22 Journal Prompts for Gifted and Outside the Box Thinkers

My Embracing Intensity Podcast has been a wonderful tool for sharing stories of gifted and outside the box thinkers about how they have used their intensity in a positive way. Starting the solo episodes gave me the opportunity to share my own reflections, but I was missing the opportunity to share community reflections. 

22 Journal Prompts for Gifted and Outside the Box Thinkers

I decided to start sharing Weekly Reflection Questions on Patreon, based on themes from the podcast, in order to get more discussion going. These questions can also be used as journal prompts for private self-reflection. 

In order to access them all together, I have coated the first 22 reflection questions here. You can find new questions each week on Patreon

While the questions are available to anyone, Patrons can access other useful tools for self-exploration such as monthly seasonal Reconnect Retreat guides and my Ignite Your Power course. It is also a great way to support the continued production of the Embracing Intensity Podcast!

If you join us on Patreon by August 6th, you can also get additional bonuses as a part of our pledge drive! 

  1. How do you think gender expectations have affected how you express your intensity? 
  2. When have you changed yourself, or put yourself in draining situations in order to "fit in?"
  3. What things do you find better to do with other people? 
  4. What message do you need to share with the world?
  5. What activities do you find the most energizing?
  6. What helps you connect with your roots? 
  7. When have you had to shift gears to keep doing what you love?
  8. When have you felt like a chameleon? How has it affected you? 
  9. Where in your life have you felt like an imposter? 
  10. What happens when you are fully able to express who you are? What do you think might happen if you had this opportunity more? 
  11. When have you stopped yourself from saying what you thought because you were afraid it wouldn't be "nice"? Would you do things differently if you had another opportunity? 
  12. What do you feel like you HAVE to do, even if you don't have the time? 
  13. What helps you get comfortable being uncomfortable? 
  14. What aspect of your own light have you been dimming?
  15. How do you keep your inner fire burning without burning out? 
  16. How do you give yourself compassion?
  17. How do you let go of other things so you can enjoy the moment?
  18. What rituals do you have for getting into a creative space?
  19. What helps you connect with your own inner knowing?
  20. What keeps you thinking instead of taking action?
  21. Are you more of a reader or a writer? Why?
  22. What are signs for you that a relationship is positively challenging vs. diminishing?

In order to help you create a deeper self-exploration experience, I created this free Retreat Planner

Slowing Down!

When I hit puberty in 8th grade, I cried most nights for a period in the spring. Since that time, I've had a trend of an annual crash every spring that I'd make up for by my summers off. Working in schools I could push myself to the end of the year and then crash hard to rest and recoup for the new year. 

Free Retreat Planner inside: Slowing Down! Why rest can actually improve productivity.

Since I started my business though, there is no significant "time off." Now I did not push myself too much over the summer, but I still kept up my regular appearances with my podcast and blog posts, which distracted me from the things I had in the back of my head that I wanted to get done.

I have also been undergoing some major shifts in my own work prompted both by bringing it more into alignment for myself and supporting our bed and breakfast, which took a major hit with the political climate this year. 

The last few weeks, I kept thinking I was getting sick - and I realized almost hoping I was getting sick because that would give me an excuse to just crash.

What I forget sometimes is that 5 years ago I just crashed every day. I've come a long way from that point, but I sometimes need to remind myself that juggling multiple jobs/businesses is a lot for anyone to take on, let alone someone with adrenal fatigue and fibromyalgia. My fatigue is much better than it was, but it's not gone. I'm just extremely used to working in a state of fog and eshaustion.

Adding to that, ever since I completed my Reiki Master's certification last spring, I've been flooded with ideas that I'd like to implement, but have not had the chance to step back and systematize my approach because I've been so busy keeping up with the free stuff I've been so consistent with like the podcast, blog and social media presence. I enjoy all of those things, but I need to step back so that I can support them in a sustainable way.

Always "doing" does not always mean being productive, and I've come to realize that when I push myself too much, I don't get the benefits of rest OR productivity.

I've decided to take the month of December off from all of those things so I can reset and regroup. My plan is to come back in the new year inspired and reinvigorated with better systems in place to sustain it! 

With the holiday season upon us, it is so easy to get caught up with busyness. I highly encourage you to take a step back and allow yourself to rest in there as well! Remember that we are all more effective when we take care of ourselves first. 

To help you on your journey to slow down and take care of yourself, I created this free retreat planner!  It includes information on: How to prepare for your retreat in the way that’s best for you; Simple, accessible, and straightforward practices to deepen your experience; A template planner;  A guide to using essential oils to enhance and deepen your healing experience; A recommended reading list; and more!

Essential Oils for Emotional Regulation

A couple of weeks ago, I got to attend a workshop on Emotions & Essential Oils from Amanda Porter, co-author of said book. As I listened to her story, I couldn’t help but think her story fit right in with the stories on my Embracing Intensity Podcast! She spent many years suppressing her emotions and now she helps others use essential oils to help fully process and bring them into balance.

I highly recommend the book and accompanying emotions wheel to help explore the emotional benefits of oils, but I’d like to share a few highlights of doTerra’s top 10 oils from that book and The Essential Life, which gives a ton of information including blending tips.

Essential Oils for Emotional Regulation - Free Retreat Planner Inside

Lavender - There’s a reason that lavender is such a popular oil! It’s super gentle and soothing and I’ve used it to soothe a lot of skin irritations, but it also has amazing calming qualities. It also enhances communication and self-awareness. It can aid with anxiety, focus and sleep issues and balance emotions by moving from feeling unheard to expressed.

Peppermint - I feel like every person who you hear got into essential oils, we think “slap some lavender or peppermint on that.” Peppermint is an energizing oil to complement the calm of lavender. It brings a feeling of optimism and strength to face challenges. It can balance emotions by helping you go from feeling hindered to invigorated!

Frankincense enhances the properties of other oils, and is also used for focus and meditation. It is known as the oil of truth and helps with spiritual connection.  It balances emotions by helping move from a feeling of separation to a feeling of unification.

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) is known as the oil of energetic boundaries. It helps us to build healthy and respectful connections and feel empowered, resilient and safe. It also aids in responding to shock when used under the nose or along the spine. It can balance emotions by moving us from unsure to collected.

Oregano helps us bring humility, flexibility and non attachment. It can help bring us from feeling obstinate, or stuck in our ways, to unattached.

Lemon helps us bring focus and mental clarity. It also brings a feeling of energy, alertness and joy. It can be used aromatically to reduce stress. It can bring us from a place of mindlessness to feeling energized.

On Guard (blend) - This is known as the protective blend. It aids in setting healthy boundaries and helps us to feel capable, independent, strengthened and reinforced.

Breathe (blend) - This blend is good when we are sad, grieving or feeling unloved or constricted. It helps us to gain a feeling of openness and feel loved, supported and embracing of life. It can help bring us solace and healing. It can also aid us in sleep issues.

Deep Blue (blend) - This blend can help us when we are resisting pain or avoiding emotional issues. It helps us to feel strengthened, accepting, soothed, serene and healing.

