How to like more about yourself than just your eyebrows.

“I used to only like my eyebrows”

That’s what my friend said to me yesterday while we were watching ourselves in the mirror working out at the gym yesterday.

She is in great shape. She’s got 3 boys under 7 and everyday fits in a workout for herself at home. Slowly over the past few years she’s been getting more and more weights and heavier kettlebells and it’s paying off. She looks strong and healthy.

“Now, that I’ve been working out for a while, I have so many things I like about myself!” She said with a big smile.

This is the power of choosing health, and it’s not only exercise, but small shifts towards health in our lifestyles often lead to bigger shifts and bigger rewards.

In her case, exercise led her to appreciate her body and appearance more. It also has influenced her food choices and how she feeds her family. Everyone is benefiting from her choices.

In my own life, I have found that there has rarely been a correlation between my size and how good I felt about myself. I have been 10 pounds lighter and up to 40 lbs heavier (pregnancy and post pregnancy) and as long as I was exercising I felt beautiful. Even at my smallest, I didn’t see myself as well as at my heaviest when I was working out.

The lean towards health also influences other healthy behaviors, often we naturally start to make healthier food choices once we start working out. Once we get a taste of how good we feel, we want to do more things that make us feel good.

Exercise and diet of course aren’t the only ways to feel good about ourselves and within ourselves, but they are a great starting point because our bodies influence our minds and emotional states. Studies show that healthy bodies hold onto positive emotions more readily and increase more positive moods.

One of my personal mottos for years has been, “health is the best fashion accessory.” Feeling healthy in my mind, body, and spirit makes me feel way more beautiful than a pair of $300 jeans and a hot pair of shoes ever could. Clear eyes and a genuine smile win every time.

I’d love to hear from you now, what makes you feel beautiful? What are your favourite ways to feel healthy? And what do you like best about yourself? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

What does “the spaces in between” have to do with overwhelm?

Everyday I walk my dog at 8am. I put my toddler in the carrier on my back and we head out together rain or shine looking for blue cars, bunnies, and anything else interesting on the way.

No matter what my morning was like before my walk, or how little sleep I had the night before, I always feel better. But yesterday was different.

When I came in I unhooked Walter from his leash, sat on the couch to release my son, grabbed the vacuum and started cleaning. My mind was on overdrive and I was overwhelmed with all the things I had to do before my parents came to visit later that day.

I could see the To-Do list climbing bigger and bigger, thoughts were racing, and I was starting to feel panicked and anxious at the impossibility of doing it all.

And then, something happened.

I stopped and realized I hadn’t thanked Walter or my son Magnus for the walk. I hadn’t created a space in between.

One of the beautiful aspects of yoga is the nurturing of the spaces in between. The spaces in between the breaths, between the poses, even between the practice and the end: shavasana.

I remember hearing a quote years ago that said, “God can be found in the space between two breaths.” And if you do this yourself, you’ll sense this quiet in the gap. It is a place of non-doing and completeness of being.

These gaps are not only opportunities to slow down, become present, and regroup, but they are also a transition between where you are and where you are going. These transitions are important because they signal the end of something and the beginning of something new.

Yesterday, I woke up overwhelmed and rushed from one task to the next before we even went for our walk and it continued when we got home. Typically, once we walk in the door, I thank my dog and my son for our walk and it is the transition from one activity to the next. It serves as a completion.

Without it, there is no closure and as I flung myself into the next thing on my To-Do list, it created this momentum of doing without the sense of completing which is overwhelming. The bar just kept getting further away instead of closer.

It’s the equivalent of having a To-Do list that you keep adding to and never cross off.  Creating clear transitions is the equivalent of crossing them off.

There are many ways you can implement this into your life.

At work, before changing activities, like going from doing research to going to a meeting, take a moment to connect to your breath to get present and let go of your research so you can be present for your meeting. This can be an opportunity to also get clear on what your objectives are and how you want to serve in this new space.

If you take the stress of work home with you, it’s helpful to do this before you walk in the door. Maybe turning the light off at the office will be your space in between, or opening your car door, or your front door, so that you can let go of work and now show up more present and relaxed with your family.

