I'm on my way home, currently laying over in Montreal on our way back from Iceland. One of the best things about traveling is coming home. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, cuddling all my pets, and getting back to my community and friends. We've had a WONDERFUL time. Iceland is perhaps the most consistently scenic and awe-inspiring place I've ever been, full of landscapes that feel wild and unfinished.
My last video was taken on a bluff on a small island connected by a bridge/road to the town of Stykkishólmur on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. The sound is not great, but I think you'll get the gist. I will also summarize below. This video is especially for all the mothers of young children because I think it is a constant struggle to be a mom AND allow time for self care.
My main message is simply: be alone. Find the time and place where you can disengage from all your other distractions and obligations. Be alone with your thoughts. The power of this became especially obvious to me toward the end of two weeks of traveling. I love to travel, but it does not lend itself to much alone time. And as much as I love my family and travel buddies, I also value my me-time and started to feel the lack of it. My husband encouraged me to sneak away for a couple of lovely walks while he read to the kids at bedtime. In Iceland, the best time of day seemed to be between 9-10pm, with the night time sun creating an extended golden hour. It was peaceful and refreshing, and I was a better mom, wife, friend and travel buddy because of those stolen moments. And this is true for everyday life, too. Moms- I'm especially talking to you. We cannot care for others when we are not adequately caring for ourselves. I encourage you to find the time to be alone, process without distraction, and enjoy your own company.
If you need help figuring out how to do this, please contact me for a free mini session. Your family will thank you!
Iceland continues to inspire awe with its beautiful and rugged landscape. Sometimes it looks like another planet, and sometimes it reminds me of Colorado with all the amazing vistas. My most recent video highlights some of the more unique features of this young landmass, which inspired me into contemplation about the temporary nature of all things and the importance of being present. Enjoy the video, and if you want to work on being more present and mindful in your life, contact me to schedule a free mini-session to explore how life coaching can help.
I'm in Iceland. Friends...it's amazing. We've been here for one day, and I'm smitten with the landscape and the people and the animals. The food...not so much...but I'll forgive it because PB&J has never tasted so delicious.
We are traveling with another family, and in total, we have 5 kids ages 3-9. In a word, we are a CIRCUS. But today, true to our traveling style, we went on an EPIC hike that included a harrowing river crossing (see the video) and several sections that had a guideline on one side and high-consequence drop offs on the other. Along the trail, almost everyone we passed commented on the age of the kids, most with admiration rather than judgment in their voices, and one guy even joked that surely we had arrived at our high point by helicopter.
I was inspired to make another video. It's short and sweet and perhaps a bit trite, but it's also a timeless message that spoke loudly to me today. Please watch, like and share.
I want to expand a bit more on the no bravery without fear idea. The hike became a powerful metaphor for life. Honestly, as we walked up to the river crossing and saw how we had to take off our shoes, wade across a very cold running river while holding onto a wobbly cable, then walk across a skinny, slippery log, we almost turned back. I would've been nervous without any kids, but my mama-bear instincts started to kick in and I could tell the kiddos were nervous, too. However, if we had turned back, we would've literally been stuck. We would've been forced to stop forward progress, turn around and go back the way we came, stopping short of our goal of reaching the viewpoint of the highest waterfall in Iceland. We would've been disappointed and a little defeated. Instead, we pushed through the fear and the freezing water and we reached the other side. I watched as my 7-year-old cheered on her 5-year-old friend as she crossed, clearly out of her comfort zone but moving forward anyway. Instead of disappointment, we felt empowered. We felt strong and brave and proud. The payoff of an amazing waterfall view and gummy frogs was well-earned and more appreciated because of the journey. I hope that the accomplishment will stick with my children so that the next time they feel fear, they will channel it into courage because they remember that feeling of standing at the top of the hike and looking at the view.
How do you react to fear? Do you let it turn you around? Does fear become disappointment and unfulfilled desires, or do you accept the fear as a natural and even necessary step toward bravery and accomplishment? If fear stops you in your tracks, contact me for a free mini-session to discuss how coaching can help you recognize, face, and overcome your fears.
In the meantime, I encourage you to go out there and do something that scares you, whether it be completing a challenging hike, trying a new hobby, making a new friend, or embracing a change you've been avoiding. Channel that fear and doubt because without fear, you can not become brave.
Today, I had the privilege of running a Vision Board Workshop for a group of teenagers at a running camp up in Keystone.
I started the session with a few quotes from famous people because I realize that Oprah and Steve Jobs have a bit more credibility with teens than some life coach they've just met.
