Sensitive Introversion uncovered!
In my last post I told you about discovering a unique temperament that I call the Sensitive Introvert. If you missed it you can read it here. Sensitive Introverts need to have quiet time alone like classic introverts, and also have strong reactions to sensory input like the Highly Sensitive Person. SIs often also have a tendency toward anxiety/worry/fear that influences how we handle situations.
I say WE because I’m most definitely in this category—as are many women who are my family, friends, and clients. I wonder if we are drawn to one another because we sense a kindred spirit or by somehow recognizing that we function in similar ways. Perhaps in the case of relatives the similarities are genetic. I don’t know and I’ll leave this to the quantitative researchers to figure out.
The traits I mentioned above are just the basics and there are many other fascinating characteristics SIs seem to have in common.
Sensitive Introverts (SIs) like to really observe what’s going on. You’ll often see us on the sidelines watching and listening. We pick up on others’ emotions and take in copious amounts of sensory stimuli and, because our brains are doing this all the time, it wears us out. Places like fairs or festivals, while interesting and even enjoyable, tend to be huge energy drains for SIs because there is so much sensory information to absorb.
We also can get exhausted by social interaction. Contrary to what some may think about introverts, the issue is not that we don’t like people or are too shy to speak, it’s that certain types of interaction tire us and so we try to avoid them. Small talk with strangers, for example, is quite draining, but we love to talk about deep subjects and ponder the mysteries of like, especially with people we know well. Sensitive Introverts have less capacity for large group occasions and enjoy one-on-one interactions more. We also need to be sure we get enough time in solitude to balance out the time with people.
We actually crave time alone. We need it just like extroverts need to be around people; it feeds us and helps us to replenish our energy. Sometimes it seems like we require so much solitude that we can feel a little guilty telling others that we’d like to be alone again. Society seems to view needing time alone as a weakness. It’s not. Sensitive Introverts just nourish themselves differently than extroverts who are the majority of the population. There is nothing unhealthy about taking time alone to think, reflect, and recharge. In fact, the unhealthy part is when we don’t get the solo time we need.
This is why self-care is crucial. When we know what our needs are and we get them met we function really well—we’re the best versions of ourselves. But when our self-care needs go unmet there can be serious consequences—from mere crabbiness or lack of patience, to intolerance, lethargy, illness, and depression. Every human being needs self-care and without it will not be at their best. The stakes are higher for Sensitive Introverts though, and they must carry out their individual recipe for self-care to be able to function.
When we set up ourselves and our lives up for success—in a way that really works for our SI temperament—we can maintain a baseline of calm and serenity and even build up energy reserves. By recognizing how we function best and capitalizing on structuring our lives in this way, we eliminate the energy drains so everything works as smoothly as possible.
This means we need to know our limits and manage our energy in a way that looks a lot different from extroverts. We need to learn how to recognize when we are running out of steam and also how to communicate that in a way that others can easily hear and understand that this is something we need to keep functioning well.
What I know now is that there is nothing inherently inadequate, wrong, or strange about the way that Sensitive Introverts walk in the world—it’s just very different than many other people. Because our society takes extroversion as the norm, anything else is viewed as kind of strange. Sensitive Introverts don’t always enjoy the same things that big extroverts do.
I know there have been times when I looked at how easily others made their way in the world and thought, “It seems so easy for them! They’re not bothered by anything. What’s wrong with me that I’m so sensitive and my ideal life is so different?
Over the last several years I’ve been doing a deep dive to learn what works for my life so that it feels easy and I have energy reserves. I’ve discovered some things that work amazingly well for Sensitive Introverts and have been sharing them with my clients. They too found their lives transformed when they applied the ideas, mindset shifts, exercises, and empowerment tools.
Now I’m sharing my findings more widely so that I can help even more women to live their best life. In September I'm offering my first ever virtual coaching program for women and I'm over the moon excited about it! It's exclusively for Sensitive Introverts and is designed to be in sync with their temperament.
