First, love.

“ your neighbor as yourself.” Matt. 22:39

How are you getting along these days? Are you being kind and compassionate? Are you being patient and forgiving? Are you being consistent? Reliable? A good listener? And most importantly, are you being these things with yourself? Yes, you! Are you lovingly taking care of you?

Many of us are great at loving our neighbor. But the quality of that love is determined by the love we show ourselves. Radical thinking, maybe, but true.

You may desperately try to give your family the stability and love you never had, but are plagued with self-doubt and fear.  You may even be trying to do it despite having another adult in the house who should be, or could be, or maybe even is helping. Or you may work as hard as you can to juggle a ridiculous load of responsibilities as a single parent losing yourself in the process.

You wonder what the heck you’re doing as a college student and even scarier, what you’re going to do when the ride ends and it’s your time to get off and make a way for yourself with a mountain of debt.

You may show up as an executive and/or entrepreneur, yet wonder if this is all there is in life.  Or maybe you got this and want to enrich your team and be the best leader you can be.

Whatever your role, whatever you are DOING at this point in your life, nothing is as important as what you are BEING.  Please don’t shake your head or dismiss this truth and please, just hold some space for me to explain and ask some questions.

So, again, I ask you…How are you getting along these days? Are you being kind and compassionate? Are you being patient and forgiving? Are you being consistent? Reliable? A good listener? And most importantly, are you being these things with yourself? Yes, you! Are you lovingly taking care of you?

When I asked myself that question, I had to say, “Nope. Not even close because I’m spent taking care of everyone and everything else.” This honest assessment was a wake up call because I’m a coach after all.  In fact, I've been a coach in some fashion most of my life. When I was a little kid, my neighbor lost her mom. We sat on the curb for what seemed like hours while she cried and I held her. I was four years old and I remember saying to her "I will share mine with you."

This theme has remained with me all these years. I am happy and willing to share what I have. I am happy and willing AND overjoyed when I can lighten someone's burden. Coaching for me is an opportunity to do just that.

So when I realized I was full blown lost in doing and not being, I had to stop and check myself before I wrecked myself.  I was lost in supporting my family, building a business, getting out of debt, volunteering, dating.

Yeah, online dating. The bane of many a single person’s existence.  The disconnected way to connect in our society. And it is every bit as awful as you’ve heard. After leaving an abusive marriage and waiting three years to start dating, I entered the ranks of the 40 million swipers and post-ers and hopers that are looking for connection and stayed until I was spent.  After all, according to Statista, regardless of age category only 6-13%, and only 10% of people my age, meet their spouse/partner through online dating.

For five years, I tried to be in that 10%.  I swiped and posted and messaged and met and hoped and then I realized I couldn’t just be. It was a black hole roller coaster that, in conjunction with being worn out because of all the other doing,  made me want to throw up.

But lucky for me, I know that it’s never too late.  So I took a break, checked in with my own coaches, mentors, and tribe, and set about to BEcome the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I set about returning to my First Love; that first pure, unconditional acceptance that I ever knew.  For me, it was my encounter with God that broke through an abusive childhood and firmly planted the notion of hope. It was also about the Truth that to love others, I must first love me. Without that love, there is no selfless and pure overflow or outpouring on others.

As a token of my recommit to myself, I bought a beautiful ring and wore it on my left hand as a reminder that I would stay engaged with my promise to me, purposely searching for input from sages, scripture and scribes. I spent the next six months with a dynamic trio: me, myself, and I. Of course I still had my obligations and responsibilities.  I was still a single mom of six - teen to grown - scraping by and churning up debt. But this time I was committed to being the best version of myself.

Hours previously wasted on dating sites trying to “read” people or meeting them were now spent taking care of myself. I invested in art supplies and writing lessons. I quit smoking, something I took up and kept with off and on since I was 13, and began working out. I practiced my music daily and meditated.  I journaled and took up yoga. I prayed and sang and, thanks to my coach and my friends, got really clear about who I am, which is only texturized by what I can do. I stopped looking for the external cues and lived by internal ones. I stopped looking for value, love and appreciation from others and asked myself for some, which I graciously gave.

And you’ll never guess what happened.  Okay, maybe you will. But it shocked me all the same. Once I fell in love with me, I attracted someone who also loved me unconditionally and was the first safe place to land that I’ve experienced my whole life outside my faith. And then, I stepped into a whole new realm of opportunity and possibility. And that, my dear friend, brings me back to you.

You, walking around with so much on your plate, on your shoulders, and in your heart.

So much you wonder about.

Dreams that call your name.

Regrets that try to take root.

Questions that heckle you.

So much you wish for.

Coaching is the prep work to make the wish a reality. To bring the wonder back to life. To fall in love with you again. To give ourselves permission to dream. To uproot the regrets and kiss them goodbye. And to turn down the heckler and turn into our biggest fan.

Wouldn't you like to be the biggest YOU fan there ever was?! Not the self-important arrogant blowhard kind. No, I'm talking about the peaceful, sure, motivated, confident kind that is longing to have a shot at this thing we call life.

Goethe was right: if you can dream it, you can become it. Let me help you figure out how. Pull up a curb; "I'll share mine with you" so you can enjoy all those good things you want in life.