Have You Ever Thought about Telling Someone Your Dream and Cringed?

Not that long ago, I was hiding.

I didn't want anyone to know I was training to be a life coach. I wasn't ready. I was following my heart but my ego still wasn't ready for any judgment from "Them". You know "Them"--the people in your life that may not understand your path.

I was an analytical CPA forgodsake. A woman who spent years building credibility and ascending through the ranks. How could I "go all touchy feely"? (Wow, what a mean girl I have in my head!)

Have you ever felt embarrassed to tell an acquaintance you're doing something unexpected? Something your heart is calling you to do, and you’re feeling tender about sharing the dream with others?

It's OK to not be ready. To be following your heart, trying on a new way of being, quietly taking notes on how it feels. That's the first stage of change--internal shifts.

At some point, though, don't you want to be ready? To tell others how coaching has changed your life? To offer that same change to others?

Start practicing. By yourself. With strangers you'll never see again. Don't worry about how it sounds. Just practice. It's hard for everybody at first.

Here's what I wished I'd known then--when I believe myself, they do too. When I speak with confidence, they hear me.

Want to practice together? Let’s spend 30 minutes boosting your confidence in this free call.

Bucket List Item #34 (aka Singing Lessons)

Do you keep a bucket list?

It's one of the ways we keep track of our dreams in my program Celebrate You.

Growing up I was pretty sure I couldn't sing.

Sure, I could hold a note on key, but my voice never sounded like a singing voice to me. I woke up with a desire to sing after a conversation with a friend's father, a well-known opera singer. He said that in his experience, anyone could be trained to sing, and he said it with such confidence that I believed him. I tucked that seed of hope into my heart and waited for the right time. Three years ago it sprouted onto my bucket list.

There it was, #34 on my 2014 Bucket List: Singing Lessons.

It was scary to write down. I couldn't imagine actually doing it.

And I didn't.

I re-evaluated that list in 2015. Do I write it again? Am I still drawn toward it? Yes.

Same process in 2016. It made the list a third time. Not many things stick around that long--either I do them or I lost interest in doing them and they disappear.

Singing lessons started to feel important. I started paying attention to coincidences and synchronicities. I collected names of recommended singing teachers. One day when I was feeling brave, I contacted my top pick and we set up a time to get started. Over time my confidence while singing improved. Singing in front of others is still scary as hell, but guess what--I do it!

Here's what I did not see coming:

Singing lessons have been a metaphor for finding my voice in other ways.

Seriously! Expressing myself through song, by opening my mouth and feeling vulnerable, yet still sharing my voice, is empowering me to be brave and speak up in other ways.

I am willing to be heard and willing to be judged.

Who knew that's where singing lessons would lead...

What's been on your bucket list for awhile?

What are you waiting for? I dare you to take a tiny step toward it...

2017 Word of the Year


That's my word for 2017.

I'm defining radiant as expressing love, confidence and happiness and it's the feeling of being aglow, sending out light, shining brightly, dazzling. It inspires me to take what I know in my heart and radiate it outward.

In previous years, I've chosen words like: abundance, live luxuriously, intuition, inspire... and I'm always amazed at how useful each word has been. How the word gives me permission to explore, learn and challenge longstanding beliefs.

I cherish this tradition of choosing a word. Now each member of my family chooses a word, generally around Christmas time. I talk with friends about their words. It's a cool way to have a deep, genuine, ongoing conversation in a new way.

In my program Celebrate You, we spend time honing our intentions for the year before inviting this year's word. We try on a few words, hesitantly, seeing if they fit or if there's another word that feels more right. We share the word in the group and the power of the word increases. We continue to come back to the word each month and share lessons around our word.

What’s your word?

I encourage you to spend a few quiet minutes to find a word you'd like to partner up with this year. Write it down. Refer to it often. Invite a friend to join you. See how it influences your year.

Expressive vs Receptive Skills

I've been involved in lots of habilitation therapy with my kids. Specifically for language, speech and communication. I have two kids whose ears are deaf or hard of hearing.

I remember clearly the big celebration when the therapist said "Your child is at or above age level for both receptive and expressive skills." Yay! It was a huge milestone to celebrate all the years of hard work and hard listening and repeating.

What are receptive and expressive skills?

Receptive language is understanding and interpreting language input, both in words and gestures. Expressive language focuses on the language output, how a person expresses themselves grammatically and what they want and need.

When I apply this concept to my life, my receptive skills are huge while my expressive skills are developing.

