So last week? It was a doozy! I mean, I did actually accomplish a ton of stuff and have a new group coaching program in the works that I'm super excited about. And . . . on Friday afternoon I got handed a heaping dose of Disappointment and Discouragement.
It was brutal, and I had a teary meltdown.
24 hours later? I was feeling much better. One day folks - that's all it took. Five years ago? I would have probably been in that sad, sad funk for more than a week!
It got me thinking though about how far I've come over the last few years and what it looked like to go from "I'm in the pit of d-e-s-p-a-i-r!" (cue Princess Bride reference), to "I got this!" in a matter of a day. Here's what I came up with:
1. Gratitude: The simple act of focusing on what you have, and not on what you don't - is one of the quickest mood menders I know. So you didn't get that job/second date/first college choice? So what!? Find gratitude in the simplest things and then stay there. It's been proven time and again that remaining in a state of gratitude for a prolonged amount of time can create more joy in your life.
2. Reminding Myself that I didn't "Do It Wrong.": I love the idea of manifesting what my heart truly desires, and I like to use all kinds of tools to get there. (Mostly related to having a positive mindset, Law of Attraction, etc.) And when things don't shake out the way I envision them? It's easy to go to "I did it wrong". That is not actually a thing, see #3.
3. I am exactly where I am supposed to be: This one speaks for itself. Right here, Right now, I am exactly where I'm supposed to be on my journey. If something didn't pan out the way I was hoping? It wasn't meant to be. End of Story.
To be fair . . . I am human - so there are still some small pieces of me trying to figure out the why behind some of my disappointments. And I'm quite certain that's not going to change the outcome so fine - I'm letting it go. Onward!
What are your favorite ways to navigate disappointments & feeling discouraged? I always love hearing your feedback - leave a comment or send me a note!
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Today I am going to share with you about the Five Whys. No it's not the name of a Life-Coach Rock Band (ha!), but a coaching tool I learned during my coach-training with Martha Beck.
The Five Whys originated at Toyota as part of its' production quality system.
"Every worker on the Toyota assembly line was taught to analyze design or production problems by asking the question "Why?" over and over again, like a two-year-old. (This bolt fell off. "Why?" Because the thread is stripped. "Why?" Because it was misaligned with the screw. "Why?" And so on.) Almost every design problem they encountered could be solved with the Five Whys or less. It turns out this system works beautifully with emotions too. Once you've identified your current emotional state, ask "Why?" until you've figured out what's making you feel that way. This isn't psychodrama; it's a direct route to a pragmatic action plan for improving your life."
- Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star
What's great about this tool is that "I don't know" just doesn't cut it. There's always an answer, and sometimes it's lying just beneath the comfort zone where sometimes we don't want to go!
This month I am doing a 30-Day Challenge with a friend of mine who is also a Life Coach. For the challenge I decided to do 30 Days of Video (of me!) - which is both horrifying and awesome all at the same time. During our pre-challenge call, Mari asked me what I wanted to accomplish over the 30 days, why was I doing this challenge?
Oh - that was easy I replied . . . I wanted people to get to "Know, Like & Trust" me so that they'd be more willing to engage with my services.
Great! What else?
(& this is where I'm thinking - Uhhhh I just answered the question?)
Well . . . I want to become more familiar with the Instagram Stories & IGTV platforms . . . so 30 days will help with that!
Great! What else?
(Now I was starting to get irritated . . .)
I want to get better at video, not say "um" so much or make weird facial expressions. (lol)
This went on for a few more rounds, and in the end my final answer was:
If I can do 30 days of video, I can do ANYTHING!
She had "Five Why-d" me, and while I wasn't quite sure where it was going, it was TOTALLY EFFECTIVE.
So - the next time you're feeling conflicted about something, or wanting to get to the root of what's causing you some emotional discomfort . . . Use the Five Whys! You can do it on your own by journaling your answers, with a friend (one who won't let you off the hook!), or with a coach (have I mentioned I'm accepting new clients?). Give it a try & let me know how it works!
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I know we aren't quite into December yet - but let's face it . . . it's officially the holiday season. And with that I thought I'd share some of my favorite shopping ideas - both local & online - Part 1 of this years' West Coach Gift Guide!
1. CreativeLive! I feel like I'm a little bit late to the party - but CreativeLive is an online source of classes about all things creative, (photography, drawing, create a great Etsy shop), along with the business side of all those things should you want to turn your hobby into a side-hustle or full-time gig! They also have a section on Money + Life - where you can find offerings about budgeting, time-management, wellness, etc. It's amazing! They are having a Cyber-Monday SALE - everything is 50% off . . . so run (don't walk!) to get yourself signed up for a great class, or gift someone you love the opportunity to learn something new. CLICK HERE.
