Kathy Caprino - Women's Career Coach and Leadership Trainer
Expert career coaching, leadership training, career success seminars, and resources for professional women. As a women's career coach, writer, speaker and trainer, Kathy Caprino helps you brave up to discover your right work and illuminate the world with it.
Part of the series “Finding Brave To Build a Happier Life and Career”
Throughout my life, I’ve experienced times when things were truly falling apart (or so it seemed), and nothing I did improved it or turned it around. One of those times was at the end of corporate life 17 years ago. I was chronically ill for four years (with a serious infection of my trachea), depressed and exhausted, dealing with narcissistic bosses and toxic leaders, as well as sexual harassment and discrimination, and nothing I tried improved the situation. In fact, it all just got worse. I know why that is now, but back then, I didn’t have a clue.
Another time in my life where I felt helpless in shifting my situation was when I became a marriage and family therapist and began working with clients who were dealing with some of the darkest experiences in human life – rape, incest, pedophilia, suicidality, substance abuse, attempted murder and more. I was so new at being a therapist (I was a just an intern at that time) that I was regularly at a loss as to how best to help my clients whom I cared deeply about.
But deep at the root of it, I began to realize that this was not work I wanted to be focused on for the rest of my career. Unfortunately, I was just not brave enough at that point to admit to myself that this therapy direction and professional identity wasn’t right for me. While the training I received was life-changing and I loved it, I had to face the fact that dealing with these extremely dark emotions and situations was not what I wanted. But the idea that I’d made another mistake in my career after having spent so much time and money earning my master’s degree, was just too scary to face. Until I did, and was then able to revise my life once again.
Each week, my clients and course members come to me too sharing their frustration and even despair over how hard they’re trying to turn things around, but they can’t seem to on their own.
Over these 13 years of being a career and leadership coach for professionals around the globe, and applying the therapeutic principles I’ve learned, I’ve seen that there are powerful beginning steps we all can engage in to help us feel more empowered and hopeful so we can turn our negative situations around.
I’ve found that asking yourself three critical questions can open the doorway to shifting things when nothing else works:
1. What is the repeating pattern here that needs to change?
If you dig deep enough, you’ll most likely find that what you’re experiencing today is a reflection of a pattern
Tip: We can’t better our situations or improve our lives if we don’t know ourselves deeply, and don’t understand how we were shaped and formed in our early years (childhood and onward) that contributes to our being who we are and how we see ourselves and our lives. Take some time this weekend to write down everything you can think about that has shaped who you’ve become, and also the critical messages and treatment you received in childhood (from authority figures and others) that influenced you. Think on the one most pivotal event of your life, and how it impacted the direction you took. Then figure out which of these messages and experiences are potentially harming you now that you’re ready to release.
2. How am I not valuing and appreciating myself?
When we’re experiencing negative situations and relationships that are all about being disrespected, devalued, or treated unfairly, it often stems from a lack of valuing yourself – not recognizing your worth, and not possessing self-confidence, self-acceptance and self-love.
A belief that you’re not worthy, valuable or capable in life wreaks havoc on everything you do and touch
– including your relationships, your parenting, your work, volunteer efforts, physical and emotional health, finances, and much more.
Tip: If you realize that you don’t have a positive self-concept and don’t believe in yourself or your worth, it’s time to change that. We can sometimes do that by self-help means, but I’ve found that the best approach is getting outside help, for instance a great, experienced therapist who can support and guide you to 1) recognize why you see yourself as “less than” and not worthy of appreciation, love and respect, 2) release the pain and trauma from past experiences that reinforced your negative self-concept (and those can be as simple as being fired or laid off, or passed over for a promotion), and 3) build new thought and behavioral patterns that will reveal to you how talented, valuable and important you are in the world.
3. What state are my boundaries in?
Boundaries are the invisible barriers between you and your outside systems. They regulate the flow and input of information to and from you and those outside systems (including your family, your workplace, your bosses, your religious institution, your authority figures, friends, etc.).
Having well-developed, healthy boundaries is a critical dimension of a successful, happy life and career. Boundaries ensure that you’re protected from behaviors and actions that will hurt or disrespect you. Without healthy boundaries, you can’t recognize your limits, or enforce them with strength and authority.
And without “finding brave” – rising up, speaking up and standing up for yourself and your life – you’ll find that your situation cannot and will not improve, until you can take a brave stand.
Those who have insufficient boundaries, I’ve found, have almost always experienced some form of emotional manipulation or trauma in their childhoods and upbringing from parents who demanded certain behaviors in order to be “loved” and accepted. Children who’ve been abused or mistreated (emotionally, sexually, physically, etc.), for instance, experience a violation of their boundaries before they had the power or ability to advocate for or protect themselves.
But it’s not just people who were overtly “mistreated” in childhood who are harmed. Interestingly, hundreds of my clients and course members over the years who have come for help with their careers also have ineffective boundaries and allow mistreatment in their lives, but had never recognized why. They never understood just how damaging the parenting they received was. They hadn’t seen (until learning more about what truly loving, effective and supportive parenting looks like) how much they’d been diminished and damaged by parents who showed only conditional love and were manipulative and controlling.
Unless we recognize this later in life, and do the necessary work to strengthen our boundaries (which can be very frightening for those who were raised not to stand up for themselves), we will experience ongoing mistreatment and negative behavior from others, and our situation will not improve because we’re, in effect, not allowing it to.
In the great book The Energy of Money, the author Maria Nemeth shares that there are six energy forms in life and when we’re blocked in one, we’re usually blocked in at least several others. She explains that the six energy forms are: money, time, vitality, enjoyment, creativity, and support of others.
Which of these do you struggle with most today?
Examine where you feel thwarted, angry, resentful, drained, and undervalued in your life.
Most likely your boundaries need bolstering in these situations. Is your boss demanding that you’re available 24/7? Is your spouse ignoring your requests for help and for sharing equally the work at home? Is your friend selfish and critical, unable to treat you in a caring way? Is your parent horrible to you?
Once you recognize exactly what you need that you’re not getting, and what you’re allowing that is no longer acceptable, and start setting clear and unwavering limits that allow you to say “No more!” – both out loud and to yourself – your situation will change for the better.
Answering these questions above will start you on your way to recognizing what’s blocking your path to dramatically improving your career and your life.
Part of the series “Finding Brave To Live a Happier Life”
I’ve had a really rough 7 days, with two painful physical injuries that brought me to my knees – literally.