I am a life-long learner and love to take courses, read non-fiction books and keep stimulated with new ideas (high receptive skills). Soaking up a new idea is bliss. It's easy.  Historically, I've tended to put off teaching others what I know (developing expressive skills). My tendency has been to go learn more so I can be "perfect" when I teach, instead of teaching what I know, with all the holes and questions I still have. Learning is less risky; I don't feel vulnerable when I learn. This awareness of a pattern is causing me to exercise my expressive skills, take risks and express what I know.

In "Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" Richard Bach wrote, "You teach best what you most need to learn."

I'm feeling that at a deep level. As I teach the topics I care most about, I continue learning, I ask questions, I stay humble and admit I don't know it all. It feels great to deepen the conversations and to hear others say "I never thought of that!" with a smile.

Which way will I change the world? How can I create kindness and inspire others to lead with kindness?

Only by speaking out, using that expressive side. Only by risking "doing it wrong" will I be able to connect with others and invite the change that I wish to see in the world.

That's my plan.

"Be the change that you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi

When Pin the Tail on the Donkey isn't Fun

Recently a client described an awkward conversation with a family member like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey. He was never quite sure where his target was or what he could say to make his point.

This image has stuck with me.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a game from childhood, requiring the player to wear a blindfold, get spun around a few times then try to find the picture of the donkey and affix a tail in the correct location.

It's a game of chance and competition. You win, I lose.

It's a game that makes me feel a little jackassy, wandering around dizzy,  holding a donkey tail. It's a game where everyone is watching the player fumble around and laughing. And for perfectionists, fumbling in front of others and wandering around without the tools to succeed is our worst nightmare.

Imagine this person's discomfort in his relationship. He feels like everyone else knows where and how he's supposed to go, while he's only able to guess at where that is. He's feeling a ton of judgement about how he's doing. No wonder he feels unsure.

Have you ever felt like this?


Here's the exercise--take a relationship that's troubling you and find a game it resembles. Is it the old card game War? Monopoly? Boggle?

Then ask yourself why you picked that game. What are the rules you're uncomfortable with? How do you feel as you're playing?

Next, what game would feel better? How could you invite the feeling of playfulness while losing the "me vs. the world" mentality, the rules you don't like and all the perceived judgment from others? Is there a cooperative game that fits?

What if you chose a board game like Cranium or an athletic game like soccer, where you're both on the same team and have different skills? How would visualizing this type of game change how you approached a conversation with a family member?

Spend some time with this and let me know what you come up with.

What Home Feels Like

As I reflect on 2016, one of the great things about our six weeks of travel last Fall was teaching my kids how to feel settled and safe emotionally, in their hearts, when we're unsettled physically. How to live from a suitcase. How to pack and unpack every day. How to make each space we slept in feel safe and homey. How to value what we have. How to play with and enjoy each other. How to notice similarities and differences in all the settings.

This year we've created more unsettledness in our physical surroundings. We're moving an hour away in stages and have things scattered in boxes here and there. We left our home of 8 years last month with clothes, books and things we cared most about. I brought the basics for the smaller rental house and the extra stuff won't follow us for awhile, perhaps not ever. My husband is transitioning more slowly, living at our previous home and readying it for resale. We're building a house a few minutes away from the rental, questioning how our family functions and what structures would support us best.

There's discomfort in the unsettledness, the not-knowing and all the newness. A month ago, making a fire in a woodstove was completely foreign to me. Fire burns stuff automatically, right? I thought. How hard could it be??? I'll tell you how hard--we froze our patooties off the first week! The woodstove in our rental is the primary source of heat. And I like heat. After much practice, some advice from friends and Youtube and some hands-on lessons with my husband, I'm a much better fire builder. Now the time I spend making a fire is like a meditation inviting awareness.

We have at least two more moves ahead of us this year. One to another temporary space, hopefully on our property, and one to the home we're building. Yet right now we feel settled at this home, in this space. The rental is cozy and filled with heart. The move feels right. Crazy, but right. Our new community reflects our values and we've benefited from the love and support of friends in the transition.

We're home.

We feel settled in our hearts.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "home" as "the social unit of a family living together" and "a familiar or usual setting". I believe our family is enhancing our social unit by teaching the spirit of "home", the settled, safe feeling that is a family living together and caring for each other in any setting, familiar or otherwise.


Yesterday I almost fell off my horse.

This is Captain.

He is a Morgan, about 15 hands, liver chestnut.

He's well-trained in dressage and will try his heart out for me. He's also anxious, always on the lookout for changes in his environment. He's taught me to ride in a zen state--very calm and relaxed, no extra movements, while still being the leader.

Up until now, I’ve ridden horses that needed a little extra motivation. I carried a whip and tapped them forward.

Not this guy. If you get a whip within 10 feet of him, he gets suspicious and his feet start to dance.