To recap, women who are Sensitive Introverts usually:
+ need significant time alone to replenish their energy
+ are quiet, reflective, big thinkers
+ are extremely observant of their surroundings, other people, and their reactions
+ take in loads of sensory and emotional information
+ are easily overwhelmed and/or overstimulated
+ feel guilty for needing to nourish themselves differently
+ get tired out by social interaction, especially small talk
+ are sensitive to loud noises, smells, lights, large groups of people
+ feel selfish that they need more alone time than others
+ wonder what's wrong with them that life is more challenging than it seems to be for extroverts
Everywhere I have talked about Sensitive Introverts someone has told me “You just described me more perfectly than anyone ever has before and I wish I knew how to handle this stuff better!”
And that's why I'm offering this program called Welcome Home to Your Self. The details are being finalized right now and very shortly will be released. If this describes someone dear to you, please share the information. I guarantee they will thank you! Sensitive Introverts are not often catered to and a program tailored to these needs is hard to find.
I invite you to put your name on the no-obligation Interest List here so that you are the first to receive full program info and registration details, as well as access to Early Bird pricing. The program is limited to 12 women.
Thanks for reading!
With warmth and love~
P.S. Remember, sign up HERE to add yourself to the interest list so you are the first to get details on the program and registration when it's available. This is the way to find out about Early Bird pricing, ladies!
I’m always up for a new discovery. As a huge advocate of lifelong learning, research, and self-education I can get real nerdy at times! Several months ago I started realizing that there seemed to be a certain set of behaviors and thought patterns that many of the women I know as friends, family, or coaching clients appeared to share, and I have as well. I found this fascinating!
This set of characteristics is quite different than what the majority of the population experiences and that totally fits with the feeling of “outsiderness” that many of us in this category have experienced.
What I’ve found is that women who are introverts—who recharge by being alone and are generally more quiet and reflective—who also have the characteristics of the “highly sensitive person” as coined by psychologist Elaine Aron, also seem to have a strong likelihood of experiencing anxiety/fear/worry. This set of traits—highly sensitive introvert with or without anxiety—has a significant impact how we experience and deal with life.
The center of this Venn diagram would seem to be a small percentage of the population, but as I began talking to women the most frequent response I got was “You just described me to a T—and no one has ever done that before!”
When I began interviewing women who self-identified as “sensitive introverts with or without anxiety” to see what challenged them, how they coped, what they wished they could change, how their traits influenced their self-esteem and their ability to take action, and what their ideal life looked like it got even more interesting.
The similarity of their responses was incredible! These women varied in age, country of origin, stages in life, occupation, etc., and yet their experiences and desires were uncannily alike. In fact, they often used the exact same words to describe their experiences.
Today and over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing what these traits and thought patterns are, what my experience as a sensitive introvert has been, and how I support women to use these characteristics to guide and inform them in creating a life that fits them perfectly.
Many of the women shared with me that they intensely question themselves about they way they function. They described being overwhelmed by life at times and how that can lead to feeling paralyzed and unable to take action. Because the rest of the population appears to function differently, the sensitive introvert feels wrong, bad, alone, and often full of self-doubt. Many said they feel unsure of who they are because it’s daunting to share their gifts and thus create a clear life purpose.
When establishing close relationships, they feel they have to educate others on how they prefer to socialize. For example, when making friends they might offer up that they sometimes need to hole up by themselves instead of getting together or going out, so to please not be offended if invitations are turned down. They also tend to blame themselves for not being an extrovert who’s always up for fun, which they see as weakness, but is really just having a very different way of nourishing themselves.
I want to be clear that these are only a few of the traits—and probably some of the most challenging. There are more characteristics that I’ll share in the next post and they have upsides to them too!
I have learned many ways to offer support for sensitive introverts through mindfulness, self-knowledge, and tools, so they can create fabulous lives that are a good match for their temperament. Self-love and acceptance, knowing how to set healthy boundaries without guilt to protect their energy reserves, and understanding their own unique limits are some of the things I share with my clients.
In September I’m offering the inaugural run of Welcome Home to Yourself, a coaching program exclusively for women who are sensitive introverts. Unlike many coaching programs, this one is created by a sensitive introvert for sensitive introverts, so it will be small, most interaction will be one-to-one, and there will be plenty of compassion for each participant’s pace.
The details are being finalized now and registration info will soon be released. To be sure you don’t miss out—especially on the Early Bird discount—sign up to be added to the the interest list here. No obligation, just be the first to hear the details and get access to Early Bird pricing.
