Who’s in Charge of Your Life?

How’s your relationship with yourself? Who’s in charge of your life? You or your inner critic?

If your inner critic is in charge, then this is what could be happening;

A compliment comes your way…and you downplay it.

You look in the mirror…and only see your flaws.

You set out to do something…and then tell yourself all the reasons you can’t.

You step on the scale…and then make the number mean terrible things.

You look at your bank account…and start feeling guilty and ashamed.

An opportunity shows up…and then you say that you don’t know how to make it happen.

Meet Your Inner Critic and she is running your life!

The inner critic voice can be VERY LOUD in our heads – based on months or years of thinking negative thoughts.

These thoughts are so well worn and habitual that we don’t even realize they are there.

They have become fundamentally part of who we are.

And we believe every one of them.

The inner critic slows down our evolving process. It only sees problems when actually there are solutions and possibilities. The inner critic makes us hide, play small, and settle for less.

We forget that we have the power to silence our inner critic.

We always have the option to turn a negative and judging voice in our head into a neutral voice.

We can always teach ourselves to think new thoughts – ones that are less negatively charged.

Thoughts that don’t do such damage.

We can choose responses that show ourselves compassion.

And LOVE.

Kinder thoughts are always available to us.

This is the ultimate gift of self-care.

Here are some ways to silence your inner critic;

A compliment comes your way…and you can say thank you.

You look in the mirror…and you can see strength, courage, beauty, and wisdom.

You set out to do something…and you can tell yourself that anything is possible.

You step on the scale…and you can feel blessed to have a body.

You check out your bank account…and you can feel grateful for all you have.

An opportunity shows up…and you can say that you will get to work to figure out how to make it happen.

Kinder words will silence your inner critic. And eventually, those kinder words will become your thoughts. And those thoughts will become your new beliefs.

And you will be in charge of your life!

For more Self-Care solutions like this one, be sure to request my FREE GUIDE below.

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Got Perfect Pairings?

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When I talk to my clients about perfect pairings, we usually aren’t talking about what their local wine shop owner suggests to serve with that new grilled fish dish that she’s cooking on Saturday night.

And we are not talking about what heels to pair with her cute new dress, either

Nope, we are talking about a whole other kind of perfect pairing.

We are talking about the unusual combination of two things – that have absolutely nothing in common, but go together perfectly!

When I first start working with my clients, they aren’t even aware that they create perfect pairings in their life. They don’t even know what they are and they can’t see them right away.

But working together for awhile, they get really good at noticing what is going on. They start to pay attention to what they do and what they feel. It’s completely fascinating to them. It’s like the lights come on in their life. Their awareness is ignited and suddenly, they see perfect pairings that they had never noticed before.

Here are five stories about five women and their perfect pairings…

She is following her instincts and pairing back her weekend yoga workshop offerings, so she can create more time to be with her family. She is worried about how this business decision will affect her students. She is worried that they will be mad at her. She really wants to make this change in her schedule and she is totally afraid to do it. She doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. She is filled with doubt as she creates her new fall on-line calendar and then publishes it. She goes to the freezer for ice cream to make her feel better. It’s interesting to point out that she doesn’t even like ice cream, but it makes her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Self-Doubt + Ice Cream

She gets the kids off to school after packing backpacks, lunches, reviewing the day’s schedule and preparing breakfast. She looks around the kitchen and sees the messes that need to be cleaned up. There are exploding laundry baskets in every bedroom. The pile of bills and papers on the dining room table is so high, it’s blocking her view out the front window. She is exhausted. There is clutter everywhere. She loves being a mom and has such a challenging time staying on top of all of all the household stuff. And she feels so guilty that she can’t figure this out. So, she heads back upstairs and climbs under the covers, right after setting the alarm for 2:30pm. She wants to wake up before the kids get home from school and more rest will definitely make her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Guilt + Napping

This woman is writing a project proposal to a non-profit that she hopes will hire her. With every words she types, she is filling up with discomfort as she writes about her qualifications and experience. She starts to think that she is a fraud and that they will see right through her and never hire her. She keeps getting up from her desk and going to kitchen for a small spoonful of cookie dough. When it is all said and done, she has made 10 trips to the kitchen while writing the proposal and it takes all morning. Despite the fact that she is currently on a 3 week cleanse, she eats the cookie dough anyway. It doesn’t really taste that good, but make her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Fear + Cookie Dough

