In a world that constantly celebrates people’s productivity and output, my hope is that by giving you a peak into the HUMANS I work with, you realize that the value you bring into the world is based on WHO YOU ARE first and foremost.
Your leadership is your legacy.
How we show up in all these various ways is modeling leadership and creating your realities.
Who we are at the core is the engine and the foundation behind the impact we make in the world.
When Kristen Rutherford walks into a room (albeit virtual or in person) one is immediately drawn to her, sun shiny, authentic disposition and her groundedness. Zero pretentiousness with this Kiwi transplant. She’s a safe haven for her team. She’s not afraid to speak up and she’s wildly creative. She’s also the Executive Creative Director, TBWA Chiat Day, Los Angeles.
SARAH: How are you living your legacy TODAY?
KIRSTEN: I’ve journaled every night for the past 33 years. In the last few years since my Dad passed away, I’ve tried to change the spirit of that daily summation into one that leads only with gratitude. If I have something to write on the page, then I’m living my values which feels pretty awesome.
Whether that’s seeing growth in my team, or seeing them feel appreciated…that makes me feel appreciated.
I’m grateful to be able to find the intersection between my purpose and profession– whether that’s working on accounts that do good, or finding opportunities with brands to help them find their soul.
I’m also grateful that at this stage in my career, I’ve been given the trust and support to bring even more humanity to place with the words ‘Be more human’ written in 12ft letters on our outside wall.
SARAH: Tell us about the opportunity to speak at Cannes and why it’s important to you?
KIRSTEN: I’m privileged to be talking to the Cannes Young Lions Creative Academy. The Academy is a talent accelerator for the brightest young (under 30) creative talent in the world. My session is called ‘Balancing your creativity with purpose’. We’re discussing how to intersect your values / purpose with your profession and how to use your moral compass if something doesn’t sit well with your beliefs and values.
It’s such an honor when this conversation allows me to live my own purpose: making the world a better place through kindness and creativity!
SARAH: How would you describe working with me?
KIRSTEN: I’ve been lucky enough to work with Sarah in both group workshops and personal coaching. I’m grateful for her insight- she has a glorious ability to take a step back and summarize what feels like a mountain, into a very walkable hill! Sarah holds you accountable. We all know the power of being challenge to articulate our 3ft toss and stay true to that. She’s challenging… in all the right ways!
A huge thank you to Kristen for taking a beat to slow down and share with me what she’s up too.
We’ll I’m circling back – because the next group for 2022 is starting this fall and you need to know more about this now.
Also – something happened last week that struck me about this program and the women who participated in 2021 – and I had a big moment of pride. Of joy. Of warmth.
“Transformation gets created, and these women experience a true sense of belonging well beyond the program.
We working moms owe it to ourselves to get supported. Our deepest desires matter. We’re not here just to support others. I know my working Moms know that.”
I notice how easily it is for women to bond over what’s not working in their life, and while that might feel good in the moment, it certainly doesn’t foster long-term change. If anything, it fosters more resentment, frustration and overwhelm.
I love this program so much because these women not only redefine what leadership means, they finally get the support they’re worthy of from other working Moms who get them. From there, I witness the Mother Board members truly be the author of their lives and lean into their deepest *desires* despite the circumstances around them (not enough time in the day, a partner who doesn’t carry their weight, lack of energy, money etc).
“One of the greatest gifts I see women experience in this program is the ‘ongoing’ support after the program completes.”
If you’re a working Mom, or know one, please consider this my invitation to invest in yourself. Doors will close Aug. 1st and I want you to experience the gift of not only having myself be a stand for you, but also other women who will believe in you like you’ve never felt before – all from a place of compassion.
For all my peeps out there whose #1 value is connection, read this carefully as you might be falling into the trap that I notice a lot of my community, clients and friends are.
Now more than ever as we emerge from 2 years working at home, little to know travel and/or interactions with others, we’re all craving connection. So much so, that we often choose a connection over saying what we really need to say.
I was working with a company’s president this week and we were discussing a conversation that he was planning on having with one of his C-Suite Execs that was the kind of conversation that if it didn’t happen, they’d have a major issue with retention in the near future.
I noticed every time we started to talk about the intention behind the conversation, how we was going to show up and what he was going to say, he would start to squirm and get distracted with other priorities. It was obvious he didn’t want to have this conversation and just the thought of if was bringing up a ton of discomfort.
This president values integrity as much as connection, but when it came to the possible thought of having a conversation that could trigger a colleague and cause a possible argument, he was paralyzed by fear. So relatable right?!
We live in a world that’s constantly telling us to ‘Be authentic. Speak up. Tell your truth.’ Yet, even when the stakes are high in the boardroom, or at home with our partners or our children, how many times do we (YOU) choose connection over authenticity, thinking they’re mutually exclusive?
Let’s be real.
There is a massive impact on each one of us when we choose comfort and connection over speaking up.
Where, in your life, are you avoiding sharing your most authentic self, because you’re prioritizing connection even though it’s at the cost of you really sharing yourself?
Think about it.
I bet you don’t have to look too far.
We’re human and we have a bias for comfort – but the last thing we need in this world is people avoiding speaking up and dancing around the truth.
Will you be courageous today and share your authentic self over connection in the moment?
Guess what… More times than not, the more authentic you are, the greater sense of true connection you end up creating in the long run.
For all my people who live by checklists, and go through the day trying to ‘get it all done in EVERY area of your life, this is for you.
From one driven leader to another, going about your day that way can feel really dang good in the moment, *but* it can leave you feeling burned out and even worse – UNINSPIRED.
When I feel uninspired, nothing works – I’m disconnected from my work, my family, and myself. Ugg.
So what can you do?!!?
Last week I spent the week at Camp Cultivate, which is an annual retreat that takes place in Dripping Springs Texas and is the brainchild of my amazing friend and life coach Allison Crow.
When we walked into the gorgeous room where we were going to be for the 4 days, she had a set of paints on every woman’s seat (50) and colored pens.
Throughout the whole week, I found myself picking up the paints to draw metaphors for what I wanted to remember. Each day went on, I found myself settling more into my body and less in my head. New ideas were coming to me and I started to experience even more ease around my business and what’s next for the back half of 2022.
