Waiting for The Other Shoe To Drop . . .

I have family in town, so I thought I’d share this great blog from my mentor and coach, Jennifer Barley.


Bad things happen in threes. If I am too happy, then something bad will happen. I can’t be this lucky. I’ll never be happy like that again.

It is amazing the stories we tell ourselves and how those stories can change our energy. Perhaps we are just spinning old wives tales, perhaps it is superstition, perhaps we just don’t want to jinx anything.

But what if . . . you could consistently feel good and have things go well in your life all the time? What if you actually believed it?

How freeing would that be?

Wherever you put your energy expands. If you are looking for the third bad thing—well, you’re going to find it. If you are thinking about the other shoe dropping, well you’re going to be looking out for ‘when’ that will actually happen.

Our fear is that something—such as happiness, joy, bliss—will be taken away from us. It can’t. Those qualities live within each of us regardless of anything external or anything that happens to us. It doesn’t mean that life won’t give us a wide spectrum of experiences—but inner qualities can exist regardless of the circumstance.

Don’t feel like you have to hoard your happiness—feel it, expand it, share it, know that it has the potential to always be there. You have to be open to that possibility. Live in a mentality of abundance—not lack.

Allow yourself to imagine the “what if I could experience more joy” mentality. You can. You just have to be open to it.



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 www.jenniferbarley.com and read her blog at http://blog.jenniferbarley.com



Tips for Training Your Inner Critic

During my workout this morning, my inner critic showed up and started telling me that I was never going to achieve my fitness goals. I blew my internal whistle.

I took my rightful place as the Coach calling the plays of my life and reminded my Gremlin that it’s a member of my team. “Your job,” I told it, “is to help me give this workout my all.”

And it did. Each rep it reminded me of my form, asked me if the weights I was using were challenging enough, and pushed me to squeeze out one more rep, in many cases going beyond what I thought I could do.

That’s more like it!

One of the reasons so many people let that internal voice that tells them they aren’t good enough dominate their inner monologue is they don’t know their own power. They don’t realize that their Gremlin’s job is actually to help them, not hold them back.

When you give all your power to the Gremlin, it gets a little greedy and controlling. What player left in charge of the team wouldn’t start to believe they’re calling the shots? What’s more, the Gremlin likes being in charge!

This can result in a bit of an internal power struggle when people do start to claim the right to create their own lives.

There are ways to not only make this process easier, but to increase your ability to successfully reclaim the position of Coach in your life. Here are some tips to recruit and begin to train your inner critic to become the motivational voice that encourages you to move past your believed limits.

Look for the Truth. Those negative things the Gremlin is saying aren’t the Truth. It’s just playing on your fears. Figure out what is True. For instance, if it’s telling you that you always get lost, look for the Truth, which is that you know how to read a map, stop and ask for directions, or dial up the GPS on your phone. You always find your way eventually.

Treat your Gremlin with respect. Your Gremlin is a part of you and because of this you can’t kill it, beat it up, threaten it, or destroy it. Any attempt to do those things will just make it stronger. When it pipes up uninvited, thank it for the input and then remind it of the Truth.

Look at how and when it came into your life. Often we can think back and pinpoint when and how the Gremlin was created. It’s helpful to do this, but if you can’t remember, don’t worry about it.

Accept that it was created to help you. While it doesn’t feel like it, the Gremlin was created to help us in some way. Perhaps it was to avoid embarrassing situations. The problem is, how it shows up in your life now no longer serves you.

Give it a job supporting you. Think about how the energy of the Gremlin could be shifted to help you meet your goals rather than hold you back.

Remember you’re the Coach. Take ownership of your life and begin calling the plays. You have the power to decide how you are going to react in every situation. You can follow the Gremlin’s old game plan, or implement a new one that helps create the life you want to live.

How are you doing at being the Coach of your life? What can you do today to train your Gremlin to support you? How does that change your ability to meet your goals?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where Are You Playing Small?

