That's not your dead body


At the end of my Alaska trip, I had a dream.  I was in medical school, but I hadn't attended any of the classes.  I found myself in the entry way to a room full of cadavers.  I needed to decide.  Would I go in and wing it, or would I walk away, sheepishly admitting I knew nothing about being a physician?   

At first glance, this seemed like a typical stress dream.  Many of us have them - we are unprepared for a test, not dressed properly for a party, don't have the book for our college class, or we have overslept and missed something important. 

However when I unpacked this dream and practiced the analysis technique I'd learned as a coach, I discovered something surprising. 

I asked the dream elements what they wanted me to know.  Med School said there was a good reason I hadn't been there - it wasn't a fit for me.  The dead bodies agreed. They said, "Carla, stop being distracted by things you're not interested in. We are not part of your story." 

 Ever since that dream, I've been looking at everything around me and questioning whether it's a "dead body" that I can peacefully release. So much doesn't belong to me.  So many interesting and worthy paths are not my chosen pursuits.  How freeing. 

I encourage you to look at your life and see where you've got cadavers stacked up.  Are you in "med school" and don't want to be there?  What in your life is completely out of alignment with who you are and what you want?  What is it time to shed?  Any holiday "dead bodies" that you can release and welcome peace and empty space in their place?

Stepping Beyond Your Fear

I stood alone at the base of the granite rock face. I’d hiked over 1,000 miles, but nothing I’d encountered was as challenging as the trail in Maine. I was more than a little afraid.  If I was going to climb over this rock, then I would have to do it on my own.

I had come this far and I wasn’t going back. I took a breath, cinched my pack straps and folded my poles. Now, I could use my hands. I climbed forward, one foot at a time. I grabbed for roots when I could and I trusted my shoe wouldn’t slip on the tiny ledge of rock. Little by little I climbed, up and down, over and over. Twenty days later, I made it. I stood atop Mt. Katahdin, the highest point in Maine.

I had no choice but to pull myself out of my fear. Each time I find myself stuck in a scary place, I go back to that moment to rediscover how I can learn and grow.

Start with one small step. Let yourself make the smallest step you can. Confidence grows by taking action. Small steps over time add up. Once you’re moving you can make adjustments to your path.

Review your successes. Find the part of your problem that looks like something you’ve tackled before. When I gazed up that steep rock in Maine, I realized I had already learned everything I needed to know. I had climbed every mountain on the AT since I began the trail. Recognize how your accomplishments have given you the skills you need for your new challenge.

Widen your perspective. Back up and see the big picture. Whenever I reached a viewpoint on the trail, I stopped to see how far I’d come. Three summits away, I could see where I had breakfast. Step back from your project for a broader view. Even better, go for a walk to clear your head.

Envision the completion. Take a few minutes each day to envision everything working out perfectly. Be detailed and specific. Add in sights, sounds, smells, color and emotion. Relish the feeling of success. I pictured standing at that Katahdin sign many times when I was still huddled in my tent miles and miles away. Allow yourself to savor the moment. Then get back to your journey.

Gather your allies. Ask for help from those who know you best. They’ll remind you why you’re meant to achieve the goals you’ve set. The support I received via letters, calls and Facebook messages from friends and family during my 2,000 mile journey was invaluable. Your friends and allies will give you energy and renew your hope. They see your capabilities and believe in you.

When you’re facing a challenge, know your fear will not disappear. Once you realize this truth, you will be free to move forward and accomplish your goals. Georgia O’Keefe said it best:

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”

I've Been Doing Everything Wrong...


I have been doing everything wrong. I haven't been sending email newsletters to share with my people what's happening.  I regularly ignore my Facebook business page for days at a time.  I haven't asked for testimonials from the incredible group of amazing clients I've been working with in recent months.  Instead of sharing about my coaching on social media, I mostly post images of flowers, cats, birds, sky and trees.  I haven't been to Pinterest in at least a month.  My Twitter feed is a ridiculous string of posts forwarded from other places like Instagram, and the only people who ever follow me (and then unfollow quickly when I don't follow them) seem to be those who are looking to build their own list of followers.  I don't do a darn thing on Linked In aside from accept connections.   I let my regular blog schedule be a mild suggestion and then I don't follow it. 

