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

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.

How Oppressive Loneliness Changed My Life

Ever had an experience that feels like it lasted forever?

A shitty relationship? The worst job ever?

Time slows down when we’re unhappy.

When I lived in Manhattan through the ‘90s, time went SLOWLY.

Why?

It was confusing to me. I mean, I was living in NYC! Center of the Universe!

Why would anyone live anywhere else?

I worked 9 to 5. Was at the gym until 7pm each night. Had OOOODles of time to myself every day.

I spent every dollar earned drinking, eating, and shopping my way through the city.

Best. Life. Ever. Right?

Now picture reality: I’m 26-years-old. It’s Saturday night, and I’m home with a cold. I tell myself I’m dying & have an enormous pity party for myself.

Alone in a 420-sq-ft apartment, watching TV.

Pre-internet, pre-phone, pre-social media, and pre-laptop computer.

I am A.L.O.N.E.

Imagine this young woman, sitting by herself on her white & blue mattress-striped couch in her teensy apartment, eating raw cookie dough, drinking ginger ale, and sniffling through her cold.

Feeling very sorry for herself.

Why was I so miserable? I lived in the greatest city on earth! With a lovely job & a generous boss. Always busy

I surprised myself by saying – out loud – “I’m lonely”.

Horrific words. I’d kept myself so awfully busy so that I never had to feel lonely. I’d pushed that feeling down far into my body.

Saying it out loud was a shock. But in that moment, my life started to change.

Why? Because I finally knew the problem! The feeling had a name.

Instead of continuing to hide from it, I confronted it. Gave it a name.

Made a plan to deal with it.

Everything changed in my life after that.

I actively sought ways to feel “filled up”, not busy.

This meant finishing my bachelor’s degree, seeking out new friends, and reaching out when it felt hard to do so.

Thinking about what I really wanted to do “when I grew up”.

Considering leaving the city & moving.

Looking at what made me happy – instead of just busy.

When I look back on this time in my life, it’s not with longing.

It’s with, Man. I don’t know how I did that for so long. I don’t know how I endured the loneliness.

The grind.

Being broke. Not knowing what I wanted to do when I grow up.

Knowing that there was something more I was supposed to be doing, but feeling really unclear about it.

It took me another move (to Boston) and then another move (to Syracuse) before I figured out what I was supposed to do: TEACH!

And when I did, the elation, freedom, and sense of connectedness filled me up!

Do you know there’s something deep inside that you want to do?

Do you believe you have a greater purpose than the one you’re currently living?

First – I want you to acknowledge it to yourself. You don’t have to tell another soul (because that shit is scary.) Just admit it to yourself.

Second – Let yourself dream. What does it look like? (I bet you know. I bet you can see the whole damn thing all played out in your mind.)

Third – Ask your brain this question: How would my life be better if I brought this idea to life? If I pursued it?

Last – Ignore all the negative chatter, the reasons “why not”. Let yourself play a bit – mentally.

What comes up? What do you let yourself see?

You might not have anyone else in your life cheering for you, but I’m over here cheering you on!

I want you to have that thing…

Psst! There are lots of other people like you! Want to meet them? Join me on Facebook or Instagram.

Or another option – if you really want to bring that idea to life – is join my online coaching group, The Idea Space. It’s designed to help Creative Women go from idea to reality.

There’s something more for you out there.

 If you want it, I know you can have it, even if you don’t know it yet!

  

 

 

 

What to Do When Your Project Feels Like It’s Failing

Jen, I’m so stuck. My husband thinks I’ve given my idea enough time, but it hasn’t made enough money. I’m thinking it’s time to go back to work at a regular job.

I receive a version of this email/text/call about once a week from various clients.

If you’re a Creative Woman, you’ve probably felt exactly this way.

Is there someone in your life who doesn’t believe in your idea? Or, are you not making money and you feel guilty & frustrated & overwhelmed?

If you’re considering putting your dream off until “someday”, read this love letter I wrote to my client.

I think it might help you – because it really helped her…and me when I felt the same way.

Shoot me a note: do you ever feel like giving up on your dream?


Dear C–,

At some point, every entrepreneur wonders if it’s time to throw in the towel. These moments of darkness are part of the journey.

It’s easy to not believe in ourselves.

We’re isolated. Overwhelmed. Confused about the next step to take.

Most female entrepreneurs I know feel like you.

They wish their husbands could cheer them on instead of point out all the problems.

They want their best friends to understand.

If only their families would hoot & holler in support.

But that’s not always the reality.

I struggled with this in my first business. We weren’t making any money, and we refused to make changes necessary to make money.

I was committed to my limiting beliefs about what I deserved and how much money I could make. I overworked on tasks that didn’t create money.

My husband & friends & family were tired of hearing my bullshit.

Frankly, I was tired of hearing my bullshit.

I stopped going to my husband or friends for support or ideas. It was bad for my marriage & relationships.

Do you feel like this?

Two questions got me clear on what I wanted.

  1. Do you want to go back to a job? What will life be like? How will life be better? If you that’s what you really want, that’s of course absolutely fine – you just need to like your choice.

If you’ve decided the idea of going back to a job gives you the heebie jeebies, then keep reading.

