We can all agree that judgment permeates our world views these days. Hop on any social media platform and within nanoseconds you are blasted with a fiery back and forth about:

  • Politics (particularly now in the US with the 2020 election just around the corner)
  • Covid-19: mask/no mask, vaccine/no vaccine, is it really that bad?
  • Race: black lives matter vs. all lives matter
  • Police brutality/power
  • Sexual orientation 

You name it, we can find a way to be divided on it.

Just yesterday I was scrolling through LinkedIn and noticed a post from a transgender man celebrating his new identity as well as his company for its support through his transition. Since my practice and company are founded on the vision of fostering unwavering self acceptance and self worth to believe anything is possible, I celebrated with him by commenting on his courage and determination to speak and embrace his truth. 

The comment directly below mine, however, was filled with disgust around the topic and judgment for posting it on LinkedIn. The person believed transgender transition doesn’t belong on a social media platform geared toward connecting professionals – “there’s no place for that here”. Well curiosity got the better of me, and I scrolled through more comments. Judgment was more prevalent than support … for at least as long as I scrolled.

And the cycle continued

Because I’m human and can be triggered, I immediately went to judgment. How can people be so hateful and unsupportive? How can they say something is too personal for LinkedIn when our profession is rooted in our person? Have we really gotten here? Is this truly the level of hate and divisiveness that exist? 

I could feel the anger and resentment rising in my throat. I wanted to scream and respond to these people to let them know their comments were disgusting and rude; that their close-minded views are wrong and only add to our continued divide. 

As I started to craft a response, I stopped. I stopped dead. Not only was I perpetuating my own pattern of anger, frustration, and judgment, but also theirs. Additionally, I was allowing my need to be right hijack my energy and take away from what I always want to accomplish; to show empathy and compassion for everyone’s point of view, regardless of my agreement with it, and break the cycle of constant judgment.

Where judgment starts

The root of all judgment is one of three of things (in no particular order):

  • Self [ego] preservation. Our self judgment is so strong we judge others to level the playing field. We get into a pattern of beating ourselves up so badly (i.e. our established insecurities), we project it onto others to give ourselves a break. It also creeps up when we see traits in others we want, but perceive we don’t have. We judge to make ourselves feel better.
  • The absence of a highly regarded personal value. We all hold certain values near and dear to our hearts whether we know it or not. And when one (or more) of them are missing from a situation, relationship, whatever, our anger and judgment rise because we can’t access it.
  • A highly regarded personal value is triggered from the outside. When someone is in direct contrast to what we hold dear, we judge their inability to understand it. We can’t grasp any reason as to why they also don’t find it important.

Regardless of the source, it convinces us we have to win and hijacks our minds and energy until we think we have. We’ll keep the cycle going until we’ve perceived that we have the upper hand. It distracts us from accessing the most effective sides of ourselves and moving forward in a productive manner. Rather we engage in forcing our way or will onto or into something/someone else. Our minds and hearts are blocked by our own destructive energy. It’s in this space we make rash decisions that don’t reflect our truest selves and how we truly want to show up.

Interrupting my Pattern

I deeply honor everyone’s right to speak their truth. We’re all here to be individuals and live in a way that’s meaningful to us. And so when the transgendered gentleman’s truth was challenged with so much hate and disgust, I snapped. I wanted to project and protect my point of view as well as a fellow human. All of which makes total sense! It’s important to me, and I want to be able to speak up and out for what I believe is just. I’ve struggled to find my voice when it matters most and I wanted to show up for someone else whose truth was being bashed. But with that, my anger and judgment were all consuming. They were all I could see, taste, and feel. Responding with such disdain was not how I wanted to show up.

So I asked myself these 2 questions:

  • What about their point of view is actually mine to judge? 
  • What will I keep myself from accomplishing today if I hang onto this judgment?

Yes. I vehemently disagree with every dissenting comment I read. Yes. The collective points of view fly in the face of love, compassion, support, and genuine human connection, all of which are deeply important to me. But what is judging them going to change? No comment I write will change their minds. It will only fuel the fire and my anger, as well as maintain our [collective] divisiveness. 

The only thing my judgment does is hijack my energy and prevent me from accessing my highest self. The self that wants to demonstrate empathy towards everyone even when it’s REALLY hard. And plus, if I honor one person’s truth, how can I not honor another’s? Though there’s no part of it I remotely agree with it, it’s their truth. 

Interrupting your Patterns

Differing points of view are a fact of life. Judgment and anger are inevitable because we’re made to be different. It’s unnatural for 7B people to think the same and agree on everything.

Without a doubt something said in a meeting, on a text, in a Facebook post will set you off today, if it hasn’t already. The urge to fight, stand your ground, and prove you’re right will bubble up inside of you. You’ll be tempted to keep punching until you have the upper hand …  

Which makes perfect sense! Of course you want to speak up for what you believe in, establish your sense of self, and protect yourself and others. Though if that desire brings about a pattern of judgment and anger that hijacks your energy to the point it’s all consuming, take a breath and ask yourself these 5 questions:

  • Where’s my judgment coming from? (self/ego preservation, absent value, triggered value)
  • What about this situation has me thinking I have to win?
  • If I go down the combative path, what will I have actually won?
  • How will a “winning” outcome further my ability to get what I want?
  • What’s another way to approach this situation to more effectively control my mindset?

Taking the next step

Nothing about this is easy or simple. It takes A LOT of work. Despite the fact of having the awareness of where my judgment comes from and tools to redirect it for the last 18 months, it’s been only in the last nine that I’ve made progress in interrupting my patterns. 

Deepening your self awareness and taking control of your mindset are the not-so-secret ingredients to untangling the mental and emotional chaos that’s preventing you from finding the clarity and confidence to run after what you want.

