Guest Blog–It’s An Inside Job….

I invited my coach and mentor, Jennifer Barley, to guest blog while I’m away at coach training.

So often we look to the outer things in life to fix our issues. If we have financial challenges, we look to change jobs to make more money. If we have weight issues, we join a gym. If we have relationship woes, we want to change the other person. All of these efforts are about searching outside of ourselves for the solution under the guise of being happy.

Happiness is an inside job. No amount of money, no number on the scale, and no other person will bring you true happiness. Sure, those things can make life more comfortable, they could help us reduce the negative self talk, and they can bring a sense of familiarity. However if one is truly happy then they experience things that come from the inside–peace, love, and clarity–regardless of how much money is in the bank, how our pants fit and who is in our life. If we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always gotten. This is not about doing — it is about our being.

In order to find happiness, we have to be willing to start exploring our thoughts, feelings and actions around our challenges. That begins with our core of “Who” we are. We all have beliefs, values, core thoughts, assumptions, and interpretations that play into our view of the world. Those beliefs can enhance our world, or detract from our world.

How do your beliefs serve you? Do they keep you safe and small? Do they protect you from disappointment? Do they protect you from vulnerability? Do they allow you to play big and share your gifts with the world? Do your core thoughts allow you to share love without limits.

Which of your beliefs keep you from moving forward?

Then the big zowie of a question comes in to play….

If you were to let go of your belief, what are you really afraid might happen?

What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best thing that could happen? Are you willing to risk it?

How willing are you to redefine your “Who”?

The world is waiting for you–your redefined Who–to show up from the inside out.

Jennifer Barley is a Professional Certified Life Coach, public speaker, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) instructor, author and former award-winning Weight Loss Leader.

It is Jennifer’s strong belief that every person can create whatever life they choose and she partners with her clients to make it happen. She has a strong talent for motivating, inspiring and adding humor to every situation.

Jennifer works with clients one-on-one, in workshop environments, and through online tele-classes. As the KickStart Coach™ Jennifer is committed to providing the support, encouragement, accountability, and motivation that her clients need to get inspired and get in the game.

You can learn more about her at and read her blog at

Are You Focused on Success?

While I’m away at coach training, I’m re-running a few of my favorite blogs that you may have missed.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, accepting where and the way you are is one of the fastest ways to accomplish your goals.

It may feel like letting go of the struggle and the discomfort of where you are will leave you content with a situation or condition you really want to change. If you accept it and make peace with it, how will you ever find the motivation to move forward?

Letting go of the fight, self-criticism, and the desire to have the end result right now releases the pent-up catabolic energy that is truly holding you in your current condition. When you relinquish control of the uncontrollable, you allow All-That-Is (God, Source Energy, the Universe, Higher Coach—whatever works for you) to step in and orchestrate the situation, scenarios, and support that you need to get where you want to go.

This is especially true with losing weight. There can be a lot of fear around accepting your current body weight, shape, and condition. Calories count, right, so won’t you just go and eat everything in sight if you accept where you are? Without that desperate desire to change, where’s the motivation to get up in the morning to work out? Doesn’t losing weight require constant control and discipline, and you’re a slacker if you slip up?

This is the dichotomy that we all face. Is the carrot or stick more effective? Does positive reinforcement or punishment create lasting change? Is fear or appreciation more powerful?

Easing up on yourself can seem weak, but truly putting down the verbal lash, focusing on the reasons you want to make a change, and celebrating each tiny sign of success are indications of strength and mental clarity.

The more you surrender and focus on your success, the more you build positive momentum that will be like a tidal wave moving you towards your goal. With that momentum, the actions you take become easier and have more impact, the people and information you need appear right when needed, and you feel excited and inspired rather than frustrated and deprived.

The real question is, what can you do today to accept yourself the way you are without changing your goals?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Danilo Rizzuti /

Weird—and Wonderful—Ways to Work-In Wellness

While I’m away at coach training, I’m re-running a few of my favorite blogs that you may have missed.

Many people are so focused on the time that they don’t have for wellness that they miss all the small opportunities they do have to work physical and emotional wellness into their day. Taking advantage of these tiny moments can boost physical and mental energy, and generate a sense of well-being.

Here are some ideas for slipping in your wellness fix—just don’t worry about what some people may think. Isn’t your wellness more important than a few seconds of potential judgment from a stranger, friend, family member, or co-worker?