2. If you're in the Seattle Area - there are two amazing Holiday Craft Fairs happening next weekend. Shop local, support small businesses/local artists - and feel good about your holiday gift giving!
Tolt Yarn & Wool Holiday Makers Market
December 1st 10AM to 6PM - 4509 Tolt Ave, Carnation WA
Phinney Neighborhood Association 38th Annual Winter Festival & Crafts Fair
December 1st & 2nd - 10AM to 5PM - 6532 Phinney Ave North, Seattle WA
3. Social Print Studio - This is one of my favorite online resources to buy prints & other photo-related products - it's actually where I get my fun square business cards! They are also having a little holiday sale - 20% off orders over $75.00 through the 27th (Tuesday!) . . . go check it out!
This week I am sharing some tips with you about asking for what you want!
Asking can sometimes feel daunting - whether it be asking a friend for help, your boss for a raise, or your kid to embrace a new routine - but the results can be magic. So here are five tips for speaking up!
1. If you don't ask the answer is always "No." This has been a great motivator for me over the last few years - it's so true!
2. When you try (ask) - you will succeed or survive. Thank you Mel Robbins for this bit of wisdom! Bottom line, no one is going to die. Especially you.
3. Release any attachment to the outcome. Generally, I am pleasantly surprised when I ask for what I want, because I usually get it! However last week I had a moment where I asked someone for something (that wasn't actually that big of a deal), and got a fat "No." I was so mad! And I promptly reminded myself that it was just data - which will help inform me to make different choices in the future. Let it go baby!
4. When you ask for help, it actually empowers others. Yep - when you ask for help, it allows people show up as better versions of themselves, and empowers them to do great things! This can be especially true in a work environment - delegate y'all!
5. Asking is like a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger you'll become and the easier it will be!
So there you have it - I'd love to hear if you put any of these to use and what the results are . . . let me know in the comments or send me a note!
Wishing you all a lovely holiday - I am grateful for YOU!
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This summer on Amazon Prime Day I bought myself a new Kindle. (I loaned the last one to my younger son, where it met an untimely end being smashed by real textbooks in his backpack. I think?) At any rate - the fun thing about getting a new one was that I got to re-download all the books I had purchased way back when, many of which I actually hadn't read. <-- Classic!
One of those books was Write it Down, Make it Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser and when I saw it there on my new device, I decided it was time to read it - and it was SO GOOD!
As it states in the title, the book is basically about how to use writing as a manifesting tool. Here's what I loved about it in a nutshell:
My daily writing practice is basically a gratitude list, followed by a written version of my daily (spoken) mantras, along with maybe a to-do list and anything else I want to remember for the day. It's simple & free-form, and it woks for me . . . which is what's most important - that I actually DO IT!
In fact check this out:
Last week I had to go to traffic court with my younger son, who got a rather large ticket for passing a school bus when it was stopped. (Lights flashing, stop sign out, the whole 9 yards.) $419.00. Oof. When you get an infraction like that you can either pay it outright, or go to court. If you choose court you can either request a "Contested Hearing" (I did't do it!), or a "Mitigated Hearing" (I did it but . . .). The deal was that after we reviewed the video, we realized that there was no way he could have stopped in time after the stop arm was extended - it was only 3 seconds and at 35 mph? No stopping safely. Mitigated hearing it was.
On Friday morning I wrote in my little book: Traffic Court is going to be GOOD.
When we got to court, there were probably 10-15 people there who had been ticketed for the same offense. The judge started out by stating that if you had passed a school-bus and were there for a mitigated hearing that he couldn't actually make that happen. You had three choices: 1) Pay the fine. 2) Do 28 hours of community service in the next 6 months. 3) Change your plea to "Contested" - which would then be addressed after all the Mitigated pleas were done. DANGIT! I had been so hopeful!
And then he started with each person in order of their last name, alphabetically - which put us at the bottom of the list. One by one we watched as people either paid the fine, or chose community service. One person had their ticket dismissed because he was taking his very pregnant wife to the hospital. Two people opted for "Contested". As we watched all this go down my kid made it clear to me that he was just going to pay and have it be over with. Alrighty Then!
When it was our turn we both went in front of the room and I told the judge that the car is registered in my name, but that the kid was driving. He asked us to raise our right hands and swear we were telling the truth. He clarified a few more details about the date & time of the infraction - looked at his computer for a minute and then said, "Dismissed! You can go."