I was having lunch yesterday with business coach Mandy Wildman when she asked me a question about one of my business practices. When I explained it, she very nicely let me know that not only was I playing small, but I was allowing my clients to play small, too.

Mandy was absolutely right. Even though my intention was to be of service to the most people, the reasoning behind it was a limiting belief.

This is why even coaches need coaches!

And it brought to mind this quote by Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The challenge becomes recognizing when we are playing small.

As I clearly demonstrate, playing small can hide in the best of intentions. If we are only focused on the surface of our thoughts and don’t probe them for depth of meaning and the feeling behind them, we can easily miss where we are limiting ourselves—and possibly others.

Because we think an astonishing number of thoughts a day, it is often easier to discover where we are playing small by focusing on how we are feeling. Negative emotions are a tipoff that we have some inaccurate thinking going on.

If I had truly stopped to probe how I was feeling around that business practice, I would have detected just a whiff of fear. Like a bloodhound catching a scent, that should have been enough to stop me in my tracks and begin digging for where that catabolic emotion was coming from.

But I had ignored that emotional guidance because I had heard other coaches talk about similar business practices. On the surface it seemed to meet my values, so I just plugged the policy in without examining it. This is easy to do because we generally assume that everyone else knows better than we do, which in itself is a limiting belief. Even expert advice may not be right for you.

If we take the time to examine—and question—our thoughts and beliefs we can discover weaknesses. Much like you can’t keep doing the same physical exercise the same way forever and expect to continue to get the same results, you have to look for beliefs that are no longer working and reach for new thoughts that better help you move forward.

And finally, you can talk to a coach who can help point out those thoughts and beliefs that you’ve accepted as true for so long that you don’t even recognize that they are actually hindering your progress in becoming the best possible version of you.

What can you do today to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and make sure they’re strong, well-developed, in alignment with your core values, and are taking you in the direction that will help you meet your goals?

You are not meant to play small. You make yourself small by thinking you are less than you truly are. How you play in life is a choice.

Together we can do it!

Photo by tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shift That Thought

“I don’t really like vegetables.”

Until recently, this was a thought that I believed to be true. I had lots of evidence. Over my lifetime there has been a veritable trail of vegetables that I had eaten and thought, “Blagh.”

My New Year’s resolution to improve my nutrition meant more fruits and vegetables. The fruit I was down with. Heck, I even adore some of the summer vegetables. But January? As far as I was concerned, January is the peak of the winter-vegetable doldrums.

When I shared my goals for 2012 with my Life Coach (yes, us coaches have coaches because we know the power of coaching!), I boldly stated my limiting belief about vegetables. She asked me a key question that helped me shift my perspective about vegetables just enough that I was able to see a path around this obstacle.

Her brilliant question was, “How could you make eating vegetables more fun?

I determined that I could look for some new recipes. And I also could push past another limiting belief I had about drinking anything green and add some spinach to my protein shakes.

It turns out that I love vegetables! I especially love my Green Protein Shakes. Who knew that spinach, banana, vanilla protein powder, and cinnamon could taste so good? (Well, I guess lots of people did, but I had to overcome that limiting belief myself.)

How often do we limit ourselves because of an opinion, judgment, thought, idea, or past experience that we just assume is true?

For instance, how many of you have ever heard, “You have to clean your plate because there are starving children somewhere in the world?

Do you think that’s a limiting belief?

How true is it that your cleaning your plate is going to benefit any of those starving children?

How can that belief actually be harmful to you?

  • Cleaning your plate teaches you to disregard your body’s guidance that it’s had enough.
  • Eating too much food is at the heart of being overweight, which has serious health consequences.
  • People are often concerned about wasting food. Extra food will either go to waste in the garbage or will go to waste in your body. You can either waste it, or you waist it.
  • It contributes to a lack mentality. The feeling that “there isn’t enough so I have to eat more than I need.”

A lot of times, helping people see the flaws in their thinking is enough to help them move beyond it. But changing a long-standing belief system can impact underlying values.

