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The Five-Day Reset

The Five-Day Reset

It’s hard to believe it was just eight months ago that we were looking at a new decade with excitement and optimism. This year looks different than any of us pictured, but we can still have HOPE.

I’d love for you to join me for a Five Day Reset, August 31 – September 4. It’s a chance for us to set aside the craziness for a few minutes each day, and set ourselves up to finish the year with sanity, purpose, and a clear sense of direction.

I’m going to walk you through the first four steps of my signature coaching process. You’ll be able to clarify your vision, get back in touch with your values and priorities, set aside some things that have distracted you, and create a plan that is practical, actionable, and clear. Then, my friend Jessie, from Ordered Excellence, will join us to talk about how we can set ourselves up for success.

My sincere hope is that by the end of the week, you will feel like your footing is secure, you know where you’re going, and you have a path to get there.

It will be work, but it will be SO WORTH IT.

I can’t wait to share all of this with you! And guess what? It’s FREE! All you have to do is join the Facebook Group here and clicking Join Group!

P.S. Want to learn more about The Process? Click here!

How Do You Know If Coaching Is Right For You?

How Do You Know If Coaching Is Right For You?

I have been working with coaches since 2014 (although back then I called them mentors) and I have found that again and again, the process of intentionally reflecting and planning, trying ideas and refining them, has led to the greatest amount of growth in my life. I love books, podcasts, and courses, but coaching is about the integration of learning and insights. It’s about taking the inspiration, or the theory, and turning it into reality.

To me, the heart and soul of coaching is this:

  1. You are supported. You have someone who will help you work through the complexity of your life and your projects.
  2. You are actively working toward personal and professional development, doing the hard work and the heart work that brings growth in your life.

The internal work supports the external work. And we will do both.

How do you know if coaching might be right for you? Coaching can be a great help if one or more of the below are true for you:

  1. You’re ready to explore change. This could be anywhere on the spectrum of change – it doesn’t have to mean major upheaval – but there may be a sense that something isn’t working, and you’re ready to figure out what that is.
  2. Your mind is crowded with thoughts that are vague, confusing, stressful, nebulous, or you don’t even know what you think or feel anymore.
  3. You lack clarity around what you’re working toward. Maybe you’re questioning whether you’re working toward the right things. Or maybe you have a few elements in mind that are non-negotiable, but aren’t sure exactly what those ideas could look like in real life, or how to get there from here.
  4. You know what you’re working toward, and you have a head full of ideas, you just need support to transform them into action plans and work through the challenges.

Coaching is not about forcing decisions, it’s about understanding what holds you back. It’s not about pushing through at any cost, it’s about understanding your motivation, and supporting you through challenges.

It’s about taking a fresh look at where you are, getting massive clarity on where you want to be, and finding the path from here to there.

Together we will:

  • Gain clarity around values and goals to ensure they are aligned and well-defined
  • Create an action plan to balance multiple priorities and identify practical next steps
  • Identify systems and processes that can provide a framework of support to drive the goals forward
  • Dig into roadblocks and challenges to find solutions
  • Work through doubts, fears, and limiting beliefs that could hinder progress or negatively impact the experience

If you want to explore the possibilities, I’d love to have a no-cost, no-pressure consultation with you. You can send me an e-mail using this link and I’ll reach out via e-mail to set up a call!

A Gentler Approach to the New Year

A Gentler Approach to the New Year

You can take the pressure off yourself, if you want to. You can set intentions, and set goals, and show up in the new decade with a lot of positivity, AND know that nothing will magically change overnight, and that’s okay. Or, if you’re not feeling it – and you’re a little bit worn, a little bit frayed, a little bit uncertain – that’s okay too. It’s not a verdict on the year.

New Year’s Day simply provides a rhythm. It’s a reminder to reflect, and to think about what kind of positive changes you may want to make, but there’s nothing magical about January 1st, and you don’t need to accomplish everything by January 2nd.

Picture the next year as a suitcase. A very finite suitcase that can only carry so much. Put the most important things in first.

This is the work of January.

Here’s another perspective: Who you are matters way more than anything you do, and everything you do flows out of who you are. The paradox, though, is that it’s often in the doing that we become.

Who do you want to be? And how can you set yourself up to be that person?