If you’re struggling to let go of anger and judgment and you believe it’s getting in the way of accessing your most productive self, reach out today. I’m passionate about working with women to step up, step out and go after their dreams on their time and on their terms. The most effective way to do that is to interrupt the judgment and anger patterns that hold you back and repurpose them to drive you forward.

Be the version of yourself you’ve always dreamed of being. 

I can’t. I literally can’t. I work my ass off 60 hours a week. At no point has a PTO day been remotely “O”. I spend more than half of my days off answering emails, fielding calls, putting out fires, and trying to get actual work done. And yet, I’m still hearing that I’m “inaccessible; no one can ever get a hold of me for answers or direction”.

I’ve rewritten next week’s strategic plan three times trying to hit the ever moving target of Stan’s message and direction. I’m just gonna leave it; can’t do anything else at this point.

I can’t stop thinking about my tone and delivery during today’s team meeting. Angela was visibly upset and left without making eye contact with anyone or saying another word. 

Not to mention, it’s 11P and I have 50 emails to get through along with the project plan I promised Stan 3 days ago.

Sh*t! I just remembered I have the 7:30 meeting tomorrow morning and Zac needs a treat for his class party. **** it! I’m just going to bed.

[Fast forward 2 hours later still lying awake].

I feel horrible about what I said to Angela. I didn’t mean for it to come out as harshly as it did. She was visibly pissed and immediately shut down. I really need her to take a big role in next week’s presentation. Now I’m worried she won’t want to after today.

I should have taken a breath and counted to 10 before I just blurted out I wasn’t onboard with her idea. I know pausing helps me find more filtered and compassionate words. I didn’t even give it a fair shot.

Damn it! Why did I do that? I’m her manager. I should know and act better. Great example I’m setting.

UGH! Tomorrow will be so awkward. I don’t even know what to say. I really don’t want to deal with it. 

[4 hours later when the alarm goes off]

Oh for the love, when will this stop? When will I have some control?

Oh ****! I still have to get those damn treats. 

When Life Feels Out of Control

This is an excerpt from my life 2 years ago. When it seemed as if level one lens was superglued to my face and I was convinced the weight of the world was mine alone to bear and there was absolutely no way to escape it. It was, and always would be, my life. There was no way out. I was stuck. 

Not only did I feel I had absolutely no control over my situation at work, nor any say in how to make it better, but my husband was a SAHD because he had just left his job. I was the sole breadwinner and I had just taken a new position. There was no way I could leave so quickly. It would definitely be noticed and noted on my resume. So, every morning, I woke up to this crippling despair and anxiety because there was literally no way out. 

The Zone of Destructive Energy

This is the zone of no glimmer of constructive/anabolic energy. It is destructive and catabolic through and through. It’s the zone of apathy and inaction. The moments when you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know what to do, so you choose nothing. It’s as if all your decision making skills completely vanish because you don’t see anything but what you’re experiencing. The thoughts and feelings are so deep and have such a strong hold, you’re convinced life couldn’t be any other way; there are no other options to explore. You’re blocked from seeing a way out. And it’s in this space your sense of worth and confidence are little to even non-existent. You’re constantly worried about what happens and what’s said feeling shame for your part in it because you “should” have done it differently. All of this weight prevents you from moving forward.

This is also the space your inner naysayer is screaming the loudest. Why? Because the thoughts and feelings are so heavy. They’re painful and so your naysayer steps in to offer a bit of protection from them. That’s how he/she/it got there in the first place – to minimize the weight that comes from experiencing destructive energy.

But … Not All Hope Is Lost

One of the most imperative tenets on this topic – i.e. energy and how it’s experienced – is that there is no good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. Whatever we experience just … is. Plain and simple. And while based on the narrative, it may not seem as if there is any upside, there absolutely is! When experienced, this energy allows for moments of sympathy and support from others.

Think about your own experiences in this space. No doubt you can pinpoint when others gave you attention and offered their sympathy, and maybe even some advice and help to initiate action. 

BUT … There’s a Flip Side

With every advantage comes a disadvantage. Experience this energy too often (that is, form unconscious thought, feeling, and action patterns when it surfaces) and you run the risk of alienating friends, family, and coworkers because you’re unable to get out of your own way. You’ll struggle to get out from the weight of your thoughts and feelings, and genuinely believe your naysayer’s message that you’re unworthy, making it that much harder to go after what you actually want.

Moving Forward with Awareness

The first step in any journey is awareness. Awareness that this energy exists. It’s a part of the human condition, though we’re always at choice as to whether we experience it or not and knowing that if we do, there’s a reason for it, which brings us to the second step in the journey … 

Taking the Next Step with Acceptance

Acceptance that it’s perfectly normal to experience everything that comes with this energy state. Because of course it is! You’re human! You live to be autonomous; to make your own decisions; to freely practice free will. So when your life experiences continue to pile on (from work, work, family, or even a global pandemic) and their collective weight seems insurmountable, it makes total sense you feel

  • overwhelmed and unable to keep up
  • worried about what will or won’t happen next
  • guilty about what you could have done differently with hindsight being 20/20

Speaking of 2020, this year is a phenomenal case study in this energy space. With 95% of our choices taken away from us, we collectively put on our level one lenses and spiraled to some dark places. (Hell, I’ll be the first to admit as a coach who’s trained in all of this, I had some ROUGH moments to be coached through over the last 7 months). Places we weren’t certain we’d ever escape, and yet here we are! Open to seeing more options available to us, and making every effort to move forward to the third step on our journeys. 

What Can You Allow Yourself to Believe?

Maybe you’re not yet out of your 2020 funk, or regardless of this year, this energy state is prominent for you. One, it’s perfectly normal. When this energy is experienced, it’s a lot to work through. It incites deep established patterns of thoughts and feelings around being trapped and overwhelmed, which take time to unravel and repurpose. So take just a few steps forward to recognize there are options available.

