How Can I Really Figure Out Who I AM? — PART 1

The following is a work-in-progress excerpt from my upcoming book The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding Yourselfdue out December 2019.

Feeling lost is a symptom of a deeper uncertainty: not knowing who you are anymore.

It’s uncomfortable not to know where you fit or what should happen next in your life. Faced with that discomfort in your “lost season,“ what is your habitual response?

Do you stuff down the feeling and try to move on with your everyday life? Do you drown the uncertainty in emotional eating, a Netflix binge or shopping? Or do you put your analytical hat on and attempt to reason your way through it?

If you’re like me (and like the women I speak with in my coaching practice), you have tried these different strategies to rid you of that “lost” feeling. Some might have worked better than others. Chances are, however, that none of them actually helped you get free from the lost feeling altogether. 

Of all the coping...

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I’m Tired of Feeling LOST. How Can I Find Myself?

The following is a work-in-progress excerpt from my upcoming book The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding Yourselfdue out December 2019.

I’ll never forget the first morning I woke up in my own apartment.

A vintage Jazz-age studio with freshly-painted purple walls, the place was barely big enough for the boxed-up remnants of life I had crammed inside. But it was my place. All mine. 

And right now, the way my life was going, it was all I possessed.

At 33 years old, I had never had my own apartment before. In college I had lived with my mother to save on dorm fees. In graduate school I had rented a room from another motherly soul. Since then, I had lived with my husband.

Now, we were going our separate ways.

I woke up that first morning in a thin sleeping bag on terrazzo stone. My back ached. My sensitive nose had swelled like a cucumber from dust bunnies I had yet to eradicate. And my feet were ... well ... soaked.

I will never forget that moment,...

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How Do I Decide What to Focus On Next?

It’s only Tuesday, and you’re already snowed under.

You’ve only just barely ploughed away last week’s tasks... but the avalanche of to-do’s, messages to answer and projects to tackle just keeps coming. 

The clock is just about to hit 10 AM and you’re ready to cry. You could focus on anything. But you know that trying to focus on everything is a disaster. 

So in such a situation, what’s a girl to do? 

How do you know which things to do now, and which you can leave for later?

What should you focus on next?

The answer to the question of focus is actually a very simple one. But it requires that you ask another question first: 

What tasks are you most avoiding right now? 

Unless you’re already a proven productivity maven with a history of successfully completing everything you start ... avoidance is the most important clue to which tasks you should be focusing on. (And let’s face it, if you were that...

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I Thought I Knew What I Wanted, But Now I’m Not Sure. What Do I Do?

When it comes to getting clear on the “desires of our hearts” which He has given us, God is gracious enough to take us on an exciting adventure of discovery. 

I’ve learned over the years that this process involves getting more and more and more clear about what we truly desire. Sometimes this involves getting what we thought we wanted and finding that, in fact, we do not. Sometimes it involves getting sidetracked and discovering something far more exciting along the way. Sometimes it involves simply being faithful when nothing exciting is happening.

Regardless of where you find yourself in the process... understand this:

Lack of clarity is never a “problem” the way we tend to think it is.

It is actually a beautiful invitation to become more clear.

We tend to resist lack of clarity with statements or mental patterns such as, “I should be more clear by now.” “I can never figure out what I want.” “What’s wrong with...

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Help! I’m An Overthinker. How Can I Get Out of My Own Head?

I call it the “thought vortex.” 

You know it when it’s sucked you in once again... despite your best efforts.

Something happens. You have a huge emotional or physical reaction. In order to deal with that pain, you retreat inward. And suddenly, you’re swirling around and around in your head, with the same thoughts playing over and over.

Or, you’ve got an important task to complete or a cherished creative project to finish. You consider, ask friends, and analyze all their feedback to death in order to find the best way forward. But did you notice that while you were doing that, nothing tangible is actually getting done?

The ironic part of all of this is that you started thinking obsessively in order to fix the icky feeling. But now, you’re feeling it again... feeling the icky, sucking pull of your own mental chatter, leading you straight down into brain fog, confusion and (possibly) despair. 

This was my daily experience in life when...

