4 ways to get a “Small Self” mindset (and why you want to)

coaching mindset Oct 05, 2020

If you’re like me, and about a gazillion other people right now, you might be completely dreading winter.

For many, winter is hard enough in “normal” years. It means less outside time, short dreary days, and seasonal affective disorder. This year, though, it’s poised to be especially difficult, with the tumultuous political climate and the threat of another lockdown.

Fortunately, I have good news: no matter what’s going on in the world, you are not powerless.

Your choices, thoughts, and actions impact how you feel, and how those around you feel.

Let me reiterate that: You are never powerless.

Today, I want to introduce you to an idea known in psychology as “small self.” This is an important idea because by tapping into it, we can free ourselves from those feelings of sadness, helplessness, and anger. We can open ourselves up to feelings of wellbeing, possibility, happiness, and joy.

Even in the dead of winter, we can choose to feel alive...

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The #1 thing that stops us from starting

coaching Sep 21, 2020

This summer, I had the privilege of working with Shauna, a stay-at-home mom whose dreams of going back to work were completely trampled by Covid.

“I left my career in finance eleven years ago to raise my children. When they were old enough, I started to home-school them,” she told me over the phone. “The plan was always for me to go back to work when they reached high school, but my husband’s job isn’t doing well with the pandemic, and I just don’t know if I’ll ever get to go back to work. Or even work on the things I want to work on.”

“What are some of those things?” I asked.

“I’ve always wanted to start a business,” she said. “I’ve had different ideas over the years. Lately I’ve been thinking that I’d really like to write a home-schooling curriculum and sell it. There’d be support to other parents in the form of an online community, and interactive field trips...

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Is your passion hurting or serving you?

coaching mindset passion Aug 25, 2020

Carla sat across from me in my office, looking miserable. Her dark hair hung limp over her eyes, which were fixed on the floor between us. She looked nothing like the radiant, confident woman Id seen on camera a few weeks before. Shed sent me her audition reel, because what she wanted, she said, was an acting coach. Now, meeting her in person, I could tell she needed more than acting tips.

Tell me about yourself,” I said, and after a minute or so, she began to open up.

Carla told me about how shed gone into acting because she loved performing in her high school musicals. She just lived for that feeling of getting into character, rehearsing with her fellow actors, and stepping out onto the stage. From the first rehearsal until closing night, she was in flow.”

Thats what she wanted to feel when she moved to New York to pursue acting. But now, five years in, she was depressed, out of work, and starting to lose hope.

I don...

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5 Proven Ways to Live More Courageously

coaching motivation Aug 11, 2020

Years ago, I sat in the audience at a Tony Robbins event, avidly taking notes while he spoke about living courageously. One line in particular struck me like a bolt of lightning:

The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.

As soon as I heard it, and a hundred times since then, I have circled it, underlined it, starred it, dog-eared the page, written it in my journal, posted in on my bathroom mirror. I try to keep it near me so that I never, ever forget it.

Why? Because it’s 100% true. The more you’re willing to step out into an uncertain world – which requires a great deal of courage – the more big, beautiful, unexpected things will come to you. Because if you don’t step out into that world, if you stay inside your comfort zone where things feel so safe and certain and predictable, you won’t feel fulfilled, challenged, inspired.

The more courageously you live, the more...

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One super-easy superpower you probably overlook

coaching laughter mindset May 26, 2020

In 1964, the journalist Norman Cousins took a really stressful trip to Russia. Work was wearing on him, and on top of that, his surroundings were pretty unhealthy, exposing him to dangerous fumes like diesel exhaust. Those factors, doctors believed, came together to cause the grave illness that overtook him soon after: ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative spinal disease with a grim prognosis. Cousins was told he had a 1/500th chance of survival. Over time, he would lose all physical mobility.

Stress, combined with a weakened immune system, had caused this horrible condition, doctors said. Well, if that's true, then the opposite of stress should heal it, Cousins reasoned. And so he set about creating positive emotions that would boost his immune system.

Cousins checked himself into a hotel, where he pumped himself with vitamin C and embarked on an experimental form of therapy: laughter. He watched Marx brothers movies, read humorous books, and focused his mind on all things funny....