  • Step 1: Gain awareness that change/something different is possible and it’s what you want
  • Step 2: Accept that you absolutely have the courage ability to make whatever change you want happen.
  • Step 3: Continually allow yourself to believe in your awesome and unique talents and creativity to bring it to life

What can you allow yourself to believe about yourself that will propel you one step closer to stepping into your power and creating a life true to your most authentic self?

Challenging yourself in these moments takes courage and support. If you’re struggling to alleviate yourself of this energy and feel consistently stuck in a pattern of overwhelm, lack of options, and inaction let’s connect. There are several coaching options we can explore to get you moving forward. I’d love to hop on a 20 minute call to hear what comes up for you in this space. What’s the number one thing that keeps you from going after what you want?

Live your truth. Unabashedly you. You are worthy.

Energy – the lens through which we filter our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and thus see ourselves, our peers, and the world at large. We now know the concept of energy can be split into two categories: 

  • Destructive: that which when experienced brings us and our awareness of what’s possible down
  • Constructive: that which when experienced raises our awareness and ability to move forward 

The coaching certification I completed, iPEC, labels them as catabolic and anabolic respectively. Similar to the hormones of the same name that produce similar effects within the body.

The 7 Lenses

So what if I told you energy can be labeled even more specifically? Categorized into 7 different lenses that help to deepen your understanding and awareness, and further your ability to articulate how they shape your view of yourself and the world? 

What follows is my interpretation of iPEC’s teaching and the philosophies set forth by its founder, Bruce Schneider.

LensThoughtsFeelingsActions
1I’m stuck. No way out.Apathy; IndifferenceWallow; No Action
2I must win. There’s conflict.Anger; ResentmentDefy; Judge; Fight
3It’s Fine. We’re good.ForgivenessTake responsibility; Compromise
4I care. There’s concernCompassion; KindnessServe; Help
5There’s opportunity.Peace; CalmAccept differences; Believe
6We’re all connectedJoy; Delight; Pure EmpathyConnect; Lead with Intuition
7Complete & full objectivityPure passion; BlissCreate from nothing; Manifest
7 Lenses of Energy based on the teachings of iPEC and its founder, Bruce Schneider

One

Represents the most destructive [catabolic] state we experience. It’s here where impostor syndrome and our loudest inner naysayer thrive and play over the loudspeaker. Fear is abundant in this space. We stay small because we have no confidence and we don’t see any other options. We make very little movement, if at all, toward anything. 

Two

Our fight response. When we’re triggered by something or potentially grown tired of our own wallowing, we experience anger and resentment toward someone or the situation. We start to fight to gain control and we judge others to [typically] avoid our own pain. 

It’s with lens 1 and 2 that we deflect. We lack (or don’t take) responsibility for what’s happening.

Three

The tipping point into more constructive [anabolic] energy. With this lens, we start to experience more responsibility for what we think, feel, and do. It’s marked by more compromise and cooperation partnered with justification and rationalization to move forward. 

Four

This is where love and compassion reside. It’s here that we experience energy focused on support and service aimed at solving problems and fixing what seems to be broken. (*ahem* moms).

Five

The land of opportunity! This is where we experience and often think, “everything happens for a reason”. We’re more open to recognizing when and how circumstances that don’t go the way we intended could actually be a lesson learned and beneficial in the long run. We eliminate judgment and experience peace in this space.

Six

We tap into the visionary side of our existence. We feel connected not only to our highest potential, but to everyone else with pure empathy and understanding for what they think and feel. Knowing full well it doesn’t affect our energy or ability to move forward. This is where intuition kicks in and we feel an empowering sense of joy and purpose.

Seven

The most constructive [anabolic] of all. This is where we experience THE absolute highest version of ourselves. The one capable of creating something out of nothing, as well as complete and total objectivity around everyone’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

Reacting vs. Responding

It’s apparent by now, the higher the level, the more constructive [anabolic] the energy experienced. To best understand and apply each lens, envision them along a continuum. Each one represents a point on that continuum that can be experienced at any given moment. There are a few very important things to note:

  • Each lens has its advantages and disadvantages – we’ll dive into that in future posts
  • You cannot BE a specific lens. They’re not labels; simply experienced based on what you experience
  • You’ve experience all 7 at some point in your life; and potentially in the same day

This last point often surprises clients as we dive deeper into their journey. Now that you’ve learned a little bit about each lens, you can likely pinpoint very specific instances in which you experienced some of them. It’s also likely any instances that brought about lenses 1-3 stand out more than others, which makes total sense! It’s there we experience some of the strongest and lasting thoughts and emotions (guilt, shame, fear, anger, resentment, judgment). However, it’s 100% true that you’ve also experienced 6 & 7, you just didn’t take as much notice. Why?

Well one, as a human, you’ve gotten REALLY good at never giving yourself enough credit for something so enlightening. And two, you don’t experience them as often as you’d like because you’ve created default patterns in what energy you experience. Those default patterns typically run through the lower, more destructive [catabolic] lenses. Meaning, you’ve gotten really good at unconsciously reacting to situations and running default programs to deal with life vs. responding  more consciously in a way that represents who you really are at any given moment. It’s the difference between showing up how you “always have” vs. how you want when any stimulus is thrown your way. (Though here’s a hint – you haven’t “always” shown up destructively. It was learned over time, which is totally normal! 7 billion others have done/are doing the same). 

Consciously Choosing a Lens

One of my deepest held values is listening, being heard. By now you likely know my loudest inner naysayer convinced me I didn’t have a voice worthy of being heard, so I spent years not living my full truths because I couldn’t say them or if I did, feeling unbelievably unworthy if they weren’t acknowledged or listened to. 

When I became a mom, I didn’t have any challenges speaking my truths to my kids. I’ve always been very vocal about my love, adoration, and expectations with them. Well wouldn’t you know, they’re kids. They don’t always listen. Level 2 came in waves the second my boys didn’t listen at all or had to be told 1,587 times to do something. My default pattern was, “Well someone isn’t listening to me. I must fight to be heard!” I’m sure you can imagine what happened next. 