  1. Do you believe you can make money in this field? Do you have limiting beliefs about the people you want to work with?

Do you tell yourself that the only people who need you don’t have money?

Or…that people won’t pay for what you offer?

Both are limiting beliefs that you need to be aware of.

Look at my niche market: mostly women who haven’t even started their businesses yet. The story I had for a long time was they don’t have any money. And that’s who I attracted. People who were not willing to invest in themselves.

And it sucked.

When I shifted my belief that I deserved to get paid precisely because I served others, that I would work with only women who were willing to invest time, energy, and money into bringing their ideas to life, that’s when I started making money.

There will always be people who tell you you’re doing the wrong thing. Nay-sayers.

But when you stop asking other people’s opinions and just take charge – work with the people you want to work with – you’ll see things shift. No one can believe there is a market for this more than you can.

But I do. I believe there is a market for this. I believe there are people who will pay.

But until YOU believe it, you’ll undercharge, take clients who won’t pay, that no one needs what you offer, and feel guilty for charging for your gifts.

You’ll think you need your husband’s, partner’s, best friend’s, or mom’s blessing & permission to do it.

But YOU KNOW: there are people who need you. And you can help them.

What does she look like? What’s her name? How old is she? See her in your mind: and when you see her, start to think about how you will help her.

Talk to HER in your videos. Talk to HER in your blogs. Talk to HER in your social media posts.

And if you can’t get there – or you’d rather give up the entrepreneurial journey – of course you can do that too! Go back and get a job.

But please do one thing before you decide that.

Get quiet. Sit alone. Close your eyes. And focus on breathing for 3 minutes. Ground yourself – notice the earth supporting your feet and chair supporting your hips. Feel supported.

And now ask your brain to show you what’s happening in August 2019. One year from now. What is life like? Take a few minutes here and see what your brain shows you.

That’s your future self.

Do you like what you see?

Then ask your brain HOW you did it. What thoughts you changed? What actions you took?

Read this letter a few times…and call me if you need me. I’m here…

xoxo, Jen.

Need support bringing your dream to life?  A little direction? A little accountability?

Then you will love The Idea Space: Helping Creative Women Go from Idea to Reality!

This affordable group-coaching membership program will help you bring your idea into the world – without feeling lost or isolated.

Twenty-five Founder spots are available. Nab yours now. Program launches September 24th!

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Feel Stuck Bringing Your Idea To Life? Here’s Help!

Here’s a version of the pain my clients experience: Martha wanted to write a very important book – one the world needs to read.

However, she couldn’t commit to writing it, even in small chunks. We explored where she was stuck, made a plan, and designed Action Items for her to implement.

Next session? She reported all the reasons why she didn’t write over the past two weeks.

Time. Kids. Job. Life.

Some days she just didn’t feel like it.

Other days, she knew she should, but she just couldn’t.

We used various tools to figure out why she was stuck.

Here’s what we discovered: Martha didn’t want to write her book because she couldn’t figure out what would the cover of the book would look like.

To be clear: She didn’t know what would go on the cover of a book she hadn’t written yet, so she didn’t want to write the book. 

I’m not making fun of her. This is a very real example what keeps us stuck!

The book’s cover was a good excuse to not write because she was terrified of failing.

BUT, fear of failure feels like bullshit to our brains, so she told herself she didn’t know HOW to write the book. AND that she didn’t have the time.

Ultimately, the root of the problem was that she was afraid the book would suck.

Then she was afraid the book would be AMAZING. And everyone would read it.

And that was scary too.

Does this make sense to you? It does to me.

“I want the thing. I’m afraid it will suck. And that will change my life. I’m not sure I can handle it.”

AND…

“I want the thing. I’m afraid it will be amazing. And that will change my life. I’m not sure I can handle it.”

We’re afraid of failing. And we’re afraid of success.

And both of these things sound so stupid to our logical brains that we make up reasons to help us make sense of it.

If we stay stuck – then we never have to fail or succeed…or do anything we dream of doing!

It’s safe. SAFE. And safe feels like meh. It feels like shit. It’s emotionally exhausting.

Once Martha figured out what was really going on, everything felt a little easier because it made more sense. She struggled to figure out

Why, if she wanted this thing so badly, could she never manifest it?

Why did she keep manifesting busy-ness? Lack? Pain?

Once she saw the paradox playing out in her brain, she mastered it. Writing came more easily. She worked it into her daily routine.

She saw the bullshit program her brain was running. She saw how the lies were holding her back.

Might your brain be running the same kind of story? How can you know?

Check in: ask yourself:

  1. If my idea fails, what would change in my life? Can I handle this?
  2. If my idea wins, what would change in my life? Can I handle that?

If your brain seizes up when you ask yourself those two questions above, then you’re running a bullshit program up there.

See, I know that you CAN handle it. Do you know you can handle it?

You can handle a win or a ‘fail.’ It’s not fun. It’s not easy.

But you can handle it.

Need support to disrupt the program running in your brain? You’re exactly the person I created my group coaching program for.

Register to be among the first to learn about it when it launches! 25 Founder places available at a great value. It’s time to get realistic & affordable support & bring your idea to life!