This Would Have Shocked Me!

Let’s face it, our twenties are a roller-coaster ride of huge changes and growth. I know my 22 year-old self would be shocked by some of the changes I have made over the last 6 years! Here are a few of them:

1. I became a vegetarian (and practically vegan). This is a more recent development, but it’s one I think I’m going to stick with. Over the past year as I became more aware of what I was eating and started sticking to my budget, (aka only being willing to buy organic meats and they were too expensive), I became a vegetarian almost by default. Then I had one of those book-falls-off-the-shelf moments with Kris Carr’s book “Crazy Sexy Diet.” Everything she wrote about vegan living and a plant-based diet really resonated with me and my beliefs. After learning about the many benefits of a vegan diet, both for myself and the environment, I got excited about adapting a healthier lifestyle. And the great part is, I never feel deprived. There is some seriously delicious vegan cuisine out there!

2. I learned to cook. Potlucks used to terrify me, I didn’t want the world to see that I had zero skills in the kitchen. Cooking had never interested me growing up, so I never bothered to learn. My mindset in college was, “Why cook when I can eat frozen pizzas for lunch and cereal for dinner?” But something shifted within me over the last year, and I was ready to learn. I still have surreal moments in the kitchen when I find myself pouring over a recipe, or proudly sending my family pictures of the meal I just made. I know my mom is pleasantly surprised by this change!

3. I quit teaching. Yep, this would have definitely shocked my younger self. I can just hear her say, “You quit teaching?! But I’ve worked so hard for this career, and I’ve wanted this since I was a girl! What else would I do? And what will people think?!” You see, my very identity used to be wrapped around this role. I was a teacher, a position to be proud of, a position that garners the respect and appreciation of others. Without this identify, who would I be? Well, I’ve taken a risk to find out, and it turns out I’m a lot of amazing things: I’m intuitive, smart, compassionate, and so much more. Yes it was scary to quit a reliable and familiar career onto the path less-traveled. But I’m so grateful I had the courage to follow my heart and take that leap of faith. Which leads me to the next one…

4. I became a life coach. If you would have told me this 8 years ago, I would have immediately asked, “ok….what’s a life coach?” It is a relatively new and growing profession, but it’s one I am passionate about. As a life coach, I’m able to help clients to accept themselves, figure out what they truly want to do, and create a plan of inspired action to get there. It’s super rewarding and I feel like it’s something I was born to do. I think this quote sums up nicely how I feel about letting go of my planned career and venturing into the unknown:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” –Joseph Campbell

This was a fun list to write, and  I’m curious, what would your younger self be surprised by? It’s an especially good exercise to do when you are feeling daunted by the dreams and goals that you have yet to accomplish. Instead, take the take the time to glance back and celebrate just how far you have come.

 

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about life coaching with me, check out my coaching page here.

 

If Only We All Did This

If only we all did this.

Cry when we’re sad. Yell when we’re angry. Vent when we are frustrated.

Children do this naturally, letting their emotions out without censor, and often in public places (often to the embarrassment of their parents). Yet what the children are really doing is letting their strong emotions come up and OUT, where they can be released, so they can move on with their sweet and magical little lives.

But adults? I think most of us would rather avoid these uncomfortable emotions, stuff them down where we think they’ll never appear again, and go on with our lives. If only it were so easy!

What happens in the process of numbing our less-desired emotions is that we suppress the emotions we long to feel, such as joy, appreciation, and excitement. We’ve got to let these emotions we judge as being negative up and out. Yes, it might feel scary to face them head-on. But the calm and peace of mind that can follow is so worth it.

I think this is especially important to learn in our twenties: a roller-coaster ride of a decade. We face countless changes, disappointments over careers and relationships that we thought would fulfill us, and frustration over not having it all “figured out.” It is only natural that emotions such as sadness, frustration, and anger will come up during this time! Yet what many of us tend to do when we feel these feelings come up is find a way to avoid them. We all have our numbing mechanism of choice. Some people over-eat or drink, and others binge-watch TV or mindlessly surf the internet.

Let me give you an example from my life. After I broke off my engagement three years ago, I had no idea how to deal with my thoughts and feelings. I just knew they felt too big and that I wanted to avoid them at all costs, so I read novel after novel, spending what felt like weeks holed up in my bedroom. As long as I was immersing myself in the lives of fictional characters and not thinking about my own life, I felt safe. Yet I also felt incredibly numb at the time, like I really couldn’t feel anything at all, which left me feeling lethargic and depressed.

