Every January, I host vision board workshops for moms. They’re my most popular mini-retreats. The workshops are fun and also enlightening, too. I coach moms at my vision board workshops to not just tear pictures out of magazines of new cars, beautiful destinations, and shiny objects that they’d like to have. Instead, I lead a meditation at the beginning of the workshop to help moms get in touch with their inner guides – the wise voice within – to help choose what words and images get selected to be on the vision board.
Throughout your life, you probably have heard your inner voice nudging you to do something that didn’t quite make sense or to push yourself in a way that was more than a little out of your comfort zone, like talking to a stranger while waiting for class to start – and then she ended up being your best friend. Or saying yes to an evening out with friends when you were feeling tired and thinking about staying home – and then meeting the person who became the love of your life.
Looking back, it’s easy to see those moments that changed you, those times when you listened to your intuition and big events happened, especially when those changes happened when your life felt, well, maybe more like a life. As a grown-up, if you’re living a life that’s filled with the same old routines, or living a life that feels little, narrow, and unremarkable, it’s hard to believe that your inner voice has something to say. Or if she does, that it could be more than Don’t waste your money on that. Buy the generic brand, while you’re standing in the cereal aisle at the supermarket.
Trust me, your wise inner guide always has something important to say. But this voice gets quiet when you stop listening, or when you hear the voice urging you to do something that sounds ridiculous, unimportant, or a waste of your precious time, and you choose to ignore it.
Creating a vision board helps you to get clear on what your inner wise woman wants. Whether it’s a feeling, an attitude, or an experience, the collage is a way to hear what your deepest self desires. In past workshops, my clients have made gorgeous, fanciful, and creative vision boards. As they leave, I tell them to hang their vision boards in a visible location as a reminder of what their essential self wants to tell them.
For most people, that’s where the vision board project ends.
But creating the vision board is only the beginning.
My inner voice – and the inner voices that my clients hear – always ask us to do something.
Get outside. Call an old friend. Make a right turn. Go out with the girls. Pull out the art supplies.
The vision board is just your starting place.
The next step is to do.
This past Fall, I coached moms in one-on-one vision board workshops and then in three follow-up sessions. By watching my clients, I learned that making a vision board isn’t enough.
I coached moms to help them work through whatever obstacles were in their paths, whether it was a lack of time, a lack of confidence, or a lack of direction. The moms transformed their vision boards from a two-dimensional piece of cardboard with words and pictures glued onto it into little steps and big leaps forward in their real lives.
And real things happened: new jobs, new focus on creating community, new ways of refreshing a stale marriage, new confidence and clarity, and more changes.
Is it your turn to transform your vision board into real life change?
Make a vision board with me at one of my workshops in January and you’ll be eligible to sign up for the Manifest 2017 program that follows. For three weeks after the vision board workshop, you’ll get support for using your vision board as a starting place for manifesting what you – and your inner guide – want in 2017.
In small group support calls, you’ll learn new ways to work through whatever is in the way of what you want. You’ll get real-time answers to your questions in a private Facebook community, plus you’ll be inspired and supported by the other mamas in your group. In the Manifest 2017 program, you’ll also get a private session with me for in-depth coaching and solutions tailored just for you.
I’m keeping the group deliberately small so space in my Vision Board workshops and the Manifest 2017 program is limited. Since this is a brand new program, I’m offering it at a deep discount, too. To register or for more information, go to thewellcraftedmom.com/mini-retreats. I hope you can join us to bring to life what you really truly want in 2017.
If you have questions about the program or about working with me, feel free to email me and we’ll set up a time to chat.
A friend of mine asked me last week if I was ready for the holidays.
Ready? I haven't even started. Have you?
It's October and I already feel like I'm behind schedule. On Sunday, Bill and the boys put up the Halloween decorations – with only a bit more than one week to spare. We then headed off to the Halloween super store late in the day, picked up a few things for the boys’ costumes and then hit the Goodwill for inspiration and other supplies. Creating unique costumes with my boys is a fun project but I’ve got a deadline of Friday evening for the oldest boy’s outfit since he wants it finished before his martial arts school’s Halloween party that night.
Creating my sons' costumes is just one deadline among many: promoting the Signs of a Happy Baby book for its launch in bookstores in May; working with my coaching and body therapy clients; shifting the name of my business completely from Touch Blue Sky to The Well-Crafted Mom before my business tax certificate expires (which so far has involved talking to the City and County of San Mateo, the California Massage Therapy Council, and the San Mateo Police Department and the project is still not done); and for some reason I decided that now would be a good time to paint my home office so I’m sitting in my office this morning in the dark, illuminated only by the light of my computer screen since all the light fixtures are unplugged and the furniture is pushed to the center waiting for the painter to come this afternoon.
And then, every year, the holidays add a big pile of more onto an already full plate.
When I think about what’s coming in the next few months, I’ve considered having a full-blown meltdown, toddler style.