The first happened last Saturday. I was scrambled around trying to get 100 things done by Noon, and feeling stressed and overwhelmed about all that I had on my plate. My son was in his room and my daughter was arriving later that day on her way to moving to Maine. I began preparing a 2nd cup of morning decaf coffee, and I was moving way too fast, feeling distracted, worried, and just not thinking about the task at hand.
As I poured the boiling water into the coffee funnel (on a cup that was way too big for the one-cup funnel), it toppled over onto my leg, and boiling water and hot coffee grounds came spilling down all over the inside of my right thigh and knee. I’ve never experienced burns of this kind before, and they were so incredibly painful that I cried. It was an agonizing morning as I spent the next few hours taking care of the burns. Thank goodness, they weren’t severe and they’ve been healing well since. But the initial pain was so very frightening.
Only two days later, on a boating trip on a beautiful lake with dear friends, I was climbing over the back seat of the boat to sit down and again, I was moving too fast and not focusing on what I was doing. I bent my knee in a way that made something pop, and from that minute, it was too painful to bend it or walk. I couldn’t believe that such a painful injury could happen from such a tiny (over-extending) move.
After three days of trying to walk with no success and experiencing a great deal of pain, (and praying it would heal without needing a visit to the doctor), I realized I needed outside help and had a medical exam. Turns out, it was a sprained ligament, and with helpful medical guidance, it’s healing well and I’m on the mend now, thank goodness
What do two serious injuries within two days in the exact same spot signify?
When things like this happen to me, especially where there’s a pattern (such as I injured myself both times, 2 days apart, in/on the right knee) I choose to see these experiences not as random, meaningless occurrences, but something more. I pull back and think long and hard about what these events might signify at a deeper level.
I’ve come to see and believe (just as I learned in my Masters degree studies and training as a marriage and family therapist) that
The body says what the lips cannot
I believe there are powerful, underlying messages and meanings when these things occur, and there are key lessons our life is trying to teach us through these experiences, if we will only stop, sit up and listen.
When I experience sudden injury or chronic health problems, I love to consult one of my favorite books – Louse Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life – for a look at what might be an underlying emotional issue I may be facing that is contributing to my self-injury or chronic problem in this particular area of the body. I’m also looking to discover any new thought patterns that might help me address and resolve what I’m going through internally.
Interestingly, this is what Hay’s book shares about the physical pain and challenge I’m facing in my right knee:
Sprains Probable cause: Anger and resistance. Not wanting to move in a certain direction in life.
New thought pattern needed: “I trust the process of life to take me only to my highest good. I am at peace.”
New thought pattern: “I create only peace and harmony within myself and in my environment. I deserve to feel good.”
Knee Problems Probable cause: Stubborn ego and pride. Inability to bend. Fear. Inflexibility. Won’t give in.
New thought pattern: Forgiveness. Understanding. Compassion. I bend and flow with ease, and all is well.
Joints Probable cause: Represent changes in direction in life and ease of these movements.
New thought pattern: “I easily flow with change. My life is Divinely guided, and I am always going in the best direction.”
Right side of the body Probable cause: Giving out, letting go, masculine energy, men, the father.
New thought pattern:“I balance my masculine energy easily and effortlessly.
The descriptions above fit exactly what I’ve been feeling lately – anger, resistance, fear, and inflexibility about certain situations and people in my life and work – and I’m finally ready to let those emotions go.
On a more basic level, I also realize too that when I’m stressed and overwhelmed, I don’t slow down, pay attention, recalibrate and balance, or take care of my physical body. I race around like a chicken with my head cut off, flitting to and fro between each task that needs to be tackled. It’s only when I slow down, breathe deeply, relax, focus and get into the flow of my mind, spirit and body do things in life go best for me.
From the minute I recognized the deeper meaning to these injuries, they began to improve in a faster, less painful way. And I feel overall so much better as a slow down, breathe, relax and shift to address in an empowered way what’s been upsetting and angering me.
Do injuries always mean something bigger?
There are people in my life, family and my community who don’t believe that injuries and illnesses have a deeper meaning. They believe that these are randomly occurring events. And they’re certainly entitled to their opinion.
But I would say this – maybe it isn’t “true” in your way of thinking, that the body is trying to tell you things through illness and injury that you’re not able to recognize cognitively. But even so, what would be the harm in thinking about your injuries and ailments in a deeper way, exploring and contemplating emotions you’re feeling now, and the potential impact they may be having on your body and mind right now? Would it “hurt” for you to explore that more openly and deeply?
I’ve found that being open to understanding a potential deeper meaning to what happens in my life has opened amazing doors to a far greater understanding, wisdom, and clarity about what’s really going on, and what I can potentially do about it to shift to greater strength and positivity.
What are you going through today physically that might reveal a deeper message for you?
To learn more about what your ailments might be telling you, check out these resources:
Mother’s Day for many is a time of honoring our mothers and grandmothers and other women in our lives, and showing appreciation for what they have done for and given to us. As a mother myself, I truly appreciate this day, for sure.
But I think it’s a fabulous time as well to appreciate how we have mothered our own lives — how we have nurtured, cared for and brought our own selves into being.
So often we focus on what isn’t going well, or how we are flawed as individuals and parents. I’ve seen that women rarely hug themselves and say “Job well done!” to themselves. We often agonize instead about all that we did not do perfectly – how we let our children down or disappointed someone. In fact, we live in a constant state of “perfectionistic overfunctioning” – and that constant, exhausting striving towards perfectionism leads us down a path of feeling we’re always less than we want to be.
When we do allow in a greater degree of self-appreciation and self-acceptance, on a daily basis, it can literally transform our lives.
Today, I’d love to support a new tradition, a new habit really, of being grateful for ourselves just as we are, flaws, foibles, and all.
Here’s an inner affirmation that I find helpful to say:
“I am a loving and nurturing mother to myself and others. I always do the best I can. I am aware of my gaps and dedicate myself to my continued growth. Even (and especially) when I fall down, I love and accept myself. And because of my growing self-love, I’m able to love and nurture others more as well.”
Don’t beat yourself up for what you aren’t. Let your light shine through – you ARE without a doubt very special, important and valuable in this world, just the way you are. And the more you can love yourself, the better able you are to be a loving force in the lives of others.
The love you give others is in direct proportion to the love you have for yourself.
In honor of Mother’s Day, embrace your power to create positive change in the world and to be a beneficial role model – and a loving “mother” to yourself and your life by:
Committing to positive growth in your life, each day
Watching over your ideas and your endeavors with love and care
Protecting yourself and your visions from those who criticize and tear you down, and who would keep you smaller than you wish to be
Birthing your BIG dreams – launching yourself in juicy, exciting ways in the world
Nourishing yourself – nurturing your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, and restoring when you need to
Showing compassion for yourself when things don’t go as you hoped
Today, take time to appreciate not only the women in your life who’ve nurtured your spirit and life, but also appreciate yourself. Show yourself the same amount of love and care that you long to spread to others.