It wasn’t until after learning about the energy lenses (and A LOT of deep work into my inner naysayer) that I understood why I reacted the way I did. It was my go-to programming. Not being heard?! Well, fight until you are! With my raised awareness, I now realize their lack of listening has nothing to do with me, and my reaction absolutely does! When situations like this pop up now, I tend to choose lens 5. What’s the opportunity for me here? How can I present this in a way that resonates more with them so that I am heard in a way that works for me?

I can’t say with 100% truth that I’m always able to consciously interrupt my anger pattern when not listened to, but I’m much more effective at choosing a different perspective to avoid a fight. 

You’re in the Driver’s Seat

Having the awareness of the energy lenses and how they show up allows you to change yours at any given moment. It gives you more succinct and specific language to acknowledge what you’re thinking and feeling, and to take control so that you work them vs. them working you. You’re in the driver’s seat! From this moment forward, you’re empowered with the notion that no one can make you feel anything you don’t want. Sure their words, actions, or lack thereof can trigger something, but that’s completely up to you! 

So what does this matter?

So what does this have to do with transformation and fostering self worth and self acceptance to accomplish your dreams? In a word, everything. Knowing and understanding the concept of energy and how it manifests in your life is at the heart of self acceptance, growth, and ultimately achieving your dreams. It provides the avenue to get out of your own way, to stop playing small; to alleviate any guilt, shame, anger, fear, frustration that you’ve believed is who you are up to this point. It’s not! It’s simply the lens you unconsciously chose to wear. Now you have 7 from which to choose! Which do you want to wear?!

It’s Time to Take Action

There is so much to this concept of energy. So much so, it’s at the epicenter of my coaching strategy. It drives every client relationship. Simply put, I don’t follow your story. I follow the energy around your story. Together we maximize your constructive [anabolic] energy, and actively work through the destructive [catabolic] energy. We acknowledge it, unpack it, and release it so that you’re in the best possible position to propel yourself forward to accomplish your biggest desires.

Any destructive energy you’ve experienced until now does not define you. It’s not who you are. You are capable of experiencing constructive energy at any moment. The first step in the journey is awareness. Now that you know there are other choices, it’s time to take action. 

What lens do you want to put on today? 

Live your truth. Unabashedly you. You are worthy. 

I sat down for laughter and entertainment. I walked away with a refreshed perspective and a completely new direction for my business. 

Three weeks ago, I embarked on Schitt’s Creek based on resounding recommendations from a few friends. Immediately I found myself completely immersed in the characters; engulfed with their lives, their story lines, their humanity. I know I’m joined by millions when I say the show is so much more than humor, it’s a transformation story about self-discovery, love, inclusion, and connection. I also know that I’m joined by millions of others when I say, I’m a profoundly impacted human having experienced it. 

I was so overcome with emotion following the last episode I couldn’t handle what was running through my mind and heart. My soul was deeply touched by how well the human condition and spirit were represented, I had to journal about it just to get my emotions up and out. In full transparency, I even questioned my own sanity, “ummm this is a TV show. What is going on?” But I couldn’t shake such strong emotions so I journaled about it.

This is what came out. 

What story line pulled me in the most?

David and Patrick

Why?

Because of their journeys to self discovery. David couldn’t see how wonderful he was because he wasn’t fully accepting himself. His parents were distant in his formative years, likely creating voids when it came to love and security, which reflected in his inability to trust and let go. Patrick wasn’t living his truth; though it’s likely he didn’t fully know his truth until he met David. David brought it out in him; made him feel comfortable for who and what he was so that he could shine. David wasn’t yet ready to fully accept himself, but he created a space for Patrick to do so, and thus they flourished together.

What was my biggest takeaway?

It was a beautiful story of transformation and self discovery. The message of inclusion and [self] acceptance struck me immediately. We are who we are, and we all deserve to be loved and appreciated for the gifts, talents, and identities we bring to this world. I was inspired by the story of the show’s creation and development as it gained legs; to show that when we put our minds to something and we have a message to share with the world, that there is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING, that can or should stop us from sharing it. 

In the hour long special following the series, Daniel Levy explained how he brought it all together. For 6 years he stuck to his mission of sharing the message of inclusion and acceptance without beating it over our heads. He created a world where both were given; there were no questions as to whether someone had a space. He presented it in such a humane and dignified way that it’s impossible to not absolutely adore every character for who and what they are regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation/identity. He chose to create awareness around these issues through constructive energy (vs. destructive). And as a result, told one of the most relatable stories ever (regardless of your personal sexual orientation) through television.

What did I learn about myself?

In the simplest terms, I’m driven by transformation.

I want to support others

  • Uncover their personal truths. The power that comes with living out loud, comfortable in our own skin is unmatched and is available to everyone!
  • Believe they are 100% capable of achieving whatever it is they want in this world. To support them in uncovering and flourishing in their absolute and authentic selves in whatever that means to them. 
  • Through major breakthroughs and shifts so that they can accomplish amazing things. 
  • To see themselves for who they truly are and to accept themselves for all that they are. 
  • In releasing themselves from the dead weight they’ve created and to know they are in complete control of creating whatever world they want. One in which inclusion and acceptance for themselves is a given – it’s unquestioned – and thus, extended to others naturally.

I want to build a more inclusive world through the lens of strengthened self awareness and self acceptance.

What does this all mean?

“What did you learn about yourself?” is one of the most powerful questions on this planet. It forces you to take a step back and root through what just came out for you. In that instance, I realized I haven’t been living my truth when it comes to coaching. I started my coaching practice dedicated to supporting the development and growth of leaders. While I believe in the power of effective leadership in the workplace and want to see it grow and flourish to create better work environments, the power and emotion I felt following my Schitt’s Creek experience was too much to ignore. In short, I’m a transformation junkie. My heart and soul soar when I can support someone who, for years has struggled to get out of their own way, and finally realizes they want to break free. They want to change course and realign their life and mission to their new heightened awareness. 

