My parents speak 4 languages fluently.
I speak one fluently, the other 3 are basic.
I had LOTS of opportunities to be fluent in all 4.
But I stopped myself because I was afraid of being seen as a beginner.
I’ll go a step further, I felt ashamed to be a beginner.
It takes courage to fail. With people watching.
It takes courage to keep your goal at the forefront and to keep not getting it until you do.
I decided that stumbling to find my words in front of the fluent wasn’t an experience I was willing to have repeatedly.
I was more committed to managing others’ perceptions of me than I was to the practice of learning and doing something I wanted to do.
It would’ve been awesome to have had a life coach then (I was in my late teens-early 20s) because I’d nip the unnecessary mind drama in the bud and stay working at fluency.
I would’ve gotten something real important:
Girl, you can’t save your ass and your face at the same time.
I didn’t get all this then, but I get it now.
I can still choose to re-learn, practice, and work at language fluency.
To get over myself and be OK with not having my words sound like I know the language inside and out.
To fall and fail over and over and over and over until I get it.
My desire for fluency today is a lot less than it was when I was actively practicing.
But there’s still a whisper of a desire.
And I’m acknowledging it.
And I know what to do about it.
You might be reading this and toying with some kind of new beginning in your mind.
You’ve been at your job for 7 years and you feel confident there.
You’re fluent at your job.
And you could teach other people how to do what you do in your sleep.
The problem is that this job is old news.
You dream of becoming a Reiki practitioner and starting a wellness practice.
But you work in finance and tech.
This new direction doesn’t make logical sense.
But you want it.
You delay because you’re afraid.
Knowing what you know now, you realize it’s time to choose.
You can choose to look good on the outside and stay at that job for another 5 years.
At least everyone will think highly of you, right?
But you’ll be dissatisfied and wonder “what if?”
You can also choose courage.
You can choose to get clear about why you love this new venture.
And go for it.
Let’s get this next bit out of the way.
With new beginnings come so much discomfort.
It’ll be excruciating at times.
You’ll be confronted with old perceptions of who you think you are and new perceptions of the person you’re becoming.
It’s not going to feel good.
And that’s great news.
Because you’re choosing LIFE.
If you’re almost there, not quite there, but want to be there choosing life, growth, and excellence…I can help you with that.
I can help you choose courage and take the necessary actions until you get where you’re wanting to go. No matter what.
Get started by scheduling your life coaching consultation.
People don't even realize that what they're actually resigning from is white supremacy culture.
That's what runs the vast majority of our workplaces.
And it doesn't work.
Peep the 13 Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture
Each characteristic has several antidotes.
Once you understand the poison you've been unintentionally drinking, you can apply the right cure. Treat yourself first, then, if you choose to, give others the cure.
Helping others can look like starting or joining your organization's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI or DEIB) Committee.
That's what I did. That's what I'm currently doing.
Source: Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001
This photo represents me giving myself permission 12 years ago to pursue a dream to be a TV host.
A year before that, I denied that desire by giving in to my doubts.
The main one: I thought I was too ugly and too fat to be seen on camera.
Until I met my then-boyfriend.
As our relationship developed, I told him about this dream.
Before I moved to L.A., I daydreamed about getting an agent, going on auditions, booking work.
But then I got here and my insecurities shot through the roof. I thought I needed an agent before I could go on auditions and I didn't think I could get an agent because I thought I was too ugly.
My guy showed me otherwise. Sitting on one side of my bed in my first apartment in Hollywood, I told him my dream and my doubt.
And he told me (I paraphrase), "Valerie, you're gorgeous and beautiful enough right now to shoot some videos and make this happen. You could shoot some videos today."
His words, his energy, his love relaxed me.
His sentiments introduced the thought: Well, maybe I can actually do this.
Shortly after that, I got to work. I told myself I didn't need an agent to start my journey.
I told myself, I can start being a host now by getting a camera and going around town recording myself interviewing and profiling people and places.
I started thinking, where can I get a camera?
