When is a shitty situation the better choice to make?

Ever have a situation so heavy that it was…HOPELESS?

A client who’d been doing SO great messaged me! She’d met all her goals, managed her mindset, moved forward…

Then went back to her hard job. Which she mostly loves. And is good at. But she’s feeling a little oppressed by it. Disheartened & exhausted.

Here’s where her brain is: “There isn’t a moment where I’m not thinking or stressing about all my work-related responsibilities. It’s taking away from my personal & family joy.

“BUT I don’t have a BIG IDEA! I’m not an entrepreneur. I can’t leave this job. I don’t feel like I can take a big risk anyway – given my access to healthcare insurance and salary!

“But I’M DYING! Do you think I’m help-able? I feel lost & don’t know what else is out there for me!

“Am I hopeless?” OMG. Who among us HASN’T been here?

Feeling hopeless – about your job, your relationship, health, body, current situation?

Hopeless thoughts are HEAVY. They are BIG mother effers.

It’s easy to believe in those moments that there will never be anything else. That it’ll always be this way.

Now, I know this is temporary. I know she can have whatever she wants, but her brain can’t see it right now because it’s stuck in a hellish, endless loop.

Her brain isn’t helping her solve the problem or move forward. It’s keeping her safe in a situation she knows, efficiently thinking the same thoughts over & over.

Bullshit positivity and empty promises are not what she needs…our brains are smarter than that. It flicks those thoughts away, laughing at us.

But I know we need to move TOWARD positive thoughts because they calm our brain down. That helps us solve problems and get us un-stuck!

Negative thinking – no matter where it comes from – pulls us down & keeps us stuck.

She didn’t need an “everything will be OK” message from me. She needed something helpful.

Want to help yourself?

1. Validate your current situation:

Sometimes you just need to hear…Fuckety fuck! Your line of work is SOOOO brutal. We are taught to believe that’s all there is for us. It’s a lack mindset – like golden handcuffs that keep us stuck in fear.

2. Offer support:

Yes! I believe you can have a better life. If you can’t believe it for yourself right now, that’s ok. I can believe for you for a little while.

3. Give a realistic thought-shift:

The brain doesn’t believe bullshit. It won’t believe, “Oh come now. This is your calling. You were born for this. It’s a magical profession and you love it.”

Here’s what I said instead, Yes, I believe you can have the life you want. We can change your mindset, which means you can change your life. I never think a situation is hopeless.

It just FEELS like it in the middle of it.

There are SHITTY situations. Not hopeless situations.

She responded that the shift in mindset from hopeless to shitty was helpful. (And funny.)

And here’s why: a shitty situation feels more temporary. It feels like we can gain control over it.

When we tell ourselves that something is HOPELESS, we set ourselves up for paralysis. HOPELESS is a big & heavy word.

Take it out of your vocabulary.

And a helpful bridge thought might be, “This feels overwhelming right now.”

Or, “This feels awful right now.”

Help your brain to make it temporary, and know that you’re doing something to move forward!

What’s the word/phrase that you’d like to shift away from this week?

This work feels hard. I know. You might need someone next to you to reach out to. Respond to this email & tell me what’s going on. I’d be happy to offer support!

Xo, Jen

Do You Know About the Awful Before the Awesome?

Sometimes I meet someone thin and think, “She has no idea what it feels like to be overweight. She doesn’t get me at all.

Have you ever done this?

Like, at the lowest point in your marriage you meet a woman happy in her relationship and think, “She has no idea what it feels like to be miserable.”

Or, you’re failing particularly hard at an endeavor when you meet a successful woman. You think, “She’s never been broke or confused a day in her damn life.”

The problem is, when we meet someone living their awesomeness, we cannot believe there was anything before the awesome.

I promise you – there is ALWAYS a time before the awesome.

There is always a journey – it’s usually private, ugly, and difficult.

If you don’t believe that everyone (yes, even the thin, successful, happy people) struggle, then you’re doing your brain a HUUUUUUGE disservice.

Even the popular girls in high school, who always knew how to talk to boys effortlessly.

Even your boss, who is gorgeous and rich.

Even your sister-in-law, who seems to have it all together.

Stop bullshitting yourself. Stop believing that everyone has had it easier than you.

Stop believing that everyone knows what they’re doing.

They don’t. We’re all figuring it out together.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s a real example of a woman has it ALL together: incredibly fit, driven, energetic, FUNNY, and positive.

AND for much of her life she was overweight, miserable, broke, alone, and confused.

Devastated, actually.

If you met her today, you would NOT believe it.  You’d have a whole story about her and how she’s better than you and she’s got her shit together and blahdey blah fricken blah.

Except, in about 5 minutes, she’d have you laughing at her back story.

MAN, did she epically fail! (She tells you here – go ahead, try & keep up with her in this interview she granted me!)

You might look at Shannon and start the “Yeah-Butting”.

Yeah, but she knows what she wants.

Yeah, but she’s obviously stronger than me.