She is moving to a new town and is facing 17 years worth of stuff in her house. Every item is screaming for her attention. And she sees 1000 decisions ahead of her, just to decide what to pack and what to purge. She looks around her house and feels completely overwhelmed and knows she should just get to work, but she can’t quite motivate. She is beginning to regret her decision to move and starts to question everything. Then, she curls up on the couch and watches two movies and eats a cheese plate. It’s 10 in the morning and it does make her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Overwhelm + Cheese plate with Bridget Jones double feature

This woman is gives and gives all day long. She takes care of other people for a living and for fun. She expends a lot of energy for those she loves. Sometimes in the evening, when she is making dinner, she can feel invisible and unappreciated in her house. It feels like everybody needs something and doesn’t seem to notice that she could use some help. It doesn’t help that she’s not great at asking for help and in fact, it makes her really uncomfortable. So, she does all the work of preparing and cleaning up from dinner herself, while her resentment towards her family builds beneath the surface. She opens a bottle of wine almost every night while she cooks. The wine always makes her feel better. Perfect Pairing = Unappreciated + Cabernet Sauvignon

These pairings all have 3 things in common.

Each begins with experiencing of an uncomfortable emotion first. Followed by doing something, eating something, drinking something to soothe that discomfort and to feel better. And finally, after that momentary soothing subsides, here comes another uncomfortable emotion, like regret, guilt, shame, or embarrassment.

Here’s how it works….

You feel something unpleasant or uncomfortable. And you want seek relief from that discomfort with something that feels better. So, you give what you want in that moment, there is relief. YES! The discomfort dissolves.

And then the discomfort is replaced with another negative emotion and you return to the familiar lecture that you have given yourself a million times and it goes something like this…

Why did you eat that? You know better. 

Why did you do that? You wasted hours that you don’t have.

Why did you drink that? You overslept this morning, again.

What’s wrong with you? You know better. Seriously, why did you do that?

Here’s why…

We don’t like to be uncomfortable or to experience negative emotions.

We like to feel good, as much as we possibly can. In fact, we want and almost expect to be happy all the time. We get so many messages in the world about trying to be positive, optimistic and grateful. It creates this unrealistic expectation for sustained and continuous happiness (at all costs) and we start to believe that something is wrong with us, if we can’t achieve it.

As the perfect pairing stories suggest, we seek comfort and happiness when things get hard and find ourselves eating things we don’t want or avoiding things we need to do. We seek pleasure or escape as a way to avoid the pain of discomfort.

And most of the time, we are only mildly aware of what is happening. We talk ourselves into the fact that we are just giving ourselves a little treat or a small reward – for the hard work, the big decision, the struggle or the effort.

We tell ourselves that we deserve it. And say anything to justify it. It’s just a little self-care. No biggie!

It’s just one little bowl, one glass, one hour…

And if it is just that…every once in a while…it would be no big deal.

But, most of the time it is more than one. It’s a few.

And it happens whenever there is a feeling that is uncomfortable or unpleasant.

It becomes a habit. Coping. Soothing. Dealing. Managing. Escaping.

It’s a little pick-me-up or a treat disguised as self-care coming to our rescue, when things get tough.

And yet, that seemingly innocent treat has a negative consequence attached to it if it goes unchanged – gaining extra weight, breaking a commitment, not showing up, missing a deadline, feeling hungover.

Which brings more negative emotions…more guilt, more shame, more discomfort and disappointment. It’s basically choosing to sabotage ourselves with these results, instead of just being uncomfortable.

Here’s what you can learn to do about this.

Look at the whole sequence of events. Slow down and turn the lights on. Notice what is happening. See how the perfect pairing is formed. They go through every step.

Feel the un-appreciation. Notice the desire for Cabernet to soothe the discomfort. Feel the relief that Cabernet brings. Followed by regret and disappointment, when you remember that you want to stop drinking on weeknights. Notice how you keep hitting the snooze button the next morning. See how hard it is to wake up. Feel the sluggishness and fogginess. Feel the new wave of regret and disappointment.

