Laura Weldy is a life coach that works with badass, brilliant & burnt-out babes who are ready to ditch the martyr role forever in favor of a life led by joy, love for self and others & adventure. In Nashville and around the world, Laura helps women reclaim their voice and their goals to feel motivated and energized again.
Using your morning time to intentionally design your mindset for the day can help you feel more in control of your experience & empowered to take more ownership.
Ask yourself questions that break your typical patterns of habit in order to uncover new ways of being.
Make your mindset time a daily routine for best results!
I think there are some presumptions flying around about life coaches - that we always have our shit together, that we live #blessed lives, that we are never stressed, and that we have no fine lines or wrinkles.
I hate to break it to you - but being a life coach doesn’t mean that my life is picture perfect. Am I 1000% happier than I was in my old jobs? Yes. Do I still have struggles & growth edges? Of course!
What being a life coach does mean is that I have created a level of awareness around my experience that allows me to craft my days and my moods with intention.
Mindset might be a buzzword in 2019, but it’s long been a core consideration in the coaching world. As coaches, we believe that mindset has a huge influence on an individual’s day to day experience, because we’ve seen it first hand with our clients.
The perspective you have going into any situation impacts how you feel about the situation. If you show up to a client meeting stressed AF, you’re going to feel like they’re imposing on your time. If you show up to the same meeting feeling generous and fulfilled, you’re going to feel gratitude at the opportunity to connect with someone in your community. Do you feel the difference?
The kicker is this: if the way you experience the world is dictated by your state of mind, and you are in control of your thoughts - then you can, through careful mindset construction, create your own experience.
When I dove headfirst into personal development one of the very first breakthroughs I had was realizing that I wasn’t owning my own experience - but just spending my days responding to outside stimuli. I changed my perspective, decided that I was in charge, and created some tools to keep myself grounded in that reminder of the power of my say in the process.
I feel like no other coaches are acknowledging this, so I’ll spell it out: it’s important to acknowledge that mindset work isn’t about ignoring societal injustices, barriers & the impact of privilege and prejudices upon our life.
Instead, personal mindset work is an opportunity for any individual to take charge of their daily experience. It’s a process of empowerment in the face of these challenges, and allows us each to get our needs met internally so we can operate from our fullest power within the societal setting.
Intentional mindset work doesn’t prevent real-life challenges. What it does do is clear out the cobwebs of lingering doubts, fears, and the agenda of everyone around us so we can focus on what we need, want & can create.
Intention invites possibility.
I want everyone to have the ability to do this work - so I’m sharing a little sneak peek into my own journal today - so you can see the exact prompts and routine that I use to start my days out mindfully. Use these strategies and you can design your lifestyle with intention each morning, too!
Swipe these journalling prompts!
On days that I want to feel peace & relaxation, I focus my morning time on prompts that keep me grounded & help me reflect on my accomplishments.
Pick one: What do I know to be true? Where can I appreciate myself more? What’s my current discontent trying to tell me? What am I ready to release responsibility for?
On days that I want to feel focused & productive, I focus my morning time on identifying with absolute clarity where my energy will be most effective.
Pick one: Where can I make the biggest impact today? What am I trying to avoid via distraction? How would my higher self tackle the day?
On days that I want to feel creative & inspired, I focus my morning mindset time on tapping into my intuition and developing self trust.
Pick one: What do I feel like I’m lacking - and how can I create it? If I knew what to say, what would it be? What would my future self want my current self to know? What message am I avoiding sharing?
On days that I want to feel recharged & connected, I focus my morning mindset on asking the questions that connect me to the larger spiritual and human world.
What ripples do I want to create in the world? What am I missing? Where am I being called to show up for others?
I recommend setting aside 20 minutes to journal on a prompt, see what comes up, and wrap your mindset time by deciding and stating aloud exactly how you want to feel that day. If you want to take a journalling break, I also love a brief unguided meditation in the morning where I think about my intentions for the day, or I’ll try pulling oracle cards for inspiration! Try it for 30 days, and see how your experience changes!