I think both of us were stunned - and speechless! We may have said "Thank You!" - I actually don't remember. What I remember is that as soon as we got out of the courtroom my kid said "What the Heck just happened?" And I said, "You just got ridiculously lucky!"
Maybe it was because he's young and the judge gave him props for coming to court?
Maybe it was because he was super sick and the judge had time to observe that before it was our turn?
Maybe it was the old school sunglasses he had on to cover up his grossly infected eye?
Or maybe I just put it out to the Universe and showed up with a positive attitude.
I'd like to think it was the latter - and with results like that, I'm going to up my writing game!
If I had to re-name the book I might call it "Write it Down, Let it Happen", or "Write it Down, See What Happens" - though that kind of relieves the reader of taking any action . . . and you do have to take some responsibility when manifesting money, the perfect partner, dream job, or dismissed traffic violations, so "Write it Down, Make it Happen" it is!
It's a short book, easy to read, with lots of nuggets of wisdom. Highly Recommend!
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This weeks’ post is a reminder for me as much as it is for you. Between international travel & being sick (x2) & making up a bunch of missed work hours - I’ve been a little short on any kind of self-care.
So here is a tiny guide!
For starters I know that sometimes investing in good self-care may feel like you’ll have to make these giant, sweeping changes ... not true!
Remember that the difference between water that is not boiling (210°) and water that is (212°) is only two degrees! Small change - massive impact!
Here are a few small self-care practices you can adopt that might make a big difference:
So there you go - a teeny list of things to turtle-step your way to better self-care. Remember . . . you don't have to do them all at once!
What are your favorite mini-self-care practices? I'd love to know - leave me a comment!
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I've been away from my blog for a couple months (eek!) - time for an update!
This summer I got to spend some extra time with my bonus kid (my boyfriends' daughter - she's 13 and super fun . . .), doing what we affectionately called "Camp Eileen". Twice a week we spent the day together having adventures that ranged from a two hour makeup tutorial with my bosses daughter (who did makeup for Game of Thrones - Hello?), to exploring new stores (Big John's PFI here in Seattle - SO fun!), to checking out the Seattle Wholesale Floral Market, to getting her hair dyed, and well . . . lots and lots of Starbucks and Bubble Tea. I think we were both sad when it was over - can't we just do Summer Camp all year long?
* sigh *
During our time together I also learned that boys & girls are very different (duh!), and that being a teenage girl in this day and age is hard. Having some insight into this first hand, I'm thinking I might expand my services to cater to young women who need a little love and encouragement as they navigate their teens. Stay tuned!
As soon as school was back in session I enrolled in an Instagram class with Chris-Anne Donnelly and Becca Berggren called "Manifest Being Seen" that was so amazing! They taught us everything there is to know about Instagram from algorithms, business accounts vs. personal accounts, how to create a feed that is aesthetically pleasing & hashtags, to how to increase traffic to your feed, using video & stories, different photo and video editing apps to keep things fun, and so much more! As a photographer Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform so I've been having a ball integrating all of this goodness into my daily IG activity! Are you on Instagram? You can find me at: @that_west_coach_vibe - sharing photography tips & tricks (+ my favorite equipment, photo apps & prompts!), motivational quotes, stories, and generally aesthetically pleasing content with purpose and meaning - I think you'll love it! Hope to see you over there. :)
And then on October 5th my boyfriend and I hopped on a plane with my Mom for a two week trip to France - where we bookended time with her in Paris, and spent the middle part exploring Southern France in Corsica and Provence on our own. It was Epic. And we re-learned things about jet-lag (it blows), and moving around a lot in a short period of time, and dog-poop on suitcase wheels (that would be me). We ate a lot of baguettes and saw amazing art. GoogleMaps saved our lives over and over again. And I was reminded that Paris is a big, rather dirty city where a lot of people smoke. <-- which is not my favorite. All that being said it was a great trip, and I was so happy to come home and sleep in my own bed. Then I promptly got a horrible cold, from which I am now mostly recovered. PHEW!
Here are some of my favorite photos from our adventure:
So I'm back, and working on a few little projects - updating my photography website and bringing an Oracle Deck to life that's been on a back-burner for a while (featuring my photos!). I also have room for new coaching clients! If you're feeling pulled to make some changes in your life or set your course for 2019 - let's connect! I'd love to work with you.
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I'm going to tell you a little secret: There has been one technology thing that I've been struggling with for
y-e-a-r-s, and I haven't been able to make it work.
Don't get me wrong. I am a smart person who is generally technology savvy. Which makes this one thing even more maddening that I can't get it to work. So what have I done about it? Nothing.
What is this THING? Google Calendar.
