Forgive Yourself

Forgive yourself.  You didn’t know.  This can apply to so many areas of your life.  From trusting someone that you shouldn’t, to not knowing something about yourself.  The truth is . . . you didn’t know.

Part of life is the journey of discovery.  We’re sent here to learn new things.  If we entered this world already knowing everything, it would get boring quickly.  Although a little bit of boredom might be nice sometimes.  Just saying.

We learn new things every single day.  It’s part of our path.  Right now, so many of us are learning a lot and for some of us our entire lives have been tipped upside down.  It’s ok.  You didn’t know.  But here’s the thing about not knowing, it’s ok until you do.  Once you know and you choose to do nothing, that’s now a choice.

I’ve been struggling over the past week with how I proceed with my discoveries about white privilege and finding a way forward. To take action and to help myself and others forgive themselves for not knowing. I would normally have joined a protest but due to the pandemic, it doesn’t feel like that’s the correct choice for me.  If it’s the right choice for you, I applaud you, but remember to try and stay safe.  This isn’t over.  We haven’t learned what we need to yet.

I saw a post on Facebook that our local church was asking people to join around the church for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while the bell rang.  I’m sure most of you are aware at this point of the significance of that amount of time, but just to be sure, it’s the amount of time associated with the death of George Floyd.  I really wanted to join in, but I had to find another way.  I remembered that I could hear the bells from my house.  So as the bells started to ring, I took a knee out on the lawn.  What do I do next?  I’m not sure yet, but I can’t turn back and be blind.  I’m sure more will be revealed to me and you before our time is done, but we have to forgive ourselves for what we didn’t know and find a new way forward.  I’m working on forgiving myself.  It’s up to you to determine how to forgive yourself.

What do you need to forgive yourself for?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

What Is Normal?

According to Merriam-Webster, the word normal means “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern; according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule or principle.” 

We use this word a lot during our everyday lives.  Especially right now.  People want their “normal” way of life.  People are creatures of habit.  We’re not particularly fond of change, unless it’s one of our choosing.  We want things our way.

Growing up I just wanted to be “normal”.  I wanted to be like everyone else.  I hated being different.  I hated that I had to go to occupational therapy and the other kids didn’t.  I spent my life trying to be like everyone else.  It took me 25 years to learn that wasn’t an option.  Every person is different.  There is no normal.   What if I said that especially applies to now?

You can have a normal day.  Even during a pandemic, we are establishing new patterns.  We have new habits, but we can’t go back to what it was.  It’s just not possible.  You can’t unlearn something.  We can’t redo yesterday, it’s in the past.  It’s the same thing with our normal.

Even going back to work, it’s different.  It’s not the same.  We can’t unhear what we’ve heard.  People are still afraid, and they have a right to be.  Even when the curve has started to decrease, people are going to be hesitant.  There’s a possibility of a new normal for each of us.  A new routine, but the old one’s gone.

It's strange how even living during a pandemic, a new normal emerges.  New habits. New routines.  New ways forward.  It’s ok to miss what was.  You can miss the simpler times, but things have changed.  Change happens and it’s meant to.  We’re meant to grow and evolve.  This is part of our evolution.  Let’s grow together!

How has your normal changed?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

The Truth Is . . .

The truth is there’s always a reason to not do something or to not say something.  There’s always a reason to not take action.  There’s always a reason to not make a change.

We can always come up with a reason why.  Not now.  Maybe later.  I don’t know enough.  I’m not ready.  What if they say no?

I would be willing to bet that one of these many reasons has held you back.  You’re not alone.  I’ve been right there with you.  I don’t have time, or I need more information are some of my go tos.

The truth is that it’s ok.  You can’t change the past, but you can change the present and maybe even the future.  One small step can change everything if you want.  Sometimes our biggest dreams can seem unattainable.  We just don’t know how to get there.  Breaking those dreams down into steps can make some dreams attainable.

I started my business by breaking it down into small steps.  Choose a name.  Design a logo.  Register with the State of Maine.

