Greetings! You may (or may not!) have noticed that I haven’t posted one of my Coaching Heights’ Summit Register newsletters in quite a while – in over three months, to be exact. The past months have been a whirlwind of time with friends and family, travel, and work opportunities. Which is exactly the kind of life I want to be living – having the flexibility to choose where I am, who I’m with, and what I’m doing, as much as I can. I feel like my writing is always personal, and this one is perhaps even more so – for those of you who know me well, it will bring you up-to-date, and for those of you I know less well, you’ll get to know me better.
I have always left my summer job at Exum Mountain Guides in the Tetons by mid-September. This year, I purposely planned my schedule so that I could stay until early October, when the water gets turned off at our cabins – and it was wonderful. By the end, I was the only one left and had the whole place to myself, which was a really interesting experience. While the climbing rangers weren’t too far away, I’m not sure I’ve been that “alone” in a very long time, if ever. I wondered if I would feel afraid, or restless, but I didn’t. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it – the opportunity to just be present, in a beautiful place, without distractions other than the sunsets and the wildlife.
After that, I spent two weeks back in Colorado, staying with my mom, visiting with my sister and her kids, and connecting with many old friends. I got to go for a walk in a blizzard (I miss those, believe it or not) and both my sisters planned an amazing joint birthday celebration. My mom had just turned 75, and I will be turning 50 at the end of this month. We both love to dance, and Kristin – who is an incredible dance teacher and why my mom and I got into dancing – set up a dance party at one of her studios. Julie flew in from Minneapolis, arranged for food and birthday cake, and we had a fabulous time dancing the night away!
I left the day after the party to drive back to California, visiting family friends, a friend from elementary school, and an Exum friend along the way. In case you’re wondering, the car made it back just fine – no automatic truck chains in the middle of the road to derail me on this trip!
Two days later, I was off to Santa Clara to assist at the Thrive Academy Client Attraction Summit. Thrive is a business academy for coaches and holistic practitioners, but even more than that, it is a community of people who are committed to giving their gifts to the world to make it a better place, while digging deep into their own personal growth. Going to Thrive events, whether I’m participating or assisting, always fills up my tank, and this time was no different.
I spent one night back in Sacramento, and then flew out early the next morning to Salt Lake City to see my Uncle Peter who was having a very risky back surgery that day. Because of a blood condition and previous heart issues, the odds of him not surviving the surgery were quite high. But he made it through the surgery, and he’s now out of the hospital and on the road to recovery. I’m so glad I was able to hop on a plane to be with him, my mom, and his daughter Alex – if anything had happened and he hadn’t made it, I would have always regretted not being there.
I flew back to Sacramento the next day, as I needed to be back for a special dance practice. My dance formation team is redoing our routine from last year so that we can compete in L.A. in January, and we really need to get it back in our bones. I had two more nights back in Sac, and then I drove to San Francisco to meet my dear friend Ute and her family to walk in the Miles for Migraine fundraiser, for which we’d been raising much needed money for research (if this is a cause that’s important to you, you can still donate here).
After one night at home, I was off to Chowchilla for a week of work as the Faculty Coordinator for a Leadership Program for managers and leaders in the California prison system. It’s an honor to support these hardworking people as they try to change the culture – both by raising their self awareness when it comes to their own communication styles, assumptions, and blinders, and through teaching them tools to help them be even more effective managers and leaders.
I got back from that week, and then flew to Hawaii early the next day for a healing retreat that a friend of mine from Thrive, Angela Fields, was running. It seemed like a perfect way to mark the end of my first half century – with reflection, growth, and healing, in a beautiful place, with amazing people. And the opportunity to potentially swim with wild dolphins didn’t hurt, either (we did get to swim with them on the last day we were there, which was an unforgettable experience). I’ve never gone on a retreat like this, but from the moment I first heard about it, I knew I had to go. As I’ve written about before, when my gut or my intuition are speaking up strongly, I never regret listening – and this was no different. While it was definitely a splurge, there was a great deal of power in being willing to spend money on myself in this way. And all throughout the retreat, I kept getting the same message: “Trust yourself! You know what is right for you!” This is something I already know, of course, but like any of life’s big lessons, we need to relearn them at different stages in our lives, over and over.
