Tag Archives: fun

happy-happy-birthday

Every year around this time I reflect on the big leap I took to start my own business.

Now three years in, I reflect on how freakin’ scary it was! How even making my first professional Facebook post felt like I was inviting all of my worst fears to come and take up residence in my daily life.

What if I fail?

What if no one takes me seriously?

What if I’m not good enough? Kind enough? Smart enough? Savvy enough?

What if I don't like this thing at all?

Well, if there’s anything that working with coaching clients for 3 years will teach you it’s that those thoughts are normal, you’re not alone and when it’s all said and done, each and every one of us is capable of coming out the other side of fear stronger than when we entered.

This World Tree Coaching anniversary moment is made all the more poignant in that this week I will also reach my own birthday milestone – the big 4-0! FORTY!

I remember the 40th birthday parties of my parents’ generation always included fake gravestones and black streamers. Thank god we’re not in that place anymore! Times have changed! I think forty seems pretty awesome.

I love my work as a coach and writer. I adore with every part of my soul sitting down and supporting someone as they walk through fear and come out the other side. I love the challenge of it all and feel stretched every day to be a better coach and to tap into my strengths and confront professional challenges. I can’t claim the hard parts are easy…but I do love them!

And I also love how this work forces me to get comfortable with all the many ways we feel. The losses, challenges and passions of my clients remind me of those places in my own life. My coaching work is about my clients, but I feel like it’s a jackpot of incredible luck that I get to learn along with them.

This year – above all else – I will be celebrating! Come do that with me!

In celebration of these milestones, I am offering 5 special coaching spots at a fantastic reduced rate.

Why 5? Because that’s the space I have and I like the number.

Why the reduced rate? This is totally the social worker in me. It probably means I’m not the world’s most savvy business owner, but I love sharing things. I’m not kidding. I LOVE sharing! So, while I can’t give things away for free (all the time)…I can share the shit out of my services. My financial planner probably thinks I’m crazy.

Okay, so maybe you think you might be one of the five and maybe the price seems right, but you're still asking - Why life coaching?

Here are my favorite things about life coaching:

Life coaching is about helping you find your strengths and use them.

Life coaching helps you get to know yourself better and cut through that annoying voice in your head that tells you things that aren’t true…or tune in to the voice that totally nails the truth every time.

Life coaching supports you in the practice of living in balance between the heart and head.

Life coaching helps you learn to say yes and no better.

Life coaching is both challenging and fun…it’s like a marathon without the sweat, chafing or lost toenails.

Life coaching gives you a personal cheerleader (That’s me!) to nudge you into really living because, seriously, you are not getting any younger!

Sound good?

Here’s who I’m looking for:

I’m looking for those people who’ve thought about coaching and thought about coaching, but just don’t quite send the email.

I’m speaking to those of you who are super curious about the changes you want to make, but also feel scared about what you might find on the other end. Hint: Being scared is okay and there’s really no reason to do it alone.

I’m looking for those of you who just feel really, really ready to grow, to learn and to have someone (finally!) listen.

And I’m looking for those of you who feel all over the place and who regularly ask yourself, “What the hell am I doing!?”

Just 5 spots. Details here.

See you soon!

upcoming-workshops-from-world-tree-coaching

As I mentioned in my last post, I am super excited to finally be getting moved in and into a permanent home after what feels like three long, international years of transition. It doesn't even seem possible that we've lived in 5 places (overlapping 3 countries, 2 Japanese cities and 2 US states) since we first found out we were moving to Japan 3 years ago. NOT. NORMAL.

This makes it all the more exciting to announce my workshop line-up for October!

I will be offering the following two workshops/programs:

UNDERSTANDING THE HABITS OF HEART AND MIND - A WORKSHOP ON EVERYDAY MINDFULNESS TECHNIQUES 
TUES, OCT. 4, 10-11:30
Learn basic mindfulness skills to reduce stress and improve decision-making in a supportive, interactive and fun workshop. LIMIT 15 PARTICIPANTS. Read more and register here.

3-SESSION MANTRA BUILDER GROUP
NOTE DATE/TIME CHANGE FOR FIRST MEETING!