Yesterday we were working in a field and as we got closer to the woods, he got spooky. He wasn't paying attention to me as leader. It was obvious something was in the woods and he wasn't going to like going there.

I checked my position--I knew this might be a bumpy ride--I got deeper in the saddle, made sure my feet were secure in the stirrups then confidently asked him to go through the woods into the meadow despite his fear. He walked forward, eyeballs popping out of his head like he's watching a horror movie, ready for the next scary thing to leap out at him.

We both saw the deer at the same time. On other days we've walked within 10 feet of a deer or two, calmly taking in the scene. Not today. He was in Freak Out Mode. I could feel him gather himself up to bolt.

It was a sketchy 10 seconds that felt like a year!

His feet started moving sideways and his head was high, but he trusted me enough to come back down to earth. We rode by the deer a few minutes later, with Captain snorting and looking fearful.

Today I rehashed the scene with my riding coach. I wanted to learn some more tools.

What I heard was:

  • Soothe him

  • Tell him when he’s doing it right

  • Give him a job that requires brain power, like circling, leg yielding

  • Approach the scary thing from another direction

  • Encourage him

It seems he's always teaching me something.

Hey, this reminds me of parenting…

Celebrate the Solutions

I didn't start out knowing how to parent.

When my kids were loud, cranky, mad, sad--anything but happy, really, I made it about me. Some of my thoughts: Other parents are watching me and I've got to DO something, I'm not a good Mom, This sucks!, I have to control them, They're going to become horrible adults because I'm not doing this right.

I parented in ways that I'm not proud of (hell, I still have my moments!)...until I started trusting myself. Trusting that I could navigate parenting based on my core feelings--what I'm about to do or say--will it feel like love or like fear? Will it feel like nourishment or like poison in our relationship?

If what I'm about to do feels like poison, I'll regret it later. If what I'm about to do feels like nourishment, I'll celebrate it later. I'm becoming more aware of my choice points before I do or say something.

What I've learned is that I'm not here to teach my children how to behave. I'm here to teach myself to behave and then watch as my behavior trickles down to them.

My kids have just as much to teach me about being "in the moment" and enjoying life one giggle at a time as I have to teach them about values and ethics.

I used to yell "Stop hurting your brother!", with my face full of anger and judgment.

How much was I hurting my child as I said (OK, yelled) not to hurt others? What if, instead, I said nothing and hugged my child with compassion? Recognized that she's human and is doing the best with the tools she has (just like I am)? Realized that I'm expecting more of her than I am of myself? Later I could show her more tools; in that moment all she is asking for is love and connection.

Speaking of trickle down moments, last night my 10 year old and I were cuddling before bed. He asks if we can watch a TV show before bed. I say no, I'm really wanting to read my book and have quiet time.

He says, "What other solutions could we come up with? Could you read your book for 15 minutes and then we could watch a show?"

I melted.

How many times have I asked that question: "What other solutions can we come up with?"  while negotiating conflict in our family.

He was actually listening!

I celebrated for many reasons--he asked respectfully, he partnered with me, he modeled how I'd like to ask questions, he had another solution ready that might work for both of us, he was ready to accept my answer either way.

All good skills for a human being of any age to have.

What are YOU celebrating?

Dandelion: Perception is Everything

You spot it in your yard. A yellow flower has sprouted from the earth.

You could have two reactions:

:Hey, look at that pretty, little dandelion--so persistent that it grows where many plants can't. Its leaves are edible. The bees enjoy its nectar."


"OMG! Another hideous weed has emerged. Grab the poison! It needs to GO!"

Fascinating, right? There was only one fact. A flower emerged. What happened next were two stories about the fact. Two different ways to interpret the fact and give it meaning. Which way feels expansive and light? Choose that! Which way feels painful and annoying? Stay away from that!

That's what a life coach can help with:

  • finding beliefs about the facts that are causing pain, annoyance, anger and digging a little bit deeper to see how else the facts can be interpreted. Always choose the light!

Chickens: the Embodiment of "Not Enough"

I adore our five chickens--Dixie, Sparkle, Vampira, Gold Bar and Daisy.

(No, I didn’t name them all.)

They all have unique personalities and quirks. However, they are ALL convinced that another hen has more food or better food. Always.

It's comical to watch the chickens run around our yard, finding their own food, while always keeping one eye on the others. They scamper around, shoving and pecking each other, trying to get the best and the most food.

It reminds me of us. Humans.

As humans we have two basic fears: lack and attack. Lack means we are afraid we don't have enough. Maybe it's enough money or friends or time or patience. Attack means we are afraid we're going to get hurt mentally or physically. These fears ask us to stay safe by staying small. Our ego is boss and it says "I'm most important and my needs trump others'."