Thank you for reading and sharing, and being part of my community. I appreciate you.
Something REALLY powerful emerged today in my Amazing Career Project course. It was a discussion prompted by one of the members about “Do I really matter?”
Wow…this is such a critical question that so many people, either consciously or subconsciously, grapple with. And I’ve witnessed that because they doubt whether they matter in this world – and question that anything they do is important or consequential enough – they’re held them back from accessing the bravery, commitment and strength to do what’s necessary to move forward to build a happier life and career.
And not understanding that they matter makes people erect an incredibly high bar to jump over, in order to feel they’re worth anything.
– Everyone and everything on this planet matters. Every creature, being, and soul matters.
– It doesn’t depend on how much you earn, what accomplishments you’ve made, how beautiful or powerful you are, or the size of your house. You matter.
– Have you ever been kind to someone who was down and depressed? You matter.
– Have you ever helped someone who was vulnerable and afraid? You matter.
– Have you ever taught someone a skill or shared an idea that helped them? You matter.
– Have you ever expressed love or compassion? You matter.
– Have you ever asked a question in a way that added to the conversation? You matter.
– Have you ever challenged something that needed challenging? You matter.
– Have you ever made a mistake that helped someone learn? You matter.
– Have you ever said “STOP!” and paved the way for others to say NO! to what was damaging and hurtful to them? You matter.
– Have you ever been a guide, mentor or helper to someone who was all alone and needed guidance? You matter.
You matter, because you are doing your best every day in this life that’s full of bumps, bruises and challenges, and no matter how many times you fall down and “fail,” you still impact the world around you by your very existence and your strength to keep moving forward.
In our class today, I offered a week-long exercise that I believe will help us understand just how much we matter. But as often happens, one of the course members offered an improvement on what was given.
Here’s the improved version:
For the next week, every single night, take 5 minutes and write down just one thing that you did, that made a difference, even if it’s the tiniest difference.
One kind word, gesture, idea, or conversation where you offered something. One smile that you offered someone, one helping hand. One question that shared a new perspective.
And if you’re game, also write down:
1 thing you’re grateful for
1 positive experience from the last 24 hours
Write these down and spend only 5 minutes, and in one week, look back at all the ways you’ve mattered and made a difference, no matter how big or small. I think you’ll be amazed at the impact you’ve had but never knew.
In talking about this with my course members, I recalled an experience that was unforgettable. We were at my beloved dad’s funeral, and so many people came out to tell us just how dad had made a beautiful difference in their lives – the funny, wonderful things he did that touched them in a way they’d never forget.
I was so moved and grateful for their kind sharing, but I couldn’t help but feel so sad that in many of these cases, my father never knew the Impact he had.
You matter, and so do so many people in your life today. Let’s not wait until someone dies for you to tell them how they’ve mattered to you.Tell them now, today.
“Everyone should have two pockets, each containing a slip of paper. On one should be written: I am but dust and ashes, and on the other: The world was created for me. From time to time we must reach into one pocket, or the other. The secret of living comes from knowing when to reach into each.”
What this brings up for me is the question of how to effectively and positively balance the feeling that we matter with the feeling of humility and impermanence that comes with human life.
I offer a simple solution – understand and embrace both, each and every day. They’re not mutually exclusively. We are, as physical beings, fleeting and impermanent. But we are also so much more than that. We matter in a lasting way because each word and each deed and action we put out into the world has huge ripple effects that extend very far, even into eternity.
I hope you’ll embrace the realization that you do indeed matter, and take action in your life that honors that fact.
And I hope you know that you matter to me.
Sending brave love to you,
For help to understand just how much you matter, and to build a more joyful life leveraging who you are, join me in the next session of my 16-week Amazing Career Project course.
Something that stuck me hard from the piece was a quote from Heather Champ, the first community manager on Flickr, who reportedly says repeatedly:
‘What you tolerate is what you are.’
In my view, as a writer, trained therapist, speaker and coach, I believe that truer words have never been spoken. This idea is important not only in building a positive, enriching community, but also in our personal and professional lives. In order to build something meaningful and constructive (including your own life), you have to be crystal clear about who you are, what you stand for, and what you will and will not tolerate. And you have to “find brave” every single day to enforce that.
The knowledge of who you are comes from a very deep understanding of not only your values, but how you will allow those values to be interpreted and acted upon. It’s about boundaries – knowing where you end and others begin – and knowing without doubt that you are worthy and powerful enough to set your own boundaries and shape how people treat you and what you create.
For many of us, including me, that’s not an easy thing. In fact, it’s extremely difficult, especially for those (including many women around the world) who’ve been raised NOT to be assertive, forceful and authoritative, or have experienced punishment and retaliation when they have asserted their boundaries.
Among the different groups and communities I’ve been involved with, I launched and ran for one year a Facebook group of approximately 2,300 members called Thriving After Narcissism. The group consisted primarily of adult children of narcissists who’d been deeply wounded by narcissistic and emotionally manipulative behavior, and wanted support and information to heal and overcome their painful challenges. Overseeing this group was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me in terms of what’s required to run a nurturing community while also allowing people to speak their truth – as emotionally hard and traumatizing as it is for many to reveal and hear those truths.
From that experience, and from building a wonderful tribe of over 730,000 followers on LinkedIn, and in the experience of running two courses and other membership communities, I’ve learned (often the hard way) that there are 4 critical ingredients to building communities that succeed in their goal of being empowering and enriching for those involved.
These 4 ingredients are:
#1: Understand clearly why the community exists and don’t lose sight of it
When you’re building a tribe or community, you have to understand the specific purpose of it – what you as the founder intend for the group. And you need to manage it from the perspective that this group isn’t for everyone. To do this, you need bravery to realize that you cannot and should not try to be everything to everyone.
When you try to be everything to everyone, you cease to offer anything helpful.
As an example, when I was running the Thriving After Narcissism Facebook group, I had a clear intention about the purpose – to support people who were longing to heal from narcissistic behavior that had wreaked havoc in their lives.
At one point, a man came into the group stating (almost boastfully) that he was a narcissist and wanted to be a part of the group to learn more about what he had done that was hurtful.
Members reacted negatively to this, and initially, something smacked as very disingenuous about him, and I was hesitant. But I was open to giving him a chance (that is another value I wanted to honor in this group – openness).