So now I’m in the midst of my own transformation. My coaching practice will shift from leadership to focus on supporting high performers who want to break free from the their own shackles and create a life of their dreams on their terms based on passion and drive. I support those tired of living small and feeling as if they can’t get out of their own way. Those who know they’re capable of so much more, but can’t find the courage or resources to forge a new path. 

The name, Unlimited Leader, still resonates because in our truest forms we are completely unlimited. And it’s when we step into that limitless power, potential, and personal peace that our deepest and most genuine leadership shines through. 

This [new] mission starts now

If you watched any of the Emmy’s last night, then you know Schitt’s Creek took home the first 7 awards of the night. It swept the ENTIRE comedy award line up. There’s no denying the show has reach and speaks to so many things that resonate with millions of us. We all seek transformation in some way. It’s an innate human desire because at some point we all convince ourselves we’re not worthy of living our truths and being accepted for it. And so, let me share this message with you:

Quite simply, you’re the best. You are undeniably worthy of whatever it is you want in this world. Your soul and specific talents are on this earth for a reason. Let your light shine for the world to see. 

Live your truth. Unabashedly you. 

Two years ago, I was struggling… BAD! I constantly found myself asking, “what the hell is going on?” While I experienced joy and connection in moments, it felt as if I had become frustration, anger, overwhelm, and resentment. It was exhausting because while I was doing a lot, I wasn’t doing anything of significance. I couldn’t stand myself. I wanted a way out from my own thoughts and emotions. I wanted to be something, do something bigger, better – in line with the person I knew myself to be, but couldn’t find among the chaos of crippling emotion.

The High 

Every morning I’d wake up well before any human really should, excited to get a jump start with my daily workout. I practically ran to the gym to see my coach and friends, beyond eager to find out what was in store for us that day. To say my giddyness and motivation soars when it comes to working out is a gigantic understatement. When faced with a challenging workout, nothing stands in my way. I have every confidence I can and will make it through. So by 6A I was physically exhausted and on cloud 9. 

The Low

By 6:15 no shred of that ready-to-take-on-the-world Lauren existed. It was as if my high never happened. The dread of work settled in, and it was very deep. So deep I would cry and then find every excuse to delay the inevitable of getting ready and making the commute. 

  • Scan FB and Insta for a good 20 minutes after I got home
  • Put my clothes away from yesterday’s laundry
  • Help get the boys ready for school (even though Brad was a SAHD at the time and had it all handled)
  • Root through the fridge to see what I might make for dinner … tomorrow

If it distracted me from the suffocating anxiety associated with any thought of work, I was all in even if it wasn’t something I overly enjoyed. 

By the time I arrived at work, the weight of the world was lighter than what weighed on my mind, heart, and soul. There was rock bottom, 50 ft. of crap, and then me. (Free mini coaching session if you know that reference…seriously. Schedule here). There were fleeting moments of laughter, joy, connection, and movement forward, though the majority of the time I felt trapped, suffocated, angry, resentful. 

Every email was like straight pins under my fingernails. Waterboarding was more attractive than meetings. I couldn’t think or reason. My mind was a bowl of mush. I was short and defensive in communications. Actively avoiding certain people and situations just to breathe and find moments of clarity became my MO. “Are you ******* kidding me?” was my go-to, under-my-breath  catch phrase. Yet stuff got done. Things moved forward. I received praise for what I accomplished. Though NONE of it was easy or of any interest whatsoever.

I was burned out, stressed, and worn down. Simply put, I was a hot mess. And funnily enough not just because of work, but because I intuitively knew my thoughts and feelings, and ultimately my actions, weren’t me. 

Finding Clarity

It wasn’t until I was introduced to the concept of energy through coaching that this roller coaster started making sense. Simply having more succinct language to describe my thoughts and emotions brought peace and clarity. It provided a way to compartmentalize and separate what I was feeling from my person. I had felt such destructive emotions for so long I started to believe it was just “who I am” even though intuitively I knew it wasn’t. I couldn’t create distance between them and me until I learned about energy and how it shows up for me. 

Types of Energy

Destructive energy is draining and noxious. It incites: worry, fear, guilt, shame, helplessness, dread, confinement, paralysis, overwhelm, anger, judgment, resentment, apathy, frustration, and resistance. All the things you feel when you’re burned out and stressed; pushed passed your limits. (i.e. work)

Constructive energy is uplifting and expanding. It incites: release, motivation, compromise, inclusion, love, forgiveness, joy, empathy, compassion, peace, understanding, joy, connection, passion, and spontaneous creation. All the things you feel when you’re completely committed to something and believe in your ability to reach full potential. (i.e. working out)

Neither are good nor bad, right nor wrong. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Destructive energy allows you to push through in the face of stress and difficulty. It’s your lizard brain at work! Something really challenging in front you? You experience a surge of stressful power to forge ahead. Experienced long term it will take its toll on your mental, emotional, and physical well being. 

Constructive energy provides the opportunity to make your dreams come true. It gives you clarity and spurs inspiration to fulfill your passions and give you genuine joy. Stay in this space too long, and you can disconnect from those around you and the human experience, or perhaps take on more risks than intended. 

Energy Awareness Deepens Self Awareness

The introduction to these concepts blew my mind and world wide open! Simply putting words to my thoughts and emotions brought about a new level of personal influence, particularly during my destructive moments. That it “wasn’t just me and who I am”. It’s a concept and phenomenon shared by all humans.