I would love to hear in the comments any observations or realizations you had while reading. Let me know if this describes part of your temperament!
A huge shout out to all the women who let me ask them about being a sensitive introvert! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on what makes you YOU.
P.S. Remember, sign up HERE to add yourself to the interest list so you are the first to get details on the program and registration when it's available. This is the way to find out about Early Bird pricing, ladies!
Last week was magical. I had the good fortune to be part of a four-day retreat focusing on the seasons of women’s lives that was incredibly powerful.
It’s remarkable what can happen when women come together with a common vision and purpose. From the vision makers who had the chutzpah to just contact the amazing @UmaDinsmoreTuli in England out of the blue and say, please come to the Midwest and work with us!, to the logistics magicians, to the women who signed up last minute because something told them they needed to be there, to my carpooling goddesses—I am so grateful to everyone who played a part.
What I experienced in this circle of women confirmed something I know as a coach at a very deep level: that while we can grow and work through stuff on our own, it is when we break our silence, share our experiences, and realize we are not alone in our struggles, that we are able to break down the walls of isolation and begin to heal.
We heal in relationship.
That should not surprise us since the pain we carry that requires healing also happened in relationship. We all want to mend our wounds, and yet, how often do we slow down enough to give ourselves space to experience it?
The retreat was such an wonderful reminder that when we are held in a strong container of love and acceptance, each of us can heal the wounds in our own ways, in our own time. Throughout our time together tears were welcome, rage was welcome, laughter was welcome, memories, grief, triumph, guilt, loneliness, pride, the sadness of the girls we once were, and of course, self-love—all were welcome in the circle. To feel it in your body, process it, and let it go—whatever was coming up in the moment—was not just tolerated, not just acceptable, but encouraged, welcomed, and absolutely normal. Imagine what it would be like to do that regularly instead of putting it off for decades!
What makes this so cathartic is being witnessed. Most of us shy away from this because it feels embarrassing or uncomfortable. I know there are times when I do. Ironically, being witnessed is what allows the embarrassment and discomfort to actually dissipate.
Brené Brown talks about having a “vulnerability hangover” when we wake up fearing that we shared too much with someone. What comes up is that old feeling of shame. Brown describes it like this: “For women, shame is a web of unattainable expectations that say, Do it all, Do it perfectly, and Never let them see you struggle.” Ouch. We all know that one. So instead of getting all messy and processing our pain and shame with someone, we may carry it with us for a long, long time.
The antidote for shame is empathy. Brown says, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” So here it is again. In order to heal, we must share our stories, be witnessed, and have another human being respond with kindness, love, and understanding. Then we get to drop the shame and embody our authenticity to come to a place of being more whole than we were before. Our vulnerability, says Brown, “becomes the most accurate measure of our courage” and it is when we expose ourselves vulnerably that “we have experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”
This is big stuff for anyone, but for those of us who have introversion, high sensitivity, and anxiety going on—this is me and the majority of my clients—this is like asking us to casually dive into a sea of circling sharks. It sets off all our alarms.
What will people think of me if I share what I’m really feeling?
Will this exhaust me so much that I’m a mess tomorrow?
I want to be sure I’m doing this right; I better check and make sure others are sharing too.
What if no one relates to what I’m saying? Will they still like me tomorrow?
I’m not sure what I’m feeling is valid.
Maybe I should forget about me and check to see if anyone else needs support...
Can you relate to these thoughts?
It can be hard to raise our comfort level high enough to share vulnerably. It’s difficult to imagine that experiencing the discomfort can allow us to move on to a place of ease and joy. Let me tell you friends, it is true. Welcoming the hurt, holding it up to examine it, telling its story—and through it all being seen with love and compassion—this is where the magic lives.
We heal in relationship.
With warmth and love~
To get tips, insights, and encouragement on living a #fullcuplife of love and acceptance, follow me on Instagram @positivepathcoaching so you don’t miss a thing! My work focuses on women, especially those who experience the grand trifecta of being an introvert and highly sensitive with anxiety.
Brené Brown quotes are from an interview by Roman Krznaric.
