which has helped me keep my eyes on my goals and never forget the big picture.  It’s also helped me become more efficient in managing my time and delegating tasks.  Any entrepreneur who is feeling like they’re drowning in the minutiae of their business MUST read this book.

Key Takeaways: There are three roles in a business: Visionary/Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician. Each is essential to the business – but to scale your business, you need to recognize the different roles that are being played and discover how to free up your time and energy to create sustainable workflows – otherwise you haven’t created a business, you’ve created a job.

How To Support A Partner With Anxiety

Want to listen to this post on the Podcast?  Click the link below:


Anxiety is a tricky emotion, especially when it happens to your partner.  Chronic anxiety can begin to negatively affect your conversations, your ability to interact healthily with one another, and your relationships’ support structures.  It’s important to understand how to support a partner with anxiety so your partner is able to process their emotions and you’re able to feel grounded and taken care of in the process as well.  There are a few key strategies to understand – but first – let’s examine the emotion.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is the body’s response to worry and fear.

Anxiety is a normal and even healthy emotion.  In small amounts, anxiety motivates us to make better decisions and stay in integrity with our values systems.  Our bodies are meant to react to our worries and fears – so in many ways, anxiety can be really healthy.  

Anxiety becomes unhealthy when it’s prolonged, heightened, or disproportionate to the reality of a situation.  This includes symptoms  like:

• constant worry about things outside your control

• Fear or phobias that affect your ability to interact with others or perform at work

• Spin-outs into worry or anger over small stressors throughout the day

According to the National Alliance Of Mental Illness, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. 

Over 40 million Americans are afflicted by anxiety, so if your partner is one of them, they are certainly not alone!  Here are some of the feelings and bodily sensations associated with anxiety.  A basic understanding of  your partner’s physical and mental state will help you support them when the anxiety is happening.

Body sensations:

Anxiety experiences can vary, but many people report bodily sensations on two different spectrums:

  1. A feeling of electricity and hyper-arousal.  Imagine your body’s nervous system is lit up like a fiber-optic Christmas tree with each nerve ending sizzling with energy and discomfort. 
  2. A state of numbness and disconnection.  The stress response is exhausting, so many anxiety-sufferers disconnect from the stress-feelings in the body and feel completely numb, as if their head were floating independently of their body.

Mental state:

On a mental level, in a full-on anxiety episode or attack, your partner’s thoughts might be moving way too fast for them to be able to tell you what’s going on.  When this happens, the anxiety-sufferer is ‘off in another world’ and will often need help to come back to the world you’re living in with them. 

It’s important to remember: it’s not your responsibility to ‘fix’ or ‘mend’ the anxiety emotion.  If you want to support your partner in the process, it’s important to take a few steps first in order to be helpful in a way that’s healthy for both of you. 

Here are some action steps you can take to support a partner with anxiety:

1. Have an open conversation about the anxiety when our partner isn’t anxious. 

One of the healthiest and most supportive things you can do for your partner is to speak openly and without judgement about their anxiety.  It’s important to make sure this is done gently and supportively, when your partner is not in a high-anxiety state.  I’d recommend asking questions to open the conversation – such as: I’ve noticed you’ve been feeling some extra stress over _____ lately.  Want to talk about it?  

2. Develop a support plan together.

This is the most powerful way to support a partner with anxiety.  Ideally the two of you would develop an anxiety support-plan together.  Creating a plan together helps your partner feel loved, seen and taken care of in the process.  One important note here: If you try to make a support-plan without your partner knowing, it will NOT go well.  Start at step one and have a conversation about it so you can understand what your partner wants and needs.  If you decide to try to ‘fix’ your partner’s anxiety with a plan of your own without them knowing, they’re probably going to feel pressure from you to ‘hurry up and fix it’ which can heighten the anxiety response.

A support plan might be as simple as: Operation Disney Movie Night! Or, an invitation to go outside for a walk.

