New Years Intentions

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It’s that time of year to reflect on the past year and plan for the year to come.

For many, 2016 was a year of great transition and change. There was an energy of control vs. surrender swirling about. Some plans failed and others never took off. This left many of us with the feeling of defeat. What started as the best laid plans, began to unravel as the plans were not meant to be.

2016 was a call of resilience and perseverance mixed in with immense joy. In some parts of life it was the best year ever and in others it was a struggle that seemed never-ending. There were beautiful happenings and courageous changes. Many emotions were had and lessons learned. There is beauty in such transitions and we all got through it and celebration is in order.

Winter has set in and new beginnings are on the horizon. It is a time to reflect and plan for a lovely and dynamic 2017.

Before the new year begins, spend some time thinking about what you would like 2017 to look and feel like. Create an intentional awareness by asking the following questions…

  1. What am I grateful for in 2016?
  2. What do I want to accomplish in the next 12 months?
  3. How do I want to feel next year?
  4. What can I let go of that no longer worked for me?
  5. What changes do I need to make in order to accomplish my goals?

After you’ve spent some time answering these questions, you can begin to create intentional goals for the coming year. Instead of creating resolutions that can fall apart as the year continues, setting intentions will take into account what you want to accomplish and how you want to feel. Intentions ask “why” as well as “what” when it comes to goals.

Finally, visualize each goal. See yourself accomplishing and feeling the way you desire. Spend some time each day visualizing each outcome. This is a powerful exercise and sends this desired energy out into the universe.

Remember, what we focus on expands. With a little focus through visualization, our intentions will expand and begin to take shape.

To help create momentum, I have attached a free download below. The intention is to think about different areas in your life where you may want to create a goal. Then, there is room for 1-3 actions steps needed to take to complete each goal.

2017 Goal Planning

May your New Year be filled with hope, happiness, health and love!

Surrender

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Imagine a fist held tightly. All it holds is the air and creates tension within the body. Then imagine the fist letting go. Notice the release of tension and free flowing air around each finger. Nothing fell out of the palm, because there was nothing to grasp.

Holding tightly onto something that isn’t there is useless and controlling. I have learned this lesson time and again. Perhaps it’s because I am Virgo or someone who does not like to feel out of control. But the minute I try to generate an outcome that seems forced, I create an unrealistic expectation, stress and anxiety.

Several years ago, I was going through a career transition and I remember thinking “I better get a job soon, I have bills to pay” as I wrote my check for my car payment leaving $23 to my name. It wasn’t for lack of trying to find a job, there just weren’t jobs available. So, I had to surrender and take a job as a courier.

I thought that I deserved a better position because of my background and transferrable skillset. My need for control was keeping me from moving forward. However, if I would not have accepted the position, I would have missed out on the opportunity that later resulted in abundant travel.

I was terrified when I let go. I thought that if I held on for just a bit longer, things would fall into place. They never did until I surrendered to the experience and the lessons that were begging to be learned.

When it feels like you are being blindly led, allow trust to take place.

The act of surrender is not giving up; It is an act of trust. This is a sacred place within the soul. A deep, vulnerable place to enter. To let the walls down around the heart and to open the soul to a possibility that can’t be seen is raw, yet absolutely exciting and brave.

There are several things I still need to surrender but each time I do and trust that everything will be alright; I am surprised by the grace of the universe. Situations that seem hopeless when in my control are completely turned around when I let go of the reigns. The universe lovingly allows me the time to realize I need to let go, and when I do, that’s where the miracles happen.

What we can’t see holds a gift if we allow it to happen. It is amazing when things are revealed after the act of trust. What I thought I needed or wanted is always replaced by something greater. With each act of surrender, I am learning that the universe really does have my back and listens to all the desires of my heart.

When a Friendship Ends

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Our energies did not match any more. We were growing apart. After almost a decade of inseparable friendship, we no longer had the common ground that kept us on the same path. I had traveled continents with her, shared thousands of tears and laughs, we knew each other’s deepest darkest secrets. But that was not strong enough glue to keep the friendship together.

It had been clear for some time that we were growing apart. Our time together seemed almost forced. I had grown to love my friend dearly, but noticed a strange pattern of need growing between us. I felt the friendship had become one-sided and it started to hurt more than uplift.

At first I was devastated. I didn’t think another friendship could compare to our sister-like bond. Then, I became very upset “How could she treat me with such disregard?” I would repeat over in my head. It was painful to know that she was still hanging out with mutual friends. I just wanted everyone to be on my side; but it wasn’t their fight.