Sadly, from the start, his behavior was arrogant, defensive and offensive. He was hurtful to others, and put people down for what they shared. It was clear that his intention wasn’t to “learn” at all but to instruct the rest of the group on how they were all wrong in their interpretations of narcissistic behavior and in their feelings and experiences.
I found this challenging to do, and thought long and hard about it, but in the end, I did what was necessary and promptly removed him from the group. I didn’t waffle. I explained to him and everyone else the reason for this action: That this group was designed to help those who are suffering from the effects of narcissism in their lives and only those who wish to learn and grow from that experience are a strong fit with this group. Secondly, I made it clear that criticizing and ridiculing others’ for their beliefs simply wasn’t allowed and others would be removed if they engaged in that behavior.
These actions are decisions are not easy, but are essential in enforcing what you believe is in the best interest of your group.
The clearer you are about your intention and purpose for this community, the more you can honor that intention.
#2: Be strong about what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t
Having an idea about building a community, and actually doing it successfully, are radically different things. People behave in thousands of different ways from how you envisioned they would, and it’s so important that you are able to communicate (so everyone understands) what is within the bounds of acceptable conduct and communication, and what falls out of it.
I remember 25 years ago when I was first involved in running focus groups in my corporate market research role, the very skilled moderator we hired to run the groups, Anne Dobbs, always shared one rule clearly and assertively at the beginning of each and every group, and that was this:
“Every idea shared here has value, and we encourage your candid thoughts and feedback. However, we won’t allow participants here to criticize or put down other people’s ideas. We encourage you to build on a previous idea, but never put down other people’s thoughts or comments.”
And Anne would continue to enforce that powerfully, when the need arose.
I find that that one rule is essential to building a safe space were people can openly and honestly share what matters to them without fear or being ridiculed or ostracized.
Be clear to your community what is tolerable and what isn’t, and then muster the courage to enforce that.
#3: Know the scope of what you’re dealing and what is out of your depth
I run a number of groups that offer career and personal growth coaching and support. Occasionally, a member will share something that reveals that their emotional and behavioral functioning is impaired due to the challenges they’re experiencing.
As I’ve been a therapist, I am typically able to discern when a person is going through something for which therapeutic help would be beneficial, and when they’d be most likely better served by receiving ongoing therapeutic support rather than just coaching.
When that happens, I reach out to the individual and have an open conversation about how best to support them, and offer other options including pointing them to helpful therapeutic resources.
For me, the key is to “do no harm.” Certainly, most of us are well-meaning in our efforts in overseeing our groups and communities. But we CAN do harm if we don’t recognize early enough when we’re out of our depth, and when a member or group of members has taken a new direction that can be injurious to themselves or others. We need to have systems in place to recognize when the activities of members has branched into a new direction that can be damaging.
What Facebook is experiencing today, to me, is a clear case that points to this challenge – the leaders not understanding (and facing reality) early enough that particular members and clients/advertisers were behaving in ways that were injurious to our world and to other members. It was going on right under their noses for a long period of time, but they refused to act accordingly.
In the end, I felt compelled to close the narcissism group because several members indicated their intent to injure themselves and/or end their lives. I came to feel that my ability to serve these members as I wanted to simply couldn’t be done through a Facebook group. After informing the police of the stated suicide intentions (as is required), notifying Facebook, and following other key protocol, and making sure these members had the support they needed, I faced the realization that addressing these types challenges successfully was not possible in the way I wanted to, through a Facebook group. These are truly hard decisions, but necessary ones.
I know others run groups like this on Facebook and beyond, and they’re entitled to act as they see fit. But each of us has to make those decisions for ourselves.
Make sure that in your community, you have systems in place to monitor what’s happening, so you can take appropriate action to address what needs to be addressed in ways that protect your community at the highest level.
#4: Be the inspiring leader you long to, and set the tone in how you behave and communicate
Finally, as a founder of a community, how you behave, speak, lead and treat others will indeed set the tone. It’s like parenting – it doesn’t work to tell your kids “Do as I say, not as I do.” Children will do exactly as you do.
It’s the same with your community. They’ll behave the way you do. If you do your best to demonstrate integrity, clarity, compassion, kindness and generosity, for instance, then your behavior will serve as a filter for those qualities. People who don’t resonate with that type of behavior simply won’t be attracted to joining your group.
And people who want to surround themselves with others who are kind, compassionate, integrity-filled and generous will be drawn to your community and all that it offers and represents.
The way you behave is like a beacon of light – it will attract people who want that type of light.
In the end, founding and running an online (or in person) community is a profoundly enriching experience and an awesome responsibility that requires keen self-awareness, bravery, and commitment – to ensure that what you’re putting out into the world has positive effect, and to support the growth of the members in empowering, beneficial ways.
Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Spirituality and Success”
I just returned from 5 days in Ireland with my 2 wonderful kids, and I have to say it was one of the most inspiring, amazing and eye-opening experiences of my entire life.
I’d love to share a bit about it, in the hopes that the powerful lessons I came away with will also inspire you, and help you live more bravely and honestly.
First, in planning the trip, as a newly divorced woman, I “found brave” and charted out a whole series of trips throughout Ireland with my kids. This was a first for me, to make all the international travel plans myself and to be confident enough to believe I could navigate this unfamiliar country with my children, and have it all work out beautifully. And it did!
From the moment we arrived, to the minute we left, it was a magical experience. We saw so much that moved us: from the glorious mountains of Wicklow, to the monastic site of Glendalough, to the small but memorable town of Avoca, to the seaside villages of Malahide and Howth, and the sumptuous streets, pubs and churches of Dublin, to medieval Kilkenny, we had the most beautiful times together that we’ll never forget.
But most powerful was the day we spent in conversation and learning with the amazing Irish mystic, bestselling author and spiritual leader Lorna Byrne. I had learned of Lorna a few years ago through the spiritual leader Mike Dooley, and was transfixed by her messages and her spiritual connection. Lorna sees angels literally and physically, in the same way you and I see human beings. I was so intrigued by her messages and her authenticity and bravery that I then proceeded to read all four of her books in a two-week period. For me, it was so riveting and transformative to soak in her beautiful messages.
Finally, I found the courage to reach out directly to Lorna last year to see if I could conduct a video interview, and she said yes!
Here’s that video interview, if you’re interested:
Messages from the Angels with Lorna Byrne & Kathy Caprino - YouTube
We then recorded another video awhile later, and in my heart, I so longed to connect in a more personal way, and meet Lorna. Finally, I got the chance, and decided to make it a family trip to Ireland so we all could benefit from Lorna’s guidance.