My mind regularly tells me I'm screwing it all up.  And then I feel even more awful because, hey, I'm a LIFE COACH for goodness sake - I'm supposed to be able to manufacture joy, happiness and balance out of thin air with my magical coaching wand! So I'm not allowed to feel overwhelmed or like I'm not doing enough - that's just wrong. 

Yes folks, even I, educated in the masterful ways of coaching, have to deal with this crazy-making from my mind. And I have to (if I choose to) maintain my own mental hygiene. 

So here's how mental hygiene works:  Try it along at home! 

The Crappy thought:  I have been doing everything wrong. 

Question the truth of the thought:  Is it true?  Hmm - yes?  Can I be absolutely sure it's true?  Well, no, maybe not. 

How do I feel when I believe it?  Like a terrible business person, a terrible coach, a terrible human.  Anxious.  Worried.  Tight and nervous in my body.  Like running away.  Total fight or flight.  What do I do when I believe it?  I abandon things, I hide, I avoid anything I can avoid.  What does this thought keep me from noticing?  Everything that I'm doing right - and there's a lot of it, people! 

What if I didn't believe the thought?  What would that be like?  Hmm - I would feel much better.  I would enjoy my days.  I would trust that what I'm doing is more than enough. 

So what's the opposite of "I'm doing everything wrong? 

I'm doing everything right.    I've Been Doing Everything Wrong...

Are there any ways that might be true? 

Well, yes, as a matter of fact! 

I've had more coaching clients in the first half of 2014 than ever before. 

I'm serving my clients in amazing ways and my client roster is nearly full! 

I love love love coaching and I'm doing plenty of it! 

My Meetup events are fun, successful and inspiring! 

I have a speaking gig lined up in August, all about finding joy! 

I presented at a wonderful hiking conference in June, and served some wonderful hiking clients at the same time! 

I'm co-leading an incredible workshop at the end of the month with my yoga teacher, we've hardly promoted it and it's full with a waiting list! (We will offer this again!) 

I was on TV again! click here to watch the spot! 

I am having an awesome time when I'm not coaching too - savoring summer, going on trips with my sweetheart, eating delicious local food, dancing (including a fun 80s night complete with limo - see pic below), and more! 

I have a ticket to Burning Man, something I've dreamed of going to for years and years! 

- and goodness, so much more. 

Hmm - is it possible that "I'm doing everything right" is as true or truer?   By jeepers,  absolutely!  

And I can always do a little more with social media in the upcoming days, but not doing it isn't getting in the way of my happiness or success.  That's great to know! So what are you doing completely wrong that's working just fine? Where has your mind convinced you that something needs to be different when maybe it doesn't?  How much more energy would you have to enjoy life and do good work in the world without believing your negative thoughts? 

I would love to hear.  And if you're having trouble maintaining your own mental hygiene, get in touch and I'll help you.  You need to clean up your thoughts just like you take care of your teeth or your car or your laundry.  Regularly. 

Closet confessions plus a de-clutter party!

I confess. I am a closet clutterer. 


My living spaces look pretty good most of the time, aside from a pile here and there.  But I have a bad habit of shoving things into closets.  Until they start to look like this: Oh my. Whoa.

I also have a bad habit of putting off decisions about items.  Saving them and waiting to decide what to do.  Or just saving them for waaaay too long.  I have a strong nostalgia streak too.  So all that adds up to easily finding myself mired in clutter, even if it is hiding behind clean white doors.

However, I'm learning.  I'm changing.  I'm committed to tossing clutter.  I've made tremendous progress in this arena in 2013, and there are a few more days left in the year for one last clutter hoorah!  Look at what I did with this closet in just an hour or so!


Ahhhh.  Lovely. There's even an empty shelf - a place to store a temporary project out of sight, or just a place to rest my eye.  Feels fabulous.  It feels light.  Organized.  I recycled and tossed about 40 percent of what was in there.  There's some more stuff that probably could go, but I'm kind to myself about that.  It's great progress and that's perfect for me!

Decluttering is more fun when you have someone to do it with, so I'm inviting you to an end of the year Virtual De-Clutter Party! Six hours in two days.  3 two-hour blocks. December 29 and 30. Join me for all or part of it! You'll choose some spots in your home that need some de-cluttering TLC - maybe somewhere that looks like this cabinet that I just worked on!  We'll hop on the phone together and I'll start out by sharing some tips and tools to help you with the process, then you'll get going!  I'll stay on the line so you can call in and get coach-y help when you hit a wall or run into that thing that overwhelms you, or whatever.  Then we'll celebrate at the end of each block with what we've accomplished!  Sooo fun!

