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
Authenticity, Leadership, Life Direction and Purpose, Mindfulness
Your values matter in life and leadership. Here’s why.
A discussion about values can often seem like an artificial conversation. It’s a nice to have, not a need to have, right? Something I do once at a training course because the facilitator forces me to do it, and then I shove the paper they’re written on in a desk drawer and forget about it and go on with the rest of my business. Values can help or hinder our growth and development What’s interesting to understand about values is they can help us or hinder us. And that might seem counterintuitive, because aren’t values a good thing? The answer is, it depends. Let’s say I value accuracy. If I place too much emphasis on accuracy, I might find myself overworking reports, overworking data, to an extent that’s unnecessary for the task at hand. Many of us trip ourselves up this way and forget the tried and tested 80/20 rule. One value that I tend to hear a lot from clients is trust. Trust is an interesting one because we often gravitate towards it if we’ve been hurt in the past. Maybe our parents got divorced and it eroded our trust in them. Maybe a spouse or partner cheated on us, and the result was devastating, we can never trust again. Maybe a business partner stole money from us, or a family member wronged us. The list goes on and on. Based on these life experiences we then conclude that trust is the most important thing in any relationship, and we cling onto it for dear life. We suspiciously look for signs that someone might be untrustworthy. We fear that our worst nightmare will come true, and then it does. We reinforce this idea by telling ourselves things like, “the only person I can trust is myself.” Fear based values versus conscious based values Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not wrong to value trust. But it’s worth thinking about the relationship you have with your values. Did I consciously choose to value trust because it’s important to me, or am I desperately clinging to this value out of fear? And if I’m clinging to a value out of fear, how might that be blinding me? How might I then be unconsciously creating the situation I fear? For years I clung to authenticity. It was my biggest personal value. And when I think about my personal history, that makes perfect sense. I grew up in a household where conformity was valued, and I often felt like I could never be myself or loved for who I am. I had to fight very hard for the right to just be myself. I even prided myself at one point of being the proverbial black sheep of the family. I was so concerned with losing my “authentic self” that it inadvertently blinded me to choices I might have liked but wouldn’t even consider because they seemed on the surface to be too conforming. A few years ago, I gave up authenticity as my most important […]
August 11, 2022
3.9 min read
What a jar of rocks and sand can tell you about your life
The other day I was teaching a leadership course, and I shared the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6m9WnNdpSw Rocks and Sand In it, it depicts Charlie Chaplin attempting to fill a container first with sand, and then cram a number of large rocks in at the top. The rocks spill over as obviously there’s not enough room. And then he tries again. He puts the big rocks in first, and then pours the sand in. This time, everything fits, as the sand fills up the empty cracks around the rocks. What are the big rocks in your life? There’s an obvious metaphor to our day to day lives in this short and insightful little rocks and sand video. The rocks represent the big things in our lives. Things like important projects, health and wellness, our career development, our family. And it’s important to realize that the big rocks also change over time. The sand are the small bits like emails, phone calls, administrative tasks and recurring minor deliverables. The question I asked the group, was “Where do you tend to focus first – the rocks or the sand? I was hoping they’d be honest and they were. Just about every of the 28 participants owned up to wanting to focus on the sand first, and push off the big rocks in their life. Why do we focus on the sand first? We do this for a number of reasons. Firstly, the bigger things are often the more nebulous ones. So often we don’t even know where to start. When we don’t know where to start, it makes it easier to avoid these things. Secondly, the sand is easier to tackle. These are often quick emails, phone calls, reports that need to be run. We know what to do, and so it’s just easier to drive right in. The third reason is rooted is physiology. We often get a small dopamine hit from crossing something off our to do list. So we pick the path of least resistance and higher reward, at least in the short term. Tips for getting the big rocks It’s no surprise that the big things often allude us in life. We tell folks that we’re just too busy, and never seem to be able to find enough time to do all the things we want to do. And that makes perfect sense when the sand comes first. A few tips I often share with clients on this front, that help to minimize the sand and put the rocks first are: Turn off the notification on your phone and laptop that dings or pops up to let you know you have more email. The notifications will hijack your attention from the important rock you’re focused on. And good luck getting refocused. Spend time at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day, getting clear on the 2-3 big rocks you want to make a dent in. It only takes a few minutes to remind yourself […]
February 21, 2022
3.5 min read
Authenticity, Life Direction and Purpose
Not Living Up to Your Potential? No Problem…
To everything There is a season And a time to every purpose, under heaven A time to be born, a time to die A time to plant, a time to reap A time to kill, a time to heal A time to laugh, a time to weep To everything There is a season And a time to every purpose, under heaven A time to build up, a time to break down A time to dance, a time to mourn A time to cast away stone, a time to gather stones together To everything There is a season And a time to every purpose, under heaven A time to gain, a time to lose A time to rend, a time to sew A time for love, a time for hate A time for peace. Nice, isn’t it? I was reminded of this song, or bible verse, however you prefer to look at it, most recently. I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but it happens to me quite frequently: I start seeing a quote, a phrase, a poem everywhere. It’s kind of annoying. I keep hoping that I’ll see the winning Texas Powerball numbers instead. So far no dice, the powers seem to just be limited to prose. But then my intuition reminds me that this is probably something I need to pay attention to and maybe if I’d didn’t stick my head in the sand like an oversized ostrich, I’d probably learn something useful. So I tuned into the message and found myself thinking, 2021 has been a hell of a ride in ways I never could have anticipated. I have found myself fluttering between two states – hyperactivity and lethargy. Okay fine, if I’m more honest than not, it’s the later state. This is quite hard for me to say, the recovering perfection junkie that I am. There have been several mornings that I’ve woken up, and frankly, I haven’t felt like doing much. So I didn’t. Don’t take this to mean I sat around in my highly alluring bathrobe all day with my husband and cats watching reruns of Judge Judy and eating Velveeta and rotel (don’t knock the golden cheese food goodness until you’ve tried it). I don’t need an intervention just yet. I did all the usual things, coached clients, paid bills, went to the grocery store, redecorated my office, planted a garden which I even actually managed to get a couple of eggplants from, until it got infested by these weird snails and flies that destroyed it. You know, normal life stuff. But all the while there was this nagging voice in my head. You haven’t made progress on your childfree group. At one point I had this vision of building it to about a million ladies and using it as a platform to achieve Oprah like stardom. You haven’t written another book, the voice kept nagging. I will admit I’ve started at least two […]
December 21, 2021
4.3 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.