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How do you picture self-confidence?

  • Is it like a strong mountain, or a duck swimming with serenity in the lake next to it?

  • Maybe it's like a dam, strong enough to hold back the waters of external pressure and control what gets through?

  • Perhaps confidence is more subtle, like having the ability to grow in hard environments.

What stands out to me today, is that self-confidence is an inner strength that grows out of my beliefs about myself. When I believe I have the skills to accomplish a task, I am more confident about jumping in. When I believe I'm worthy of love, I accept the love offered to me by others, and I enter into social situations more readily (if you know me, you know that my enjoyment of others quickly compensates for waning confidence). When I have self-confidence, I stand up taller. I make better eye contact. I smile more. I speak my mind. I might even take a risk or two (ahem, like starting a life coaching business). I used to think that being affirmed by others was essential to developing self-confidence. I was sure that because my wife believes in me, I would find it easier to believe in myself. I'm learning that while it feels really great to be affirmed by others, it isn't enough to make up for deficits in my self-confidence. That is something I need to cultivate inside myself by identifying my core beliefs, discarding those that are untrue, and replacing them with ones that will sustain me on a consistent basis. This kind of work is important to me as a person, a mom, and as a coach. In my own life, cultivating a strong sense of my own value and capacity enables me to embrace new opportunities. As a mom, I want my kids to know their inherent worth and understand their unique place in the world. As a coach, I want clients to move forward with confidence into the own lives, dreams and ambitions. I can encourage clients all I want (and I do), but ultimately, real change comes when clients identify their core beliefs, and then consider whether those beliefs are true and helpful. When negative or limiting beliefs can be replaced by truthful, positive, and empowering beliefs, all sorts of change is possible!

It is a joy to do this work personally and professionally. If you think your own beliefs about yourself may be keeping you from pursuing your dreams, drop me a message through my website or my Facebook page.

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I took this picture in NE Minneapolis this summer. The scene jumped out at me for its warmth and welcome. I genuinely wanted to be sitting on that porch talking with a friend, but I had good enough impulse control to stop myself! As I look back on it now, the picture represents four aspects of coaching that are important to me.

First, I love the warmth of this scene.

This image reminds me it is important to welcome clients into a warm space. This might seem odd since I meet via Zoom (a video conferencing tool) with people. What control do I have about environment in that setting? There are a lot of things I can do. For example, I can keep my physical and mental space is uncluttered. This helps me focus my attention on the client (and keeps them from being distracted too). I also adjust the camera angle, lighting, and sound quality to support a strong connection. Further, I am as intentional about making eye contact, by looking at the camera, as I would be in a face-to-face conversation. Together, these choices help me create a context that is warm and engaging.

Second, I'm drawn to both the spaciousness and the safety of the scene.

This image reminds me that the core task of coaching is holding a safe space for people to be who they are, where they are in life. Clients get to bring the issue they want to address to a session. Clients can count on a judgment-free zone to talk about areas in which they may feel stuck, ways they want to grow, or changes they want to make. I don't outline the top five areas they need to work on and insist we forge ahead on my agenda. No no NO! I hold space for the client to be who they are, where they are on their own journeys toward greater integration and wholeness. Holding safe space, is essential to effective coaching! It's one of the great honors of this work.

Third, I'm drawn to the reflection in the window.

As clients and I work together, there are times when it can be helpful for me to reflect back to them what I'm hearing and seeing. Even by video, I can pick up on a person's body language, tone of voice, and word choices. Reflecting these back to a client can help them see things in a new way, and free them up to make changes that support their values and dreams. It's not unusual for me to be able to suggest a metaphor that might capture what I'm hearing. In all these ways, I hope to graciously reflect back to a client what I'm hearing and seeing. Fourth, let's consider what can't be seen in the picture!

This picture was taken from the driver's seat in my car. Just out of view of the porch and these chairs is a well-trafficked road. In my mind, this illustrates something that's implicit in coaching--a willingness to take an action. Coaching is more than just talking to someone. In most sessions, the client will make a choice to do something. Maybe they'll commit to noticing their inner dialog for a week. Maybe they'll choose to take a risk and address a task they've been afraid of and avoiding for a while. Maybe they'll take the next steps toward reengaging an old hobby. In each case, there's a next step (small or large) that gets taken. I love this sense of motion that comes in coaching. Interested in meeting with a coach? A free, 40-minute session is available for you to experience coaching for yourself! Use the Contact tab in the upper right corner or email me at to arrange a time. (Appointments are available Monday nights, Tuesday -Thursday days and nights, Friday during the day, and Saturday morning. Let's find a time that works for you.

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This image is a close up of rippling water in a small pond. The water reflects the blue, green, and yellow of the sky, trees, and surrounding area.
Reflections at Freestone Park in Gilbert, AZ

A new decade will arrive in less than 9 weeks.


NINE weeks!

How. did. this. happen?! Why didn't anyone warn (well, I'm warning you now)?!

[Pausing to take deep breaths. Many many deep breaths.]

I have this little thing about perfection, even when I'm preparing for a new initiative in my life. I tell myself all the work is about preparing for success (and sometimes I am). A lot of the time, however, my preparation is a way of putting off new the hopes that I'll be able to both create and implement the perfect plan. And I mean PERFECT.

In a perfect world, new decades would not only start with a new year, but also with a new week (like a Sunday or Monday). This next decade, 2020, starts on a Wednesday. A WEDNESDAY (better than a Tuesday or Thursday, but still....). OK, so the Wednesday isn't ideal, but fortunately, "2020" is a great number (note the repetition of "20" and "20," as well as the associations with a TV show and good vision). The number itself makes up for the mid-week start.

But I digress.

In my perfectionistic planning, not only would I set new goals to coincide with new year/decade, I would insist on getting new equipment and tools. I mean, how can I fail with new notebooks, pens, and calendar? What about having a new bike, shoes, socks, clothes, and biking app? I'm telling you, if I start a new initiative on the right date and day of the week, AND have new equipment, nothing can stop me. Success is a slam dunk! [Cue Chariot's of Fire or Rocky theme songs.]

Except myself. [stop music]

What if achieving goals really has less to do with aligning numbers, days of the week, and new equipment, and more to do with aligning those changes with my deepest values and dreams, as well as my way of being in the world? I'd have an easier time removing the obstacles that keep me from success (things like fear, self-sabotage, misplaced priorities, lack of confidence, or old messages of failure).

Let me take that a step further. What if, instead of waiting for new weeks, months, years, or decades, we decided to prioritize our lives NOW? (Yes, I'm switching from I to we, 'cuz you knew this was going to be about you too, right?) What if we decided to address our lives in anticipation of a new year, rather than waiting for it?

Think about it.

Imagine waking up on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. What do you want that to feel like? I want to wake up that day celebrating that I've already started living into my hopes, dreams, values and deepest longings. I'm not going to think about resolutions on January 1st, because I'm not going to wait for 2020 to address the changes I want to make in my life.

Having a life coach is one of the key strategies I'm using to me keep me focused, help me prioritize the things I'm addressing, and help me to both identify and remove barriers that get in my way. If you want to do the same, I'd be delighted to work with you as your life coach. Let me know how I can partner with you in anticipation of 2020.

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