Creating clear transitions are key to managing feelings of overwhelm.

So, what did I do when I realized I was overwhelmed while vacuuming? I stopped and thanked my son and dog for a beautiful walk.

I’d love to know your thoughts, what might be some great ways you find your “spaces in between?” Tell me in the comments below!

Have you ever wanted to write a book?

Have you ever wanted to write a book? I have.

I’ve thought about writing one…well a few, really…for years.

At one point I thought I’d write an autobiography, but then I realized that aside from a pretty crazy child/young adult hood, my life is pretty lame. I mean, who wants to read about how I only wash my hair twice a week, or how often I wash my sheets and curse every time I put the duvet back on?

Because that’s how exciting it gets right now.

Except for my swimming lessons. OMG, did I not tell you about those?

Yes, something clicked in me last March when I turned 40. It spurred a new fearlessness that is really exciting and pushing my edges, I call it, “Fuck it, I’m 40” (FII40 for short).

So aaaaaall those things that have previously held me back, intimidated me, or I was too scared to do, I’m doing them now, and swimming lessons were one of them.

When swimming levels were colours, I almost made it to life guarding but then I had a traumatic event during a skills test. We were supposed to tread water for 5 minutes with clothes on, so I thought I’d outsmart the exercise and wear the lightest clothes I had, which was a sky-blue Adidas wind suit with white stripes along the sides. My grandma had sent it from Finland, and I was sure I was going to crush this test while everyone else struggled. I was so smug.

Except that’s not what happened.

The wind suit acted like a plastic bag filling with water and started sucking me under. The more I kicked the more it pulled me down. I panicked and looked for the wall to find safety, but the more I swam the more I went down.

Nobody noticed, not even my instructor.

Eventually I made it to the wall and clawed myself up the wall to get above the surface (I may have only been a few feet under water but I might as well have been at the bottom for how scared I was), and burst into tears from the fear and relief of making it out alive.

After that, even though I was a strong swimmer, I lost all confidence and have avoided the water or at least water deeper than my chest ever since.

Then came FII40, and something in me changed. I decided to refuse to be pushed around by old outdated fears from 30 years ago. I’m going to spend the next half of my life more alive, more awake, and more fully than before.

So, I’m taking adult swimming lessons with my neighbor who also struggles with confidence in water and we are getting stronger every week together.

Maybe that’s interesting enough to be a book, but I doubt it. I’ll keep working at it and let you know what I come up with.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? What would you write about?

Oh, and if you have a better acronym or suggestion for FII40, let me know! I’m way better at napping than naming things.

Why procrastinating might be helping you.

This morning I had a lot on my mind.

I’m working on a teleconference for the local university, I’m teaching two courses, and taking one of my own. My mind was full as I was trying to formulate the hook for the telecourse knowing that I only had an hour to actually work on it before teaching my own course.

Instead of going straight to my office, I found myself washing the dishes, picking up my toddler’s books, and making tea before making my way there.

As I was doing these tasks the hook I was looking for started to formulate.

So, is procrastination always bad?

I recently read about an experiment with Chinese College students doing various creative thinking tasks while in different physical state like standing, lying down, and sitting, or walking in figure eights, and walking freely. The experimenters found that out of the first 3 listed, standing got better ratings than seated or lying down, and walking freely earned better ratings than figure eights.

The researchers proposed that more physically active conditions probably use more mental bandwidth reducing the amount of control people had over their thoughts.

The less control we have, the easier it is for our brains to access our subconscious which can put together seemingly abstract thoughts to create those “a-ha!” moments. You know, the ones that usually happen in the shower.

But remember, there is a difference.

Purposely wasting time and avoiding tasks to put them off IS procrastination and will likely not get you any further.

But, when your problem-solving skills are at a standstill, purposely going for a walk, getting a cup of tea, or going out for a run may help your mind access what you’re looking for.

Tell me in the comments below, where and when do you get your best ideas?

