Authenticity, Life Direction and Purpose, Productivity
This is the question you need to ask yourself in 2024
I stopped making new year’s resolutions a while back. I could never see the point, especially considering the statistics that surround them. Just this morning the news was mentioning by the end of January, 43% of Americans will have already given up on whatever it was they resolved to do. But if not a new year’s resolution, then what? I think it’s human nature to gravitate towards the future. To think about things like goals and plans. I’ve been pondering this conundrum lately, as I’ve spent the last month taking a much needed and long breath. And I use the word breath very intentionally, rather than break. I closed my practice down over the holidays, something I’ve never done before. I went hiking with my husband out in the southwest – we visited Zion, Bryce Canyon, White Sands and many other desert hot spots. The breath gave me time to ask myself some questions, and to do some deeper reflection on what I really want. But the questions I was asking myself were different than the ones I’ve often asked myself in the past. In the past it tended to center around goal setting. What goals do I want to set for myself this year? What do I want to accomplish? Then a logical jumping off point from that question is to then think about how to make those goals SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. We are starting with the wrong question. I tried asking myself these questions over my break this year, but no dice. I really tried. The answers just weren’t coming, and I did something that was hard to do – I resisted the urge to just come up with something and put it in a spreadsheet. It was really tough because the feeling of restlessness came up. I had a feeling it would come, and it was overwhelming. It was pushing me to sign up for a million different things and to try to fill my schedule with a million different activities. Restlessness is a feeling I’ll do anything to escape. I decided to sit with it instead. I looked deep into that feeling, and the patterns it can often create in my life. I asked myself what was really going on, what was sitting under the restlessness. I asked again and again, I resolved myself to feel it, and it eventually passed. And from the bottom of that well, a different kind of question emerged. This year, I stopped asking myself, “What do I want to do?” And I started asking myself instead a different question, “How do I want to be?” Being versus the doing The answer was one single word that kept coming to me over and over and over again. In conversations, in dreams, in everyday life interactions. Depth. It’s become my word now for 2024, an intention that I’ve set to define my year. Interestingly I’m feeling very differently about 2024 having gone through this reflection and […]
January 24, 2024
5 min read
Authenticity, Life Direction and Purpose
Know your place (and embrace it)
I’ve often mused that that trick is life is figuring out what you want, especially in this world that is overflowing with options and opinions. After all, it was the Cheshire cat in the story of Alice in Wonderland who wisely said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” It’s not enough to know what we don’t want, which is the less than powerful place we often navigate from. The question is what do you really want? What does your heart long for? But cultivating a direction requires some careful thought and often some courage. Without it, we can end up living someone else’s version of our story, rather than the one we were meant to create. Navigate from a place of what you want, not what you don’t I’ll share a personal example to illustrate this point. For the last couple of years, I’ve been figuring this out for myself, as I further refine my idea of my business, my calling in life and my priorities. I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions – What do I want my business to be? How do I want it to grow? Do I even want it to grow? What do I want my life to look like? Who is my ideal client? How am I meant to serve? And the answers are not often super straightforward because life will test us on this path. Charismatic colleagues and friends will show up with exciting business opportunities, saying things like, You need to introduce more products into your business so you can generate passive income! Or – I’ve got an idea or dream of creating something large and scalable where we’ll hire other coaches and build a coaching powerhouse of a business. Think big, think Lencioni and the Table Group. Think Kornferry. We can charge big money, travel the world, farm out the work and live high on the hog! Or – You’re such a talented coach, you’d be crazy to define your niche so narrowly and just work with women. Options and possibilities are a wonderful thing indeed, but there is a dark side. When you don’t have a clear direction for where you want to go, it’s easy to get seduced and swept away by someone else’s vision. And I can be just that person, considering I’m a natural enabler and want to see folks that I care about be successful and achieve their goals. Plus, sometimes it’s just easier frankly to ride someone else’s wave. You don’t have to think too hard. You don’t have to do your own heavy lifting and your own deep work. And we also get seduced because you don’t have to take accountability when you’re riding someone else’s wave – if it’s not a success you can always point the finger and blame them instead. Serve your soul, not your ego I’m realizing there’s something so powerful in recognizing who you are and putting a stake in the […]
November 30, 2023
4.9 min read
Career, Leadership, Life Direction and Purpose