I asked my parents for a Flip Cam for my birthday present.
I started thinking, what kinds of shows would I most want to audition for?
My answer: Dance and movement-related.
Then I created a series of videos of me doing just that. I created a YouTube account and uploaded the videos.
I learned simple editing and put together my own reels and, in time, reached out to talent agents with those reels.
The third agent I reached out to brought me on as a client.
I went on auditions.
I booked work.
I'm willing to bet that you've got a dream you haven't experienced yet. Maybe more than one.
You salivate when you imagine it. You're hungry for it.
But you're not doing anything to make it a reality.
Because the pain of anticipated disappointment is larger than your belief that your dream will happen. (I can help you with this!)
So you accept the current state of affairs in your life and you try to forget that dream.
Because you've given in to your doubt.
And you haven't given yourself permission to HAVE this dream in your life.
But you can give yourself permission today.
What I learned from my then-boyfriend is that we need others to encourage us and to be safe sounding boards.
As a life coach, I'm a professional encourager, thought partner, guide, and mindset ninja.
For an entire year.
Come on now!
With this kind of support, imagine yourself exactly one year from today.
What will you have given yourself permission to do, be, and have?
Which doubts will you have eradicated?
Let's find out!
Drop me a message here and let me know you'd like to schedule a 60-min consultation.
During this conversation, I'll show you how to:
You want to work with a life coach, but you can't seem to get yourself to schedule that (free) consultation.
You could be telling yourself, "This looks hard. Changing my life looks like a lot of work and I don't think I'm up for it."
You also say, "It's not the right time. I've got a lot going on anyway."
Don't let this slide.
These statements are resistance and they're costing you your best life.
The mind abhors change. Its jobs is to keep you safe from perceived danger.
Your mind's job is to keep you away from discomfort, even if that discomfort is THE ONLY path to:
Do not accept your mind's knee-jerk healthy-risk-averse reactions against seeking the support you long for.
Discomfort is the only way to grow a human inside a body.
Discomfort is the only way babies come out of that body and into the world.
Your dreams, desires, and goals are like a bunch of babies.
And you get to grow them all.
With all that growth, discomfort is inevitable.
And so f*cking what?
Discomfort is a small price to pay to become the person you yearn to be.
To become the person who no longer goes with everyone else's flow at the expense of your own.
To become the person who gets all your steps in even though you work a sedentary job.
And remember, with me as your life coach, you're not going through any of this discomfort on your own.
I'll be on your side, celebrating and encouraging you as you move forward.
I'll be there to share hacks, tips, tricks, and tools that will keep you on track until your goal and dreams are fulfilled.
Your coach has your back.
And all you have to do is take the next small step.
Poor Eating & Exercise Habits
I’ve struggled with all of these at some point or other in my life.
Accompanying these obstacles were thoughts like:
Thoughts from other people:
Despite all these voices, I knew deeply that I could NOT do it on my own. I didn’t WANT to figure it out on my own. No matter how big or small my concern. I knew the key to change was seeking support from others.
I didn’t want to settle in my life.
I wanted to feel free.
I wanted to know that whatever change I desired to make, I could make it.
I wanted to live in the realm of possibilities.
So I sought and received all the support I wanted.
And everything got better. EVERYTHING.
Some “issues” are unrecognizable today. Everything accelerated with the support of others.
And that support has been vast: therapy, psychiatry, spiritual counseling, career counseling, life coaching, business coaching, support groups, mastermind/accountability partnerships, and others.
Whatever it takes to live a life that I’m proud of.
Whatever it takes to feel good in my skin.
Whatever it takes to have mastery over my mind.
Whatever it takes to skillfully navigate emotions.
I did it. And I continue to do it.
Because I’ve seen firsthand the power of remarkable support, I became a life coach.
I offer free 1 hour consultations where you get to clearly articulate what you want, what you dream of, and why you think you don’t have these in your life yet.
I listen without judgment.
I ask you powerful questions that never crossed your mind.
I see what you can’t. I see what you don’t.