Introverts have it tough in this society. We’re outnumbered 3 to 1 by extroverts and the busy social pace that’s expected is a big ol’ drain for those of us who prefer to recharge in solitude. While recent studies show that there are several types of introverts, and we’ve known for a long time that there’s a spectrum of intensity, there are some general rules of thumb that have worked exceptionally well for me and my introverted clients.
I took my first Myers-Briggs Assessment when I was 15 and learned the language for what I’d always known in my heart: I love being with people, especially one on one, AND in order to recoup my energy, I need to be alone. Decades later, I can still be swayed by the extroverted culture.
For many years I hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner, inviting everyone from my ex-husband and his mom to stray international college students, but I finally realized that the aftermath of exhaustion was bigger than my joy for it. I had to admit that I’m not the kind of person who can pull off that kind of social event—unless I’m willing to spend three days in the fetal position afterward—and that was hard. I felt like a failure.
It’s so easy for self-doubt to creep in when we feel we’re falling short of the expectations placed on us as women—especially since we are usually the glue, the connectors, of the family. If we’re honest we sometimes want to say, “No, I just can’t take on that volunteer opportunity. I need some time to hole up in my bed and read a novel." Or how about, “Thanks for inviting all the parents to stay and chat during the birthday party, but I can’t think of anything worse than trying to have a conversation while a dozen 8-year-olds with noisemakers run around.” That kind of honesty is not usually well-received and is seen as selfish.
No matter what we say to protect our need to keep from being totally drained, the message we get back is often “you are not enough”. Or, conversely, we do what is expected at the expense of our own well-being, pushing ourselves too far until we’re running on empty, and in a perpetual state of overwhelm.
We can choose to set ourselves up for success though. It’s not complicated, but it is hard. It means actually putting ourselves first. That’s not something we’re accustomed to doing. If you’re willing to take a crack at it, here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Know yourself and your needs.
No one else can tell you how much alone time you need or how much stimulation is going to fry your nerves. You need to get to know yourself and how you function best. Whether that means actively monitoring the number of evening commitments, the frequency of extended family gatherings, or the number of minutes of meditation to maintain balanced energy, only you know what makes you tick—and what ticks you off.
2. Accept yourself. You are worthy.
Having different needs can make us question whether we are worthy or if we have value in this world. We question whether we are good enough, wanted, and whether what we offer is needed. But your acceptance and worth cannot come from anyone or anything outside of you. It has to come from within. You have to decide that you are worthy. Just as you are, right now in this moment—you are enough. It’s time to understand your own worth and value.
3. State your needs without shame or blame.
It’s essential to state your needs without being ashamed. There’s no right or wrong in the human needs department, there’s only what is. Blaming ourselves for having different needs helps no one. On the other side of things, you must refrain from shaming and blaming your partner, kids, or boss for situations that overtax you. If the kids are playing a loud game and it’s too much, just say, Great game! Take it to the backyard and you can yell as loud as you want. No need to belittle them for their volume level. If your partner wants you to attend a huge company event with them, state what kind of respite you’ll need to have the energy for it—or tell them you would rather spend time together one on one. Don’t go on a rant, just state what you need and find a solution together.
4. Acknowledge that in order to be the best version of yourself you must meet your own needs first.
When we accept that we are worthy of having our needs met and that we’re responsible for making that happen, we open up space to really show up for the people and things that are important to us. When we end a friendship that’s been draining us, we have more energy to be an attentive partner. Or when we set a limit on attending end of the day meetings at work, we can show up more fully for dinner with the family. When you take your needs seriously, instead of feeling selfish, you actually grant yourself and your beloveds the gift of being your best self.
5. Raise your baseline.
We all have an emotional baseline where we normally reside. There are occasional short periods of bliss that take us way up to a peak above that line and sad events or moods that take us far below our norm, but we always come back to the baseline. Once we make it a habit to honor our needs and make having a full cup the rule rather than the exception, we raise the level of our everyday state of being. If you’ve been functioning under less-than-ideal circumstances for years, it will feel amazing to raise this up. It’s like a new lease on life to have your baseline be a place of contentment and calm serenity.
Last year instead of hosting a big Thanksgiving celebration, I chose to spend time at a cabin in the woods with my daughters. While I was a little sad not to provide a place for everyone to have dinner, it was far outweighed by the joy of recharging with a book by the fire, cooking with my kids, and long walks in the forest. It met our needs perfectly—and the world didn't fall apart because I wasn't hosting.