Overwhelm shouldn’t be a required part of your daily experience.
The opposite of overwhelm is presence - so practice some mindfulness to relieve the pressure
Overwhelm is all about mindset - it’s an excellent opportunity to look closely at your boundaries & expectations, and to realign your daily actions with your goals!
Picture this: you open your eyes in the morning, pull back the covers, turn off that incessant alarm - and before your feet hit the ground your mind is already racing a mile a minute.
Only seconds have passed since you woke and already you’re feeling the weight of a million tasks that must be completed ASAP. You’re brushing your teeth and trying to ignore the sinking feeling in your gut that arises as you get closer to heading to work and that never-ending to do list. When you finally get to your desk, it’s like the hours fly by in a blurry mess of meetings, missed reminders and passed deadlines.
You’re overwhelmed. And it feels like a constant state of being for you these days.
The problem with living in a state of constant overwhelm is that it acts like a sponge, soaking up all of your time, energy and attention with manufactured urgency. It creates mind & body exhaustion, and leaves absolutely no space in your life for the things you’re craving - the opportunity to create, to explore, and to relax. Overwhelm is excellent at convincing us that everything and everyone is more important than our wellbeing and happiness - and it’s just not true.
There are a million different ideas to explain why we as women get overwhelmed - is it because we’re taught to take responsibility for others from a young age? Is it because we have more access to information and quicker workplace timelines than ever before? Is it because we’re not being realistic about the number of hours in the day? I’ll be honest that I can’t vouch for the specific answer (and I think it’s likely different for each of us!), but I can tell you that I’ve certainly experienced it - and have created a set of tools that allows me to beat it every time.
Shift your mindset.
When you start to feel overwhelmed, pause. We are not destined to be ruled by our knee jerk emotions, so I want you to consciously think about your options in the current moment. Do you want to feel overwhelmed? What feeling would you prefer? Is there a different way of showing up in the world today that would actually be more in service of your goals?
Practice presence and focus.
Overwhelm is constantly whispering distractions in our ear in order to keep us in the panicked spiral. When we are feeling overwhelmed, we’re often drawn to making long lists, learning more things or taking up new hobbies - but all these things do is add to the feeling of overwhelm! The opposite of overwhelm is presence. Focusing on a single task at a time and being in tune with your body and environment will help you to feel grounded as you start to complete past-due tasks. Some tools to try here would be mindful breathing, a 2 minute meditation, or turning off your phone to enable better focus, or doing some light stretching. Commit to only being present to the here and now - the rest can wait.
Be willing to go deeper.
Once you’ve gotten grounded and gained a little bit of headway on your task list, I’d encourage you to examine the way overwhelm operates in your life. Is it a habit that’s common for you? Does it occur around specific events or people? Is it one of your defense mechanisms? In my experience, overwhelm is simply an indication that I’m attempting to distract myself from a big, scary project, or that I don’t feel fully bought into the things I’m currently committed to. Be curious about what the experience of overwhelm is trying to tell you - and generate a few creative ways you can subtly shift your lifestyle to be more in alignment.
How can you integrate these tools into your daily life and beat overwhelm once and for all? Come over to Instagram and let me know!
Unfortunately for people like me, reviews only happen once or twice a year. It makes sense, because the review process can be lengthy and expensive. It requires hours of time from management that could be spent elsewhere, so it’s often not prioritized. However, those of us in professional development know that the more connected employees are to their strengths within their role and the most they’re able to co-create their work experience, the more engaged and productive they are.
If you feel like your growth isn’t being prioritized to the degree you desire, it’s time for you to come to responsibility around your needs. Your manager isn’t a mind-reader, so they don’t know your intentions when it comes to developing in your role and in your company - take charge here. Don’t just fall into the reactive trap of waiting to be noticed and deemed “high potential” enough for development opportunities.
I talk to women that are up-and-coming in the workplace every single day. When I ask them what they is holding them back from the role or opportunities they desire, the response I most often receive is that they don’t feel like they have a champion in the workplace. This is both a pervasive belief and a wildly disempowering one.