I make connections about what the “real” problem is.
And I provide a step-by-step plan to go from where you are today to where you want to be 6, 9, 12, 24, 60 months from now.
If I think my coaching services can make a powerful impact in your life, I tell you about one of my coaching packages.
You say "Yes, let's move forward" or "No thank you."
Contact me to schedule your consultation.
May you feel good on the regular and kick ass on the daily.
I was inspired to write and record this particular blog post because I was neck deep in overwhelm just two weeks ago. One week later, I was no longer overwhelmed. And it’s not because I checked off all the items on my to-do list. I consistently felt vibrant, grounded, and back to normal from 4 specific practices I do when overwhelm sets in.
Now I’m sharing these practices with you. I call them practices instead of tips, because when you adopt a practice as a way of life, when you do a practice consistently, your life changes. Tips, however, they come and go. You might use them once or twice. Maybe they help and maybe they don’t. But a practice, now that sets you up for lasting change.
Without further ado let’s dive in.
Overwhelm feels like clenching ass cheeks real tight
I used to be a frustrated employee. Several years ago. Working in stale office (and retail) environments for years. Wanting out. Feeling stressed. I gotta leave this place. I have to stop doing this kind of work. I should be somewhere else by now.
But I didn’t feel ready to leave. Not yet. So I still had to show up to the job. Meanwhile, I’ve got personal concerns and a bunch of errands I need to take care of and things I would much rather be doing instead. I tell myself that I don’t have time for all of this.
Now I’m overwhelmed.
Stop Overwhelm Practice #1 - STOP
One of the first things I learned about masterfully handling overwhelm was to watch my language and STOP saying, or thinking, phrases like:
Did you catch the words I used in the paragraphs above? I gotta leave this place. I have to stop doing this kind of work. I should be somewhere else by now.
How do I FEEL when I constantly declare these utterances?
I feel stressed, tense, anxious, and worried.
What do I DO when I feel stressed, tense, anxious, and worried?
I stress out some more and find other things to feel tense, anxious, and worried about. I basically prolong my experience of overwhelm.
I bet the same happens for you. But don’t take my word for it; test it yourself.
Then I experimented with other phrases, like:
Examples: I get to leave this place when the time is right. I choose to show up to my job until I’m ready to leave.
How do I FEEL when I think and speak like this?
I feel empowered, encouraged, inspired.
What do I DO when I feel empowered, encouraged, and inspired?
I look for productive means to improve my situation. I imagine possibilities for my future.
Overwhelm doesn’t just happen. There’s a string of messy thoughts that, left unchecked, butt heads at the same time then ‘all of a sudden’ you feel overwhelmed.
In those instances remind yourself: It’s OK. No problem. This is what humans do.
Now with awareness, pay attention to how you feel when you say and think all kinds of things. Watch what you do when you feel the way you feel. Emotions are powerful allies and guideposts to navigating your day.
Overwhelm looks like hiding in plain sight: hiding from others and especially yourself.
“Damn, I’m swamped. There’s too much to do and too much on my mind!”
I used to think that overwhelm 'just happened' and that it would only go away if I crossed off all the items on my to-do list. I’ve come to realize that’s all bullshit.
Feeling overwhelmed is a choice.
And there are more productive and efficient ways to deal with this emotion.
The dictionary defines overwhelmed as “completely overcome in mind or feeling” and “overpowered or crushed, as by superior forces.”
Two weeks ago I felt overwhelmed. The change in sunlight threw off my energy levels. I had a ton of stuff to do for business and for my job. An exchange with a family member two weeks ago still left a bad taste in my mouth. I still had to find a new doctor. And then some. And more.
Which brings me to...
Stop Overwhelm Practice #2 – SIMPLIFY
Instead of plunging into tackle-obstacles mode, I PAUSED. I breathed deeply. I asked myself: Of all these things on my massive action list, what is the most important thing to do TODAY?
This question trims the excess fabric and forces you to put your attention on what actually matters. This question begs you to be efficient.