Some of my favorite healthy suggestions include:

  • Any type of gentle movement– dancing, walking, or biking are great.
  • A change of environment, like going for a drive or moving to another room in the house, or sitting in the backyard.
  • One for your anxious partner (that you can prompt them in to) is environment recognition.  Since anxiety takes you out of the here and now, your partner can re-anchor themselves by looking around their immediate environment and identifying things: that cup is cream with blue words on it, That’s a green succulent in a brown pot, the grey house across the street has white trim etc. etc.  This could be prompted by a partner or done individually by the anxious partner.
  • A mindful sensory experience.  Smells, physical touch, and tastes can gently bring the brain back to the present.  A light massage, cold shower, bath with aroma-therapy, or a comforting, fragrant soup can all help ease the anxious feelings.  (A note here: all of these activities can be done mindlessly, so it’s important to slow down and try to sink into the experience.  Ask your partner if this is a good strategy for them before deciding to try to implement it).
  • A funny show or light movie might do the trick.
  • Peaceful music paired with some gentle yoga.
  • Supplements like magnesium or Cenitol (which I have lovingly called chill-the-fu*$-out powder).
  • High-intensity exercise, like sprints, burpees, or a short HIIT workout can be a quick-fix for certain personality types with anxiety.

It’s important that you both take into consideration your personality types and what will feel natural and doable for each of you.  Make your plan realistic and unique to who each of you are and how you want to show up for each other.

3. Encourage finding professional help (if it’s chronic/repeating/getting worse/negatively affecting your life together).  Sometimes even the best laid support plan will fail.  We are not meant to figure everything out on our own, so professional support is often an essential part of anxiety support for your partner.  Encourage your partner to get help, and be open to talking about what they learn about themselves in their sessions.  A mental health professional might be the best way to come up with a support plan for your partner.

4. Understand your own feelings.  This is a big one.  You’re in this relationship too, and your feelings matter just as much as your partner’s.  Monitor your own feelings while you’re attempting to support your partner with anxiety and make sure you take the time you need to feel supported in your life as well.  You will not be able to support your partner if you aren’t getting the support you need for yourself, so make sure you’re taken care of first.  I recommend this simple (free) meditation linked in the image below for supporting yourself when your partner has anxiety so you can feel protected, grounded and calm.

How To Set Goals For The Life You Want

How To Set Goals For The Life You Want

Instead of the one you think you SHOULD have.

To listen to this blog in Podcast form, press play here:

Do you remember the answer you gave to the question: ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’

Some of the popular answers from when I was growing up were:

Astronaut!

Teacher!

Firefighter!

Nurse!

Mom!

The beautiful thing about asking a child this question lies in their innocence around how the world works.  Most likely, they haven’t yet learned that life is hard and you don’t always get what you want.  From this untainted mindset, children are able to dream from a no-holds-barred kind of place that allows them to imagine themselves as… well, anything.

By the time most of us reach adulthood, a couple things happen to our dream-lives:

1. Our parents and our experiences tell us who we should and shouldn’t be in the world,

2. We forget about our childish dreams, and

3. We accept our fate with the gifts we think we have and the limitations we’ve discovered about ourselves.  

Now, this gradual disconnection from what we really want isn’t always ‘smart, well-adjusted adulting’. For many of us, disconnecting from our dreams turns into a form of repression.  We’re meant to explore and grow and change in our ideas about ourselves and the world we live in – and in order to do that, we have to challenge our current reality and occasionally (lovingly) let parts of it go.  This ‘letting go’ process is what allows you to reset and make sure you’re moving forward in the direction you’re ACTUALLY excited about, rather than settling for what you think you ought to have.

For many of us, disconnecting from our dreams turns into a form of repression. 

The life you actually want doesn’t have to be a dream.  You can ditch your ‘shoulds’ and decide to work towards the life you want instead of the one you’ve settled for.

Here are some tangible steps for setting goals for the life you want instead of the one you think you ‘should’ have:

Pre-step 1: understand your ‘shoulds’. 