Then join me in the Fearless Facebook group for more great tips to live with more calm, confidence, and control here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FearlessCourse/

The Real Reason You’re So Stressed.

Being a woman is hard work.

In fact, we work harder in every area of our lives and then have to prove that we deserve it.

Everything in our culture screams at us that we need to be more:

More sexy, more youthful, more skinny, more assertive, more kind, more compromising, more as a mother, more as a woman, more time at work, more beautiful, more educated, more important, more of a wife/partner, more independent, more available, more involved, more healthy, more active, more inspired, more roles, more open (but only about what others want to hear), more vulnerable, more resilient, more grit, more successful, more ambitious, more of a homemaker, more of a cook, more thoughtful, more of a homemaker, more flexible, more passionate, more vocal, more silent, more understanding, more willing, more wealthy, more compromising…its always more, and it’s too fucking much.

It’s no wonder we are frazzled, overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious.

We have an insurmountable pressure to be all things to everyone AND be all the things listed above. It’s an impossible situation.

This is why I created the programs and tools I offer: to reclaim yourself.

Anxiety and stress are symptoms of a larger systemic problem within our culture. We have too many pressures (umm, did you see the list above? And it’s not even complete!), information overload, longer work days than every before (with constant contact), less free time, and have less face to face connection. And purpose, meaning? Who has time for that?

Our stress is a direct result of the tension between the expectations of others (perceived or real) which are in constant conflict with our inner compass.

We know, deep down that what we are being fed is bullshit.

But we are steeped in it, and then choking down more by the spoonful because we are also trained to be good girls from a very young age.

The tools I teach are universal that anyone can use and they are easy enough to implement for even the most time starved women because they are just simple lifestyle tweaks to make your life better, calmer, and more meaningful.  

It’s not easy to shed the expectations of being the perfect mom when everyone you know is volunteering at the school and you’re working 10 hour days.

Or the guilt that weighs on all women, because we can’t possible be and do all the things expected of us.

Or the insecurity of never feeling like we know enough, are prepared enough, or are good enough. And then that deep secret that so many of us carry: that really we’re a fraud.

So how do we change this?

It takes a brave decision: to be more conscious in how you live and work. Here’s how to start now:

  • Start questioning why you do the things you do and if they are really serving you on any tangible level.
  • Be more aware of the things that sap your energy and those that revive it.
  • Play more. Do things for the sake of enjoyment and don’t be afraid to get silly. Women start to lose this ability as adolescents and it is a crucial part of our well-being.
  • Be mindful of how much you use devices, set strong limits, and be committed to seeing people in person, or at least on the phone.
  • Decide that you time is non-negotiable, and stick to it.
  • Nourish your body and move it regularly.
  • Be in control of the media you consume. If it doesn’t lift you up, ditch it, life’s too short for that.
  • Love your dear ones fiercely. Undistracted focused time is the most valuable thing you can offer anyone and is essential for lasting loving relationships.
  • And lastly, give yourself a lot of slack. You are a woman navigating a challenging world with impossible expectations, learn to be your own best ally.

I’ve started a YouTube Channel and I’ve got the first two videos already up. They are all quick and easy things that you can use today to lower stress and anxiety and live more authentically.

Click here to watch them now.

If you like them, subscribe to my channel and share these videos so more people you care about can have access to this great content too.

Lastly, I’d love to hear from you now: what would you add to the “more” list? What pressures do you feel the most as a woman? Is it true that time flies faster when you have kids?

I can’t wait to read what you have to say in the comments below!

If this post spoke to you, please share it. Let’s help each other live better more honest lives together. <3

Love and Light,

t

How to stop overthinking…everything.

When I first started my coaching business over a decade ago, I spent hours and hours feverishly writing and creating systems for my non-existent clients.

I wrote content for pamphlets that were never printed, a website that didn’t exist, and information about coaching that never left my hard drive. I believed that I had to have all these little pieces in place before I could actually start coaching clients.

I also spent hours and hours planning what I would do, how I would do it, and the systems I’d need in place. It made me feel like I was being productive, proactive, and even responsible for thinking about all these moving pieces and how I would use them.

