A few years ago one of my favorite bosses, Ron, asked me to create a list of things that I was really good at and took great joy in doing. I spent a few moments writing… coaching, mentoring, facilitating, training, writing about lessons I’ve learned, strategic planning, brainstorming.
I scanned the list and then looked across the table at Ron, “To sum it up, sir. I like to tell people what to do.” And the following year I quit my job and went out to make a living doing exactly that.
Now, truthfully, I don’t actually tell people what to do. I listen to them, and then offer perspective and advice based upon what I know to be true and on my own experiences. In short, I give advice. REALLY good advice.
Unfortunately I don’t listen to it all that often.
Case in point, one of the lessons I share almost universally with every client is the need to create space for a mindfulness practice. Whether it’s meditation or walking quietly in nature or spending 30 minutes petting the dog each night - we all have to do something that gives our overtaxed brains some respite.
My go-to mindfulness practice is yoga. Not contort yourself in 110 degree heat super-bendy yoga, but the kind where you slowly stretch, breath and pay attention to what’s happening within the four corners of your mat. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to yoga, consistently, in almost a year.
Which might have a little something to do with why I’ve found, over the past few months, that I’m increasingly susceptible to extreme moments of anxiousness, worry, sadness and disconnection.
At the invitation of Corinne I went back to yoga recently. One hour - ONE HOUR - on the mat and I had clarity and a peace that was so tangible it shocked me. In the days following my return to the studio, I settled on answers for decisions I had been struggling with for weeks. I wrote more than I had in months. I slept better. I felt infinitely more balanced. I felt like I was firing on all cylinders for the first time in a long, long time.
I kept questioning myself - could it really be this easy?
The answer is yes. I don’t have the time to be in the studio 3 - 4 times a week like I used to, but I can go once or twice a week - and have been and it makes a big, big difference. Science says so, and my body and mind say so. Thankfully I decided to start listening to it all again.
We don’t have all the answers to what ails us, of course - but I am pretty convinced that most of us have at least some answers if we quiet our minds, listen and trust.
What do you know to be true for yourself that you are not paying attention to right now? Share your story below, shoot me an email at email@example.com or, better yet, come out to the SheHive and share your wisdom.
With much love and gratitude,
When I quit my job in 2016, I had A PLAN. Launch the SheHive, consult part-time on really interesting projects for two - three years while building the SheHive, go to yoga a lot, write a lot, coach here and there, live blissfully.
I’ve followed the plan pretty close. The SheHive is thriving, I’ve consulted on some really interesting work, I *think* about yoga a lot (okay, that’s been a big fail), I write a fair amount, and I get to coach a lot more than I had dreamed possible when I started this venture. But living blissfully? That piece has evaded me - particularly these last six months. I’ve been antsy and unsatisfied at best, and a hot fucking mess at worst.
Which is frustrating as hell because there is A PLAN and I’ve been sticking to THE PLAN. So why the hell am I not achieving the outcome I had predicted?
Because plans need to change as we learn new things about ourselves and the world around us. Which is the single most consistent piece of advice I give to anyone I work with - but something I somehow to apply to my own journey.
When it finally hit me hat I’m trying to force fit myself into a plan that hasn’t been updated to incorporate new discoveries, I decided to scrap the plan. Not all of it - but the parts that no longer fit. In particular, I had to examine the work I do outside of the SheHive.
See, I’ve learned over these past two years that I really value being part of an inner circle, that being part of a team I can form strong bonds within matters to me, that I like the work I do much more when I can build on it over long periods of time and that competing for contracts brings out the petty, jealous, absolute worst in me. In short, consulting doesn’t exactly suit me - at least not the way I’ve been doing it, jumping from project to project and client to client.
I reached out to my network over the weekend to let them know I was changing trajectories, that I was searching for part-time work or long-term consulting contracts and needed referrals. Which was a little scary - to publicly admit that I hadn’t figured it all out the first time around (or second or third or four-hundredth). You know what I heard back from my people? “This sounds like a healthy move for you.” “You always did say you liked working in teams.” “I get it. Let me see who I know that I can introduce you to.”
Because I have good people. And because, generally, people are good.
(And for the record, as soon as I told the world I was looking for a job, the most interesting consulting work ev-ah popped up the very next day because the universe really wants me to learn this PLANS CHANGE! lesson.)
Are you holding yourself accountable to old plans that haven’t been updated to make room for who you’ve become? If so, share your story! Leave a comment below, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or, better yet, come out to the SheHive and share your story. I swear you’ll find you’re not alone.
With much love and gratitude,
P.S. If you are holding back because you’re afraid to admit your plan didn’t work out - consider this your OFFICIAL PERMISSION to scrap the plan.
Late last month our meditation leader, Nancy, took us through a guided practice that invited participants to make whatever noise our souls needed to release. I had been through the meditation once before and discovered that my soul needed to release both a fog horn and a dying goose.
I was trying for an OM, but I am completely tone deaf. True story.
This particular meditation was packed - which is unusual for a Saturday morning - and it was packed with quite a few women that were brand-spanking-new to the SheHive. It occurred to me that listening to me sound off like a river freighter in a dense haze was going to be a hell of an introduction to the community. More so, it occurred to me that having to make their own crazy sounds out loud had the potential to be scary as hell for a group of women who did not yet know how safe the SheHive space truly is.
Saying shit out loud first is my mission. And that translates to guttural soul sounds too. I decided that I would let my dying goose / fog horn fly loud and proud so that others would feel free to let go too.
So I started with my dying goose and eventually raised a few octaves to grieving cat. Interestingly, as the pitch of my “soul noises” increased, so did the pressure in my sinuses. (Or my third eye for you woogity-types.) Eventually my head started throbbing and I had an overwhelming sense that the only thing that was going to release the pressure was a big, loud-as-hell, howl.
I thought about it for a few minutes - even started to let it out a few times, but I just couldn’t do it. I had lost my “say shit out loud” bravado. What would all these women think if I let out a howl? Would they run for the hills - or Hilton Road, as the case may be? Would they laugh? Would they politely smile as they left later that morning and then say really mean shit about me on the drive home?
I went quiet. I hummed. I tried the OM thing. I stopped making sound all together for a while and listened to everyone else. Maybe one of them would start howling first.
I fought the fears in my head for a good ten minutes and then decided, “Fuck it, I’m going to howl. If nothing else, it’ll be a hell of a story to share later.”
I started with a teeny, little howl - like a rabid chihuahua. No one laughed, so I tested out something a little louder. Like maybe a Pit Bull. My Pit Bull Fletcher loves to howl and it’s cute as hell, after all. Then I visualized my girlfriends from grad school who call each other The Wolf Pack. I mustered up all their collective strength and love, opened my jaw and let if fly… a full-on wolf howl.
If anyone was laughing I wouldn’t have heard it.
And it wouldn’t have mattered if I could have because when I opened my mouth, and released my fear, I felt the most amazing sensation ever… heat. The actual heat of my voice leaving my mouth. It was one of the strangest things I had ever felt. I could, literally… Feel. My. Voice.
I can’t even possibly imagine what anyone else in the building was experiencing that day - what they must have thought they were hearing coming from the SheHive. I suspect, by this time, they’re rather used to us. Truth is, however, it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t trade the discovery and experience for anything - particularly not for the approval of anyone else not howling alongside me.
What does it feel like for you when you let go of fear and let your voice be heard? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Drop me an email or leave a comment below.
With much love and gratitude,
Ursula Adams, MSPOD