If you are living in ways you think you ‘should’ live, something’s out of alignment.  The word should is a shame word, it comes from a judgement of what’s right and wrong and we use it to look at our lives from an outside perspective rather than an inner knowledge.  This outside view tells us we ‘should’ be a certain way, instead of us deciding and choosing  a path based on our values.  If you’re ‘should-ing’ on  yourself, examine the beliefs behind each statement.  Are they true?  Where did they come from?  What if they weren’t true for you?

Once you understand your ‘shoulds’, you can move on to the process of setting goals for the life you actually want (as outlined below).

1. Allow yourself to dream: what if you said yes to that dream? 

Let’s take this back to age 5 on the playground.  You’re laying in the sand after several jaunts up and down the slide and your friend asks you, what do you want to be when you grow up? 

What do you say?  This might be a memory you had from what you’ve said before- or it might be your inner child sending you some wisdom.  Write down your answers regardless of the case. 

Now, let’s take this to the present moment.  What would your ideal life look like?  What would you spend your time doing?  How would you like to feel?  Notice the resistance that might come up here – you’re going to hear yourself think things like: ‘I can’t afford to do that!’  or, ‘I don’t have the time!’  These are just old beliefs based on your old ideas about what your life is capable of being.  In order to set goals for the life you actually want and to get out of all the ‘shoulds’, you’ve got to get past your inner critic.  Steven Pressfield says: “The ability to overcome resistance, self-sabotage and self-doubt is way more important than talent.’  Stop worrying about HOW and just let yourself dream it up first.  

2. In order to get honest about setting goals for the life you want instead of the one you think you should have, you’re going to need to think in terms of what you want your life to look like, not necessarily what you think is possible based on what you’ve already experienced.

Dr. Joe Dispenza’s transformative work in neuroscience illustrates this beautifully: our thoughts create patterns in our brain that form well-worn ruts (called neural pathways).  After a while, our thinking becomes really patterned and when we think the same things over and over, we get the same results in our lives.  You’ve decided by now what your life can and cannot look like.  In order to create something new, you’ll need to entertain new thoughts about what your life could be.  Get yourself out of the box you’ve created for yourself by allowing yourself to challenge your thoughts- especially the negative, self-defeating ones.  Ask questions like: ‘what if I could do that?’ or  ‘What would that look like if I said yes?’

Research shows that simply thinking  new thoughts about your life can create brand-new neural pathways in your brain.  This means your brain will start helping you find new ways to show up in the world – ones you’ve never thought of previously.

3. Get crystal clear about this new life you’re imagining for yourself. 

This involves a whole-picture reframe of what your life could look like.  What do the possibilities for your life really look like?  Get clear by answering these questions: 

(For a guided meditation that takes you through this process, click here).

What time do you get up in the morning?

What do you spend your day thinking about?

What kind of clothes are you wearing?

Where do you live?

How much money do you make?

What do you do for work?

Who do you surround yourself with?

What lights you up?

4. This next step is essential when setting goals for the life you want instead of the one you think you should have: you MUST Identify how long you’re willing to work towards this life and what you’re what you’re willing to give for it. 

Seth Godin talks about this idea on this episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast. Paraphrasing, he sites, if your dream job is to start a technology company, and you’re not willing to take out a second mortgage on your house for it, it’s not the right goal for you.  Basically, he’s saying there’s always a cost for the life you want to live.  You will have to give up parts of the life you have now in order to create something new. If that’s not worth it to you, cross the idea off your list and choose something else.  It’s okay to not want to sacrifice, it just means your dream life isn’t quite in alignment with what you’re willing to give for it (which means, it will *most likely* always be a dream). 

On another level, if you decide you want to be a minimalist, but you don’t want to eliminate anything from your life – well, you can’t really follow through.  Make sure you choose dreams and goals that you’re willing to do the work for, otherwise you’re always pining for something that’s not aligned with your personal reality.