But last week, a light bulb went off: What if I started acting like a toddler? Like how my boys behaved when they were three-and-a-half and life just handed them too much to handle?
WWMTD? (What would my toddler do?)
With WWMTD in mind, I created a happier holiday guide with four life lessons from toddlers. The life lessons spell out GASP because I’d like to encourage you all (and repeatedly remind myself) to come up for air and take a deep, delightful breath during the holiday season.
Here are the steps for making the holidays happier (for you and everyone else):
• Get help. I have a dear, smart friend who I call "Kristy with a K" (because I also have another dear, smart friend named "Christy with a C”) who listened to me whine/share about my to do list and offered to help. Kristy has this magical way of organizing everything that I have to do and she helped me to prioritize my tasks in a way that made my to do list much more manageable. (It's all about Sharpies and sticky notes, folks.) Yesterday, she returned to work alongside me at the dining room table. She edited documents for the online media kit (is there anything this girl can’t do?) while I worked on the new Happy Baby Signs website.
A few years ago, I wouldn’t have accepted Kristy’s offer to help. I would have found a way to politely decline, explaining that I was too busy. In reality, I would have been too embarrassed to admit that I needed help. I still struggle with accepting help and even more with reaching out and asking for it. The chorus of voices in my head loudly insist that I should have my schedule figured out, I should know how to organize my time, I coach people how to do this, for goodness sake!
The negative thought that I should have everything all figured out doesn't serve me. I have another self-defeating thought that my successes don't count unless I do everything by myself. But this thought is dead wrong. Instead, these thoughts keep me stuck and prevent me from learning anything new. I’m discovering that graciously receiving help – instead of shoving it away – gets easier each time I do it. My goal for the holidays is to get lots of practice with asking and accepting help.
• Ask why. Before you say yes to another commitment, whether it’s helping out at the holiday fair or attending the Christmas party at your office, ask why like a toddler. Why do you want to go? Why do you want to spend time doing this thing instead of doing something else? Why are you feeling obligated? Why can’t you just stay home?
Asking why is particularly important around family obligations that may not fit with your new lifestyle as a parent. Your traditional plan to leave your in-laws’ home first thing on Christmas morning to get to your parents’ home three hours away in time for lunch may have been fine when you and your spouse were child-free. But now, with a toddler and baby in tow, the time in the car plus the overstimulation of the holiday plus the lack of naps might end up creating the most dismal of days.
Hot Tip: The question, “Why are we doing this?” is much better asked ahead of time and not midway through the three-hour drive/six-hour plane ride/formal family dinner at a fancy restaurant with children who have already melted down and are past the point of redemption.
• Say no. Saying no is hard. We don’t want to disappoint other people, especially close family and friends. However, as author Brené Brown reminds us, “Momentary discomfort is better than long-term resentment.”
Toddlers know how to say no quite well. This holiday season, channel your inner toddler and say no. Repeatedly.
“No, I don’t want to take on another commitment right now.”
“No, thank you. We’re busy that night.”
“No, we’ve decided to stay home on Christmas Eve and start a new holiday tradition with the kids.”
No. Nope. Nada. Make room for yourself and your family to enjoy the holidays by saying no – as best as you can – to what doesn’t delight and excite you.
• Play first. How much fun do you allow yourself to have during the holidays? Do you tell yourself that you’ll get on the floor and play with your kids AFTER the dishes, AFTER you put the load of clothes in the washing machine, AFTER the house is all spic-and-span?
How much are you missing by relegating your fun to AFTER?
I teach my clients tips and tools on how to masterfully delegate and ditch tasks so that they have the time to play. Start by letting go of what doesn't feed your soul or feed your family, whether it's a clean-enough-for-company house (I quote Dr. Seuss and tell myself that the people who mind don't matter and the people who matter don't mind) or perfectly wrapped presents (go for gift bags!)
Let what feels like fun guide you through the holiday season. Can your introverted self find a moment with some spiced cider to sit and warm your toes in front of the fire while your hubby puts the kids to bed – and warm up a cup for him as he joins you once they're asleep? Can you find a carefree afternoon or evening to window shop with your very best girlfriend? Are there enough leaves in your backyard to make a big pile to play in with your toddler – and then bring a handful of the most colorful leaves inside so you both can get messy gluing them onto construction paper to decorate the house?
Experts say that children are our best teachers. Take a deep breath and let your inner toddler show you the way to happier holidays.
Want more help? Are you feeling overwhelmed already? Wondering how you’re going to say “No, thank you” to what you really, really don’t want to do? Need some new tools in your tool belt to get you through the next few months? Let me help you through the holidays with one-on-one support to give you support, ideas, and resources to deal with the obstacles that your life, job, extended family, spouse, and kids throw your way – so you can have the best and happiest holiday season ever. Sign up for your personal support here.
Or get ideas and support at my November groups for moms on Saturday, November 12th and Wednesday, November 16th. Save your spot at thewellcraftedmom.com/mini-retreats.