Digest Zen (blend) - This blend can help us when we feel overstimulated, overwhelmed, apathetic or unenthusiastic. It aids us when we are having difficulty assimilating new information or experience a loss of appetite. It helps us to assimilate and adjust to experiences and to feel nourished and enthusiastic.

Both the doTerra Family Essentials Kit and the Home Essentials Kit have these top 10 oils and blends, but the Home Essentials Kit has three times the quantity.

The great thing about any of the kits is that you then get wholesale prices on doTerra oils with no obligation to purchase anything else.

If you decide to take advantage of an enrollment kit now, I will also include an extra 1:1 Energy Audit Coaching Call to look at where you might have energy leaks and how you can make subtle changes to increase your energy.

This is ON TOP OF what you get whenever you buy a kit from me:

  • Wholesale membership (25% off additional oils and product for one year, $35 Value)
  • A private 1:1 session with me to go over your oil needs
  • Ongoing support and check in’s
  • Access to me via e-mail or Facebook

Here’s how to order:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Join and Save” at the top”
  3. Click “Join doTerra”
  4. Choose your Language and Country and click CONTINUE
  5. Choose Wholesale Customer and click CONTINUE
  6. Type your personal information (my doTERRA ID should already be in the Sponsor ID field but if not it’s 3157373)
  7. Find your enrollment kit (Home Essentials Kit) and click ADD TO CART
  8. Choose your shipping method and click VIEW TOTALS
  9. Enter your billing address or click the box if your billing address is the same as your shipping address and click PROCESS ORDER NOW AND CONTINUE
  10. Enter your payment information
  11. Email me ( to let me know you got your oils!

To help you on your self-care journey, I created this free retreat planner!  It includes information on: How to prepare for your retreat in the way that’s best for you; Simple, accessible, and straightforward practices to deepen your experience; A template planner;  A guide to using essential oils to enhance and deepen your healing experience; A recommended reading list; and more!

Your "Power Zone"

Since we are beginning our Harness Your Power Challenge today, I thought I would share the first lesson on my blog. I created a fun little infographic to go along with it! 

Finding Your "Power Zone"

Self-regulation is a fancy word for controlling your own emotions, behaviors and physical state. If you experience the world more intensely than others, chances are you have had challenges with regulating your response to the world.

Your "Power Zone" Tools to get in "the zone" - Free Retreat Planner inside

Vacillating between mental, emotional or physical states that are too high or too low can leave you feeling like you are spinning your wheels. It can be difficult to think clearly in the moment to find strategies to bring you back to your grounded center.

The purpose of the Power Zone Toolkit is to help you develop tools that you can have at the ready when you find yourself thrown off course. The tools can either be printed for your own small binder or easily drawn in a bullet journal or other book. Dot grid paper is ideal for drawing your own diagrams (printable pages included in planner tools).

When you are revved up you might feel restless or even anxious or angry. You lack focus and your fight, flight or freeze mechanism may kick in. When you are in survival mode your rational brain shuts down, so having calming tools at the ready will help you to get back in the zone. These may include things that soothe or distract you from your current state of mind.

When you are in the Power Zone you are harnessing your own power. You feel connected and in flow. Tools to observe and connect with your thoughts and feelings help you to stay in the zone.

When you are feeling down, your energy is low. You might be sad or depressed or just drained. It is hard for you to muster the energy to do the things that you know will pick you back up again. That is why it’s helpful to have simple tools at the ready that can energize you. It is also important to know when and who to reach out to for help.

This toolkit is a part of my Ignite Your Power program, which you can read more about here.

To help you take time out to connect with your inner thoughts, I created this free Retreat Planner!  It includes information on: How to prepare for your retreat in the way that’s best for you; Simple, accessible, and straightforward practices to deepen your experience; A template planner;  A guide to using essential oils to enhance and deepen your healing experience; A recommended reading list; and more!

Realistic Paleo Meal Plan - AIP Friendly

This week I hit a wall! As I share in this week's Embracing Intensity podcast, I was in survival mode this week and was so exhausted I threw out all food discernment and ate all the things. I have been feeling out of touch with my food for quite some time and now that it's summer, I'd like to revisit my past journey of healthy eating and reconnect with my food. Did you know I used to be a food blogger? That's actually how I started blogging. As I'm looking through my old blog, Leaving the Food Matrix, I'm rememebering that I have a lot to learn from the me of 4 years ago. I thought I'd share on this blog my very first post! Some things have changed since this post, like I no longer get farmshare meat, so I don't eat red meat or whole chickens nearly as often as I did then, but there are definitely some recipes I'd like to try again.  Also, I found after a while that adding in more starches such as yams and sweet potatoes helped sustain me longer and keep cravings at bay. My plan this summer is to create a no brainer plan that I can implement during my next survival mode phase without having to think about it, because really when you are in that mode the last thing you want to do is think and plan for your health. I will share what I come up with when I'm done, but for now here's my first post from my paleo days: 

The Challenge of Metamorphosis-8.png

And so it begins...

If you told me a year ago I'd be making almost all of my own food from scratch and stop eating grains entirely, I might not have believed you.  After years with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and poor absorption of nutrients, I knew that I should eat better, but as a single working mom who has the time? Well, it turns out when you don't feel the need to nap all the time - you have a lot more time to cook! Plus with a little planning and the right equipment, it doesn't even have to take all that much time.

The problem I find when researching paleo recipes and meal plans is that they often seem way more complicated than they need to be.  Meal plans often expect you to make three meals from scratch in one day, involve multiple course meals and require special ingredients you need to go out of your way for.  Those things can be fun to experiment with when you can, but day to day most people can't sustain that amount of time devoted to eating.

I know a lot of people interested in reducing processed foods and learning more about grain free, paleo or primal eating, but they don't think they have the time or energy needed to start.  I've spent a lot of time learning about it myself, but I think in the end we can make things more complicated than they need to be.  My goal is to give tips to simplify the process of eating well.  For me, that involves cutting out grains and eating whole minimally processed foods. 

The following meal plan is what a typical week might look like for me.  I often eat leftovers for breakfast and lunch and rarely cook more than one involved meal in a day.  They are also mostly one dish meals, since I find that the simplest approach to mid week meals.  I also like to make big batches and freeze portions for future meals on the go.  The recipes aren't always exact because I often play things by ear with what I have on hand and tweak them as I go.  Most of them are fairly flexible with the specific kinds of meat, veggies and seasonings I use.  They are also mostly kid friendly.  I kept them Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) friendly, since it's easier to add in eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades in than it is to take them out.

Realistic Paleo Meal Plan - Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Friendly

Prepare snacks for the week including lots of veggies and fruit, trail mix with dried fruit and coconut (add nuts or seeds if not AIP).  If you have a dehydrator, beef jerky (you can find a recipe here) comes in mighty handy for emergency protein.  Also, making your own kale chips (recipe here) can give you a nice crunchy snack without the expense of the store bought kind.