#1 - FRI. OCT. 7 11:00- 12:30; #2 - THURS. OCT. 13 10:00-11:30; #3 - THURS. OCT. 20; 10-11:30
Learn more about what makes you tick, focus in on your priorities, develop strategies to maintain stability even in the face of change and create a personal mantra to take with you wherever you go. LIMIT 5 PARTICIPANTS. Read more and register here.

Thank you for your interest! I look forward to seeing you there!

Don't forget the detours.

The first thing my daughter said when she woke up this morning was, “Momma, will you take me to school on your bike this morning?” I so wanted to…but I also didn’t. I could see all of these excuses in front of me – I don’t really know the bike route to her school, the bike is new and I don’t yet have a patch kit and supplies, I don’t have a good place to store a water bottle, I had a client session scheduled for 10:00 AM.

I told her I would think about it. That’s all it took. She was so enthusiastic – looking at the bike, telling me it looked sturdy and ready to go, getting dressed and following all of my instructions to make sure she was ready on time. “Please Mommy,” she kept saying.

Between dishes and lunches and beds and backpacks, I was able to sneak a peak at the trail map. It looked pretty doable. I figured at any rate, if I got lost I’d just get up on the road. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal if she were late to preschool. We probably weren’t going to have a flat or an accident. The ride’s only an hour round trip, I couldn’t get that thirsty. I'd definitely be back by 10:00.

I found myself saying yes.

Normally, I’m a big believer in saying no to the things that you’re not super enthusiastic about doing. But, this is one of those cases where I had the exact opposite feeling. In my heart, I wanted to take her, to spend time with her, to get in a great workout, to be out in nature, to try something new.... it was just different than what I had planned on for the morning. As I went through my mental list of excuses, I realized that all of them were really excuses based on the fact that I’d already planned my morning and a bike ride wasn’t initially part of that plan.

While I was getting dressed, I took myself through my mental list of excuses and realized that none of them really prevented me from taking her to school on my bike. The only thing stopping me from having a pleasant morning with my daughter was me and my silly plan.

To be honest, changing the plan made me a little anxious. We’re at that place where we’re starting to transition. I don’t feel over-scheduled, but I do feel fully scheduled…if not logistically, at least mentally. It’s that time where you feel like any small shift in the plan could set the whole thing tumbling on the floor like an unstable pyramid of oranges in the produce section.

And yet, we took the bike. And it was awesome. We got a little lost at one point – that’s what maps are for. It was hot and steamy, but it didn’t rain – it was a good workout. After dropping her off, I skidded on a rocky incline, fell and scraped up my knee – it actually feels kinda’ nice… like being a kid again.

I needed this reminder today. I love our life, but the packing and moving never get easier. I’ve gotten better at managing the moves, at knowing where the ups and downs will be and at staying true to myself in the midst of transition – but it remains challenging. Today was the day that I was reminded that one fool-proof way to live through it is to say yes here and there to the detours and when you find yourself on one, you might as well go ahead and have fun.

2 Comments

childhood memories blog post

Today I hosted a play date for my two oldest children. In addition to my boys, there were three other TCKs. For much of the afternoon they played a game that was one part good guys/bad guys, one part chase and one part hide-and-seek. They laughed and screamed and beat a path from bedroom to bedroom in our tiny apartment.

This got me thinking about the fact that sometimes, despite all of the amazing things my children have seen and are seeing because of our international life, I really wish they could do some of the things I did as a kid.

Things like:

  • Lying in the driveway looking at stars and counting the falling ones.
  • Building forts in the cedar trees and collecting juniper berries and leaves and twigs and making magic potions out of them.
  • Walking late at night through ranch land to a friend’s house only fearing coyotes and snakes and stray barbed wire.
  • Reading in a hammock, listening to wind chimes.
  • Passing notes and staying up late with the same friends since kindergarten.

I’ve shared this feeling with my husband off and on over the years. He laughs because his childhood was nothing like mine. He, of course, has completely different memories that fuel his understanding of what childhood should be like.

He’s good at reminding me that what I really want them to have is good memories – memories of laughter and security and adventure.

Today I had this moment in the kitchen, making popcorn and listening to the laughter of this silly bunch of kids who’ve lived all over the world, that they have exactly what I had and exactly what my husband had. They have now and are creating every day memories that are tailored exactly for and by their own experiences.

