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Joy Every Day

advocate boundaries building confidence dreams goals journey joy perfectionism self-care self-compassion striving Jan 02, 2022

It is the second day of a brand new calendar year. It is also 18 months since I headed home from the office for a temporary period of time to work from home to stop the spread of a new virus.  The past 18-month have both been extremely difficult and scary, but also a period of personal growth and expansion.  However, it really has just been an extension of the wild growth I had back in 2009-2010, over a decade ago now.  The previous version of myself seems like a dream sometimes. 


Check out my Instagram feed on December 16, 2021 as I talk about my literal journey across the United States.  The short version is I drove 2500 miles in a Uhaul from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest and my inner dialog shifted from:


“I need to do more.  Have I done enough?  I need to strive to achieve.”  


to a new way to look at myself and life:


“I am enough and consistently do enough.  I can achieve and take care of myself.  It’s time to REBEL & like myself in all my quirky glory.”


The 2500 mile journey in a Uhaul is not necessary but the transformation and breakthrough I had in my relationship with myself are critical.   The change was with myself and how I spoke to myself both in times of celebration and in times of frustration.  


I had spent years trying to change my relationship with the world.  I was so keen on sensing the needs of others. I could read a room and show up for each person in the exact way that they needed me.  I would shrug off the fact that I shared nothing of myself or that no one had inquired about me because I told myself that it wasn’t important. Showing up for others was the most important thing I could do for the world.  I didn’t realize that was code for “I’m not important”.   


My career was excelling. I purchased my first home at a young age. I got a promotion to a supervisory position (which would later lead to a series of promotions to an ultimate leadership role of Director of Clinical Services for an entire non-profit agency).  Everything was looking great.   My life resume was stellar.  I know so many of you can relate to this situation where your resume is fantastic but inside you’re feeling a hot mess. 


I could expand upon this part but I know you know the rest of the story….

...your time will never be your own because you’ll continue to say Yes when you mean No

...a solid night sleep will continue to elude you

...the book you want to write will only be an idea

...your health continues to suffer (can you say weekly MIGRAINES!)

...the dream job stays a dream

...your self-esteem stays deflated 


Then everything shifted.  

I had an amazing life, I didn't need to improve it.  I wanted to be able to actually enjoy it without constant overwhelm. 


What had been holding me back?  

-The idea that I must be perfect FIRST!  Then I could enjoy my life.   If I got the job, then I could be happy.   If I found the ideal partner, then I could be happy.  

If I did xyz,  THEN I could be happy.


Do you play the ”If When, Then” game with yourself?   


I was playing and didn’t even realize it.  In fact, I was playing it when I applied for jobs in the Pacific NW.  I took the job to start a pilot project program which would elevate my expertise and career. 


But as I drove across the Great Plains, then up and over the Mountains, and finally down the Columbia River Gorge, I realized that I had been waiting on some external signal that I had done enough.  When I really tried to nail down where this rule had come from and exactly what was the measurement mark, I couldn’t figure it out.   It was nebulous.  It was unclear.  It wasn’t a REAL marker.  It was my own idea.


How would I achieve if the target kept moving?  


I realized it was not some unknown outside force setting these rules for me.  It was me all along. I had started playing the “If When, Then” game.  As I achieved each accomplishment, I immediately created a new one.   So if I quit moving the target on myself, I would be able to appreciate my achievements.  I could relish in them.  I could take time for rest and renewal.


Let me be clear that I had no intention of holding back on achieving more.  I LOVED to achieve.  What I realized needed to change was my inner dialog.  What needed to change was my relationship with myself.  I needed to change how I interacted with myself because my relationship with the world was thriving.  The relationship with myself was not.


So as all of my worldly possessions and I bumped along the interstate, I shifted the way I talked to myself.  I had the advantage of years of experience as a psychotherapist in that I used some of the Cognitive Behavioral strategies that I knew from my work and created a plan for myself.   


This is the plan I created somewhere in the middle of Wyoming (not much else to distract me on the wide-open road)...


  1. I would celebrate myself no matter what.  No. Matter. What.
  2. There were things I wished were different but I could be striving AND loving the current facts at the same time.  (ie: an example is weight. I could wish I would lose 20lb AND love myself currently)
  3. Self-care (aka compassion) was NON-NEGOTIABLE. (I was allowed to set boundaries)
  4. My needs are just as important as everyone else, so ADVOCATE for what I need.


The list has grown since the Wyoming rest stop but these are literally the list of 4 items I wrote down.  The rest stop had signs of warning of rattlesnakes in the toilet.  So this list was written quickly and from the heart which is true for most deep inspiration. (the quick and from the heart part - not the risk of rattlesnakes!)


So as 2022 begins, I’d like you to consider a breakthrough.  


Breaking through the limits you had set for yourself.  


Breaking through the rules you’ve created that only apply to you.


Breaking through the idea that love, compassion, and fun for yourself are conditional on achievement.


Breaking through believing the needs of others supersede your own needs.


And these fundamental ideas rooted in neuroscience and cognitive behavior theories, written in a notebook in Wyoming and put into practice by me for the past 12years are what helped me create my coaching practice.  


RADIANT, Happy High Achievers, Letting go of Perfect, and my ongoing workshop series (Resiliency to Criticism is up next) are what I have to offer from my professional expertise but more importantly from my lived experience. 


I have a Master’s Degree in Education, 17yrs Experience as a Psychotherapist, Director of a Non-Profit, Graduate School Professor, and what I want you to know even more is that….


I broke through the limiting beliefs I had about myself and that is when I truly began to experience JOY every day.  



What would you say if I told you that spending 5 minutes per day supporting your mental wellness could improve your gut health? And 5 minutes per day helping your gut health could improve your mental health?


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Everyone who gets on the waitlist also receives a BONUS gift to help you feel calm this holiday season.   So sign up today and be the first to hear about the offer when registration opens.

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