I hope these ideas are helpful for you!
For more tips follow me on Instagram. @positivepathcoaching
With warmth and love,
Bold, imperfect action. Lately, I’ve been taking a lot of that. It’s a phrase coaches use to mean testing things out without knowing the outcome. This used to be hard for me because I have anxiety and not knowing the outcome freaked me out, but it’s easier now that I know what’s going on in my brain. Over 40 million adults in the US have anxiety—and women at double the rate of men—so see if you find yourself in any of the "assumptions" below.
Looking back, I’ve likely had anxiety since I was small, though I wasn’t diagnosed until my late forties when I had panic attacks that were nigh on debilitating. Up until that point I thought everyone experienced life like I did: difficulty making decisions, desperate to stay in others’ good graces, and extreme fear of making a mistake or failing.
Since learning what makes me tick I’ve developed a recipe for self-care that includes plenty of anxiety-reducing measures: daily meditation, medication, yoga, acupuncture, time in nature, regular body work, blocking out open space in my schedule, and knowing what triggers me. This delicious mix allows me to take bold, imperfect action and actually enjoy it!
Learning about the triggers has been key. In Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Fear, and Worry, Jennifer Shannon gives a fabulous explanation of the assumptions that all people with anxiety share in some combination. They are:
Shannon states, “These assumptions are impossible standards. The more we attempt to live by them, the more anxious we will be, and the less likely we will be to take the risks that are necessary… to live freely and follow our dreams.”
Here’s how these assumptions might show up in a person’s life.
When we believe we have to make the right decision about every single thing every day it can feel paralyzing. The fear that something awful could be brought on by a bad decision means that we’re more likely to spend our days worrying about what might happen than taking bold, imperfect action.
Perfectionists are not just people with high standards as some might think. True perfectionists have to hit exactly what we’re aiming for—anything else is a failure. The motivation to do this is not challenge, higher purpose, or fun, but fear of failing. This includes a fear of losing our status in the group we identify with—perhaps by saying the wrong thing, wearing the wrong clothes, or arriving at the wrong time. Those may seem like trivial reasons to fear excommunication, but for those of us with anxiety, they are real thoughts. We may even refuse to take risks or be highly creative because that would involve an unknown outcome and possible failure. Instead we play it safe and stick to things we’re good at. No bold, imperfect action here.
Over-responsible people go far beyond just being a reliable person. We fear losing connection with those who are most important to us and who we feel we cannot risk displeasing. The over-responsible mindset pushes us to bend over backwards to accommodate others’ expectations in order to preserve the connection. We may take on other people’s problems, have difficulty setting limits, and experience constant worry and rumination about others. Definitely no bold, imperfect action when we might risk losing our people.
Shannon says our minds can become hijacked by the possibility of threat and we go into fight, flight, or freeze hearing “Something is wrong! Do something!”. Alternately we chant, “As long as I am certain, as long as I am perfect, and as long as others are okay, I will be safe, able to relax, and happy.”
In order to move toward our dreams, grow our businesses, or try something with an unknown outcome, we have to recognize our fear and anxiety for what it is, feel it, thank it, and let it go. This mighty trifecta of assumptions can be huge roadblocks to personal growth unless we understand how to work with our thoughts.
Many of my clients experience these roadblocks, so I now specialize in coaching women to break the cycle of certainty, perfection, and over-responsibility that paralyzes so many of us. By shifting the pattern they can feel more confident and authentic in taking bold, imperfect action and moving toward their dreams.
If that describes you, or if this post speaks to you in some way, I invite you to contact me via email and tell me what your main obstacle is. The next step will be to schedule a time to talk so I can support you in gaining clarity. We can also see if we are a good match to work together.
I currently have just two slots open for new clients. Are you ready to transform your life to the one you dream of? Email email@example.com
With warmth and love,
Easy. There’s something our culture doesn’t like about this word. There’s a strong belief that circumstances have to be difficult to be valuable, and to remind us of that we have a lot of slogans that reflect it:
No pain, no gain.
There is no success without hardship.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Hard work pays off.
