Monday, December 4, 2017


There have been innumerable titles and catch phrases used to describe effective communication.  However, regardless of the many ways to describe it, the goal of effective communication…to create a connection and understanding, has never changed.  Effective communication is the barrier that stands between being heard and acknowledged and feeling “stuck” and powerless.

Allowing others to support their efforts while working through transitions is critical to my coaching clients’ success.  However, they are often challenged by their inability to clearly state how and why that support is needed.  As it turns out, VULNERABILITY is a key element in relationship dynamics.  While it endears us to others, it’s often the very thing that stops us from asking for help in the first place.

We tend to not want to look vulnerable and yet we (particularly women) are immediately drawn to protect, support and champion others whom we view as vulnerable.  In fact, if we look at our deepest and most meaningful relationships, vulnerability (at one point or another) always leads to deeper bonding.  Absent the willingness to be vulnerable, relationships stay linear and superficial.

So when we prepare to engage in an empowering conversation, whether at work or at home, there are some steps to consider before taking the plunge.

1.       Recognize your feelings around the topic or issue but leave your ego at the door.  Get clear as to exactly what it is you’re feeling…”I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m feeling unappreciated, I’m feeling invisible, I’m feeling powerless”.  Using the personal pronoun “I” in stating how you feel will help you to take responsibility for your feelings.  If you are having difficulty separating your feelings from the other person’s behavior, you’re not ready to talk!

2.       What is the intent or the object of the conversation you’re considering having?  How can you move forward toward a solution to the issue or challenge and honor the person, the relationship and yourself?  Stay away from needing to be RIGHT.  Stay focused on the highest intent of the conversation.

3.       Interestingly enough, the right time to have the conversation isn’t when you perceive the other person is ready to hear it.  Rather, it’s when you are clear with steps 1 and 2.

4.       Speak to the possibilities by giving voice to moving forward from a place of integrity, confidence and courage.  Keep it positive and solution driven, not accusatory or judgmental.

I’ve experienced the amazing transformation that takes place when these steps are taken before initiating a difficult conversation.  Shifting your mind-set from “power and dominance” to “empower and honor” can go a long way when soliciting the support you need in order to bring about change.

If you’re ready to learn how to have empowering conversations in order to discover and develop your strengths and to deepen your relationships, I’m here to help.  Connect with me at:

Friday, November 17, 2017

Courage to say NO!

Why is it so hard to say “no”?

I opened the door and there she stood, Christmas cookies in hand with her family trailing behind walking up my front steps.  She was full of anticipation and excitement.  After all, it was three days till Christmas and she was there to join my family in a neighborhood caroling party.  Why, then, did I have this overwhelming urge to slam the door in her face?  What on earth was the matter with me?  At that very moment, I had reached my proverbial “wall”.  I simply could not face one more activity, one more party and I was certainly in no mood to sing carols at the top of my lungs.  Every bone in my body ached and my spirit had flat-lined.  Here we were, at my most favorite time of the year, my most loved holiday and I was baked…DONE!  I wish I could honestly say that I’d reached my profound turning point and from that moment on I stopped choosing to double and triple book my calendar.    Unfortunately, that was not the case.  I sleep-walked through the event, hosting it as usual but with a mummy-like presence before collapsing into bed the minute the door shut behind the happy carolers.  

My exhaustion and overwhelm were only symptoms of something I have since come to recognize as an addiction to the validation and recognition that comes from saying “yes”.  After all, had I not voluntarily committed to every social event, school activity, sporting event, church concert, children’s concert, gift shopping, party planning, gift wrapping, cookie baking, card addressing, tree-trimming, house decorating and company party planning and hosting for all those in my life who were counting on me?  The cold, hard truth of the matter was…NO!  I was not doing all that for my children, my husband, my friends or even my community.  I thought I was, but really, I was saying yes to my vision of who I thought I needed to be.

If this scenario seems familiar, you’re not alone.  Learning to say no is a starting place for about 90% of my female clients.  It has a deeply woven thread in the fabric of overwhelm, frustration, burn-out and the inability to live in the present.  Overwhelm and over-committing don’t discriminate.  They’re troublesome to virtually everyone, regardless of intelligence, education, socio-economic level and proficiency.  So why do we do this to ourselves?

We fall into the trap of over-committing due to a number of factors.  ( At one time or another, I’m pretty sure I’ve had to deal with all of these).

·       setting boundaries.

·       putting strategies in place to protect boundaries.

·       allowing other’s issues and crises to becoming your own.

·       feeling validated by “busyness” and having a heavy schedule.

·       fearing missing out on something.

·       fearing damaging your reputation by letting someone down.

·       getting clear as to what activities really matter to you.

In her book, Find Your Courage, Margie Warrell suggests there are two key blockers that prevent us from finding the courage to say no:

1.    Lack of clarity about what you want to say yes to.

2.    “Shoulding” on yourself…how we think we should be seen by others.

In life coaching, this is where we start.  I help my clients 1-identify what they value, 2-get clear about their purpose and 3-make choices that are meaningful to them.
As we head into the holidays, give some thought to where you may be empowered to avoid the overload by saying NO!