The truth was, I did not actually need to do all the things I set out to do. And I definitely didn’t need to do them all in one day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I’m willing to bet that some of those actions are not as urgent as you’re making them out to be.
Simplifying invites you to clear the fluff, to clear the unnecessary busywork. Humans have a tendency of prioritizing fluff. Because getting down to business is scary and uncomfortable as all hell.
So we say we need to run this errand immediately and send that extra email now and work on the website instead of calling your cousin to clear the air and discuss the gnarly exchange that happened last month.
Or we say we have to proofread a co-worker’s dissertation instead of calling that life coach and taking the first step to get out of your current sucky job and find out what you actually want to do instead.
WHAT IS THE MOST POWERFUL AND RELEVANT ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY?
Do that and forget everything else. This is how we simplify. This is how we take back control of our day.
Overwhelm sounds like “Can’t stop. Can’t rest. Gotta handle this mess…now!”
Two weeks ago SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) hit me hard. No sunlight upon awakening hit me hard. A messy conversation with a family member kept catching me off guard. And I still have to show up for work. Still have a list of to-dos. OVERWHELM.
Amidst the angst I realized that I hadn’t scheduled enough time to complete some of the stuff I chose to do, like find a new doctor. I operated under the assumption that I would just fit this in sometime in some nebulous somewhere.
Stop Overwhelm Practice #3 -
Slowing down means giving yourself more time than you think you’ll need to complete what’s important. Yes indeed. Slowing down also means it’s OK to do less today.
After a period of self-reflection and coaching, I realized that NOT allowing myself double or triple the time I thought it would take to look for that new doc, was, unknowingly, contributing to my feeling overwhelmed.
Not giving yourself enough time à Procrastination à Feeling guilty and obligated. Guess what that means? More overwhelm!
Slowing down means allowing yourself to move in a more manageable rhythm. It means finding your flow and traveling with it. It means designing your schedule to take deep breaths.Often.
When I literally breathe deeply, I expand my diaphragm and create space in my body. Adding more time to complete actions + decreasing how much I’m doing in a day is the equivalent of taking deep breaths in my schedule.
When you slow down your actual breathing, your cortisol levels drop. When you slow down your schedule, your overwhelm dissipates.
I choose to give myself the gift of breathing. Deeply. And often. How about you?
Overwhelm tastes like hot cheetos, salmon, cherry lemonade, escargot, chocolate chunk ice cream, and Heineken all together now, all at once.
When my overwhelm was no longer a thing last week, I felt calm, centered, focused. I’ve been waking up before my alarm energized and ready for the day. Creativity has been flowing. Feeling steady within myself. Scheduling and doing the most important actions and discarding the fluff.
Stop Overwhelm Practice #4 – SOCIALIZE
Of all the practices, I think this one made the biggest impact. I isolate when I’m in my head. Overthinking and overwhelming. It’s easy to make social time a non-priority.
I’ve been through this several times before and each instance I’m in an emotionally heavy place, QUALITY CONNECTION eases it. Pretty much. Every. Single. Time.
So a week and a half ago, I kept my happy hour appointment with colleagues, even though flashes of “maybe I should cancel” crossed my mind. Because at that time I was still pretty f*cking overwhelmed. We spent hours laughing, sharing stories, and enjoying each other.
Quality connection eases tension and creates space for ascension.
I didn’t have plans two weekends ago, so I reached out to multiple friends until one of them said yes. We spent a glorious afternoon in meaningful conversation. Then we explored a mind-bending immersive art installation.
Quality connection eases tension and creates space for ascension.
That family member I had issue with? I called my mom and told her what was bothering me. She shared my burden. I felt lighter.
Quality connection eases tension and creates space for ascension.
When you feel overwhelmed, it may seem counterintuitive to go have fun and connect with your beloved humans. Instead, lots of folx effort harder to get things done. Bringing in some levity is work/life blend or work/life harmony in practice. Tending to my social life positively influenced my work life.