Setting intentions, doing our personal growth work, and manifesting our dreams is absolutely essential for a satisfying and meaningful life where we contribute to the world. But the mindset that ‘life is hard’ can lead us into a jungle of unhappiness and pushing ourselves to always do more.
When we’re in that mindset it can feel like no matter how much we do, it’s never enough. We’re not enough. We think we must go full tilt until we are exhausted or there’s something wrong with us.
Brené Brown talks about how “exhaustion is not a status symbol” in her 2012 book Daring Greatly: Having the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Doing, doing, doing until we are numb is a way of keeping ourselves from listening or engaging fully. Like running again and again into a stone wall: it may keep us from feeling other things, but it doesn't solve the problem.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Brown said that when she questions people about taking time away from work and not answering emails around the clock “their fear is: If I really stopped and let myself relax, I would crater. Because the truth is I’m exhausted, I’m disconnected from my partner, I don’t feel super connected to my kids right now.”
Is it possible that we are doing so much, not because we have to, but because it is habit and we don’t know what else to do—and that we fear what we might find if we slow down?
This kind of life is not sustainable, and eventually, it will burst open somewhere.
What can we do to get out of this?
~Imagine a life where we choose to
put what nourishes us first instead of last.~
This week I spoke with a talented and intelligent woman who told me how deeply she desired more regular time for creative pursuits in her life. As we talked it became clear that for her singing, painting, and writing were almost as important as air. When she engages creatively she feels alive, energized, content, joyful.
She also finds that she's more connected and patient with her children and husband when she makes time for art. The humdrum parts of life seem less tiresome and more doable. Essentially, there is more ease to her life!
And yet, even though she knows how much the arts feed her soul, she was putting them at the bottom of her to-do list—a luxury that she might grant herself once everything else was completed.
Dear ones, if you put self-care—whether that's creative pursuits, exercise, solitude, time in nature, or something else—as a last priority, it will not be a regular part of your life. Your cup will not be refilled by the unique recipe for nourishment that you need and it will get emptier and emptier. And that means everyday life gets harder and harder.
The ease of operating with a full tank disappears and we are left with that feeling that we have to somehow force ourselves to grind forward on those few drops of fuel that are left.
It doesn't have to be this way. You can choose ease and self-love and be an even more amazing version of yourself!
What step could you take today to add a little self-care that will fill your cup and allow you to approach life with more ease?
Post in the comments what would bring ease to your life. I would love to hear how you are caring for yourself!
With warmth and love,
Here in the northland, I can feel in my body that spring is finally on her way. I want to move furniture, paint rooms, start seedlings, and DO things. The time of reflection and turning inward is coming to a close and the sluggishness of winter is losing its hold. It feels so good!
But what I know is that the onset of May and June mean we will soon all be running full-tilt—not really listening to our inner selves—just trying to get everything on the endless to-do list done.
Quite possibly, crossing things off your list does not satisfy you deep down though. Am I right? Then here’s what I want to say, as much to myself as to you: g e t q u i e t . . .
When you are running from this thing to that you’re on auto pilot. You attend to the things you’re supposed to do, but often not what you are called to do.
In order to hear that soft voice of your wise self, you have to slow down and create some quiet space, and then ask yourself some questions.
What is my heart yearning for?
What are my true desires?
What dreams have I been pushing to the back burner for far too long?
How do I want to contribute to the world?
I encourage you to really listen to the answers.
Not your ego telling you that those dreams might be silly or impractical.
Not the fear of what people will think or whether you will disappoint someone.
Not your cautious, fact-based partner or parent who means well.
But listen to that small voice within that has the answers that are true for you.
You might not like what you hear. Or you may love it. You may think that it’s too hard/expensive/unreasonable/selfish/ridiculous. I invite you to listen anyway.
According to a long time hospice care nurse, the biggest regret of people who are dying is:
I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself,
not the life others expected of me.
The first time I read that it shook me to my core. I started to ask myself some hard questions.
What am I really here to do?
What do I love about what I’m doing now and what do I want to change?
What dreams would I regret most if I didn’t go for them?
The answers I received felt just right and I was delighted. I decided to shift my focus of the last several years of working with parents and women in transition—which I loved—to something that excited me even more. I had experienced this already with some clients and it encompassed a need I saw in the world from my vantage point as a woman, heart-centered change-maker, and mama to three daughters.