Now I understand that it would have been SO incredibly therapeutic for me to just let it out. I learned that the emotions will come up eventually anyway, so why not just let them out right away? My favorite method for doing so is journaling, letting all my thoughts and feelings flow, with no censoring whatsoever. Sometimes I type, so I can keep up with my fast-moving thoughts. When feeling anger, another great method to try is to scrawl all those pent-up frustrations onto paper until you feel some relief, and then rip up the paper up and throw it away, out of sight.

I know my life has improved because I take the time to honor my emotions, and I have found that the less I judge them, the more quickly I can release them. Does this resonate with you? Do you have an effective way of letting your emotions out? I’d love to hear from you!

 

P.S. If you are interested in life coaching with me, check out my coaching page here.

I’m Excited About This

I’m so excited because I’ve figured out who I am going to serve in my life coaching practice: recent college grads, young women who are trying to navigate that incredibly challenging period between college and the rest of their lives. That phase when many are wondering what to do next and wondering why in the world they picked the career they did.

Everyone I talk to who has graduated within the last several years says the same thing: this time of our lives is confusing, scary, and overwhelming.

When you really think about it, this transition from college to the rest of our lives is one of the biggest transitions of our lives that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. When we graduate from high school we have a huge party and it’s such a celebratory and exciting time. We also have so much support as we transition into college: academic advisors, R.A.’s, orientation weekends and the built-in social support network of friends that dorm life provides.

But post-college? All too often we feel we are completely on our own, like we are let loose into the world with little preparation for what comes next. We go from the safe and predictable structure that school provides, which has shaped our lives for at least the last 18 years, into a wide-open sea of possibilities…and quite frankly that prospect can be incredibly daunting and scary.

It definitely was for me. My final months of college consisted of a grueling semester of student teaching, and it took all I had to just get through that. When graduation did arrive, I felt so unprepared and freaked out that I jumped at the first opportunity that presented itself: a paid plane ticket to Chile, courtesy of my long-distance Chilean boyfriend. This might sound great, yet deep down I knew Chile wasn’t where I wanted to live. But because I didn’t know what I wanted to do next, the prospect of having some kind of plan was all too alluring, so I packed my bags and headed off to South America, where I ended up living for the next year.

I still remember this year as being one of the difficult years of my life. I was living thousands of miles away from my friends and family, I had no idea how to navigate my cross-cultural relationship, and I still didn’t know what I wanted out of my career. At times I remember feeling like my world had been flipped upside down, like I had no way of knowing where to place my next step, or what was coming next.

I really could have used someone to talk to at this point in my life. Someone who had been through it, who could give me a new perspective on what I was going through and reassure me that it was completely normal. Someone who could help me figure out my next steps and how to create a life that felt exciting and fulfilling.

Now I’m ready to be that supportive person for people going through this challenging period. I am so passionate about teaching through my own experiences and utilizing my life coach training to support young women as they transition into their adult lives. I want to help them figure out what it is they really want to do with their precious time on this planet. Too many amazing, talented young women are wandering around feeling lost and unsure of themselves, and I want to help to change that.

If you are interested in learning more about coaching with me or know someone who might be interested, check out my coaching page here. You can also send me an email at syversam@gmail.com and we can set up a free coaching session together.

When I Stopped Singing

A year ago, my dad went through the lengthy process of transferring our home videos from VHS tapes to DVDs. I was living at home at the time, and found myself captivated by the seemingly endless stream of videos of me and my sisters playing dress-up, performing plays, and showing off our pet rabbits. At one point, I appeared on the screen as my cute 6-year old self, earnestly singing, “Part of Your World,” from The Little Mermaid. People who knew me as a child knew I was obsessed with this song, as I would sing it for anyone who would listen. I was actually pretty good, too!

Yet…I felt really uncomfortable watching my younger self express herself in such a confident and heartfelt way.  It felt almost painful to watch. At first it seemed like a strange reaction to have, until I dug a little deeper. I realized that just a few years after the video was taken, I stopped singing for other people. I became incredibly self-conscious, and simply decided it was safer to hide than to risk other people judging me, or even giving me too much positive attention. I dimmed my own inner light, because I felt it was safer to blend in.

