Getting By At Work Isn't Enough
It's not enough to just clock in, clock out, and get by at work.
Unless you feel awesome about it.
Do you, though?
I used to treat work as something to endure, a means to an end.
Just need to get by.
Clock in. Clock out.
Real life happens outside the office.
That’s when my guard drops and I can really be myself.
There’s no problem approaching your work life this way.
If it works for you, good for you.
If you like how you feel, then power to you.
However, if you’re like I was, getting by isn’t enough.
I felt horrible clocking in and out feeling divorced from my personality and real interests.
It dawned on me that 8 hours is a long time to be disgruntled.
My quality of life left much to be desired.
One of the most memorable things a peer told me was “Blossom where you’re planted.”
Those 4 little words compelled me to consider how I might thrive, excel, succeed, learn, and grow under my present circumstances.
It took me some time to let this sink in, but I meditated on that statement.
Instead of, I hate this job. I hate what I’m doing. I should be somewhere else. Why isn't this other thing I'm working on taking off?” I asked myself questions like, “How can I grow here? What can I contribute that I would actually be thrilled to do? Which other skills do I have that I can use here? What works about being here?”
When I answered those questions and implemented my responses, I felt more connected to myself and although I still wanted to leave the job, being there was so much more bearable.
You can change any situation without changing it directly but instead, changing what you think and how you act inside the situation.
Take this one question to work with you this week: How can you blossom where you’re planted?
And if you’re hungry for ongoing and reliable one-on-one support to stop checking out and getting by at work, then drop a comment in the contact form on this website.
Talk to me. Tell me what you're struggling with. Tell me how you're just getting by. Tell me what would delight you in your professional career.
Can't wait to hear from you.
Choosing LIFE Requires Courage
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.
The Great Resignation
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:
I Do Not Favor Work Over This
I do not favor work over my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
Yep. This was a hard one.
Because how could I possibly call and say I’d be late, or worse, use sick time to stay home and nurse my tummy who was violently rejecting sustenance just 5 hours ago?
How could I possibly use sick time to take a mental health day too?
And wait a minute, how could you choose to NOT have that very important ONE-ON-ONE casual-yet-business dinner “meeting” with that slimy douchebag director (who just feels very off to you) of the company your department head chose to partner with on this huge project you’re spearheading?
How could you possibly choose your well-being over trying to prove or convince THEM that you are good at your job and should not get fired or reprimanded because you are, in fact, guaranteeing the long-term health of the company by ensuring you are strong and vital enough to keep doing your work in the future?
Why all the hoop-la?
Because they couldn’t enact total control by making sure they can track your whereabouts every minute you’re scheduled to be on the clock? OH-KAY. Hmmm.
No thank you, next.
Giving yourself a break doesn't mean you're letting yourself off the hook.
Let that sink in.
Do you really need to work until ‘til 6:30 again (or later) in order to show boss person you’re reliable and worthy of recognition and promotion?
Or to fulfill some unspoken need to feel like you’re doing enough?
Yeah, these late nights are fucking with your quality of life - eating dinner later, throwing off your meal schedule, increasing your cravings, having less time to unwind before you go to bed to start all this over again tomorrow.
You’re not slacking on the job if you leave work at 4 or 5, or take off early some days at 3. This 40-hour work week is questionable anyway.
All that giving yourself a break means is you’re choosing to be kind to yourself, to take care of yourself, and respect yourself.
I thought if boss-person saw me leave AFTER 5, then that meant I was serious about the job.
Yeah, I don’t believe that anymore.
How ‘bout we do stellar work with plenty of time to also enjoy the other aspects of our lives?
Because life isn’t just all about work.
And productivity isn’t actually measured by how many hours you log in.
Productivity is more personal.
It’s optimized when you recognize your own rhythms and which tasks are better to do at a particular time.
Pay attention to the time of day when you feel most energized.
Do your most challenging tasks requiring prime brain function then.