Sure, having an advocate in the workplace can be a great asset. But not having one doesn’t determine your career trajectory. In fact, the most powerful advocate for you in the workplace is yourself. Take the opportunity to take charge of your growth over the next year, and others will start to see you for the leader you’ve made yourself into.
Creating your own personal & professional growth plan will:
Show your boss that you’re serious about contributing to the company as a whole person
Demonstrate your ability to take charge of situations & be responsible for the outcomes
Provide you a vocabulary to be your own champion during the next formal review season, by documenting the tangible growth you’ve created for yourself
Here’s what you need to know:
You cannot afford to be passive with your career - you need to take ownership of your growth rather than waiting to be see as “high potential.”
Your growth plan should encompass all of your growth edges - we excel when we bring our full selves to the table in a healthy way.
Don’t worry about your plan being perfect. The value here is in imperfect action, not perfectly designed procrastination.
Have a moment? Read on to learn why this is vital to your success in the workplace.
I think most people assume that everyone dreads review season in the workplace. But this couldn’t be further from the truth for those of us who are obsessed with personal development and growth - in fact, many of us look forward to review season as an opportunity to receive valuable feedback and recognition.
Start on page one with an audit of all the opportunities for growth you have in the months ahead. I’ve included a few journal prompts to get you started thinking, as well as some resources you already have on hand. Reflect back on prior feedback from friends, coworkers and your manager, and consider some personality assessment tools such as Strengthsfinder.
Pick no more than three of those growth opportunities to focus on in Q1 (or whichever quarter it is for you!). Fill out the green growth perspective questions.
Set a recurring Google calendar event to review your goals and answer the orange wrap up questions, before setting the following quarter’s growth objectives. Consistency will help you keep your goals top of mind, and allow you to document examples and notes along the way.
Use this tool in your formal reviews with your boss. Consider asking for feedback, suggestions of other aspects for you to intentionally develop, and whether there’s an opportunity for you to utilize the new capabilities you’ve created.
When we take responsibility for our own growth and development, we’re able to stop seeing review season as scary or intimidating. Instead, all feedback and growth is an opportunity to bring us one step closer to the type of leader we desire to be for ourselves and for others. Use this opportunity to practice whole self leadership, and to address growth edges you see in your personal life as well. When we come to the table complete with our own challenges and ready to give, that’s when true collaborative leadership happens.
Mindset's a bit of a buzzword these days in the online coaching space - but that's because it's vital to your success and your happiness. Seriously.
Mindset is a combination of your unique perspective as a human being, and the level of permission you're giving yourself in the pursuit of your goals. Your mindset dictates your limiting or empowering beliefs, dictates your expectations of success, your ability to focus, and the general attitude with which you approach your work and life. So...it's kind of a big deal.
And, just like your vehicle requires regular tuneups, your mindset is destined to get a bit out of whack if you're not giving it some regular TLC. What many of us try to do when we get into a funk is to mindlessly journal or affirm our way out of it. Just googling positive affirmations to try to put yourself in a better state of mind isn't going to do the trick - your mindset reset needs to address your unique challenges. Please note - a mindset funk is different from anxiety or depression - for those you want to seek out a therapist. But if you just need to make sure that your daily beliefs and actions are in alignment with your current goals, then this exercise might do the trick for you!
How do you know it's time for a mindset reset?
It might be a good time to give this exercise a shot if you're feeling:
Stagnant, and unsure of how the hell you're going to accomplish your goals
Unmotivated and generally "blah"
When your day to day experience in your biz feels like it's filled with more doubt than momentum
Anytime that you notice old habits and limiting beliefs rising up
For me, this means I'm starting to watch too many episodes of The Office and avoiding my inbox. That's a clear signal to me that my mind isn't as bought in/focused on the goals as it was when I jotted them down. Time to reset!
What do I do?