Confusion traded places with anger and I went back and forth between the two for a while. I wanted to let go and be okay. In the age of social media, clear boundaries have to be made when a relationship ends. It is easy to assume the other person does not hold any regard or brags in hopes to appear like moving on was easy and seamless. I had to let go of all assumptions in order to heal.

I came to a place of forgiveness after a year had passed. The wound was no longer fresh and I was able to unpack the pain and blame, allowing the openness to feel comfortable. I wanted the new space to be filled with friendship that was autonomous, loving and nurturing.

I got specific on how I wanted to feel inside a friendship and recognized what I needed to work on in order to propagate that.

The lessons that took place during the process of healing were hard. There were patterns that I had created in relationships that I had to recognize and amend. The pain created an awareness that was filled with a softening and grace. I went from “How dare you!” to gratitude.

When a friendship ends, it isn’t easy to forgive and forget. Allow yourself to feel the pain and process the lessons as they come. Healing and forgiveness are on their way. Grace makes sure of that–where that big gaping hole was created, friendship appears. Sometimes not in the same form or what we expect, but the universe loves space. When we give up what we think should fill the gaps, we can be surprised by what is intended for our hearts.

When a friendship ends, it hurts. Confusion, anger, sadness and frustration take the place where laughter, understanding and connection once thrived. In order to move forward, there are some things one can do to create a healthy environment in the heart and soul…

  1. Set boundaries
  2. Create an intention for how you want to feel in a friendship
  3. Release judgment and blame to create room for growth and healing
  4. Forgive yourself and the other for whatever happened
  5. Allow the space to be created for the universe to deliver likeminded friendships
  6. Offer gratitude for the friendship
  7. Send the other person love and LET GO

Whether there is a specific reason or several misunderstandings that lead to the end of a friendship, compassion, forgiveness and grace can heal a wound that runs deep. We may never know why the other person moved on, but we can take responsibility for our hearts and souls and fill the space with love. When we let go in love, more love can enter.

Forgive. Let go. Be Open.

Finding a Coach

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The growth of the coaching industry has raised the important question of “How do I find the right coach?” When choosing a coach, it is important to find someone who you jive with, is willing to hold you accountable and will help you achieve desired results.

There are several reasons to hire a coach….

  • Set goals and get results
  • Motivation to start, continue and finish
  • Accountability partner to drive results and keep you encouraged and inspired
  • Gain clarity on your life’s purpose, career path, relationship and specific goals
  • Grow spiritually, mentally and physically: There are coaches that specialize in spiritual growth, business/career, fitness and personal growth
  • Provide support and encouragement

When hiring a coach, it is important to know that results are obtained in time with dedication to the coaching plan. Although one session can be helpful, is just a launching pad to working towards desired outcomes. In order for coaching to be successful, scheduled meetings should be made and kept, this is where accountability can work its magic. Depending on your goals, packages can be purchased for 1-12 months with savings per session being greater the longer the time commitment.

A good coaching relationship will empower you, inspire you to go above and beyond what you thought possible, tell you the truth and ask questions to stretch you.

Here are 5 things to consider when choosing a coach:

  1. Offerings and Packages: What type of coaching do they specialize in? Do they offer packages that fit within your time frame and needs? Can you customize or upgrade? These are things to consider and good questions to ask a potential coach.
  2. References: Do you know anyone that has utilized a coach and achieved results? Does the coach have customer feedback on their website? Read the reviews and see if any of them resonate with you.
  3. Personality: Many coaches offer an introductory call or email where you can see if the energy is a good fit as well as map out a plan of action for the coaching relationship.
  4. Certification and Training: What type of certification does the coach have and what training was involved? Certification is important but so is ongoing training. Does the coach continue to develop their practice and stay on top of their own development?
  5. Pricing: Does it fit within your budget? Part of creating a successful life is staying within your means. Coaching is worth the investment and financial growth can be a goal, but make sure the services meet you where you currently are to propel you in the direction you envision.

A coach can be seen as part of your team of experts. In the effort to live at your highest potential it is important to have a team behind you, keeping you healthy, in tune, motivated and accountable. Doctors, therapists, personal trainers, spiritual leaders, chefs, nannies, teachers, mentors, CPAs, financial advisors, trusted friends and coaches are just a few of the possible people who can help you enhance your life.

If you have been considering coaching to help you move towards a goal, gain clarity or take your life or career to the next level, please contact me at emily@soulsadventures.com to schedule a complimentary 15 minute call. We can talk about how coaching can enhance your life and create a plan of action.

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

– Timothy Gallwey

Saturn Return

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It has been known as a quarter life crisis. Around the ages of 27-31 it hits and all of a sudden something must or just changes. For some it is a subtle nudge that doesn’t go away until addressed. For others it seems devastating, like everything that had been worked towards was a sham and the feeling of starting over is too much to bear.