I passed my certification program to be an empowerment coach with small steps.  I signed up.  Completed Lesson 1.  Completed Lesson 30.  Completed Call 1.  Completed Call 30.  Reviewed notes and started completed final assignment questions for 1.  Repeat Day 5.  I reviewed and clicked submit.

It doesn’t mean that I knew everything as I was doing it or that I do now, but I did it anyway.  The moment of hitting submit was terrifying.  Those voices inside of you that say, what if.  What if I’m wrong?  What if I fail?

The truth is you don’t know if you don’t try.  I spent so much of my life not trying because of the what-ifs.  Who knows what kind of life I missed by not trying, but the truth is that I can’t change my past, but I can change what I do at this moment.

Who knows what the future holds for any one of us?  We may think we know, but one choice could potentially alter the course forward.  The truth is that anything’s possible, but we have to try.  We can’t live our life based on the what-ifs.  We must live for our dreams.  That might mean confronting our fears.  Overcoming our pride.  Who knows what you might uncover?  The truth is only you know.  What may have been true about you in the past doesn’t have to govern the remainder of your life.  The truth is yours!

What is your truth?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

Is This Your Best?

Are you doing the best you can right now?  If the answer is yes, then you have nothing to worry about.  Growing up were you one of the kids whose parents accepted their grades if you did the best you could or the one whose parents expected perfection?

Perfection is a challenging trait to overcome.  It could have been ingrained in us by our parents or something we learned.   Either way striving to be perfect can prevent us from thriving in challenging circumstances.  Perfection can never be obtained.  Human beings aren’t perfect.  We’re flawed.  We have problems.  It’s our problems that teach us on this journey called life.

You could wake up in the morning and your plans could be completely blown apart by 9 am.  I’ve been there.  I bet you have too.  Things don’t always work out as we have planned.  Life can get in the way.  But, it’s ok.  Give yourself permission to say it’s ok.  If you did your best, then it’s ok.

For most of my life, I strove for perfection.  What did it get me?  I was never truly happy with myself.  I wanted to be better.  I would question everything that happened.  While I still do these things, my motive has shifted.  I want them to learn more.  I want to see myself grow.  I no longer want to use it as a mask for what others see.  However, I also know this is a process and I can’t change comfortably overnight.  The first thing I had to learn was that I was doing the best I could and to learn to be ok with that way of thinking.  It took me time.  I’m still a work in progress, but I’m doing the best I can.

As a result, my self-confidence has gone up.  I feel better myself. I’ve tried things I never thought I would.  I’ve learned to care less about what others think of me.  I’ve given myself permission to do the best I can.  That’s the best thing somedays that any of us can do.

Are you doing the best you can?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

Who Has the Power?

Power is ultimately something that each one of us wants.  Not necessarily having total control over someone else, but the power to make decisions over our own life.

It’s hard when that option gets taken away.  We’re seeing people’s response all over the news.  There are protests.  People are fighting back.  Some of us are just doing what’s recommended.  So, what do you do?  First off, don’t lash out at other people.  They’re doing the best they can with the information they have.  It’s so easy to get angry and blame other people.  To be truly empowered, work to rise above these emotions.  Second, try to find a way so that you’re making a choice.  This can be challenging when you’re not able to cover your basic needs.  Is there a way that you can?  Can you do odd jobs for someone else?  Can you get assistance from the government?  Can you make changes to your lifestyle?  What can you do to make decisions that support you?  Third, how can you live within these new parameters?  Do you stay home?  Do you find other ways to occupy your time?  Do you get help?  Maybe even do things you really don’t want to, like wear a face mask.

Some emotion is coming to the surface for each one of us to deal with.  In the State of Maine, phases for reopening were announced this past week.  While a lot of them made sense, some of them did not.  Hair salons were on the phase 1 list.  For myself, my co-workers, and some of our clients this didn’t make sense.  Other clients are messaging us to book their appointments.  We must prepare for new requirements and find a way to feel comfortable leaving the safety of our homes and going back to work, especially when we thought we had more time.  This is a process.   There’s the physical side, with what needs to be done, but there’s also the emotional side.  It’s so important to not overlook the emotional component.  We aren’t robots.  People are afraid and there is little comfort provided on the news.  People feel alone and isolated.  We can’t even hold funerals and bury our dead in the same way.  We’re all grieving for a life that was lost, whether someone we loved or our “normal” life. 