If you’re upset by the idea of not cleaning your plate, what are the values you have that may be being challenged?

  • If it’s wanting to help those in need, what would be a more constructive action than cleaning your plate? Maybe donating to charities that feed the poor?
  • If the value is being sustainable, maybe you’ll want to start a composting system?
  • If it’s really just fear or lack, then maybe you have some work to do about trusting the abundance of the Universe?

Whenever you notice a thought that is holding you back in any way, ask yourself if that thought is still true. Unless it is a Universal Truth—a thought that is true no matter what, no matter who, and no matter when—what is it that you need to do to shift it?

All it takes is challenging those limiting beliefs just enough so that doors open, paths unfold, and obstacles disappear.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Redirect Your Thoughts

While I had an awesome weekend of coach training and connecting with friends and family, the mental and emotional intensity and the late hours left me mentally and physically tired.

When I’m tired, it’s easier to sabotage my thoughts, which lead to feelings that inspire actions that don’t support my goals.

For instance, when I got home Monday afternoon, I discovered that my husband had made Chocolate Chip Cookies while I was gone, which lead to a mental debate about eating some. In the end, I totally rationalized my decision to eat three cookies after dinner.

That’s not that big a deal, right? It’s not the end of the world, or my diet. No long-term damage was done.

But if I don’t make myself aware of those mental processes that lead to eating the cookies and let that line of thinking become a pattern, then I will consistently make choices that don’t support my goals.

Left unchecked, that line of mental reasoning can become so ingrained that when I’m trying to change my actions, it can seem like my hand is involuntarily reaching into the bag of cookies and moving them to my mouth.

If you’ve ever felt like your eating was out of your control, just know that’s a sign that you have some long-term habitual thinking going on that does not support your new goals.

If you can, try to document those unsupportive thoughts. They might be something like:

  • I’m tired and I deserve a treat.
  • It’s too hard to lose weight or eat healthy foods.
  • I’m never going to reach my goal.

Then redirect those thoughts so they’re more supportive. For instance:

  • What I really deserve is to be fit, strong, and lean. I have more energy and feel better when I eat healthy foods.
  • How I look and feel when I am eating healthy foods and losing weight is worth the extra time and energy to prepare the food and stick to my goals.
  • Slowly making progress means I’m more likely to maintain my results. Any progress means I’m moving towards my goals.

But in reality, we may be so out of touch with our thinking that we honestly aren’t aware of those sabotaging thoughts. Or we have so many thoughts racing through our head, it feels impossible to catch them as they’re happening.

If that’s the case, it’s a lot easier to catch the emotion. Negative catabolic emotion always is letting you know that your thoughts aren’t supporting Who you truly are.

Pay attention to how you are feeling when you are reaching for that bag of cookies. Notice how you are feeling when you contemplate skipping your workout. Jot down how you are feeling when you don’t want to get up and prep your food for the next day.

You don’t have to know the thoughts that lead to that feeling to create more anabolic supportive thoughts. Even if you can’t do it in the moment, go back later and create supportive thoughts that you can reach for the next time you are in that situation.

When you are coming at it from the emotional side, it’s helpful to write down these new supportive thoughts, and read and practice them daily so they are easier to grab hold of when you feel yourself sliding into emotion that is leading towards the action of comforting yourself with food.

You can use the process of redirecting your thoughts to reach any goal. Notice how you feel when you have successfully navigated the mental and emotional obstacles and are that much closer to success.

Use that new positive anabolic emotion to motivate yourself to keep reaching for more and more supportive thoughts. You can truly change your life by changing the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that lead to your actions.

Together we can do it!



Photo by xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Look for the Solution

It used to be that when I had a problem, I talked to everyone about it. I hashed it and rehashed it, and asked everyone’s advice. What should I do?

Often, people would want me to do things that I really didn’t want to do, which created even more stress and struggle. Sometimes even making small decisions—like where to go to dinner—was laborious and emotionally draining. Typically when the time would come to make a decision, I still wouldn’t make one—which is in itself making a decision—and I would just let events and situations play out.