I know you might be thinking there’s nothing new about this idea of using color markers and paints, but here’s what I know about myself and my community! We often don’t, because we’re so busy, the idea of anything that could slow down productivity gets an eye roll.
If you want to experience more of your creative brilliance, I’m telling you, get your paints and pens out and carry them everywhere.
Do NOT underestimate what happens when the little child in you gets to draw.
To BE inspired and commit to leading from your heart, THIS is one brilliant way that will crack it open.
So this week I’ll ask…
If you were feeling more inspired today, what would you put your energy toward that would have you feeling more alive than ever?
Commit to taming your busy and reignite your creativity,
It’s incredible what happens when you create space in your life and protect it with clear boundaries. Despite having a very full business and an incredibly loving and involved husband, I was feeling conflicted the month leading up to this holiday – excitement for what’s to come, grief over past losses, anxiety and confusion over what I want to create next in my business. All of my humanity was showing up as a 10! I could feel myself wanting answers, solutions, a playbook stat, leaving very little reverence for where I was at that particular moment. And, not a lot of curiosity for what was underneath those feelings, which — spoiler alert — was a lot of “should” and “expectations” for what I should want and what I should be doing. I bet you can relate?
When we left for this trip, I vowed to my clients, my friends, and my team that I would not be bringing my laptop, AND I would not be online at all: no texts, emails, or social posts. Zilch. And truthfully, I was really looking forward to being unavailable (I still had my 3 little[ish] people, so it wasn’t like I was entirely free from responsibility).
For us driven peeps who are incredibly reliable to be productive, get in the trenches and see it through, no matter what, it was a major victory for me in keeping my commitment to myself and honoring the boundaries I’d set. That happens on the soul level, and that is what I call leadership transformation.
The ability to transform who we BE in our soul, in service to experiencing more internal harmony, growing spiritually while creating our true desires in the physical world.
It’s not lost on me for one moment how fortunate we are as a family to be able to travel AND the choices we’ve made that have allowed us to create the life we leave.
I intentionally designed this holiday, so that we would be integrated into the local culture and environment and away from tourists, big hotels and, busyness. I wanted to be influenced by the Caribbean way of life, not the Western culture that I live and breathe every day.
We spent the first half of our trip on a secluded island with a very small group of people and several local guides. We slept in clean, airy tents and enjoyed fresh homemade meals by two women who were locals from a nearby town on the coast and who proudly presented each meal with gratitude and excitement. The beach had beautiful white sand with loads of local birds, hermit crabs, and iguanas running free plus vibrant hammocks hanging throughout our camp. I was gobsmacked by the beauty and the love these women poured into the preparation of delicious yet very simple meals.
The days were filled will snorkeling with nurse sharks and spotted rays, fishing, kayak-sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, and my favorite hammock surfing. Not a hotel or car in site (or tourist for that matter aside from our little group). This way of life created a clearing for creative thoughts to flourish.
Every morning, I would wake up to the ocean breeze, beaming hot sun, and the feeling of wonder and possibility as we started each day. My mind had begun to relax, and I could feel calm throughout my body and spaciousness in the days to come. Because I had set such clear boundaries and stuck to them, I was in a position to fully take in and receive what was available each day. The weather in the Caribbean is quite unpredictable and, because of that, we didn’t know what activities we could do until that morning. There was a sense of mystery and unknown about each day, but my relationship to uncertainty was shifting. Instead of feeling anxious, worn out, and worried, I was feeling curious, excited, and calm.
Clarity and creativity come with space.
There’s just no way around it.
When I first take on a new client or a team of leaders, I see their struggle to birth new ideas, and yet be productive at the same time. It’s not that they’re mutually exclusive, but any kind of expansion requires spaciousness to explore and be curious. Days that aren’t filled with back-to-back meetings, meal prep, homework help, and so on. It requires leadership transformation – a commitment at the soul level to surrender and trust that the world you’ve built around you will hold as you step away to slow down.
What would be possible if you were to commit to trusting that the world around you is strong enough to withstand your absence at times if you were to create more space throughout your days? What would you have MORE of that you currently don’t have at all?
As I step back into ALL of my responsibilities (full on, as my husband is back east all week), I will experience contraction as that’s the result of expansion. I’ve intentionally created space to move my body, connect with friends, and serve my clients in a way that allows me to show up from a place of fullness, rather than a deficit.
This wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing transformation I’ve committed to creating in my leadership (shout out to my coaches for all of your support!).
I want this for you, too.
It’s so much more fulfilling and fun. I’ve opened up space in my diary at the end of the month for 3 people or organizations who would like to experience a complimentary coaching conversation in service to exploring what’s possible right now for you or your team.
Yes, I live in LA, and work amongst a lot of people in the creative industry, but I still couldn’t get over how many conversations I heard in the past week following the Chris Rock + Will Smith moment at the Oscars. Not to mention all of the op-ed pieces, social posts, and memes written from all around the world.
The conversation that interests me the most is actually one I haven’t heard discussed much and it’s about Chris Rock’s ability to lead in the face of any circumstance.
To be clear – I’m NOT saying I thought his joke was ok, but the conversation I want to point to has nothing to do with the content itself – it has everything to do with how we relate to circumstance, person, event, etc. I’m a big believer that the issue is never the issue, instead, the issue is how we relate to the issue (read that twice)!
When I think about leadership opportunities for my clients (and myself) across the boardroom, in marriages, and with our children, it all comes down to how we show up at the moment and relate to the person or situation.
Every single one of us has found ourselves in situations where we feel fired up, embarrassed, disappointed, dismissed, ignored (I could go on). Chris Rock showed us that even when you’re feeling all the feels, it is possible to hunker down in your body and stand grounded and calm. That struck me as an incredibly teachable moment in leadership. He made it look easy.
Brene Brown does an impeccable job in her latest book and TV series, “Atlas of the Heart” helping us build a bridge between our thinking and our emotion, so when we put our head on our pillows at night we can look back and know that we were leading from integrity.
Not the wild ego that lives inside of us and can attack viciously, leaving us feeling ashamed and embarrassed.
It’s that bridge that allows us to connect to others, but ultimately stay connected to ourselves during the most difficult times when we start to feel the charge inside of us.