A note on breakfast - eggs are a nice option if you can eat them, but be cautious going overboard.  I believe I did early on so I  had to take a break from them and am still not sure about them for me.  Another great addition to my breakfasts are mini waffles like this one here.  I'm working on an autoimmune friendly one, but I'm still working on the right density combination.  I'll post the recipe when I've gotten it consistently fluffy.  Also, I drink homemade broth every weekday morning since it's supposed to be good for healing and I make a chicken in the crockpot most weeks.


Breakfast - Yam or sweet potato hash browns and ground sausage (or other seasoned meat).  Brown 1 lb of meat then take out of the pan.  Melt coconut oil to coat pan and add 3 large shredded yams or sweet potatoes (a food processor saves a lot of time here).  Cook on medium until soft (about 20 min) and turn up a bit to brown.  Add the meat and season with seasoning salt (such as Herbamare) to taste. You can probably get the hash browns crispier by blotting some of the moisture out with towels before cooking, but I don't mind them a little soft.

Lunch - Tuna Salad on Spinach.  Combine tuna with diced pickles and add some avocado and seasoning to taste. I've also used a touch of coconut oil, or mustard if not AIP.

Dinner - Stir Fry.  Slice meat of choice thin and stir fry with veggies.  Broccoli and mushrooms are some of my favorite.  You can also add greens or cabbage.  Season with coconut aminos, garlic, and a touch of powdered ginger.  My son likes when I squeeze mandarin orange juice in and add some mandarin slices toward the end. (For an extra speedy meal, try a pre-cut veggie mix.)


Breakfast - Hash Browns

Lunch - Stir Fry

Dinner - Crockpot Chicken.  Throw a chicken in the crockpot the night before with chunks of winter squash or root vegetables.  Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and onion powder or other seasonings of your choice.  Do not add extra water since the juice of the chicken will keep it moist.  Turn it on low in the morning. If frozen to start, check for doneness with a knife.  If it's still pink, turn on high for the last hour or so.  When ready to serve, pull the chicken out into a bowl so it doesn't fall apart in the pot.  Cut off what you need and let it cool to pull off the rest of the shredded chicken.  You can throw the carcass in with water to make broth and cook up to 24 hours with 1 T vinegar and 1 t salt.  If you don't have a crockpot, try roasting, but I recommend a crockpot to save a lot of time! (For an extra speedy meal, try baby carrots and/or a bag of pre-cut butternut squash.)


Breakfast - Hash Browns

Lunch - Crockpot Chicken

Dinner - Shepherd's Pie.  Brown ground meat of choice.  Add veggies of choice. I like green beans, peas, mushrooms, carrots and other shredded root veggies.  Season with garlic powder, onion powder and season salt, such as Trocomare, to taste.  Steam a head of cauliflower or three peeled and cut up sweet potatoes per lb of meat.  Mash with 1 T coconut oil and add garlic powder and season salt.  Top the meat veggie mix with mashed cauliflower or sweet potato and bake for 20-25 min at 350.  For a browner top you can brush with egg and/or broil for 5 min at the end, but make sure your dish is broiler proof.  (For an extra speedy meal, try a frozen veggie mix with peas).


Breakfast - Shepherd's Pie

Lunch - Chicken Salad - Mix shredded chicken with avocado and season to taste.  Eat over a bed of spinach or other green.  Garnish with other veggies such as carrots or bell peppers. 

Dinner - Crockpot Roast - Same process as chicken - try different seasonings and veggies.  I'm still looking for my favorite roast recipe.


Breakfast - Shepherd's Pie

Lunch - Crockpot Roast

Dinner - Taco Salad.  Brown ground meat.  Season with garlic powder, onion powder and salt.  Add to spinach or salad greens with olives, avocado and lime.  You can season with a little red pepper and add salsa if eating night shades.  This is a great option for group gatherings, since others can opt to add cheese, sour cream, tortillas etc. if they choose.  It's a game night favorite for me!


Breakfast - Crockpot Roast

Lunch - Taco Salad

Dinner - Ham & Pineapple Stir Fry. Heat about a half cup of chopped pineapple with juice then add 1-1.5 lb chopped ham.  Season with 1-2 T coconut aminos and 1 T maple syrup  When I made it, the boy thought it was too salty with 2 T coconut aminos, so I will only add 1 T next time. Add veggie of choice.


Breakfast - Bacon and Sauteed Kale or Spinach (you can include egg if not AIP).  Season to taste.

Lunch - Sushi Salad - Chop cucumbers, bell peppers and mangoes and place on a bed of kelp noodles.  Add cooked shrimp and smoked salmon.  Season with coconut aminos and sushi vinegar or flavored vinegar (I use Navidi's Honey Ginger White Balsamic).  Top with ginger and sprinkle pieces of nori when ready to eat. 

Dinner - Burgers, Broccoli Salad and Sweet Potato fries (or you can try parsnip fries).  I make the Big-O Burgers with bacon and mushrooms inside found in the Nom Nom Paleo app (burgers pictured here), but you can use any recipe with quality grass fed beef or ground turkey.  Combine broccoli with lemon juice or vinaigrette and raisins.  Cut sweet potatoes (or parsnips) in fry sized pieces, coat with olive oil and bake at 415 for 20 min, flipping half way.  Season with mustard or sugar free ketchup if not AIP. 

Realistic Paleo Meal Plan - Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Friendly

Alone With My Thoughts

Free Retreat Planner Inside. Alone With my Thoughts: Navigating unproductive thought loops.

This week’s Embracing Intensity Podcast guest, Brittani Nelson, shares a mutual history of being a single mom and starting a business and a relationship around the same time. Unlike me though, she didn’t skip a beat in her business like I did when I took a break from my business as I got to know my now husband.

When I asked how she managed it all, she talked about the importance of self-care and balancing time with family. Another major tool for her has been harnessing the power of reflection and learning from each adventure.

I had a wonderful opportunity for reflection this week. In my group coaching call this weekend, we talked about our tendency to keep busy partly to avoid being alone with our thoughts. I particularly related to this habit when I was a single mom and went out with friends almost every night I didn’t have the boy. I felt very much like this guy:

Nowadays since I got married and moved to the country, I find myself much more of a home body and make a lot more time for self-reflection.

This week, however, I found myself caught in an unproductive thought loop.

I got a message on Twitter from someone who remembered me from college. He was from another dorm and I didn’t remember him at first. His dorm was the more quirky, hippy type dorm in my mind, and I always thought that I might have fit better there than I did in the freshman dorm I was in.

This thought sent me down a rabbit hole of “what if” thoughts – What if I lived in that dorm instead? I probably would not have ended up in the dysfunctional living situation my sophomore year that contributed to my body shutting down that year, which ultimately caused me to drop out of that college.

I realized that dropping out of that college was my single biggest regret in life. I tried to get back in right away but they wouldn’t let me back because my grades had dropped. I felt like I had deprived myself of half of my college experience because I finished off at a commuter school.