Talk about giving up all my personal power! It was a painful and unhappy way to live.

Part of the process of taking back my power was to stop talking about the problem. Talking about the problem can feel like we are looking for a solution, but truly it is just making that problem seem more stubborn and feel more insurmountable. You cannot see the solution while you are so intensely focused on the problem.

Shifting your focus to finding the solution takes energy away from the problem and opens your mind to possibilities that you would otherwise be blind to.

So how do you shift from focusing on the problem to focusing on the solution?

Being solution-focused is really being future-focused. You have to look away from “What was” and “What is,” and instead look towards “What will be,” and even more powerful, “How you would like it to be.”

Part of it is also trusting, believing, and knowing that there is always a solution to every problem. This is one of those Universal Truths that people don’t always believe because they are so problem-focused that they often miss the solutions, so they think there wasn’t one. Being solution-focused does take a certain amount of faith or confidence that the solution is there and that you will find it.

Taking responsibility for the choices and decisions you are making is another piece. For instance, if you want to reduce your weight, you have to take responsibility for the food you eat. While your eating can feel out of your control, it isn’t. No one else is forcing you to eat anything. Whether you are conscious of it or not, there is always a thought and emotion behind that action. Until you take responsibility for it, you give up your personal power.

And finally—and probably most challenging—is you have to stop looking outside of yourself for the answer. Sure you want to analyze data, understand the problem, and do your research, but people often get stuck in that analysis phase thinking the solution will magically appear. That’s still being focused on the problem. Once you have a good grip on it, turn your focus towards looking for the future-solution. This is when you want to stop asking other people for their opinions of what you should do.

Other people don’t know who you are, what your experiences have been, where you are on your path, and where you want to go. They know what they want and that is not the same thing.

This is where a coach is helpful. A well-trained coach is not going to give you advice, but instead is keenly aware that you have the answers for you, and helps you find them.

Your path is your path. No one else can walk it. When you take your focus off the problem and instead look for the solution, the absolute best step for you will become clear.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where’s the Fun?

Day three of solitary confinement, and the dogs and I are plotting a prison break. . .


Who knew that the hardest part of surgery would be . . . the recovery?

Seriously? This is the part I was looking forward to enjoying! Seems I seriously underestimated my ability to relax, have fun, and just be.

After taking away the cookies from my inner-toddler yesterday, I had to listen to why she was still having a total temper-tantrum. Turns out I was ignoring her need for attention and fun.

My adult, responsible side had viewed this time off as an opportunity to study for my upcoming exam for coach certification. And if I felt up to it, maybe I would get some work done, too!

So I told my husband, David, to go back to work on the Monday after, and I told my parents not to come. I didn’t stock up on books or movies. “I can read the books I have,” I said. “I can watch the DVD’s in our library,” I said. “I don’t want to distract myself from what I need to be doing,” I said.

My inner two-year-old has had every right to kick-up her heels and throw an absolute fit. And now it makes total sense why she was falling into the cookies. It was the only outlet for fun I was giving her.

Lesson learned. David will be hitting the bookstore for me this morning and I have the TV all set up for pay-per-view so I can watch a movie—or even two! And I have every reason to believe that the responsible side of me will still get in some studying and all my doctor-prescribed walks.

While my situation is a little extreme, I suspect that many of you Fabulous Readers may be feeling the holiday stress, and be unable to find the “you” time to relax, have fun, and just be. You may feel that taking some time for yourself isn’t important.

Making your wellness a priority gives you the energy and stamina to take care of others. Often, our self-sabotaging behavior—like over-eating sweets—can be our inner-selves screaming at us to slow down, be present, and enjoy the life we’re living. It is a reminder that we are more than just this physical body going through the motions. Letting yourself have some fun will actually boost your energy level so you get more done.

And if you truly can’t find the time, how can you shift your attitude so you are having more fun doing what you are doing?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Ian Kahn