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What's holding you back?


Hey Everyone!

Have you been thinking about making a positive change in your life? Read this before you waste any more precious time!

When it comes to making a change, I’ve been hearing stories from way too many people whose behaviors are setting them up for failure. So, I’m devoting the next several newsletters to identifying the three major mistakes people commit in an effort to make a change in their life. (In fact, if you have time, listen to my teleseminar on the subject here—I’ve extended free access through April 1st!) 

Mistake #1: Investing all your energy into creating something new without releasing what’s old and/or no longer working

Imagine you have a rock garden that you now want to transform into a vegetable garden. But before you can create the right conditions for your crops to flourish, you’ll need to rid the patch of all the rocks. In other words, in order to cultivate new opportunities (think: love, success, new experiences), you need to first let go of what’s standing in your way. 

So much for metaphors. Let me tell you an actual story about this:

I had a client who used to love her job. But once she gave birth to her son, she started to resent the number of hours she was having to work—to the point where she had become miserable at her job. She decided to make a change: She would quit her job and start her own company; this way, she’d have more control over her hours and more time to spend with her son. Impressively, her new company took off! Within six months, she had so many clients, she had to turn business away—and she was making even more money than at her old job.

From the outside, she looked like a success story. But her inner experience told a very different tale. She was again miserable at work—with still not enough time to spend with her family. So, even though her original goal was clear, she couldn’t get there because she hadn’t examined what had been holding her back.  

Through our coaching-session phone calls, we discovered that deep down, she didn’t feel that she deserved to “have it all.” Because she didn’t feel deserving of happiness with both work and family, she kept sabotaging what she really wanted.   

Anything sound familiar here?!

Often, what was once effective and useful is no longer serving your new goals and wants. Before you can successfully make a big change, it’s important to examine the situation to determine if there are things that would be standing in your way. Such as:

  • A belief or thought that brings you down, doesn’t support your sense of possibility
  • A relationship that’s become toxic, or someone in your life who undermines where you want to go
  • Conditions or behaviors that stymie your progress—like clutter in your office, a difficult commute to work, even your Facebook habit 

 Here’s an exercise I recommend that I find really helpful: Think about the struggles you’re having surrounding the change you’re trying to make. Write down all the possibilities that could be holding you back, including people, places and things—plus, thoughts and behaviors. Then examine your list. Anything starting to click?! 

Need help figuring out what’s holding you back? Email me for a complimentary 30 minute session. I have some space in my calendar through April 1st to help you identify the stumbling blocks and figure out a plan for letting go. 

BTW, that client with the work vs. quality-of-life issues? I am happy to report that in time and with the use of some very specific strategies, we were able to get her to a place where she could let go of her self-sabotaging ways and she’s now flourishing on her own terms. 

I’d love to help you deal with what’s holding you back!

Interested in working with me as your coach? Let’s explore! My client roster is full right now but I will have some openings in late Spring/early Summer. If you would like to be on the waiting list or get a sense of what coaching with me is like, just e-mail me 


My best,



New Year, New Approach Follow Up

Hey y’all,

Thanks to everyone who joined New Year, New Approach! 

To listen to a recording of the tele-seminar, click here.

If this sounds like you, give it a listen: 

  • Overwhelmed with just how much you want to accomplish and don't know where to start.
  • Afraid you're going to fail or already fell off the wagon.
  • Given up on setting new year goals/resolutions all together.
  • Haven't even had a chance to focus and get clear on what you really, really want this year.
  • You're about to make a big move and want to be certain it's the right one. 
  • It's one hour and free. I bet you'll never think about goal setting the same way. 

 You'll learn how to:

  • Avoid the three biggest mistakes I see people make around goal setting! 
  • Practice my favorite goal setting tool to ensure you're focusing on the right stuff. 
  • Understand why the brain has a tough time letting go of unsupportive patterns and what you can do about it.

Here's what some of the attendees had to say:

  • "Very thought provoking session last night… thank you it was in and of itself a gift." —Ellen H.
  • "Wow! Loved it! So smart, so helpful! And so inspirational!" —Olga L.
  • "Wonderfully informative and motivating call… I absolutely want to start coaching with you." —Jen H. 
  • "I'm connecting the dots in a way I've never seen. Seriously, had some major break throughs...thank you!." —Lisa W.

Many people have e-mailed me about how we can work together...if you're interested in one-on-one work, I have space for just two additional coaching clients now through June. 

Interested? Let's set up a complimentary exploratory conversation before Feb 27th. Schedule right here.

Wishing you a bright and beautiful 2015 - may this be the year you make it all happen!

My best,



New Year, New Approach...a free workshop (plus, I'm a mommy!)

Hey y'all,

Happy New Year! 2014 was big...I welcomed by baby girl, Linor, into this world. She smells like sweet cream and has already been a catalyst for a lot of personal transformation (stories coming soon!). 

Thank you for all your support this year. For reading my posts, for sharing your feedback, and for all your referrals and love.


Some more 2014 highlights I'm proud to share:

  • Giving my first Tedx talk in Alaska

  • Coaching rising stars and executives from from Salesforce, Sephora, and Groupon

  • Teaching workshops at awesome organizations including Digitas, Learnvest, VMWare, and The Ken Blanchard Companies

  • Speaking at GSummit and sharing the stage with Neil Degrasse Tyson and Jane McGonigal

  • Becoming the business culture advocate and advisor for

  • Reaching over 2,800 students through my online class on the science of happiness

I'm excited for 2015 and if you're like me, you have a lot you want to as my gift to you, to help you kick-butt and set yourself up for success, I’ve created a free one hour tele-seminar: New Year, New Approach

Here’s what you’ll learn in New Year, New Approach:

  • Decipher the difference between a resolution, intention, and goal and why that’s critical to your success

  • Practice my favorite tool to help you figure out what you really want and how to achieve it

  • Learn the science behind goal setting and get inspired and excited for living 2015!