You might say to yourself, “But I can’t afford to take a break and go be with people.”
Umm, you can’t afford not to. To keep pushing ahead without rest and joy leads to burnout. Then you’ll be incapacitated a whole lot longer than the 3 hours it took to spend time with people you care about.
My quality social and family connections contribute to my increased energy. My joie de vivre returns.
Overwhelm can sneak up on you.
When you realize you’re in it, you get to stop it.
When you develop mastery over your mental and emotional experience, you have the energy and focus to do the most important things, not only on your massive action list, but the most important things in your heart.
As a life coach, I help people like you take control of overwhelm so they can focus on, and actually accomplish, the things they say they want most.
I support folx in finding their flow. I help them design the career of their dreams while taking excellent care of their health and relationships. I help them conduct their life based on their natural rhythm…and not anybody else’s.
I’d love to help you do that too.
If these things don’t come naturally to you, but you want it to, let’s talk it through. Just REACH OUT TO ME and let’s create something new.
May you feel good on the regular and kick ass on the daily.
I felt the life drain out of me when I worked 40-hr/week office jobs.
I lived on the other side of town so my commutes sucked. On top of that, no matter how much effort I put in to create expansive opportunities to thrive at the job, something was still very off.
The jobs, in and of themselves, were good jobs. But I wasn't the best fit for them.
My body was there, but my mind and heart were elsewhere. This dissonance affected my sleep. It contributed to my stinky morning moods. But I wasn't ready, nor in a position to, resign just yet.
I thought about this long and hard. I shared about it with trusted confidantes, including a colleague in another department.
I had a teary-eyed breakdown in front of her. I just didn't know what to do.
Then she asked me a powerful question: “Valerie, why don’t you propose a 30-hr per week schedule instead of 40?”
My mind was blown. The idea had never crossed my mind. I didn't even know I could do that.
I immediately felt relief at the suggestion. So I ran with it...in steps.
Step 1: Confirm the Financials
I had recently been granted a promotion so I was already earning more than I had been a few weeks prior. I calculated expenses and income to make sure that a 30-hr/week income wouldn't be shooting myself in the foot. My findings: I could afford to bump down to 30. And even if the numbers didn't pan out favorably, I knew how I could earn the difference doing work that was more in my wheelhouse.
Step 2: Collect Data
For 2-3 weeks straight, I kept a daily log of how much time I spent fulfilling my duties and responsibilities. From the time I sat at my desk to the time I left for the day, I accounted for every minute. If I was going to ask for a reduction in hours then I chose to provide undeniable justification for it. My findings: It took me 30 hours per week to do my job. Not 40.
Step 3: Make the Request
I showed my manager that I only needed 30 hours to fulfill my duties. I made the case that for me to be there longer was inefficient and an unnecessary expense on the department's financial resources. I didn't make the request about me. I did not say, "I really don't like these commutes. I'm not sleeping well. And I'm feeling depressed." I focused on the value my request would bring to my employer.
Step 4: Enjoy It
My 30-hr request was granted. I worked 6 hours a day instead of 8. My schedule rotated between 10am-4pm and 11am-5pm instead of 9-5 and 10-6. Yes! I felt mad gratitude to my colleague who made the suggestion. I appreciated my trusted confidantes in holding space for me to process my desire. I thanked myself for following through on this act of personal care and wellness. My mornings were no longer filled with stinky moods. They were glorious. I filled that time with edifying activities, including taking action to build my business.
This experience taught me that I didn't have to adhere to other society's expectations of what a work schedule should look like.
This experience taught me that I could be a great employee AND prioritize my well-being.
In fact, I am a great employee BECAUSE I prioritize my well-being.
This experience taught me that so much more is negotiable than I can imagine.
What do you need to negotiate in support of your well-being?
I help professionals experience vitality at work, and beyond, by prioritizing their personal wellness.
Contact me if you're ready to live like this.
You think you SUCK at making decisions.
You hem and haw for days.