I made the decision to shift my work to focus entirely on women and the empowerment I heard them asking for in coaching. Yes! Perfect—a Women's Empowerment Coach! I was totally engaged and excited!
And that’s when my gremlins showed up—and they were LOUD.
Who do you think you are?
Why don’t you just stick to one thing?
What will people think?
What if it doesn’t work?
Time to slow down again. These gremlins or worries, are just thoughts, even though they feel like the voice of reason. It's the ego saying, “Wow! Don't do that! That might not be safe! Danger awaits you in the unknown!!”. But they're not factual, or real; they're just thoughts. And not very helpful ones either.
And so I chose to breathe, let them move through me, thank them, and let them know that I’ve got this. It’s what I encourage you to do when your gremlins rear their mighty heads and try to tear down your dreams and keep you from moving forward.
So what is this new adventure I'm on? A refocusing of sorts, and also a reclamation of work I began decades ago. I’m accepting an opportunity to step more fully into my authentic self and to bring the gifts I’ve been endowed with, the growing body of knowledge within me, and the desire to raise the level of engagement, joy, and life experience for as many hungry, ready, not-willing-to-settle women and girls as I can through private coaching, small groups, retreats in nature, and workshops in beautiful spaces.
If this aligns with your interests, I invite you to stay tuned for more. I will be reaching out with gems of healing, growth, and wisdom more regularly. If not, you are welcome to use the unsubscribe link below. No hard feelings if you unsubscribe, I promise. I simply want to connect with the people who want to connect with me.
I wish for you all good things, including the space to know when those critical voices in your head are just gremlins.
Here’s to a slow and mindful spring re-awakening!
With warmth and love,
Also, for those of you in the Northfield area, I have just 4 spaces left in my mini-retreat on Sunday, April 29, 1-3pm. This is a fundraiser for Prairie Creek Community School and it's focused on women's renewal and nourishment. "Reclaim Your Adventurous, Authentic Self" will be held at the beautiful Prema Studio in downtown Northfield. Get in touch with me asap to find out if this would be a good fit for you. 763.412.7319 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you noticed that you don't have the energy you want? We're only one month into the new year, have you given up on your intentions for 2018? Is cabin fever setting in and you're snapping at your kids?
The reality is that without exceptional self-care you can't be the best version yourself. You slack off, give up, lose patience, beat yourself up, and disconnect. If you slow down to think about it, that's probably not the life you really want.
Self-care is knowing what your needs are and meeting those needs on a regular basis. Not rocket science, but it does take being aware of what fills your cup and having the commitment to do it. Each of us has a unique combination of things that replenish energy, bring joy, and help us to show up as our best selves.
Why is it so hard to carry this out?
You get messages all the time that you're not doing it right, that you shouldn't be selfish, and that you can't trust your inner wisdom. So your needs often go unmet. You know what this looks like. We all do. You rush from one thing to another, often arriving late. A kid asks a question and you bark an irritated answer. Feelings of resentment lurk just below the surface, waiting to be sparked into an explosion.
Is this really how you want to live?
The truth is that everyone benefits when you practice exceptional self-care. You have the energy to accomplish your biggest goals. You treat yourself, your kids, your partner, your colleagues with love and kindness. You have the reserves to respond to bumps in the road calmly and thoughtfully. And you have the capacity to step into being the human you truly long to be.
Are you ready to upgrade your life?
Several years ago when I was deep in the realm of caring for small children and aiming to provide the most nurturing home life possible, I found I was so disconnected from my self-care needs that I was actually sabotaging my deepest desires.
Instead of engaging with the beautiful children entrusted to me I numbed myself with endless online word games. Instead of serving myself first I prioritized energy and money for everything else but self-care. Instead of listening to my inner wisdom I ignored the whispers from my spirit to attend to myself first in order to be able to give my children the love and acceptance I knew they needed.
One morning while stealing a few minutes of quiet before the kids erupted from bed, I realized that I was not living a life I was proud of. I was not role modeling for my daughters what life could be. I was failing to do exactly what I had set out to do: create a loving and nurturing haven.
I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.
