Career Coaching, Mindfulness, Motivation, Well Being
Is the Trick in Life Not to Care? Kind of…
We tend to focus a lot on outcomes in our society. Outcomes are how we evaluate success. That project didn’t achieve the stated outcome, so we brand it as a failure. The business is no longer a going concern, so it’s a bust. Maybe we don’t get the promotion we were longing for, or a particular dream job, and we make ourselves miserable thinking about what could have been. What should have been. Focusing solely on outcomes is a recipe for misery I realize this headline may sound ironic coming from a woman who in a former career was responsible for pulling together performance dashboards and kpi updates, but I’ve found it to be true. For many of us it would behoove us to embrace the Buddhist concept of non-attachment. Which isn’t the same as not caring or becoming apathetic. Let me share an example of what I mean by this. I love what I do as a career and leadership coach and facilitator. In many ways I look at it as a vocation, rather than a job. I’m deeply attached to the purpose of enabling and helping others to be effective and to develop clarity of purpose, compassion for self and others and confidence. But my work in this space can feel like heaven, or it can also feel like hell. And a lot of the difference has to do with how attached I am to certain outcomes. Any job can be heaven or hell Take career coaching for instance – there have been occasions when I’ve been sucked into my client’s outcome, that attachment to finding the perfect job or the perfect career (even though I emphatically assert there is no perfect job or career!). I become aware of when that happens because I start noticing a few things. I start worrying more than usual about my client interactions. I worry they’re not getting enough out of the coaching process, or what they would say about me as their coach. I start to worry about my reputation and whether I’ll get a bad review. If it gets extreme, I start judging myself – maybe I should have suggested this or that. I even start questioning my credibility as a coach. And when that happens, I find myself violating my own rules as a coach, because I move from curiosity and inquiry into tell mode. I lose sight of the fact that my role as a coach is to facilitate the process and instead try to drive the outcome. In essence, I get overly attached to the client’s outcome and as a result make myself miserable and drive myself crazy. When I practice non-attachment that same interaction can look and feels very different. The reason it feels so different is because I’m not attached to the outcome, and if I’m not attached to the outcome I can rest fully in the present moment. I’m not worrying about the question I just asked and whether it was good enough. I’m […]
September 28, 2023
4.6 min read
Leadership, Motivation, Productivity
When work feels like a daily grind, think about this…
The last few weeks have not been the easiest. I’ve got a condition in my inner ear, that when it flares up, I have an on again off again low-grade fever and get dizzy, where every day I’m on a boat that is rocking in the wind as I try to do my best to coach, facilitate, or do whatever it is I’m tasked with. Not fun. And then things pile up, I get stressed, I try to exercise self-care and ask for what I need, reschedule where I can, show myself some much-needed compassion and empathy. But as you know, these things aren’t easy, especially when you run a business. All this to say that some things fell off in the shuffle last week, which included this blog. And at that time, I practiced compassion and told myself it was okay, that in every life a little rain must fall, and took the opportunity to congratulate myself on my fine efforts up to this point. Which is all well and good. Yay me. And this week I’m still muddling through as the dizziness isn’t gone yet and heard a pesky little voice ringing in my ear, the voice of the workhorse, full of type A authority – “Pull your head out of your rear Shelley, and just get the blog done!” And guess what happened? Absolutely nothing. I started looking for ways to procrastinate. My mind was filled with anything else I could do, and I really do mean anything else. Taking out the trash, scrubbing the toilets, making a grocery list. I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel to be sure. Why? Because it felt like a grind. A soul destroying, sucking daily grind. And who can easily muster energy for the daily grind? We unknowingly create our own daily grind And then I remembered the fundamental lesson on why it’s important to approach life more focused on the journey than it is the destination. Or in other words, the being is just as (or even more important) in life than the doing. So often in life and leadership we’re focused on the latter. I’ve just got to get this deliverable out the door. Make another phone call, send another email. Complete another performance review. Give another presentation. And then I can relax. I’ll have more time later to think about things and enjoy things. But the problem is we never do. This is how we fool ourselves. And then we wonder why we feel so empty, and life just feels like an endless daily grind of one thing after another. I’m not saying reframing this is easy by the way, we live in a world that rewards output and productivity. We set ambitious targets for revenue, we set stretch goals, we live in a VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world where everything needed to be done yesterday. And I’m also not saying that we shouldn’t get goals or visualize success. As a coach […]
August 17, 2023
5.2 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
The Problem with Success
2022 was big. Big for me at least. Biggest revenues, biggest number of clients. Biggest number of challenges I had ever taken on. Explosive growth on the personal and on the professional front. I don’t think I had ever felt as comfortable in my role as a career and leadership coach, as a leadership facilitator, a mentor coach. The pressure was high, but I was enjoying it for the most part. I was flying high. I had finally arrived! Then I Crashed and Burned And then something strange happened at the start of this year. I started hesitating before sessions with clients. I started second guessing my reactions to things, the words coming out of my mouth, my interactions with people. Did I show up with a compassionate open heart??? Maybe I’m being too hard on them…Maybe that thing I just said was really stupid…What a lame question! I’ll never be as good as a facilitator as X. I started thinking I had lost my edge. And then I wondered if I had ever found it to begin with. I stopped the diatribe and instead started to ponder why – why these thoughts? Why am I torturing myself? It reminded me of when I was a fledging yogi, at yoga teacher training in LA. One of the opportunities of said yogic experience was being forced to listen to our esteemed guru rant on about any number of topics for hours on end. But one rant stood out, where