When I watched Chris Rock during that moment, I imagined the charge in his body that lit up. The pressure of having so many eyes on him, the shock of a physical slap, the part of him that felt foolish and wanted to get revenge… and yet, in a moment, in one second, he was able to ground his feelings, and leverage the bridge between his thinking and his emotions. He showed up calm and open.
That required courage and vulnerability.
Can you imagine a world where every single one of us, despite our feelings getting completely bent out of shape at times, and yet LEADING the way in which Chris Rock did?
Imagine the next argument with your partner or your teen, and instead of doing the thing you always do (dismiss, blow up…fill in the blank) you respond vs. react. Or a colleague gives you feedback that you totally disagree with and yet you’re able to stay connected to yourself and them, and even finish the conversation still feeling connected to one another?
*That* is leadership.
So the question for you, my friends becomes…
What would you have in your life (that you don’t currently have) if you strengthened your ability to lead in those difficult moments – instead of being reactionary?
That’s what I call leadership and it’s really the *thing* that defines us and redefines us, and it happens in a moment.
Where do you start when you desire something that is outside of your comfort zone and therefore stirs up all kinds of resistance?
Glad you asked. You start with a VISION.
If you missed last week’s post, take a beat and read HERE for an intentional and simple take on writing a vision (that I guarantee will set you up for success).
For those of you who have your vision around something you desire, this is where manifestation enters the picture. First, I must set the record straight. Praying and reading your vision every day is NOT going to deliver the results you might read on social media.
Connecting with your vision daily is key, you must put structure around your vision, so that you align intentional action with your intention. Think about it. This is why most New Year’s Resolutions fail. My friend Jen decides she wants to lose 15 pounds so she can feel lighter and run a half marathon later in the year. Jen claims she’s going to go to workout 3x a week and eat healthier. While that might sound like structure, it’s lacking a few important pieces that will support her on the days that she feels like skipping her workout and eating ice cream.
If you really want to actualize your vision, here’s the tried and true structure I use that turns my goals into a project, making it much more attainable:
1) WHY is this desire/ goal important to you?
2) How do you want to feel as you experience the creation of this desire? Note: We often ignore this as we’re so attached to the result, but the process can be equally as fulfilling as the result
3) A clear vision (which you’ve likely already done)
4) Declarations timeline.
In other words a what by when. This is often where people get tripped up, because they don’t declare what they’re going to do by when and so very little movement happens.
5) Rewards tied to your Declarations – Do NOT skip this step.
Just like children, we to follow through when rewarded along the way. What will you gift yourself when you complete each declaration? (This is your project plan so you get to decide)
You can complicate this all you want, but I find the above structure has served me in creating a very lucrative business w/ the type of clients that truly inspire me, a house that I love calling home, a marriage I’m proud of and so much more.
What small action will you take by this Friday to continue to actualize your biggest desire?
So thinking more about this week and where you could shift some of your focus… Your Vision
I kind of shocked myself mid-week when I was looking at an old vision exercise I had done for myself, and realized when it came to visualizing a future home I wanted for my family and I…we now have it. we literally have what I put in a vision I wrote, and I didn’t even realize it
In the middle of the Pandemic, against many odds, we bought a house.
But we didn’t buy just any house, we bought a house that truly aligned with our vision.
This word gets tossed around a lot, but it’s something I put a lot of energy into with my own desires and my clients. The purpose of a vision, as I see it, is to get clear on what it is you want and how you want to experience it.
The mistake I see a lot of people make is they have ideas in their head around what they want, but they don’t take the time to write them down and create a clear vision.
So… The #1 Most Important Thing to do That Everyone Skips Over: Write a Clear Vision DOWN.
It’s the 1st thing you have to do to get closer to actualizing your desires. It’s something I do at the start of each year, and at the beginning of each new desire I have because it lays the foundation for the road map needed to actualize the particular desire.
Here’s a sneak behind the curtain on what my 2021 vision was about our new home…
“We’re living in a house that is NW Modern – or spanish style – it has a yard w/ a pool or on lake. A hot tub. Upstairs. A big kitchen we can cook in. A counter where boys are sitting and we collect in late evenings or early mornings. A garden w/ veggies. Tall, natural trees around. An open door policy. A place to read that’s cozy. A big fireplace. Big open, tall windows. Clean feeling, not cluttered. Art that we’ve collected over the years. Walking distance to a high street. Surrounded by beauty- bricks, old town…. Interesting people. I see myself in this house w/ music playing through it, it feels airy, light and spacious but isn’t massive. It feels lived in and cozy.”
The house we bought is spot on and you should know we didn’t have an agent nor were we actively looking. On a walk we noticed this house for sale and couldn’t believe how much it aligned with my vision. The whole experience was rooted in ease, which is something I’ve been wanting to experience more of the last couple of years. Side note- be as specific as possible. I mentioned I wanted *brick* and boy did we get a lot of brick (including two showers made out of brick).
So for your Coaching Call-Out, this week can you…. Consider what it is you really want AND do you have a vision for it?
If not, write it down on paper in the present tense and let yourself really go there. Do not limit yourself. Remember, the universe likes specificity so don’t be afraid to put it down even if it feels crazy or not possible!
P.S. This is a two-part series. Next week, I’ll share what’s next once you have your clear vision. We have to work in reality – it’s not as simple as just write a vision and then hope and pray for it.
Use this week to give yourself permission to own your desires and put them on paper.
Because next week, we’ll be diving into part two- actualizing your vision,
Are you going a mile a minute with back-to-back meetings, work, children, personal projects, while thinking about what you’re cooking for dinner and getting “organized” for the holidays?
You’re left feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and even bored from the groundhog’s day feeling that can arise when we push ourselves in overdrive.
I mean, seriously, where is the F-U-N
It can be easy to think that this chaotic schedule is happening to you (been there).
It’s Exercise Time
Instead of killing the fun, here’s an exercise that I give my clients that are in this de-fun spiral.
Make a list of 10 ways in which you squash fun.
Writing them down will require you to stare at how YOU are contributing to feeling overwhelmed. It can be confronting. And then choose one or two things from your list (to start) where you can show up differently in your leadership.
Here’s an example of a list I started a few years ago.