Ask yourself if it’s worth it? Is this perfect pairing working for you? Do you like the end result?

If not, decide to make a new one. Begin with the un-appreciation again and try a new way to pair it.

Breathing. Music. Asking for help. New thoughts. Decide to feel appreciated. Seltzer water in a wine glass. Just be with the uncomfortable emotion until it goes away.

Do this until you find the pairing that is perfect for you. Find one that allows you to not sabotage your way through discomfort. And that has no negative consequences. One that feels better in a lasting way, not a fleeting and temporary way.

Interested in exploring and overcoming a Perfect Pairing in your life?

Download the Perfect Pairing cheat sheet here. This free worksheet will help uncover what you are doing and how you can make some positive changes going forward.

Free Download

Think you might have a perfect pairing problem?

This free (and highly actionable) worksheet will help you discover how your perfect pairing is impacting your life and exactly how to create a positive pairing going forward.

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A Recovering Perfectionist Response to Epic Fails.

perfectionist, epic fails, failure, recovering

Wonder what I am laughing at in this picture? Well, I am laughing at what is about to happen. Yes, I am cracking myself up – because this is what I do now, when I realize that I have just made an epic fail and my inner perfectionist is going to get her ass kicked.

Seriously. As a self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist, this is how I have learned to approach my ‘failings’.

I laugh, hard – thinking “Oh, this is going to be sooooooo good”.

Then I get to work – to make it right, to move forward and try to recover as gracefully as possible.

Here is the backstory on the epic fail that inspired this photo.

For the last several months, I have been working on a video series about how to overcome denying what you really want. I had the idea for this series about 6 months ago and had been gathering notes and ideas in a big folder for quite a while. I wrote “create video series” on my to-do list each month and slowly, I tackled the project.

But in truth, I was hiding out in my perfectionist tendencies – slightly scared to put myself out there for the world to see. Afraid that it wouldn’t be good enough. Scared of the potential judgment and scrutiny.

About six weeks ago, I got completely sick of myself.

Seriously? Was was I so stalled out? What was the worse thing that could happen?

I was sick and tired of this slow and ineffectual way of ‘trying’ to get this project done. I was sick of my scared and cautious brain holding me back and making up lame excuses. I was sick of caving into my perfectionist side.

So, I made a decision to complete the video project. And I put a completion date on the calendar. I wrote out all the steps that I needed to do. I captured each step in careful detail and then I scheduled each step on my calendar. It took exactly 3 weeks from start to finish to do the writing, recording, editing, re-recording, uploading and publishing.

There. It was done. It was live and I was thrilled.

And in that process of taking all that action, I had to literally say ‘no’ to my inner perfectionist over and over again.

Here is what I mean by that – there were so many times that I just didn’t feel like working on the videos, so many times that I was bored with myself because I thought it wasn’t good enough, so many times that I was nervous and scared. And I kept having to tell myself NO – Stay in this. Keep going and finish.

So, I did. I worked through my negative emotions (unmotivated, scared, worried, nervous, bored) and got it done. Yes, I did cave some into distraction now and again, but big picture, I was pretty impressed with myself.

Katie = 1. Perfectionist = 0.

Now the video series was out there and my real emotional work was just about to begin.

My thoughts were going into over-drive…

“Would women want this?” “Had I remembered everything?” “Was it any good?” “Was it full of mistakes that I just didn’t see?” “Maybe, I should have waited.”

My emotions were all over the place.

Pride. Fear. Worry. Anxiousness. Excitement. More Fear. Self-judgment. Nervousness.

Then I got a kind note from a woman who let me know that she had signed up for the video series, was excited to get it and was still waiting for it. The video series never arrived in her inbox. She let me know that it was NOT a great first impression so far, with frowning emojis and everything!

OUCH. Epic Fail.

More thoughts….

“See, I told you that you shouldn’t have made this.” “What were you thinking?” “This is a disaster.” “Everyone is going to know that you can’t do things right.” “This woman is going to tell everyone you are a fraud!” “I need to go back to my corporate job.”

More negative emotions…

Panic. Anxiety. Embarrassment. Fear. Worry. More panic. Dread.