Laugh if you want, but it has been my nemesis forever. My ex-husband set up a Google Calendar for us to schedule our respective weekends and kid events when they were little (they are 17 & 20 now, and drive themselves where they need to go), and I could not make it work. Well - I should say that there have been two pieces to this struggle:
1. Logging into G-Suites, and actually adding the new calendar to my existing setup.
2. Getting said calendar to integrate with my iPhone.
Couldn't do either. So, So dumb.
This weekend I was talking to my boyfriend and asking him about something we had planned this month, and his comment was "It's on the calendar". Yep - we also have a shared calendar, which I use exclusively to remind him when he's agreed to walk the neighbors dog for me when I can't do it. Which I schedule from my laptop.
So there I was (already having a reeeally rough morning), carefully choosing my words about *#$@*$^ Google Calendar:
"I am not stupid, but something just isn't working right and I can't manage to see the calendar on my phone. And if it's not on my phone, it doesn't exist." I went on to say "I'm trying not to say "I'm bad at it", because that's not true."
I believe his comment was "Semantics."
At which point I looked him right in the eye and said "I HATE GOOGLE CALENDAR. THAT IS THE TRUTH."
I was SO MAD! (At technology - not him! LOL!)
Actually I was really pissed off that I was letting Google Calendar win. Why couldn't I just figure it out?
So I showed my boyfriend the phone, where I had my Google account set up, and that it did reflect that our shared calendar was visible on my phone. And then I went to the calendar app and showed him where the event should be, and was most decidedly not.
And I decided in that moment that I wasn't going to let it go - I was going to figure it out. Which is what I usually do anyway - I'm a figure-outer! <---- Whyyyy had I let this one drag on for so long?
When I got home I looked it up online, and sure enough I had gone through all the right steps. And it wasn't working. So I deleted the account from my phone, and then tried to reinstall it. Didn't work. Turned off the phone, reinstalled it, and SHAZAM! There were the events from our shared calendar.
Not having Google Calendar wasn't actually having a negative impact on my daily life - and I honestly just didn't care which is why I let it fester for so long. But as soon as I could see that it was a problem, (and that someone thought I wasn't applying myself), I was motivated to fix it.
The real thing was that there was a little voice in my head that was saying "I'm not smart enough" - and there are a lot of bigger voices that hide behind those little ones. Which is all the more reason to manage them sooner than later so that they don't turn into a monster of a story and a subsequent meltdown or self-sabotage of all the things you can do.
Do you have one thing that keeps you in that state of doubt & frustration? Even if you don't think about it all the time - is it out there? I urge you to write it down today, and then think about some ways you can power through - even it means asking for help.
It took me 10 years to figure out Google Calendar - I know you can do better.
This is a little story about what can happen when you actually DO something kind of crazy!
Last November my friend Maggie shared on Facebook that her good friend (& fellow Life-Coach) Belinda Smith was offering a three-month 1:1 coaching scholarship. (Valued at $3000!) On a whim, I decided to apply - because why not!? Right?? Back to that whole "If you don't ask the answer is always no" thing.
The first task in the application process was to fill out a GoogleForm with four basic questions - one of which was "What does success mean to you." I was excited to answer because I had recently just re-defined that for myself as . . . :
Success for me is: Doing work I love (Life Coaching, Photography & VA Work - I call it my "3 Legged Stool of Happiness"!), Making enough money to support myself, my kids and to travel quarterly, dine out once a week and see live music/theater once a month. And making the TIME to enjoy the rewards of my hard work. My recent epiphany was this: When I studied art, I learned that the negative space was equally as important as the object or form we were looking at. For me this time where I'm not working, not hustling and constantly being on high alert about my finances? That is equally important to the work itself. Boom!
(Can you tell I was all hopped up about that? :) )
So a few days after I sent that in, I found out that I had made it to the second round of applicants, and was asked to then complete another GoogleForm with another four questions - one of which was "How do you spend your days?" This one was exciting for me too!
I am currently working with a model of "multiple streams of income" - where I work for someone else in addition to having my own business. (Life coaching/Virtual Assistant/Photographer). I also walk dogs. I love this set up because I'm choosing it. I am not at someone else's beck & call or whim - I call the shots. It's awesome.
Seriously - these questions alone were such a gift to be able to look at how I'm doing my life right now and see that it's pretty great. Because sometimes I just go along, doing my thang and forget where I've been and how far I've come.
In fact I'm just going to stop here and say: Please make some time this week to write a list of all the things you've done in the last six months/year/two years/five years - and then take a moment to pat yourself on the back and say "I'm awesome." Thank you.
So back to my story . . .