Climbing out of this hole took self-reflection, commitment, and asking for help. Slowly I began to identify the things I needed to bring back into my days to be the person I wanted to be.
My life looks a lot different now. My daughters are now teens and young adults and we have wonderful, vibrant relationships. I have incorporated exceptional self-care into every facet of my life so that I can show up every day as the best version of myself.
The life you desire IS possible... and you can take the first small step today. There's nothing to lose and so much to gain.
What one word describes what you want in 2018?
For the past few weeks I've been pondering how to sum up my intentions for the new year in just one word - a kind of shorthand to keep me on track and guide my decision-making.
It's been difficult though, maybe because I want this year to be so amazing. After working out my plans, goals, areas of development, etc., there's still a lot of things that apply. There's AUTHENTICITY and ABUNDANCE, VISIBILITY and VIBRANCY, FLOURISH and FREEDOM, PROSPERITY and PEACEFUL, CONNECTION and CONTRIBUTION...
It all comes down to clarity. When we are clear on what we need, what we desire, where we want to put our energy, what things are an absolute YES for us, then choosing from all the opportunities becomes easy. We can give a clear NO to all the rest. As one of my coaches says, "It's either HELL YES or HELL NO. There is no HELL MAYBE."
One of my clients a few years ago was stuck on the progress of her book. She felt like she was doing everything she could to move the writing forward, but things were only inching forward at a glacial pace. My client thought her intention was PRODUCTION - producing a book that had long been waiting to see the light. But the closer she got to having people read it, the slower the writing went. Eventually we discovered that there was a hidden need that had to be addressed first and that was getting comfortable with VISIBILITY. So we created a plan to ease into being more visible as a writer and then BOOM! the manuscript almost finished itself. Having clarity on what was needed was pretty much... all that was needed.
In The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist, the author puts forth the concept of SUFFICIENCY as the thing that can change our relationship with what we have, want, and value. Twist states:
"When we live in the context of sufficiency, we find a natural freedom and integrity. We engage in life from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete. We feel naturally called to share the resources that flow through our lives -- our time, our money, our wisdom, our energy, at whatever level those resources flow -- to serve our highest commitments. In the context of sufficiency, and the flow of resources to and through and from us, our soul and money interests merge to create a rich, satisfying, and meaningful life."
SUFFICIENCY is the word I've been seeking, it seems. It may not sound like much, but it expresses exactly what I want to focus on in this new year I've been gifted.
What is the word that sums up your intentions for the new year? Post your one word intention below in the comments and let's hold all the goodness that everyone is calling in.
Overcommitment and guilty obligation are rampant during the holiday season.
It doesn't have to be that way though! Each of us has the power to choose how we respond.
To keep my sanity I've found I need a framework to help me decide what to give my energy to and what to pass on.
When I feel obligated to take on yet another thing, I put pressure on myself to say YES because I feel I SHOULD do it. Often there's pressure externally as well not disappoint someone or look ungrateful if I decline.
When this happens I need to have my criteria for an ABSOLUTE YES in place.
If giving my energy to the request is not an ABSOLUTE YES, then it’s a NO. Telling others NO can be hard and I may need to find the courage, support, chutzpah - or all three - to carry out it out.
But the space created when I stick to my framework is huge and so much healthier than trying to do everything!
I know for myself and from my clients how difficult saying NO is and the holidays really put this to the test.
Often in these situations we start comparing ourselves to what others are doing and it destroys our creativity, joy, energy, and self-acceptance. If there’s one thing you give up in 2017, let it be comparison!
Let go of what you think you SHOULD do, and tune into your authentic self to find what is an ABSOLUTE YES for you.
Here are some questions that have been meaningful in creating my own framework.
What do I love most about this time of year?
What are the most meaningful parts of our family traditions?
Who do I really value spending time with?
Reevaluating each year has brought me closer to the soul-nourishing aspects of the season while reducing the hype. Many things have shifted or disappeared in our holiday line-up while others have grown richer over time because we weren't trying to do everything. Here are a few that have been significant.
The end of the year can be enjoyable, relaxed, and meaningful, with the focus on quality time and gratitude instead of on racing through events and accumulation of goods if we're intentional.
You deserve to enjoy this beautiful season of light and love - and your family deserves to have you at your best.