That said, I knew logically that if I hadn’t dropped out of that school, I would not have the life I have today. I would not have run into my son’s father at the commuter school. We would not have moved up to the Portland area, and my family would not have followed me up here. I would not have met my husband or my awesome friends here, and I would not be living out in the beautiful wilderness of the PNW.

I could know all of these things at an intellectual level, but I couldn’t help rolling around in my mind the thoughts of “what if.” For me, this looked like knots in my stomach and mind wandering when I should be working.

I stopped for a moment and thought, “I know this is not in anyway logical – what if I just let myself feel grief for a moment about the decisions that I made?” I took some time to just feel sad. Really accept that there doesn’t need to be a logical reason for it to be valid.

Sometimes you just need to stop thinking and let yourself feel.

Once I gave myself permission to feel it, it passed. At lunch I found that this Twitter friend had posted a picture of us from College (at a drag party where I had dressed half the men in my dorm with my thrift store finds), and I remembered exactly who he was. It was fun to reconnect, and I no longer felt that melancholy of “what if”  because I let myself grieve and move on.

Not to say that I will never feel that way again, but now if I feel stuck on a repetitive thought loop I will look at the heart of where it’s coming from and just let myself feel instead of trying to talk myself out of it. 

To help you take time out to connect with your inner thoughts, I created this free retreat planner!  It includes information on: How to prepare for your retreat in the way that’s best for you; Simple, accessible, and straightforward practices to deepen your experience; A template planner;  A guide to using essential oils to enhance and deepen your healing experience; A recommended reading list; and more!

Know Thyself

Do you ever find yourself surprised to find out someone is younger than you, not because they look older but because there is some sense of maturity about them that you admire and respect? This week's interviewee Stella Orange, is one of those people for me.

Now she might not use the word maturity to describe herself because she embraces her silly and playful child side in her work, but I believe that her sense of inner knowing reflects a type of maturity that I find incredibly refreshing. 

She describes her experience of moving around the world as a child and how it led her to really trust in her own self. She said, "I really had a lot of trust in myself and in the weird little world that I had built in my own imagination." 

Know Thyself: Connecting with your authentic self - Free retreat planner inside

Many of us intense/excitable women start to distrust our own selves because it doesn't quite fit what we believe is expected of us by the culture around us, so we start to tone ourselves down and tune ourselves out. 

Somewhere in the process, many of us got lost along the way and started to loose track of who we really are or were. I definitely found myself in this place at the end of my first marriage.

Some things that have helped me to reconnect with myself include:

Spending time on my own - especially outside when possible. Adaptability is part of my nature, so it's crucial that I spend some time on my own to connect with myself. 

Finding one or two people who "get me" - I am fortunate enough to have many of these wonderful people in my life, but even one or two can make a huge difference in freeing you up to know and be who you are.

Personal development exploration -  For me this has ranged from reading, online classes, in person workshops and coaching. Options are limitless in this arena, I generally take things as they come to me and select where to place my energy depending on my priorities in the moment. 

I would love to hear from you - what tools have helped you get to know yourself better? Please share in the comments. 

To help you take time out to connect with your inner thoughts, I created this free retreat planner!  It includes information on: How to prepare for your retreat in the way that’s best for you; Simple, accessible, and straightforward practices to deepen your experience; A template planner;  A guide to using essential oils to enhance and deepen your healing experience; A recommended reading list; and more!

Do You Suffer From Paralyzing Abundance?

Whenever I get a new member in my League of Excitable Women Facebook Group, I always ask the question, "What are you intensely passionate about," which is also ask all of the women I interview on my Embracing Intensity Podcast

One thing that has become evidently clear is that intense, gifted, excitable women rarely have one passion. There are many names for this - multipotentiality, polymath, scanner, rainbow person (vs. specialist in one thing). 

I believe this, along with our propensity for perfectionism, is what leads to feeling like scattered overachievers, or gifted underachievers. I can say that I, personally, have felt like both at the same time. 

Do you suffer from paralyzing abundance? Free Find Your Superpower Course inside

So, when you are passionate and talented at so many things, how do you choose what to focus on? This week I broke out of my usual interview format on my podcast to explore this further - On Paralyzing Abundance

Obviously you are not going to focus on just one thing for the rest of your life, or possibly ever, but when you have too many balls in the air, your effectiveness on each thing can diminish.

For example, over the summer and early fall I launched multiple things along with my new website and tried to start a local in-person talk series at the same time as I launched my podcast. I rapidly found that trying to do both at once, I could not give them both the energy they deserved. For this year, I decided to discontinue the live talks and focus on my podcast, which has grown considerably since that time and reached a wide audience of people around the world who need to hear my message. 

When I start to feel an excess of abundance, there are a few questions I ask myself to help decide where I should focus: 

Is it energizing to me? This has been a big one for me recently, as my work load in my "day job" has been draining enough that I've prioritized the things that energize me in my business life. 

Is it in line with my purpose and vision? In the grander scheme of things, if it doesn't energize you or move you forward toward your life vision or goals, consider if there is something else you could be doing that would be. 

Is this the most effective use of my time? There might be many different things that could potentially move you toward your purpose and vision, but they might not be the most effective use of your time at the moment. This is why I decided to focus on the podcast rather than the live events because while they both energized me and moved me toward my purpose, the podcast had a greater reach and would therefore get my message out more. 

As a multipotentialite, these things may shift over time. Some people are more effective at juggling multiple projects at once, while others do better rotating through and focusing on one or two at a time. Whatever your preference, if you start to feel exausted or overwhelmed by all the things you want to do, it might be a good time to step back and reexamine your focus. 

This has been a part of the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page Blog Hop on Multipotentiality

To help you explore your own unique gifts, I created a free Find Your Superpower Course to help you: Identify your individual areas of excitability with an excitability checklist; Customize the name of your own unique superpower; & Explore how you can harness your own power instead of suppressing it or letting it get out of control.

Walking My Talk

This week's Embracing Intensity Guest, Marina Darlow, helps creative visionaries create systems and frameworks to help support and sustain their vision. 

I was drawn to her work because as I move from the very structured and deadline-driven world of school psychology into the much more losely structured world of entrepreneurship, finding systems to keep me sustained has been a continuous adventure!

Walking My Talk: Practicing my own self-care - Free retreat planner inside

Last week I wrote about slowing down, and my own need to cut back what I was trying to do. I decided to try to keep things to the essentials that I've commited to, which for the moment has been my podcast and my Ignite Your Power group coaching program. 

As I was re-recording my 4th lesson on time and energy balance though, I realized that it's not just about cutting things out, but about doing the things that really energize me.

Here I was, spending hours to re-record a lesson for minimal sound improvement and as I'm reading the words describing draining activities, such as resigned, obligation, task, pushing against, that is exactly how I felt in the moment. 

What energizes me is connecting and creating. Revising and rehashing is draining to me - especially when it takes hours to rerecord a 20-30 minute lesson. I know that it is important, which is why I pay Team Podcast to do all of that for my podcasts. 