The exercise itself is simple, but it becomes more powerful with repetition - so don't just do this process once and write it off! I suggest adding regular Mindset Resets to your calendar, so it stays top of mind. Over time, the repetition will help you to stay aware and adjust more intuitively in the moment. But as you're getting started, follow these steps:
Make time and space to reflect. I like to do this on a day when I don't have a committed appointment to plan around. You want to be really present with this exercise, not constantly checking the clock. I like to plan for about an hour of uninterrupted time.
Do the reflection work in a way that feels natural. Many of us like to journal, but this format isn't right for everyone - so find one that works for you and allows the flow of answering these questions to be natural. You can do this in person with an accountability partner if you thrive off of collaboration, or you can dictate it as a voice memo into your phone. Don't let the tools of the exercise keep you from doing the valuable work - and don't skip over the reflection just to get to the "desired changes." Naming our fears and hangups takes away their power.
Ask yourself the following questions:
If I had to pinpoint the discontent I'm feeling right now, what would I name it?
What feels difficult right now? What do I choose instead?
How can I shift my practices to reflect my new beliefs and choices?
Allow yourself to confront any limiting beliefs that are making your work and your day to day life more difficult - and choose ease and a new perspective instead. I want to see what you come up with, too - so post a photo of your new mindset discoveries on Instagram and be sure to tag me at @lauraweldy!
I have the privilege of working with some of the most incredible creative entrepreneurs in my coaching business. Their work spans the creative spectrum from blogging to coaching to photography, but all of the women that come to me have at least three things in common: they've built a business that is thriving beyond their biggest dreams, they're exhausted - and they're not willing to accept that as their reality anymore.
It's easy to fall into old ways of thinking, even when you're an independent and modern creative entrepreneur. Society teaches us that growth always has to equate to more time, to more effort, to stretching ourselves even thinner. Jot this down: it is possible for you to continue to grow your creative work in the world while still enjoying your life. All it takes is some intentionality and awareness.
The number of hours you have in the day is finite - so time management isn't really the issue for most of us. If you feel like you're lacking focus, like it's a struggle to complete all the projects you've got your hand in, or like you're too exhausted to grow any further then your real struggle is getting a grasp on energy management. The good news: I'm breaking it all down for you here, and it's really simple to do!
Break out the paper (or digital!) planner.
There's something about putting pen to paper that helps me remember all of my appointments, so I'm an old school gal in this regard. The important thing here is to start with a blank slate for the week ahead.
Pencil in all of the meetings, appointments and deadlines you have for the week - anything that is time linked.
Resist the urge to pencil in tasks - we'll get to that later. I want you to focus here on anything that requires you to be at a certain location or in a meeting with another person. Don't forget to build in travel time, if necessary!
Ask yourself, does this bring me energy or does this drain my energy?
onsider the topic of the meeting, the person you'll be working with, and how many commitments you've got that day already. Write a + next to the commitment if it refuels you, and a - next to it if you know it will feel draining.
Plug in some re-charging activities where possible, and shift anything that isn't working.
he key to this method's success is in getting honest with yourself. Have a day full of back to back client meetings? Don't pretend you're going to feel excited about sitting down to write an in depth project proposal at the end of it. Can you make time for a fifteen minute walk to break up the day? Can you add in some mindless admin work at the end of the day, rather than something that demands a ton of your creative energy? Stick those bigger creative projects before your draining activities of the day, or right after you've had a chance to refuel.
Some incredible refueling ideas: take a walk, grab a coffee with a friend, stretch, have a dance party, read a chapter of a book you're in to, sit quietly, let your brain just zone out. Anything that will give you some pep in your step when the refuel time is up!
Tweak and repeat.
ny time we're working in a template like this, we're not aiming for 100% success right off the bat. If you nailed it perfectly in week 1, you wouldn't even need this template, right? I always tell my 1:1 clients to focus on implementing techniques like this in a 70/30 fashion. If you follow it even 70% of the time next week, you're going to see a massive difference in how you feel AND in your productivity levels!
