• Read Are you comparing yourself to others?  Look inward instead.

    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

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    5 min read

  • Read What messages about your availability are you inadvertently sending?  Part 1 – Email -How to set boundaries at work

    Communication, Productivity, Well Being

    What messages about your availability are you inadvertently sending?  Part 1 – Email -How to set boundaries at work

    I’ve decided to write a multi-part blog on a topic that is so important, it warrants a little extra attention.  I was talking about how to set boundaries yesterday with a client, a freelancer who is working on growing her business, and struggles to optimize her time effectively.  I think many of us fall into this bucket.  I mean, who really does have perfect time management skills?  But all the fancy apps and time management tricks mean nothing if we don’t challenge the limited beliefs that are guiding the everyday choices we make. Our beliefs about availability drive our behaviors I’ll give you an example.  My IT guy, James (who is awesome by the way) has a way of working with clients, which he communicates clearly.  I know in an emergency I am to call him immediately.  A real emergency, not a fake Shelley kind of emergency like “could we change the color of the banner on my website – it looks too blue?”  James knows me all too well… So far, I’ve only had to do this once, when my site domain got hijacked and my website got pulled down – a real thing by the way, and now I’ve learned all about the importance of 2-factor authentication.  But I digress… Otherwise, if there is something non-emergency related I need I am to email him.  James checks his email twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon.  And aims to respond to client requests within 1-2 working days.  If something is going to take longer than that, he gets back to me with a time estimate of when he can most likely complete the task.  It’s a clearly communicated policy of how he deals with email and client requests. It’s so simple, it’s so brilliant, it’s so effective, and yet, most of us do the complete opposite.  Why?  Because deep down there’s often a dark, hidden, limited belief lurking in the shadows that says something like – “You have to be available all the time.”  Or “If you’re not available, people won’t be able to trust you and rely on you.” Or “You have to be available 100% of the time for your clients or your business will fail.”  Sound familiar? The people pleasing poison These beliefs are rooted in what I call one of the three poisons – or reactive tendencies that end up creating a lot of problems in our life and leadership.  This particular poison is the one of the people pleaser – My self-worth is related to how much people like me.  And we human beings are super inept at sitting with the discomfort of feeling like we are not liked.  Notice I say “feeling” because often this is our perception, and perception does not equate to reality.  Healthy people respect and honor appropriate and properly communicated boundaries.  And because we’re not conscious these fears are lurking in the background, then we do stupid things like have the email notification […]

    June 30, 2023

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    4.3 min read

  • Read Feeling stuck?  Learn to recognize the pesky voice of your inner critic.

    Career Coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Well Being

    Feeling stuck?  Learn to recognize the pesky voice of your inner critic.

    There’s often a disconnect between what we want and where we find ourselves in this journey called life.  Maybe you come up with an idea of something to try or to learn, but you find yourself quickly dismissing it or finding reasons to rationalize why it would never work.  We often mistakenly perceive these things as a lack of motivation.  “I guess I just didn’t want it enough.  But when I find the right thing, I’ll know it because I’ll suddenly be motivated and filled with an intense passion!” Wrong.  Motivation doesn’t just fly out of the air when you find the right thing.  There is no right thing by the way.  Cultivating motivation and passion has a lot more to do with what voices you’re letting speak inside that crazy thing called your head, rather than the specific thing that you’re focused on. In my experience as a coach, folks typically are stuck for one of two reasons.  The answer lies in the source of the stuckness, and whether it has to do with an outer block or an inner block.  What is an outer block? An outer block is an external constraint or barrier that gets in the way of a person achieving their goal.  It’s something that needs to be planned for, managed, and actively worked.  Let’s say I’m thinking of making a career transition, and I want to move into finance.  Education will obviously be a barrier to me achieving this goal if I know nothing about numbers.  So identifying a course or a program to enroll in, using time management skills to plan for this course, budgeting for this course will be key.  Outer blocks are relatively straightforward and easy to coach.  The problem is that most of us suffer from inner blocks when there is a disconnect from where we currently are to where we want to be, when we feel stuck or are lacking motivation. The sinister world of the inner block and the inner critic In my time as a coach, I’ve never met a client (including myself) who didn’t suffer from inner blocks and the curse of the inner critic.  An inner block is a deep-seated belief that who we are and what we are just isn’t good enough and will never be enough.  We all have an inner critic.  Mine’s name is Gertie.  Here she is: Gertie loves to fly around my head at warp speed and bump into things.  She squeals with glee as she yells, “You don’t work hard enough Shelley!”  Deep down Gertie knows that I’m lazy and I’ll never do what it takes to finish that new initiative or project.  That online leadership academy I’ve been thinking about building and piloting – What a silly pipe dream!  And then I start thinking to myself, “Well, maybe it wasn’t that important after all.  Maybe I just didn’t want it that bad.” Or maybe I do, and I just allowed myself to get derailed because the inner critic […]