In my school job, my evaluation load has been so high this year that even 3 days a week is draining. Even though I don't really have the time, I find what gets me through is the 1 hour a week I go into a class and teach self-regulation to kids. I can't really afford the time for it, but then I also can't afford not to do something where I can really feel my impact. 

This all got me thinking about how I wanted to restructure the way I spend my time in business to focus on what energizes and minimize what drains, so this is what I'm adjusting so far:

  • Reduce my social media posts - do I really need 4 twitter posts a day or 8 Instagram posts a week when most of my traffic is from Facebook? 
  • Clean up and use the original recordings for my course - the quality difference is minimal relative to the time I save for more energizing things, and the cost of doing it is not just in time but in energy. 
  • Coach more - Between website, podcast and group launch, I have not been focused on 1:1 coaching, but doing my small group and mastermind calls reminded me how much I enjoy the 1:1 work. I offered some free coaching spots in my group to get back on track and the response was overwhelming!
  • Podcast adjustments - Finally, I was feeling behind on getting interviews scheduled and all of the prepwork involved. Even though I pay for much of the production, there's a lot involved in coordinating the interviews. I also realized that if I did a short solo show every other week, I could address specific questions that come up in my Facebook group on a larger scale, and it would minimize the production needs for those weeks. 
  • Be more deliberate in ending my work day on business work days - working from home, it is really easy to let business related tasks bleed into your personal time and this can disrupt my ability to rest and be in the moment. Clearly delineating "work time" from "personal time," can help make both more effective. 

We will see how this all goes, it is a constant experiment! What are some things you have done, or could do, to reduce the draining and add more energizing things into your life?

To help you take time out to practice your own self-care, I created this free Retreat Planner!  It includes information on: How to prepare for your retreat in the way that’s best for you; Simple, accessible, and straightforward practices to deepen your experience; A template planner;  A guide to using essential oils to enhance and deepen your healing experience; A recommended reading list; and more!

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Now that I've thought about it, I can't get that song out of my head.

For the past two weeks, my body has been trying to give me that message with that kind of low-grade sickness that doesn't completely knock you out but keeps you highly fatigued and moderately brain dead for weeks. I tried taking a 1/2 sick day to rest, but then ended up having to come in to work on my day off, which in-turn threw off my business schedule. 

At some point, something's gotta give. 

Yesterday, when I knew I needed to get my updated lessons for my group program up and finished, I decided to take it easy and do it in my own time instead of pushing myself. 

Slow down, you move too fast! Free retreat planner inside

At first this didn't feel very good, I still felt kinda cranky even after some nice walks in the sun and a nap. And to top it off, I hadn't gotten anything done! So what good did it do me to rest? 

Well, this morning I felt much better and had a nice chat with this week's interviewee, Jade Rivera. We were actually talking about our challenges with doing video and I shared that I found doing very short FB live videos and slowing myself down helped to ease my nerves. 

She said to me, "I found that slowing down in general is key, you know?"

That is exactly it! I still have basic duties that need to be done, but overall it's time to slow things down for me, and a big part of that is cutting out things that are nice but not needed or energizing, like consistent social-media posting for example. There will be a time and a place for that again, but for now I'm going to take some time to watch the flowers growing...

... Ba da da da da da da, feelin' groovy

To help you take time out to connect with your inner thoughts, I created this free Retreat Planner!  It includes information on: How to prepare for your retreat in the way that’s best for you; Simple, accessible, and straightforward practices to deepen your experience; A template planner;  A guide to using essential oils to enhance and deepen your healing experience; A recommended reading list; and more!

Setting Smarter Goals


In this week's podcast interview with Paula Prober, author of Your Rainforest Mind, she says, "I think it's important that people who are sensitive and intense and have a lot of empathy and who are bright, need to allow themselves to work on yourself throughout your whole life."

I lost track of this message when I settled into a job I was good at and had my son. At that point, I had met just about all of my goals and aspirations - at least consciously. Going through an unexpected divorce, I found myself faced with the need to reassess where I was going in my life. 

I had goals around health, wellness and career, but they were fairly nebulous and thus not quite attainable. It wasn't until I went through my coaching training that I learned the formula for clear achievable goals. When creating a goal, be sure it is SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. 

Specific - You need to be clear on your goal with details that are specific. If you make your goal too general, it will be difficult to visualize what success would look like. Think about what you would like to accomplish, why it's important and who and what is involved in making it happen. 

Measurable - Setting a measureable goal helps you to track progress and stay motivated. Ask yourself how you will track your goal and how will you know when it's achieved.

Attainable -  Be sure that your goal is something that you can realistically achieve. Think about the effort and resources involved in moving forward on the goal and be sure that they will not max out your resources. Also consider factors that are outside of your control - focus on the aspects that are not dependent on other people to move forward. 

Relevant - Think about how this goal aligns with your purpose, vision, mission and values. Consider the timing and effort involved. 

Timely - Set a clear date to accomplish the goal, along with specific times to measure progress and reassess. This will help you to break down small steps to achieving your goal. 

Setting SMART goals helps us to continue working on ourselves throughout our whole lives. 

The Power of No!

I've been revisiting the power of the word "no" lately. I was getting pretty good at it, in fact I wrote a blog post about it, but shortly after that I felt compelled to say "yes" to additional work at my day job and then got caught up in taking on commitments that drained me rather than fed me. Having taken on certain commitments, it would have been out of integrity for me to back out, so I had to take a look at what else I was letting in to my life. 

When I interviewed Sophia Treyger for my Embracing Intensity Podcast, she was at the very beginning of her own journey of saying no. 

I recently attended an Intimacy Soiree with Sophia Treyger about what we have manifested in our lives, and she talked about finding the relationship she had always been looking for, so eloquently expressed in this blog post. One key factor for her was saying no to the opportunities that were just OK, so that she could leave room for the big yes! Connecting deeply with herself enabled her to connect even more deeply with others, including in her relationship and her thriving Intimacy Soiree community. If you are in the Porland, OR area, I highly recommend you attend on of Sophia's Events, you can find a link to the next one here, or join her page on Facebook for future events.  She has a gift for bringing out deeply intimate conversations!

I too found that taking a break from dating is what led me to my marriage, and being selective with whom I spend my time is the key to maintaining my energy. 

Relationships are such an integral part of our level of functioning! I have found as well, that when I  make the effort to include only those people who nourish me into my life, my energy is higher for dealing with other things that come up. This year I had the most busy chaotic start to a school year I have ever had, but yet my energy is much higher and my headaches fewer than last year. What is the difference? The people I spend the majority of my time with are all supportive of eachother. There is a feeling of being in this together. 

Sometimes, even an extravert like me, has to take a break from social commitments. Last year, when I moved out to the country and took on extra work, I needed to turn inward and connect with myself. I started moving away from large group activities to more intimate ways of connecting. As the social butterfly I've always been, this left room for feeling like a bad friend because I didn't reach out to my circle of friends nearly as much. But when I do get to connect, it makes it all that much sweeter! 

Sometimes what energizes us at one time in our lives is not what energizes us in another. 