For the last question in the final round ("Why do you think we'd be a good match?") we were given the opportunity to answer by making a video - just to be a little bit outside of our comfort zones. I am a complete dork on video (especially when I haven't practiced in a while), but again I thought "Hey why not - I have nothing to lose!" I answered the question in writing just in case there was a #videofail, and then promptly went about recording the video because it was the only time before it was due that I would have the house to myself. I recorded it twice. The second time was actually 97% great, so I kept it. But there was one thing that just wasn't OK about it, which was this:
At the end I thanked Belinda for offering this amazing opportunity, and then said "I mean, even if I don't get it . . . blah blah blah". Ummmmm NO. I was even telling my kid about it at dinner and he said "Oh no you can't say that - you're going to win!" Well there wasn't really time to re-record, so I busted out my video editing skills, and this is how things ended up looking:
You know . . . always great to have a slide that says "oops" on it when you're applying for something big. LOL! After which I waved & said "Bye!", and closed with a little wave or high-five emoji (you pick), and called it good. And kind of forgot about it.
About a week later she announced the winner to the candidates who had made it through to the second round, encouraging people to not scroll down to see who won before they read the first part of the email. And honestly I didn't scroll, because I knew it wasn't me.
EXCEPT THAT IT WAS ME!!
I did not see that coming from a hundred miles away, and promptly had a little cry. What an amazing opportunity to have someone coach me for three months as I prepared to do my first ever live event in Mexico. All of a sudden I knew my retreat was going to go from Special to Ah-May-Zing! Squeeeee!
And that my friends, is the magic that happens when you put yourself out there - wherever "there" is for you. Today I'm encouraging you to try new things, apply for jobs you don't think you're qualified for, ask someone out on a date who you think might be "out of your league". . . . whatever it is . . . go for it!
You know I love hearing your stories . . . let me know how it goes by leaving a comment or sending me a note.
Love & Light,
p.s. Need some inspiration? Go watch this video. I'm proud to say this was my very first employer when I moved to Seattle.
p.p.s Since I first published this I have let go of my role as a Virtual Assistant to focus on Life Coaching & Photography since that's what really lights me on fire. Fi-Yah Baby!
Schedule your complimentary discovery session here.
I’ve been wanting to share my sad birthday cake story for the last couple of weeks - but I’m not a great food photographer & just didn’t think a baking mishap was all that interesting. But the fact that I turned it around kind of is so . . . ?
About a month ago I had an idea that I wanted to make a cake for my kids 20th birthday. I probably haven’t made a cake since he was 2? (At some point the crazy box brownies from Trader Joe’s were just easier & way more appreciated lol). At any rate - I decided to make him the cake my mom used to make me every year for my birthday, which is Mocha Pound Cake.
I've tried the recipe a couple times as an adult (probably pre-kids), and all I could remember that it turned out kind of dry. So as I put things together I made an executive decision to use less flour, and to alter the baking time to be about 20 minutes shorter. And also to use butter instead of the margarine that the recipe called for because who uses margarine any more?!? ?
Ultimately, while the batter was fabulous ... the finished cake was so dry (despite my attempts to make it be otherwise) - it was pretty much a complete fail. ?Literally as a cake the only place it belonged was in the trash. #sadness.
But (but!) I decided to instead repurpose it! I cut the whole thing up & froze the slices in individual sandwich bags and turned it into Chocolate Bread! New name, new life . . . throw a piece in the toaster & slather it with butter? That’s some damn good toast! Even my kid gave it a thumbs up. ????
All of which is to say that sometimes when things seem crappy - maybe they just need a little bit of perspective to make them delicious. Yep - that’s my life-coach-y take on a bad baking outcome . . . you’re welcome! ?
This might also be the reason my fitness goals are taking a teeny bit longer than I think they should? ??♀️
What about you? Have you had a cooking/baking fail that you turned into something better? You know I'm dying to hear about it - leave a comment or send me a note!
Oh & if you really want to try . . . here's the recipe!
Mocha Pound Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2 3/4 C Flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 C Cocoa
3 Tbsp Instant coffee powder
2 tsp Vanilla
1 C Sour Cream
Cream butter & sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Measure & mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa & coffee powder. The SIFT.
Add to creamed mixture and beat until well blended. Add vanilla & sour cream & blend well.
Spoon batter into greased & flour dusted 9 or 10 inch tube pan (bundt pan), and spread evenly. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Let stand for 10 minutes before inverting onto rack to cool completely.
Toast as needed. :)
Meet me here on Saturdays for some weekly vibes - honoring the week that has past, and clearing the way for what's new. Gather your journal and favorite pen, along with a hot cup of coffee/tea/chai - and settle in for 30 minutes dedicated to YOU.
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