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Help! My Business Is Struggling. What Do I Do?

The digital age has made entrepreneurship accessible for more women than ever before.

Every day, our social media feeds are jammed with shiny images of women who have found their groove and are creating more money and time for themselves than ever before. You started your business thinking you’d be the next one...

But one month, one year, or one decade in, you’re still struggling just to get buy.

You know your services have value, and you give 110% of yourself to the work. Craft and dedication are not the issue. The problem seems to be getting other people to see your real value, or even if they pay the right price, getting cash flow to stabilize in the more uneven months. 

You thought the solution might be business coaching, or joining a network marketing company that provides you with ready-made products, marketing scripts and training. But even though you hired the right person or company who taught you smart strategies, somehow, it’s still not working for...

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I Plan Everything So Carefully. Why Am I Not Making Progress?

I speak to dozens of motivated, visionary women each month, and one common thread ties them all together: everyone loves to plan. 

Whether it’s bullet journaling, a day planner, a complex calendar app or wall chart galore, we all have our own cherished systems we like to follow. Assuming, that is, that we actually follow them. 

There’s where the real challenge comes in. We’re told across society that “failing to plan means planning to fail.” Shiny planning and productivity systems are available everywhere. So we plan and plan and plan... spending our hard-earned money all kinds of shiny organizational tools. But how good are we at executing the plan consistently, and despite all obstacles?

A plan is only as good as the action it supports and the results it drives. 

Which brings us to the real issue: results-oriented action.

For me, when I was struggling the most with fear, doubt and procrastination, I also struggled mightily with taking...

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4 Hidden Reasons Your Dreams Are On Hold

As women, our dreams matter to us deeply.

We carry them with us everywhere the same way we carry a cherished handbag, or wear a piece of jewelry that symbolizes love. Our dreams define who we are. 

Except that one day ... we want to let go of them and see them fly.

If you’re like me, you might really enjoy carrying your dreams around with you. But you might also wish they’d just finally get a move-on and become reality. I mean, it’s great to talk about something, but talking about it gets tiring after awhile. You want to see something happen, do the things that will make you feel so good and experience the results with your family, friends and community.

But it’s not happening.

In fact, any time you get close to making things happen, you wind up in a world of hurt, confused and brokenness. Your mind gets fuzzy and you don’t know what to focus on next. All of which makes you that much less willing to step out and try again. 

That can end...

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What Do I Do When People Criticize My Dream or Tell Me It’s “Unrealistic?”

We’ve all been there and it’s never fun. Someone you look up to a lot (or sometimes even a person you barely know) tells you all the reasons why your Big Dream isn’t going to come to pass—now, or ever. 

Whether it’s love-, creativity-, money- or adventure-related, your Big Dream has likely been the target of this kind of criticism at least once, if not multiple times. 

The market’s too bad. You don’t have the right skills. Other women like you fail all the time. Relationships are just too hard. Men are all jerks. Your idea isn’t good/refined/clear/commercial enough to survive. Travel to that location just isn’t safe for a woman like you.

Blah blah blah blah blah. 

No matter how kindly meant the critical input—or how laced with someone else’s personal disappointment it might be—criticism hurts. Period. And for sensitive, idealistic women like us, it can often stop us in our tracks. Or cause us to...

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Can I Really Find Freedom From Emotional Eating?

For most of my life, I wouldn’t have said I had an eating disorder. 

To me, “eating disorders” were things like anorexia and bulemia: big, life-altering struggles that required the intervention of doctors, therapists and pastors. 

I never realized that every time I ran to the fridge for a snack when I felt sad, or cheated on my “vegetarian diet” (again), or couldn’t stop myself with just a few potato chips (cookies, cheese sticks, etc.) …

I was essentially stuck in the same place as those women with “eating disorders” with more clinically acceptable eating disorders.

I was using food to cover up a craving inside that couldn’t actually be assuaged with sweets, salty, spicy or sour.

Today, many women comment to me that they wish they could eat vegan like I do now. “But I just can’t seem to give up the meat, eggs and dairy,” they quickly add. Others tell me they want to kick the sugar or the cola...

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