What are you saying "yes" to that may no longer serve you? What areas of your life are you finding draining? What would you like to say "yes" to that brings you energy or opens you up to exciting possibilities?

Your Needs are Not an Afterthought

When I first started my Embracing Intensity Podcast journey, I was connected with the accomplished J.J. Flizanes as an ideal guest. I made contact, but then when the project got delayed, my communication fizzled out. Last week when I got the chance to share in a podcast group we are both in, she said she really related to it, so I asked her for an interview and got one with her that week!

J.J. is a gifted woman if I ever met one! She described her experiences of feeling "different" growing up and coming off as too intense when she met new friends. She threw herself into her work - first acting, then personal training and now wrapping it all up together with lots of personal empowerment work including a best-selling book and a 6 day a week podcast!

Like everything she does, she dove into her business with intensity and drive. She pushed herself into adrenal fatigue and cycled between burning the candles at both ends to burning out and taking an extended break. She finally came to a point where she realized she needed to incorporate self-care into her everyday routine in order to maintain equilibrium and not keep pushing herself to the brink. 

Two key practices she uses to help with this include a daily grattitude practice and the use of Nonviolent Communication as a tool to connect with her own feelings and needs. This is a tool that we have both found extremely useful both for communicating with ourselves and being able to communicate our needs to others. I use the acronym STAR to remember the steps in the process:

Stop - Stop and observe the situation. What are your feelings? What needs are or are not being met? (you can find great lists of feelings and needs here) What judgements are you having about this situation?

Think - What strategies can you think of that might meet your needs? It is important to understand that there are many ways to meet the same need, and avoid getting stuck on one particular strategy. Get creative!

Act - Once you've found a strategy that you think might work (and doesn't violate the needs of someone else), act out your strategy. 

Request - This may come before or after you act. Think of who can help you meet your needs and make a request of them to help out. Be sure that you are clear that they can say no so it does not feel like a demand. People respond much better when they come from a place of empathy rather than a sense of "duty."

I think we both find this tool so valuable for self-awareness because intense and sensitive people so often push themselves and put other people's needs before their own that their own needs become an afterthought. When you do that continually though, you have a tendency to burnout. You can keep living in that burn - burnout cycle, or start taking the time now to get clear on your needs and take care of them as you move forward. In the end, this strategy will make you more effective when you do feel the need to push. 

This post is a part of the Hoagies' Gifted Education Blog Hop on Emotional Intelligence

Intensity, Sensitivity and Your Own Worst Critic - You

Whew! It has been an eventful month! Since laying down the foundation of my new website and programs, my ultimate goal has been that of building community. In the last month I launched both my first live community event and my Embracing Intensity Podcast

For my live events in the greater Portland area, my goal is to bring together a community of passionate teacher, healers and creatives who want to make a difference in the world but are easily burnt out by the the realities of the "system" from which they are trying to make a difference. Earlier this month I had the lovely Elizabeth Spitzer come talk about how "One Person Can Change The System," and we had an inspiring conversation that left us invigorated and renewed our spirits. 

Next week I will be hosting Shannon Meade, of Supporting Balance, in her talk on "Calling Out Your Inner Critic" where I expect a lively discussion on how our own self-talk impacts how we treat ourselves and others. 

I decided that this topic was so important because gifted, sensitive and creative people are some of the most self-critical people I know. They have so much to offer the world, but are sometimes so accutely aware of their faults that it can get in the way of getting out and contributing their work to the world. 

I found this so true in the women that I interviewed on my podcast

Amy Pearson was so caught up in chasing gold stars and gaining approval from others, that she lost sight of her own self-approval. When she tried to please everyone, she just became invisible to her own tribe. When she finally gave up what other people think, she connected with herself and then in turn connected with her people. 

Wendy Holthaus found herself a square peg in a round peg family and thought there was something wrong with her sensitivity and intense emotions. Escaping the void led to addictons and she was finally able to pull herself out. Finding out she was a Highly Sensitive Person and Highly Excitable helped her to channel her power for good rather than evil.

Mely Brown was burning the candle at both ends. She pushed herself to keep up with her nonsensitive peers and burned herself out in the process. She thought there was something wrong with her until she realized that sensitivity could be both a challenge and a blessing if you learn how to practice effective self-care. 

All of these women pushed themselves to be someone they were not and escaped into their idea of what they should be until they connected with the power of what they really were. 

If you are in the Portland metro area, you should totally come out and join us at the beautiful Quinn Mountain Retreat to talk about Calling Out Your Inner Critic. Wherever you are, you should totally give a listen to my Embracing Intensity Podcast and spread the word about how what you may think of as your greatest excesses or liabilities can, in fact, be your greatest strengths! 

The Power of Retreat!

I became a school psychologist in order to help kids, but found the “system” draining and difficult to change. I thrive on positive change, creative projects and learning new things, but after I had my son, my free time with him became more important to me so I took a job closer to home that had less opportunity to work directly with kids.  

I went through a divorce shortly after my son was born, and between single parenthood and work, my opportunities for creative expression and collaboration became fewer and farther between. 

In my personal health exploration I started to become excited again about something - writing a food blog. Since I wasn’t a nutritionist, but I wanted to help other people live healthier lives, I decided to train as a life coach. Then I started to notice a pattern - the more I had things in my life that excited me, the better I felt!

This last year brought with it some wonderful things! The biggest of which were getting married and an unexpected move to Quinn Mountain Retreat, a small Bed and Breakfast in the Columbia River Gorge. Between good and challenging stressors, including going back more into a challenging school job situation, my fatigue and chronic headaches increased. I found myself back in a place where it felt good to be “needed” but it was also draining.

In mid spring, I decided to invest in 6 months of coaching to move me forward on projects related to my business. While I didn’t really have more time, and I was still dealing with the same stressors, having a clear vision of where I was going and the support and accountability to get me there helped me to feel more energized, and in turn helped me to get more done that really mattered.

What I realized was this, when I don’t think I “have the time” to do the things I’m excited about is exactly when I should be doing more of them because those are the things that give me energy. 

Now that I have this amazing retreat space ready, I decided that I needed to offer live programs to help women who are either on the verge of burn-out or a big break through (or both). This enables us to dig in deeper away from the daily grind than is possible through phone and online coaching alone. 

Whether you just need to break away and reset your energy or need ongoing support in meeting your lofty goals, I have an option for you! In addition to my 3 month Ignite Your Power! program I've used to help facilitate significant transformations, I now have two more options that include an in-person live retreat with me at Quinn Mountain

Embody Your Power!

6 Month Coaching And 1:1 Retreat

This Program Is For You If:

  • You know you want to make a huge difference, but you have so many ideas, you don’t know how to take action. 
  • Your sense of duty or obligation- in putting other's needs before your own- is eclipsing your joy and fun.
  • You would love to experience a relaxing reset, AND move forward with a structured plan to achieve your most important goals.