You ask a bunch of people what they think, hoping that the answer will be crystal clear once you hear the "right" answer. But you're left even more confused.
You make a choice. Then you change your mind. Two minutes later you flop back to your first choice.
In my previous post Why It's So Hard to Make Decisions, I uncovered a hidden reason why you feel like a hummingbird's wings when you're presented with options. Before you continue reading, read that post and watch the accompanying short video to get to the root of why you do what you do.
I'll wait . . .
OK, now that we're both on the same page, here's how you go about making confident decisions. Ready? Oh, but why didn't I just title this article "How to Make Decisions"?
Because it's not just about making any old decision. It's about feeling good with your decision, even if the outcome doesn't go the way you expect. It's about making decisions that inspire you. It's about making decisions that leave you feeling proud of yourself.
Confident decision-making boils down to two words: TRUST YOURSELF
Ugh. Cue the eye rolling. Cue the exasperated, "Seriously? But how do I do that?"
Your brain can't wrap it's head around what trusting yourself even means.
Stay with me here.
Know thyself to trust thyself.
OMG, Valerie. Are you kidding me with this cryptic esoteric verbiage?
Hold up. Let me break it down for you and then provide practical application.
Think of your social life. What’s the point of dating people before getting into a relationship with them? To get to know them, right? To understand how they view the world. To see if you can live with their quirks. To determine if you gel together.
Now fast forward ten dates later. How do you feel about someone you spend lots of quality time with? You trust them. You believe in their reliability. You believe they are being honest with you. You know they have your back.
When you trust someone you have confidence that they have your best interests in mind and at heart.
Now switch the camera to selfie view. When you trust yourself you have confidence that you are looking out for you. You believe in your reliability towards yourself.
Same way that you would spend oodles of quality time with a love interest, do the same with yourself. Spend oodles of quality time solo. Take that cherished me-time. Even if you’re an extrovert, you can still find time to just do you. Take yourself on an artist date. Start small if you must. 30 minutes. Then build up from there. Re-discover yourself.
Some other ideas:
Spend time with yourself to know yourself.
Know yourself to trust yourself.
Trust yourself to make confident decisions.
Want more tools to deepen your self-trust? Read my entire book "Feel Good Kick Ass Confidence: Using Your Body to Rock Your Life" for comprehensive techniques and practices on the road to making more and more confident decisions.
You don't like your office job. But you don't think you're ready to jump ship...yet. Or you vacillate between I need to get the f*** out of here and Well, maybe it's not so bad.
When I worked in admin, and retail, I wish someone could've just given me the answer. And I wish that answer came from someone who knew what it was like to have the job I did. It was excruciating being in that in-between space. And I stayed in that space for years.
Well, I've created a quiz to help you move forward and take the next step. Take the quiz below. You'll receive one of three suggestions about what to do next.
If you want forward traction, do the suggestions.
When I was in the I-don't-know zone, I worked with multiple business coaches to help guide my exit plan. None of them had my experience though. None of them spoke the language of admin or retail. See the thing was, I didn't just need help with getting the hell out of the job and creating my life coaching and dance workshops business. I needed guidance with navigating excellence at the job while I sought greener pastures. That's a whole 'nother ballgame.
That's why I created this quiz. For admins by a former admin.
Have fun! And do the work.
Today we’re talking about why it’s so hard to make decisions. Whether it's which restaurant to pick for dinner, which outfit to wear to the party, or what your next career move is, I've got you covered.
In this video I share two reasons why you're struggling to make decisions. With these reasons in hand, I trust that you’ll get to the root of what causes you to prolong your decision-making. Awareness is the first step to change.
Are you a dissatisfied professional craving an exceptional career, business, and life? Are you capable of so much more than you're currently living? I can help you find the vitality and joy missing from your life by cultivating admirable personal wellness. Let's start with how you communicate. Receive my free virtual class How to Become a Confident and Assertive Communicator.
My name's Valerie and I'm a Certified Life Coach with a background in teaching dance as well as facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development conversations and workshops.