When you feel more sluggish, do the more mundane work.
When you listen to, and work WITH, your body’s needs and structure your work around that, not only will it take you LESS time to do certain projects, but you’ll have MORE energy to focus on what you really want to do outside the office.
Listen, you don’t have to figure all this out on your own. Not if you don’t want to.
We can create your Personalized Productivity Regimen (PPR) during weekly coaching. Imagine the energy and time you'll get back to focus your attention on the things that matter, on and off the job.
Just drop me a message on the Contact page with your questions about this process, or about anything else in this post.
What Do You Want for Your Career?
After you read the text images above, here are some questions to consider during your hell-yeah job/career exploration:
Don’t try to write all official, like the job posts you’re used to seeing. Have fun with this exercise.
Create what you want first, then approach the job search from that place.
Does this feel like a daunting task? No biggie.
I can guide you through it as part of your 12-month private coaching package.
Damn, how luxurious must that feel, to know you’ve got a coach watching your back, asking you questions you would never know to ask yourself, sharing different ways of approaching things from perspectives you never knew existed. For an entire year.
Delicious! All this to become the woman who has created a career she loves while also creating a life she admires.
When You Feel Like Shit All Day
One Wednesday last month I woke up at 3 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep until 5AM.
My thoughts were racing. I was nervous about dating. I was very upset about something someone close to me did.
I was doing a business training that had me excited and tired. Something I was looking forward to didn’t work out as I had anticipated. And I heard someone say this other thing that I didn’t agree with that was still bothering me.
When I finally dragged myself out of the bed that AM, my emotions were heavy and I was irritated. And I felt like this for much of the day.
I often operate on level 8 to 10 energy. Not every day, but a lot. And that day was not one of those days. I was on level 4.
So let’s say you have to show up to work and your emotions and thoughts are all kinds of topsy-turvy And let’s say canceling your day is not an option.
On days like this I ask myself a few questions:
I re-prioritized what was most important for me that day, which meant I let some things go. I didn’t do everything on my schedule. Other activities I modified.
And I let it be OK.
And I worked on letting it be OK throughout the day.
Let’s say you normally do an hour kickboxing workout after work on Wednesdays, but today is a level 4 day and your body is like, “Unh-unh!”
You also don’t want to skip the exercise altogether.
Modify that shit!
Listen to your body! What does it need?
“Switch out kickboxing for pilates”, she tells you.
“And do 30 min instead of 60.” Listen to her. She begs you to.
If you’re used to level 8-10, slow your roll today. You do enough. Let it be OK.
I help women of color take excellent care of their physical, mental, and emotional well-being as they strive for career and job satisfaction. Book a consultation with me to level up your self-care while kicking ass at work and home.
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.
Loving what you do for work can exist outside the 9-5 realm, beyond the employee label.
Loving what you do might look like having parallel careers. (e.g. a tech company project manager who's also a caterer or a professional dancer who teaches movement classes at high schools in between gigs).
Loving what you do could be having your own business.
Maybe it's a hybrid of your own biz and working for someone else.
Careers look different today than when I was a kid.
Back then it was all about finding that ONE job that paid your bills.
Then you advance along that path.
Anything outside of this paradigm was unreliable and to be avoided.
Btw, there's nothing wrong with pursuing the C-suite track at one company if that's your jam.
Just ask yourself if that's really your thing.
Introspection might reveal you're pursuing your parents' dreams, not yours.
What I know about myself, my personality, how I feel most alive, is that I'm not the lifelong-employee-at-one-place-kind-of person. I've tried to fit myself into that box, but it doesn't work for me.
This might be you too.
Doesn't make you unreliable.
Doesn't mean you're not the "commitment type."
It means that's how you're wired.
It means this is how you thrive at work.
Consider your desired LIFESTYLE, not just what you do for a living.
How does your profession fit with how you want your life to look and feel?