As a coach, energy is at the very heart of what I do. It’s the nucleus to every coaching relationship and the foundation upon which every client builds their awareness and thus makes their intended shifts. When I introduce it I’m usually met with a “oh this ‘touchy feely’ concept should be stunning” kind of look. Any new concept can be challenging to accept at first, particularly when it’s intangible like energy, so it’s understandable skepticism rises to the surface. But once we dig in, there’s no going back. It’s so powerful it’s hard to imagine life without the knowledge of energy and its influence on our individual and collective lives. Energy is the lens through which we view ourselves, others, and the world around us. It’s the essence of our success.

Making Energy Work for You

Destructive energy halts progress. It’s the barrier standing in front of you. It prevents you from making the leap to run after your dreams. You’ve been dying to do something big in your life, but find yourself stuck in a swirl of chaos. Now’s your chance to start getting out of your own way by understanding when you experience energy that works for you and when you don’t. Take the next week to scan your energetic environment. Each day record moments to bring more awareness and clarity. You’ll likely start to see patterns.

  • What’s the situation?
  • Who’s involved?
  • What time of day?
  • What kind of energy do you think you felt?
  • What thoughts came to mind?
  • What emotions surfaced in the moment?
  • How do you react?
  • How did the reaction serve you?
  • What emotions did you feel a few hours after the incident?
  • What did you learn about yourself related to that specific instance?

Awareness is the first step to every solution. Armed with the knowledge of energy and how it shows up in your life provides a level of empowerment and influence that puts YOU in the driver’s seat. Once you have a better understanding of how each type of energy shows up for you, then you’re in a position to start unraveling the why, which is the real game changer! More on that to come … 😉

Today’s Discomfort …

These last 165 uninterrupted days with my boys have been TRYING to say the least. I’ve been quite miserable and struggled to find inspiration to move forward. More days than not I felt lost and uncomfortable. I lost my shit more times than I can count over things that normally wouldn’t bother me.

It actually served me to feel that anger to get it out, though the aftermath between us was ugly. Once my energy (re)settled, we’d talk about what happened – what was behind my anger, frustration, resentment, annoyance. I’d ask what was behind theirs. We’d share our thoughts and feelings to learn from the experience. Yes, we kept getting angry, but every conversation got us closer to the true root of it all.

That root? Space. It’s vitally important; especially from those we love the most. Going off and having our own adventures allows us to flex the muscles we learn at home. To push boundaries on our capabilities. To learn from those outside our family unit … because some times other people do things more effectively and gaining that exposure is INVALUABLE.

… is Tomorrow’s Strength

So today my boys venture out into a whole new world; not only new grades, but new school procedures, new expectations, new ways of doing life, and I trust they’ve learned a great deal about themselves to prepare them. I venture into a new chapter reinvigorated, refreshed, and renewed having been through some extremely uncomfortable times and learning SO MUCH MORE about myself:

  • Space and time to think are vitally important to my physical and mental well-being
  • Autonomy is solidified as my #2 value. When it’s threatened, I have a REALLY hard time holding it together.
  • Resentment can consume me. I struggle to release its grip until I physically name it aloud and allow myself to really feel it.

When work gets uncomfortable…

Regardless of field, industry, or individual role, we all feel discomfort on the job. That discomfort can be fleeting, or it can linger for 165 days (or longer). You’re angry, frustrated, resentful, annoyed. You want more, but you’re lost and uncomfortable.

Absolutely! Anger, misery, lack of inspiration followed by discomfort because of the unknown are perfectly normal. So take a step back:

  • What’s the root of my painful emotions?
  • Where is the anger, frustration, boredom, discomfort coming from?
  • How have these emotions served me?
  • When did I feel setbacks because of them?
  • What have I learned about myself (that I didn’t know before)?

… Build your strengths

The first step in learning from your experiences is to dive deep into your person. Meaning you’ve got to tour the inner depths of your heart and mind to understand and optimize the thoughts, feelings, and actions that drive you, and transform those that don’t. Self awareness is the single most important factor in building your strengths and determining your ongoing development and success.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being not at all, 10 being I know myself in and out, how do you rate yourself awareness?

How does that rating compare to where you want it to be? Is there a significant gap?

Looking to reduce discomfort? Find your strengths? Let’s connect. As a coach, I focus specifically on deepening your self awareness and establishing your leadership lifestyle to maximize your comfort and strengths. I’ve got 5 client spots available for breakthrough coaching sessions.

I recently started a guilty pleasure on Netflix, Selling Sunset. It’s a “reality” show that follows the real estate agents of the Oppenheim Group – one of the top real estate brokerages in the Hollywood Hills. The entire workforce (except for the owners) is about 6 20-30 something up and coming, competitive women real estate agents. So you can only imagine how things are positioned between them to spice things up (and get ratings). Complete and utter train wreck, though it actually teaches a great deal about workplace dynamics and leadership.

Side note, they absolutely need an HR leader because, for the love of everything holy, some unbelievable inappropriateness goes down in every episode. I literally cringe.

How Reality TV Connects to the Workplace

Well from the most obvious standpoint, it follows a company 🙂 To get more granular, one of their many arguments struck a chord when someone said, “well at least I’m being honest.”

For some backstory, there’s quite a bit of gossip that goes on among the team. It can be painstakingly awkward and uncomfortable. Long story short, two of the women were having a private conversation about one of their co-worker’s relationships. It later got brought up with the entire group. Drama immediately ensued (and understandably so. The topic of conversation wasn’t appropriate in any work setting). One of the women tried to be more delicate about this situation and soften the details, while the other was much more direct and forceful. Both threw the other under the bus, and as you can assume, it was an absolute hot mess.

So what does this have to do with honesty and [personal] leadership? The character who was being more delicate discussed what happened, but excluded relevant details that didn’t paint 100% accuracy of the situation. The other, who said, “well at least I’m being honest”, was more truthful about what the other woman said, but didn’t give her own whole side of the story either.