This time is known as Saturn Return; a milestone of reaching adulthood. Saturn takes approximately 28 years to make a full orbit around the sun from the time of birth. With each occurrence, responsibilities change, thoughts mature and a shift in mindset takes place.

Each person experiences it differently. It is a time when life does a course correct. Some learn new skills that propel them in the direction that is now waiting to be explored. Others feel this time as a difficult transition, feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. For some, it can be a period of hard work either physically, mentally or emotionally.

My Saturn Return hit me a month before my 28th birthday. I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. Anxiety flooded my days and I doubted my decisions as everything I had worked for seemed to just not fit any more. I knew I needed a change, but I didn’t know what I needed to do. I wanted answers immediately, but they took their time to arrive.

While I was in what felt like an endless loop of waiting, I learned some hard and valuable lessons. I started recognizing my core values and desired to live a life that aligned with who I wanted to be. This is where the pain set in: I had to give up ideas of what I thought I wanted and where I needed to be to align with what I really wanted. It was scary to think about starting over.

The more I resisted this new path, the harder things seemed to be. But, when I embraced the changes that were occurring, regardless of my attempts to control, a peace set in. I noticed that the amount of anxiety I experienced was in direct proportion to the amount of control I tried to exert. I released my grasp and a new career, friendships, cities and outlook appeared.

I had to make room for what needed to take place.

I noticed 4 phases of a Saturn Return:

  1. Humility: I felt embarrassed thinking that what I swore was my life path was actually wrong. Having to admit to myself and others that I was starting over was recognition that I did not know it all and that I still had some learning to do. OUCH!
  2. Growth: I had to learn new skills to move forward in a new career. I had to learn a lot about myself and grow from mistakes. Embracing my authenticity and bravery catapulted growth and helped me to move on and forgive myself and others.
  3. Emergence: After the inner struggle of control, I was able to emerge onto the new path. There was a new found confidence after I embraced the growth. I felt renewed and excited.
  4. Freedom: Finally accepting the end of where I thought I was heading and embracing the next phase brought a sense of freedom. There is a renewed sense of trust that occurs which feels free and lighthearted.

I have coached many people going through their Saturn Return. There are spiritual shifts, career changes, relationship and life transitions that occur. It can be scary and exciting to navigate. There is something beautiful on the other side of the struggle. It is quite lovely to see the transformations from struggle to freedom. These steps differ in time for each person, but at the end, freedom appears.

Like a caterpillar creating a cocoon, this a time of transformation. Don’t let preconceived notions take over and stunt forward movement and growth. Be open and allow the changes to happen. Celebrate each lesson and be grateful for the path thus far. Soon, the butterfly emerges and spreads its new found wings and soars into freedom.

You have escaped the cage. Your wings are stretched out. Now fly.

-Rumi

For more on coaching, email emily@soulsadventures.com

Navigating Career Changes

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There have been two times where I have quit my job without a plan in mind. The first time was after a particularly rough period working for a bank while the market was crashing. I just knew that I needed to get out. The stress continued to build and debilitating anxiety became a common occurrence. I believed that peace would be found on the other side of leaving the company.

I left the job for medical reasons and wanted to find a place where I could work with less stress. That search lasted 9 months. During that time, stress over money and direction created uneasiness, but I resolved to keep my mind open to whatever needed to be next.

During my sabbatical, I found that I had a passion for wine and started to look into the wine industry as an option. I decided to put myself at industry events, helped my friend’s dad in his tasting room and began learning as much as I could about wine.

One day, I found a job posting for a company looking for a courier. I figured this was a great way to get my foot in the door and learn. The first 8 months, I asked as many questions as possible, assuming the mindset of a student. I was persistent in my pursuit of growing in my career and asked for promotions often. Eventually, I grew within the company and had the opportunity to travel the world and manage accounts.

After 5 years with the company,  I knew that a new career of path helping others was on the horizon, but was not sure what the next steps were. I knew that if I stayed where I was, I would become complacent and not search for the next steps my soul was asking me to take.

That’s the thing about change, complacency and fear can keep you in place hindering forward movement.

I left the company and bought a 1 way ticket to Bali. While overseas, I wrote and did some soul searching, hoping my next steps would be revealed. It wasn’t until I was back home in a coffee shop when I received the direction I was searching for.

I was writing, and a man approached me, sat down and proceeded to tell me all about his current relationship struggles. I listened for quite some time and then gave him some advice. He responded “You’re such a great listener, you should be a life coach.” I asked if that was a real thing…sure enough, it is.