And now, at 28 years old, I am slowly peeling off the layers of protection I thought I had to wear for so long, unraveling years of hiding my true self and my brilliance, and regaining the courage to simply be myself.

Even if that means I stand out from the crowd.

Even if it makes me feel vulnerable.

Even if it’s scary.

Because I know that I don’t want to live a life where I live in fear of being who I am meant to be. I don’t want to hold back the gifts and talents that I long to give, and get to the end of my life full of regrets and wondering what in the world I was so afraid of.

None of us came here to fit into a mold, or to learn how to be more like someone else. We came here to simply be ourselves. Each of us has this amazingly unique combination of gifts, skills and experiences that no one else on earth possesses. It is truly a disservice to everyone when we hold back from expressing our authentic selves and sharing these gifts…because no one else could ever do it like we can.

So often we’re afraid that we won’t be accepted or loved when we show our true, weirdly wonderful selves to the world. But the paradox is, those who are courageous enough to show the world their true selves are the people that we admire most. A good example of this are singers like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, who are fearlessly their true, wacky selves…think meat dresses and giant cat costumes. Yet these women have some of the most loyal and devoted fans in the world. There is a part of us that resonates so deeply with people when they are being authentic. The light within us, no matter how much we have dimmed it, will recognize and be moved by the light shining from others.

I invite you to look at your own life and ask yourself, where you are holding back your brilliance, dimming your own beautiful light? How can you begin living more fully as yourself? Trust me, we will all benefit when you do.

What Almost Got the Best of Me

April was such a chaotic, emotional month for me. Did you feel it too? According to astrologers, April was a  month of emotional turbulence, intensity, and transformation because of eclipses and an astrological occurrence called the cardinal cross. While I don’t fully understand the explanations behind these occurrences, I totally believe in it!

You see, March had been a great month of feeling in the flow, working diligently towards my goals, and feeling pretty good about my life in general. Then, without warning, I suddenly found myself in a full-blown confidence crash. I entered into self-doubt land, a place where I believed my fears and inner-critics and all the lies they tell me about how I’m not good enough and how my dreams are crazy. (Yuck, right?)

I hung out in self-doubt land for awhile. While there, I like to eat lots of chocolate and watch Game of Thrones, take plenty of naps, and wallow around feeling confused and hopeless.

But then I got really sick and tired of feeling so low. I was tired of giving more power to my fears than my faith. Enough was enough. Like my sister wisely told me, you’ve got to just invite your fears along for the ride, because they are going to be there anyway. I like to imagine my fears as these annoying little green gremlins who are almost cute in the things they are so scared of. When they start their little rants, instead of believing everything they say, I just imagine patting them on the head and saying, “Oh, that’s so sweet that you think that, I know you’re just trying to protect me. But I’ve got this.”

It is so incredibly important to remember that fear comes up when we are going out of our comfort zone and trying new things. There is a primal part of our brains that’s job is to protect us from the unknown, so it actually tries to stop us from taking the steps we really need to take to change our lives for the better. When big fears come up it’s actually a great indicator that we are growing and evolving. It’s just important to remember that we don’t need to buy into our fears and act as if they are our truth.

The truth is, there is a deeper, wiser and older part of us that KNOWS what we are capable of, knows how amazing and full of potential we are. My intention is to listen to this part of me from now on. And when my fears do come up, I’ll remember that they are just funny little gremlins trying to protect me.

How about you, have you been giving too much power to your fears? Has April been a challenging month for you? I’d love to hear about it below!

 

P.S. If you would like extra support in reaching your dreams and goals, I’m offering my services as a life coach! Check it out here and send me an email at syversam@gmail.com if you are interested in a free sample session.

 

Goodbye to Feeling Overwhelmed!

Jumbled thoughts. Confusion. Inaction. Overwhelm.

This is often where I have found myself these past few months.

I’m trying to balance what feels like a million things in my life: working multiple jobs, applying for new ones, completing work for my life coach course, coaching my first clients (woo-hoo!), along with exercising, eating healthy meals and having a social life….and let’s not forget sleeping! It’s a lot. Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed and get stuck in inaction because I don’t know where to place my focus with so many things calling for my attention. But over the last few weeks, I heard this advice from THREE different sources I trust, and I knew I had to listen:

MAKE  THREE GOALS FOR EACH DAY, AND MAKE THOSE GOALS YOUR PRIORITY FOR THAT DAY.