Reset and Renew Retreat

Live 1:1 Weekend Retreat In The Columbia River Gorge

This Program Is For You If:

  • You feel like a burnt-out idealist - you have been putting yourself last for so long, you are worn out.
  • You know you need to take the time to plan for self-care, but you need to get away from it all to reset and recharge.  
  • You need to reconnect with your fire so you can move forward with renewed energy!

Get in "The Zone"

When I first decided to go into coaching, I said that I wanted to help people with "self-regulation," but very few people got what I meant by that. I figured it was something they teach to kids in schools these days, so it should be pretty basic right? 

Self-regulation is a fancy word for controlling your own emotions, behaviors and physical state. This can be a challenge for those of us who are highly excitable because we experience the world so intensely!

We are starting to see the importance of teaching this to kids, but for adults it's assumed we already know how to do this. But let me tell you, I think this is something most of us struggle with. We may not be exploding or throwing tantrums, but it is likely we may be turning things in on ourselves and making ourselves sick. 

Self-regulation is not about being something you are not, or ignoring the negative to focus only on rainbows and unicorns. According to this post on self-regulation in Psychology Today

"Behaviorally, self-regulation is the ability to act in your long-term best interest, consistent with your deepest values. (Violation of one's deepest values causes guilt, shame, and anxiety, which undermine well being.) Emotionally, self-regulation is the ability to calm yourself down when you're upset and cheer yourself up when you're down."

The problem is that when you get too revved up, or when your energy is depleted, it can be a challenge to find that optimal state in which you can make decisions that are "consistent with your deepest values." 

When under stress, our fight, flight or freeze brain kicks in and can undermine our ability to think clearly and objectively. 

You can build your own Power Zone Toolkit to help you develop tools that you can have at the ready when you find yourself thrown off course. In order to start building your toolkit, you must first consider what each zone looks like for you, and what strategies you already know help to get you back into "The Zone."

In "The Zone" - When you are in the Power Zone, you are harnessing your own immense power! You feel connected to what is happening and in flow. You are in a state of calm alert. What does that look like for you personally? What strategies help you get in or stay in "The Zone"?

Revved Up - When you are revved up, you might feel restless or even anxious or angry. You lack focus and your fight, flight or freeze mechanism may kick in. When you are in survival mode, your rational brain shuts down, so having calming tools at the ready will help you to get back in "the zone." What does that look like for you personally? What strategies help you get back to a calm and alert state?

Feeling Down - When you are feeling down, your energy is low. You might be sad or depressed or just drained. It is hard for you to muster the energy to do the things that you know will pick you back up again. You may get in a cycle where you know what to do, but can't follow through. What does that look like for you personally? What strategies help you to regain your energy?

I created the Power Zone Toolkit to provide you with tools to help you: 

  • Ground yourself when you're feeling restless or out of control,
  • Raise yourself up when you're feeling down, and
  • Keep your best tools at hand to pull you out of stressful brain shut-down. 

Puppy Power!

Puppy Power: Lessons Learned From Our New Pup

Lessons learned from our new pup

There was a time when your passion and drive filled you with energy! Your enthusiasm was contagious and you drew people in toward your cause. You approached the world with wonder and curiosity which left you open to any possibility.

But now you are getting tired. The realities of life sometimes get you down and you forget how playful life can really be. You’ve been there, done that and wonder what’s the point. At the rate you’re going you are at risk of burning out.

Watching our new puppy meet my cranky old 9 year old poodle brings to mind lessons we can all learn from an 8 week old pup:

Lessons Learned From Our New Pup

Reach out. When we got our new pup, the lady came out with him, he sniffed me then leaned toward me and reached out with his paws for me to take him. From that moment, I was putty in his hands.

I find in my own life, the warmer I am with others, the more receptive they are toward what I have to say.

Know your audience. Even after hours in the car, he greeted my cousin eagerly when we got home, and when she set him down, he climbed right into her boyfriend’s lap. The old dog however, has been much slower to warm. With him, he has taken his time getting to know him.

Some people are slower to warm than others. If your instincts say they are worth connecting with, let them know you are there for them without pushing too hard.

Know when to persist. When his first attempts to play with the little old man were met with small growls, he backed away. The next day, however, he continued to try to connect. He read his signals, and adjusted his own body language to be less threatening. He might not get the spritely playmate he’d like, but he will likely gain a pack mate.

Lessons learned from my new pup

Some people might jump on board with you at first meeting and others may take more time to develop a relationship with. If you know it’s worth pursuing, little gestures over time can lead to deep and lasting connections.

Communicate your needs. Puppies don’t know how to pretend they are fine when basic needs aren’t being met. If they are hungry, they will let you know. If they are lonely, they will come to you. If they want to play, they will do their very best to get you to play.

As adult humans, we become well versed in pretending everything is fine. If we don’t communicate our needs though, no one can help us meet them. And if we don’t meet our own needs, we will quickly burn out.

Play hard rest hard. When the pup plays, he plays hard. He throws himself into the moment. When he’s ready to rest though, he’s not afraid to pass out on the floor.

Lessons learned from my new pup

Sometimes we get so caught up in our work or cause, we forget to both play and rest. Both of these are essential to keep our fire alive!

Maintain your wonder and curiosity. Everything is new to a puppy. They explore the world with fresh eyes and a sense of wonder.

Isn’t this the key to mindfulness? When we think we know all of the answers, we close off the options that don’t fit this view. Keep yourself open to possibility and you never know what will come your way!

Are you starting to lose the fire that used to keep you going?

There is another way! By working with your innate nature, and embracing new perspectives, you can reignite the fire that got you started, enjoy feeling inspiration and passion every day and bring back your inner puppy!

This month I’m offering five free Bring Back Your Puppy Power! calls.

By the end of this 60-minute session, you will leave with:

  • A renewed sense of purpose, to harness more energy and inspiration everyday
  • Insight about what is really draining, depleting, and overwhelming you (it might not be what you think)
  • A new perspective about how to keep the fire of your passion and creativity burning, in spite of the challenges

Contact me here to reserve your spot now!

Puppy Power: Lessons Learned From Our New Pup

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has Sprung!

Despite some amazing things that have happened to me in the last few months including getting married to an awesome partner and acquiring Quinn Mountain Retreat, this has been a challenging winter for me.

My fatigue and headaches had been worse than they had been in years and I took on extra emotionally draining work at my day job. I usually don't get hit hard by colds or flus, but a few weeks ago I was knocked out for two weeks from the flu.

I had occasional dreams and visions of how I could use the retreat to build community and offer transformational experiences, but for the most part my intellectual excitability slowed down to a lull. I hadn't realized until my house sold and we could start investing financially in the business how much feeling stuck had got me down. I wasn't moving forward toward my purpose and I was taking on responsibilities that did not bring me joy.

This got me thinking that I need to revisit my own self care power toolkit to include things that I can see in hindsight would have helped me while I was going through it. Having a plan for these times is so helpful because when you are in the moment it is difficult to get the perspective you need to pull yourself out.

Here are some things I will try to remember the next time I feel off course:

Take a look at your days. How are you spending your time? Are you doing more things that are energizing or more things that are draining. Energizing activities activate our courage, spirit of play, self-care, sense of power and encourage mindfulness in the moment.