Yeah, but that’s for HER to have. Not me.

Single mom to 4 kids. Full-time 2nd grade teacher.

And she created the business of her dreams – on the side.

People, it is time to call BULLSHIT on your own BULLSHIT.

Shannon will tell you herself that she is NOT SPECIAL.

She didn’t have a secret solution that you can’t have.

She is NOT more TALENTED than you.

The only difference is that she was ready to get over her own bullshit. She was ready to make her life better.

She was ready to bring her idea to life – Because NOT doing that was no longer an option. She felt like she was going to explode!

The NOT doing it was holding her back. Making her miserable. Keeping her from success.

Are you tired of holding yourself back?

Do you worry that you don’t know how? (Damn, girl! Who doesn’t worry about that??!)

Look, it’s time. It’s time to get what you want. Take the first step that you know how.

Learn how here.

How to Make History – even if you’re a little late to the game

Jack sat at the table, incredibly agitated. He’d seen a man across the dining room of the restaurant and was upset by him.

The man, an older man – well into his 70s – was having a bottle of wine, eating alone.

His solitude made Jack sad, so he created a story that the man was awaiting a dinner partner. It quickly became clear that the gentleman was waiting for no one.

He’d taken himself to dinner.

This rubbed Jack’s soul the wrong way, and the more Jack watched the man, the more upset he got.

He wanted to connect with the man. Let him know that he’d been seen, that he mattered.

“I want to talk to him, but I don’t know HOW. What would be OK to do?”

Ah, the HOW. We all struggle with the right thing to do and HOW to do it.

Like there’s a prescription. Or a recipe to follow. And if we don’t have our hands on it, we don’t take action.

The more Jack didn’t take action, the more upset and physically uncomfortable he got, squirming in his chair & wringing his napkin.

We brainstormed how Jack wanted to approach the man. Would it disturb him to say hello? Did he even want company!?

Did Jack want to invite the man to come sit with us? Join us for dessert?

No. None of that felt right to Jack. “What can I SAY to him?” he pleaded, face earnest, tears in his eyes.

“Well,” I suggested, “How about you start with introducing yourself? I bet from there you’d be able to figure it out.”

“You mean – just go up and say, ‘Hi, I’m Jack’?”

“Yep. I bet he’ll introduce himself, and you can say you just wanted to come over and say hello. It will work out from there. You’ll know when the conversation is over. And we’re right here if you need us.”

He played with his napkin for a few moments, deciding on the perfect time to approach the man. When the waiter had cleared away the man’s plates, Jack decidedly stood up, went over, and talked to the man for 3 or 4 minutes.

It seemed like an hour – John & I watched from our table, stunned that this 11-year-old boy had recognized the loneliness in the man across the room and took action to do something about it.

Jack came back to report on his conversation:

“His name is Robert, and he asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. So, I told him I want to be a History professor, and he said, I wanted to make history, but I’m a little late to the game. He was joking, I think.

“He told me he lived in Dorset and asked where I was from. He didn’t know were Syracuse is. He said it was nice to meet me and thanked me for coming over.”

That’s it, friends. That’s all it took for Jack to connect with this man.

Jack’s biggest fear?  That the man would leave before Jack could get the courage to get up and walk over to him.

He told me later, “I would’ve regretted that my whole life, Mom.”

Dinner that night was emotionally hard on all 3 of us. Jack was rattled with grief and empathy for Robert. He believed Robert was alone & lonely, and it gave us the chance to talk about how brave Robert was to come out into a crowded restaurant and eat alone, rather than stay home & hide.

We talked about how I worry I’ll bother strangers when I talk to them.

John talked about how he would want to connect, but he never would – for many reasons.

But our 11-year-old son…well, he was afraid, nervous, and unsure. And he did it anyway.

That’s the definition of courage.

Believe me: I sobbed with pride and awe watching Jack walk over to the man. We all sobbed together thinking about Robert and his words, “I wanted to make history, but I’m a little late to the game”.

But you – you still have time.

Be courageous.

Do the uncomfortable thing.

You still have time to make history.

The Motivation Myth – and why Spontaneity is Bullshit

“But…structure is so…so…BORING.”

 My Creative clients tell me this all the time. To them, knowing when something starts & ends…knowing what to expect…that’s not comfort.

It’s dull.

My Creatives – clients who are passionate, multi-faceted, & hungry to experience everything – resist structure.

The structure I love so much feels constricting to them!

They believe they can’t have structure AND STILL BE the creative, spontaneous, magical, life-filled creatures they are!

Here’s a secret: They can have both.

When they put a little structure in their lives, it makes them even more magical, sparkly, and amazing!

It also makes them productive – something they complain to me about all the time.

Creative Women come to me, overwhelmed, and say, “I want to do this amazing thing, but I don’t know why I can’t get there.”

They want to Create something, and they want to be Spontaneous about it.

They’re waiting for Inspiration to hit.  For Motivation to show up.