Sounds simple, right? Well I can tell you, it has made a HUGE difference in my life.

Here’s how I do it. Each morning I go within, think about the day ahead, and identify the top three things that I want to get done that day. I write these goals on post-it notes which I place in my planner and on my bulletin board above my desk. Then, anytime during the day when I feel overwhelmed or unsure of what to do with any extra time I have, I refer back to this list and immediately become clear on what I want to be doing. And I do it!

Taking action towards what we really want to create in our life feels SOOO good. And keeping it simple by having just 3 goals per day makes life seem easier; no one likes dealing with a to-do list that’s a mile long. And let’s face it, crossing an item off your to-do list is ridiculously satisfying!

If you would like extra support in reaching your dreams and goals, I’m now offering my services as a life coach! Check it out here and send me an email at syversam@gmail.com if you are interested in a free sample session.

No, I’m Not Looking for a Teaching Job

“So, are you looking for a teaching job?”

I get asked this question every single day that I work as a substitute teacher. And it makes me feel super uncomfortable.

Why? Well, it’s not because I feel like people are being too nosy. I get it, I am also endlessly fascinated with what other people are doing with their lives.

The reason this question makes me squirm is because I become insecure and self-conscious when I’m surrounded by people who are on the teaching path I used to think was perfect for me. What will they think of me? How could they understand that I worked so hard to become a teacher but that it’s not what I want to do?

When I was first asked this question, I avoided answering it directly, mumbling something about how I enjoyed working in different schools and grade levels every day. Now I’m at the point where I feel confident enough to tell people that teaching isn’t what I want to do. I’m still working on telling them what I DO want to do. Sometimes I’ll say something like, “I’m still figuring that out,” but that’s not true. I know exactly what I want to do.

The truth is, if I felt truly confident about the path I’m taking to be a self-employed life coach and writer, I would have no problem telling people about it. My hesitation shows me that I still have some inner work to do around fully accepting myself and my dreams. I also know that the more I tell people, the easier it gets. It takes courage for me to tell people who I fear will judge me, or won’t understand. But by not telling people, I might be missing valuable connections, unforeseen opportunities, or even potential clients! I’ve heard that if we have a dream, we need to start telling people about it. I’m working on it :).

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” –Marianne Williamson

The Power of Stories

I was amazed. In all my months of teaching my eighth grade Spanish class, they were ANYTHING but good listeners: they were rowdy, defiant, and loud. It was understandable, I had them the period before lunch and they had already sat through four hours of class. The students were 13 and 14 years old, hormones were raging and learning Spanish was not their top priority. A day didn’t go by without interruptions by the class clowns, and it was difficult for me to get through a lesson without many distractions.

And then there was a day where I decided to throw my lesson plan in the trash, and tell some stories instead.

It was the best day of class I had the entire year.

The students sat in rapt attention, soaking up every detail of how my ex-boyfriend and I got lost for a night in the Peruvian Andes and broke into an abandoned shack to sleep for the night while our  guide roamed the mountain searching for us, worried that we had fallen off a cliff to our deaths. I even shared with them the reason we got lost: our guide drank way too much chicha (a very potent Peruvian liquor)  and passed out on a bench in the middle of our trek. We decided not to waste the day and instead explored the gorgeous but isolated Incan ruins of Choquequirao on our own. When the sun suddenly set at 6:00 and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees, we found ourselves without food, warm clothes, or a guide.

As you can see it’s a pretty intriguing story! Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that my normally unruly students were so enraptured that day. It was just such an amazing feeling to have the entire class focused and ENGAGED. And I am guessing that this little story might be the only thing some of these students remember from their year of  Spanish.

I thought of this story because the other day I found myself subbing for a class of adorable little second graders. They were a talkative, fidgety bunch until I spontaneously decided to share with them my story of raising over 100 bunnies when I was a young girl. Just as had happened with my 8th graders, they became completely captivated by my story. Not a single student interrupted or even fidgeted. They had tons of questions and comments for me after I was done, and it was the most connected to them I felt the entire day.