As opposed to, how can you fit your life around your work?
You can afford to imagine the conditions that will make you actually love and want to go into your job.
Maybe it's having multiple well-paid part-time positions whose sum total gives you the flexibility to visit that cute beach town every other Thursday to Saturday.
You know what your desired lifestyle is.
You know what that work life looks like.
Even if you don't think you do.
You just haven't had the opportunity to articulate it boldly and clearly.
Fear that your dream isn't possible, is unreasonable, or unrealistic prevents you from acknowledging your truth.
So instead you say, "I don't know what I want."
How 'bout we not say THAT anymore?
Give yourself the time and space to contemplate (and write out) all your juicy work and life conditions.
And tell no one about it (except your life coach, of course).
At least don't tell people yet.
Don't need others' skepticism trampling on your seedling ideas.
Now if you're mind is blown and you're too overwhelmed to flesh out your dream career and dream life on your own, then I've got you.
Hit me up for support through one-on-one coaching.
By the time we're done working together, you'll say, "I love what I do."
If you don't, I'll give you back half of your coaching investment and I'll continue working with you for free until you love your life and have your dream career.
You may not like your job, but you love the company you work for.
Your boss is awesome and you respect your colleagues.
You know that something needs to change, but you don't know if resigning is the answer.
If you could have things your way, you'd stay at the company, but you'd switch departments or do something different within your own department.
Here's an idea: Write a description of what you would want to do instead.
I stopped working office jobs in 2015.
In my current parallel career as a dance educator in a K-8 school, I decided that I wanted to bring more of my experience as a life coach into the workplace.
In August 2020, I participated in optional after-hours race and equity discussion sessions.
I volunteered to facilitate some of those sessions.
I asked to get paid to do this regularly.
They told me no. At first.
A few months later, I received an email about a handful of newly created DEI leadership positions.
I applied. I got one of the positions.
In 2021, I became the DEI Lead Teacher, where I get paid to research race and equity history and best practices. I get to work with a team of respected colleagues in other departments. I get to co-create and co-facilitate much-needed workshops to a staff of over 100 people.
I get to bring more of my expertise and skills as a life coach into the workplace. Just as I had desired to do in August 2020.
With YOUR clear description of work that lights you up:
Keep being a top-notch employee.
Keep being a leader.
Practice believing that you can create the career you desire.
You don't have to settle.
I'm available for one-on-one coaching to accelerate your dream career and steer it in the direction you want to go. Become the confident professional you want to be.
As long as your satisfied with the above reality, keep on with it.
If it's working for you, don't change anything. But if it's not how you want your work life to be, know that you have options.
Your job can be a source of profound meaning in your life.
You can be passionate about your job assignments and responsibilities.
You can enjoy hanging out with your co-workers on the weekend. They can become like family.
Your work can have a positive impact on social, political, and environmental causes you care about.
I know these CANs are possible because I've lived them.
I've experienced the before of hating past admin office jobs for every reason listed in the image above.
And I've experienced the after of confiding in my co-workers with deep and meaningful shit because I really liked and trusted them as people.
The after of happily researching the coaching, arts education, and DEI fields off the clock because I'm passionate about these topics. And I know my work makes a positive impact.
So the question is: Will you give yourself permission to have the professional life you want?
If your answer is yes, then take an immediate concrete step towards pursuing this reality.
It doesn't matter what step you take. What's important is that you take A step.
Then another. Then the next.
And keep going, until your mission is accomplished.
But, what if your answer to giving yourself permission is "no"?
Well, the first step to change is awareness.
So think of it as a great thing that you've uncovered an honest answer to this question.
With awareness you can start to change.
I created my first personal development course in 2009. The third chapter in that course is "Give Yourself Permission." Read or listen to it here and get on path to being a YES on that self-permission front.
If you're ready to accelerate your dream career in under a year (and excel your self-care and social life), then seriously consider weekly life coaching sessions for at least 9 months.
