Why You Need Help & So Do I

The path to your life’s work is both difficult and mysterious, which is why few finish the journey. – Jeff Goins

Why We all Need Help

Sometimes life is hard, and shit is real, and we are broken. Sometimes we need to ask for help, and wring our hands, and point ourselves in a new direction. And when this happens, when we need so desperately to get from point A to point B, we often don’t know where that is.

Life’s a real party like that.

It’s hard to figure out what you want to do, and when to do it, and how, while keeping your self-esteem in tact when no one is hiring you (or buying your products or recruiting your services). It is hard. It is even harder when we try to do it all on our own, without help, and without a support system.

It’s actually a pretty bad idea.

I’ve tried it.

Which is why I’d recommend a life coach. Why? As Stephanie from The Loudmouth Lifestyle puts it, “A life coach assists in guiding you from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be).” Coaches help with the in-between. They are a solution to stuckness.

See? Gold.

Now me, I am not a life coach. It is not my calling. I mostly ooze sarcasm and side eye. So, I am always impressed (and slightly mesmerized) by people who make coaching their livelihood. They’re like unicorns or super heros or extroverts: things at which I marvel.

Because I am so enamored with (and believe in) this whole coaching process, I sat down with Stephanie to learn more about her coaching programs and what possessed her to offer folks a lifeline.

Stephanie - Loud Mouth Lifestyle

Q: What do you get from having a life coach? 
Having a coach is not the magical potion for success. It requires you to study your life, decide what you want from it, and complete the steps to get there. A coach is less like a therapist, and more like a personal teacher and cheerleader. I am not a fairy godmother, sprinkling pixie dust to make things happen in your life; instead, I motivate others to make things happen. I have experience with both life coaching and therapy, and I have gone through my own personal struggles, so I know what it’s like to be on the other end. I’m willing to share plenty of tips and advice that I’ve learned the hard way, but I am not meant to heal you. I’m here to remind you that you have the power to do big things.

Q: What do YOU bring to this whole coaching biz?
Steph: I’m an advocate of intentionally cultivating an extraordinary life. I’ve been through [coaching] myself and have survived a lot of shit. I have the ability to truly relate to my clients. In addition, I’m constantly researching and studying; I’m open to learning new things. I also love planning. [She seriously does.]

Q: How do you balance being honest with being smart about boundaries?
Steph: My sessions are about the client,  it’s their time and I keep things focused on them. I may use personal experiences as examples to better illustrate my point, but the sessions really are about you, not me.

Q: You have an April session opening up. When does Loud Ladies: Spring Break Edition start? 
Steph: You have until April 7 to sign up (or until the program sells out). The course runs from April 13 through April 19.

Q: Can I get a discount code for my readers for your coaching services (since they’re awesome)?
Steph: Yep. They can enter KRISTIE15 at checkout for 15% off. [You’re welcome.]

Final Thoughts

Look, if you’re on the fence about coaching or you’re feeling incredibly stuck, Stephanie may be your unicorn gal. She understands people and relationships, and she’s all about getting your ass in gear.

I am no stranger to the I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life conversations and looking for not-my-current-job. In fact, it’s been a reoccurring theme for the past two years. I’ve leaned hard on friends for support and sanity, and these friend sessions often looked like minor mental breakdowns coupled with pub crawls and gif-filled emails. It occurred to me that a life coach may have helped. It can be that voice saying, have a little grace and get a plan, and yes, a new job would be a very good idea. It’s the person who can remind you to think bigger and to take walks outside, and also maybe work on that default face.

What do you think? You up for giving coaching a try?

Stephanie Planner

P.S. Consider joining my email list to get me in your inbox once a week. It’ll be like we’re pen pals.

P.P.S. If you’re not sure about coaching, then keep your eyes peeled for Jeff Goins’ new book Art of Work. It may be more your speed until you’re ready to pull the trigger.

 

 

Quotes and images provided by The Loudmouth Lifestyle, top photo from deathtothestockphoto.com

Open Heart, Big Effing Fence

Open Heart Sunshine“Protect your heart so that you can keep it wide open.” Danielle LaPorte

Open Heart, Big Fucking Fence.

I have said those words over, and over, and over again since I read them.

Open Heart, Big Fucking Fence.

I have written them down on pages. I see them in the air when I say that I am fine but I mean the exact opposite. Open heart. Open heart. Open heart.

I do not mean to say, “I am fine.” What I mean is: “Do you see me? Do I matter? I am hurting.”

Open Heart.

But the heart, ugh the heart, it knows when it’s hurting. We can be so clever in our pain with our distractions and to-do list and busy-life-excuses. We numb and hide and pretend to be cool or edgy or distant. Isn’t it better this way—to not feel, or cry, or hurt? We look to protect ourselves by denying that anything could be wrong. We build the fence, and we put it in the wrong place. At least I do. I put the fence inside the heart instead of around it.