-- “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe.” -Oprah Winfrey
-- “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” -Steve Jobs
-- “A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” -Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Harvard)
After we defined and discussed the concept of vision, I asked the participants to brainstorm favorite activities, strengths, short and long-term goals, and areas for improvement. They divided a piece of poster board in half and on one half I asked them to represent themselves as they are now. How do they see themselves at this point in their lives? One the other half, I had them visualize their future as adults. What would they do for a living? Would they have a family? How would they spend their free time? Finally, I asked them to present and reflect upon the difference between now and the future.
They were into it. The room hopped with energy and creativity. With an age range of 11-17, it probably goes without saying that some of them "got it" more than others. Still, everyone completed the activity with enthusiasm.
I hope they learned something from me because I learned a LOT from them. First of all, out of 11 participants, only 2 of them didn't struggle greatly to define their strengths. One girl was particularly stumped.
"I can't think of any strengths," she told me after staring at the question for five minutes.
"I just met you and I can already tell that you have many strengths," I said.
"I don't want to brag," she insisted.
"It's not bragging if it's true. You have to own it!" I got distracted by another girl who had a question, but I circled back to her a few minutes later. She was still struggling but her peers were coming to her rescue.
"You're smart and funny," said one.
"You're strong and fast and you work really hard," said another.
"You're friendly and you have really pretty eyes," chimed in the girl sitting next to her. But even with that encouragement, she struggled to accept her own strengths.
She was the most extreme example but it was a common theme. Even one of the adult coaches admitted she was having trouble coming up with 5 strengths. Can you name five of your strengths without hesitation?
The second lesson I learned from this activity is that many of the teens had no trouble defining the material things they wanted in the future. The vision boards were covered with pictures of cars and houses and babies and pet dogs and piles of cash. But when prompted to explain how they would earn those piles of money, many of the teens could not give an adequate or realistic answer. Research shows that focusing on the process is more important than focusing on a given outcome. An athlete who imagines standing on the podium at the Olympics is not as likely to be successful as the one who visualizes getting up early to practice and spending hours honing skills. Part of the power of life coaching is the focus on defining the action steps required to reach a goal and not simply the goal itself.
So here's what I propose: We've all probably heard of gratitude journals, where you write down something for which you are grateful at the beginning or end of each day. What if we tried a strength journal? At the beginning of each day, write down something you are good at or proud of and see where that gets you. While this is similar to an affirmation, it is more concrete. Yes you are good enough and smart enough and gosh darnit, people like you...but why? Like I told they teenagers, you have to own it. Secondly, when you have a goal, spend a few minutes each day visualizing the process. If you want to write a book, picture yourself writing crappy drafts and spending hours revising. If you want to run a marathon, don't picture yourself crossing the finish line, arms raised. Picture yourself at mile 20, when your feet are hurting and you're sweating buckets but you keep going anyway.
Like, share, and comment with your own insights. Enjoy the pictures below of some of the vision boards from the workshop today.
A quiet mountain lake. Birds chirping in the trees. Laughter around a campfire. No phones. No facebook. Just me and my family out in nature.
That was my weekend. My family went camping. We hiked and skipped rocks and played with sticks. We caught a couple fish, cooked them, and ate them. We played bocce ball. We slept in a cold tent on hard ground and had to walk to the port-o-potty at 3 am. We roasted marshmallows and got coated in the smell of campfire. Time slowed down and I feel refreshed, but the real reward was when my 7 year old said without prompting, "Thank you for taking us camping, Mom." Watching my girls swing in the hammock and run around the campfire with dirty feet did my heart so much good.
Since I will be traveling for most of the month of June, I decided to start a series of videos called "Lesson from the Road." As you can probably surmise, my first one has to do with unplugging and getting back to basics. I hope you will watch and enjoy and share comments about where you go and what you do to unplug and reconnect with your family, the world...and yourself.
A couple disclaimers about the video: The sound isn't great, but it gets better after the first 30 seconds or so. Part of the noise comes from my family as they catch their second fish of the day right as my video starts. I had to scrap a previous attempt because while I was videoing, my youngest daughter was getting harassed by a bee midway through and started screaming...leaving the video unsalvageable. Anyway, I will work on sound and stillness in the future, but I hope you will enjoy this despite the roughness.
Thanks for watching and please contact me if you'd like to schedule a complimentary mini-session to learn more about coaching and perhaps work some "unplugged" time into your busy life.