Please give yourself and others time.  We will get there.  It may not happen as quickly as you would like and someday we won’t have to be concerned about COVID-19, but we aren’t there yet.  Until that day, try to find a way to make empowered choices and realize that everyone is hurting in some way, even if it doesn’t appear that way.  Looks can be deceiving.

How can you find a way to seize control and make a choice from a place of power?   Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment. 

Just Do It!

Nike’s “Just Do It!” campaign can apply to so much more then just buying sneakers.  It can be a major lesson on life and taking action. 

Taking action can feel like one of the most terrifying things to do at times.  But what happens if we don’t?  There are so many possibilities.  We don’t allow ourselves to grow.  We self-sabotage.  In so many ways, we let life pass us bye.  FYI, it doesn’t really pass us bye. 

Sabotaging ourselves doesn’t feel like that in the moment.  We’re afraid to take that step.  We’re not sure.  What will life look like on the other side?  It could make you different from your friends and/or family.  Whatever it may be could be stopping you from stepping into something you’ve dreamed of.

I know we’re still amid a pandemic and we aren’t supposed to leave our homes.  But what I’m talking about doesn’t necessarily require you to leave your home.  There are still ways you can act.  Action doesn’t have to mean an accomplishment of a major goal but could be small steps towards reaching a major goal.

Over the course of the last year, I have taken small steps to big goals.  I have been working on my empowerment coaching certification.  One call at a time.  I’m almost done!  But as I reach the finish line, that fear can creep back in.  What does it mean once I’m finished?  I don’t know the answer to that yet.  But so that I accomplish this, I have set small goals to finish my written examination.  It is an exam of 40 questions, 20 about the course and 20 about 3 of my calls.   I said that I’m going to work on it an hour per day.  I looked back through my notes and started piecing together the responses to the first 20 questions.  Then I drafted my responses.  This part I’ve now completed.  Next, go back and listen to my 3 calls.  Listen to one call per day and draft my responses as I go.  I plan on submitting the exam on April 30.  Some days I haven’t done anything, and you know what?  That’s ok!  I’m making progress.  I started at the beginning of April.  I gave myself plenty of time with the expectation that I might not want to work on it some days.  I told people about my deadline to hold myself accountable.  You’re part of that team as I near the finish line!  I broke my goal into small manageable pieces.  These are the same steps I took when starting my business.  I’ve found this process works for me.  Maybe it doesn’t work for you.  That’s ok too!  It’s about finishing a way forward to something you might not have done.

You might have started but not finished.  I have a lot of those too!  Someday I will check them off and find a way to complete them.  But one thing at a time.  I can always go back and work on them.  First, pick a goal and work through the fears that are going to creep in.  They always do.  It’s how we know we’re on the right track.  Second, break it down into small steps.  Third, come up with a deadline.  Fourth, tell someone.  Fifth, just do it. 

What’s your goal?  How are your fears holding you back?  What can you do to move forward?   Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

Are You Uncomfortable Yet?

We live at a point in time where our daily life can be super uncomfortable.  Our security, our safety, and our level of comfort have been rocked.  We are being forced to live outside of our comfort zone and most of us don’t like it!  It’s one thing to make a choice to step outside of your comfort zone and make changes to your life, but it’s another to have those changes forced upon you.

None of us want to have decisions made for us.  We want to oversee our lives.  Living in a COVID-19 world, people are in pain.  People are dying.  People are drowning in debt.  People can’t pay their bills.  People don’t have food.  It can be challenging to see the positives and opportunities when we are just trying to survive.