How I Squash Fun in my Daily life
Being busy every moment of the day
When I have a win, I ignore it and immediately focus on the next big opportunity
I tend to overextend myself in every area of my life.
I stay up late responding to emails. This means not being able to get up early and work out because I’m too tired.
I delay making decisions because something better may come along.
I do the easy stuff first. Which is often the mundane stuff and doesn’t inspire me at all.
I say yes to client requests no matter what.
I use fun as a ‘reward’. (Ex: I get to watch that movie once I’ve cleaned up the house)
I compare myself/my life/my kids to other people’s lives/kids.
I often over-effort/overthink.
As one of my mentors says, “this issue isn’t the issue, the issue is how you relate to the issue.”
As you move through your day, your busy week, and get ready for the holidays, I encourage you to come up with your own list of “10 ways I squash fun.”
Then stare that list in the face and see where you can show up in leadership. Can you stand in trust and not worry that that client will leave you if you say no and maintain a boundary? Can you stand in fun and choose the fun thing before the reward?
We’re here for a nanosecond and laughing and enjoying life is what it’s all about.
If you’re too busy to say yes to something you really want, are you willing to lead from a different quality in order to create it?
Almost all of my clients, and myself included, have a bias for action. We like to plow through things and get it done. That also tends to mean that are schedules are packed. Sound familiar?
Part 2 to that, those packed, productive days can also mean that when opportunities we really really want come up (professional, creative, personal, fun) we don’t know what to do.
We freeze, and often turn them down completely. Also sound familiar?
Case in Point: I was at a wedding a few weeks ago and one of my clients spontaneously invited me to the 3% Conference in Atlanta in two weeks.
I didn’t tell her this, but I’m telling you. My initial thought…. “Is she crazy? That would mean rescheduling nearly 15 client meetings across three days. And the boys… what about the boys, the homework, the cooking, and and and…”
…. Clearly, that came from fear.
Then I thought….” is she being serious?”
All the while I could feel a burst of positive energy and excitement course through my body.
Experience and impact are two values I live by, and the 3% Conference is something I’ve wanted to participate in for years. In a nutshell it’s a very established movement in the creative world that believes (as do I) that more women & more diversity = MORE creativity + more profitability.
Without speaking to my team, my husband, my kids, I blurted, “HELL YES.”
I let go of how I would make it all work and I chose to lead from trust.I get it, I really do. Leadership happens in the moment. Busy bees like us can get such tunnel vision and addicted to the high of planning and completing things, that we deny ourselves the joy of living in the moment.
But there’s another way to lead.
So this week in your leadership…
Can you identify what you’re craving, and then identify what QUALITY you need to lead from to experience that desire.
I chose trust. My team, my family, my own ability. To communicate changes and decide what things can be pushed back or let go. And I know you can choose a different quality to lead from too.
Stay tuned as I share my key takeaways and leadership growth from the 3% Conference this week (follow me on socials if you don’t already)!
I’m so glad we’re in this together learning and growing,
We’re on the brink of the holiday season and I’m slipping into old patterns.
We waited until this week to sort out Halloween costumes, and Amazon was not an option (gone are the days of excitement and appreciation for my handmade Halloween costumes). Sure enough, we were driving from one Halloween store to another trying to track down a very specific costume.
I could feel the tiredness and irritability setting in. As I was sitting in peak LA traffic with one of my boys and literally asking myself, “What are we doing? Did I learn anything from COVID?” The impact of my choice to drive around looking for one specific costume felt chaotic and wasn’t in alignment with the feeling of grace and ease I desire.
Does anyone else relate to leaving something to the last minutes only to create a chaotic, frustrating experience for yourself?
But I caught it – I noticed that I was leading from that place of chaos and frustration and I checked it.
If anything, COVID taught me to roll with things – to stay open – to lead from a place of flexibility and to model that for those around me.
That’s how leadership works. It’s a choice. It requires us to be an active participant. Even if you’re facing extreme circumstances, it still comes down to you choosing leadership from moment to moment. And yes, it can feel very uncomfortable.
I have a hunch that the holidays are going to test us this year. Most of us are still climbing out of a dark hole adjusting to socializing again. Sorting out the dance between supporting our own needs while also delivering on all of our commitments.
As we approach the holiday season, what quality will you choose to lead from in service to having the experience you desire?
I’m choosing openness, with the intention of not being attached to an outcome because I know that’s how pinch-me-moments happen. Bring on the ease and grace, please!
Today’s leadership kick: Where do you argue for your limitations/life circumstances instead of choosing possibility?
I just returned from 4 days in the majestic National Zion Park, where I hosted the retreat for The Board. These women have spent 9 months consistently choosing to show up for each other and themselves. Through two hour group coaching calls they grew their leadership and experience into the most authentic and powerful version of themselves. These women, like you, live very active lives. CEO’s, Entrepreneurs, Mothers, and had every good reason to cancel up until the last minute…BUT they didn’t.
They chose to come.
They chose to lead from curiosity.
They chose to BE uncomfortable.
Where most people want something different but continue to cling to cruise control, these women chose otherwise.
A lot of people talk about wanting to grow their leadership by reading a self-help book or listening to a podcast, but then get distracted with life and rarely anything changes
Not my people.
These women experienced their edge when it came to their own leadership last weekend. I was reminded that there is no replacement for experiencing coaching in the great outdoors. There’s a depth in the connection that gets created and that lends itself, so beautifully, to people dropping their armor and opening their hearts to being a stand for one another.
At one point, one of the women said how much she loved the hike, but hated having to look down all the time to avoid tripping on the rocks. Hours later realizing that was a telling metaphor for how she shows up in life –
if she’s constantly focused on what’s WAY out in front of her, it can lead to future tripping ⇢ which can stir up anxiety and in-action.
Realizing there are times where it’s necessary to focus on what’s right in front of her if she wants to take action and make changes.
Another Board member noticed she often chose to be in the back of the hikes, and when she would move to the front of the group, she felt wildly uncomfortable! She made it mean, in her head, that somehow she wasn’t as strong of a leader as the other women because she wasn’t in the front. Only to realize that leadership doesn’t look one way – and for her, hanging back and bringing up the rear allowed her to lead authentically.
If it weren’t for these women sitting in their discomfort and expanding their ability to sit in it, they wouldn’t have experienced these insights.