Choose one very important and impactful thing to focus on in January, and let that be it.

Of course you’ll still have to maintain daily life, but in terms of setting goals and making changes, choose one main thing to focus on, and take action that is aligned with that single primary goal. This allows you to make meaningful progress on the most important thing.

When we try to make too many changes at once, or spread ourselves among too many projects, we become overwhelmed, stressed, and ineffective.

And just to clarify, taking action could very easily mean removing something from your schedule, not necessarily adding something. It’s all about what matters most.

When we put time and effort into things that don’t really matter to us or don’t have an impact, that creates stress. On the other hand, when we put time and effort into things that move the needle in a way that feels rewarding and worthwhile, that creates a sense of traction. It feeds a sense of hope because we begin to see that we’re capable of change. It provides direction for us because we start to see what works and what doesn’t. And it’s in the action that we’ll find the most clues about our purpose, and what we want to create.

So take the pressure off yourself.

One main thing.

That’s all.

Happy New Year, friends!!  

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself This Christmas

7 Ways to Take Care of Yourself This Christmas

I absolutely love the idea of Christmas, but tend to get burnt out on the actual doing of all the Christmas things. Anyone else?? 🙂

Here are a few easy ways to practice self-care this holiday season so you can enjoy rather than just muddling through!

1. Stay hydrated. It’s easy to lose track of this basic need when our schedules are thrown off. Make sure you bring water with you everywhere.

2. Prioritize good sleep. Most of us tend to have infinitely more patience, creativity, and flexibility when we get good rest. Control the things you can control by setting a schedule in advance, and making your sleeping arrangements as comfortable as possible while traveling. If you need to, make a to-do list before you hit the hay, and journal about anything bothering you. These will help your brain transition to sleep mode so racing thoughts don’t keep you up.

3. Eat some nutritious foods. It’s not about calories, or cheat days, or fitting in your holiday dress. It’s about how you feel. Sugar can really drain us, and rich foods can make us feel weighed down. Balancing sugar with protein, and rich foods with lighter ones, will help us stay alert so we have the energy for the non-stop holiday activities.

4. Inject fun and play into your day. Don’t let the obligations sap all the fun out of the season. Find the pockets of time where you can really notice the beauty around you. Have a snowball fight. Buy a box of donuts and decorate them like wreaths with fun icing and sprinkles (no need to make homemade cookies!). Pile pillows on the floor and get all cozy to make watching a Christmas movie extra special. Play games. Make cocoa. Play Christmas music while you wrap presents, cook, or bake.

5. Listen to yourself. Especially when traveling, we can tend to neglect time for reflection, or anything resembling solitude. Check in with yourself at least once per day. How do you feel? Is there anything you need? Is there anything you want more or less of? Let’s be honest – you may be the only one listening to you! So listen well, and make sure to take a few moments to take care of you.

6. Build in margin. With the crowds and traffic this time of year, everything takes longer than we think it will, which can lead to frustration. Try to keep more time clear than you think you’ll need.

7. Get inspired. Pay attention to what makes you feel lit up inside, both online and in real life. Here’s the key, though: you don’t have to duplicate anything! Take that pressure off yourself. Look for the feeling behind it, and try to cultivate that feeling in simple ways.

Mindset, Motivation, and Mental Resilience: An Interview With Gabe Cox

Mindset, Motivation, and Mental Resilience: An Interview With Gabe Cox

If reaching your purpose feels like a marathon you’re not ready for, then I want you to meet my new friend Gabe Cox, of @RedHotMindset. In her new book, “Mind Over Marathon: Overcoming Mental Barriers in the Race of Life.,” she uses her successful bid to the Boston Marathon as a backdrop for an exploration of principles that can help you achieve any goal or dream. If you’re looking to ignite passion and purpose in your life, clarify your unique game plan, and build confidence in who you are, this book is for you. Don’t worry: Running is optional! 

Becca: Running a marathon is daunting all by itself, but you set out to shave 42 minutes off your marathon time in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon. What drove this decision for you, and how did you know you could accomplish it? 