Choose Your Discomfort
But check this out . . . you're already uncomfortable.
You're uncomfortable with how much you hate what you're currently doing.
You're comfortable about your relationship with your boss and co-workers.
You're uncomfortable with how much you feel like you don't belong here because the job and you just aren't a good fit.
You're uncomfortable with the hours, the commute, the monotony, the lack of creativity.
You're taking longer lunch breaks.
You find any excuse to get out of the office.
You count down every hour until you get to leave.
You think it's safe to stay where you are because it's comfortable receiving a reliable paycheck.
It's comfortable getting that matched 401K.
Having health insurance is comfortable.
So you hem and haw about leaving...until 2 more years go by and you're as miserable as ever.
So you stall the decision to leave.
Hear me though.
Making the decision to leave, or create a different job for yourself at your current work (yes, that is possible) does not mean you have to leave tomorrow.
Making a clear decision means you're programming your brain to find solutions to better your situation.
You can give yourself as much time as you want to turn in your resignation, or to create your ideal job description at your current job, talk to your boss and explore the possibility of doing that instead.
But make the decision.
Get out of limbo land.
Purgatory is an unnecessary pain.
Feel the power of your DECISION.
Then get to work.
Give yourself as much time as you need to make the changes.
And if you want weekly one-on-one guidance, accountability, and support to follow through on your decision, then I'd be happy to help. I've been there.
Today is my birthday and I am kicking ass with love and gentleness. Honestly, I was not looking forward to this day just a few short weeks ago.
But I've been having conversations with my life coaches (yes, I have more than one) and doing my inner work to reach the point where I am jazzed to honor and celebrate my day and to share it with loved ones, not just on my actual date, but throughout this month.
I'm reflecting on my desires, dreams, goals, and visions...for the next 20 years and for the next 365 days.
Even though it's my birthday, I'm thinking about you and your dreams for 2022 and beyond.
So I have a special gift for you.
Actually, it's NOT a good idea to go it alone.
And so here's my gift.
For the next two weeks I'm offering you a FREE one-off
And if you wonder what in the hell the difference is between a dream, desire, vision, and goal, watch the video below. Note, you do NOT need to watch this in order to book your session.
P.S. When I recorded the video, I said that visions and dreams were synonymous. As I've reflected on this, I've shifted my stance. There is some nuance. And we can talk all about it during your strategy session!
Don't think you'll come back to this post later.
Don't tell yourself you should do this, but then do nothing.
If you feel fluttery sensations, book your session.
If you feel drawn to this, but scared, book your session.
If you're saying, "I want to do this, but...", book your session.
Don't talk yourself out of doing what could be one of the best things you've done for yourself all year.
The time to act is now.
Your life is worth it. You are worth it.
I can't wait to speak with you!
Why Your Job Sucks Part 2
Your job sucks because your work relationships be strugglin'!
You're not connecting with your colleagues.
You currently connect with them inauthentically.
Or you don't connect with them at all.
When I worked in office jobs I couldn't stand, I bolted during my lunch breaks.
I was more interested in getting the hell up out of there than to see these people as valuable humans.
These beings that I shared so much space and time with.
You may say, "Meh, it doesn't matter."
But it does matter.
When I started having lunch with my co-workers, going to happy hour, taking walk-n-talk breaks with them, getting to know 'em, AND letting them know me..my job didn't suck so much.
Feeling connected contributed to a delicious sense of well-being.
Stop holding your well-being hostage.
After all this you may still dislike your job, but it won't suck the way it does now.
And you never know...your next job lead could come from one of your co-workers.
I'd love to help you with personalized guidance to create kickass connections at work WHILE we create and execute your exit plan into your new career.
Why Your Job Sucks
You have great ideas.
Stop telling yourself you don't.
I know it's scary to act on that light-bulb moment you had last month.
That moment when you knew you could create a more efficient system for your and your department's workflow.
