Free for subscribers on Friday, December 12th: The 2015 Courageous Living Planner.
Note: this is a different kind of “planner.”
It’s not about setting to-do lists of goals, or achieving in order to feel like enough.
It’s about honoring the truth of 2014, and finding a guided way to establish what you desire for 2015 (and, let’s be honest, make it happen).
You’ll look at 2014 through the lens of joy, pain, and getting real about chronic patterns. What did the fear teach you? What do you most want to celebrate? Then you’ll dive in to what you want for 2015, with monthly check-in questions and your own, personal quarterly review. I’m nourishing myself / creating ease / creating spaciousness by… I’m ditching the inefficiency of…
How to Get the planner
The Your Courageous Life subscribers already get access to the free Shift Plan (lucid dreaming + clarity + action plan for making your boldest moves), and pairing it with the 2015 Courageous Living Planner? That’s where things get a bit alchemical. When you get real about your life, life gets real about you. You’ll feel things really vrroom-vrooomm mooooove.
If you’re already a YCL subscriber, check your inbox on Friday, December 12th for the goods.
If you’re not already a subscriber? Head to this page to begin and when you confirm your information, look for access to the YCL Library, where you can download the Shift Plan. Get ready to jive and vibe with your most courageous ambitions and aspirations.
Like many of you, I have spent a good amount of time and money on–to use the technical term–Healing My Shit. The old stuff, the inner kid stuff, the wounds, the chronic niggling stuff that came back around when I thought I was truly done with it, the stuff that whothehellknows I might’ve reincarnated with and there’s nothing that has even happened in this lifetime to cause it.
Pain. Plain and simple.
We all encounter it. What matters, of course, is what we do with it.
What was I willing to do with my pain? Why, be courageous with it, of course. Acknowledge that it existed rather than pretend that it didn’t.
I was willing to go into the core of the wound as many times as it took.
And something has happened, as a result of that hard work: life is pretty amazing, on a regular basis.
Open. Expansive. Nurturing. There is more love, and more connection, and more trust. When things get off-kilter (and because this is life, of course they still do), I still feel initially reactive but it’s much easier to access the breath, and remember that it’s all okay, and that I am blessed beyond measure.
But something curious has happened as I’ve healed layers of pain. The carefully cultivated habit of being open to the pain so as not to numb out from it means that sometimes, I catch myself not fully receiving my blessings.
Not Receiving Looks Like…
What it looks like to not receive your blessings :
You have a great marriage and your husband is your best friend. Blessing!
Not receiving the blessing? Looks like getting irritated with him about the little nit-picky thing that doesn’t even really matter, in the long run.
You’ve learned all sorts of life lessons about accessing and listening to your intuition and utilizing appropriate boundaries. Blessing!
Not receiving the blessing? Looks like totally subverting your intuitive hits and not speaking up even though all past experience has shown you that not speaking up only makes things worse.
You’ve got money. Blessing!
Not receiving the blessing? Hanging out in the fear that money problems are inevitably right around the corner. Or blowing all of it. Or not saving for emergencies. Or never having any fun with it.
You’ve got time. Blessing!
Not receiving the blessing? Wasting time by endlessly surfing Facebook or not using any of that time for self-care (such that any available free time becomes solely about “getting more stuff done.”)
You’ve got friends who genuinely care about you. Blessing!
Not receiving the blessing? Never getting vulnerable. Not letting them in your heart when life is difficult. Avoiding them completely during times of conflict, rather than trying to work things through. Filling your schedule with so many to-dos that there’s no hope of a slow cup of tea, anywhere in your future.
You’ve got a beautiful home, plenty of space. Blessing!
Not receiving the blessing? You don’t clean it. You can’t find anything. Perpetual mess, perpetual chaos.
Parasitic Personal Growth
When you’ve given your time in service to doing “the hard work,” aka, Healing Your Shit, you see the benefits. The temptation to avoid, here, is to sign yourself up for “more hard work” without ever stopping to enjoy those benefits.
The fear underpinning all of this? That you won’t know who you are if you let life get really, really good. That you’ll never actually outrun that past pain.
When you’ve spent a lot of time wading through all of the darkness and trying to get a small glowing ember of light to be full on ablaze, it’s easy to forget that all of this mucky darkness? It’s just a stop along the way. It’s not where you’re supposed to live.
The muck has its place, its purpose. Its purpose is to be healed. You’re here to start a revolution from within, one that starts with you, and expands outward.
Too many of us are light-bringers who forget that at some point, we need to cut ties with pain and suffering, so that we can live fully within the light.
It’s always got to start from within. Whatever you aren’t giving to yourself, you’ll have no capacity to give to anyone else.
Note: that’s how self-help can become parasitic and start to dissolve the host (that’d be you, babe). When we get so busy looking for the next thing to heal and keeping our joy under a lid because we don’t think we can really celebrate until we’ve lined up more of our life’s circumstances, we’re not practicing healing. We’re practicing perfectionism.
And perfectionism, as writer Elizabeth Gilbert has said, “is just fear, in nicer clothes.”
You’ve Given. Now Receive.
Like so many of you, I’ve spent years self-identifying as having “Issues” that “needed work.”
Truth? I don’t have quite as many issues, anymore. Still have ‘em, yes. Just not as many, and they don’t feel as intense.
Friends are beyond what I ever could have imagined, these powerhouses of women surrounding me. My house of money and career is rocking a sexy slow jam. My husband and I leave nothing unsaid. In any relationship conflict, perhaps for the first time in my life, I’m clear and grounded in what integrity and compassion look like. Best of all, every time my daughter smiles, it’s clear: I am winning at life.