And that’s what makes childhood memories so special. It’s not the place or the time or the exact activity, it’s the fact that you were there. You were fully engaged. You lived in that moment. In all your perfect kid-ness you just lived…without comparison or envy or the feeling that the grass was greener on the other side.

Come to think of it, that’s not too shabby of a lesson for each and every one of us…no matter how old.

 

Expat Life with a Double Buggy

AWESOME

Happy New Year from World Tree Coaching! As I find myself today coming out from the isolation of having been home with my kids for almost three weeks, I realize I’ve got a bit of catching up to do.

Actually, I was realizing that all along. Only now that I sit down in front of my computer and take the steps to get organized do I realize what all that entails.

While I’ve been pretty quiet on the blogging front these past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the New Year and what this time of year means to most of us. Even if you’re not a resolution-maker, there’s something about the New Year that forces us to examine the past and look ahead to the future.

Right now all over the internet you’re going to see post after post telling you exactly how to create your resolutions, keep your resolutions, fine-tune your resolutions, pick the best resolutions….and even some that will tell you to ditch resolutions all together. So much telling!

In light of so much telling, I'm going to try not to get too tell-y or preach-y here. But, I would love the opportunity to remind you that genuinely reflecting on who and where you are is a good thing. In fact, whether you’re really a resolution-maker or not, probably one of the best things you can do for yourself in 2015 is take a nice long look in the mirror and get up close and personal with the person looking back at you.

So in the spirit of curiosity and inquiry (not telling), I'm just gonna' pose a few questions...

Is it possible that all you really need to get started on 2015 is to love yourself a bit more?

What would happen if you were to stop putting yourself down, comparing yourself to others and wishing things were different than the way they really are?

What if, even though there are things you’d like to do differently, you told yourself that you’re really enough just as you are?

Imagine confronting life’s challenges (spoiler alert: there’s no escaping the hard times) knowing that yes, you are really doing all you can.

And, what if, after taking more time to know and be yourself, all that other stuff you’re adding to the resolution list seemed so much clearer?

And what if all this wasn’t just silly, cheesy, random fluff?

It’d be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it?

Throughout 2015, my goal will be to continue helping people rediscover that they’re enough…more than enough really. I want my clients, my friends and my family members to know that their challenges and their strengths work in tandem to create a fully capable and loving person. Confession: I even want to keep reminding myself of that.

So, Happy New Year from World Tree Coaching. May your year be filled with plenty of time to be you. And, in being you, may you find the clarity, hope, love and fun you’ve been searching for.

I’m currently scheduling clients for February and March. If you’d like to work with me in 2015 - click here to learn more.

IMG_2751

This weekend I gave my kids the Referee Bop Bag (official name per the internet) you see pictured above. It was a gift, but it’s been in the back of my closet for about 6 months waiting for the perfect day to make its appearance. Three kids, rain, cold, 800 square feet and late afternoon restlessness was all it took. This thing is awesome! Poor guy.

Who knew the entertainment factor for this thing could be so off the charts. Apparently there’s no end to the delight achievable by punching, kicking and tackling a 4-foot tall, plastic, pear-shaped dummy.

I’ve had a number of thought-provoking observations in the 24 hours the Ref has been in our lives. Like whether a free-for-all approach is preferable to taking turns. Or, the fact that my 2 year old daughter apparently has a face of steel – she’s been the victim of more than one gravity-based backlash from the dummy. But, perhaps the most surprising thing I’ve noticed is how very particular each of my kids is in the way they go about playing…or pummeling…this toy.

Bear with me here on these observations. As someone who spends a lot of time helping people figure themselves out – I never quite get away from noticing these sorts of things.

My oldest is gentle and systematic, but persistent. Single left jabs over and over and over again right between the eyes. Punch the dummy, the dummy bops back up, punch the dummy again. He’s like a metronome. Maybe he laughs or smiles a little bit. It seems therapeutic in the way knitting or coloring is therapeutic. He seems to value the consistency and the rhythm of it.

My middle child is all out, free for all, anything goes on The Ref! Laughing, singing, dancing, kicking, carrying and (once or twice) throwing. It’s like the dummy gives him permission to unleash every ounce of energy he has stored up. And he loves that thing – he said goodnight to it, checked in on it first thing in the morning. I’m sure before we know it the guy will have a name. Come to think of it…they’re the same height. At least the dummy is tolerant of this passionate play.