What if you present the idea to your boss and they shoot you down?
Or what if your co-workers say, "Who do you think you are to go changing things like this? You're just a ___."
But by not speaking up and sharing what you have to offer, you feel TEN times WORSE than what you would feel if your co-workers said that thing and your boss said no to your idea.
Go ahead and create the system. Put your idea into action.
Create the prototype.
Experiment with the possibility.
Show that it works.
THEN bring the implemented idea to your boss.
At that point, even if they're still a no, you've given yourself the gift of acknowledging and expressing yourself.
And that is estimable.
That is admirable.
You'll be so proud of yourself.
Your originality matters.
Your contributions matter.
And...you may get all this intellectually.
Yet taking up space like this on the regular might be downright frightening.
There's nothing wrong with you that you can't will yourself into taking initiative and shining your brilliance.
There's something to be said for social conditioning about who can and can't be visible and successful in the workplace.
Conditioning around gender, sexuality, race, ability, neurodiversity . . .
That's where I come in.
My work as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Facilitator and Educator informs the coaching we'll do together as we consider the context and specific challenges you've experienced being anything other than traditional status quo (white, straight, cisgender, male, able-bodied, etc.)
Let's factor in ALL of your personal and generational experiences in a one-on-one coaching container so that you kick ass at work, implementing idea after idea, getting your well-earned promotion, and being an example of what's possible.
Hit me up HERE for some kickass coaching.
I had a free life coaching consultation with a woman we’ll call Baxter. She works as an assistant in the health industry and was having a hard time communicating with her colleagues and other folk she wanted to connect with.
Baxter had a habit of only exchanging hi's and bye's with these people. She was constantly hesitating what to do and what to say.
She didn't really have people to talk to about this except for family. She thought her people challenges were about more than just being shy. She identifies as an introvert living in an extroverted world.
"Valerie, I have trouble taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone. I want to switch careers. I want to help people. I want something more."
I told Baxter that second-guessing and overthinking comes from not trusting yourself, not trusting your own decisions. When someone says they're afraid of taking risks, it’s because they don’t trust that they will be OK emotionally if things don’t go the way they wanted.
I told her that I'd show her how to work with her mind and emotions so she's equipped to take regular healthy risks AND feel safe that she'll be OK, no matter the outcome.
I told her about my Confident Communicator Coaching Package. I painted her a picture of trusting herself and acting on her intuition, without second- and third-guessing herself.
I invited her to imagine having deep and meaningful conversations with her colleagues and also hanging out and having fun with them. She told me about the romantic relationship she ultimately wanted, with a partner who adores her and cares for her. And that she could do the same for.
I asked Baxter to consider that through coaching she would learn to trust her intuition and have the conversations and interactions that she’d been scared to have, while honoring and respecting who she is as an introvert and empath.
Aside from the inner work, I’d also teach her practical assertive communication skills and techniques.
This is the kind of thing that unfolds during a life coaching consultation. I prefer to call ‘em Powerful Coaching Conversations because that’s what they are. Whether or not a client moves forward with long-term coaching, magic and clarity happens inside the conversation. So does laughter, meditation, and appreciation.
Another topic of discussion inside the consultation is this:
What stands between you and a secret dream or desire you want, but don’t think you can have?
Several years ago, mine was staying up too late. I was unhappy with my office job, and my cathartic release was living vicariously through shows and movies. It was also a form of procrastination because the later I went to bed, the later I got up to do the rat race again. The downside was irritability, low energy, insomnia, lower outlook on life, anger, frustration, shorter temper, and the prolonging of what I wanted most.
Steep prices to pay for the temporary relief staying up late provided.
My desire was to create and flourish sustainable professions as a life coach, presenter, and teaching artist.
My desire was to design a work-life outside the traditional 9-to-5, a work life that utilized every talent and skill I love practicing. (Both of which I’ve done btw).
Change is possible. Inevitable. When you show up for it.