To be honest: This is Kate, figuring out a new Kate. This new person is someone who doesn’t need people’s approval as much. Someone who knows how to say “no” with grace. Someone who knows how to make requests without attachment. Someone who is willing to release relationships that don’t have a shared vision around what respect looks like. Someone who has more fun, smiles more, laughs more. Someone who prioritizes self-care even when she’s up against deadlines.
In other words, someone who’s getting the fruits of all of that “hard work.”
So yeah, I thought to myself the other day, as something worked out for me rather seamlessly. I think it’s time to drop the storyline that life is…hard. What if it’s just…easeful? What if I just keep thinking it’s hard and looking for what’s hard because…that’s what I’ve been doing for so long, that I’ve forgotten to just soak in the expansion?
I’ll always be an advocate for people having a willingness to look at what’s not working in their lives. Numbing out is endemic in our society and just simply practicing the courage to pay attention is already a huge first step.
But the flip-side is this: if we want to be light, we’ve got to live in the light. All the way, and with our whole hearts.
So you might’ve picked up on the fact that I lead a life coach training program. Graduates of the program are given the option to become licensees to teach some content from the Courageous Living Program as part of a group coach offering (my thinking being that instead of having to create an entire course curriculum as a brand-new coach, it would be great to give our graduates something that they can start teaching).
As I have been working on the training for this licensing offering, I started reflecting on the top lessons of leadership that I’ve learned from more than a decade of teaching. So here it is–the hard-won wisdom, the mistakes made, the lessons learned, the celebrations of how sacred the contract is between teacher and student.
1. You cannot be all things, for all people. This is the biggie. Trying to be all things for all people will only exhaust you. Keep coming back to the center of yourself, and the center of why you created the group experience that you did.
2. Upholding the integrity of the group is the leader’s job. Integrity is: when your words and actions match, and they are in alignment with your values, beliefs, commitments, and life vision (Matthew Marzel). You can’t make people do anything that they don’t want to do, but you can uphold the integrity of the group and its purpose. A leader who fails to address a lack of integrity is just colluding with it.
3. Never get caught in the upswing (or the downswing). When I was a college professor, my Ego was big-time wrapped up in being a student’s Favorite Teacher. It was a high like no other when students loved my classroom. And–it was a crushing blow when they didn’t. There’s plenty of advice out there about not believing the naysayers too much. There’s less said about the dangers of getting caught in the praise. Praise feels good, but it can easily be used to stroke the Ego. When someone praises you, receive it, and then like a meditation…release it. Let it go. Don’t let praise “mean something” about who you are, because that just invites the criticism to “mean something” about who you are.
4. Everyone shows up to the group experience, differently, but everyone really wants the same thing: connection. Even when they don’t say so, that’s what they want. They say they want answers or clarity or a new career? Well, they want those things because they feel that having them would make them feel connected to themselves, to their own lives. Everyone wants connection. You want it, too–that’s why you teach.
5. Everyone has a right to make a request. Years ago, I was annoyed when anyone made any requests of me. This was a time of profound isolation, where my life really pivoted around the spoke of “I’ll just do it all myself so that I never need to ask you for help or rely on you–and you do the same.” The truth is that people always have the right to make a request, no matter how outlandish it is. Resenting them for making the request becomes problematic. Let your people know that they’re safe to make requests, with you.
6. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything. Discernment is an important quality of leadership. Be clear about what you will and won’t say “yes” to. Be particularly careful around those places and spaces where a “yes” to someone else means saying “no” to yourself.
7. Believe in your people. It’s incredibly common that when people feel fear, they start justifying that fear with all the reasons why they “can’t” do something. They will logically lay out and explain some very, very legitimate reasons for why they can’t do something. Despite that, believe in your people. When I was a classroom teacher, students told me, all of the time, their absolutely and totally legitimate reasons for why they couldn’t get a paper turned in on time, and why they needed an extension. I never doubted their reasons or the challenges they were up against. I also never doubted…them. I believed in them and in their capacity to deliver. I know that if something is important enough to you, you’ll find a way to get it. 90% of the time, students who swore that there was absolutely no way that they could get a paper in, got one in. Some of them hated me for not granting the extension, but–well, see #1 on this list. And #2. And #3. And #6.
8. Let them see your awe. When I was reviewing the sessions that our life coach training program trainees had recorded and submitted as part of their final portfolio, I was routinely, awesomely, supremely…blown away. Wow. Sometimes I’d feel my heart rise or beat faster, as I heard a coach who only months before had felt afraid and shaky in her coaching, suddenly asking that perfect question that hit the client in just the right way. Every coach in the program has an exit call of sorts, a one-on-one call where we talk about their portfolio, and holding these calls made my day because it was an opportunity to share with this newly graduated life coach, how amazing they were.
9. Let them see your excitement. I am unabashedly excited about life coaching–being one, talking about the process, teaching the skill-set. As a general rule, that excitement is on full display. Your passion for a topic is magnetic. Let them see it.
10. Walk your talk when it comes to self-care. Lots of coaches talk about “the importance of self-care” and then they don’t set up their lives to actually live in accordance with what they try to teach other people (free tip: I have a theory that clients can suss out when this kind of inauthenticity is happening, and that’s why there’s a correlation lack of self-care and lack of clients). When you teach, when you lead, you need a supreme form of self-care. You simply can’t phone it in if you want it to be done, well. You’ve got to get rest, take vitamins, schedule a massage, suit up n’ show up. Sometimes, “getting rest” will mean that you’re later than you’d like to be on things like returning emails or having a perfectly clean house. But whatever it takes to show up beautifully, that’s what it takes. Self-care is a must.