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How to answer your calling…even when things are confusing

coaching mindset May 12, 2020

When my client Raymond first came to see me last fall, he was looking for clarity and direction. He had a good job in the hotel business, but overall, things were shaky. He was worried about his health; he'd had a series of bad relationships, and last but not least, his apartment was a mess.

It was a lot to work on, so we started with one small goal. After talking through some things, Raymond chose something that sounded both doable and meaningful: to clean up his apartment, enough that he could have friends over.

"Great," I said, and decided to take it even deeper. "Why is that important? What will you gain by doing that?" (I often ask my clients to name their Why. Not only does it help motivate them, but also because it can lead to unexpected places. As you'll see, this happened with Raymond…)

"Well," he said, thinking, "I've always wanted to have friends over for a game night, like I used to. But with the disaster area that is my living room, well, that's just not...

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7 surprising ways to embrace (or at least get through) the winter

coaching coping Feb 18, 2020

Ah, February in New York. It's that time of year when the snow is the slushiest, the days are the darkest, and many of us feel cranky, tense, and cooped-up. Magical, isn't it?

Spring is just around the corner…even if that corner is still a couple months away (it'll get here, I promise!). Till then, here are some ways to invite the warm, bright liveliness of spring into your wintry days:

  • Try something new. Spring is all about rebirth and renewal – so put yourself out there! Take an art class, sign up for that Ashtanga yoga, volunteer at your kids' school. When you step out of your comfort zone (especially when it involves movement and creativity), you shift your mindset toward the positive and the possible, and add an extra "spring" in your step.
  • Move your body. The cold winter blues can be awful for our posture. We walk around hunched over, shoulders tense, contracting everything inward for warmth (and out of habit). Meanwhile, our breaths become short and shallow....
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The Art of Saying No (How, When, and Why to Do It)

coaching mindset Jan 20, 2020

Recently, someone asked me about how and when to say no. I’m glad they did, because it's such an important skill, and because it's one I've struggled with.

Okay, that's an understatement. Sometimes it feels like my entire life is about not saying no enough. Which is why I know all about it!

Let's talk about why it's crucial, and some ways to go about saying no – especially when it's hard.

First, it helps to understand why it's such a hard thing to do. There are a few reasons:

  • We like being helpful. Many people – especially women, and those who help people for a living (coaches, teachers, therapists) – have a hard time saying "no" because it's in their nature to help people. That's me – I love helping people, so when someone asks me for something, my first inclination is to jump on it. The problem is, I tend to overcommit to the point that I'm not able to follow through, which can disappoint people more than if I just said no up front.
  • We want to be...
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How to open yourself up to possibility in the new year

coaching moticise Jan 07, 2020

A couple years ago, a woman named Jenn came to me for coaching. She was an interior designer here in New York, and she was going through a lot of changes: the end of a long-term relationship, moving to a new apartment, adjusting to living alone. She wasn't sure exactly what she wanted, but she felt like she was starting over, and she wanted to make it count. 

At the end of our first session, I asked Jenn to choose something to work on. "In what area in your life do you want to make some real change?"

She thought for a minute. "You know," she said, "I thought I'd say growing my business, or start dating again. Because I do want those things, eventually. But that's not what I thought of just now." She looked nervous. 

"What did you think of?" I said.

                  "I've always wanted to learn how to dance," she said sheepishly. "I've always wanted to be a ballerina. Maybe now's the time...

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One simple trick to make life easier

challenge coaching products Dec 04, 2019

If you’ve ever watched a comedy improv show, you might have wondered, “How on earth do they do that?” Improv actors—the funny ones, anyway—have a gift for creating and weaving together storylines on the spot, in front of a live audience. It’s amazing to see, and the results can be hilarious.

But it doesn’t happen by chance. Any actor will tell you that there’s one cardinal rule of improv, and it’s this: Accept whatever happens. Always.

In improv lingo, the rule is this: Say “yes, and.”

What does that mean, exactly? If you’re doing improv, and another actor says, “Let’s go skydiving,” you can’t say, “No way, I’m scared of heights.” If you say, “We’re being invaded by giant mutant aliens!” they can’t say “No, it’s just the mailman.” Everyone onstage must roll with any new idea. Every time a new development enters the story, the...

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