The crazy thing is neither were right or wrong. Clearly ineffective, but not right nor wrong. (Mind blowing, right?) They both presented their sides of the story based on THEIR truths. One happened to come from the vantage point of trying to skirt her full involvement and spare everyone’s feelings. The other came from wanting to get it all out in the open and present her truth as the only one.

Either can work because they both have their advantages (and disadvantages). The ultimate [leadership] lesson is to know that neither is good nor bad and that YOU possess both (and much more). It’s a matter of knowing which tactic to utilize and when.

Finding the Most Effective Angle

You may not always pick the “right” tactic, but there are some go-to considerations to keep in mind when unearthing “truth”/handling conflict:

  • Your energy: If you’re approaching from the vantage point of wanting to spare feelings you’re experiencing “nurturing” energy. The pull to take care of others and ensure they feel OK, safe, [somewhat] happy. And potentially sacrificing your own point of view. If you’re approaching from “well at least I’m honest”, you’re experiencing “competitive” energy. You’re judging the other person, you feel compelled to win (at all costs), and you aim to take the other person down. You may “win” the argument, but damage the relationship.
  • Their energy: You can’t guess or predict where someone is coming from nor how they’ll progress in a disagreement. The only thing you can control is YOU. You can pick up on where they are based on what they say and how the act, but you can’t fully know. That provides you the opportunity to adjust YOUR energy as warranted to generate the most effective outcome.
  • Context: While the argument may be about one thing, energy presented could be something totally different. You can never know what just happened to someone before the conversation started. Maybe they just had a bad meeting or received an annoying email that set them off. Hell, you may not even know/realize where your immediate energy came from in the moment. While you may have been harboring nurturing or competitive energy (or something completely different), it could have just been amplified x1000 by some un/subconscious thing and you’re in a completely different space than even you anticipated.

What it all boils down to …

Any form of leadership is ALL about self awareness, which is the ultimate truth. You can be the absolute best at strategy development, presentations, delegation, organization, but if you don’t know yourself and how to manage YOU in any situation well then it’s all for nothing. Conflict and the “need for honesty” stems from our respective truths never quite being equal because we all come to any proverbial table full of baggage that clouds our ability to see anything else beyond our personal truth. Building self awareness, humility, adaptability, resilience, and empathy stem from taking intentional time to unravel our own mental, emotional, and behavioral DNA. Once we have a deep understanding of our past experiences and how they contribute to our baggage, only then can we move forward with our highest potential and most effective [personal] leadership.

Interested in learning more about your workplace DNA? Schedule an appointment to talk about coaching options or sign up to take the ELI assessment.

It’s a BIG day…

I sit here bawling my eyes out. Not because of sadness or sorrow, but because of deep love, appreciation, and pride for my 17 yo nephew who just graduated from Army boot camp.

I’ve always had an affinity for those in the Armed Forces. I tear up EVERY TIME I see them in the airport, in the grocery store, or driving in their car in uniform. I go out of my way to say, “Thank you,” and offer a hug if they’re open (pre Covid of course…cuz, ya know, that’s off limits now).

There aren’t enough words in any language to express my support and gratitude for what they do for our country. Now that one of my own is included I’m legitimately speechless.

Lessons Learned

As I watched the live stream I was overcome with emotion, not only for my nephew, but the other 199 graduates who made the decision to give a part of their lives to serve this country. The commencement speaker talked about the Army values, and I couldn’t help but equate them to leadership lessons that apply to all of us.

  • We’re all capable of hard things. True to 21st century technology, his battalion posted a lot of the group’s training on their FB page. I got to see my nephew go in and out of the gas chamber, crawl with a rifle under barbed wire, and complete a 0500 physical challenge. While the average leadership position doesn’t require that much physical exertion, it certainly requires that much mental exertion. In the face of organizational adversity, be Army Strong.
  • Tough decisions can and will be made. My nephew was inducted into the Army National Guard at 16. His prefrontal cortex isn’t close to being fully developed, and yet he demonstrated conviction and decisiveness to say, “Yep. This is for me.” To be fully transparent, he made the decision at a much younger age and still chose to follow through when it came time.
  • It’s not about him. It never was, is, nor will be. As a soldier, you learn that your job is to defend the US Constitution, serve your country, and protect your peers. In short, put your ego aside and ensure others’ safety. The most effective leaders learn early and demonstrate often that level of humility. They protect their own and share their ideas, but rein in their egos to allow others to flourish and grow.
  • His biggest lesson was self-discovery. I had the privilege to communicate frequently with him by letter over his 10 weeks away. In every letter he mentioned, at least once, how much he learned about himself and what lessons he’ll carry forward in life. As a leader, the absolute most important, hands down, nothing will make you more effective, is self discovery and ultimately awareness. I say that with such conviction because I believe it to my core. It’s what I’ve built my entire practice around. If you don’t know you, there is absolutely no way you can lead others. It’s the same in love. If you don’t love yourself, you couldn’t possibly find genuine love for another. Get a coach. Do the work. Dig Deep. Know yourself inside and out in order to maximize your effectiveness and potential … as well as that of your team.

In closing…

To anyone in the military who reads this, Thank You. I appreciate you with every fiber of my being and admire your conviction to sacrifice your life for the rest of us. To fellow leaders or those in the making, your willingness to step up and take the reins is admirable too. It’s not easy being at the helm, making decisions in the interest of the many. Leadership, military or civilian, takes self-awareness, humility, adaptability, resilience, and empathy. Continue to build these muscles and there will be no stopping you. Be[come] the leader everyone wants to have.

The last few months, more specifically the most recent weeks, have raised a lot of emotions. And understandably! 2020 rolled around; looked at us all square in the eyes and said, “Hold on to your hats folks! You’re in a for a bumpy ride!”