    May 8, 2023

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    5.3 min read

  • Read How to Feel Your Feelings – The Simple Thing We Never Learn

    Emotional Intelligence, Well Being

    How to Feel Your Feelings – The Simple Thing We Never Learn

    Over the years I’ve heard the phrase, “You’ve got to feel your feelings,” so many times I could choke.  It’s a popular phrase now, way extended beyond mere psychology and coaching circles.  It’s almost as common as “living your best authentic life,” which also elicits an eye roll from me.  How we hide from our feelings Feeling your feelings sounds simple, but most of us have no real understanding of how to do it.  And the guidance out there on this front is hazy at best.  A lot of this has to do with the fact that we don’t often have good role models on this front.  I’m reminded of that 70’s musical classic, “Don’t cry out loud.”  Words, unfortunately, that many of us have decided to live by.  Furthermore, most of us think we are feeling the difficult emotions when they come up, but we’re really not.  We’re fooling ourselves. This is because when difficult emotions do arise, the fight or fight mechanism gets triggered, our amygdala gets hijacked and rather than do the hard work of leaning into the actual feeling, we lean unconsciously instead into a coping mechanism, which could look something like one of the following options: So, what to do instead?  The answer to how to feel your feelings lies is understanding what your default tendencies are and making a conscious choice to do something different.  2. Say yes to the emotion – Pat Rodegast (representing the teachings of Emmanuel) writes, “So walk with your heaviness, saying yes. Yes to the sadness, yes to the whispered longing. Yes to the fear.  Love means setting aside walls, fences, and unlocking doors, and saying yes … one can be in paradise by simply saying yes to this moment.”  The instant we agree to feel fear or vulnerability, greed or agitation, we are holding our life with an unconditionally friendly heart.  We are accepting the present moment as it is. 3. Connect with the feeling in your body – Is it nervousness in the pit of your stomach?  Is it anger and frustration in your forehead or shoulders?  Is it sadness and grief that hangs heavy in your heart?  Connect with the feeling in your body, lean into the experience of it and breathe deeply as you allow yourself to experience it.  I find that once I’ve connected at this level the experience of the emotion typically passes rather quickly and it feels almost as if it’s moving through my body. 4. Show yourself loving compassion – I find it’s sometimes helpful to whisper out loud, “I’m feeling scared right now and it’s okay.  I’m feeling resentful right now and it’s okay.”  The trick here is to acknowledge what’s happening with loving compassion towards yourself, not to make the emotion go away.  The only way it will go away is once you’ve accepted it fully and embrace the sensation. Coaching questions for thought: Shelley Pernot is a leadership coach who is passionate about helping her clients discover their […]