Those feelings made me want to run – out of my house and down the road and never come back.

In that moment, I had a choice.

I could let those negative emotions consume me and take me down or I could decide to get back to work.

I sat back down at my computer. All those negative thoughts and emotions were still with me.

I was vibrating negativity in such a big way that I was almost visibly shaking.

Deep breath. Another deep breath. Find the mistake. You can do this. It’s just technology. Breathe. Keep going. The world is not going to end.

I found the glitch and I fixed it. It took less than 5 minutes.

I started laughing. Seriously deep laughter. Perfectionist ass kicking just happened.

I was literally ready to run away and thought the world was ending, because I had made a mistake that took only 5 minutes to fix.

That is what panic and fear and embarrassment can feel like. It can feel like the walls are closing in – the end is near and that you are going to die. It’s completely brutal. And here is the funny part – all that emotional energy is created by what we think and we allow ourselves to think some pretty crazy thoughts.

As I kept laughing at myself and the 5 minute fix, I wrote back to this super awesome woman and thanked her from the bottom of my heart for sharing her disappointment with me. I knew that there was a good chance that she could have given up on me and that was ok – she was entitled to be disappointed by her experience with me and move on.

Regardless of what response I got back (or not), I wanted her to know how grateful I was that she had written me. Not only did it give me a chance to fix a technological issue for her and others, it gave me a chance to practice overcoming my perfectionism tendencies. And I got to kick some serious booty that day. What a gift!

Because, the more I fail and put myself out there and manage the inevitable discomfort that comes along with it, the better I get at overcoming perfectionism, once and for all.

And the better I become at overcome my limiting perfectionism, the more that I will do and learn and create and make. And a life of action is really the one I want to live.

So, a big thank you to L. for letting me know that I did not make a great first impression on you. As you can see, I got a lot from your feedback.

And in case you are wondering about the video series that inspired all of this in the first place, you can access it here. Click the link below to sign up – glitches are fixed!

How to Become an Expert at Creating What you Want – FREE 3 Part Video Series

The Most Powerful Question

powerful question

Sometimes I just can’t make sense of myself.
I forget what I am doing.
I get really distracted.
I say one thing and actually mean something else.
I decide, then change my mind, then re-decide, then change my mind again.
And so on.
It’s messy.
And awkward.
I say “no” a lot.
I’m uncertain.
And I’m pretty sure that I seem very confusing to everyone around me.

Then other times, I am really efficient.
I’m organized for my day.
I’m on time.
Productive.
I have clear intentions and I follow through.
I create everything on purpose.
I am unstoppable.
I accomplish small things and I accomplish big things.
Time is on my side.
Anything is possible.

So, what is really going on here?
How can I be one person and have such diverse ways of behaving in my life?

The answer is simple and complicated.

It’s feelings. The answer is always – feelings.

Everything we do or don’t do is based on how we feel.
I will say that again just to really make a point here.
The way we behave and the action we take (or don’t take) is based on how we feel.
Feelings drive all of our actions.

If this is how it works, then it becomes imperative that we are able to identify what we are feeling to understand our behavior.

Which leads me to the question that we can always ask ourselves.

Why am I doing / not doing ________ right now?

And the answer always has to be a feeling.

It is not always easy to locate that feeling. But that feeling is the source of all our action or inaction. And that feeling is always the only answer.

If you can figure out what you feel and understand it is the reason you do or don’t do something, then you are getting to close to understanding yourself and taking responsibility for yourself.

If you want to ask yourself the question: Why am I doing / not doing ________ right now?

The answer will never sound like these:

I have to.
They are expecting me to do this.
I made a promise.
He will be mad at me if I don’t do this.
What will they say if I do it?
She wants me to.
This is a waste of my time.
I don’t know how to do this.
What will they think if I don’t do it?
I can’t wait to get started.

These answers are all thoughts. They are not feelings.

The correct answer to your question will be one-word answers like this.
Because I feel…

Bored
Excited
Irritated
Motivated
Happy
Confused
Afraid
Inspired
Conflicted
Calm

Feelings tell you EVERYTHING. They tell you exactly what is going on in your mind and the thoughts that you are creating. They explain your behavior and give you the control to makes changes in what you do/don’t do. Your feelings are your responsibility. No one else creates them. And you get to feel whatever you want. It is just so important to understand that everything you do and don’t do, is based on a feeling. That is powerful.