In meeting her and her beautiful daughter Aideen, we learned so much about our own guardian angels, the divine within us, and how to connect deeply with the guidance of our angels. I’ll be writing more about this amazing experience in the weeks to come, but I wanted to share now the top five lessons I came away with from my time with Lorna.
1) Truly listen, then act
When you hear that voice inside your head whispering advice and guidance about what to do, TAKE IT! Don’t delay, don’t doubt, don’t question, don’t hesitate. It’s divine guidance meant to propel you forward and also protect you from serious missteps that will keep you from your purpose and your best plans, and from harm. Take action, and don’t wait.
As is true of anything important you want to cultivate in your life, it takes energy, dedication and commitment to build an ongoing practice that will enhance your life. If you want to feel more connected spiritually – to yourself, others, your work and your life – you have to build a practice for it. Whatever way makes you feel most connected to life and to your soul within, focus your energy on it each and every day. Don’t allow yourself to get lazy and break that connection. For me, that means reading passages from Lorna’s books every day, as they inspire me tremendously. (My favorite is Angels in My Hair – check it out!)
3) Look deeply
On a beautiful walk in nature, Lorna spent time teaching me and my son how to literally “see” the energy that is all around us. And the more we engaged in really “looking” for signs of this energy, the more we saw and experienced it in remarkable ways – colors, movement, and more. Just open your eyes to the amazing life and energy all around you, and you’ll start to see it all in a new way.
So much more wisdom and help is available to us than we currently experience, because we erect a wall within and around us through our skepticism and disbelief. If you’re ready for a deeper connection to life and yourself, let go of your skepticism and let yourself have faith that there IS more to life than you are seeing and experiencing today.
5) Find Brave
Truthfully speaking, because people know me as a person who writes and coaches about business and career issues, many think that spirituality is something separate from those issues and topics, and that my talking about and engaging in spiritual practices runs counter to business or professional success or doesn’t belong in the same conversation.
I’m going to share bravely here and tell you that from my perspective, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Cultivating your own spiritual growth and connection, understanding what your soul wants in this lifetime, and honoring that from your heart and core, and aligning yourself with amazing people who are in harmonious sympathy with your life’s purpose and goals is NOT antithetical to business or professional success. It’s essential to it.
The more I allow myself to identify and honor my soulful yearnings, thoughts, and feelings, the more my life unfolds in a joyful and successful way rather than in chaos and pain.
My time with Lorna was unforgettable and I’m so grateful for it. (Here we are as we’re saying farewell – but only for now, I hope.)
I hope these thoughts above resonate with you, and help you to build a practice that supports your connection with your own spirit and the divine guidance within you.
And here’s to mustering more bravery to become more of the authentic, spiritual and heart-centered individual you long to be, on this planet, at this time.
Brave love to you,
P.S. If you’re interested in seeing Lorna yourself, you can! She’s joining NYT bestselling author Mike Dooley on their “Using All Your Angels” tour this summer in the U.S. Here’s all about it. Sign up today! You’ll find Lorna and Mike so inspirational.
P.P.S. This trip spurred me to finish this year writing my story/screenplay of a series of powerful past life memories that emerge in a woman’s life, bringing back experiences and visions of a beautiful yet tragic life led in medieval Ireland. Exploring these memories changes her entire world. If you’re interested in past lives, let me know, and stay tuned for that!
Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Finding Brave to Build Your Best Life”
I hear from hundreds of people every month from around the world, and many of these folks are generous, positive, and well-meaning individuals. They often offer fascinating ideas and comments, and aim to be helpful in doing so.
But as is true with much in life, there are two sides to every story. One not-so-appealing aspect of extensive interaction and open communication is that we come into contact with some people who feel very comfortable crossing our boundaries, acting like an expert when they’re not, and offering a slew of unsolicited advice which is more about them than you.
As an example of this, I have a neighbor who I see every few weeks and every time she sees me, she feels the need to offer me all sorts of advice on all things pertaining to my personal and professional life, even though she knows virtually nothing about me, and has no frame of reference or experience to understand my life.
Is there a person in your life who behaves this way? It’s really annoying, isn’t it?
In contemplating exactly why these types of conversations with her (and with others who feel the need to advise without knowing me at all) are so irritating, I got to thinking about how I perceive these experiences, and how my clients feel about them too.
I also thought about ways we can handle receiving advice that is not welcome – and how to discern clearly when advice is inappropriate, irrelevant, or misguided, and how to construct a boundary so it doesn’t keep happening.
Below are 5 easy ways to identify without doubt that you shouldn’t be listening to the advice you’re receiving (and some suggested responses you can use if you want to tell the adviser to stop):
#1: The adviser doesn’t know you at all
Advice isn’t appropriate for you if there’s no understanding from the advice-giver of who you are, what you care about, and what you value, believe and stand for. People who want to tell you what to do without having any grasp of what makes you tick are generally just needing to hear themselves talk.
Potential response: “Thanks for your tip, but that suggestion doesn’t really fit how I approach my life.”
#2: The adviser didn’t ask you if you’d like to hear their advice
Helpful advice-givers don’t just throw out suggested strategies and tips to help you without asking your permission to do so first.
Potential response: “Thanks, but I’m not looking for any new advice on this.”
#3: The adviser doesn’t know anything about the topic or issue you’re dealing with
Another sign of unhelpful advice is when comes from someone who knows literally nothing about how to deal with the challenges or issues you’re facing.
Take the example (which I just heard today) of someone who’s been married for 30 years and hasn’t been on a date in over 35 years, giving advice to a newly single person who’s started engaging in online dating. Most likely, whatever the advice-giver has to say will be irrelevant and outdated, given how the world works today.
Potential response: “Thanks, but that strategy doesn’t really take into account how things have changed.”
#4: The adviser doesn’t understand what you truly need and want
I coach many professional women who’ve told me about former coaching or mentee/advisee relationships they’ve had that went very wrong. When I ask what happened, they often share that the advisor began advising steps and strategies that seemed to be entirely disconnected to what this client indicated she wanted and needed.
I had this experience myself years ago (before I engaged in a successful career reinvention from corporate VP to therapist and coach) where the first career counselor I went to indicated that, because my assessment tests showed I had an aptitude in marketing, I should continue to pursue marketing as a profession.
The reality was that that I desperately wanted out of that profession, and could never have had the happiness and reward I experience now if I had stayed in the marketing profession. He just wasn’t listening to what I shared about my deepest desires and dreams for my future.