RSVP now
It’s free, one hour, and you can call in from anywhere, but space is limited.

Wishing you a bright and beautiful year ahead!





5 of My Favorite Books!

Hey y'all,

I'm often asked for my favorite reads or books that have become a resource of inspiration for me. I thought, what better time of the year to share some of my go-to-titles! I mean, what could be better than the gift of wisdom for some of the very special people on your list? So, here you go! I've given each one a category to make it easier for you to decide. Don't forget to check out a few of these for yourself, too. After all, who's more special than you?



Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection by Barbara Fredrickson


We all know love matters, but in this groundbreaking book, positive-emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson, shows us just how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, she makes the case that love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health, even lengthening our lives. This is a fascinating dive into the science of love. Fredrickson was my grad school advisor, so I know her research well—and am a big fan. I promise you, readers of this book will never feel the same way about love again.




Let Your Life Speak, Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer

This is the gift for anyone feeling a little lost and confused about their mission in life. The author, a gifted academic, shares lessons from his own vocational and spiritual searching, as well as those from the lives of famous people he admires (such as Rosa Parks). Beautifully written with lots of suggestions for how to tap into our inner teacher in order to find our true calling, this is a book the reader will want to pick up again and again.




Profit from for The Positive:  Proven Leadership Strategies to Boost Productivity and Transform Your Business, with a foreword by Tom Rath by Margaret Greenberg and Senia Maymin


Perfect for your favorite entrepreneurs and wannabe business titans, this book offers real hands-on evidence-based tools for transforming one’s leadership persona, and in turn one’s business or career—using applications of Positive Psychology! The authors, both executive coaches, demonstrate the powers of positivity, showcasing some of the most successful and advanced companies (think: Google and Zappos) and how they broke the mold. I use strategies from this book with my clients all the time; I find it invaluable!




7,000 Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred by Mark Nepo


This is a book you could give to everyone on your list—everyone you know, for that matter. It’s so amazing, reading it actually gave me chills. Mark Nepo is the author of The Book of Awakening, which was a #1 New York Times Best Seller and praised by everyone from Deepak to Oprah. (That’s another great gift idea!) In this book, Nepo writes, “Listening is the doorway to everything that matters” and then helps us explore the art of listening—literally, figuratively, individually. It’s both profound and poetic—and learning how to be a better listener to myself truly makes me feel more alive.




The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self--Not Just Your "Good" Self--Drives Success and Fulfillment by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener


You may remember this book from a blog post several months back, when I had the opportunity to interview one of its authors, Todd Kashdan. l loved it then, and I love it now. This book carefully outlines how constructively accessing our full range of emotions can help us better navigate the complexities of life, rather than always striving to stay positive. They point out that feelings, such as anxiety, anger, guilt (our “dark side”), exist for a reason. Sometimes, they’re there to protect us, to alert us or to drive us to make better choices. Of course, these negative emotions can cause serious problems if we allow them to consume us—and fortunately, the book also offers excellent tools for avoiding that. 

Here’s wishing all of you a joyous holiday season and a new year filled with love, prosperity and infinite positive possibilities!





How to Stay Positive in the Face of a Dreaded Situation

As most of you know, I believe in using play to help us grow. I especially love to apply play to heavy and dark moments. Whether it’s an email from your boss that it’s time to talk (gulp) or a look of anger and outrage from your significant other (uh-oh), you might consider arming yourself with a play mindset instead of battle gear…and see what happens.


So how do you do that? Well, earlier this year, I gave my first TEDx Talk in Anchorage, Alaska, where I spoke about the Play Instinct and its possibilities for problem solving. I really believe it’s our play instinct that will help us navigate difficult social situations like loneliness and vulnerability. Watch the video for more on that. Meanwhile, here’s a quick-trick method—using the word PLAY as a memory-jogging acronym—of how to step into the play mindset and face some unpleasant situations with ease.


Permission: Give yourself permission to be playful, and set that intention

Automatic thought: “Ugh, I have to have this conversation.”

Play mindset:  “Great, I get to have this conversation.”

You’re simply shifting your mindset from obligation and dread to lightness and the unexpected. 


Let go of judgment and stay curious

Automatic thought: “This is going to suck. He’s probably mad, and I must’ve screwed up.”

Play mindset: “Okay, let’s see where this goes. I wonder what’s going on.”

It’s a matter of leaving yourself open to possibilities. You have no idea what you’re in for, so why assume the worst.


Acknowledge your feelings (to yourself)

Automatic thought: “Get me out of here.”

Play mindset: “Hmmm, I’m feeling a little vulnerable or uncomfortable right now.”

It’s natural to want to escape uncomfortable situations. Play Instinct is about embracing the unknown and being hyper-present—because being aware of how you’re feeling will help you avoid generating resistance to your thoughts and getting lost in your head.


Yes it is to what comes up

Automatic thought: “But, you don’t understand.”

Play mindset: “I will listen to what you’re saying AND hear an additional perspective.”


By being open to the other person’s perspective, you not only allow yourself to hear what’s being said (without your internal defensive monologue getting in the way) but also to be heard when it’s your turn to talk. Starting with “Yes, and…” immediately diffuses any tension in the air. Also, this is a common improv technique; adopting a play mindset leaves you open to all kinds of possibilities because you’re not instantly assuming the worst or placing a right-or-wrong template over the situation.

I hope you ennjoy my TEDx Talk. As always, I would love to know what you think!

My best,