You Need to Answer this Career Question Confidently
“So we have a new Chief Revenue Officer, and he set up a meeting to get to know me and share some ideas for where he sees the direction of Marketing. And then he asked me a question – and I’m not sure if I answered it right.” “What was the question?” “He asked me where do I see my career going. And I didn’t know what to say and I told him I’m happy with where I’m at.” Heed the career warning of the Cheshire cat I smiled. It reminds me of something the Cheshire cat said in the story of Alice in Wonderland. Alice is wandering through the wilderness and comes to a fork in the road where she meets the Cheshire cat. The cat asks Alice where she’s going and Alice responds that she doesn’t know. To which the cat brilliantly responds – “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” I also smiled because I hear this all the time, especially from women leaders. Like Alice, we often don’t have a good answer to this very important question. We even misconstrue this question. We think it’s a test of loyalty – are they trying to figure out if I’m wanting to leave the organization? Or a test of arrogance – If I say I want their job eventually will they think I’m all high and mighty? Will they get threated by my ambitions? I should just be happy with where I’m at – right? Yes and no. You may be perfectly happy with where you are in the organization now, and yet, it’s important you have a sense for where you want your career to go in the longer term. These aren’t mutually exclusive. Thinking about the trajectory of your career is a both and, not an either or. Being proactive about your career isn’t being pompous “But I don’t want to be CRO. The thought of it scares me.” She went on to say. But here’s the point. The thought of it might scare you now, but what about in 5 years? It’s one thing to do your due diligence on career planning and then say, this is the career path I think will be best for me, and here is a considered reason why based on research and sound analysis. I like being close to the impact, I enjoy the execution and tactics more than the strategy and see myself more in a marketing operations role rather than a CRO role. Fair enough. But more often than not, we exclude things from our path because they seem too big or because of a fear of the unknown. Or we worry about being perceived as overly ambitious and don’t want to rock the boat. Take active management of your career Taking an active role in the management of your career implies just that. I’m thinking about it, I’m working to create goals for the short term, the mid-term, and the […]
November 3, 2023
4.6 min read
Leadership, Life Direction and Purpose, Well Being
How to Build Confidence – 3 Elements to Consider
Developing a healthy sense of confidence, whether it’s in your leadership, or whether it pertains to your career direction, is important. We often report feeling like we lack it. But how to build confidence? It’s intangible and fuzzy – it’s nice to say we need it, but what do we do about it? There are three elements critical to building confidence in my experience as a coach. As I describe these, think about for yourself which of the three you would rate as high, and which you would rate as low. How to Build Confidence – The Three C’s of Confidence Clarity – Direction is important, and to the extent we lack it, we can feel rudderless in our lives and in our leadership. Do you have a vision for your career? Do you know who you want to be as a leader and how you want others to experience you? I remember when I was making my career change from accounting to leadership development back in 2012, I knew what I wanted, I had a direction. I might have had no idea how I was going to get there, but the passion I felt for the vision I was cultivating kept me going. Clarity is inspiring. Once we have it, we can take steps to materialize our vision. I often have clients think about their values as a method of making a way out of the fog. It can sometimes feel like an arbitrary exercise, but it’s not. Our values guide the choices we make, and we all have values, whether we are conscious of them or not. One of mine is autonomy. It came into play recently when I was faced with a difficult business decision. Tuning into my values helped to navigate this situation, knowing that I was tuning into my own True North. Competency – Building skills builds confidence. Every job has competencies associated with it. Some are technical, and some are what folks often refer to as the softer skills. Things like communication, presentation skills, time management. Leadership does as well. Good leadership is about two main things – building relationships while getting tasks accomplished. We often sacrifice one for the other. Maybe I over-focus on delivery and ignore important opportunities to coach and mentor my team. Or maybe I focus too much on relationships at the expense of deliverables. Good leadership requires balance between these two elements. How do you stack up on the competencies for the role you’re currently in? Do you even know what they are? What are you strong on? What needs some work? When we’re feeling less confident, we often try to hide our inadequacies. We’re ashamed of them. We may shy away from things that will challenge us because we’re afraid to fail. The more willing we are to cultivate a growth mindset by leaning into our strengths and working to improve our weaknesses we better we will feel. Movement in this direction generates energy and motivation. Compassion – […]
July 14, 2023
4.7 min read
Career Coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Life Direction and Purpose, Motivation, Well Being
Are you comparing yourself to others? Look inward instead.