Gabe: I wanted to prove to myself that I had it in me to do hard things. I think this was the main motivator. I also saw others doing it, and I wanted to be a part of the club. In my mind I knew that if I could accomplish shaving 42 minutes off my marathon pace, which is about a minute and a half per mile, I could do anything! I used it as a training ground for life, and it helped me eliminate excuses in other areas of my life. I’m not sure I knew I could accomplish it, at least when I set out for the first time to do it. So many doubts flooded my mind, but I knew I wouldn’t quit, that’s the part that kept me going after such a lofty dream. After a while, as I kept getting faster and began closing in on my goal, that’s actually when I began to believe in myself and that I could actually do it.

Becca: What made you decide to turn this experience into a book? For those who aren’t runners, how do these principles apply to everyday life? 

Gabe: I’ve always wanted to be an author, since I can remember. Writing is a passion of mine, and I believe it’s how I express myself best. When I was in the midst of training for the third time to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and I was working on that personal growth and the mental training necessary to go after such a large goal, I knew I had a book. If I could do it, anyone could. It became a mission for me to help others believe in themselves and be able to use the same process to achieve whatever goals they had for themselves, whether they be in running or in life. To be honest, the principles in this book are not running principles, I just share my running stories throughout. These are life principles that I used in my running. That’s what I love about this book. Runners will eat it up and absolutely relate, but so will non-runners. I think the saying, “Life is Like a Marathon,” holds true and can resonate with everyone.

Becca: How do you describe your life’s purpose and mission? 

Gabe: My mission is to help others overcome their mental barriers so they can run their best race, live their best lives, and achieve their dreams. I help them draw out their giftings and potential that they didn’t even know they had. I work to help create breakthroughs so they can get unstuck and stop quitting on themselves. I want them to know that they are worthy, and it’s their time.

What does mindset mean, and how does it help us move forward from challenging circumstances? 

Mindset is an established set of attitudes held by an individual. It can be learned, created by experiences, etc. Mindset matters because it affects every area of our lives. We actually have control over our mindset, and we can change our thinking. This is good news! The only way to negate a negative thought is to speak a positive word. That’s the idea behind positive self-talk. It does feel silly at first — until you do it long enough and see that it works! I worked my way out of a deep depression , which I identified in college, through a deep delve into personal development. I began to understand through studying success principles why words are massively powerful and began a journey of personal growth and positive self-talk.

What are the main principles your book explores, in addition to mindset? 

 

Gabe: The Main Takeaways of the book are:

  • A faith-based approach into building inner strength and resilience
  • How to turn your dreams into achievable goals
  • Overcome obstacles with various techniques that you can easily implement into your everyday life 
  • How we can build up mental resilience over time to be ready for any situation life brings 
  • How to stretch your potential without going into burnout 

What is your biggest hope for your readers? 

Gabe: My hope through this book is to provide encouragement, thought process, and tangible applications so readers can take a dream from inception to a flourishing finish, overcoming mental barriers along the way, and discovering the potential they always had.

Mind Over Marathon is available on Amazon.com. You can also follow Gabe on Instagram @RedHotMindset and find her on You Tube as Red Hot Mindset. P.S. If you have a runner in your life, check out the list of gift ideas for runners!

Cheering for all of you!

Precise Questions & Practical Steps: Asking Questions That Get to the Heart of the Matter

Precise Questions & Practical Steps: Asking Questions That Get to the Heart of the Matter

I don’t remember where I was in our office building, only that a panicked team member came to find me, and pulled me into a conference room. “Why are they packing up his desk?” she probed, referring to our shared boss. She told me his personal items were being placed in an old file box, the universal symbol of a really rough day at the office. As second-in-command on the team, I could see why she asked me, but I was as shocked as she was.

What unfolded from that morning was a downward spiral; a season of overwhelm unlike anything I’d experienced before.

It had started with the best of intentions, as such things usually do. A few days prior, I’d accepted a promotion that I thought would be a fantastic growth opportunity – my first leadership position – and I was motivated and ready to dive in. And then, just like that, the floor fell out from underneath me when my boss was let go. Sink or swim.

The nature of modern life is that we all sometimes find ourselves in these downward spirals, where everything seems to be getting busier and crazier and harder, and it all feels so inevitable. We feel like we can’t stop. We just push through, trying not to let anything important fall through the cracks.

We’ve heard of this idea of “early intervention” when it comes to children: If we take proactive steps very early on, we can prevent a crisis. We need to learn to do the same for ourselves. We need to give ourselves permission to maintain margin, to NOT push to our very limits.