For so many of us, right now is about surviving.  We’re trying to make it one day or pay one bill.  I know this can be hard to hear, but we might be missing what we need to learn.  COVID-19 is an opportunity for us to learn.  To make the hard decisions.

For years I lived in the dark.  I didn’t want to know what my problems were, I just wanted them to miraculously go away.  I didn’t care whether it was someone else coming to save me or my life just suddenly got better.  Either way was good.  I didn’t care how it happened.

Growing up I thought that certain things would happen at a certain point in my life.  For some they did, but for me, they didn’t seem to work out that way.  When I turned 30, I didn’t want to acknowledge that my life wasn’t what I had dreamed it would be.  The hardest question I ever asked myself was why.  Asking that question meant that I could no longer live my life in denial.  I had to take the leap out of my comfort zone.  That leap was one of the most terrifying things I had done.  Starting my own business last year was officially the most terrifying thing I have ever done.  Stepping out of your comfort zone is uncomfortable.

What you’re experiencing right now is a push out of your comfort zone and I’m right there with you.  I’ve been given another shove put of my comfort zone this past month.  My routine has been totally disrupted.  My income has been shaken up.  One of the hardest things that I had to do was overcome my pride and file for unemployment.  I had done everything right!  I had gotten a part-time job to help pay my bills while my business was getting established.  I stepped past my pride and had to have courage and trust that all would be ok.  The interesting thing is that by taking that leap I’m doing better than I was a month ago.

That doesn’t mean that everyone is.  I’m grateful that I’m doing better, but I also know that I’ve done a lot of work to get there.  There was no miracle cure.  No one came to save me.  It was me.  I had to do the work and take the leap.  My discomfort had to grow to the point that I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I had reached my breaking point.  Congratulations!  You may have just reached yours.  Here comes the opportunity for you to say that I’m never going to be like this again and start to make different decisions.

How are you going to step out of your comfort zone?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

Have A Little Patience

How are you doing right now?  It’s ok if you’re having trouble adjusting.  We all are.  For most of us we go, go, go from waking to bedtime.  For most of us, we can’t do that anymore.  We may still have our jobs but are having to fit in schooling our children.  We may have lost our jobs and having trouble getting dressed.  You’re where you are right now and that’s ok.  Even when you can get dressed, you might have trouble doing something besides watching tv.  That’s ok too.  Be patient with yourself.

Things that we looked forward to are being canceled.  Even things that might have helped us to feel better like getting our hair or nails done aren’t an option.  It’s ok to be frustrated, depressed or angry.  It’s ok to be sad.  It’s ok to cry.  For us to start to feel better, you must release what you’re feeling, and it doesn’t happen overnight.  Honor where you are in the process.  If you feel like checking something off on your to-do list, then do it.  If you don’t, allow yourself permission to take a break.

We are being asked to heal.  The healing process for each person is different.  Each one of us is unique and so is our process.

Have patience with yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  I typically have a to-do list a mile long and over the last couple of weeks I haven’t done as much as I would have liked, but I like you, am having to figure out what my life is right now.  I miss my friends.  I miss my routine.  Things just aren’t the same.  I have watched videos on Facebook and movies and cried.  That’s not all that unusual for me, but it has helped.  I’m honoring where I am in the process.  I will get to the action phase soon, but for now, I’m adjusting and grieving for what was and determining what could be.

How have you been patient with yourself?  Or how do you need to be more patient with yourself? Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

It’s Time for a Little Faith

One of my favorite quotes has always been “faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”  A Miracle on 34th Street.  Sometimes we just have a feeling that everything is going to be ok.

We are living at a time when people around us are afraid.  You might even be one of them.  You may have lost your job or are about to lose it.  You might not be able to pay your bills.  You may know someone who is sick, or you may be.  You might just be frustrated that you can’t get everything done in a day.  First off, take a deep breath.  Everything happens for a reason.

For a long time, I had trouble with that statement, and I know I’m not alone.  Why does a young child get sick and die?  Why did this happen to me?  I wish I could answer all the why’s, but it isn’t always possible.  What I can tell you is that there is a lesson hidden in there and until you can find it, you must have a little faith.  Some of my biggest life lessons took me years to discover.  Some only took a few hours.

