Tag Archives: coaching


Some people say there is nothing more beautiful than a confident woman at ease in her body and with herself.  We all need role models like that, and the young woman I met last night is a good one.  She was radiant, confident, quietly electrifying and beautiful.  She drew people to her as we gathered in the dressing room to model for a fashion show.  Ariana had never modeled before and said she was a bit nervous.  She didn’t look nervous.  She looked beautiful and sure of herself in an understated way.  I wondered if my college-age son knew her from school, so I asked Ariana how old she was.  I guessed she was about twenty.

Ariana is just thirteen.  Thirteen, the age when most American girls fret over how they look, worried that something or another is not just right.  A nose too big, a chest too small, skin not clear enough, an outfit not cool enough – those are the things young teenagers often worry about, and those worries usually show up in how they carry themselves and connect with others.  Some of us carry those worries into our adult selves, continuing to build on theories of “not enough” and “too much” while downplaying strengths. 

Rarely do you see a thirteen year old girl with the unassuming confidence Ariana had in herself, especially a young woman that is about to walk down a runway for the first time.  She had no training; only a demonstration of how to turn and pose had been given her.  She had seen the lights, cameras, and large white screen that would greet her at the end of a runway woven through a crowd.  The show was for business owners that represent JR Collection www.jacquerudman.com.   Ariana was ready.  At about 5’10”, many girls might have worn flats or low heels.  (Models were given complete discretion on footwear.)  Ariana chose spiked 4” heels.  She looked fantastic and glided easily down the runway. 

In a world where many hesitate to reach out with 100% of their capacity, this young woman stood tall and ready to take on a new challenge.  So many girls and women hide or dim their natural gifts.  Few understand the freedom of living life to the fullest.  As I stood next to Ariana waiting for my turn on the runway, I smiled and thought about how much fun she was having.  She seemed calm, though her eyes showed a sense of excitement and anticipation.

I was in the presence of someone living entirely in the moment and it was contagious.  It was then I realized what a role model Ariana was being for each of us that night.  I relaxed and stepped out toward the runway feeling good, moving smoothly and smiling as though each person there was a good friend.  Ariana helped me do that.  She was modeling so much more than the clothes, and she doesn’t even know it.  Thank you Ariana, for modeling the kind of woman I want to be!

I think we all need a little more Ariana attitude in us.  Here is a question to ponder if you agree: 

Who would you be if you let your beauty shine 100%?

This is the kind of question my clients often use to decide where they want to go and what they need to do to move there.  It isn’t a selfish task.  Being the most radiant you is a way of showing appreciation for your gifts, of respecting the life you’ve been given.  Give it some thought, and decide what you want going forward.  Then lead yourself and others to a more beautiful self.



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The Worrier

It’s kind of ironic that I used to worry about money a lot, especially since I spent fifteen years as a financial planner.  My career required spending a lot of time figuring out how to advise people about what to do with their money – but that’s different.  Thinking about money most of your waking hours is a good thing in the financial services world .  Setting up contingency plans and keeping up with changes was a good use of my time.  Applying what I knew to my own money, as well as to my clients, makes sense.  That’s not ironic.  The irony is that I spent time worrying  if I would have enough money, how to earn more money, how long would it take to save for this or that.  Worrying isn’t planning; it’s just wasting time.

In the life of a financial advisor, earnings are very variable.  Great months are followed by a pathetic check nearly too embarrassing to deposit.  (Luckily, with direct deposit, I never had to look at a teller when a teeny tiny check went into my account.)  So, you might think I had cause to worry.  I didn’t.  You see, I had an emergency fund, low debt, and a modest home, so the tough months worked their way out.  Sometimes it seemed like everything was going topsy-turvy, like when two pathetic checks came in a row, and my worry would increase.  “What if the next one is terrible and now my emergency fund is about gone?” I would think.  You can imagine some of the other thoughts I had as I worried and worried.  When times were good and I put away extra money for those inevitable and too frequent downturns, I would feel relief for a moment, but then some long put off extra expenses would be paid and I  would worry about having spent too much.  You might know just what I am talking about.

One day, a couple decades into my adult life, I was talking with a friend about feeling money tight.  I said, “It always works out though,” in reference to how I was going to pay for something I committed to do before saving the money.  She said something like, “Well that must be nice, having it always work out,” and suddenly I realized the truth of what I had just said.  Something always worked out.  My thoughts stuck on the idea that if something always worked out, why was I worrying about it?  Was worry the dues I paid for not being quite where I should be with my own money?  Did worry somehow keep me focused on spending less, saving more, even earning more?  How did worrying help me?