But how do we stop the cycle before it spins out of control? Or, how do we begin to reverse the tide when it’s already out of control?

I don’t have all the answers, but I do think it helps to ask more specific questions. We need to ask questions that get to the heart of the issue without requiring us to evaluate our entire lives. We don’t have the energy to look at the big picture when we’re overwhelmed.

Start with this:

  • If you could start or stop one thing immediately, what would it be?

Start a particular self-care practice. Commit to one evening a week away from the madness. Stop a particular activity. Find a way to sleep in once a month. Say no to an expectation someone else placed on you that doesn’t belong with you.

Practically speaking, you may also need to consider:

  • What is most important to you right now?
  • What is 100% non-negotiable? Why? For how long?

If you are going to take time for yourself, you may need to give up an activity to make that happen. Chances are, someone will be disappointed when you make that choice. But, assuming it’s not something absolutely mandatory like feeding your kids, you are 100% allowed to make that decision.

  • What support or help are you giving to others that you wish was being given to you?

Very often, what we give to others mirrors what we want to receive. Sometimes it’s the little things that make us feel less alone. Or, maybe you bring food, run an errand, or let their kids come over. Can you ask for this kind of help? This line of thinking can also provide an opportunity to suggest a swap.  Or perhaps you can find a more fun and life-giving way to accomplish daily tasks that would make them feel less like a burden. Sometimes it’s more about managing our energy than our time.

  • What would make you breathe a sigh of relief, or feel like a weight was lifted off your shoulders?

This ties into the first two questions, it’s just another way to look at it. What feels the heaviest? What resolution could bring you relief? This is also a good place to look at whether you are carrying heavy expectations – either your own, or those placed on you by others. Do you feel like you need permission to start or stop something? Do you want someone to tell you it’s okay to put something on hold?

  • Can you give yourself permission? Can you accept that permission?
  • Are you willing to validate yourself and your own effort? If your best friend was in your place, would you tell her she had done enough?
  • If you have a contractual obligation, or a responsibility that needs to be adjusted, is there someone you need to have that conversation with?

One advantage of early intervention is that we are able to bring much more flexibility, creativity, and grace to the conversations we need to have. These seasons start with really great intentions, so it can feel like betrayal when we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed. It’s worth asking the question:

  • Who else can provide support besides the ‘obvious’ choice (i.e. spouse, boss)?
  • What help is available that you might not be fully utilizing?

It’s all about the practical steps. What is one specific way you can take a step back from the edge, even if it’s a baby step? Even if it’s something that’s important to you but not THE most important? Especially if it’s not at all important to YOU?

Sometimes we hesitate because we don’t want to have the hard conversations, but sometimes just ONE hard conversation can bring a tidal wave of relief. Ultimately, the prize is a life that contains a lot more goodness and a lot less stress, and that’s worth trying for.

The Full Life

The Full Life

It feels a little bit like the storm is over. There’s a settled sense of calm that I don’t take for granted. The knot in my stomach has loosened, my breath has returned, a new normal is starting to form, and it’s time to decide what to build on this new foundation.

Regardless of how we come to a new beginning, at some point we have to ask: What now? And we know we’re really healing when we ask it like this:

What wild, weird, wonderful possibilities exist here?

I’ve found myself becoming what Marie Forleo calls a Multi-Passionate Creative. It started with writing, and then photography, and then there was this call deeper that led me to complete a coaching certificate. The inevitable question then is: How do all of these pieces fit together?

The common thread, it seems, is that everything is in resolute pursuit of a full life.

Mostly we hear this expression at the end of someone’s life. “They lived a full life,” we’ll say, if in our estimation they lived enough. But do we ever pause to think about what that means? Does it refer only to the number of years? Do we ever consider whether we’re living a full life now?

A full life is a big-picture life. It’s chaos and joy and mess and grace. It’s running around – sometimes running ragged – but also circling around with the people we love, doing life together. It’s being here for the full experience. It’s allowing ourselves to feel hurt when we are, but then finding ways to pursue our healing, and though it all, still choosing to relish the good in life. It’s growing and figuring things out and adapting and rolling with the punches. It’s forgiving ourselves when we screw up, and finding peace when life stubbornly refuses to line up. It’s contentment and restlessness, trying new things and navigating the seasons. Sometimes it’s surprising, sometimes it’s wild, sometimes it’s unceasingly mundane. It’s loving well, holding on to hope, keeping the faith, and trusting that all of it belongs.