Subtle yes. Transformative, you better believe it.
You can read a version of this kind of growth somewhere, but when you experience it, embody it, that’s when you physically begin to show up differently in situations and lead from a more conscious place.
I have so much more to share, but for now, consider, “Who do you want to BE?”
How will you choose to BE in order to show up in leadership in ALL areas of your life?
If you’re one of my people and believe revolutionary growth happens inside revolutionary relationships, DM me to learn more about The Board 2022. We start in Feb. and the first spot has already been claimed! And…I’ll be announcing something very special about The Board for 2022 this week that has ME leaning into my edge.
Will you choose YOU this coming year?
Never underestimate possible.
Today’s leadership kick: Before that big event or meeting, take the time to create a vision for how you want to experience it. Then let that vision guide the choices you make.
This Friday I’ll be heading to Zion National Park with a group of incredibly driven, open-hearted, growth-minded women who have been part of my group coaching programover the last 9 months.
These are driven women who wear many different hats. They are committed to growing their own leadership while at the same time being a stand for one another in a very honest, transparent and open-hearted way. It’s required a big investment of time, money, and energy. So now we’re off to do the work in-person in the midst of magical Zion.
For me, there was a time leading up to big meetings and events where the week prior would feel chaotic. I’d have an endless list of things to do, and quite frankly, wasn’t a whole lot of fun to be around because of how much pressure I’d put on myself. The big meeting/event would ultimately go well but the experience leading up was so far from what I wanted – and I simply put I didn’t know any other way to BE.
How do you show up prior to an important work event?
Do you jam-pack your schedule?
Over-prepare to the point where you’re staying up late and then feel rubbish the next morning?
Do you become snippy with people around you?
Do you question if you know enough?
Do you obsess over all the details?
Do you feel a huge sense of relief when you actually get on the other side of the event?
If any of the above resonates with you, I so get it. I’ve realized through my own growth that the experience leading up to the event/meeting is equally important to me.
In fact, I often find it’s more enjoyable or equal to the event itself. As I go into the final week leading up to this retreat now, I still feel a variety of emotions: excitement, jitters, a bit of anxiousness – but above all I feel calm and grounded.
That question will draw you into the present moment, and from there you can choose to course correct and lead from such qualities like curiosity, vulnerability, grace, etc.. And as a bonus, here’s a pro-tip.
Regardless of how big the event or meeting is, take time to create a vision for how you want to experience it. This will give altitude while also connecting you to the experience, instead of focusing on the end result. Length of your vision doesn’t matter, so don’t get caught up! Write your vision in the present tense and remember, it’s this vision or something even better for your highest good.
Then let that vision guide the choices you make.
For example: I’ve cleared my evenings this week, so I have space to relax and rest. I’ve also let colleagues know that I’ll be less available this week. Not so I can fill that time but so I can create space. That space is what allows me to lead with a wide-open heart. This is the key to being an impactful and effective leader.
I’ll be sharing more about Zion as I have insights and learnings for you all, but in the meantime, slow your roll if you want to experience the gold that’s available to you in those BIG moments.
Today’s leadership kick: It’s hard to show up in leadership if you’re full of judgment.
I had a doozy of a day last week. I was in a coaching session with a client who generously provided some feedback and my ego had a heyday. Before I knew it I had a pit in my stomach, I started to sweat, and my speaking sped up. I started talking too much, which is always a sign that I’m working way too hard trying to prove something. I’d lost my way, clearly, and it felt crappy in the moment and even crappier when I got off the call.
Fortunately for me, I had my weekly call with two coaches I work with directly after. By this point, I was in a giant shame spiral and wishing I’d handled it differently.
One of the coaches gracefully reminded me about a concept from one of my favorite leadership books, ‘Getting Real’: the idea that I can go out and come back in.
As soon as she said it, my little voice went: ‘my clients, friends, and children get do-overs, but I certainly don’t.
Then it hit me. Why the heck not?!
I realized I have a pattern. When I don’t get something right, I beat myself up about it, leaking energy all over the place, which in turn keeps me from “going back in” and giving myself a do-over. And because I had little-to-no self-forgiveness for how I’d shown up, I had zero capacity to see what was possible by going back to the client and cleaning it up.
” It’s hard to show up in leadership if who you’re BEING in the moment is full of judgment.”
So I got to work on the self-forgiveness bit – I’ll share practical pro tips on that in the coming weeks. I found compassion for ‘not getting it right the first time.’ Then I was empowered to go back to my client and have the conversation again but from a place of responsibility and accountability.
It was another reminder that we have leadership moments all day long. The more we choose to BE in leadership, to cause leadership vs. be at the effect of it, the more we’re able to experience possibility and compassion for ourselves.
As many of you know, I just came out with my first multi-author book, which I’m in complete awe of because writing a book with five other women got a little wackadoodle. However, the stretching and growing that has come from me saying YES to my goals has far outweighed the messiness of collaborating with with five women on my first book, career change in my 30’s, getting my Master’s Degree while pregnant with my third baby.
These decisions happened because of my commitment to my ideal vision and my ability to give myself permission. While at times some of these choices weren’t super convenient for my family, they were all choices I felt called to act upon.
Now, I get asked all of the time by my clients and friends, what do you do if your husband or loved ones don’t support you? Let’s be honest. This happens. Not everyone agrees with your choices or even your dreams!
At least once a week I will hear, “My husband doesn’t think I need coaching,” and then I listen to women justify how their desires and dreams can wait because of their husband’s point of view.
While my husband loves me and, ultimately ends up supporting me — which I’m very grateful for, he hasn’t always bought into my ideas and how it is I want to experience my life.
Here’s the deal. This isn’t a bad thing. Want to know why? Each one of your goals and dreams are unique expressions of you and, until someone pushes back, you don’t get a sense of how much you really want it.
Think of the clothes analogy. You find a shirt you’re obsessed with. Only, the sales lady says she doesn’t have your size. This only makes you want it more. You go home and go to the end of the Internet and back until you hunt it down and find it in your size. It’s that resistance that makes you clarify and question ‘how bad do you really want it?’