Within 2 months, I was enrolled in life coaching school and started working on my certification. The evolution of this career has been so natural and I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do. Being able to combine writing and helping others is what my soul was searching for.

I am still in awe with how the entire thing transpired. By staying open to all possibilities, I was able to navigate my career change. Even through the difficult moments where I felt anxious about my next steps, I kept my mind open to all possibilities.

I knew my core desire was to help others and kept that as my north star.

Here are some tips on how to navigate the uncertainty of a career change:

  1.  Find what your passionate about (make a list, create a vision board or talk it over with someone)
  2.  If you’re contemplating a change, save your money and create a budget
  3.  Look for ways to enter the industry, especially with little to no experience.
  4.  Network
  5.  Work hard and speak your intentions clearly
  6.  Be persistent with your will to grow and develop
  7.  Patience pays off
  8.  Stay open to possibilities

If you are contemplating a career change or find yourself in the middle of one, coaching is a great tool to stay focused and weed through options. Email me at emily@soulsadventures.com to begin your career change journey.

Embracing Ambiguity: The Beauty of the Unknown

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Ambiguity is like a fog where you can see the outlines of things, but nothing is really clear. When life is vague and answers are desired more than anything, it can lead to anxiety, restlessness and at times depression. Not knowing the outcome or direction is such a common theme; everyone has felt the anxious grip of ambiguity at least once.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write a book. Writing has been in my life since I was a child. I would write stories, journal and read as many books as I could get my hands on, hoping one day to have one of my own.

When I quit my job in 2014, my goal was to travel the world and write. I wanted to write a book and try to figure out how to get it published in my free time. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I even had a coach put me on a writing schedule. When I felt like the book was complete, I started the process of finding a literary agent.

I created a book proposal with my writing ready to be submitted. I sent letters out to several prospective agents and waited and waited. It was painful to be so vulnerable with something that I had been dreaming about for 25 years. I knew that in order to make it happen, I had to put myself out there.

Then, the rejections started pouring in. The first one made me cry and I was used to them once the fourth one came in. One agent asked for my first 50 pages. “YES! That’s hopeful!” I thought and called my close friends to share and calm my nerves. I sent out the work and waited some more.

Eight weeks later, I received my final rejection. It hurt. I needed to take a break and revisit the book in a few months. I decided to solely focus on my business and let the book wait for its birthday.

In January, I set an intention to let go of my expectation of getting published. I was tired of receiving rejections and noticed that it started affecting my passion for writing. I thought that taking time off would bring clarity. Three weeks later, I received an email that rocked my world — an offer to write a book.

I let go and the universe delivered my dream in a way I would have never expected.

The email was from a publisher who had stumbled upon my website. It was unbelievable the way it all happened but the universe is mysterious, magical and amazing. It all made sense and the day I accepted the offer, I sobbed giant tears with gulps for breath. It was emotional, messy and very joyful.

There was a release that set in when everything came together. Grace kicked in and offered relief to the waiting and wondering. In that moment, gratitude overflowed and a feeling of astonishment enveloped me.

If I would have known this back when I started this process, the gratitude would not have been as great and the relief would not have felt as powerful. The anticipation was part of the joy. The ambiguity set the stage for amazement and wonder. In that moment, I realized the beauty of the unknown.

*stay tuned for more information on this book project later this year

On Becoming

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“You are becoming” was the final line of a poem a friend wrote for me during a particularly rough time. I had been striving for something, not sure what, but I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be. I felt lost and aimless.

I tried very hard to be successful in the traditional sense. I was managing large volume accounts for my company and customers were happy. I presented budgets and projections with ease. I was good at driving results and creating plans for my market. However, there was a sense of emptiness and I wanted to figure out how to change that.

When asked what I wanted to do, I replied “help people, travel the world and write.” But, I didn’t know what that really meant or how to make that happen.

The struggle to pursue traditional success alongside soulful contentment was becoming stronger the more I resisted it.

What you resist persists

– Carl Jung

When I decided to ease into the process of letting go, the tension that I created for myself began to dissipate. Soon, my goals started to match my soul’s desires. The feeling of ease and contentment surpassed the need to be traditional and understood.

I wasn’t sure how everything was going to pan out, but whatever was happening felt right. This is what becoming must feel like. How can one know what the metamorphosis will deliver? All I knew was that resistance felt more excruciating than surrender.

And then, one day, a man walked into a coffee shop where I was writing. I was feeling upset that my trip around the world was cut short. He sat down next to me and just unloaded a very heavy story. I listened for what seemed like forever, asked a few questions and gave him some insight. He then replied “You should become a life coach.” Words that changed my life.