Worry wasn’t the reason I always worked it out.  Worry isn’t a form of currency that can be exchanged for a better outcome.  Worry didn’t help me reach my goals nearly as much as my habits.  I had good habits, or at least good enough habits.  My sense of responsibility, resourcefulness, and everyday habits had supported my lifestyle for decades.  It wasn’t worry that balanced my checkbook and charge accounts every month.  It was me.  After that epiphany, I decided to try not worrying and seeing if the money worked out anyway.  Guess what?  It did, and has been for years.

Worry can be useful if it reminds you to do something or keeps you on track, but most of the time worry is worthless.  It takes away confidence and replaces it with fear.  Worry isn’t planning for the future at all.  My money worry was like a chronic illness.  It took away from enjoying life and gave nothing in return.

So how does this epiphany of mine help you?  I think there are things you are worried about that are controlled by something other than your worry.  I think you could drop the worry load and relax just a little bit, enjoy the moments of your day more, and find that the thing you worried about is going to play out the same way whether you worry or not.  It’s going to play out because of your habits (good or bad), circumstances you can and cannot control, and maybe a little bit of luck (again:  good or bad).  

Sometimes I still worry, but it’s sporadic, not constant.  The bills are paid, vacations taken, gifts bought.  I’m still flush some months and scraping by other months, with my emergency fund dipping and building along with the variability of my income.  One thing is very different though, and that is my life.  My everyday life is lighter, freer and more enjoyable.  I’m more relaxed and more confident.  When I put money worries down, I can do so much more.

If worry is a tool that you are misusing, then put it down.  Find out how much more you can do when you lighten your load.  You won’t regret it.


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Lost and Found

A friend went for a short hike last fall and found himself lost in a national forest.  He planned on two hours, but all together hiked about seven.  He was by himself; it was a little bit scary as time passed and no path was found.

Aaah, but it was an adventure with a happy ending.  Let me show you how valuable this hike turned out to be.  You don’t have to become lost yourself.

My friend started by checking out the trail the afternoon before.  He walked to a look-out point, scanned the mountain ranges and found the forest quite inviting.  It was a refreshing change from tourist activities in town.  The next morning he put a few things in a backpack and left.  It was beautiful and warm, and he enjoyed the forest sounds and scenery as the trail became narrower.  He pushed aside branches and kept going, then turned to go back and found the path was no longer clear at all.  He had been following one of many deer trails.  Uh oh.

For the next couple hours, he kept looking for a man-made trail to follow, but had to give that up.  I asked if he had water with him.  He did.  He had two water bottles, an apple and sandwich in his pack.  He also had a compass and jacket.  I was surprised; most people don’t take a compass and jacket for a short trail hike on a warm summer day.  He said he usually has stuff for a contingency plan.

My friend had not thought about his habit of preparing for the unexpected, but suddenly recognized he always uses contingency planning in his business, too.  He can take risks and make mistakes because he has a back-up plan.  What habits do you have that give you freedom to make mistakes?

Eventually, he hiked to a high enough point to see his position in relation to the terrain.  He didn’t see a road, river, or electrical lines, but he saw a valley and figured he would walk along it until something changed.  I asked if he was worried by this time.  He said when unsettling thoughts came to mind he quickly banished them and focused on what to do next.  In fact, that was his primary survival skill.    

Being prepared for becoming lost let him focus on finding his way out.  This same habit lets him keep his focus when outside forces throw chaos into other parts of his life.  What skills do you have to keep your focus when you feel lost?

He followed the valley, eventually coming to a paved road.  He walked about thirty minutes when a car approached and the driver asked if he needed a ride.  “You look like you’ve been out here longer than you meant,” the driver said.  My friend appreciated a lift to his car, which was over three more miles away.

My friend said, “Even though I knew I could finish on my own, I was glad to accept help from a stranger.”  Back at the hotel, he found himself tired but pleased.  He had prepared, focused, and persevered until he found his way out. 

He even could have finished walking to his car, but was grateful for the driver making his last three miles a lot easier.  That’s a good metaphor for professional life coaching.  Sometimes we want to reach our goals a little quicker and easier than we can going it alone.  So, if you are ready for a lift, give me a call.

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