Potential response: “Thanks. I’m sure you mean well, but that approach won’t get me closer to what I really want.”
#5: The adviser isn’t someone you respect or align with
The final, most powerful way to tell if the advice you’re getting is something you should consider is this: Is the adviser him/herself approaching his/her life in a way that you respect, admire and want to emulate? If not, the strategies they suggest probably likely won’t align with who you are at your core, and what you value and stand for.
Potential response: “Thanks, I appreciate your insights, but that’s not the way I’d like to handle it.”
For me, I’m going to start taking more of a stand on this, because that’s what I secretly long to do, and also, that’s the type of step that represents “finding brave” in my own life, which I’m committed to doing more of going forward.
What do you do when you receive bad advice that you don’t want and didn’t ask for? Please share below.
Part of the series “Thought Leadership and Impact”
I’ve been a professional writer now for 10 years, and the journey I’ve taken (and am still pursuing) has been eye-opening and instructional in ways I never imagined. I’ve learned so much — about my inner most self, my fears and vulnerabilities, my strengths and capabilities, and my challenges as a writer. I’ve also learned first-hand what it takes to build a “tribe” of amazing followers who really get your stuff, and engage with your messages in a way that enriches your life.
As I approach reaching 700,000 followers on LinkedIn (which I remain humbled and amazed by), I’ve also experienced the difficulties in remaining personally engaged with my tribe, while also preserving time to continue writing, coaching, speaking and training. These endeavors are vitally important to me as a person but also for my livelihood and my business. Yet I never want to become the type of writer who has no time to connect with their followers. That’s just not how I want this to go.
Every month, I receive questions from folks on LinkedIn and beyond about writing, speaking and building an engaged following. They ask questions such as, “How did you get so many followers?” or “How can I write on Forbes too?” or “What do you think helps your writing touch people?” I’m hoping this post will help answer those questions.
I began to try to dimensionalize my answers to these questions when I experienced my first viral post. Watching an article blow up on the internet is a wild thing to experience. That first viral piece was a Forbes interview with leadership expert Tim Elmore on the 7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders in January 2014. Currently, it’s achieved 7.7 million views and is still climbing.
In examining those pieces and other writing that has found a large audience, I believe they exhibit the following traits:
They talk about life topics that a vast number of people on the planet have either witnessed or personally experienced, and have something to say about
They offer raw, unfiltered straight talk that gets to the heart of the problem and doesn’t skirt around the hard issues
The tips and strategies are meant to uplift and help the reader, not tear down or put down
The material is somewhat eye-opening, making us think about ourselves in new and different ways that (hopefully) lead to change
Both the writer and the interviewee of these posts share with honesty that they too have exhibited the very same “negative” traits and behaviors that we’re discussing. The writer and interviewee are not “above” these challenges.
I’ve taken hundreds of missteps as a writer over these years, and have learned some terribly painful lessons. But these lessons have also helped me learn what to focus more on, and what to avoid, in order to enjoy and benefit from the process of writing.
What would I say is the most important thing to achieve in your writing if you want to build a tribe that enriches your life?
My answer is this:
Be as real, unfiltered, vulnerable and honest as you possibly can.
How do we do that then? How do we “find brave” in our writing and our messages? How do we share an intense realness, authenticity and honesty that has the ability to help people see themselves and their lives with a new lens?
I believe there are 6 behaviors that will help us get there:
Many writers and thought leaders believe that they have to portray themselves as perfect, strong, and invincible in order to be respected. But that’s the opposite of the truth. Anyone who presents themselves as constantly “all together,” without any foibles, insecurities or flaws, is just offering a fake, veneered picture of their lives and personalities. And that can’t generate true connection from others.
No human is perfect and has it all figured out. All of us have failed in incredibly painful ways that make us feel ashamed and humiliated. It’s the real stuff of our lives that readers long to be exposed to, because in our sharing our realness, others are given permission to see and experience the raw reality of their own lives.
Don’t try to prove your expertise
I made this mistake often when I started out – I felt that I had to “prove” my credibility before I could say anything important. In the beginning of my articles, I’d offer lots of information that I hoped would verify and validate that I had the right to talk about what I was sharing.
The reality is that you have a right to your opinion and while it’s often helpful to explain how you arrived at your ideas or mindsets, you don’t need to waste precious paragraphs trying to prove that people should listen to you.
Don’t just post something then walk away
When people comment on your work, engage with them. They’ve taken time out of their crushingly busy day to tell you what your ideas mean to them. Respect and appreciate that, and to the fullest degree possible, engage with them in a conversation that helps to bring the ideas forward.
Don’t let your fears of rejection and ridicule keep you from stating your brave and honest opinions, especially when what you believe goes against the grain
New writers are often deathly afraid of being judged, ridiculed and attacked for their beliefs and ideas, so they don’t take the leap and share their honest thoughts. I can help you with this by sharing one irrefutable fact – if you’re saying anything at all that’s important, you WILL be ridiculed, judged and put down for what you believe. Understand and accept that, as a writer, if you’re doing important work, lots of people will vehemently disagree with (and even hate) what you say. Build a healthy boundary around yourself and your work, and keep going.
Develop sticky language, and memorable concepts and frameworks
In my work on Forbes.com, I’ve observed bestselling authors like Terry Real, Harriet Lerner, Gretchen Rubin, Brené Brown and Shawn Achor talk about their work. One thing you’ll see very clearly is that many memorable writers are in some ways humorous and highly iconoclastic, but also share their ideas with language and frameworks that make their concepts memorable for a lifetime. The language they share, the idioms they develop, the categorizations they construct, and the conceptual frameworks they’ve spent hundreds of hours to refine make their work stick with us, whereas millions of other ideas from other writers just disappear from our minds the minute after we’ve read them.
“You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.”
How very powerful and memorable these 3 short sentences are.
(For more on stickiness, check out the helpful book Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. The authors explore what makes ideas “sticky” and share 6 critical traits: They are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and they are stories.)
Finally and most importantly, when you write, share the most astounding and new ideas that you’ve discovered – ideas that have shocked, uplifted, educated and changed you. Share what has altered your own life. When you do that, the right audience who needs your messages will find you.
Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Living and Working Better”
One of the key reasons I decided to become a career coach 12 years ago was in response to a very bad experience I had with one, when I was in the throes of a very unhappy corporate marketing career. This career coach/counselor had me spend a lot of money on quantitative assessments, only to conclude that “Good news! Looks like you’re in the right field!” (Really? Then why am I so miserable?). The assessments showed that I had strong skill in marketing, communications, project management, relationship-building, etc., but didn’t provide any guidance as to new directions that would bring the fulfillment and core alignment to my values and goals that I was so desperate for.