Minutes Matter

Do you ever stand there and wait for your lunch to heat up in the microwave, or that pot of water to boil, or cup of coffee or tea to brew?

Don’t just stand there! Even doing a few minutes of exercise can give you an energy boost. And those minutes add up. Do them throughout the day and before you know it, you’ve gotten in a 15 to 20 minute workout.

Take that minute or two and do counter push ups, lunges, toe raises, and squats. You can also dance or march in place.

I only got caught once dancing in front of the microwave in my work break-room. At the time my co-worker thought I was a little weird, but she also noticed when I started losing weight.

You can do these and other exercises at work while on conference calls if you have a headset or speaker phone. Just do your push up off your desk. You can even throw in some planks. If you’re wearing a skirt or a dress, however, you might want to have an office door to shut!

A mini-stepper or pedal exerciser can fit under your desk and are also great to do while you’re on the phone.

House Work Aerobics

Have you ever worked up a sweat cleaning the house? You can make it even more aerobic by doing lunges while vacuuming, or each time you head up or down stairs, go up and down an extra time. You can do single shoulder presses with your bottle of cleaning solution as you walk from surface to surface.

Be creative—but safe—as you make your house sparkling clean.

More Wellness While You Wait

All the time we spend waiting in line adds up, so take advantage of it. Meditate, pray, or practice appreciation while in line at the grocery store.

What can you appreciate? How about the sheer abundance of food that we are blessed to choose from, or all those workers who keep the store clean, the shelves stocked, and those check-out lines moving? How about your favorite foods? There’s a lot to appreciate at the grocery store if we just take the time to look for it.

And if you are willing to look a little weird, you can get in stretches, toe raises, or lunges while you wait.

You can also meditate while waiting for your doctor or mechanic. Feeling a little tired? Shut your eyes and rest for a few minutes as you wait.

Doing the dishes and other repetitive tasks are also a great time to clear you mind and tune in to your spiritual side.

Tube Time

How much time do you spend sitting and watching TV? How about taking each commercial break to get in a few sets of exercise? Keep some dumbbells, balance board, or other fitness gear nearby to make it easy. Or sit on a stability ball and build your core strength as you watch your favorite show. Why not throw in some crunches during the commercials?

Reconsider Lunch

Lunch is a great time to get in a workout, but you may not have time to hit the gym. What can you do?

Bring your workout gear, change clothes in the bathroom, and plug an exercise DVD into your computer. No time or place to change? Are there stairs in your building? See how many times you can go up and down them in the time you have.

Or strap on your walking shoes and head outside. Even a walk around the block can clear your mind and bump-up your productivity in the afternoon. Grab a co-worker to get in some social time, too.

Post Positive Messages

Wanting to shift your mindset, but no time to journal? Post affirmations, things you appreciate, and other positive messages on your computer screen, bathroom mirror, or above the kitchen sink. Every time you see them, remind yourself to take a moment to breathe and shift to a more positive thought.

What’s the Alarm?

Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer to remind you to drink water, eat a healthy snack, focus on an affirmation, take a moment to clear your mind, or do 10 jumping jacks.

When you start looking for time to work wellness into your day, you may be surprised at all the time you really do have.

I’d love to hear how you work wellness into your busy day.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Grant Cochrane /

Five Tips for Feeling Great about Bathing-Suit Season

I’m starting to see a lot of bathing suit advertisements. This used to be a terrible reminder that my body wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

The Internet soothed some of the agony of actual bathing suit-shopping. It’s much less painful trying on those innocent-looking torture devices in the privacy of your own home, but your morale can still take a hit. (Is anyone else amazed that such small pieces of material require such contortion to maneuver in and out of?)

While I am much, much kinder and more appreciative of my body then I used to be, I still catch myself judging specific body parts, and feeling insecure in any swimsuit that doesn’t have shorts or a skirt to camouflage trouble spots.

In our action-oriented society, people often just focus on diet and exercise to get bathing-suit ready. The problem is, unless we shift the underlying thoughts, emotions, and beliefs at the same time, you will probably struggle to meet your goals—and most likely won’t be able to maintain them.

When you take into consideration the Foundation Principle that “Energy Attracts Like Energy,” also known as the Law of Attraction, focusing on illness, being out of shape, and hating our bodies is actually taking us in the opposite direction of where we want to go.