5. Break your big goal down into minuscule steps.

Once you have a clear picture of what you want and you’ve identified that you’re willing to work for it, break the big picture into minuscule steps.  Like, smaller than you would think.  There are a couple ruts that are common at this step: 1. Waiting for motivation to magically get you going, and 2. biting off more than you can chew.  Habit-guru and bestselling author James Clear sites the problem with waiting for motivation to move toward your goals: it’s much better for your momentum and how your brain registers success to focus on completing small actions consistently, rather than trying to sprint your way towards success or wait for a spark of motivation to magically get you there. 

Does the life you want involve you traveling the world?  Start with something super small like scheduling a time each week to look at maps to see where you’d like to go, or subscribing to a worldly magazine and reading an article each week for inspiration.

Is your goal to become super-fit and design a line of workout clothing?  Start with researching workouts that light you up, buying some running shoes, or hiring a personal trainer.

Make these steps small, measurable, and actionable.

6. Make space and schedule your first small steps. 

In order to set those goals for the life you want instead of the one you think you should have, you’ve got to make space for your new direction and schedule your steps into your current life.  Take a look at your calendar. What’s no longer aligned with the goals you’re setting for your new life?  What can you eliminate to free up your time and energy?  Cancel all those commitments and replace them with your new, tiny, action steps toward your new goal.  As my favorite success-guru Marie Forleo says: “if it isn’t scheduled, it isn’t real”.

7. Revaluate your big picture often. 

Life happens (remember 2020!?).

Return to your goals and vision for your life and update it as your life grows and changes.  This picture will morph and change as you do, and it’s important to adjust your goals as well. Stay connected with yourself and what you want, and don’t forget your big picture.  ALL big things are created one small step at a time, so remind yourself of the steps you can take every single day to realize your dreams.

How To Find Meaning In Everything You Do

I’m sure your life is full of meaningful moments.

Those ones that feel like your whole world makes sense and your heart is full of happiness – the ‘my mouth is smile-shaped and there’s nothing I can do about it’- type moments.

But what if those beautiful moments happened more often? Your life moving forward is like a blank canvas. You get to decide what picture your actions will paint and how much meaning you can distill from each moment.

Use these simple steps to find more meaning in everything you do.  With a few simple shifts, you can have more moments that make your heart light up simply by being you.

1. Identify your goals and values. (Ideally, these two are aligned with one another).

Your values are your driver – they’re the most important motivators you have and they’re a really great gauge for measuring whether or not something is actually worth your precious time. If you’re looking to find more meaning in your life, your values are the ticket.

Brainstorm and list your top 5 values and any current goals you have right now.

2. Next, open up your calendar and notice all your appointments, tasks, social commitments, workouts, and anything else that’s scheduled there.

You’ll be a bit of a detective here- ask yourself for each item: WHY is this on my calendar?

How you spend your time is a great indicator of the beliefs you have about your life- and in order to create or find meaning in your day-to-day, it’s really important to understand WHY the heck you’re doing what you do.

3. Remember the values/goals list from step one? Label each item on your calendar with its corresponding value.

Ideally, in a meaning-filled life, all your tasks, to-do’s, and activities will point back to what’s most important to you. This is the simplest way to align your life with who you really are and what you want! If there’s anything on your calendar that doesn’t align with a value or goal you have, see step 4:

4. Notice which tasks don’t align with your values and goals (no doubt there will be a few!).

It’s totally normal to have some aspects of your life that don’t fully align with who you are – that’s a part of the fun! You get to experiment and decide what works for you and what doesn’t and if you’re like most people, you have some old habits you ‘tried on’ years ago that no longer fit the vision you have for yourself.

The important part is to actually acknowledge when something’s not working for you and promptly eliminate it.

But first, ask yourself these questions: What am I trying to accomplish with this task/commitment/or goal? Is there something else that’s more meaningful/worthy of my time and energy AND aligned with the life I want to live?

The number one, most important step for finding meaning in everything you do is to eliminate everything that doesn’t align with who you are right now and who you are becoming.

Your actions today set up your successes tomorrow and into your future, so step into alignment with what you ACTUALLY want in order to live your very best life. Everything else is fluff- and you don’t need it. Be fierce with your time and energy, only allow for things that support your values and goals, and you’ll be left with ONLY things that are meaningful to you.