Tag Archives: I am ENOUGH.

How to Cope When You (Really) Screw Up

Photo Credit – greg westfall on Flickr

I never saw her again.

And although I no longer remember her name, I’ve never forgotten her.

I’d only been in private practice for a little while, though I’d worked in mental health for a long time. Back then, I did a lot of counseling around trauma, abuse and domestic violence.

I already had a ton of experience; (I thought) I knew what I was doing.

One evening, at the end of a long day, I did an initial consult with a woman who’d finally gathered her nerve to seek help. She was living with severe domestic violence, married to a man who sounded like he could kill her one day if she didn’t get out.

I was immensely proud of her for having the courage to come in, and I understood her situation immediately. After hearing her story, I felt crystal clear on the level of danger she was in. I knew what she needed to do to get out.

So I laid it all out for her.

With the kind of excitement that comes with clarity, I explained how to put a safety plan in place, what to say to him (and what not to), how to handle her employer, how to seek legal help, how to move out, all of it.

She listened politely as I gave her every idea I could think of. Then she thanked me, and left. I felt great — I knew I could help her!

But she never came back.

To this day, I don’t know what happened. It may be that she found a way out, that she went to another counselor, that she was just fine. I certainly hope so.

But I think I made a mistake that night – and it was a big one.
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One last thing before you say goodbye…

Sunset - liquid crashIt’s true. There’s a New Year just around the corner.

Again.

And even though we complain about how fast time goes, we still can’t wait to get there.

We lean forward, trying hard to see around the curve, wondering what’s ahead. Hoping for good things. Crossing our fingers. Saying our prayers.

Perhaps this year has been great for you, even if you didn’t do half of what you planned. You’re still excited about where you’re heading, and ready for a fresh start.

Perhaps it’s been a hard year, and you’re more than ready to tell it goodbye and good riddance!, for all kinds of perfectly good reasons.

Either way, we’re ready to start another trip around the sun.

But there’s one last thing to do before we step over the threshold into What’s Next.
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Why Your Beliefs Matter to Your Business

Roots - EbelienWhat does your business stand for?

In other words, what are your core principles, and how do you communicate them to your peeps?  

I know. It’s a weird question… but it’s one I want you to think about.

When you started your business, you weren’t thinking about beliefs. Most likely, you just wanted to get paid. Income was everything, and building up a steady stream of customers was paramount.

In fact, getting your business off the ground probably felt a bit random. Chaotic, even.

But over time, you will find that certain beliefs, principles or teachings become a theme for you.

You’ll find yourself saying the same thing to clients over and over. When you’re telling friends about what you do – and why you do it – you’ll return to a key story, phrase or belief that you hold dear.

In fact, when you speak from your heart about what you do, you’ll quickly come back to your core themes without hesitation.

Those beliefs should drive your message…

…because when you identify those themes, you can be more intentional about using them in your business.

In other words, what are the core principles on which your business is built? What are the core beliefs on which you stand as the owner and creator of this beautiful work?

Figuring this out will help you in two really important ways. Continue reading

One last thing before you wrap it all up…

Sun on snow by Jayhem

I know. There’s a New Year just around the corner.

Again.

And even though we complain about how fast time goes, some of us still can’t wait to get there.

We lean forward, trying hard to see around the curve, wondering what’s ahead. Hoping for good things. Crossing our fingers. Saying our prayers.

Perhaps this year has been a great year for you, even if you didn’t do half of what you planned. You’re still excited about where you’re heading, and ready for a fresh start.

Perhaps it’s been a hard year, and you’re more than ready to tell it goodbye and good riddance!, for all kinds of really good reasons.

Either way, we’re all ready to start another trip around the sun.  Still, there’s one last thing to do before we step over the threshold into What’s Next.

We need to Celebrate.

And sure, that can mean all the things you usually think of when you hear that word.

It can mean celebrating the good things in our lives – our families and friends, our health, our ability to earn a living, the roof over our heads.

For some of you, heck, it may mean celebrating that you’re still in the game, no matter how hard the road or how long the journey.

But I want you to do more than that.

I want you to celebrate you.

Just about every woman I know is so hard on herself, that all she can think about is what she didn’t do, where she fell short, what went wrong or what she hasn’t accomplished.

And most entrepreneurs I know are naturally restless spirits. We’re always thinking about what’s next, about what we can create, where we can go with our lives and our businesses. And we criticize ourselves for all the goals we haven’t reached yet.

This was the year you were going to run the half marathon, but you didn’t.
Or you were going to get that first book published, but you didn’t.
Or maybe you were going to break six figures…but you didn’t do that, either.

Sound familiar?

Yeah. I know.

And yet – you have done a lot.
Way more than you realize.

Even if, right this second, you can’t think of a single thing!

So maybe I can help. :)
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A Defeat, A Detour, and A Grand Adventure: The Rest of the Story

Remember: I was defeated, lost, and afraid

(Read last week’s post for the beginning of this story.)