I look around and see everyone is pursuing these amazing careers and they have great lives. They all seem to know what they’re doing, and they have a purpose. I don’t understand why I can’t get in gear. What’s wrong and missing in me that I can’t figure it out? I hear this a lot as a career coach. And I also recognize it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. When we are caught up in the cult of comparison, we are often caught up in the trance of the inner critic. It’s our brain’s flawed way of trying to motivate ourselves to move into action by using comparison as the carrot to dangle in front of our faces or more aptly the switch to use on our backs. It works up to a point where it stops working as a motivator. We prove and we prove and we prove and then we get tired. And wonder what it was all for. And that is when we find ourselves on the messy path to growth. To wholeness. To uncovering our true value. When I first started out as a coach, my confidence was lower. I was trying something new; I was worried about whether I would be a success and I spent a lot of time and energy ruminating about what I was doing in relation to other coaches. I’d see their fancy LinkedIn posts of workshops they were running, filled with pictures of smiling participants, complete with slick materials bearing perfectly polished logos and I’d feel woefully inadequate. I’d use it as fodder to beat myself up with. I’d start to spring into action to post something, to plan something, in a desperate desire to compete, to put my own words out there too. And then I’d be riddled with thoughts about how my idea wasn’t as good. It would never work. And I’d abandon the idea to the graveyard we each have in our heads. Following your true north isn’t easy The inner critic comparison attack still happens from time to time for me, and chances it does for you too. But it looks a little different now. Recently I’ve turned down a few opportunities that have come my way, because I’ve sensed they weren’t the right path for me and didn’t resonate with my values. Perhaps they would have been right for a different coach, or if I had a different idea or vision for my business. And it was extremely hard to do because I knew deep down my inner critic wasn’t going to like it. I was afraid of the fire that I knew saying no would brew. Now Gertie (my inner critic) is telling me I was crazy to walk away from the revenue. Telling me I am woefully inadequate compared to the coaches that took that path and look how successful they are. And it’s getting in the way of progressing a couple of initiatives I want to kick off, which was […]
July 6, 2023
5 min read
Authenticity, Emotional Intelligence, Life Direction and Purpose
The Joy of Being Average
“You know what I’ve realized? I’ve concluded that it’s okay to just be average.” I heard this from a client a few weeks ago. He continued on to say, “For so long I’ve been worried about my image. What others thought about me. I would leave every interaction wondering whether I’d said the right thing. Worried that I didn’t. Worried about the interaction. Did I dazzle them enough? Wondering if they were seeing the smart and successful attributes in me that I wanted them to see. I had to get them to realize I was special, a star. Was I successful in getting the sale or the deal? Wondering how if it hadn’t gone well, how I could later manipulate the situation to get the outcome I wanted.” (We all do a version of this, just in case you were wondering if this is unique.) “Sounds exhausting.” I replied. “Extremely.” He confirmed. “And now you’re realizing it’s okay to just be average. How does that feel?” I asked. “I feel free.” I smiled. It reminded me of the moment when I realized it too. And the feeling of serenity and intense peace that came with it. I was so jazzed about the revelation that I even broke out into poetic genius and wrote a poem about it – The Joy of Being Average. It wasn’t a very good poem. It didn’t even rhyme. I even tried to find it to insert it into this blog because I thought that would make me look quite clever, but my filing system must be pretty crap because it’s disappeared. But I swear I wrote it. The Pursuit of Special is Stressful The image management aspect of trying to prove ourselves is exhausting. I got told growing up I was smart. I was special. I believed it. I so wanted it to be true. And it was all very well intended appreciation meant to lift me up from family members, teachers, friends and colleagues. But then I had to prove it. Then I had to live up to it. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. My image, who I wanted to be, who I wanted people to think that I was. An international woman of mystery, a courageous trailblazer who had conquered the globe and lived and worked in multiple countries, started my own successful businesses – twice. I carefully crafted and perfected these stories, used to spend a lot of time thinking about them for when I would give a speaking engagement. It had to be just right. It had to dazzle the audience. I had a whole wall in my office filled with degrees, certifications, accomplishments. I ran out of room for them eventually and started putting them in the bathroom. It’s not a surprise I did this. It’s not a surprise my client did something similar. Our context sets us up for it, and we unconsciously fall straight into the trap. If you look on social media it’s […]
It was a privilege to work with Shelley as my leadership coach! The process was structured and yet flexible enough to meet needs as they arose. Shelley helped me to grow, learn more about myself, and to really achieve what I set out to accomplish. We worked on planning, navigating a promotion successfully, and so much more! I experienced many successes as a result of working with Shelley, she has great resources, knowledge, and really helps with setting the foundation to this coaching work. She won’t let you down!