And then there’s my daughter. At two years old, she more or less goes for the dummy in the same way my middle child does, but since she’s smaller and the thing towers over her she tends to collapse in giggles and spend more time on the ground laughing than actually punching it. Her kicks almost always knock her over instead of the dummy. It’s hilarious.

When my kids are punching that dummy – there’s no agenda. They’re just punching away in the way that feels most natural and most satisfying for them. As long as they’re not hurting anyone, there aren’t really any rules. There’s no right and wrong.

As adults, we spend a lot of time judging others for the way they do things or judging ourselves for the ways in which we go about dealing with the challenges in our lives. To be fair, sometimes the ways in which we deal with the world around us are harmful (to ourselves and to others), but lots of times they’re not. Like the way my kids tackle the dummy, we’re faced every day with tackling life in own unique way.

I like to imagine how we can grow from taking the bop bag as a reminder of the fun, freedom and self-awareness needed to confront the challenges that we face by owning up to what works best for each of us. We benefit greatly from looking honestly at what inspires us, moves us and brings us home.

So as I sit here staring at that bop bag and knowing that come 4:00 PM the kids will be back in here punching away, I’m using him as my own reminder of the importance of taking things at my own pace – sometimes slow, sometimes hectic, always steadily on to the next day (or place).

Oh, and before I forget, if you’re interested in your very own Referee Bop Bag, it looks like you can buy him here.

Here’s a question I’ve been thinking about lately – Do we sabotage our success at certain things by purposefully limiting our enthusiasm, our curiosity or our genuine interest? I’m thinking specifically about things like greater happiness, better diet, improved exercise or expanded faith or spirituality – although I’m sure there are others.

This has been on my mind for two reasons:

First, the topic came up in a class I’m taking. It’s an online class on the Science of Happiness and is being offered through the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. In the first week of the course, in addition to learning about the scientific research behind what makes people happy, we were encouraged to take up a week-long happiness project. The task was based on the benefits of gratitude and we were asked to write down each day, for a week, 3 good things that happened each day. As part of the instructions we were told that we would likely benefit more from the activity if we set aside any notion of it being “hokey” or “woo woo” and really got into it.

The other reason is this - I’m a pretty enthusiastic person. I get excited about things. Even things about which I’m skeptical or unsure, I’ve found I’ve always been able to rein that in a bit and remember to just go forward with a positive mindset. Recently, I expressed to my mom my thrill in finding a babysitter that would be a perfect fit for us. Her response? “Well, don’t get your hopes up.” “What?! What’s wrong with hopes up?” I thought. I mean, I’m well aware that it might not work out, but when good things happen, I kind of like to enjoy that feeling.

So, back to the sabotage. Social worker, researcher and author, Brené Brown, (kind of) covers this in her book The Gifts of Imperfection (although she doesn’t use the word sabotage). She writes,

We hustle for our worthiness by slipping on the emotional and behavioral straitjacket of cool and posturing as the tragically hip and the terminally “better than.” Being “in control” isn’t always about the desire to manipulate situations, but often it’s about the need to manage perception. We want to be able to control what other people think about us so that we can feel good enough.

She’s talking about this in the context of the ways in which shame gets in the way of what she calls wholehearted living. Regardless of why we do this, I think it’s safe to say that we do. I believe that most people are naturally curious, generous, loving, and open to possibility. But, our fear of failure, of looking stupid or even looking too smart, too goody-goody, too emotional or too cheesy makes us hold back – especially when we’re trying something new.

This is an especially challenging issue for expats, because we’re ALWAYS in new situations and faced with a decision to go for it 100% or to hold back and see how things go. And here’s where my question lies. If we were to stop holding back, would we be more successful at living our transitions in ways that are more true to ourselves? I really think so. But, what if opening up to your natural curiosity and inner-enthusiast doesn’t come easily for you? I’ve listed a few starter ideas below. Go ahead and give them a try.