When I really dove into my business, I realized that all that writing I had done was a complete waste of time. I never used any of it.

And all my plans? Useless. It was all garbage.

I had spent so much time thinking about my business but almost no time doing the work that would get me paying clients.

My plans were a diversion and a big distraction that kept me busy with being unproductive.

It was clear that I was far more comfortable thinking about my business than doing the work to build it.

We can’t possibly plan or foresee things we haven’t yet experienced. In other words: we can’t know what we don’t know. We can only truly know what needs to come next once we’ve taken action.

I wish I could say that I stopped overthinking after that, but I’m a slow learner.

It’s taken me many years to teach myself to switch from:  think first (of allllllllll the possible scenarios repeatedly, just in case I missed something) and act later, to acting first and thinking later (which is so much better, btw!).

Some of my most popular offerings have come out of a split-second decision and a quick email invite. I’ve also saved myself a lot of time by learning quickly what offerings my tribe isn’t interested in before I invest too much developing them.

Learning how to fail fast is one of the best skills you can cultivate.

Essentially, it’s taking action and then seeing what to do next. It will give you insight you could only get by doing the work: how to proceed or maybe to scrap it.

Failing fast a huge time saver, but most importantly, its also a proven way to increase confidence. Since overthinking is a HUGE confidence killer, failing fast is definitely worth trying on.

I’ve broken it down into a simple 5 step method (that you can use with just about anything) to help you stop overthinking:

  • Be clear on what you want.

Most of us have no idea of what it is we really want. We might have an inkling, but no real clear picture. If you don’t have a clear “what” defined, it’s very difficult to create an effective “how” (which is where we get caught overthinking). Once you are clear on what you want, your how will be easier to see.

  • Decide what actions are going to get you there the fastest.

Rather than spending your time thinking about all the possible scenarios that might-never-happen-but-should-think-about-every-detail-of-each-scenario-anyways, cut the chase and figure out what might be the best actions that would get you there the fastest.

  • Ask yourself if spending time planning it is going to help you get there.

Make it a conscious decision to plan, instead of a diversion from what you actually need to do. Maybe there is some planning that needs to be involved, great, then be strategic in it. If you know that planning isn’t going to make a huge difference, other than your brain desperately wants to do it, then let that shit go.

  • If you need think about it write it all out and give it a deadline.

Do NOT think about planning, write that shit down. When we allow things to roll around in our heads they get cluttered, are hard to prioritize, and are impossible to sort out clearly. Once it’s on paper you free up valuable head space and have power over your thoughts. Give yourself a deadline of how much time you are willing to devote to planning, and then stick to it so you don’t continually get sucked in.

  • Take action before you’re ready.

This is the MOST important step (besides number 1). If you wait until you feel ready, you may be waiting a long time, even years maybe. Do not waste anymore of your life waiting for a feeling, decide, and then jump in. There are very few decisions in our lives that have the weight and power we give to most of them. You will never know the next steps until you take action, no matter how much planning you do. It is the only way to move forward.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned (very slowly, like I said) is to focus on progress rather than perfection…and progress requires doing something other than thinking about doing something.

(Otherwise we’d all be sitting on the couch eating chips thinking about eating better to get healthier, am I right? But, if you ever figure out how to do it though, tell me, I’d love to get in on it!)

I’d love to hear from you now: which step resonated with you, and why? Do you eat chips on the couch thinking about eating healthier too, or is it just me? Are you sick of overthinking everything? Then get on the list for Fearless, by clicking here to get early bird access.

Sending you so much love and light,

t

3 Simple steps to energizing your day (even when you’re overwhelmed)

As a small business owner, I have my hands in most things in my business.

I am responsible for the daily running of the business, and I also do all my own marketing, graphic design, product creation, social media, and strategic planning. Did I mention that I’m also the primary caregiver to my toddler?

Yes, things are full on, and there are days when I feel so overwhelmed it would be easy to get stuck from weight of so much to do.

So, I’ve started doing a few things differently which have transformed my work into being more focused, energized, and productive.

If you came into my office right now, you’d see organized chaos.