the guru was talking about achievement. “Achievement is nothing. Anyone can achieve anything they want to. Maintaining it over time, now that’s a different story. That’s near impossible!” Achievement versus Maintenance I think he was on to something there. And then it dawned on me what was causing me to hesitate. To second guess and doubt my every move. The gnawing feeling that I didn’t have what it takes to go the distance. The success was a fluke. An anomaly. And what was hiding in the wings (although very cleverly disguised) was my inner critic. Whispering soft things in my ear like, “You should know this already. Someone with your level of training wouldn’t be hesitating right now. If you were emotionally intelligent you wouldn’t be over-reacting right now.” I spent this morning in tears, having a good cry. (Crying can be extremely therapeutic if you’re so inclined to try it…) I made a list of all the things I’ve been struggling with (it was a long list in case you were wondering). All the things I didn’t think I had gotten “right” lately. And then I just let the tears flow. Tears of forgiveness for all the things I haven’t navigated well over the last few months. Things maybe I got wrong. Or maybe I didn’t get perfect. Because no matter how long I’ve been doing this coaching and training gig, I still: This list could go on and on by the way. And I still just allowed the tears to […]
January 10, 2023
4.4 min read
The cost of believing the bad things about yourself
I recently participated in a leadership 360. If you’re not familiar, it’s one of those annoying survey things where you rate yourself on a bunch of subjective questions and a bunch of other people you nominate on your behalf rate you as well. Then you get your results and some fancy, overpaid consultant (like myself) helps you get a sense of your strengths as well as your opportunities for development (the latter meaning weaknesses in organizational development speak) and helps you put together a development plan to address the gaps. It’s interesting because as a leadership coach and trainer, I’ve administered them on other people’s behalf’s so many times, I just never had the opportunity to take one myself. I wasn’t sure to expect. I figured there would be a few things I would need to work on and had formed some assumptions in my mind as to what those things were. But about halfway through the debrief, something strange happened. I broke down in tears. Not because I was sad, but because I was overwhelmed. On every single measure (and there were a lot) I had rated myself significantly lower than my colleagues and peers had rated me. Every single one. We do not see ourselves clearly How can this be? I even course corrected for this. I know I tend to be hard on myself, the recovering perfection junkie that I am. I even took that tendency into account when I was rating myself and cut myself some slack. Or so I thought… But the results say what the results say. Here I am thinking that I have a fair degree of awareness, and yet clearly do not see myself in the same way that others do. I see this all the time in my clients. The problem isn’t as much that we are often doing all these horrible things we are completely unaware of. There are many assessments I’ve debriefed where a person has “soft spots.” Qualities they rate themselves low on that others believe to be much higher. When you think about the consequence and the cost of that, it’s huge. If I don’t believe I’m good at something, maybe I don’t put myself forward for an opportunity. Maybe I don’t dare to dream that big dream because I’m not sure I have the capacity to achieve it. Maybe I find myself talking myself out of things. I’ll go after it when I feel like I’m ready. But what does “ready” even mean and how would I know if I’m there? This is the circular thinking we often engage in that keeps us stuck in a rut. Life is funny like this…while every coaching client is very different, many of us are really searching for and working on the same exact things. I’ve often explained the practice of coaching as helping others see the incredible value they bring to the world and step into their greatness. And who better than a neutral third party, as we […]
April 19, 2022
4.3 min read
Don’t worry about the metrics, a tip on how to measure success
Begin with the end in mind Steven Covey said it, many moon’s ago – “Begin with the end in mind.” I’ve touted this over the years, I utilize this advice as a coach to help me ensure that client sessions are focused and relevant. I remember this to ensure I measure success. I often remind folks of the immortal words of the Cheshire cat in Alice and Wonderland’s, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Sage words for sure! Back when I worked in internal audit, I wrote finding after finding pertaining to a lack of clear, tangible targets and organizational metrics. It was such a common issue, at one point I just started copying and pasting the recommendation and changing the organization name. Work smarter not harder I’ve always said! All this to say, it’s important to be focused on an outcome, a direction, a notable and tangible measure of success and to think about how to measure success on an ongoing basis. Whether that pertains to your career, your leadership, your organization, your business, or an important goal that you have that doesn’t fit into any of these neat little categories. But it’s not enough unfortunately. Back when I was teaching coach training, I used to tell the story of a baseball player that was intently focused on hitting the ball as hard as they could, and when the moment came, the bat connected with the ball and off it went, high into the sky. It flew and flew and flew, high up into the cloudless sky while everyone in the stands watched on. How do you measure success? And then one of the outfielders caught the ball in their glove. The batter was out. Here’s the question I would ask aspiring coaches – Was the batter successful or not? Many said no, the batter was clearly out. They would score no home run that day. But some said yes. And as the conversation would evolve, it inevitably came down to this trite little piece of advice that I’ve tried to disregard so many times over the years – it’s the journey that really matters, not the destination. But how can that be? There was no score to be had, no victorious run. Well, it all hinges on how we measure success. The batter was all in. The batter had played with their heart. The batter had performed the best they could at that particular moment in time. At some point when I started this blog, I used to think about the number of people who read it, how many conversions this was creating for the calls of action on my website, how I could convert this activity into a tangible metric to measure. I will tell you it sucked the joy out of the enterprise faster than you can down the last dregs of your drink when the bartender yells, “Last call for happy hour!” Not that I’ve ever done that… […]
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.