Not only will shifting your negative thoughts enough to attain a feeling of relief turbo-charge your wellness actions, it enables you to feel better right now. And the better you feel about yourself, the better you look—and the more fun you allow yourself to have. That in turn boosts your ability and desire to stick to your plan to eat healthy and move your body, and the next thing you know, you are in a positive, anabolic energy spiral that is helping you meet your goals.

How do you make that change? Here are five tips for shifting your thoughts to improve your feelings about the upcoming swimsuit season.

1. Practice “new” thoughts using affirmations, such as “I appreciate that my body is healthy, and that I am present and enjoying this moment,” or “I am fit, strong, and lean, getting fitter, stronger, and leaner.” Create or choose an affirmation that makes you viscerally feel better.

2. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about your body, shift your attention to other parts you can appreciate. For me, shifting my focus from my belly to my legs feels better.

3. Think about the love that All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Source Energy, Higher Coach—whatever works for you) has for you and your magnificent body.

4. Recognize that your body is a gift for which it is appropriate to be grateful.

5. Appreciate the healthy food and exercise you are doing and how that is helping you create the fit, strong, and healthy body you desire.

Pay attention to those habitual patterns of negative thoughts that you have about your body and your life. How can you consciously shift your thoughts so that you feel a sense of relief? What can you do to practice those new thoughts? What difference do you think that might have in your ability to achieve your goals?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Maggie Smith /

The Power of Vulnerability

The other day, someone I love shared with me that they thought I was making myself vulnerable by being so open about my shortcomings in my blog. Perhaps people would use it against me?

This perspective didn’t feel right to me. It feels important to be authentically me—even if other people see that as weakness. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and trusting that everything is always working out for me feels like the best way I can connect with you fabulous readers and share how to learn and grow anyway.

But it was a feeling. There was nothing concrete that I could point to.

How awesome that the next day, I received this TEDxHouston presentation by Brene’ Brown, who studies the human connection—our ability to empathize, belong, and love. In this poignant, funny talk, Brown shares a deep insight from her research that expanded her personal perception and changed the way she lives, loves, works, and parents.

According to Brown’s research, connection is why we’re here. Connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be fully and truly seen. We have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

She says this is the most important thing she has learned in a decade of doing research. Vulnerability is opening ourselves up to shame, fear, and the struggle for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love.

And it is shame that is at the root of being unwilling to be vulnerable. Research defines shame as “the fear of disconnection.” It is that feeling that there is something about you and if other people see it, they won’t love and accept you.

The feeling of vulnerability is so painful, that people do everything they can to “numb” themselves. Brown believes this is one reason we are the “most in debt, most obese, most addicted, and most medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.”

The problem is you cannot selectively numb emotion. If you numb fear, embarrassment, and shame then you also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness. That sets up a cycle where you just keep reaching for another doughnut.

When Brown interviewed what she termed “Whole-Hearted” people who were willing to be vulnerable, the common denominator was a sense of worthiness. Those people had a strong sense of being worthy of love and belonging.

What it all boils down to is believing you are worthy.

Other elements that “Whole-Hearted” people had in common were a sense of courage, meaning they tell the story of Who they are with their whole heart. They have the courage to be imperfect. They are willing to let go of who they should be and be Who they truly are. They fully embrace vulnerability, believing that’s what makes them beautiful.

And they have the compassion to be kind to themselves first. Brown notes that you cannot act with compassion towards others if don’t have compassion for yourself.

The great news is that I am proof that a belief in worthiness can be learned. You don’t have to be born with it. You don’t have to have a tribe of close relatives and flawless family relationships. You can grow up excruciatingly insecure, suffer through years of depression and anxiety, and be perpetually aware of your flaws and imperfections—and still come to realize that you are worthy of love and belonging.

For me, that sense of worthiness comes from my connection with All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Source Energy, Higher Coach—whatever works for you.) Somehow I “got” that no matter what I do, say, or how I show up in this life, I am loved beyond my ability to comprehend love.

And so are you!

So my message today is simple. You are loved. You are adored. You belong. No matter what, you are worthy.

What can you do today to show up as more of Who you really are? How does being honest about who you are—the good, the bad, and the ugly—help you connect with others? How does that help you find your purpose?

Together we can do it!