This is not an advertisement.
It's a metaphor.
And...if you know anything about me...you know I love a good metaphor.
Recently I gathered with some girlfriends for a ladies "power day".
We divided up the day and traveled to each other's houses and helped with projects.
We jumped in and did what was needed at each house. It was fun and productive (we removed wall paper in my bathroom....hooray!).
Anyway, I was introduced to this new tool. The scouring stick.
You see....I have hard, well water. In all of my toilets and sinks there are stains from the hard water that nothing will remove. Not even bleach.
This little scouring stick....got rid of it in less than 5 minutes.
I have struggled with a strategy for over 10 years....and in less than 5 minutes, it's no longer a struggle or a problem.
So, it got me thinking.....
How often are we trying to solve a problem alone or with the wrong tool?
Perhaps if we are open, our struggles and challenges can be erased when we least...
Are you constantly putting the needs of work, family, or friends ahead of your own?
Do you feel your energy slowly leaking away?
Is there anything that you dream about, that you keep putting on the back burner?
What if you knew with absolute certainty that taking care of yourself first was the best strategy for success at work, with family and friendships?
Would you then put you on the front burner?
And what does that even mean?
I have a hunch that you already know.
I love late night comedy.
This past year it hasn't made me laugh as much as I wanted it to- but I still appreciate the ability to take challenging and painful situations and find some way to make something funny.
The other night I came across a Daily Show video about women in the work force and how they have disproportionately (compared to men) lost their jobs or left their roles due to the challenges of the pandemic. While it was funny that all of the incredibly intelligent women being interviewed were simultaneously caring for their children (on screen)- I know how not funny it is when you are working at home and facing a deadline, or working with a client and your most important little (or let's be real, also adult) humans need something.
Back in October, NPR reported that women were leaving the work force at four times the rate of men and from what I can tell based on various other reports, those trends have not slowed down since.
Are you ALL in?
This is a question I ask myself regularly. It started a few years ago, when I was spread pretty thin with family, farm, business, professional and community responsibilities. I was feeling despairing when some support I thought I had fell through and I was back to square one. I was questioning why it was so hard to find support that was reliable
and why people can't commit. My friend and fellow coach asked me:
"Are YOU all in? Are you giving yourself the support you are requesting of others?"
Damn. That stung at first and I felt armed with defensive thoughts: However, for months that statement stuck with me. I realized that I hadn't been all in on my business. That I wasn't giving myself permission to dive full focus in, to believe in myself, and to commit to my vision. When I looked closer, I realized that same theme was showing up in other areas of my life.
Now, I look at this question as a great measure of where I want to spend my time and...
In 2001, I traveled the country as a "traveling trainer" sponsored by Subaru for the organization Leave No Trace. I spent the year traveling the country on a National Park Tour- training people in outdoor ethics and minimum impact recreation. One of the highlights of this year on the road was the opportunity to stay in unique places, meeting unique people.
While traveling in Maine, I stayed with a friend's family on their farm. I woke up in the morning and sat with the matriarch on her porch- drinking coffee (of course). She said..."can you hear that"- its spring, that's the first sound of the spring peepers (frogs).
Having lived on the road, there was something so endearing about her connection to the land and the seasons and especially her "knowing". I remember craving that kind of connection to a place where I could say..."hear that? its spring".
Fast forward 20 years- here I sit, embarking on my 10th spring at Moonstone...
If you are a child of the 80’s/ 90’s then you are singing this familiar tune right now. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about….ask Alexa to play you Vacation by the Go Gos.
You will not be able to get this out of your head now.
A few years ago (Pre- COVID), we had scheduled 5 days off of work to enjoy Spring Break with our son, Sam. We had ideas of following the snow or the sun in our camper.
Anytime we leave the farm, it means finding help for the horses, chickens and dogs. It means ramping up on house and farm chores to minimize the overwhelm on the other side of a break.
It also means, figuring out what we want to do.
None of those tasks are insurmountable; However, I find that when we have a hard time rallying for any of them, it probably means we need rest and a “simple” plan more than anything.
So we stayed home.
We divided up the days and each of us got to plan 2 of them. As a result we:
I work hard not to project the insecurities of my own 14 year-old self onto my 8th grader.....those insecurities were deep and wide.
I didn't belong.
Of course, those were just painful thoughts that I built evidence for everyday and I suffered for it. When you are a people pleaser and you get your self worth from other people's feedback (and people aren't pleased) there is a deep hole of emptiness and a void of worth.
At least that was true for me as an adolescent.
I'd love to tell you a story that my journey from middle school created a path of resilience and grit, but in reality the same challenges I had in middle school, I have faced in my adult life in a small community, in my business and in family and friendships.
I have often felt my ideas, goals, dreams, and "way of being" doesn't fit in and it can feel lonely standing in it.
Can you relate?
In Brene Brown's book, Braving the Wilderness, she shares this definition of True Belonging:
True belonging is the spiritual...
I had a conversation with a friend and we were talking about the difference between the intuition to slow down and wait versus dragging your feet.
And how you find that compass and learn to trust it.
As we were talking, an image came into my mind of the high dive at the pool I swam at in my childhood.
I started thinking about the sequence of decisions that one would have to make - when you decide to jump off the high dive for the first time.
First - you have to decide you want to get off the lawn chair where you are comfortable tanning with baby oil and Madonna on the boom box (ok, I'm from the 80's - "I'm Crazy for You").
If you make it past that decision, you end up at the base of a tall ladder and you have to decide to take that first step up.
The next pivot point is the last wrung of the ladder - right before you step out onto the diving board. Should I stay and keep going with this plan? Or should I turn back?
And finally, the last leap - walking to the end of the...
All change starts with a catalytic event....a driver that shifts the trajectory from one path to another.
Last fall my garden ended overnight with a massive snow storm on September 8th. The day before we harvested over 200lbs of food in temperatures that were more resonate of summer than fall. That was a catalytic event and the trajectory of our garden changed on that very day.
Sometimes change hits us hard like this....we have to react, not a lot of time to be proactive. Like a pandemic, a school closure, a sudden illness, a loss of a relationship or a job, an insurrection, a horrific weather event.
In these changes, we call on our resilience and trust to dig deep and help us navigate when the path is murky, scary or vulnerable. Maybe we can look to others for guidance and maybe the guidebook has never been written.
Life and business is about navigating changes that we both create and have to respond to.
Because change is hard for everyone involved, perhaps we can be intentional...
It's been just about two years since I wrote this piece. Two years of patience, acceptance, and building trust. We loaded everyone in a trailer yesterday to a new pasture, to give ours a rest and to have access to an indoor space for Equus Coaching. I asked for help....from a colleague, from our ferrier, from the divine. She moved and loaded without pause. Regardless of the fears that came up for me....it was over in an instant. I was reminded of this experience and thought I'd share again.
On Sunday, Koelle arrived and we went over my intentions, hooked up the trailer and headed to the barn where Barbie has lived for the past year on pasture by the Arkansas River.
Koelle is my Equus Coach. I went through her certification program 5 years ago and I’m currently being trained and mentored by her to be able to facilitate Equus Coaching workshops.
Equus Coaching is one of the most effective forms of personal and professional development I...