It’s all here, if we choose to be present for it. Who’s in, friends?

How Do You Know You Need To Let Go?

How Do You Know You Need To Let Go?

On a grey morning in February, I tucked myself into the back corner of the cutest café Liverpool has to offer, with a cinnamon-maple latte and my journal, for what had become an annual tradition of reflection. The mug fit perfectly in my hands, comforting and soothing, and was the perfect moody grey to match the rain clouds gathering in my thoughts. I traced the smooth edge with my fingernail, and glanced over at the front table by the window, next to the fireplace. I remembered vividly the things I had struggled with at that table the previous year.

I had reached a breaking point. That week had culminated in the most epic breakdown I ever had at work. It would be an understatement to say I lost my cool. I cried, for sure, but beyond that, my veins had filled with fire and ice, and I didn’t even recognize the sound of my own voice. It was this raw, raspy version that refused to let me deny what I was feeling – what I had been feeling for years already – which was wrung out, drained, angry, hurt, and alone.

And there I was, a year past that breakdown, still wrestling with the same things. I wrote this in my journal:

The only way to create positive change is to create massive change. I’m out of excuses.

I had tried everything I could think of to make my chosen career work, and I was ready to admit that it hadn’t, and although it was my choice, it would not be an exaggeration to say that I was heartbroken. I had poured so much of myself into my world there. I had so many people counting on me. And there was also one persistent thought that held me back:

How do you know when you have to make a decision that breaks your own heart? How do you know it’s time to end something so significant?

I’d been in the same place before, so certain that my only option was to leave, and for a while I was glad I stayed. What made this time different?

Truthfully, I hoped for an obvious sign to drop out of heaven, or God’s audible voice to tell me the right thing to do, but ultimately, the guidance dropped into the deepest part of my being, subtle at first, and then more insistent, and it was my work to listen. I think it had to be that way. There are dozens of stories of people who argued with God, even when they received the coveted verbal instruction. We as a species may not be great listeners.

Life is complex, and we try to logic it out with our pro/con lists, but they may not tell us the whole truth. On a crisp January day just a few weeks prior, a mentee and I had met up for a long luxurious lunch at the Three Brothers Wineries, a collection of wineries nestled on a beautiful vineyard along Seneca lake. It was one of those winter days where the sun hangs low and the light is soft all day, and as we meandered through the afternoon, we talked about why we stayed. I felt good about the reasons I gave, and maybe it was easier to see them because I was happy and surrounded by beauty, but I still think they were true. They were true…but the reasons to leave were also true, and I had a long list of those as well. You can’t necessarily rely on the externals to guide you.

I genuinely believe that most of the challenges in our lives are calls for growth, not for change, and that if we chase external change to avoid difficulty, we essentially short-circuit our own lives and forfeit all that growth. Also true: We cannot become who we are meant to become if we cling to the way we hoped things would go and refuse to change.

This is complex, and since I can’t simplify it, I offer this handful of guideposts. These are the things that made the difference for me, the things that pointed the way to change, and I offer them to you in hopes that if you face your own crossroads, they may provide some clarity.

1. Something Breaks Internally

The circumstances around you can be remarkably broken without breaking you. This is not a matter of how difficult the situation is. It’s not a question of whether you can dig deeper to find the strength. It’s not even about how much you cry, how stressed you are, or whether you’re happy. It’s a sense that irreparable damage is being done to the foundation of your life. It’s a question of whether your essential self is still intact. Once this break has taken place, it’s as if the damage is already done, and you’re just making it official.

As I sat there on that grey February day, it seemed like an odd time to “give up.” I had been through so many more difficult seasons – busier, more stressful, harder in every way. I had made it through those, so I knew that I could keep going through the motions, but inside me, something was crumbling. For so long, I had showed up as whatever everyone else needed me to be. I did more than rise to the occasion, I made myself whatever the situation called for. And the façade had cracked, imperceptible at first, but an avalanche was building, and the real me was leaking through, like water from behind a dam.