They know that when Inspiration and Motivation arrive, everything will work out fine.

But here’s the thing: Inspiration & Motivation are thoughtless assholes. And Spontaneity is a slippery little sucker.

We cannot count on Inspiration & Motivation to show up when we’re ready. If we wait around for them, we waste lots of time.

Then there’s the problem with Spontaneity – she always keeps us doing something else. We tell ourselves, “Oh, I don’t want to plan working on my book. If I do it spontaneously, I’ll feel more legit. Authentic.”

So, we Spontaneously work on other lifey things – like laundry & errands & social media.

This causes Creatives to feel like they’ve been cheating on themselves for years.

“Why can’t I get anything done?” they ask me.

Because you haven’t planned it in! {Ermagahd they hate that answer.}

Tough truth: successful Creatives out there in the world – the ones making money doing the thing they REALLY want to bring to life…

…the ones FILLING up their souls by working in their passion…

Are NOT WAITING FOR INSPIRATION to strike.

They are NOT WAITING FOR MOTIVATION to show up.

They are doing the work – even when they don’t feel like it.

They are showing up – even when they don’t want to.

If you have an idea that just will not leave you alone – one you can’t escape – then it is your duty to bring it to life.

EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.

You can learn how to generate Inspiration & Motivation.

And it doesn’t happen Spontaneously.

All you’re doing is avoiding the hard work –

Maybe because you fear failure.

Or you fear success.

Or you fear hard work.

Or you worry you don’t know how.

It’s time to stop waiting. And worrying.

The world needs your idea. The world needs YOU to SHOW THE FUCK UP.

Truth Right Now: You can be a Creative and put a little structure in place. A few boundaries. A little discomfort.

Stop doing only the comfortable things. You don’t get better when you hang out in that space.

Make a shift. Get back to the things that are important for you. Make time for it.

Stop waiting. It’s time for you to show up. NOW.

This is hard. You might need some help, support, and community.

I’ve created an affordable, effective online group coaching community to help you do exactly this: get out of your own way.

Learn more about The Idea Space here!

But even if you don’t join, hire a coach, or get help, you need to stop talking bullshit and start taking action.

I’d love to hear about it! Drop me a line…

Xo, Jen

How Staying Busy Kept Me From Being a Loser – and Backfired

It’s no secret that I overwork. When I have down time, I panic.

For years, I kept myself busy, busy, busy.

And empty inside.

Growing up, we had many chores. We didn’t go play until chores were done. And, as a perfectionist, I made sure mine were done beautifully. If my parents didn’t validate the work, I’d re-do them.

Stay busy, girl.

In my past, I’d stay busy with hobbies.

In my 20s, I over-exercised as my hobby – and it got unhealthy & obsessive.

In my 30s, I had an expensive scrapbooking hobby. I spent free moments creating a complete artifact of life from 1998 – 2007.

Then Jack was born. Keeping him alive became my hobby. I abandoned almost everything else.

I use being busy as a way to avoid being alone with myself. Sitting around means I’m a loser. Lonely. Alone.

If I stay busy, I don’t have to face that something feels off inside. A void I’m not addressing.

In my early 30s, I went to therapy to figure out what was wrong with me.

At our first session, my therapist, Joni, told me, “I want you to be able to sit on the couch and scratch your belly. And to know that that’s ok. That’s enough if that’s what you want to do.”

I was shocked. There was nothing wrong with me? I could just…be?!

I’ll never forget it. Nobody had ever told me that it was enough if I just sat on the couch and did nothing.

When I actively worked on practicing being OK with myself, everything started to change.

I got into a healthy relationship with a man who encouraged me to be me.

I excelled at teaching and gained confidence to become a leader.

I no longer made life decisions from a place of fear & comparison – like whether to have a baby, leave my teaching career, exclude toxic people from my life.

I’m 48 and still struggle with “just being”. I struggle with “doing enough”. I struggle with “being enough.”

I get panicky if there’s a lot to do and I’m not doing it all, perfectly, RIGHT NOW!

I want you to know I struggle with this – because I often encourage YOU to be kind to yourself.

I know how hard everything I ask you to do is: Breathe. Make realistic goals. Stop beating the shit out of yourself.

Because I’m over here, beating the shit out of myself, too. And reeling myself back in. And sitting down on the couch. Feeling antsy all the while.

It’s a process. Be mindful of it.


Sadly, the world lost Joni this summer; I’m still reeling. I think of her often.

She taught me that showing up is enough. I don’t have to prove anything in order to earn my place in someone’s life.

As we go flying through September, I know there’s a lot on your list. I know you want to go a million miles an hour.

I also know it’s not easy to slow down and be kind to yourself.

Can we just join hands for a moment – energetically – and remind ourselves to sit, scratch, and smile at the memory of a woman who knew what I needed far before I knew what I needed?

I hope you can unwrap this gift & use it in your life, too.

And if you need some support in this arena, reach out. We were never meant to do it all alone.