I realize clothes aren’t the same as dreams and desires, but that feeling inside of you….not needing permission from anyone to go for it, that’s what I’m talking about! How good does it feel when you do track it down?! Come on. We’ve all been there.
So, when someone you respect, admire, and count on pushes back on one of your goals, dreams, or desires, it’s an opportunity for you to clarify how you want to move forward. Ask yourself this simple question: Why do I really want to experience this goal?
This is a chance for you to enhance your self-trust instead of letting someone you love discourage you. Listen to your heart and the answer that comes up. Then, move forward. There is a reason you have this goal, dream, or desire and, instead of seeking permission from somebody else to for it, give it to yourself.
As soon as you feel pushback on your goal or desire, it truly is the perfect opportunity to clarify and check in with yourself. I promise you will feel empowered by seeing this as a good thing and able to see things even more clearly about how you want to move forward. Remember, you get to choose how you want to experience your life, but this does require YOU to take the necessary steps to make it happen!
Give yourself permission to wake up, plug in, and play big. I’m eager to hear all about it.
Give yourself permission to experience the life you want,
If you’re like me, chances are you have an idea of how you think your life should be, and it might look something like this: Great marriage. Happy, vibrant, brilliant children who love me and each other and life. Gorgeous home. Fulfilling, lucrative career. In other words, a general sense of ‘I got this,’ contentment, fulfillment.
Do you ever struggle being fully present with what you are doing in this moment? Perhaps occupied with a project at work when you are actually spending time with your children? Or maybe worrying about your child’s report card while taking a shower? And I’m not even going to say the word “Facebook.”
Boy, oh boy, is it easy to be addicted to our phones, which is why I’m going to share 3 tips with you to help you break away. I find I go through phases where I’m really self aware of when I’m using my phone and other times not so much. This past week I found myself falling prey to checking my phone while standing in line at the grocery store, getting a tea at the coffee shop and even (I’m embarrassed to admit this) checking my phone while waiting at a stoplight. It hit me the other day that I was back to my old antics and struggling to be comfortable doing nothing. If given even 30 seconds, I felt a strong pull to read, text or click something on my phone. I felt less joyful than usual over the past week, and suspect my phone addiction is to blame.
Time for an intervention! Over the weekend I heard Arelene Pellicane of Growing up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World, speak, and her words hit me hard. I feel more inspired than ever to lead by example and show my children how to set phone boundaries. I’m saying YES to experiencing my life fully engaged. My children will be the lucky recipients of a Mama who’s present, balanced and full of life.
Here are three tips that I practice to help me part with my beloved phone:
1. Out of sight (out of mind) –If you’re at home, keep your phone in another room. This means charge it in another room! If you’re out with your family, keep it in your purse, or your pocket and disable the wireless. You can still use your camera.
2. Turn it off –(Gasp) I know it sounds so uncomfortable. Just try it for 15 minutes. It’s incredibly liberating. I’m experimenting with not having my phone on at all when I’m with my children.
3. Make an agreement with your significant other and support one another- I find it’s extremely difficult to quit cold turkey by yourself. Discuss guidelines with your spouse, and help each other live by them.
I know it’s incredibly easy to justify why we should be on our phones at times. I’ve been there. (It provides me flexibility. My client needs me. I have a deadline.) However, if your goal is to experience more fun and calmness, you need to take action and make decisions that will help you live that way. My hunch is that there are plenty of times when an email can wait 15 minutes or a phone call can be made an hour later. Instead you can use that time to be totally present and absorb your surroundings, which might be talking to a stranger in the coffee queue, having a conversation with your husband or sitting at a stoplight and watching the person next to you have a dance party in their car. It’s in our DNA to want more laughter and spontaneity in our life, so let’s make some space for it. Will you join me and commit to using your phone less?
Happy Mother’s Day to all of our magificent moms in the Conscious Working Mama community. Today we honor you, we thank you and we celebrate you. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart—as I always say, it’s harder than running a marathon—and yet, it really is the most rewarding role we play. However your day unfolds, it’s my wish that you allow yourself to truly enjoy and receive all of the gratitude that’s about to come your way. Let today be a day where you don’t require yourself to give and give and give, and instead, allow yourself to receive as much appreciation and joy as you can possibly handle. If you need some ideas, it could be as simple as:
Lay in bed an extra 10 minutes (consider it a science experiment)
Make time for a cup of tea/coffee in the morning and sit down while you drink it
Let your family know that you’re going to take 30 minutes of alone time and spend it however you like
Instead of thinking you have to wait an entire year to be granted permission to appreciate all of the wonderful things that you do and how you show up for your children and for yourself, why not adopt the attitude that every day is Mother’s day because you’re exceptional and are worth honoring every day. I love how Maya Angelou put it:
Open your eyes to the beauty around you,
Open your mind to the wonders of life,
Open your heart to those who love you,
and always be true to yourself.
We might think that being a mother is about giving to our children, but let’s remember the origin of where it all starts. Nurturing and celebrating ourselves is what births our capacity to be creative, to be kind, to be inspiring, to be compassionate, to be purposeful, to be loving and to experience all of our unique gifts that we have to offer the world. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to make it a point to compliment myself daily about how phenomenal I am as a mom, because I know deep down inside that the most important validation comes from within. Will you join me?
I’m thinking about you today and appreciating you, and come tomorrow morning, I’m going to be doing the exact same thing!
When my oldest son started kinder, we entered the world of playdates. Oh my goodness, did I find this stressful! If my son was invited to a playdate, I felt like I needed to immediately host one in return. My son begged me to host, and I was constantly looking at my overbooked calendar to see what I had to cut to to make the play date work. This anxiety started before the play date even began. Once the play date started, I realized I had not three boys, but usually four (sometimes I’d get lucky with a calm girl), bouncing off the walls of our intimate house and fighting over toys—not to mention little brothers feeling territorial and ignored by their oldest. And every time I would think to myself, ‘Wow, this was entirely self-induced!’ Like most of you, I would forge ahead trying to make play dates work, while secretly feeling thankful when they came to an end.
Something had to change. My son looked forward to these play dates and I wasn’t about to stop having them all together, but these kiddie sessions were giving me grey hairs! It became clear to me that I had a lot of expectations about play dates, including how frequently they should take place, how often I should host, how my children should act during them, what I should do with the kids… the list goes on and on. I reminded myself that when I attach to an expectation, I usually come up short because I’m so focused on how the “should” should look.
