Last year, I worked with a client I'll call Michelle, who had recently gotten out of a long-term relationship. She had a good job at a publishing house, and she loved working with writers. But she felt lost. She wanted to feel centered and purposeful, but all she felt was anxiety. Finally, a mutual friend referred her to me.
"I feel like I've completely lost my direction," she told me during our first session. "I just got out of this relationship, so now's the time to do something special, something meaningful. But I don't know what to do."
"Tell me about a time you're proud of," I said. "Something in your life that you look back on and think, Wow, I did that."
"Well," she said, "I'm proud that I work in book publishing. It's a competitive field, so…" She trailed off, sounding unconvinced.
"What's something you're really proud of?" I said.
She thought. "I guess…there was this writing contest in college, and I won first place for a story. It was nothing big. But that's...
What if I told you that what's causing your slump might be in the food you eat?
No, this isn't some conspiracy theory. What we eat has a real impact on our gut health, our brains, on every single aspect of our bodies – which includes how we think and feel.
I saw this clearly a few years ago when my friend "Tara" called me, sounding desperate.
"I don’t know what to do," she said, sounding close to tears. "I feel exhausted all the time. The littlest things make me break down crying. I can barely function at work…I need help. Something's wrong."
Tara had a history of ups and downs, and had tried various treatments. But something still wasn't working. We talked, and our conversation turned to food.
"How are you eating?" I asked. "What's your diet like?" I wondered if something in her diet might be exacerbating her current state.
"Not great," she said. "I know I should be eating better, but I'm so tired I can barely cook, so I just eat junk food most of the time....
Recently, I came across this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase."
That hit home for me, because right now, I'm looking up at a brand new staircase in my business: opening a Moticise space here in New York City.
This idea has been in the works for a few months now. It will be a place where people can come to find their core, then manifest it – through coaching, Moticise classes, meditation, special events, retreats, and eventually nutrition. This space is truly the summation of all my passions: mindset, fitness, and bringing people together to reach their goals.
But no sooner had I decided to go for it when the fears set it.
Instead of being excited, I was paralyzed. I worried that being afraid meant something was wrong. For weeks, that fear plagued me. I was so afraid to make the wrong move that I all but stopped moving at all.
One night, I had trouble sleeping. I tossed and turned, dwelling on all...
You're probably hearing a lot about New Year's Resolutions right now – but before I hear any more about that, I want to talk about the most crucial aspect of making change: stepping into your own power.
Many people I meet today are independent, motivated, hardworking, all that good stuff. But just as many of them consistently wait for permission before trying something new. It's like they think they need someone else to tell them it's okay. Often, this is unconscious. They don't realize they're doing it. Which can be even worse, because then they never do any of the work to overcome that tendency.
Earlier this year, I worked with a client I'll call Liz, who wanted to branch out on her own in business. "I've worked in IT for twenty years," she told me, "and now I have an idea for my own consulting business."
"Great," I said, and we began talking about her vision, her strengths, a potential action plan.
That's when things got hairy. When I asked her if she'd commit to a certain...
Most of us are taught as children that jealousy is bad. It's a green monster, it's a sign of insecurity, it's best to just try not feel it. Don't be jealous. Oh, okay. That advice can be about as useful as Don't be cold when it's freezing out.
The fact is, most of us can't just turn off our feelings. And sometimes, we feel the sting of envy. Someone else gets an award that you wanted. A former colleague has started her own business, while you're still pushing papers in your own cubicle. A friend calls and says he's buying a condo in Florida. "Good for you!" you say, but inwardly, you're cringing. Why not me?
I know the feeling, and I'm here to tell you, jealousy doesn't just exist to torture you. Often, it's trying to tell you something.
(Some people split hairs about the difference between jealousy and envy. Here, I'm using the terms interchangeably, since both can be useful in making a change in your life.)
Years ago, during my acting days, I had a friend I'll call Julie. Julie...
This is the second piece in a series on Identity.
For Part 1 – food identity – check out this link.
Back when I first started coaching, I worked with a woman I'll call Carolyn.
Carolyn was a talented web designer, who worked full-time and did freelance work on the side. "It's good work, and I love doing it," she told me, "but I need to make more money. I don't get it – I have friends who do web design, and they make twice what I make. What am I doing wrong?"
Our conversation turned to her beliefs (as it often does in coaching.)
"What are some of your beliefs around making money?" I asked.
"That I need it," she said, shrugging. "Can't get very far without it, especially in New York."
She thought. "That it's selfish to want to make more money. That I should make do with what I have."
There it was. I'd suspected that Carolyn was carrying around some negative beliefs around money, and now I knew for sure.
We dug deeper. I asked her where she felt it...
This is Part 1 in a series about Identity and how it affects our decisions. Stay tuned for more!
Last year, a woman named Andrea came to me for health coaching. She wanted to lose weight, so she expected that we’d spend most of our time talking about diet and exercise. But she soon learned health coaching tends to involve your whole life, not just your body.
At our first session, Andrea was shy. She felt self-conscious, and she didn’t have much faith that she could change her eating habits, since she’d tried before and failed.
“I just can’t bring myself to eat salads all the time,” she said. “I know they’re good for me, but, I don’t know. That’s not who I am.”
That’s not who I am.
“Well, who are you?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I love to bake. I have a serious sweet tooth,” she said. “And I’m Italian, so I grew up eating pasta and bread. And I love visiting my family and having a...
When I first moved to Hollywood to try my hand at acting, I went to a LOT of auditions. The rejection rate for actors is somewhere near, I don’t know, infinity? But there was one audition where I tried something different. It was for the role of Lucy Cooper on Guiding Light, and the different part was, I used my nose.
I’d already had a couple screen tests, so at the final audition, I knew what to expect. I knew my lines, I knew the setting, and I knew I’d be auditioning with another actor. It was a romantic scene, so it called for a lot of intimate emotion. That’s where my nose comes in.
Seconds before the scene started, I stood outside the door, prepping myself. The last thing I did before I stepped inside was this: I took a long, deep breath, and I imagined the cologne of the guy I had a crush on at the time.
Instantly I was transported. It was like he was there with me. Imagining his scent opened the floodgates to a whole world of memories: how he...
Once, when my daughter Kaya was younger, we were at a restaurant that had those placemats with games and activities for kids. She was doing mazes, and when I looked over, I saw she'd gone through three of them without making a mistake. Not a single dead end.
"Wow, you're good at mazes," I said. "How did you do that?"
She just shrugged. "Easy. You start at the end, and go backwards."
Stephen nodded, like she'd just said something profound. "That's how those things are designed. They trip you up if you go forward, but going backwards, the path is clear."
That's how it hit me: going backwards is a big way to move forward.
As soon as I thought it, I started seeing examples everywhere. Stephen does it all the time, so I didn't have to look far. When he wants something, he'll imagine that it's already happened. He'll get really clear on what that looks and feels like to have...
Whenever I feel like I’ve hit a dead end, I think of my friend Lisa, and how she found an incredible new possibility in a situation that didn’t seem to have an answer.
Lisa and I worked together on the set of Guiding Light – me as Lucy, her in the production office. Years passed, and we stayed friends, and a few years ago, she met a guy in a Yankees fan chat room. As you might guess, both are huge Yankees fans. And it wasn’t long before they got married.
He was living in Maryland, where he was from, and she was living in a tiny apartment in NYC. So the question was, where should they live?
Neither of them wanted to live in the other person’s city. But in order to create a new life together, they felt, they needed to start fresh, to build a life somewhere they both felt home.
They were in a stalemate. Until one of them said, “What if we bought an RV, and traveled the country until we find somewhere we want to stay?”
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