And, often, the only way people show up for that level of change is with weekly accountability and guidance in the form of coaching. That’s what I did in my own journey. And now this is what I help others do.
As a Certified Life Coach and Author, helping others create lasting change is my jam.
I offer complimentary consultations for up to 1 hour. During this powerful conversation:
You have nothing to to lose here, except whatever's holding you back from the life you say you want.
It's OK to Ask for Help
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.
The coaching industry has grown tremendously over the past several years.
I worked with my first coach in 2007.
I am a life coach and I love the profession.
Though life coaching has been a way of life for me for 14 years, it's still a new concept for lots of people. Maybe even for you.
In this article, we'll explore:
What a Life Coach Does
Simply put, you hire a life coach to help you reach your goals and dreams. A life coach helps connect you to your deepest desires...you know, the desires you're too afraid to speak out loud. If you desire an exceptional life, you hire a life coach to guide you in getting there, loving there, and growing beyond there.
Professional athletes work with coaches to help them get to and stay at the top of their game. And to grow beyond that. Can you imagine your favorite football team excelling without a coach? Can you imagine Allyson Felix winning 11 Olympic medals without her track & field coach Bob Kersee? I can’t.
You get to be the Olympian of your own life. You get to operate at your highest level on the daily, designing and fulfilling your optimal career and personal experiences. Do what Olympians do. Get a coach and work with them for the duration. Allow yourself to work with someone who's only job is to bring the best of you forward.
A life coach is committed to your goals and dreams. They hold the vision for you on your darkest days. That, right there, is reason enough to have a coach on your team, even if you have supportive and loving family and friends. Your loved ones don't bring the level of neutrality, insight, expertise, background, tools, and training that a professional life coach does.
When I work with clients, I put my best thinking and insight into their problems, challenges, goals, dreams, and successes. I am dedicated to their success just as much as they are. Even when their hope wanes, mine doesn't. When they feel like giving up, I keep going, as long as they want coaching. I want for you what you want for yourself. I do everything in my power to help you reach the summit of your success mountain.
A life coach also helps you identify your beliefs and behaviors that block you from making progress. Every human has mental and emotional blind spots. A trained coach sees them, show them to you, and works with you to get out of your own way to achieve the results you seek.
Your coach also sees the greatness in you that you might not even recognize. They show you how awesome you are and work with you to live from your confidence rather than your insecurities.
Some coaches are strategy-based and don’t deal with processing emotions. Those coaches help you outline every single step it will take to get from where you are to where you want to be. And they help keep you accountable.
Other coaches just focus on mindset and emotions. They don’t deal much with action plans and strategies. Instead they help you uncover beliefs that hold you back while developing beliefs that move you forward.
My coaching method is a hybrid of mindset, strategy. and processing emotions. I also stand for your personal wellness as the foundation of everything you want to achieve. That means we create your dream career without sacrificing health, relationships, and the other aspects of life that matter to you. We create harmony in your life as you focus on achieving career satisfaction. You come to love the entirety of your life as well as your career.
There are myriad types of coaches within the coaching field. You have general life coaches that work with you on any topic you bring to them. You also have career coaches, midlife coaches, new mom coaches, self-care coaches, first-generation coaches, coaches for doctors, sexuality coaches. The list of specialties is massive.
As a Certified Life Coach and Certified Dream CoachⓇ, I've worked with college students through seniors on topics ranging from creating a life vision and finding meaning and purpose to setting boundaries at home/work and developing stand-up comedy material.
I now work with women of color who want to feel amazing about themselves while pursuing all the things they want for their lives. All while dismantling white-supremacist patriarchy in their minds and bodies as well as in their relationships and work.
What a Life Coach Does Not Do
Life coaches do not diagnose nor treat mental health disorders.
Leave that to licensed psychiatrists and therapists.
Life coaches also generally do not work with clients to process severe trauma, unless that life coach has received specialized training in that realm.