After returning to the mainland, I spent two nights back in Sacramento, and then went to Santa Rosa for an overdue birthday celebration with my brother, Jeffrey. We spent the day catching up, and sharing stories about where we are in our work and our lives, and what’s important. I’m incredibly lucky to be close to not only Jeffrey, but my sisters, too. Jeffrey and I have a special bond – I was in the delivery room when he was born, and was the first one in the family to hold him. He was only 5 years old when I left for college, and after graduation and teaching in Japan, I came back to Colorado because I knew if I didn’t, I would never get to know him. That is a decision I am continually grateful I made.
I came back to Sacramento, and the next night went to my friends’ house to be closer to a Spartan Race the next day. My friend Leanne and I did the Sprint, which was about 3.5 mi with 15-20 obstacles (think American Ninja Warriors), and Nancy & Este came to cheer us on. I was doing the race because of a coaching program I’m in called Optimize Coach. I joined Optimize back in February in large part because the graduation weekend, which is coming up in less than two weeks, included everyone doing a Spartan race together. I found the idea of an obstacle course race intriguing, but mostly scary, which was a good indication that I would benefit from pushing myself to do it, especially right as I turn 50. I was doing as much training as I could – hanging from monkey bars to increase my grip strength, working with a personal trainer in Wyoming this summer to increase core strength and flexibility. When I realized there was a race near me in Sacramento I figured I had no good excuse to not try it (even though part of me really wanted to chicken out).
But Leanne and I did it, and we did much better than we thought we would. I was afraid of the monkey bars – I’ve heard too many stories of people hurting themselves. I wasn’t sure I wanted to even try, but as we watched others go, I decided that I owed it to myself to at least attempt the first bar. So I did – I got that one, I went for the next, and the next, and before I knew it, I was ringing the bell at the end. There were three obstacles I couldn’t do – the Spear Throw, the Rope Climb, and the Inverted Wall – but all the rest I completed, much to my surprise – even the ones where you’re carrying heavy objects. It was clear that the training I had done was paying off. And it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it might be. In fact, it was even fun in parts! It was also proof that I am stronger than I thought – both physically and mentally. And that goes for Leanne, too, especially since she had no idea what she was getting herself into.
Through out all of these adventures, I’ve been continuing to coach my amazing clients and help them shift their perspectives on what is possible for them in life and work. And now I’m finally back home for a couple weeks – albeit with visits from Ute and her youngest daughter this weekend, and from my brother for my birthday – until I go off again for the second week of the Faculty Coordinator position down in Chowchilla, and then back to Colorado for the holidays.
This is certainly the most travel I’ve had in recent memory, but since it’s all been for things I’m excited to do, or people I’m excited to see, it’s been well worth it. It helps that I don’t currently have a 4-legged critter in my life. I’m grateful for the flexibility and control that I have in my life, because even though I might not be making millions of dollars, I know that I’ve been able to be present when it matters most, both to me and to the people I care about.
I realize that on the surface, this doesn’t seem to have much to do with coaching, but hopefully it’s a reminder that it’s possible to create all different sorts of ways to make a living. The way I do it isn’t going to be for everyone, of course, but it works for me. And that’s the takeaway, I hope – that within the constraints of our own realities, we can carve out what works for us. So that we can show up for the people we love when they need us, so that we can stretch ourselves and learn and grow, so that we can be effective and make a difference through our work. And not to say I’m perfect at it, by any means! But I’m incredibly thankful for what I have created so far, and I intend to continue optimizing it as long as I can.
If carving out what works best for you is something you’d like support with, please reach out by replying to this email. I have a few spots available for Make a Leap sessions, and maybe one of them has your name on it. I’ve helped my clients create their dream jobs, their own businesses, or shift their perspectives so that they no longer dread going to work, and I would love to help you do the same.