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.

 

 

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!

  

 

 

 

3 Steps to Overcome Self-Sabotage

I self-sabotage in many ways.

But one of my stupidest ways is checking email all. day. long.

Here’s how it goes:

I use email as my “to-do” list. It provides a constant hit of dopamine and concrete tasks to tick off my list.

Concrete tasks are nice for entrepreneurs: way easier than, “Come up with idea for blog” or “Update website” or “Create new coaching program”.

Email is a perfectly acceptable distraction. Better than Instagram. Or wine.

Sometimes I even use it to panic about how much work there is.

And – because entrepreneurship can be isolating & lonely, it keeps me company.

It’s a lovely distraction.

This year, I promised I’d become more productive and started with becoming aware of my habits.

I got really curious about m’self.

Guess what? I found that when I feel stressed about a task…

Or the next step of a project seems unclear or difficult…

Or I’m working and get a little bored…

I check email. I use it as a “break”.

What fresh hell is that!? Email is not a fricken’ break! Email is a place to find more tasks to do!

ANYWAY! This post (for once) is not about what an ass I am. Instead, I wanted to encourage you to try a tool I’m experimenting with.

The tool is, as usual, simple but not easy.

Something distracts you, right? Maybe your drug of choice is far more fun than email. (I’m not surprised. You’re way funner than me.)

Ok, so you’ve got a distraction. Something you do when a task feels hard, makes you anxious, or has a next step that is annoying or unclear.

Do you know what yours is?

Start with Step 1: Figure that shit out. Maybe you don’t want to admit it.

Just admit it so we can move on, ok?

Great. Thanks!

Now…you’ve got your distraction: it keeps you from bringing an idea to life or following through on a promise you made to yourself.

 

Step 2: Ask how mean you are to yourself about this distraction.

Do you beat yourself up about it?

I bet you beat yourself up in other parts of your life, too.

Today, I’m asking, “How has beating yourself up gotten you closer to that thing you really want?”

That’s right! It HAS NOT! (1000 points to you if you got that one right!)

Beating the shit out of ourselves is not useful. Doesn’t move us forward. Doesn’t stop the habit.

We don’t move through blocks by judging ourselves, being mean to ourselves, or beating ourselves up.

What does? Go to Step 3 to find out.

Step 3: See it. Notice the block. Notice the habit.
AND!! MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!

Do not judge it.

When I recognized my email habit – though fairly benign – I got fascinated with why I did this. When I used it.

How it kept me from moving forward.

How I avoided stuff I didn’t want to do.

I got curious. And realized, “Oh!! When shit feels hard, (or boring), I leave the project to check email.”

Maybe you get coffee. Or a Snickers bar. Or Snapchat.

Want to move beyond this? Be kind to your habit by noticing it. Thank it for serving you for all these years: it’s been trying to keep you safe from discomfort.

When you accept that you do it, and can be kind about it, THAT’S WHEN you start to move past it.

Want to get to the next level? Give these 3 steps a try!

Changed my life! Ready to change yours?

If you are ready to change your habits – maybe you find it’s hard. I’ve got support ready for you in my new Group-Coaching Program The Idea Space: Helping Creative Women Go from Idea to Reality!

  • Affordable support.
  • Realistic strategies.
  • Live coaching.

Let’s bring your idea to life – and you don’t have to do it alone, in overwhelm, or with confusion! Reach out to chat about this as a possibility for you!

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!