There is no right answer.  Every person lives life differently and you’re allowed to, but are you growing as a result or are you staying stuck?  If you’re stuck, it’s time to change that feeling and have a little faith that when we come out of quarantine that your life can be better.   Let’s be honest, life can’t be what it was before.  That may be hard to hear, but it’s true.  We can never be the people we were yesterday.  We have learned something or uncovered something which has moved us forward.  At the very least we are a day older.

On Tuesday I broke quarantine to go grocery shopping.  I started my day with a plan.  As soon as I put my key in the ignition my plan was gone.  I’ve spoken about my car battery before, well it decided it was done.  Why had it chosen that moment?  I looked to see who was open.  The least expensive option that I could see at the time was temporarily closed.  The only other place I could think of was the car dealership.  I called and they said they could replace the battery and it might still be covered under warranty.  I asked if he could look up when I purchased the battery.  I thought I had purchased it in 2016, but I had purchased it in October 2017.  It was still covered by the 30-month warranty.  I got a new battery for free!  I haven’t always had faith, but I had enough to get me there.  I had 1 month left on my warranty and if my battery hadn’t died, I will admit I would have tried to keep it going because I don’t have extra cash lying around.  But I also could have missed out on a free battery.  I was fortunate, but I was also going to another place and interacting with more people than I had planned.  As the day progressed, I started to think about how different things are from just a few weeks ago.  But I had to have faith that all would be ok.  I took all the precautions that I could and the rest I had to believe would work out.

We aren’t in quarantine just to keep us safe, but those around us safe.  To know that what we can contribute is enough and have faith that it is working.  Faith can help us in many things from getting a new car battery to walking through the grocery store to just working through our fear.  We just need to believe that everything will work out how it’s supposed to.  It’s time for a little faith.

What do you need faith to help you do?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

The Walking Wounded

This is a challenging time.  No one has ever seen anything like this, and we are unlikely to ever see anything like it again.  We are being asked to rise.  We are being asked to have compassion for our friends, our neighbors, our enemies, and ourselves.

It can be difficult when what we want isn’t going our way.  Our frustrations can be unleashed on those who have little to do with our problems.  This is a time to take a breath and think before we respond.

So many of us have lost our income.  We are having to file for unemployment and take steps that we never expected to take.  We did everything right.  Each one of us is the walking wounded.  We have so much in common right now, but it can be hard to see other people’s pain when we can barely see our own.

Last week was a challenge.  The place where I have been working part-time closed its doors until we are able to open again.  Last year I experienced all these major shifts and put the pieces together to have half of my plan blown apart again.  My first step was to make it through a day and then through the week.  It can be too hard to make decisions when you’re just trying to get through the day.

Once I made it through my work week, the next step was to take care of anything that I needed while on my way home.  Then I arrived home and cleaned up anything germs that I might have on me.  I washed the floors, the surfaces, and anything else I might have touched.  My final step was to give myself time.  I knew from experience that I could only take care of my most immediate needs at that moment.  I gave myself permission to feel anything I felt.  I listened to USA For Africa’s “We Are the World” and cried.  I worked through my pride and filed for unemployment so I could pay my bills.  I allowed myself to be angry at what this virus has done to the world, my plans, and to grieve for what I and others have lost. 

The world that we knew is not the same place and it can’t be.  When you do venture outside to get groceries or gas, say hello and thank the clerk.  Accept that the things you need might not be available.  Have compassion for those around you.  We are all in this together and are feeling the same things.  We will come out of this better people. 

After the attacks on September 11th one of the lessons I have always remembered was a sense of unity in our collective grief.  People hung their American flags at their door.  We have an opportunity again.  There is always a possibility of a rainbow after a rainstorm, but we must look for it.  Look for the silver lining.  We are resilient and will come through this stronger than ever.  We can do this but show a little kindness to each person.  It goes a long way.

How are you showing compassion? Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.