I realized then that – just as in any field – there are great service providers and ineffective ones, and we have to be discerning about who we invest in. And several years later, I decided to become the type of career coach that I had had so much trouble finding when I needed help. When I finally did reinvent my career and became a therapist and coach, I became deeply committed to learning how to help people make the big changes they longed for, that would generate more authentic success, meaning and reward. One of the key lessons for me was that when we hire help, we need to ensure that the individual has the “chops,” training and experience to support our highest and biggest goals.
In my 12 year experience of being a coach, and now in training other coaches, as well as having served on the board of the Connecticut chapter of the International Coach Federation for a year, I’ve heard from hundreds of coaches and clients who are in various stages of their development,
I’d love to share what I see are the good, bad, and ugly aspects of working with a career coach. I hope this is helpful to you in choosing the right one for you.
Below are the top questions I hear from people considering working with a career coach, and my honest answers to these questions:
“First, when do I know I need a career coach?
You can benefit from a career coach any time in your professional journey that you desire more success, joy, reward, fulfillment and impact in your career or professional life. That can be when you’re stuck in an unhappy career, or when you’re starting out and can’t figure out the best direction. It can be when you’re longing for more success and understand that how you’ve been trying to get there just isn’t working. It can also be a perfect time for a career coach when you’re ready to make a BIG change and need outside help to support it.
Professionals I work with in coaching fall into what I call “The Four Buckets:”
#1: They want more success and reward in their current job
#2: They want a thrilling new job in the same field that will leverage their current talents and abilities
#3: They want (or think they want) an entirely new career
#4: They’re considering launching a new venture and want to explore it more thoroughly
I hear from hundreds of professional women each year who have achieved great “outer” success only to wake up one day saying “That’s it! I’m done with this. I need a BIG change now!” They’re facing challenges, goals or concerns that they need and want outside help to navigate through them. And they’re ready to do the inner and outer work to make those changes a reality.
“What should a good career coach be helping me achieve?”
First, don’t look for a “good” coach – look for a great one. A great coach will help you achieve the outcomes you desire most in life and work, and that’s different for every individual. Again looking at the “four buckets” above, it could be around engaging in the interview process effectively, or building more leadership impact, or attaining more joy and fulfillment in their work. It could be learning how to deal effectively with a toxic boss or colleagues, or how to stand out from the competition and get a promotion and higher compensation.
Great career coaches help people take the steps that are needed today to enhance their careers and professional success, including building stronger networks, leveraging social media to build their personal brand, and connecting with powerful mentors and sponsors who help them thrive. The list goes on and on. It’s critical that the client and the coach design together the top goals for the coaching program and keep them ever present in their minds so continual progress can be made on what the client longs for most.
“What’s the good, bad and ugly of hiring a career coach?”
I’ll offer some straight talk about what I seeing in the coaching industry today, as a trainer of coaches and as one who helps my clients succeed and grow.
The bad: I’ve personally seen many folks today hang their shingle as a coach, yet they haven’t been trained sufficiently (or at all) to truly help people change their lives. They’ve had only rudimentary coaching training that doesn’t go far or deep enough in terms of what’s required, meaning they don’t yet have the tools and processes to help clients do both the inner work required to change how they’re operating in the world, or take the outer steps necessary – the brave action steps that will bring about exciting comes.
The ugly: I have seen too that hundreds of coaches are being trained that it’s “all in the questions you ask clients” that moves them forward, and I don’t agree. It’s not just the questions that are asked, but it’s about the coach having what I call a “proven model for change” that they take their clients through, that will help clients achieve what they dream of. I believe too that the most effective coaches have had direct and personal experiencewith the type of challenges and issues clients bring to them. These top coaches have done the work themselves to overcome similar challenges their clients are bringing to them. In that way, they’re speaking both from deep experience as well as a strong expertise in conducting the coaching process effectively.
The good and the great: The happy news is that there are many effective and powerful coaches that can help clients achieve tremendously satisfying outcomes that can be life-changing. Great, well-trained, and highly experienced coaches provide a powerful support structure, ongoing accountability, and vital new information and effective strategies that help clients finally see, act and think differently so they can achieve the high level of success and fulfillment they desire.
“What are some tips for finding a great career coach?”
Here are my top tips:
1) Find a coach who has developed their own proven and successful “model for change.”
For coaches to help you make a powerful difference in your life, they have to have developed their own, teachable point of view and their personal model for change – not just a regurgitation of the coaching concepts that others have put forward but their own concepts. These concepts about how people change need to reveal their own unique language, perspective, filter, and ideas for how to move the needle on a particular challenge or problem that no one else has figured out yet or is talking about.
While it’s been said that there are no “new ideas” in the world, there are definitely new, powerful ways of coaching, sharing and exploring universal truths and critical concepts that lead to positive change and career success. And for the coach to be a right fit with you, their model for change needs to speak to you directly, and have proven efficacy in addressing the types of challenges you are experiencing.
What to look for: Look for evidence of the model for change the coach has developed. It should have specific steps and processes for moving you forward. If they can’t articulate their model for change, the process they use and the outcomes that they regularly catalyze and help their clients generate, then move on.
2) They have great free materials, articles, resources and other transformative content that demonstrates their thought leadership, style and approach.
The best of the best coaches aren’t just running a business to get rich in an online business. Their emails aren’t get about selling to you. And they aren’t just interested in helping affluent people – they long to help (in some core way) a wide array of people from many walks of life who are struggling with the same challenges they know how to address.
What to look for: Check out their website, blog, videos, and downloadable materials. Read their free content. Does it move the needle for you and motivate and inspire you personally? Does it inspire you to make change and take action, and does it help you operate differently in the world? Or does it just talk about how easy it will be to get to where you want to go?
3) They know how to look beneath the obvious challenges to uncover new solutions
Many professionals who’ve come to me for career help also have some deeper issues that they’re dealing with, including overwhelm, depression, an inability to make productive decisions, or they’re facing toxicity and pain in some aspect of their lives and careers. A key dimension of great coaching is not just staying at the superficial level and talking about resumes or LinkedIn profiles and interviewing, but also helping clients go deeper to understand what could be in the way of their happiness, fulfillment and ultimate goals that may be out of their awareness. And great coaches know when to refer their clients out to another service provider (such as a therapist) when the need is there for a different kind of support.
