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.

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

September Monthly Theme: September is the New January

Here, on the edge of summer, I want to explore a lie most of us tell ourselves:

This summer, I’ll slow down.

Did you race to fit in all that summer allows?

I did. Here’s why:

Summer’s a paradox:

  • We want it to be leisurely. And we want to do all the things & see all the people!
  • We love the long days. And sometimes they feel too long.
  • We embrace the lack of a schedule. And sometimes it feels chaotic.

That little AND word makes us feel like we’re not keeping promises to ourselves!

It’s like, I’ll let the kids stay up reaaaaalllllyyyyy late because – FIREFLIES, AND JEEZ, just go the hell to sleep!

Or, I’m planning trips to the lake, the mountains, the shore…the Fair, AND I want to stay home & rock on my hammock.

We want it all, and we deserve it – because in CNY, we get about 3 ½ minutes of summer!!

AND this summer was an absolute gem.

AND…this summer, my clients (and I) struggled keeping promises to…

  • Eat well.
  • Make time for themselves.
  • Get stuff done for their businesses.
  • Move & exercise.
  • Keep the house together.
  • Plan for fall.

And now – we’re ready! Let’s get our act together!

After all, September is the New January!!

It’s time to get our shit in order, accomplish our goals, and look to the near future.

BUT before you try to get all your shit in order, please do one little thing.

Think back to April & May. Think back to the chill in the air. Think back to the promise of an upcoming Summer season.

What did you want for your summer? Your life? Your SELF?

Think back to the long June nights as we headed toward the Solstice. To fires & BBQs & walks & swims & floats.

Think back to the dreams & goals you had coming out of a long, gray, cold, wet winter & spring.

Think about all that you enjoyed. And savor it.

AND maybe you wanted something more or different. Maybe you let some shit go that you wanted to attend to.

Regretting all that won’t help. Instead, take time to look back on your Summer and relish it. What did you want? What did you create?

And as you dip a toe & get back to real life, I highly recommend this tool: the Back on Track Notepad, and I use it every day. You can grab one here from Annie Taylor Design online!

It helps me achieve my goals – whether it’s spending more time at the lake or working on my business.

I’d love to hear: what’s one thing you’re really proud that you did this summer?

Shoot an email or leave a comment. I’m collecting answers to share what summer looks like for real people!

Xo, Jen

PS: I’m hosting a “Get Back On Track” Live Workshop on Monday, 9/24. It’s a day of looking back, looking ahead, making realistic changes, and liking where your life is heading next! Learn more & register here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who I Used to Be Ain’t Pretty

My sweet nieces love to look at old high school pics of my sister & me.

Ooof. It was not a good time for hair or eyewear.

Or – apparently – Jen Grimm.

In any photo of me from 1981 – 1992, I look like a miserable jerk.

I mean – it’s not just the lack of the smile. That’s a downright SCOWL. I look mean. Unhappy. Hateful.

My nieces don’t know me as Scowly Aunt Jen.

They think I’m nice. They’ve only known adult Aunt Jen.

I mean – I’m not fooling anyone or being phony: they know I don’t put up with any shit, have strong boundaries, and am direct as hell, but they see me as happy, kind, funny, and inclusive.

And that’s not who I used to be.

When I talk about my old self – my negative, sarcastic, unhappy self – they worry about me. They think I’m “badmouthing” myself. They think I’m talking shit about myself.

And it concerns them. They hate to hear me badmouth my former self.

But I’m really ok with seeing who I used to be. I’ve done a lot of work around this topic, and it was not easy.

I used to say sarcastic, mean things.
I used to talk about people behind their backs.

I used to hate myself.

I used to judge others – and myself.

I was funny, but in a cutting, sardonic, dark manner.

I’m not that person anymore. And I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without having been “Scowly Aunt Jen.”

I’m at peace with it. Know why?

Because who I used to be does not define who I can become.

It says nothing about my potential.

Who do I want to be? I get to decide.

Who do you want to be?

What do you want to create?

What would make your life better?

You get to decide.

I know it feels like you don’t get to decide.

It feels like your life happens to you.

It feels like you don’t get any choice.

I thought that for a looooong time. I thought, “Well, I’m a sarcastic person. That’s WHO I AM. And if you don’t like me, Fuck Off.”

My truth was that I was a judgmental person, a person who didn’t deserve love from a good man, a person who couldn’t make money.

And because I told myself that was my truth, I didn’t believe I could change it. For decades, really.

So many things led me to seeing possibilities for myself – no one “a-ha moment” defines it.

But it’s why I’m passionate about this message:

You get to be whomever you want to be.

Do you want to be an artist?
An author?

A writer?
An entrepreneur?

Do you want to bring a new you forth?

You can. Decide on who you want to be. And let the old version of yourself know that it’s ok – she mattered. She helped you get here.

What are you ready to bring into the world?

Need support? My new online coaching program The Idea Space is designed to help women like you get their ideas out of their head & into the world.

It can be scary to create the dream. It feels lonely & confusing. I put this group together to help women become who they want to be.  Want to learn more? Let’s have a quick chat. Painless & free.