I have stacks of papers, files, and stickies all over the place. It may not look like the most calm and energizing place, but I have a secret weapon that helps me stay Zen despite the mess.

Here’s my routine to stay energized even when I’m totally overwhelmed…which can feel like most days!

  • Start the day with a few minutes of meditation. I cannot tell you how essential this is to get your mind in a productive mindset. It clears the clutter and will open you up to be a vessel for creativity, service, and focus.
  • Set your intention. Journal about 3 things you are grateful for and feeling the positive feelings associated with them, and then write down your goals for the day.
  • Conclude your work day by writing down all your successes for the day (work related or not) this will give you a feeling of completion and satisfaction. Follow that with your goals for the following day (this means you will be writing the same ones down twice. Once today, and then again tomorrow morning.).

This simple routine will help energize you by: clearing the internal clutter, establishing a grateful and focused mindset, and finishing your day with success and satisfaction.

I have been using this strategy for a while now, and I can’t imagine a day without it. I’d love to hear what your favorite routines are to stay energized, please share your best tips in the comments below.

3 questions you should ask yourself every morning

Like you, I have limited time and a lot of stuff to do.

My days start at 6am shuffling into my toddler’s room for snuggles and stories, followed by a day juggling work, childcare, and all the other things that come with managing a family and business.

The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome since having my son is how to get a lot more done on way less time.

Early on, I decided that I wanted a clear division between work and family time. I know that if I’m trying to “squeeze things in” or trying to multitask, nothing gets done and if it does, it’s definitely not going to be done well.

Not too long ago, I felt like I was running from one task to another and constantly putting out fires trying to stay on top of my life.

I’d drop my son of at the babysitters and eat in the car on my way to my next appointment. Then I’d run up the sitters driveway to pick him up on time to get him home for his nap. Once he was down, I’d quickly tidy up, then try to get some work done in the half our I’d have left while he slept. And on and on it went, running from one thing to another, and feeling like I was sucking at everything.

I was spread out, scattered, and overwhelmed with life.

I realized that what I wanted most was to be present with what’s most important to me. I had to shift my energy from trying to “fit it all in” to prioritizing what’s most important right now, and committing to being fully present with it.

So, I now choose to be present with my family when I’m with them so I can be the best wife and mother I can be. I choose to be focused on my work without distraction so I can fully devote myself to making women’s lives better. I choose to take care of myself because my well being is important for all the reasons.

But I’m also the primary caregiver to my son, which means I have way less time to work and just as much stuff to do.

I learned quickly that I needed to figure out a system to support my choices and my time, so I developed a simple but powerful strategy to help me get more done in less time without the guilt. These are the questions I began to ask myself daily:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What can I leverage to get there faster?
  • What do I need to let go of to make it happen?

These questions help me choose what to focus on to make the biggest impact, in less time, without adding more stuff to do.

Absolutely I use this for my business, but I ALSO use this strategy in all aspects of my life, whether it’s how I’m going to structure my day, how I want to feel, resolving conflicts (seriously, read the questions again, they really do work if your aim isn’t only to win), and taking care of myself.

I can’t control all the circumstances of my life, but I can control how I approach them. Using these 3 simple questions has allowed me to have more control, clarity, and freedom.

I have stopped treading water. As a result, I have time for the things that are most important to me: my family, my work, and what fills me up.

It started with asking myself a few simple questions to clarify my focus, leverage the time I have, and do the things I want, and do them well.

3 Easy steps to stop stress in it’s tracks

All of us seem to have too much to do, with never enough time, while dealing with the challenges and unpredictability of life.

Stress is unavoidable and it’s important to learn tools to manage it so we don’t get rocked every time life kicks us in the pants. 

A few important things you should know about stress can make all the difference in how you deal with it.

First, stress starts in your mind from thoughts.

This might sound obvious, but what we think about affects our bodies. When we think about things that cause us stress it affects our bodies, such as raising blood pressure.

Second, stress and anxiety are future based thoughts.

They are characterized by worrying, planning, and playing out possible scenarios. All of them are based on the future, rather than what’s happening in the moment.