I was 22 years old, on my own, no family within 500 miles, and no prospects for my future. I was trapped in an entry level job making $4.20 an hour. I desperately needed a way to get my confidence back. And I had No Idea What to Do.

So, I’d decided to go to Switzerland.

Heck, what would you have done? :)

I’d wanted to go to Switzerland ever since seeing the TV movie “Heidi” as a girl. It wasn’t the story that got me so much, although that was nice enough.

It was the scenery.

I live in the shadow of Appalachian mountains that are millions of years old, mountains for which I carry a deep love. The Alps are their giant, younger cousins across the ocean, and I felt an instant connection to them from the start.

But I’d never known anyone who’d been to Europe; only “rich people” did things like that. To me, a trip to Europe might as well be a trip to the moon.

Then college opened my eyes to new possibilities. Suddenly, I knew real people, other students, making minimum wage themselves, who went to Europe all the time! They carried backpacks, rode trains, and stayed in something called a ‘hostel’, which sounded mysterious and intriguing.

And they weren’t rich; in fact, they were usually pretty broke. Surely if they could do it, I could too.

THIS was something I could control.

No one had to let me in.

Whether I went, or not, was successful or not, made it or not, was totally up to me.

I didn’t need anyone’s permission to go.

And I had no one but myself to blame if I didn’t.

I liked that. :)

So this is what I did.

1. I bought a map.
First, I bought a map, a real map, that showed Switzerland, Austria and what was then “West” Germany. Then I went to the public library and checked out every book I could find on those three countries, and on European travel.

2. I asked for advice.
Next, I visited a travel agency. I thought you had to PAY to use their services. I didn’t know you could just walk in, ask a few questions, and get a ton of help – for free! Once I learned that, I was there all the time. I started collecting brochures, maps and any literature that had anything to do with Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

3. I studied.
I went to the bookstore and bought a couple of Fodors and Michelin travel guides. I read them voraciously, pen in hand, marking key points, and highlighting places that sounded really interesting. Between the books and the maps, a route began to take shape.

4. I made a plan – and a budget.
Eventually, I developed a rough budget, with a goal for the money I thought I’d need to spend a month overseas.

Yes. A Month.

(If I’m going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I’m gonna make it count.)

I set a target date two years out. I divided the total amount I would need by the months left to that target, and set a monthly savings goal.

In other words, if I saved X dollars a month for 2 years, I would have what I needed to spend a month in Europe: riding trains, staying in hostels,

…and seeing the Swiss Alps, for real.

5. I learned the language.

I know. Sounds crazy.

I signed up for ‘real’ German classes taught at the university; not the quickie, ‘How to Speak German in 5 Weeks or Less” courses you see here or there. These were for-credit courses, tailored to undergraduate students, starting from the ground up.

Vocabulary tests. Conjugating verbs. The whole works.

Mind you, I’d already graduated, but if I was going to travel to a foreign country I wanted to be able to understand the language.

Two years of high school Spanish wouldn’t help in Switzerland. Two years of German, would.

6. I went to Switzerland. And Germany. And Austria. :)

Two years later, I flew to Munich, rented a car, and began a two week drive around the Alps of Central Europe.

I explored the beautiful Bavarian region of southern W. Germany, had a pint at the real Oktoberfest, and cried at Dachau.

I drove to Switzerland, where I stayed in a miniature castle on the shores of Lake Geneva, drove right up to the base of the Matterhorn, and walked on an Alpine glacier.

In Austria, I toured the sprawling Salzburg castle where “The Sound of Music” was filmed, saw the home of Freud, and toured the opulent Vienna State Opera.

Mont Blanc, Switzerland

Mont Blanc, Switzerland

And through it all, the mountains were beyond
anything I could have imagined.

My boss cut my trip to two weeks at the last minute. So five years later I went back, and that time – I did stay for a full month.

On my second trip, I completed what many call the “Grand Tour”, driving to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Lichtenstein, Belgium, Holland, France…. And later, England and Scotland, as well.

As life unfolded, I went on to complete a Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work, and was trained in a way that, for me, is a MUCH better fit than a psychologist ever would have been.

And I’ve created a successful career doing exactly what I love, exactly as I’d hoped.

So yes, I got my confidence back. :)

The story here is about one hard time in my life, and what I did to cope. I was young then.

But as any woman who’s been around for any length of time knows, life throws us curve balls all the time. There have been many, many times since then when I’ve found myself up against a wall: scared, worried, pounded with self doubt, and no idea what to do.

And the skills I gained from that first brush with failure have carried me through all the tough times since.

You see – I didn’t know it then, but the truth is, I was already a Courageous Woman.

I just didn’t know it.

Like so many of you.

I just lost my nerve for a while and didn’t have the confidence to find my way forward.  It was in choosing to tackle something bigger than me that I began to discover, or maybe re-discover, what I could really do.

By doing something that scared me to death, I moved from Courage to Confidence.

And that’s why I do what I do today.

And why when you don’t know what to do, I challenge you, too.

Go. Do something Big.

Photo Credits: Kecko, Peuplier on Flickr