He got up and left. I sat there perplexed. Was that even a thing? Can one become a life coach? That was the day I started my journey to where I am now. I don’t think I will ever stop becoming something. However, this showed me that sometimes, in the most unexpected ways, messages are delivered.

“Help people, travel the world and write”. I am doing that in my own way. What’s next is unknown, but staying open is key.

What are you resisting that persists? Are you facing blocks or fears that are keeping you from taking the next steps? Let me help you tackle these objections and fears. What are you striving to become?

* email me emily@soulsadventures.com to begin your journey of becoming

Reflection and Celebration

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The end of the year is a time for reflection and celebration. The end is also the beginning. Looking back can help create momentum for the year to come. This is one of my favorite times of the year because I can see where I was, where I wanted to be and the path I chose to forge.

When I look back on 2015, I see a lot of learning, letting go and growth. The year began with trying to figure out how to create a website and training for a race. I worked out my brain and my body as I was determined to complete both tasks. What I learned was that with focus and dedication, I can stretch my mind and body to do things I once thought was impossible.

The key to accomplishing these goals was through setting intentions. Every year, I look at where I would like to grow in several areas including: health, education, fitness, spiritually, relationships, career and creativity. I write down my intentions for the year and some action steps that I will need to take to achieve my goals.

After I have a clear picture of what I want to achieve, I meet with an accountability partner. I have had a friend, colleague and a coach as my accountability partners in the past. I let them know my goals and what I plan on doing to achieve them. They check in monthly to encourage and hold me accountable. During my monthly meetings, I revisit my intentional goals and make adjustments as needed. Accountability has proven to be important to successfully achieving desired results.

As I reflect on 2015, I want to celebrate these things:

  • Running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler with my super amazing running goddess friends
  • Learning to build a website and ditching the phrase “I don’t do tech”
  • Climbing Camel Back Mountain in the early morning before the heat took over
  • Taking time to explore more of America (road trips to Spring Training, Washington and Cape May, visiting friends in Chicago and Florida, boating adventure to Catalina Island and weekends in the woods)
  • Creating and facilitating Intuitive Painting Workshops
  • Signing on with The Muse as a career mentor
  • Learning to let go of relationships that no longer serve me and healing with love and grace
  • Failing forward with business and creative pursuits and learning valuable lessons each time
  • Seeing 2 of my favorite influencers (Elizabeth Gilbert and Lewis Howes) speak and getting books signed
  • Successful birthday fundraising campaign with Charity:Water
  • Meeting amazing people who have enriched my life and brought many smiles to my face and heart

This was a year of living intentionally with love, peace, freedom and compassion. I planted the seeds of vulnerability and reaped the fruits of bravery and resilience.

When you reflect on 2015, what are you going to celebrate?

Revamping Resolutions: Accountability Partnership for New Year Success

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Have you been making resolutions every year only to find yourself losing the will power midway or even a month into the year? Do you wish you had someone to hold you accountable and cheer you on through your efforts?

As we approach the New Year, I am partnering up with a health and fitness coach to offer a comprehensive accountability partnership for you. Participants will receive a 30 minute coaching session with each of us to create a personalized action plan, access to a private Facebook accountability group and email support throughout the month.

What could be better than an accountability partner with a personalized action plan??

Two accountability partners to support you and cheer you on. This is a gift you can give yourself; like a mini personal development team.

Making a change takes work and being held accountable is imperative to success. I started using an accountability partner when I made my resolutions in 2011 and it dramatically changed the results I was seeing from my efforts. I met with her monthly for the first couple years. We talked about what was working for me, revisited my goals and revised my action plan accordingly.

When I began my journey as a coach, one of my desires was to empower others to achieve their goals by being a dynamic accountability partner. It has been exciting to see the changes people have made including the way they approach their goals intentionally.

I met Lindsay earlier this year and have learned so much about nutrition and exercise from her. She is motivational and helpful. Her monthly challenge groups have taught me about different muscle groups and how to best target them. We started brainstorming on how to combine our coaching specialties to help people achieve their goals. I am excited to offer a coaching package with her and know this will be transformative for all participants.

With one investment, you can create goals in the following areas…

  • Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Career
  • Finance
  • Personal Growth
  • Spirituality
  • Health
  • Diet
  • Education
  • Creativity
  • Travel
  • Family
  • Life

Package includes:

  1. Coaching session with each coach
  2. Personalized Action Plan
  3. Access to Private Accountability Facebook Group
  4. Email Support

For more information email me or sign up here! Let’s make 2016 the best year yet!