Having the opportunity to have Shelley as my Leadership Coach could not have come at a better time in my career. I was recently promoted to CFO and was new to the Senior Management Team. Shelley helped me navigate joining the team as well as helped me to determine who I wanted to be as a leader. The Leadership Circle Profile helped our team to discover our blinds spots and to be able to understand each other better. Working with Shelley not only has affected my professional life in a positive way, but also my personal life. She helped me take leaps and has given me the resources to continue this journey of self-improvement. If you’re looking to find more about yourself and how you can be the best version of yourself, I highly recommend working with Shelley.
I have been working with Shelley for the past 2 years on my leadership development journey. What I thought would be a straight line, I soon learned with Shelley’s guidance, was a winding path with several ups and downs along the way. Shelley supported me as I took a deep dive into my professional and personal history and learned how it affects my approach and my perceptions. She helped me to slow down and recognize certain behaviors and understand that I can pivot in the moment or try again next time. Ultimately, my work with Shelley turned out to be so much more than what I expected. Her approach to coaching was exactly what I needed.
Senior Vice President, Consulting
I’ve learned more about leadership in the past six months working with Shelley than I have in my 10+ year career. She is an incredible coach with many tools in her toolbox. The guidance and mentorship I’ve received from Shelley has been life-changing. She will challenge your limiting beliefs and inspire new ways of thinking.
I highly recommend Shelley if you need a coach, thought partner, and guide as you consider the next steps in your career. She provides practical tools and advice to help launch your career exploration, but most importantly, she is an expert at helping you cut through the noise of your limiting beliefs. At the end of our time together, I had a much clearer vision of what I wanted in my life and a plan to make it happen. My only regret is that I didn’t find her sooner!
My career coaching sessions with Shelley have brought me back to living. It’s been contagious, spreading throughout my personal and professional life. I now have the building blocks I need to continue setting healthy boundaries, the freedom to show up as my authentic self, and an adaption of a growth mindset that has allowed me to make bold decisions and try new things. I’ve discovered that there’s always another way and how to eradicate barriers that lead to tunnel vision. These sessions with Shelley have been a great gift and have given me the momentum I need to continue the journey to be my best self.
It is amazing to think where I was only 10 months ago when I first started working with Shelley and where I am now. Not only professionally but mentally and emotionally. Shelley helped me navigate out of an unhealthy work environment by challenging me and asking me those tough questions we never seem to ask ourselves. What are the values of a true leader? How do those values align with my own? Shelley challenging me and guiding me through some of those tough questions is what led to my epiphany and me having the courage and confidence to leave an environment that threatened my well-being. She taught me how to become more self-aware and self-compassionate. Reminded me to be kind even when the world would understand if I did otherwise. And the biggest one for me, shutting down that crazy inner voice (we all have it!) and replacing it with being present. Shelley has armed me with tools that I will carry with me for a lifetime. Tools that will help me to continue to grow and learn. Life can be hard but working with someone like Shelley does make it easier. She will help you navigate the good and the bad and you’ll learn so much about yourself in the process.
Director of Marketing
First of all I would like to say that I would recommend Shelley to anyone needing career guidance. As my counselor Shelley helped me transition my career from bartending to Tech Sales which was a difficult and scary transition for me. From the start Shelley was fantastic. Initially I had no idea of which direction I wanted my career to go, I just knew I wanted it to go somewhere else. Shelley was so kind and patient as she helped me figure this out, and gave me a step by step guide on how to explore my options and make an educated decision. She also helped me assess my skill set which played a large part in directing my energy. I landed a great job within days of my final session with Shelley, and now I’m month 3 I am absolutely loving it and doing very well. It was the perfect job for me and Shelley was the one that got me there. Working with Shelley was one of the best decisions I have ever made, she literally changed my life and I am so much happier for it.