We are naturally drawn to stories and have been since the beginning of time, whether gathered around a fire or huddled in a cabin. They connect us to one another in such a beautiful and ancient way, and we all long to hear them. Why? I think it’s because we see ourselves reflected in the triumphs, heartbreaks, adventures and challenges of others. Through stories we realize that we are not alone on this journey.

Each one of us has a unique story, and it can take courage to tell it. Do you feel called to tell your story in a bigger way? Maybe it’s through blogging, art, teaching, or speaking…there are countless ways to share your experiences, and only you know what’s right for you. What I do know is that your story is powerful, and it matters that you tell it!

Feeling Down? Try This!

This past few days I have felt like I’m on an emotional rollercoaster.

I declared last weekend to be my official job search weekend, but I got no further than putting up a new picture on LinkedIn. Seriously. I found myself mostly just going from website to website feeling overwhelmed and confused about what direction to take…do I find another nanny job? Do I market myself as an editor? Do I work as a Spanish tutor? Or do I wait until I feel more inspired to take a certain direction?

And then the money fears came up. I started thinking about how I don’t have as much money as I would like and how I have a looming tax bill coming up, and then on top of that I wasn’t able to sub as much as I planned this week due to yet another cold day. So the downward emotional spiral continued.

Then, after spending most of yesterday on my couch wallowing in self-pity, I made the decision that today would be different. True, I couldn’t work today and wouldn’t make the money I had planned on making. Yes, my financial and job situation aren’t exactly where I want them to be.

But this can only affect me if I allow it to. We have the power to feel the way we want to, no matter what our circumstances. And the great thing is, once we feel good, no matter what the situation, we are more likely to attract into our lives the things that we really want! Which is why it is so important that we figure out for ourselves what gets us back in a more positive place. What works one day might not work another day, so it takes some experimenting. Lately what has worked for me is taking walks in nature (when it isn’t below zero of course) and dancing around my apartment to Shakira music ( it’s pretty hard to feel down when dancing!) Watching Glee has also helped, probably because I love musicals.

And then today, because I set the powerful intention to feel good, I had an amazing, in-the-flow day. I felt more inspired to take action. I connected more with friends, and I appreciated that I had an entire day off to work towards my writing and coaching goals. It was such a relief to feel this way after a few days of being in a funk.

What about you, are you allowing your circumstances to dictate how you feel? What kinds of things can you do to uplift yourself when you are feeling down? I invite you to join me in doing whatever you can to feel better NOW. From that place of feeling good, more and more amazing things will come into your life. And what is more important than feeling good?

P.S. If you like what I have to say I would love if you followed me! All you need to do is enter your email address on the right and you will get my new posts sent right to your inbox.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

When I look over the past few years of my life, I notice a pattern of things not going as planned:

I became a Spanish teacher but decided I couldn’t see myself in the classroom day after day and year after year, so I quit.

I thought I had found “the one” but I decided to finally listen to what my intuition knew all along and ended the three-year relationship.

I decided to become a serious backpacker but realized that the nomadic lifestyle was draining me.

And recently I became really excited about a work opportunity that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, until it became apparent that the job wasn’t as great as I originally thought. I ended up quitting the project less than two months in.

Ok, so reading the list above could be a little depressing. But not with the perspective I now have! You see, I have come to view what some may see as “setbacks” as incredibly valuable learning opportunities. Through these experiences I’ve become really clear on what I DON’T want, and therefore crystal-clear on what I DO want:

I want a relationship in which I feel really seen. I want us both to be really clear on who we are and what we want. I want someone who is confident, open-minded and committed to living his best life.

I want to create a beautiful home for myself and have a place to come back to after I travel.

I want to work for myself and create a business in which I am coaching, writing, and teaching, sharing my experiences with the intention of uplifting others. I want a career that absolutely lights me up. One that is flexible, one in which I am doing something different every day and making a real difference in people’s lives.

Now, doesn’t that sound better?

It is so important that we look at our challenging experiences with gratitude because they have so much to teach us if we let them! Instead of constantly focusing on what’s wrong in our lives, let’s use setbacks and disappointments to get clear on what we DO want and then take inspired action to get there!

I’d love to hear from you, what have you learned from your tough times? Can see your struggles as gifts that illuminate what you truly desire?

If you like what I have to say I would love if you followed me! All you need to do is enter your email address on the right and you will get my new posts sent right to your inbox.