Want to begin 2014 lighter and happier with less unwanted stuff in your living space?  I know I do!  I'm so excited to do this in my own home and I can't wait to support you to do it too!  Come join the Virtual De-Clutter Party!  Click here for more info and to sign up!  6 hours of supported de-cluttering for a cool $39.  Chuck the junk and make space for all the goodness that 2014 has to bring!

Want to Dare Greatly? Then be willing to be perfectly imperfect

tv appearance
tv appearance

I was recently on TV.  You can watch it here:

We taped the segment four days before it aired.  That gave me a lot of time to go through a giant rollercoaster of emotions.  Right afterward I felt fantastic.  I did it!  How cool!  It was fun!  I didn't sweat too much or fall over or stumble over my words.  I didn't let fear of something new get in my way of doing it.

A few hours later, I got hit with what Brene Brown calls a "shame storm."  Oh my goodness.  People were going to SEE this! They might not like it.  They might think it was silly.  Maybe I looked awful.  Maybe I was slouching. Maybe people would laugh.  Who am I to be on TV giving advice about to-do lists?  Maybe I'm giving life coaches a bad name.  I do so much more with my clients.  Are people going to think this is all I do?  I wanted to hide.  Literally crawl under the bed.   Then my logical and shaming-in-a different-kind-of-way self kicked in.  "It's not that big a deal.  Why are you freaking out over something so minor?  There are people with real problems, you know!"  I zoomed through this up and down rollercoaster of emotions all weekend.

Finally, it aired.  And it was fine!  More than fine!  How silly of me to get so worked up!

I bet you've ridden a similar emotional rollercoaster, especially when you've chosen to "step into the arena", as Brene Brown says.  When you've put yourself out there in a way that could be seen - and potentially judged.

A lot of people just skip it. It's too much.  They stay on the sidelines, comfortable commenting on everyone else but not jumping into the  fray themselves.  It feels safer.  Maybe they'll step out when they've lost 15 pounds, or dealt with the clutter, or learned a little more - they're not really enough of an expert yet.

But the world needs us to step up now.  Even if we don't feel ready.  Even if we aren't perfect yet.  The truth (you already know this) is that you're never completely ready.  And you're never, ever going to be perfect. And you're definitely never going to lose all fear.  So what do you do?  Here are four things to remember when you're looking for the courage to jump into the arena.

1. First, love your body. (love others’ bodies too!)  Quit analyzing your turkey neck or your cottage cheese thighs or your poofy stomach.  Love that your body gets you from here to there, or allows you to read, taste, touch and smell.  Love your fingertips, or your eyes, or your pretty toes, or your cute kneecaps.  Appreciate others’ bodies too – they are the real deal.  Give yourself the challenge of finding something beautiful about every stranger you meet – young or old, big or small.

2. Give yourself a break. (give others a break too!) You don’t have to get everything perfect every time.  You don’t need to present a flawless self.  It’s exhausting. Yes, meet your deadlines, do your work, but lighten up when and where you can! And for the love of all that is holy, don’t spend too much time on Pinterest! Just make the cupcakes/write the blog post/finish the project.

3. Tell the truth to yourself. (tell it to others too!)  If you don’t want to do something non-essential, don’t do it.  If you don’t want to go somewhere, don’t go.  If you don’t like something, don’t like it.  Let others have their truth too.  I practice this all the time in the hustly-bustly always-something-fun-happening world of New Orleans.  Sometimes I really prefer to stay home and sit in the grass with the cat and a book.  Sometimes the way I "dare greatly" is to do way more nothing in a world full of people doing a lot of something.

4. Let yourself feel, even the less “acceptable” feelings. (let others feel too.) Hey – sometimes you just feel bad. Sad. Mad. Scared.  Notice it.  feel it.  Let yourself feel it.  Go mope around for a while.  Cry.  Take a nap.  Hide under the covers.  Let others feel their feelings too.

dg pic
dg pic

I would love to discuss Brene's book, Daring Greatly, with you! Let's help each other gain some courage and have some fun in the process!

In town?  Join me for real coffee and chatting about the book on a Sunday morning in October - October 6 to be exact. Details here. Out of town? Join me for virtual coffee and chatting about the book on that same Sunday evening, 7p.m. Central. Details here (scroll down past the wordless walk pics!)