Loving this technique? It's just one of many tools I use to help my clients intentionally create a lifestyle for themselves outside of their business! I want you to feel free, full of ease and to bring some joy back into your life. Learn more about working with me directly here!
Limiting beliefs: we've all got 'em. And this might just be the most COMMON one I see with women in creative business that are already successful - and on track to uplevel again. These women are often a bit afraid of what comes next, because they have a limiting belief that expansion always leads to exhaustion.
If this is you, don't worry. I totally get it! It's easy to look around at everything you've built, to feel immense pride, and at the same time to start running the numbers in your head. How long did it take you to build this? How much time, energy and weekend fun time did you invest to get here? How much more do you have left to give? Suddenly, you feel too tired to even consider expanding any further. You want a fuckin' nap.
When you feel like it takes everything you've got just to stay on the hamster wheel, it's hard to think about expansion. You're afraid of overextending yourself - so you swing a bit too far in the opposite direction, avoiding any opportunity for growth (this piece happens subconsciously much of the time).
Expansion does not need to always be paired with exhaustion. That's one bullshit limiting belief. And it's really convincing, because many of us DO feel exhausted.
In fact, if you are holding tight to this idea it's probably a strong indicator that it's time for you to do the deep work of personal development - because it often comes from a lack of personal boundaries, energy leakage and lack of respect for self.
It's totally okay if this is where you're at right now - but listen up, because I don't want you to be stuck here for too long.
This feeling of overwhelm and spinning wheels is not your new norm.
It's a message from your subconscious to actually slow down, re-evaluate, and tweak your processes and mindset to feel more nourishing. It's a chance to step back from reactionary responses and sink into your restorative mind. You know the one I'm talking about - the quiet, still place that you usually ignore in favor of to do lists or Netflix binges while you're putting in hours on your creative biz.
At the end of the day, when you run a creative business, you're the one in charge of your experience. And the fact that past seasons have resulted in exhaustion does not mean that your next season must. In fact, just on the other side of this limiting belief that growth = exhaustion is a much more empowering perspective: my stillness facilitates expansion.
As we shift out of the hustle mindset and into a leadership based one, we're often challenged to replace activity with stillness. Of course, you'll still be working - and it may feel like your days are busier than ever. But what sets you apart as a leader in your business and your industry is not necessarily the action you're taking every day, but your ability to be with the growth that's coming to you. Your ability to witness and persevere, continue to show up, and choosing to enjoy the process.
Because I know you know this - but I'll say it again. Choosing to be a leader should be about YOU committing to being the best version of yourself - not just a slapdash choice made to support others. You'll learn how to truly support them by starting with truly supporting you. - limiting beliefs and all.
What now? Take stock of your own limiting beliefs, and let me know if this is one of yours in the comments below!
Welcome to Unapologetic, a monthly series designed to introduce you to millennial leaders doing badass things in the world. Unapologetic women are fully owning their space, their voice and their vision for a better world - and taking massive action to bring those dreams to life. They also believe in building up other women along the way, and are kind enough to share their life lessons with us here!
I've been a fan of Nadeena's work at Art and Anthem for a long time now - her creative eye is truly unparalleled (I mean - how beautiful and buttery is the image below?!), and I really respect how she uses her digital platforms to share her voice. Today, she's giving us a behind the scenes look at her life as a creative entrepreneur and what keeps her motivated and inspired. Spoiler alert: it's pretty simple and magical stuff.
What does being a leader mean to you as a creative entrepreneur? Standing for something. More than just the work I create, I think being a leader means caring about the world outside of my industry. How can I make it a better place? What groups of people can I help? How can we use our voice? Also, in relation to people who are closer to me --being someone who motivates them to grow and reach their full potential. Where is this person struggling? What can I do to help facilitate his/her growth while strengthening their belief in themselves? What are they afraid of, but need to face? How can I help them with that?
What keeps you inspired and engaged in your work? Two things: people and art. The creatives I’m surrounded by and cross paths with whether in real life or virtually. They have something they want to put out into the world, what they feel is their purpose and that alone, being surrounded by people like that -- you feel like you’re surrounded by kin. I think this is why it’s important for us to be really intentional about the people and forces we allow to influence our lives--personal or work. Understand who you are and understand what you need.