The reality is that if you are facing an ending that breaks your heart, it will be hard, even if you are the one to initiate it. You will cry. You will be stressed. But you will know, somehow, that it is the path to wholeness, and that is the difference.

2. There is an Internal Shift

I know no one wants to hear, “you’ll just know.” That’s not helpful. It’s unfortunately true, but I’ll try to describe it in a more meaningful way. Our ambivalence is a spectrum. We picture that spectrum as ranging from 99% sure we’ll stay to 99% sure we’ll go, and that would make sense, but in my experience, we feel ambivalent because we intend to stay. The spectrum actually goes from 99% sure we’ll stay to 1% sure we’ll go, and crossing to that 1% is the shift. From there, things move pretty fast.

Up until that point, I had navigated every difficult season with the assumption that I would ultimately stick it out one way or another. Then, there was a single day where the wave started building that turned my world upside down, and the sense of clarity came that changed everything. The first domino had fallen, and the rest weren’t far behind. I still hesitated, of course, but that internal sense of knowing had shifted to where I was fairly certain I would go, just like that. Everything after that point was me fighting with myself. My internal monologue had switched from ambivalence to bargaining (and a touch of denial). I was trying to salvage the situation, but part of me had already started to move forward.

3. Body Feedback

This one is pretty straight-forward. Your body is not invested in maintaining the way things are, and it will tell you the truth. It’s a gut-punch knowledge settled in the deepest part of you. You know your normal symptoms of stress, and your body will ratchet it up until you listen.

4. You Understand What You Are Moving Toward

You don’t need to have all the answers. You don’t need to have all the logistics figured out. You just need to have a sense of which direction you will go, and a hope that it will be worth going there.

I think we need to understand the role of perspective, which is not a cure-all. Yes, a shift in perspective can shift everything, and I’m a deep believer in the power of perspective to change our experience of a situation, even if nothing external changes. I’ve seen over and over in my life how a renewal in my heart can revive a path that I thought had run its course. If we’re not careful, though, we can trap ourselves into believing that external change is never needed.  

Perspective always matters. Sometimes it is the only thing that matters, but other times real change is needed, and still, your perspective and your focus and how you frame that change will influence how you experience it, and how you move through it. If you focus entirely on leaving Point A, because you are frustrated or angry or hurt or even heartbroken, you will probably feel forced, stressed, and uncertain. You may even miss Point B because you’re so focused on getting away from Point A that you jump ship without having a vision of where you are going. If, on the other hand, you see Point B, and it resonates with you, and you feel called there, then maybe the fact that Point A is crumbling beneath your feet simply confirms it is time to go forth, and with that as your focus, you can move with a much greater sense of peace and purpose. 

One more important thing: You have permission to take as much time as you need.

Others may say it should be an easy choice. Let them. For that matter, you may be frustrated with yourself, wondering why you can’t see the way forward, but give yourself the gift of time.  

Here’s the thing: When you have been ambivalent for years, it is unrealistic to expect that gravity to go away overnight. Those dreams you’re letting go of were real, and they mattered, and when your heart is broken by your own decision, you want to know that you gave yourself all the time you needed.

I can honestly say, looking back, that all of it belongs. A year ago today, I was on a 6AM flight to New York City, and although I usually hate flying, it was beautiful. I was one of the only ones who stayed awake to watch the stunning golden sunrise over the city, and all I could think was how grateful I was to be there. It was real, and it mattered.

All of it belongs. Every open door, every closed door, everything learned, everything given, every challenge, every spectacular moment, every conversation, every friend, every bit of grace. All of it belongs.

Even the sadness belongs. It’s evidence that beauty was there.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
A Practical Guide to Wondering

A Practical Guide to Wondering

This is an invitation to dive deeper into exploring our beliefs so we can understand how we view ourselves, and our world, and our role in the world. When we are brave enough to ask ourselves hard questions, we give ourselves the opportunity to course-correct. It allows us to intentionally discard ways of viewing the world that have become warped or twisted, and keep only that which is good and true.

(If you haven’t already read my blog post on this topic, jump over and take a look at that first, because it explains a little about how false beliefs sneak into our lives). 

Here is the process I used when I first became aware of how much falsehood had crept into my thinking. This is not a one-and-done exercise, but don’t get discouraged. Just keep holding everything up to the light and keep chasing the truth. 

