Lessons from the “Before” Trilogy

The truth is that our brains are conditioned to find fault in whatever situation we are in. In psychology this is referred to as negativity bias.
To cope, we create the construct (with our thoughts) that something else (there) is better than what we have (here).

This works for us psychologically because according to Dr.s Lisle and Goldhamer’s Motivational Triad, our brains are motivated to avoid pain, seek pleasure, and conserve energy.

While thinking requires little energy, action requires effort.

So in order to avoid doing things, simply thinking things satisfies our brain.

Further, future-tripping, aka “prospection” allows relief the current situation to “improve psychological well-being.”

So how do we change?

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Cancer, WHAT!?

October 2017 I received the worst news of my life. After a year of trying to get pregnant and subsequent fertility treatments, I experienced a miscarriage.

I won’t go into the details of that experience other than to say that I was so embarrassed at the time, that I kept the news a secret.

I went to work the following day and the days following my miscarriage even though on the inside I was a complete wreck.

In the months following, some people close to me shared that they had also been through a miscarriage, and before I knew it people were coming out of the woodwork with their stories.

Looking back I lamented that I’d been so tight-lipped about it, but it also taught me that the next time something significant happened in my life I wouldn’t go through the motions alone.


Back in June of this year, I started noticing that I was having changes in my digestion. While I’m not one to publically share about my bodily functions, let’s just say that things were different, and my usual morning “constitutional” was suddenly not normal.

Please check out the image I’ve included and contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

While I wasn’t initially alarmed, I did think that it was something to speak to my doctor about.

As fate would have it, the beginning of July, even after getting vaccinated, I got COVID.

My doctor asked me about symptoms, and I recalled those related to the virus, as well as those related to the change in my recent trips to the restroom.

She recommended a colonoscopy.

I recently had some blood work done, and noticed my white blood cell count had dropped within the last year from almost 10 (a normal-high reading) to almost 4 (a normal-low reading), so I had a feeling something was going on.

FYI: Low white blood cell counts are often associated with cancer.

I just turned 43 while I had COVID, which is important because colonoscopies aren’t typically recommended until you are 45, unless you are symptomatic.

Given that my doctor was rather quick to recommend the colonoscopy, I followed up on the referral immediately, and insisted on getting the procedure as soon as possible.

I agreed to be available for a cancellation, and even had my doctor call the GI department to get some extra pre-exams waived.

The typical waiting time for a colonoscopy is six to eight weeks, but fortunately I was able to schedule mine within days.

The colonoscopy revealed a cancerous tumor, and a stage three cancer diagnosis.

I’ve started sharing my journey through a YouTube channel and Caring Bridge page for those who care to follow the more granular details, but I wanted to post on this blog here as well because I’ve decided a shift in life requires a shift of perspective in many areas.

You may well notice a shift in my content in the future as well, and references to cancer, so I didn’t want you to be too surprised.

While many people see a cancer diagnosis as terrible, I’m choosing to see this as a spiritual assignment and test.

I’m here for it all!

Sending you all love and good health, my friends.

Let’s do this!

How to Feel Better

This morning I woke up with a familiar feeling– frustration.

Yesterday I worked through a list of thoughts that come up for me when I feel frustrated and picked the one I noticed that felt right on the mark.

I reminded myself that thought was optional.

Then, I asked myself “how do you want to feel?”

Instead of frustrated, I decided I want to feed confident.

So I asked myself how thinking about my circumstance would make me feel confident?

Then I decided what actions I would take if I were feeling confident instead of frustrated, and made another list.

This morning when frustrated came up for me, I noticed it and reminded myself that it was an optional feeling.

I then reminded myself of what I would think to feel confident.

We get to choose our thoughts and feelings, and if you want to feel better, then you have to not only stop playing the old tape keeping you stuck, but you have to actively choose the better thought.

It takes work.

I’ll be honest that I have to redirect my brain several times during the day. But I’d rather redirect my brain 10,000 times a day to feel better than to stay stuck.

Wherever you are right now, no matter how you’re feeling, I want to invite you to a life where you don’t have to feel that way.

It’s waiting for you.

You just have to choose it.

Even if you have to choose it 10,000 times in a day– you get to choose.

If You’re Searching for Answers

Yesterday I was on a panel speaking to Career Center directors at Sonoma State University.

Question to Panel: “What’s the opportunity for change in career services?”

My Answer: “When you ask students what they want to do with their executive MBA, don’t accept ‘I don’t know’ as an answer…

Instead ask, ‘If you did know, what would that look like?'”

Audience Chuckles

Many people like “I don’t know” as an acceptable answer; it’s a great space filler.

I reject it as a response for myself and for my clients.

You know the answer.

When you close your eyes, and ask yourself the questions about what you want most in life you know.

If you don’t know, let me reframe it this way: Assume money and time are not constrains, what is the answer?

Many people are afraid to give words to the desire stirring within them: words make it real.

They worry what others would think if they went after that goal, so they stuff it down.

They drink, they eat, they shop to numb the vibration within them that is begging to be answered.

What if someone asked you if YOU knew what you needed what would you say?

How To Build Trust With Yourself

Learning to trust yourself, honor your word, and do things you say you will do is the best gift you can give yourself and others.

It sounds great, right?

Wouldn’t we all LOVE if we stuck to our guns, and as soon as we had an idea to make a change, and made consistent progress until we got to our goal?

But it doesn’t always work out that way because we are human beings, and in order to learn new habits and behaviors, we have to train ourselves to actually DO things differently and BE the person who does the thing we want.

When I wanted to be a woman who had lost 80 pounds, I had to act like a woman who lost 80 pounds, which meant that I had to keep showing up every day even when… even the day after I ate my face off.

If you have quit 10 x, 100 x, 1000 x, you have created a lot of evidence for yourself that you CAN’T do x. But let me tell you something– it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve tried and failed. All that matters is that you keep trying.

Here’s the thing– whenever we look at goals, they can seem impossible because they are so huge! They can be so BIG and MASSIVE we tell ourselves we don’t know where to start.

What if you took a step back, and instead looked at the one thing you needed to change today to get to that goal?

What if instead of looking at your journey as one large goal, you looked at it as several small goals or habits that are manageable? What if you just started with 1 thing? How would that be different for you?

Here’s what you do– start with one goal:

Lose 1 pound

Walk 1 minute

Make 1 dollar

Smoke 1 less cigarette a day

Have 1 less cocktail

Apply to 1 job.

It doesn’t have to be a huge effort, it just has to be SOMETHING. Decide what you will do, and commit to it even when… you don’t feel like it, your kids are sick, your boss yells at you, it’s raining, etc.

It all starts with commitment– even when the commitment is small . When we commit we decide that we are going to go all in. We decide we will stick with it, even when…

You can start today by setting an intention and following it through. Start small, but just get started, then move onto the bigger things. You will not be perfect. That doesn’t matter. Just keep going!❤️