Second is paying attention to what I consume, what I let filter into my mind. I like reading autobiographies, watching documentaries, visiting art galleries. Giving myself a day to pick a random stop on the train and bus, getting off and exploring it, taking pictures. Not for anyone else but me. Most definitely not for Instagram (ha!). Photography is my mode of expression (there’s the commercial aspect of what I do, then the creative + personal that I have to always be mindful of) but people, humanity---our world, I think that’s what ultimately inspires me. It’s my job and responsibility to keep reminding myself of that or I’ll get lost in the world of creating simply to make a profit which is soul sucking work.
How do you start your days? Walk us through your typical morning routine. Oh I love this! I love morning routines and my days have definitely gotten better after I attached some structure to them. So after waking up I normally grab a warm cup of my AVC drink and head up to my little work space. My desk is right by the window so at this point I have natural light soaking up the entire space and it just lifts my mood right up (unless it’s the dead of winter, but let's not talk about that).
I turn on the Deep Focus playlist on Spotify and use this time to brain dump into a notebook which can take anywhere from 30-45 mins some days and 10 mins on others. I then read for about 15 minutes--I have a specific criteria for books that I read during this time--they have to be mentally stimulating but also motivational (simply reading positive quotes doesn’t do much for me). I’m currently reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. Ignoring the cheesy cover and title, I’m completely in love with this book and plan on ordering a copy for my personal library. It’s slated to become a morning routine favorite because it’s concise, to the point and packs a whole lotta knowledge that gets my mind working.
After that point it’s movement/exercise time. I’m not super strict on this area, the main thing is I’m just supposed to move my body so it’s either between circuit training, yoga/stretching or going outside for a walk. During this time I’ll probably listen to a podcast--never about work but about things I care about outside of work (ie. Pod Save America, Pod Save The World, 2 Dope Queens, Help Me Be Me and a bunch of others I can’t remember right now). Then I shower and sit down for about 7 mins of quiet + meditation before grabbing breakfast and starting my day. That’s it!
What role does personal development play in your life? Huge. It has to be a constant and it shows itself in the books I read or the podcasts I listen to. It’s important to me that I keep growing as a person--for myself, the people around me and for what I put out into the world.
What's the most valuable thing you've learned from a mentor? 1) Trust my gut. 2) Have 3 people in the industry you listen to, turn everyone else off. 3) Focus on profit generating tasks.
What are you unapologetic about in business? In life? There’s this popular opinion that on social media, if you are a business or a freelancer then you should only share things specifically relating to your work. It works for some people. I’m trying to find a balance between sharing my work and speaking about the issues we are surrounded by everyday that deeply affect us. I think the era of drawing those strict lines between work and social issues is slowly coming to pass.
When I do address something, I try to talk about it in a way that either educates or inspires action (I can only hope). And it’s not just about hot button topics but just sharing more about the world I see, because I think it’s different that the world you or someone else sees. I’ve learned so much because of social media and this digital era we live it. It’s up to me to decide how I want to use it. If there’s an issue I think people need to hear about I talk about that (ie. the refugee situation in Paris, a fellow photographer who is a domestic abuse survivor and wants to help other women learn to love their bodies through self portraiture, the topic of inclusion in the beauty industry, etc).
I’m taking my time to understand how to use my voice most effectively and how to marry it with the art I create (outside of my client work) but it’s something that gives me a deep sense of purpose. There was a quote by Nina Simone that I stumbled across recently and it settled right into my heart-- “You can’t help it. An artist's duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”
Thank you, Nadeena - for sharing your thoughts, photos (all photography in this post is Nadeena's!) routines and lots of new podcasts for me to get caught up on! I so appreciate and am inspired by you! If you don't already, make sure you give her a follow on Instagram.
P.S. Do you know someone that HAS to be featured on an upcoming edition of Unapologetic? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!