For months we upended our entire lives. We conducted everything out of our homes with only our immediate family. As social beings who crave connection, both in and outside our family unit, nothing about it was normal! It took its toll on our collective physical, mental, and emotional health. In the middle of all that, a heinous crime caught on tape sparked a racial conversation that has all sides of the spectrum constantly posting, commenting, writing about it – working to convince everyone else to see it their way.

These are difficult times! Values are being challenged, perspectives are being pushed, and so of course emotions are running high all over the place. How could they not be?! It would be shocking if they weren’t.

And so of course it stands to reason in the midst of all of this, equality is top of mind.

  1. It’s extremely important
  2. It’s a universal right [that should be] bestowed on every single human
  3. It doesn’t exist consistently

Though what I’ve noticed is that because we’re all trying to get someone to see our side, genuine equality evades us. If someone doesn’t see it (regardless of what it is) we move to judgment and alienation. We continue to state our claim and expect others to jump onboard. And when they don’t, we shut them out and move on. Thus never reaching or maintaining an equality mindset on any side of the spectrum for any spectrum (race, politics, sexual orientation, religion, pandemic, etc.)

And so around and around we go.

Equality extends well beyond the physical demographics and labels we’ve created. It includes difference in thought. We can’t claim to seek equality and acceptance on say something like race, if we’re unwilling to accept a different point of view on it. That includes any point of view that differs from ours in any way – even if we’re working toward the same outcome from different paths. In those moments, we’re seeking equality solely on our terms. When we choose to shun and/or shut people out of our lives because they think differently or they’re not showing as much emotion and vigor about a topic, we’re not willing to seek equality and acceptance for that [different] mindset.

How can anyone approach or respond to a topic in the same way you do? They simply can’t. They don’t have the same value system – or if they do, it definitely doesn’t translate in the exact same way for them. Nor have they had the experiences that dictate your thoughts and feelings. It’s not anyone’s responsibility to carry the emotions you carry for a certain topic or cause in the exact same way you do. And vice versa. Nor is anyone’s reaction to a topic or cause yours to judge. And here’s the toughest part – even when it’s abhorrent, heinous, controversial, or painful.

And so the divide remains. And when there’s any divide, there is no equality.

Equality is the outcome.

Just because someone thinks differently than we do, doesn’t mean they’re against us. We all know the world is not that binary. But in moments of high emotion and challenged perspectives, it’s only natural to think, “well if she doesn’t see it exactly how I do or doesn’t come at it with as much emotion, she must not support me.” It’s a form of protection and personal safety. We don’t want to feel someone isn’t in our corner, so we return the favor. We bar them from belonging with us and we bar ourselves from belonging with them.

Equality is the outcome. Creating and fostering belonging is the path for getting there. Until we can all embrace each other’s differences and create a sense of belonging, (even in the most divisive and emotionally charged instances) equality will continue to evade us.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m still on the journey of living this kind of life. By no means have I mastered it. There are specific instances and people who trigger me to no end and challenge my values to a point I can’t even see straight, which induce self-imposed barriers that can be difficult to tear down. But damn it if I’m not trying my hardest to walk this talk.

Moving forward

This isn’t easy. If it were, it wouldn’t surface for us to deal with. And our 21st century world of instant information and opinion sharing doesn’t make it easier to effectively process. When we think we have a handle on our own thoughts or emotions, something else pops up and we starting spinning to make sense of it all. To struggle in this moment with these topics is human. If you’re willing to step into this uncomfortable space and root through what’s coming up for you, reach out. Let’s connect. Life wasn’t meant to gone alone and whatever the thoughts, we all belong here.

If your mind immediately when to Ross Gellar, we’re BFFs.

Every business – regardless of industry, focus, or size – pivots at some point in its journey. If not multiple points. My business was officially opened in November 2019, and has pivoted 4 times. Some of that has to do with me being new to this game and feeling my way through it. The other stuff has to do with it “just not feeling right”. My intuition knows when something just isn’t quite “right”. It does an amazing job of letting me know too; whether or not I listen in the moment.

The first turning point

When Covid-19 hit, I went into support mode. As a business owner and coach, I wanted to put myself in a position to be there for those who didn’t want to go it alone or maybe felt they couldn’t in the moment. My immediate thought went to HR because as a function it hit hard. I lived through the 2008 recession in HR and it wasn’t fun. Spending weeks gathering information on who needs to be let go in silence is thoroughly exhausting. The mental capacity it takes to walk around with 100s of people’s livelihood and well-being in your hands is enough to break anyone – no matter how tough. So I created the HR Chat Series the #otherfrontline. I spoke with a number of people in and outside the industry who supported me and I ran!

Every session has been AMAZING! I’ve re-connected with a lot of great people in my network and met even more! The experience has been nothing short of incredible, and I’m confident attendees have gotten a lot out of the experts who’ve been showcased.

So why change?

Jenny Williams was my guest on the most recent episode. Her mindset moment touched my soul and intuition deeply that day. “If you knew you could always accomplish your dreams, would you dream bigger?” I was a resounding, “HELL YES!” I’ve had loads of fun with the HR space, but I want to take it bigger. And ironically with a more focused audience.

(Nearly) Every marketing guru and/or business coach will tell you, make your niche very specific. Admittedly, I’ve had a hard time with this one as evidenced by my 4 pivots thus far. It wasn’t until Jenny’s question along with some deep meditation and reflection that it finally made sense. As a coach:

  • My clients are wildly successful working moms who down play their superpowers and convince themselves they aren’t special.
  • Though at the same time, my clients feel they’re not stepping into their full potential and want something spectacular for themselves. They are hungry to make a big splash!
  • My clients are tenacious go-getters who take accountability for getting in their own way, but more importantly, want to do the hard work to get out of it!

With this new found clarity, the HR Chat Series is pivoting to focus on this space. The segments will focus on supporting badass working moms whose intuition constantly reminds them they’re capable of so much more, but who’s minds and hearts have convinced them otherwise. #ReleaseYourHero