What to look for: Find a coach who has deep, proven experience in support of many clients toward growth and the achievement of their highest goals, and knows how to help with issues beyond the superficial tactics. Make sure they have recommendations and testimonials that validate the work they’ve done to help others.
“Ok, so what’s a big red flag that I should run?”
As with any service provider you hire, run if:
1) You feel there’s isn’t a good fit with you in terms of their style and approach
2) You don’t feel positive, excited, upbeat and hopeful when working with them
3) They try to say that THEY are the expert in your life (they’re not – you’re the expert in your own life)
4) They are not in “harmonious sympathy” with your goals (meaning they don’t agree with what you want to achieve)
5) They can’t share with confidence what they think they can help you achieve
“Can any age reinvent themselves and create a happier career or find a better job?”
I’ve seen that folks of any age can reinvent core aspects of their professional life, and create work that leverages who they are and what they are talented and passionate in. That said, there are realities about today’s corporate workforce and there are limitations to what the corporate world considers an ideal candidate for any particular role. The key is to build a plan together with your coach that is S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, that will get you to where you want to go, and address the core challenges in an empowering, successful way.
“When is career coaching a waste of money?”
Career coaching will be a waste of money when:
1) The client is not ready to do the real, brave work to change how they are operating towards their goal. In other words, if they remain defensive and fight at every turn the idea that change is necessary in how they operate, coaching can’t work. And if the results and information that are uncovered throughout the coaching process aren’t acted upon by the client, the results will be very limited.
2) When the career coach isn’t trained or experienced enough to help the client tackle the critical challenges that lie underneath the obvious issue (because those are the true challenges in the way of success).
“What outcomes can I achieve with the right career coach?”
In the end, working with the right career coach can be truly life-changing experience. Working with great career coaches, people build new careers that align with their core values and their amazing talents. They arrive at new ways to speak up for themselves, and achieve tremendous success and fulfillment on their terms (not someone else’s).
They begin on the path to finding brave in life and work, and communicate more powerfully and ask for (and receive) what they deserve. They step up to negotiate for themselves and land significant promotions and raises. They learn how to interview and network effectively and build a wonderful support community. And they start developing and sharing their unique personal brand in ways that bring wonderful new opportunities their way.
In short, finding the right career coach and doing the work required to shift your life and career can yield tremendous positive outcomes that far surpass what you ever imagined possible for yourself and your life.
Part of Kathy’s series “Finding Brave To Build a Better Life”
Every year at this time, I love to identify a “theme” for the coming year – a word or phrase that represents what I want to cultivate more of in my life, work, relationships, and in the world directly around me. I’ve found that what we focus on truly expands, so focusing on an exciting and meaningful new element in my life brings it closer to me, and in greater abundance.
My theme for 2018 is “finding brave.” It’s amazing that, from the minute these two little words came into my sphere (and I thank my dear friend and author Avril McDonald for that), I’ve truly experienced more bravery, resilience, strength and hope, and I can see more clearly how I’m on the Finding Brave path.
I felt so angry and truly gutted. But there was no one to blame but myself. Even though I had been using this term for a full year and had made my mark on it, I hadn’t protected the term legally (this is something we all should learn from.) The year before, I had even published a great interview with business and branding attorney Ashley Brewer on my Forbes.com blog about not waiting to protect your intellectual property, but failed to take my own advice! Now I’ve learned.
I was with Avril in Greece talking about wanting to come up with a new phrase that represented my work at its core, and Avril said, “What about ‘Finding Brave’?” And it hit me right between the eyes. Yes! That’s it. As I got thinking about bravery and what we need to cultivate in order to be our true selves powerfully and transparently, I realized It’s not about “braving up” in one isolated moment, and then falling off the brave journey. It’s about Finding Brave every week, every day, every minute. It’s a holistic, heart-and-soul journey that grabs you by the collar and won’t let go, and keeps fueling you to be and share more of yourself, in open, honest, and transformative ways.
In 2018, I’ll be focusing on Finding Brave even more, from what I choose to do in my business (stretching out of my comfort zone and starting new ventures and expanding my focus), in my relationships, with how I invest my time and money to ensure growth, and in seeing my own potential more powerfully.
Here are three core ways I’ll be focusing on Finding Brave in 2018 that might be of help to you in your life:
Brave Sight While I have a good bit of confidence in myself and my work, I realize (if I’m really honest with myself) that I’ve hesitated moving in some new directions because of fear – fear of failure, fear of success and overwhelm, and even a bit of fear around how “hard” this new work will be. But my focus on Brave Sight helps me see myself in a different light – as someone who has reinvented herself numerous times throughout life, relished the process, and grew exponentially throughout it. I’m ready to see myself as more competent, confident and ready for more. I hope you are too.
Are you ready to tap into more confidence and trust about what you’re capable of?
While we hear every day (and I teach and coach) that “the riches are in the niches” – meaning, you need a very tight and narrow focus to be profitable in your business – I feel that it’s also important to be of brave service in ways that might stretch you out of your tight niche. For me, for instance, that means that I can be of help to people not only with career growth strategies but also by offering them all that I’ve learned, about psychology, marketing, client development, business growth, management, writing and thought leadership. So why wouldn’t I do that?
I’m going to put a new stake in the ground in 2018 and offer more of what I’ve learned throughout my 32-year career, leveraging my corporate and marketing background, therapy training, and business development experience. I can’t wait to stretch to new domains that I hope will serve others in a brave new way.
What can you do in your work that will stretch you beyond how you see yourself today?
I recently divorced, and this experience has opened my eyes and my heart to so much. I’ve experienced firsthand what society views is the “right way” to live, and the negative projections other people put on you about their judgments and fears around divorce. I’ve seen too what it is to live as an independent individual outside of marriage, and how enlightening it is to begin to understand yourself more deeply in a new context of being single.
I have a great deal more compassion now for single people, and the challenges we/they face in loving and accepting themselves fully when the world pressures us to see married people as the model to aspire to (even when so many marriages are miserable and harmful to the couple and to the children, and in fact should end in divorce).
In 2018 I’m committed to expanding my experience of love, compassion and connection – with myself and with others. I’m ready to become braver in loving, and letting out into the world the most authentic, real and honest version of myself than ever before, which I hope will help others do the same.
I’ve seen that when we feel forced to hide, suppress or alter our most authentic, real selves and our most loving, positive spirits in order to be accepted or appreciated – that’s when we suffer the most.
How can you love and connect to yourself more deeply this year, and start letting out the more authentic, real version of who you are?
In 2018, I hope that “finding brave” in your life will also be a theme that will pave the way for more joy, fulfillment and meaning in your life, career and relationships.