Remember your purpose. Even if you can't spend the majority of your time moving forward on your goals, take some time each week, or even better each day, to visualize where you would like to be. It is helpful if you can plan ahead and find short activities that can move you toward your goal so you have some thing to refer to when you have bits of spare time here and there instead of getting stuck browsing Facebook or other electronic distractions.

Stay connected with your food. When things got busy for me and my energy got low, it was super easy to fall back on letting my spouse do most of the cooking and eat the same meals in a small rotation. What I realized though is that I had completely disconnected from my food. When I was planning meals and getting creative then the food I ate was more nourishing not just for my body but for me emotionally. Finding the joy in food again instead of seeing it as a chore has helped tremendously!

Move. Even a little. It's tempting to just crash, but this will just make the fatigue worse. Find something you enjoy doing. You don't have to go to the gym and push yourself to do things you don't like. Have a dance party with your kids - or just break out the moves by yourself, go for a walk, find yoga videos, one of these days I want to learn the art of poi dancing because it's just kinda cool.

Create. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece and you don't even have to share it with anything, but creating something gets the juices flowing. When you are inspired, other things in your life are more inspiring. I find that when my brain is going imagining all the things I want to do in the future, I am often more productive in the menial things I need to do in my job as well.

What are some things that you can fall back on when you are feeling stuck?

Spring has Sprung!

You CAN Make a Difference

You CAN Make a Difference: 10 ways to make a difference

When you feel things intensely, it is easy to be an idealist and even easier to get burned out or disillusioned when reality hits hard.

You start out with a mission and little by little that mission starts to slip away when the reality of the system, or entrepreneurship or whatever framework you are using to further your cause keeps putting roadblocks in your path.

I had such a moment a couple of weeks ago when I realized I was starting to become exactly what I entered in education to avoid. You see, when I was in college I was tested for learning disabilities and because all they looked at was an arbitrary state criteria, which I didn't fit, I was asked why I even bothered to get tested. What they didn't acknowledge as a roadblock was that my auditory processing was significantly below my visual processing - meaning I really sucked at taking in what I heard and read (unless it was in the form of meaningful conversation).

I became a school psychologist because I wanted to help students understand themselves better, regardless of whether they met some arbitrary state qualification. Recently though, I started to find myself slipping into black and white thinking, which is the enemy of effective problem solving.

So this got me thinking of how I've moved myself over the years to create real positive change within a set structure.

Reconnect with your why. You probably didn't get involved with this cause to jump through the hoops of paperwork, red tape and/or marketing. You had a purpose or you wouldn't have signed on. Reexamine that purpose, and look for new ways to move toward that goal.

Find common ground. Just as you had your reasons, the people you share space with have their own motivations too. I have always gotten through in this field with the assumption that everyone in the room wants what's best, but they may have different approaches or ideas of how to reach that. There's a great quote from Olivia Fox Cabana in The Charisma Myth, "In most situations, we don't know for certain what motivates a person's actions. So we might as well choose the explanation that is most helpful to us." In helping fields, such as education, I generally find the most favorable answer to be true. When we recognize our common goal, then we can come to appreciate their different approaches.

Think outside the box. Boxes can be useful for giving us a framework with which to organize our world, but they are also often arbitrary. If we are not careful they can encourage black and white all or nothing thinking. This stunts our natural creative problem solving.

Appreciate the good. It's there really! Even if you are currently feeling overwhelmed with what's wrong in the world, there is so much to celebrate! Find it and appreciate it - out loud so that others can hear. What we focus our energy on is what we start to see more of. When I worked at a school for children with severe behavioral needs, they had a strict policy of using 3-4 positive statements to every negative one. As both an employee and a colleague, I saw how powerful this is for adults as well as children.

Find the humor. Changing the world for the better is heavy stuff. When we can laugh at ourselves or our situation, it makes the whole process more fun!

Connect. Find others you can connect with on a deeper level. Even one or two people who share or understand your cause. Life is much easier when you don't have to go it alone.

Let go. If it's not serving you let it go. Let go of those expectations of perfection and how things "should be" and accept things as they are. Only then can we move forward and shift things in the positive direction of what "could be."

Change your story. Events may trigger thoughts, our thoughts may trigger feelings and our thoughts and feelings may trigger actions and our actions will trigger an outcome. We may not be able to control the events, but we can control our thoughts and actions.

Put your own oxygen mask on first. If you constantly put the needs of others before your own, eventually you will burn out. Take a look at your typical day and look at what activities nourish you and what activities deplete you. If you find more depleting, which is often the case, find ways to add more nourishing activities back into your life. Take small breaks to be mindful of your body and surroundings, take a walk, move, meditate, get out in nature. Whatever it is that makes you feel most alive. Even 5 minutes will do a world of good.

And remember, what you do is important! You have a heart for making positive change. You already are making a difference, and have been for years. Just please, be sure to take care of yourself in the process so you can keep on being your awesome self!

What has helped you move from disillusionment back into hope?

You CAN Make a Difference: 10 ways to make a difference

Follow Your Peace

Follow Your Peace

I've been quiet again for the last few weeks, but things are picking up behind the scenes. It got me thinking about where I was about this time last year.

I had gone down to three days a week at my "day job" and was running out of my savings with no clear path to income on it's way. Promoting myself one on one wasn't really working so I decided to launch a group. I thought that I was doing it because it felt right - but I realize now that I mostly did it from a place of fear.

Most regrettably, I invested in expensive programs that weren't right for me because I felt a sense of urgency to make money now.

As far as my group program goes, it turned out to be a good thing in the end because it got me to develop a course that I can now use with clients.

A sense of urgency can have it's place by getting you to do things based on public commitments, but I've decided that for me it should be avoided at all costs when it comes to decision making.

My decision to go back to work four days a week was going to enable me to step back a bit and focus on community building through my Embracing Intensity podcast etc. When we acquired Quinn Mountain Retreat though, everything went of track for a bit. I offered to go back full time out of a sense of urgency and almost immediately regretted it. I also came close to investing in another program that seemed to have the "magic bullet" for developing a program using the new retreat space, but fortunately I decided to hold off and see where I was in the spring.

Then a few things happened that gave me a new perspective. I went to a networking event unprepared, without a business card or makeup. I learned that having a retreat center at a networking event is much more fun than telling people you are a life coach. Because people were coming to me excitedly, it freed me up to just be myself, and I almost got a coaching client just for being present and being me.

I also had tea with a wonderful lady who, when I mentioned I might be looking for a business coach down the road, told me to follow my peace rather than urgency. I realized I had made way too many decisions based on urgency in the last year, and when things started to move it was when I stepped back and stopped pushing. In fact, right as my full time gig cut back, I got a client out of nowhere - and it seemed to be just the right timing for both of us.

That's not to say that I won't move myself forward. Now that my work time is freed up a bit, I'm ready to dedicate that time toward building my business again. This time though, where I invest my time and money will come from a place of peace.

Follow Your Peace