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
Put down the mask and allow yourself to be seen.
As we navigate life’s path, it’s interesting the things that will come up over and over again. I’ve often mused that life will keep giving us the same lessons over and over again until we really learn them. And really learning something is more than learning it on a theoretical level, or a “head” level as I tend to call it. Many of life’s lessons are what I call “heart” level lessons. These are the ones that we must feel. The ones that we need to feel to heal past experiences, so we can let more love into our life, and the shadow of the inner saboteur becomes fainter and fainter. We all wear a mask I had one of these experiences this past weekend. I was on a girl’s trip to Rockport with some friends of mine. The four of us met in a hiking meetup group during the pandemic and have been very close ever since. I hadn’t slept very well during the trip and the last morning I found myself in a very raw and emotional state. The final morning, I started to cry, more like allowed myself to cry and feel some things I’d been shoving away for a while. And then I found myself worrying about things like: “What will they think of me?” “I’m ruining the trip.” “I look silly and I’m embarrassing myself and them.” I sat out on the dock in front of our lovely pastel colored condo and watched the sun come up. The beautiful purples and pinks shimmering through the clouds, the seagulls diving into the water looking for a morning treat. I cried, I was breathing deeply, I was letting out fear I’d been carrying for a while. But I didn’t want to bother the group. I separated myself on purpose so I wouldn’t be a burden to them. The fear and embarrassment of showing strong emotion in front of my newish friends was just too overpowering. I was startled when I felt Carol’s hands on my shoulders. She started to rub my back, and I let her. The important point of this story is I let her. It wasn’t easy I will say, even for me, a coach, someone who teaches communication skills and emotional intelligence. It still wasn’t easy. So often in life, I think we learn that we must be strong. And we take on a very limited view of what that means. We put on a mask that hides our true nature from the rest of the world. I think I’ve often prided myself on being that person in the group that has her proverbial “shit” together. That knows what she is talking about. That never loses her cool. Because I somehow deduced that people won’t like me or want to be friends with me if I let them see who I really am. That it’s not acceptable to ever be “out of control” or need a moment to cry. Which frame do you choose? […]
This week I’ve been teaching a course on straight talk. I often refer to this skill as “Speaking the Truth with Love.” The crux of getting this right depends on three important aspects. There are three elements to straight talk: Caring personally (compassion) – Caring personally about the individual who is on the receiving end of this conversation and demonstrating this care with your words in the conversation. Sharing your perspective and/or challenging directly – Or in other words, being clear about the issue that needs to be communicated and not beating around the proverbial bush. Inviting others to do the same – Creating the space to have a two-way conversation rather than merely talk at someone. Any straight talk conversation is a great opportunity for two-way dialogue and not merely a “dump and run.” Don’t Bury the Lead You’d be surprised how often we do the opposite. When it comes to challenging directly, I notice one thing in particular. I often sit in practice runs where participants are role playing a difficult conversation they need to have. I’ve seen people do a million times something I call “burying the lead.” At the end of the conversation, I ask the initiator what the issue was they wanted to communicate. The person on the receiving end of the conversation often had a totally different impression of what the conversation was about. The gravity of the issue had not been conveyed clearly or accurately. This happens all the time, and people walk away with completely different perceptions of a conversation or an issue. No wonder there’s so much conflict in our personal and professional lives! Remember that honesty without compassion is brutality But the caring personally aspect is just as important as challenging directly. It’s crucial to remember that honesty without compassion can be brutality. E.g. “I think your idea is stupid.” I’m reminded of an old friend and colleague that I used to spend a lot of time with. She prided herself on her ability to give straight talk. She had mastered the art of being direct. On that front there was no one better I will admit. The problem is her words were often not couched in compassion. Over time it took a toll on my ability to relate to her, and eventually after I’d been stung enough times, I abandoned the relationship. It just wasn’t worth it. So why don’t we engage in straight talk? Or why don’t we do it well when we try? Mindset is Everything Mindset plays a huge role when it comes to this skill. Do any of these sound familiar? It means being unkind. I must act professionally regardless of the cost. I can’t upset people. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I must tell the truth at all costs. Silence is golden. I can’t challenge someone senior to me. Which of these beliefs are true for you? And how are they getting in the way of […]
July 13, 2022
3.1 min read
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.