One of my mentors, Steve Chandler, makes a great distinction between agreements and expectations, and this distinction made me realize that I can shift my perspective, and ultimately my experience, of play dates if I make an agreement with myself.
A few definitions:
Agreement: An arrangement that is accepted by all parties.
Expectation: The act or state of looking forward or anticipating. Synonym for anticipation.
Imagine if you do away with putting pressure on yourself to “do it all” and stop expecting play dates to look and go a certain way, and instead you make an agreement with yourself along the following lines:I will do my very best planning playdates, and furthermore, I will do my very best enjoying them. I will detach from all expectations and accept that whatever is for my children’s and my highest good will emerge, allowing us to experience whatever it is we are supposed to, for the highest learning of all concerned.
Bam! I’ll be honest. I host less playdates and I’m okay with that. And when I do host, I enjoy them more because I’m more relaxed and unattached to the outcome. My children seem relaxed too. Voila. Give it a go!
Where in your life can you let go of an expectation and make an agreement either with yourself or with someone else, instead of having expectations?
Summer is one quarter away and are you starting to get hit with questions like, “What are your summer plans?”, “Which summer camps are you signing up for?”, “Have you figured out which days you’re going to take off for the summer?”
Have you started to receive emails about camp deals and heard chatter from other parents as they frantically start to sort out their summer plans?
In my world, I can say yes to all of the above! I also have a small confession: Until recently, I use to dread summer holidays. Here’s why: Summer would arrive, school was out, and I couldn’t be home with my children! The initial thought went against all of my visions of being a Mom and experiencing summer’s with my children. Interestingly, when I got really honest with myself, I wasn’t sure if I could handle being home all day with my highly energetic crew and the exceptional amount of patience that it requires. However, I also was operating under the misbelief, that if I wasn’t home with my children during the summer, that none of us would experience an idyllic holiday. I have vivid memories of long summer days at home with my school teacher Mom, playdates with friends, berry picking, riding bikes, week long holidays at my grandparents, long car trips to visit my cousins, and many days where I had enough time to get bored and lounge around in the hot sun. I did attend the most wonderful summer camp, but it was over a condensed amount of time, so I was at home with my family the majority of the break. Oh, the memories. Fast forward to the life of a working Mom, and I simply couldn’t imagine creating the type of summer experiences for myself or for my children because of my full-time work schedule. I also fell into the comparison trap, believing that stay at home Moms were having a lot more fun come summer time and that their kids were too because their Moms were at home.
Can you relate to any of this? I have to tell you, three boys later, I have done a 180 turn, and it feels incredibly liberating and refreshing. I’ve grown to love summers and, instead of feeling stressed, anxious, and anticipating disappointment, I feel excited about the upcoming season and all the new experiences in store for both my kids and me. Here are my 5 tips from moving from summer blues to summer bliss:
1. Update any misbeliefs around being a working Mom – assure yourself that you and your children can experience your summers just as you imagine!
2. Allow yourself to imagine your IDEAL summer experiences – set aside 30 minutes and write down all the difference experiences you’d like to have during the summer for both you and your children. Think about your senses. How do you want to feel, what do you want to see, taste, and touch? Get a big piece of paper and write out those experiences. Remember, experiences don’t have to require money. It can be spending an evening with your family taking a walk once a week.
3. Gather all your facts – if children are old enough to have opinions – ask them what they’re most looking forward to experiencing this upcoming summer. Ask your partner. Gather info on trips you want to take and summer camps you want your children to experience. Any and all information around experiences you desire.
4. Get tactical – Do you have a budget for your summer holiday. If so, review it.
5. Make decisions & move on – As you start to make decisions, cross reference each opportunity (experience) with your ideal scene of how you want to the experience summer. If an experience feels like a fit, then go for it. If you feel resistance, set it aside. Don’t fight it.
6. Engage a village – as a working Mom, take pride in setting up a village that can support you in making your life easier during the summer – carpools, play dates, etc.
There you have six, important tips to help you ease into the summer season with grace, ease, and organization, so you can experience just the way you want it. This exercise wholeheartedly supports you in in making self-honoring choices and leveraging a village, two very important themes that make up the Conscious Working Mama Wheel.
Don’t forget to revisit your self assessment, so you can check in with yourself around your own level of consciousness and look for areas of opportunity.
Today, I feel full possibility. Inspiration. Excitement for 2016.
But, I have a confession. Last week when my husband and I were trying to get our three boys dressed for school, lunches made, and get out the door by 7:45, I felt anxious.
Overwhelm set in. No time for meditation at the early hour.
I’ve noticed this is when I have thoughts of feeling like I need to be in control of every situation in my life to ‘make it work.’ Especially in the New Year. Sound familiar?
The desire to have it all figured it out. Your next professional move. The children’s Spring Break planned. Your girls weekend in the works. Oh, and add: be more patient with your partner and children to that list.
I’ve been seeing this frantic energy and desire to know that everything is going to be ok amongst many of my clients this past week and, admittedly, myself; it doesn’t feel good.
So, I could tell you what my track coach would tell me: shake it off.
Or, you could try a completely different approach. What if you fast forward all the way to the end of the year…New Years Eve. Take five minutes and pretend that you’re sitting with your best friend. You’re so excited to tell her about your year. It’s just as you imagined it. Professionally, you really went for it. You did that one thing you’ve been dying to do. Personally, you stretched beyond your boundaries. You took your relationship to a whole new level you didn’t know possible. As a Mom, you feel even more connected to your children in a way that you didn’t know was possible.
So now, how would you answer the question, “2016 was my most favorite year because I experienced ….”
From this place, what’s one action step you could commit to to move yourself forward and experience the year that you really desire?
Mama’s, let go of the control. Instead, replace it with how you want to experience this year. It might feel a bit slower. It might feel a bit uncertain. Focusing on the experience, you will expand and gain clarity vs. tightening up the reigns and constricting yourselves to a life of frustration, overwhelm, anxiousness, and, dare I say, exhaustion.