Third, stressful thoughts are invasive.

They tend to run through our minds over, and over, and over again, making us feel overwhelmed, and even cornered by them.

When you start to feel the weight of stress on your body, or the busy cluttered mess of your racing mind, here are 3 easy steps you can take before it spirals out of control:

  • Take a deep breath – I know this isn’t revolutionary, but taking a few deep breaths have a lot of positive benefits.
  • It creates space in your mind so you’re not overwhelmed by invasive thoughts.
  • It stimulates the vagus nerve which calms the nervous system down.
  • It gets your attention out of your head and into your body.
  • It brings you into the present moment.
  • Get out and move – When stress feels overwhelming leave your environment and get your blood moving. Changing locations helps your mind change gears, and exercise moves stress out of your body while increasing feel good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. As they say, “move a muscle, change a feeling.”
  • Meditate – All meditation is good, but Mindfulness Meditation is particularly helpful in lowering stress and anxiety because teaches you how to be with uncomfortable thoughts without buying into them.

I’d love to hear from you now: Which of these tips are you going to try first? What is your go-to tip for stopping stress? Please share in the comments below.

#daretobeyou

Love and Light,

t

My super simple 3 question year in review…with sprinkles on top.

Well, it’s officially 2017 as of yesterday and I’m still trying to figure out where 2015 went.

Last year was a doozy for me and I’m SUPER excited about this year! When I reflected on what my word would have been for 2016, it would have been “expectations,” because fuck did I have a lot of them, and they sure kicked my ass right back to Sunday.

If you’re new to me and my blog, I have a new(ish) baby, and have been working on balancing being the primary caregiver and running my business.

Well, it ended up that I couldn’t do both very well with full attention, so I have been spending less time on here and more time with my cute, adorable, sweet, funny, and now walking (how did that happen????) little baby.

This year, I will have more time to devote to YOU (hooray!), and I couldn’t be more stoked!

I missed you and have been planning like mad of how we are going to spend more time together, and then it occurred to me that you might be interested in how I plan my year ahead.

Like you, I get excited about fresh starts so New Year is one of my favourite times to take stock, revisit the past year, and set my sites on shaping the year ahead.

I don’t do resolutions, but I do something else that I’d love to share with you.

It’s a super simple 3 question year in review with a little strategy sprinkled on top, and it’s a beautiful way to move into a fresh year.

Click here to read the rest over on the blog…

  • What worked?

List all your achievements (no matter how small, it all counts), what made you proud, your wins, and what made you feel happiest and most satisfied.

We can often get focused on fixing things that aren’t working, and this is a great way to shift that mindset. We can only build upon our successes, and choosing to acknowledge and celebrate them gives us a solid base to expand upon.

  • What didn’t work?

List all the things that held you back, sucked, and left you feeling unfulfilled.

To move past the things that didn’t work, we need to first see them through a compassionate lens. Then ask yourself: what lessons can I leverage moving forward? We can’t change what we don’t see, looking back gives us freedom from continuing patterns that aren’t working for us so we can create new ones that do.

  • What can I do differently next time? What am I willing to let go of?

Now that you have your achievements to build on and you are aware of what was holding you back, you can choose how you are going to move forward. What strategies do you need to consider, and most importantly, what do you need to let go of to move forward? Are there some embarrassments, failure, stories that need to be flushed down the 2016 toilet? Is it time to start building a new habit? What small steps can you take that will give you the biggest results?

Well, that’s it. My quick and dirty 3 questions to start your year off right.

Now I’d love to hear from you: what were your proudest moments of 2016? What was your biggest a-ha for what didn’t work? (Mine was that I didn’t make enough time for friends. Totally changing that this year!) What is the teeny tiniest little thing you can do to start moving towards what you want? Please feel free to share it in the comments below, or over in the Soul Sisterhood Facebook group.

I hope you continue to feel the joy of hope and possibility throughout the year, and that it is filled with loving connections, meaningful moments, and the most delicious eats with people who fill you up!

To you, and 2017!

Love and Light,

t