Part of being open and loving and in it is letting people into our lives. We make special keys for those who should be allowed in.

To borrow words from a friend, “I have a fence around my heart and it’s in the shapes and sizes of the people who love me and stood by me in this life and never asked me to be more or less than I already was, and have picked me up in the places where I couldn’t walk any longer and waited until I could.” That’s the fence. That is the big, fucking, glorious fence we put around our precious hearts. That’s the fence that gets keys and guards and visitors at the entrance.

We allow others in who are honest, and kind, and gracious, who see us. We learn, in time, who to trust with the keys. We can hold space, and serve, and laugh, and give, and love big when that fence is high and solid and true. It is what allows for wholehearted living in a mysteriously beautiful way.

I met a girl whose heart reminded me that being open, and vulnerable, and broken can be life-changing, affirming, and earth-shattering good. But that fence is what gives permission to the heart to beat wildly and honestly, bleeding and caring in all the right places. So that fence, that fence is so, so important. That fence is essential to the heart.

But it is not one or the other. Never.

It is both.

It is always: Open Heart, Big Fucking Fence.

 

 

photo credit: deathtothestockphoto.com

From My Inbox: On Writing

writing and coffee

I’ve been toying around with the idea of starting up [blogging] again, but every time I go to write something, I just stare at the screen with nothing to say. But of course, when I’m driving around or sitting in a meeting where I should be paying attention, I have all sorts of thoughts, ideas and things to say. Or even when I’m rambling on to you in this email for example!

I’m assuming you have experienced this as well?? Any tips on getting started again? I know I should probably just start writing and see what comes out, but that seems too simple! 

It’s funny that your question comes when it does because I’m in the midst of trying to write daily and it is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever. It’s the best because it’s how stories get told and books get written; it’s the worst because I often write crap, and don’t know where to start, and sometimes it’s really, really hard to tell the truth. Especially when the truth sucks.

And yes, what you discovered–the complete absence of words when it’s actually time to sit down and write–happens ALL. THE. TIME. I can’t tell you how many times I start writing and my first line is “I don’t know what to write…” But I make myself write anyway, even if it’s nonsensical rambling about how I have nothing important to say. I shoot for 500 words a day, but I try to be gracious with myself and realize a sentence on a gum wrapper can suffice if it needs to. I also have friends who check in on me to make sure words made it on a page.

I keep pens and paper, and my cell phone handy for whenever one of those writing ideas come my way. If I don’t write them down, they vanish. I use the Notes app on my iPhone to keep a running list of blog ideas (and good quotes I hear). Some people rave about Evernote, so that could work too.

Right now my current list reads:

  • Walking barefoot on Polk St.
  • Review of Jeff’s book
  • International Travel Tips

Eventually I may get to the story about how I found myself barefoot at Polk & Green with four blocks to go before getting to my house in broad daylight on a Tuesday. But until I do, it’ll be on my phone.

My ideas very rarely show up right when I sit down to write. But I think the practice of showing up every day in the same spot potentially helps the writer-brain know it’s time to start. Some days it turns on more easily than others.

Some great mentors of mine are Jeff Goins and Anne Lamott. I’ve never actually met either, but their tips for writers (and writing style) have helped me along the way. I’d recommend picking up Bird by Bird by Lamott and checking out Jeff’s blog goinswriter.com. They’re both chock full of practical ideas for when you get a bit stuck. I love Anne Lamott’s sarcasm and Jeff’s ability to get at the heart of things.

One trick I’ve tried (which Anne Lamott also recommends) is writing letters. I’ll simply quote her: “When you don’t know what else to do, when you’re really stuck and filled with despair and self-loathing and boredom, but you can’t just leave your work alone for awhile and wait, you might try telling part of your history–part of a character’s history–in the form of a letter. The letter’s informality just might free you from the tyranny of perfectionism.”

I started doing this a bit on my blog with the Note to Self posts. And some of my best sentences have shown up in those. You might consider writing a letter to your younger self, or outlining what you wish you would’ve have known a few years back. I promise you that if you just start, the words will eventually come. They may be shit at first (they usually are) but the good news is, everyone writes shitty first drafts. It’s how you get to better second drafts.

I get how it can get a bit heavy and depressing to write during the times when life isn’t cooperating, but I think there’s something to be said for getting stuff down anyway. There was a time when I was basically going through hell and decided to keep a private blog just so I could get things down. A few months later, after the worst had passed, I decided to edit those posts and publish them publicly. I wanted those who I had been through similar experiences to know they weren’t alone.

There was also a time when I dreaded blogging because I hated my literal online space. My blog design was uninspiring. So, I changed it.  I recommend you pick colors/font/photos you like, and get to writing. That’s really the main thing–writing–it sounds simple, and it is, but it isn’t.

I truly believe everyone has an important story to tell. I’m glad you’re getting yours down.

My inbox is always open if you ever have any questions.

 

photo credit: deathtothestockphoto.com