  1. Find an enthusiasm buddy. Know someone that seems to get excited about things? Tell them about a change you’re wanting to make, a new activity you’re hoping to try or a dream you’re ready to pursue and see if he or she will cheer you on.
  2. Try it out in private. Love to sing, but feel self-conscious? Listen – that’s what the shower and the car are for…right? Take advantage of privacy to get comfortable with your enthusiasm. Working on giving it your all when you don't have an audience, can free you up to let that enthusiasm trickle out to other places.
  3. Get enthusiastic about the little things. Found a dollar bill in your pocket? Yay!! Did you manage to get the kids out of the house with only one small meltdown (yours or theirs – doesn’t matter)? Yee-haw!! You rock! No accomplishment is too small for you to celebrate when you’re working on an enthusiasm boost.
  4. Celebrate someone else’s success. Sometimes being enthusiastic for other people can be easier than admitting to ourselves that we’ve got something to be excited about. This doesn’t need to be fancy. Simply saying, “Wow! Good for you!” can be enough. If you can manage to cultivate excitement and interest in someone else’s accomplishments, you’re teaching yourself how to get excited about what you have in store.
  5. Write down 3 things you love and totally, absolutely and completely admit it. Personally, I think there are few things more attractive in a person than someone who can admit that they love something that’s traditionally seen as nerdy, uncool, strange or silly. And my husband grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons so you can trust me on this one.

Still curious? Wanna’ boost your natural enthusiast? Check out my FREE pdf of this activity on accessing your curiosity from The Expat Activity Book. It's sure to help you focus in on raising your enthusiasm and might just help you find success in a new endeavor!

emerson quote - enthusiasm

 

This week I accomplished a major goal I had set for myself back in September. I completed the Coach U Core Essentials Coach Training Program and logged the necessary coaching hours to graduate. It felt really good to have set a goal for myself and have completed it – especially given the major life changes my family and I were handling in the middle of it all. I patted myself on the back. I carefully and fully marked through the lines on my agenda that said, “Take final exam” and “submit graduation paperwork.” Then, I got on with the rest of the week.

On Wednesday I met with my mentor. At first I forgot to even mention that I had graduated. When I did finally remember to tell her, she said, “And what did you do to celebrate?” Celebrate? Ummm…well…nothing. And then I got to thinking – I don’t really celebrate much at all. Actually, let’s put it this way – I live more or less in a constant mode of celebration. I do celebrate life and all of its ups and downs every single day. I take time to stop and smell the roses. I spend time doing things I love. I make time for things like pedicures and massages and date nights with my husband.

But, when it comes to celebration for the sake of celebration – I just don’t do it and now I think it’s time I started. It seems to me that celebration is more multifaceted than I first envisioned. I’m a dedicated celebrator of the accomplishments of my kids, my clients, my husband, my friends, my family and life in general. I think what my coach was getting at when she asked me about my celebration habits was more about drawing out an even deeper layer of richness to life and, perhaps even more importantly, making those experiences a part of my everyday mindset. In other words, living life to the fullest is great (and constitutes a form of celebration), but perhaps I’ve neglected to build on that.

My coach’s suggestion was to make a Celebration Menu complete with appetizers (which I think could be small, little celebrations), entrees (heftier, more substantial celebratory activities) and desserts (maybe the most indulgent of celebrations). I love this idea! I love it as way to really stretch my brain to expand the notion of celebration. I like the idea of including things I’ve said for years I want to do and rewarding hard work with pure fun, joy or soulfulness.

So, I’m including my Celebration Menu below. Now, I’m curious – what would yours include?

APPETIZERS

Get a pedicure at a nice spa instead of the place down the road that does a good job, but plays soap operas on the TV and smells like polish remover.

Get an afternoon coffee and sit and read at the coffee shop.

Buy $10 worth of cute office supplies (I’m obsessed with office supplies…and they’re a tax write off)

Take the kids to Dairy Queen to share in the celebration.

ENTREES

Go on a fancy date night – not a typical jeans and t-shirt date night.

Invite a few friends out for drinks and dinner – my treat!

Take a hip-hop dance class.

Go shopping by myself.

Spend an entire day with my husband, walking and talking.

Take all day to do an art or sewing project – uninterrupted by work or children.

DESSERTS

Attend a 2 or 3-day meditation retreat.

Spend $50-$100 on something really special that I would love to have, but would not normally buy.

See a play.

Go to a concert.