So, as you head into this week, can you get curious about your behavior?

Can you notice what you are doing or not doing?

How are you acting? Or reacting?

Then ask yourself the question. Why am I doing / not doing ________ right now?

Find the answer inside your feelings. What does that feeling tell you about you? What thoughts are creating that feeling? Do you like the feeling? Do you want to keep the feeling? Do you want a new feeling? Are others thoughts available to you that will inspire a new feeling?

You always have way more power and control over things that you think you do, so get comfortable with connecting to what you are feeling. It will tell you everything you need to know about yourself. And from there, you can decide to stay the course or make changes if you want to be behaving and acting in a new way. The choice is always yours.

And I know that 2 minds are always better than 1 – so if you would like help in learning how to more easily access your feelings to determine your actions – book a complimentary Breakthrough Session today. This is no-obligation conversation where I can help you uncover what feelings might be blocking your productivity and organization. Let’s work together to help you implement this powerful question into your life!

Self-Doubt.

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Most people let self-doubt stand between them and the thing that they desire most in their life.

Self-doubt is powerful.
And it has a grip on many of us.
It is a quiet and subtle dream killer.

Here is how I approach self-doubt, especially as it relates to setting a new goal or attempting to create something new in my life.

If you set a new goal for yourself and the goal is going to stretch you, as a good goal should, then is likely you will experience some self-doubt and fear. This is a very good sign because it means that you have the opportunity to grow. To overcome the self-doubt, is to grow.

On the other hand, if you pretend that self-doubt doesn’t exist and just ignore it, you do not overcome it. Instead you let it determine your action with very little awareness. Most people, at this point, run away from the feeling by changing the goal or deciding that they don’t like goal setting because of the negative emotion (self-doubt) that it causes.

Instead, be willing to feel it…to feel the self-doubt.

Let’s think about it. What does doubt feel like? I am guessing that it must feel pretty terrible to work so hard at avoiding it, right?

If you had to describe your self-doubt, what would you say about it?
Can you distinguish the way that it is different from other feelings you experience?
Does it have a color?
Do it move through your body at a slow or rapid pace?
Where is located in your body?

If you can get there and describe your self-doubt,or any emotion with this level of detail, then you are the one in control of it. When we avoid our emotions or try to push them away, we experience resistance.
It is always the negative emotion + resistance that feel unbearable.
And that is where the emotion is controlling us instead of the other way around.

I would describe my own self-doubt as being located in the pit of my stomach. It is slow moving with a subtle vibration to it. It is usually dark green and feels heavy.

I know this may sound a little weird, but stay with me on this.

Because I have paid attention to my self-doubt. I recognize it as soon as it shows up. In fact I have even been know to talk to my self-doubt and the conversation goes something like this…

“Hey self-doubt. What’s up? I have been expecting you. I just set a new goal (or I want to do this new thing) and whenever I put myself in a situation like this, you show up! I know you are here because of the thoughts that I am creating in my mind and you will leave when I have found new thoughts to think. So, self-doubt, let’s do this!”

OK, you might be laughing at me at this point or have stopped reading this altogether, but seriously, imagine this…

What if I actually let a dark green, heavy, slow moving with a slight vibration in the pit of my stomach emotion, prevent me from working on a stretch goal in my life?
Seriously, that would be the saddest thing ever.
And as I wrote at the beginning – most people let self-doubt stand between them and the thing that they desire most in their life.

If you allow yourself to experience self doubt and describe it in detail, lean into it and embrace it, you begin to realize you can do it. You can do self-doubt. You can do humiliation. You can do fear.

This works with any emotion!

What would happen if you were willing to feel any emotion on purpose? Not just tolerate them but really feel and allow all of them. Think about the all the things that you would be able to do and the relationships that you would hold the space for. Think about the goals you would set and dreams that could be fulfilled.

It’s powerful.

It is called taking emotional responsibility for yourself. Instead of your emotions taking responsibility for you.

Give it a try this week and let me know how it goes. I look forward to hearing from you.