When it comes to a disagreement with a colleague, are you one of those women who immediately fires back an email with three paragraphs justifying your viewpoint? When you get into a argument with your spouse, do you end up just walking away? When it comes to your children, do you raise your voice and, then moments later, tell your children to stop shouting at each other? I’ve been there. Your emotions take over. You get upset. You tell yourself it’s their fault. Not yours.
It happens quickly, doesn’t it?
Perhaps you can relate to this, but have you noticed how passionate you get about the issue itself? The nitty, gritty details. Who said what, how it was said, what happened, and what didn’t happen. What we don’t realize is that the real issue is how we relate to the issue.
Considered the possibility that you’re big emotional reaction had nothing to do with anyone else. In fact, it’s simply an opportunity to look within and recognize something deep down inside of you that was triggered and needs to be healed.
If you’re goal is to show up and experience the greatest version of yourself, imagine how it would feel if you could approach issues from a place of calm inside of yourself? This doesn’t mean that you can’t experience disappointment, frustration, or sadness. However, the way in which you engage those emotions will look different. It’s from this place that you’ll be able to communicate in a way that truly serves both others and you for the highest good.
Let me give you a real life example. This week, I received a call from my seven year old son’s elementary school, notifying me that there had been an anonymous shooter threat made. Note, we live in Los Angeles, so there was heightened tension because of the terrible tragedy in San Bernardino. Immediately, hundreds of emails and texts with additional bits of info and hypotheses around what was happening started flying around.
You could feel the blanket of fear covering our little town within Los Angeles. Some parents were immediately saying their kids wouldn’t go to school, while others were feeling paralyzed. I witnessed every kind of reaction you could imagine. Outrage about not receiving enough information. Fear as to how this could happen.
As this whole experience was going on, I was very aware that this was going to be a personal decision as to whether or not I would send my son to school the next day. I also had the revelation that I could make a choice to relate to the issue in a way that best reflected who I want to be in this world. I could react emotionally, kicking and screaming about the way in which I thought it should be handled, or I could choose a calm, thoughtful response, allowing me to communicate in a more loving way so that any feedback or message I wanted to share could actually be heard by the powers at be.
With this in mind, here’s the three-step process I use to help me stay calm and minimize my emotions, so I can behave in away that is in accordance with my values. I will caveat this by saying, I’m human. While it’s always my intention to use this process, it doesn’t mean it happens every time. And, that’s OK. With practice, these steps can become your default.
Give the benefit of the doubt. Many people assume the worst in situations. Instead, hold a vision of possibility and positivity in your head. You really don’t know what’s going on with other people, so don’t assume.
Check in with yourself. If you’re feeling upset, it’s a sign that the outer experience has triggered an unresolved issue inside of you. You can choose to work and heal your issue or not.
Act in accordance with your values. If you desire to show up peacefully and lovingly, then hold yourself accountable. Get conscious.
For me, it would have been incredibly easy to have an emotional reaction to this event at my son’s school. By following these helpful tips, I was able to navigate the situation in a way that still allowed me the dignity of my own process and helped me sleep at night and make a decision out of calmness rather than fear.
It’s easy to get upset, blame others, and stomp our feet. However, it doesn’t leave us feeling good about ourselves and doesn’t support us in living from our best version.
If you find yourself going down this path, remember the issue isn’t about the other person. It’s not about the content of the the situation at hand. It’s truly about how you’re relating to it. If you find yourself triggered, hold a mirror and look into it. There’s an opportunity to heal something inside of you. Imagine all the possibilities when you do this work.
How might you see a work colleague’s point of view differently?
How might you connect with your partner in a more loving way?
How might you feel more compassion and patience towards your children?
How might you be able to make a decision from a place of confidence instead of fear?
I’m inviting you to try it on for size. It might feel odd at first because it’s counter intuitive. That’s okay. If you’ve come this far in reading the article, then go for it. It’s another tool to help you live consciously and love the life you live.
I’m ready to experience some more Ommm. Are you? My days start early. My oldest son wakes up at 5:30am, followed by my 2nd son, and my little Gus Gus rounds out the hour with all systems firing by 6:30am. Every light is on in the house, the volume is a 10, and there’s a lot of excitement with a bit of the grumpies mixed in. And, two mornings a week, I coach clients starting at 7:30, so the start of those days can feel extra frenetic. While, I have a system that allows me to squeeze in a shower, make three lunches, and breakfast for all, this morning I found myself stressed out!
Though the manic mornings end at 8am when they’re all off at school (and there are mornings when I hear myself let out a huge sigh), the stress can easily stay with me.
Can you relate? We’ve all had that experience of being pulled by our clients’ schedules, motherhood, wifely duties, and our own ambition. As a result, are you left feeling manic and depleted, and tell yourself something needs to give….but what?! This conversation can take you down a deep rabbit hole if you’re not careful.
I’m going to share 3 simple tools to help you take the lead and experience more Ommm…
Ask yourself this question, “What do I want to experience right now?” Get crystal clear on those feelings.
Simplify. Slowing down may feel like too big of a step, so start with a baby step. What can you simplify in your life? What can you delegate at work, where can you ask for help, and what can you rearrange to better serve you.
Commit to one action that brings you JOY – here are just a few small ways in this past week that have reduced my stress and brought me joy:
Listen to an inspiring book — I can’t say enough amazing things about Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, “Big Magic”. A must-read for all of us craving more creative expression in our lives. I love Audible.com because I can listen while I drive or clean house.
Pay it forward. Striking up a conversation with a stranger and show your true essence (put that phone down). It will fill your heart just as much as theirs (Starbucks or grocery store que)
Look at old photos! Keep a few old photos around that hold special memories. Amazing how you can connect to them in a heartbeat.
Do an art project. We made Halloween costumes this week, and if I get super honest, I think I enjoy as much, if not more, than the children.
Discover new music. We all have a few culture vulture friends. Find out what they’re listening to and plug in.
Pin your travel desires! I search travel photos weekly because it keeps me connected to future travel explorations! You can get inspired by my travel board HERE:
Through all my years of working in the corporate world, being a Mom to three boys, being a Coach to working Moms, and doing loads of volunteer work, I’ve realized one very important lesson: The more connected I am to myself, the less stressed I am. It’s really that simple.
Imagine how much more relaxed, connected and awake you’d feel…Don’t just do it. Be it.