This morning, driving back from dropping the kids at summer camp, my husband I had a great conversation about music. We’re huge music lovers at our house and we see that permeating our kids lives as well. We were noticing that one of the greatest joys of our international lifestyle is the complicated and diverse fabric of music we have come to love. My husband and I can understand the lyrics to songs in English, French, Spanish and even a bit of Japanese. Our kids on the other hand (despite once being bilingual in English and Spanish and having a smattering of French), really don’t understand the lyrics most of the time…frankly, even if it’s in English, their native language.

But, they’re so moved by the rhythm and the energy that comes from the things they hear. Some of their favorite songs they simply request by reproducing the beat or other times they approximate the lyrics by giving a go at what they believe they’re hearing (as you can imagine, this is especially adorable).

As we were talking this morning, I was thinking about this and the way in which it’s another unexpected positive consequence to this mobile lifestyle. Their flexibility with experiences, with language and with culture is being formed in so many complex ways we never even really think of.

And, it’s yet another thing that reminds me how little actually needs to be “done” in order to make this lifestyle work. We kind of just nestle down into living, having fun and making our best go of it without overcomplicating things. Then out the other side comes a simple, unencumbered ability to dance to a rhythm that moves us – even if we never really understand each and every detail.

For the music lovers out there – here are a few favorites that we never get tired of hearing.

We love Stromae and he actually gave a really great NPR interview with Eleanor Beardsley this morning.

Such a fun and addictive song! This was a real hit of the elementary school birthday party set when we were living in Madagascar.

Ok - we LOVE this one, but be warned - the video is horribly sexist...I also can't promise that none of the lyrics aren't offensive....but, on dance beat alone, this song is hands down a favorite.

And here - just a simple, never-gets-old classic. I have to admit too - I love the fact that my kids only really recognize the Spanish one.

 

There’s no other way to put this – I’m really, really, really into summer. I love the heat. I love the food – eating fresh and light from the garden. I love making a meal out of chips and guac and a nice cold beer. And then there are the long, long drawn out evenings. One of my all time favorite feelings is being tired and worn out from a day in the sun.

So many of the details of my summer memories are wrapped up in my childhood. Growing up in the Texas Hill Country gave my brother and me (and all of our friends) the pleasures of Hamilton Pool, Barton Springs and Pace Bend. And when those places got too crowded or it was too far to drive or it was late at night, there was always swimming at a friend’s pool (or even occasionally in a rumored-to-be-water-moccasin-infested tank…for the under-informed, a tank is what we call a small pond that cows can drink from). We also had lots of lots of barbeque and tacos and chips and salsa and burgers on the grill and Blue Bell. And, well, it really is very, very, very, very hot – it creates a certain way of being…lazy, and relaxed, and kind of tough in a weird sort of way. When I’m here in Texas in the summer I feel completely defined by this part of my past. There’s no place I’d rather be and I spend a lot of time watching my kids as they learn to navigate these weeks of summer that we always spend here.

For those of us nomads that are parents, there’s a point at which we ask ourselves what we’re going to do to make sure our children feel that somewhere is home. For my husband and me, the single most important factor is that our children feel that home is where we hang out hats. The walls may be different, the beds not “truly” our own, the sights and smells and sounds a cacophony of the new and strange, but if we’re together (the five of us) that’s all that really matters. We take time to make traditions that fit our mobile lifestyle and we stick with them through thick and thin.

But in addition to creating a sense of family that goes wherever we go, we’ve also committed to making our hometown (for my husband and me that’s Austin) feel like home. It’s exciting to see that as our children get older, they’re collecting experiences that lay the groundwork for their own fond memories of this special time. The experiences are their own and different from mine – different camps, different places to swim, their own friends and interests, but they’re punctuated by the many things that are familiar to me – the same food, the incessant heat, the long, long evenings that seem to go on forever.

Watching all of this come together (the combination of our never-ending moves abroad along with summers spent back home in Austin) fills me with an incredible awareness of how very special and unique our lifestyle is. I feel the passage of time and know that summer days that seem so recent are now twenty or even thirty years ago for me. I know for sure that my own love of this place with its heat and water and good food and long days is being instilled in them. At the same time, I note with such a full sense of peace and satisfaction, that they’re so blessed to have this and to have all of the other intricate and complicated parts of their international life too. I can’t help but be excited in advance for the incredible mix of memories they’re creating – here in the Texas Hill Country and in so many little corners of the world. Love. Love. Love. Summer.

photo 3-2