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? […]
August 23, 2022
4.5 min read
An important caveat to vulnerability: Don’t throw your pearls before swine
The other day I shared something deep and personal I had written in a very public forum, and then found myself freaking out about it. Social media is a strange thing, and I’m not sure there are many of us who have completely mastered the art of using it. I felt that funny feeling in my stomach. You know the one, when you’ve been caught with your proverbial pants down. The embarrassment, the shame, like when the teacher called on you in the second grade and you didn’t have the answer and you looked like a fool in front of your entire class. I’ve always been told by others that they admire my vulnerability. My rawness. My ability to put myself out there and let it all hang out, so to speak. And so, I often do, and therefore was quite taken aback by my emotional response to sharing a seemingly innocent article the other day. Perhaps I’m not as comfortable with vulnerability as I thought I was? Vulnerability is a funny thing. It’s a big buzzword at the moment, we’re all told we should do it. We should lead with it and practice vulnerable moments with co-workers. We should practice vulnerability daily in our personal lives. Brene brown says vulnerability is the key to living a wholehearted life, whatever that means. And I get it on many levels, it is an amazing way of creating connection with other people. Think about it, how can anyone ever really know you if they don’t know the real, unpolished, not-so-perfect you? It’s also important when it comes to letting go of perfectionism and practicing compassion for oneself. Overall, vulnerability can be a really great thing. There are limits to vulnerability But there are limits. And frankly, there should be limits to it. Which is the lesson that hit me like a ton of bricks the other day. You may have heard the phrase, “Don’t show your pearls with swine?” It’s a popular piece of advice, and is adapted from a phrase in the Gospel, “Cast not pearls before swine.” Okay, I know where your thinking just went. So the point of this is to not call other people a pig, no matter how much you may believe someone deserves it. Or to start preaching at you. The point is to carefully distinguish amongst who it is appropriate to share your heart with and who it makes sense to keep it more closed. To make a conscious choice to share or not to share. And then share it only with people who will really appreciate your message. I think every person and every culture struggles with this, but I do think having lived in many different countries, that we Americans often take the cake with this one. We share and share and share because we think we’re supposed to. We share things with our family for instance because they’re family and we think this is what family is supposed to look like, and […]
May 4, 2022
4.8 min read
Authenticity, Well Being
Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over
I normally don’t share my creative writing that I do for fun, but this piece I want to share with you. It’s a vulnerable one recently published in the spring 2022 issue of Please See Me, an online literary journal dedicated to health and wellness. While the topic deals with an anxiety disorder related to hair pulling ( the technical name is Trichotrillomania) I’ve suffered with over the years, the deeper themes in the piece relate to things we all struggle with. I hope you enjoy a humorous dive into an important topic, and how learning to laugh at ourselves and how ironically, sometimes surrendering and letting go can open the door to something very special indeed… Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over I remember the first time it happened. I was sixteen and it was advanced algebra class. It was our final exam, and I was struggling as usual. I’d never liked math. I looked down at the floor at the end of the period and there it was. A large pile of thick, curly, blond hair was lying innocently on the floor. I looked around the room, wondering whose it was—had some poor soul lost a wig? The confusion was quickly replaced with a sinking feeling in my stomach. It was my hair. But how? Why? I didn’t have time to make sense of it. My face flushed with shame, my eyes darted nervously around the room, looking for my nemesis, Shannon Clark. Had she seen? She’d be sure to tell everyone. I reached down to the floor with all the nonchalance I could muster, quickly grabbed the pile, and stuffed it into my backpack. I disposed of the blond wad later in the girls’ bathroom. I wondered later how many pieces of hair it was. One hundred, two hundred? It was a lot. I didn’t think to stop and count each strand in my mad dash to destroy the evidence. And then panic set in. Did I have a bald spot now? Frantic, I checked my hair in the bathroom mirror multiple times for signs, searching for little patches of scalp peeking out from underneath my frizzy mop. But there were none. My secret was at least safe for now. Up to that point I had craved the long, straight, luxuriously silky-smooth hair many of my classmates sported, like the girls in the Pantene commercials: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” I hated them. But in that moment, I was secretly thankful for my big, blond mop, which Shannon often referred to as a blonde afro. I had more than enough hair to spare. I was in my early thirties when I finally went in for treatment. I kept pulling out my hair all through the remainder of high school, all through college and my first master’s degree, all through my first job and my second master’s degree. Never enough to be bald. I always conveniently pulled from the underneath on the left side of my head. The result was the […]
April 26, 2022
12.8 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.