    April 28, 2023

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    5 min read

  • Read What We Can Learn From the Groundhog

    Emotional Intelligence, Well Being

    What We Can Learn From the Groundhog

    It’s been an interesting week here in Austin, Texas.  The first ice storm of 2023 rained down on the city this week and considering the driving skills of most Texans in ice, we have all been ordered to stay put in the safe recesses of our homes (assuming you have power, and if not it’s every man for himself…).  The Makings of One Massive Frustration Funk Not being able to leave the house for several days already had me in a funk.  We extroverts need to be let out of our cage.  Then a client offsite I had so carefully planned got cancelled due to covid.  There went my perfectly orchestrated client schedule and my trip to New Orleans I was so looking forward to that just happened to perfectly coincide with Mardi Gras (Throw me some beads, Mister!).  Unfortunately, no new beads for me this year.  Add to that a 5-day migraine which started on Monday and is only letting up now, and it’s fair to say I haven’t been an easter basket of joy these past few days. My consolation had been old episodes of Married at First Sight (it’s addictive, I swear!) until we lost internet, so now I’ve been forced to work on this blog given I can’t stream anymore.  And I’m mad about that.  I need to know if Sonia says yes to Nick in season 4 of my show…if I were in her shoes, it would be a big resounding NO.  This morning tensions came to a peak, no yoga for almost a week, and I found myself in what I often refer to as an emotional loop of doom – an ongoing diatribe that repeats in one’s head like a bad Def Leppard song.  It’s easy in these moments to feel like you’re right back where you started.  I was down on myself and life in general.  I’m never going to figure these migraines out.  Rescheduling the offsite is going to put my work back with these clients, it’s going to jeopardize the progress we’ve made.  Why are these jeans so damn tight!  Why does the internet hot spot on my phone not work!  My ISP sucks!  Why did the cat just pee inside in the pot of succulents – Jesus! And then my thoughts went to an even darker place.  What’s the point of any of this!  Does anything I do even make a difference!  You know that sticky, restless feeling when you’re mad with everyone and everything including yourself?  You can’t focus, you rush from task to task to keep yourself busy but nothing seems to help?  Yes, I was there. And coincidently yesterday was Groundhog Day.  A coincidence I think not! 3 Simple Tactics to Fight Frustration and the Curse of the Groundhog So I sat down at my computer and forced (yes forced) myself to do 3 simple things that I’ve often advocating my clients do (yes it is hard at times to practice what you preach!): Coaching Questions […]

    February 3, 2023

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    4.1 min read

  • Read Perfect is the Enemy of Growth (not Good)

    Authenticity, Well Being

    Perfect is the Enemy of Growth (not Good)

    On my desk I keep a small statue.  It’s a beauty pageant participation trophy I got off the internet for $4.99 plus $19.99 in shipping and handling.  I even had my name engraved on it.  She sits proudly on my desk looking at me, all smug with her right hand coyly resting on her hip, standing up perfectly straight in her big poofy skirt with her sash draped proudly over her chest.  She sits on my desk not to remind me of the beauty pageant I never won (or even entered for that matter).  She sits there to remind me of the evils of striving for perfection.  And when you think about it, many of us get caught in this trap.  We get caught in the trap, and we don’t follow through.  We get caught in the trap and we give up before we’ve even started, because whatever we produce just won’t be good enough.  We won’t be good enough.  So why even bother? Or maybe we try and we don’t exactly meet the goal, or the target.  And then we beat ourselves up about it.  Here’s an example.  I set myself the goal of writing this blog once a week on January 1st of this year.  I’ve dutifully done it every week, except one in September when I was on vacation.  And then the end of the year rolled around and I’ve missed a week or two.  And then my thoughts the other day turned to – “See!  You didn’t do it.  You never follow through!  What kind of coach are you, you can’t even finish strong when you made a big deal about starting something.  You might as well give up, you hack!” I could really listen to that voice.  Tune into and wallow in my misery of failure.  Revel in the fact that I’m an impostor that doesn’t deserve to use the word coach.  I could do all that, and don’t think I didn’t think about it.  And then I took my own advice, and remembered sometimes it’s actually helpful to practice what you preach.  One of my favorite books which I often have clients read is one called Mindset, the new neuroscience of success.  In it, the author Dweck talks about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  Fixed Mindset = Proving The fixed mindset is all about proving.  Proving one is good enough, smart enough and gosh darn it, that people like you.  (I’m hoping someone will catch the Stuart Smalley reference here…)  Many of us go through life locked into a fixed mindset a lot of the time.  As a result of it, we often have difficulty accepting criticism, rising to the challenge of something new or unexpected because we might fail or collaborating effectively with others because we view them as competition.  We have difficulty because the emphasis is on proving.  I have to prove I can finish what I start, and if I don’t, I’m an impostor.  Growth Mindset […]

    December 8, 2022

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    4.5 min read