All this being said, you can work with a life coach, psychiatrist, and therapist concurrently.
There's no rule that says you can only work with one at a time.
I have a life coach, business coach, therapist, and psychiatrist.
All contribute to my well-being.
It takes a village to grow a thriving human.
When You Should Hire a Life Coach
Let's say you’ve read a fair share of personal improvement books with more in your Kindle wish list.
You regularly consume professional development articles.
You listen to a few really good podcasts.
You read great blogs.
You implement exercises from your favorite authors, podcasters, and coaches.
Yet you’re not experiencing the forward momentum in your career and personal life that you’d like. You may notice some difference, but overall, you feel the same on the inside.
And you haven't seen the significant changes on the outside.
When you ask questions like these, it’s time to hire a life coach.
When you’ve ‘tried a bunch of things’ on your own and life still looks and feels the same, it’s time to hire a life coach.
When you've got a personal problem, like you keep overextending yourself and say yes to everything people ask you even though you feel drained, a life coach can help you stop doing that. A life coach can help you become a different version of yourself so that you confidently and clearly say YES when you mean it and NO when you don't want to do something.
Even if you don't have any pressing struggles and life is going well, but you just want MORE for your life, it's time to hire a life coach. The person in this scenario often wants to discover their purpose, create more meaning, and develop their next adventure. Get a life coach!
How Long Do You Work with a Coach?
The most straightforward answer is: until you achieve your results. Commitment is what it comes down to. Are you committed to living your dream no matter what? When the answer is YES, you don't care how long it takes. You might want 'sooner' but 'longer' doesn't deter you either. You're just in it until the result is achieved. You're in it until you become the person you want to be.
You could accomplish your goal or dream in 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 2 years, or more. It depends on the complexity of your goal or dream. It depends on you showing up consistently to your coaching sessions. It depends on you implementing what your coach tells you.
Every coach also has their own business model and process. Some coaches only work with clients for a year at a time. Others offer month-to-month packages. There are several options here.
What's most important is that you resonate with your coach.
What's most important is that you believe your coach can help you.
What's most important is that you trust your coach.
If you find a coach that you're a 'hell yeah' to, find out how to work with them. Ask them for a consultation. Instead of shopping for coaches based on the duration of their programs, shop for your coach based on the relationship you can develop with them.
Earlier this year, my kitty Niko came into my life. I decided to keep him with the vet clinic he had already been going to, even though the clinic charges an annual membership fee. (The fee actually came due today as I write this post.) I've been a cat mama for 13 years and I've never paid a membership fee at other vets.
However, I choose to keep Niko at this particular clinic. Here are a few reasons why:
How Often Do You Meet with Your Coach?
Many coaches work with clients for an hour every single week throughout the term of the coaching program. I work with clients for 45-60 minutes every week for 12 months.
I believe in potent coaching. It's not about how much time we spend in the session; It's about getting you the results so you can live big outside the sessions. I've found that 60 minutes every week isn't always necessary.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that prospective clients think they are paying for the coach's time. You're actually not. What you're paying for is your dream. Your payment to the coach is an investment in YOU. You're telling yourself that your life matters. Your well-being matters. Your success matters. THAT is what's on the line. Not your coach's time.
At the end of the day, your coaching schedule is determined with your coach. It does have to work for the both of you, after all.
Like I said earlier, though, I wouldn't focus on 'how long' and 'how often'.
Put your prime attention on feeling a connection with the person you'll hire to help you.
You'll be sharing intimate details about your life with them. Make sure you feel safe with them.
On the topic of safety, ask them if they are trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, and if you're a person of color, ask what their experience is working with communities of color.
Getting this clarity upfront will set you up for success.
Take your next step towards the life and work you crave and book a call with me below. And yes, I am trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, healing-centered, and use somatic techniques in my coaching. I am also a black woman, Afro-Caribbean to be exact.
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.