The opposite of fear is love. We can choose love. Love asks us to courageously care for ourselves and others, while doing no harm. We thank our egos for wanting to keep us safe and we move into a state of expansiveness that includes all beings on the planet.

"When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

Audre Lorde, American poet

Too Legit to Quit!

Do you remember this song?

(If not, you might just want to skip this one…)

The key phrase from MC Hammer's "Too Legit to Quit" came to me as I listened to a friend tell me about building a new business. She's focused on building the foundation first--all the non-sexy pieces that come together to support a business.

I realized she's doing all this foundational work to become too legit to quit.

She's got all the pieces together to make her feel like a successful business woman, therefore she presents herself as a successful business woman to the world and voila, she's a successful business woman.

She's off and flying! No way will she quit after she's filled with this feeling of success.

Another friend, also self-employed, is creating this feeling of success a completely different way. She's becoming too legit to quit by jumping into the business, doing her thing and gathering customer feedback. It's a cycle that feeds her legitimacy and encourages her forward.

Two different models, yet the same feeling they're creating--that sense of legitimacy and purpose.

Another way to say it is "Fake it til you make it."

When I was an intern for a big public accounting firm, I had no idea what it meant to "be a CPA". I watched experienced CPAs, took advice from all the good ones, did my best to emulate them and soon enough I felt like a CPA.

At that point the awkwardness left and the world saw me as a CPA. And I was!

Here’s something to try.

When you want something, start by feeling it.

You want a vacation with your family filled with connection and love? What does that feel like in your body? Can you feel bubbling joy in your heart? Excitement in your chest? Butterflies in your belly? Pay attention to where it shows up and what sensations you get in your body.

I don't know what your feeling is exactly.

I do know that it feels open and expansive and freeing. When you've defined how your feeling feels, then follow it. Let your body track that feeling and check in with your brain occasionally. You'll be shocked at how easily situations show up in your life that align with that feeling, once you start paying attention to it.

International Listening Weekend

Well, here we are at International Listening Weekend: March 25-27.

Listening is a subject near to my heart because 2 of my 3 children were born with hearing loss.

Both kids use technology to hear--cochlear implants and hearing aids--and are doing great.

When they were babies and young children, I was always thinking about strategies to help them listen and understand speech, help them understand what information they missed (recovery strategies), help them access information in other ways (reading captions, looking for facial expressions).

My job was to pay attention, ask questions to find out what they knew and where the gaps were, repeat information or model how to ask someone else to repeat themselves, find other ways to get the information and advocate for them fiercely.

Oh, plus keep the babies from eating their devices…

How many times have I rescued hearing aids/implants from being devoured (or at least sucked on)? That’s a whole other story!

Add the complexities of "Did you physically hear me?" to "Are you listening or tuning me out?" that we all have, and it's complicated.

We've all been there as parents, babysitters or caretakers:

"It's not time for a cookie, sweetie," I say.

And the child keeps reaching toward the cookie jar.

"Baby, cookies happen after nap time, not now," I say again.

The child's hand is now opening the cookie jar.

And I have to think: Is this a normal child-testing-parent situation? Oh yes. And in my case it might also be a dead battery in a hearing aid that exacerbates the situation.

I will be celebrating International Listening Weekend with gratitude to all the scientists, doctors and volunteers that have made hearing technology possible, all the researchers who have studied brain and speech development, all the D/deaf individuals who have enriched our lives and the amazing parenting stories I've learned.

"Say you're SORRY!"

How many times have you overheard a parent snarl this?

The tone is angry, the underlying message is "Say you're sorry or ELSE" and it's really not about the child expressing regret anymore. It's about the parent feeling out of control or embarrassed or angry about the situation.

Even if she says sorry, is she, in that moment? I'm guessing not. I'd be scared if my parent was mad at me.

What ARE we teaching when we force an apology? To ignore feelings, to lie about reality (everybody knows the kid isn’t sorry!), to decide someone else knows more than our kids about their emotions.

Ouch. That’s not what I want to teach.

But what else can we do? How do kids develop empathy without forcing the "I'm sorry?"

Here’s an idea.

Try this--once they're calmed down, ask both kids how they're feeling and what would make them feel better about what just happened.

With my kids, sometimes that means a promise to not hurt each other or a silly high five or a video of their goofy faces together or drawing a comic together or even a traditional apology.

I'm generally amazed at the ideas they have for what will repair their relationships.

The kids get to practice checking in with each other and deciding what would feel good. They're negotiating, trading ideas, solving their own problems using their words and skills.