3 Keys to Creating Change

There’s a voice in my head that sometimes tells me I’m not good enough.  Do you ever have that voice?  I’ve spent many years working on this piece.  Its many facets seem to show up in different areas of my life. I have been working on healing this negative voice facet by facet.  In my journey, I have found three keys that, when implemented, propel me toward success in my quest to heal, grow and move forward.
Anytime you want to create change in your life, a few ingredients must be present for you to succeed. This is not an exhaustive list, just the three I consider the most important.
Consistent – You must have consistency. If you are working on stopping an established habit or belief, you will need a plan that is carried out on a regular basis. Maybe one of your strategies for change includes starting each day reminding yourself of your goal, the reason you want to change the habit or belief, the good you will get out of it. It’s up to you to be consistent and look at your goals every day.
Transparent – You must be honest with yourself and others about what’s really going on for you. If you are trying to hide the very part of you that you want to change, you are not likely to have success. Get honest, get real and be transparent with trusted people, which leads to the next key:
Support – You will need people around you who are for you. These are not the people who you like to hang around because they tell you everything you want to hear. These are the kind of people who tell you the hard things, the truth. They also have your best interest in mind but not in a care taking, it-depends-on-them way; they care about you, they like you, they are willing to journey with you. Some of your support people might come in the form of a counselor, coach or mentor.
I can tell you from first hand experience, change is possible and it is incredibly rewarding!
I’m cheering you on!                                                                                                                                                                    Karen

Getting out of the Comparison Trap

We live in an image conscious society. We compare ourselves constantly to others in every area of our life: work, social status, appearance, competence and stuff. No matter what we are doing we can find a place to compare ourselves to someone or even something else. The act of comparing generally leaves us on the short end of the stick. We see ourselves as “less than.” Sometimes we compare to feel better about ourselves. We find someone who is definitely worse off and realize we don’t have it as bad as “they” do. Either way, comparing puts us on thin ice.
When we compare we are looking for some kind of validation for ourselves. The problem is the validation is coming from outside of us, it’s not always accurate and we generally don’t stack up well.
If we’re looking to the outside for support or validation and get it, we feel good about ourselves. If we look at others and don’t get validated, we feel bad. Neither is beneficial. The best way to deal with comparing is to STOP. Whenever you notice you are doing it, say the word stop to yourself. Next, remind yourself that comparing is not going to benefit you. Ask what you think about yourself in that area.
Let’s say it’s your body. You see someone who looks better than you. Remind yourself that it won’t be helpful if you compare yourself to this person (which would result in feeling bad about yourself) or someone who you don’t think looks as good (which would lead to feeling better). What do you think about your body? Notice the parts you like and state why. Notice the parts you don’t like and state why. Do you have control to change the negative parts, like exercise or eating healthier? Sometimes not liking something creates a catalyst to make a change. As you think about the changes and what it would take to get there, do you want to put in the work? You might decide the work isn’t worth it and you accept yourself as is.
You can translate this same process to any area where you compare yourself to others. Practice accepting yourself or your situation, change what you can or want to, let go of what you can’t or don’t want to.

Change Agents

What are you wanting to change or work on?  Do you lose sight of this from time to time?  Changing is challenging but not impossible.  It all starts with being aware of what you are doing, thinking, feeling and saying.  At first you might notice after you have done the very thing you are trying to change.  Over time, as you dedicate your mind to choosing differently, you begin to notice in the moment and then just before you do the thing you’re trying to change.  This is the growth process.  No one changes over night. Be patient with yourself as you seek to walk a healthier path.
Implement strategies that help you on your journey.  Sticky notes that you change up every few days, can be helpful. A reminder that pops up on your cell phone, a note-to-self in a vibrant color on your bathroom mirror, visualizing yourself making the healthy choice, a daily practice of spending time focusing on the change and how it will impact your life for the better are all strategies you can use.  Enlist the help of others.  Have friends at the ready you can call or text when you notice yourself heading down the unwanted path.  Tell them in advance what you need from them so they are prepared.  Take time to brainstorm a long list of ‘change agents’ that will help you stay on your path toward a healthier more enjoyable life and use them!

Failing at Perfection?

While watching the Seahawks/Green Bay game last Sunday, a thought hit me.  These guys are the best in their division.  They train nearly every day to be the best.  They eat, sleep and breathe their profession.  Wouldn’t dedicating themselves to football result in perfect or nearly perfect games?  The obvious answer if you watched that game, or any for that matter, is no.  So, why do we expect perfection of ourselves when the professionals in any given field are not perfect?
Perfection is actually an unattainable achievement and yet we get really down on ourselves when we miss the mark on any goal or expectation we have.  Does beating yourself up help you do better?  Generally the answer is no.  There are always exceptions but eventually the exceptions implode.
So what is the goal or expectation you have missed that you are now beating yourself up?  Evaluate the goal or expectation.  Is it realistically achievable?  If you’re not sure ask a few trusted people what they think.  It might help to get some outside perspective.  If it is achievable, what is keeping you from reaching your goal?  Is it a negative belief about yourself along the lines of “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve to do well,” “I never reach my goals so why should I think it will happen now”?  Start by challenging the negative belief when you notice it.
Are you trying to reach a goal alone? It usually helps if we have others either joining us or encouraging us along the way.  Back to those trusted people in your life.  Invite them to be a part of your “team” cheering you along or maybe even joining you.  Don’t have trusted people in your life?  Find them!  We were not designed to live life in isolation.  Get involved in a group and find people you connect with and, over time, can trust.
Be gentle with yourself in this process.  We can be so hard on ourselves, expecting perfection, and when we miss the mark we berate ourselves.
If you are hitting walls in this area, meeting with a coach, counselor or support group could help.


Are you trying to hide something about yourself? Is there a part of you you’re not happy with, but instead of working on it, you cover it up? My daughter is undergoing chemotherapy for a kind of cancer reserved just for organ transplant recipients. I say that like it’s some kind of reward. I don’t think of it as a reward. She doesn’t either! Her hair is falling out in patches. She kind of looks like the tortured doll in Toy Story. She doesn’t really want to rock the whole bald thing, so she now has two wigs. She likes them. She looks good in them. In her case, I think covering up her baldness make sense. But what if we are trying to cover up something because we don’t want to deal with it?
Maybe for you it’s a fear of failure. You cover it up with procrastination. If you never get to the tasks, you don’t have to finish anything so you can avoid hearing the disapproval. Maybe you fear intimacy so you disguise it with independence. You can do life on your own so you don’t ever have to let anyone in. Or perhaps you are hiding a sense of never being good enough with high-octane production. You’ll prove you’re worth something by all the projects you can spit out, meanwhile never feeling inside that all those projects are enough.
Can you identify with any of these scenarios or ones like them? The answer is not to keep hiding but to bring the hidden parts of yourself out in the open, in a safe environment where healing can take place. This might be in recovery groups, counseling or coaching. I got to the heart of things I was hiding in a life changing coaching experience with Dr. John Townsend. Now, after several years of sitting under his teaching and guidance, he has given me (and about 17 other people around the US) the chance to lead and coach my own Townsend Leadership Program in Colorado! I am excited to bring the very processes that radically changed my life and helped me peel off the masks and stop hiding to my local community.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Townsend Leadership Program that I will be leading in 2015, call me or email me: 303-589-6274 or karen@journeyforward.net