1.) Take ten index cards, and on each one, write a belief you have about yourself, the world, or the circumstances in which you find yourself. We don’t usually articulate our beliefs, so this may not come naturally, but the below generic questions may help you discover where your thought patterns need some work: 

    • What went wrong?
    • What should have gone differently?
    • What hurt the most?

You can also use the below prompts to explore.

    • I am….
    • I never…
    • I can’t…
    • It doesn’t matter…
    • If  _________, then__________…
    • If only…

Dig deep here. Don’t be afraid to write it exactly as you feel it. That’s the whole purpose of this step. 

2.) Spend some time thinking about the beliefs on each card. For each one, ask yourself some questions:

    • How did you come to this belief?
    • How long have you felt this way?
    • Were there critical events that played into the development of this belief?
    • If it’s based on something someone told you, should that person’s opinion matter, and/or were they in a position to give you meaningful feedback?
    • When you look at it in writing, as objectively as you can, do you truly believe it is true?
    • Is this belief healthy for you?
    • Do you want or need to carry it into the future?
    • What other ways could you look at it that would be equally true and more helpful? 

It’s not necessarily about true-or-false, because chances are there is some kernel of truth there, but that truth can get skewed, or can be mis-applied, or can get so mired down in mis-interpretation, pain, frustration, and insecurity that it has turned mostly false. It’s also not usually a matter of right or wrong. You may find that many things could be true. Plus – and this is important – something could have been true in your past, but that doesn’t mean you need to carry it into the future.

3.) Find a friend, coach, or therapist you trust. Make sure it’s someone who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth or ask tough questions. Start telling them the stories you’re telling yourself. Let them share their perspective. If they ask questions, give the most honest answers you can. Begin to sort out the facts – the things that actually did happen – from the thoughts that are based in insecurity, disappointment, or feelings of lack.

4.) Begin to re-frame each belief. Acknowledge the pieces that are true, and replace the pieces that aren’t. Keep looking for the highest truth about who are created to be, and the deepest truth about the life God gave you. Don’t let an event be the verdict on your life. Don’t relinquish your self-worth to any situation no matter how drastic or life-altering. Keep seeking the truth.

Let me give you a less-drastic example. One of my beliefs about my place in this world was that I only received “partial credit” for the things I did. I felt that I was held to a higher standard than others. Isn’t it a little strange that I held this belief at the exact same time I held the belief that I was a “zero?” These are the things you discover when you start digging.

Regardless, there was some truth there. As I began to work through it, though, it became obvious that there were several layers at play. First and foremost, I held myself to a very high standard. Much of the pressure I felt was internal, and the external pressure I felt most came from people whose opinions shouldn’t matter.

In addition, I had to take a good hard look at how I showed up every day. I’m not very dramatic, and I have a way of making things look easy even when I’m working incredibly hard. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I needed to understand that people wouldn’t automatically know that it felt heavy to me. I needed to communicate if I wanted them to understand how I felt.

Lastly, at the bottom of all these layers, was a beautiful truth I had missed until it was pointed out to me: a tremendous amount of grace had been extended to me because I had earned trust. It was the flip-side of the same coin.

Essentially, everything boiled down to the fact that it was a two-way street, and I needed to focus on my side of the street.

This is, of course, not a fix for the world-at-large. There have been situations since then where I did communicate, and addressed my own issues, and considered the source, and did everything I could think of to do, and probably was being taken advantage of. However, because I’d done all this work to understand what I felt and why, I was able to see it as a situation that had to be dealt with, not evidence of my role in the world. That’s the difference.

Similarly, as I dismantled my false dichotomy of “Family Woman or Career Woman,” it didn’t automatically fix my life, but it helped me separate my identity from my disappointment. It also re-directed my focus toward what I truly wanted, which is important.

If you are chasing the wrong thing, it won’t matter whether you get it.

So as you go through each of your cards, and as you talk them through, flip each one over and begin to write the truth. Write what you want for your future. Write new intentions. Describe the person you want to be. Affirm your best qualities. Add quotes or verses that capture the truth. Write change. Write hope.

Write a new ending to the story. 


P.S. If you want to dive in even more, I would highly recommend Brene Brown’s books, especially Rising Strong.