Who Told you That?



“Understand: people will constantly attack you in life. One of their main weapons will be to instill in you doubts about yourself – your worth, your abilities, your potential. They will often disguise this as their objective opinion, but invariably it has a political purpose – they want to keep you down.”

― Robert Greene, The 50th Law

When I was little my dad used to play at rough-housing with me and my siblings. There was a game he called “King of the Mountain” and the object of the game was to knock off whoever tried to get to the top of the pillow mountain first. We loved this game because first we got to play with dad, always a great time, then we got to make a huge mess of all the pillows we could find in the house and then make a humungous mountain as tall as we could possibly reach. I have to say that to 3, 4, and 5-year-old eyes this was the tallest structure ever created. We then would clear away all manner of hurtful hard objects and proceed to strategize as to just how to climb this monumental structure without getting caught and tackled to the ground. There was a hysterical amount of tickling involved in this game designed specifically to weaken our little bodies enough that we couldn’t find the strength to climb anything at all, all while trying to prevent dad from reaching the top of the mountain and declare himself King.

One could argue that this was a life lesson in how to overcome impossible obstacles that life will inevitably throw at us; how to overcome those demons that are designed and determined to keep us down physically and mentally, philosophically and psychologically whether in words or deeds and life lessons in how to get creative in problem solving all while laughing out loud. Blah, blah, blah; we just thought it was so fun to spend undivided time with dad. But wait, now I’m curious…..

What keeps you feeling down? What mountains are in front of you that need to be climbed? What motivates you to climb those mountains?

There are many important questions that come along in our lifetime. Questions that create angst, change, upheaval, awareness, peace, etc. Of all the questions that I have come across as a life coach, the one question that seems to have the most impact is the one question that attacks the essence of who my client is at any given moment. This question seems to evolve and keeps evolving as we learn and grow and become. This question has the potential of becoming habit forming; a reminder to always check my sources and resources in order to keep fear at bay and inner strength at the ready.

The questions I ask myself on a daily basis are, for the most part, always in helpful surrender to aid in making me the best possible version of who I strive to become. Who I am today is in no way who I will be later in life and although who I was yesterday may carry over into who I am right this moment, my “yesterday” self always has the ability to be better tomorrow. What is this incredible question?

Who told you that?

This question falls under the auspices of false beliefs or limiting beliefs and carries a tremendous amount of weight inside our heads and hearts. Most of us allow that the things we choose to believe, whether we realize it as our choice or not, are the things that hold us back from a fulfilling, productive, purposeful life. For a lot of people, believing the limiting beliefs we cling to holds a lot of fear in preventing us from exploring all kinds of fearless possibilities.

This question has been a constant companion for me for many years. It takes on many faces such as, who told you that you are not worthy of a better life, a better job, or a better outcome? Who told you that you have to compromise on what means the most to you? Who told you that if you experience happiness of any kind you are only allowed that one-time experience and then doomed to misery thereafter? Who told you that the love you have in your life is all you are allotted in one lifetime? Who told you that brown and pink don’t go well together? Who told you that if your children are not successful in their own right that means that you are not a successful parent?

More importantly when did you start believing all of this?

For as long as we live there will be life moments that test our inner strength; that make life feel as if this one time experience is the most impossible mountain to climb. Questions like this one help to keep us grounded and present and focused on being and becoming our best selves. The fear factor here might be, “what if I can’t answer this question or what if I stay stuck in my limiting beliefs?” I suggest taking time to unpack the question step by slow moving step until you come to understand how you got here.

Family therapist, author, marathon runner and professor Cami Ostman teaches an incredible workshop on how to successfully put the “Who told you that” question to the test and how to successfully answer it and use the question and answer to your advantage. When we feel stuck in our fear of not being enough and believing that we are truly not enough Ms. Ostman says that “we are not aligning with our true nature; we are not aligning with our core selves.” She goes on to say, “Our true nature, our core selves, are calm, joyful and centered. Most of our limiting beliefs start in childhood based on what we perceived as a need to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable or hurt or shameful or weak. Our true nature thrives on genuine support from others and uses 4 qualities to help us thrive.” Those 4 qualities are:

*Clarity of purpose: Who does it benefit to take the road less traveled? Who does it benefit to follow the leader?

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!” Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

*Faith: Enjoy each step along the way and know that whatever choice you make; all will be okay.

“Realize that if a door closed, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you.” Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

*Commitment to ourselves and our purposes: What is one tiny step you can take each morning to bring you closer to where you want to be?

“If you had started doing anything two weeks ago, by today you would have been two weeks better at it.” John Mayer

*Sovereignty: The unshakable knowledge that we are the supreme rulers of our own minds and choices and decisions. Who has given you permission to question your own self- worth, in other words, who told you that and why are you believing it? When we truly believe that we are sovereign over our hearts, minds and bodies then we are free to come and go, to explore and choose wisely and be impactful in all we do.

“Peggy is a sovereign nation. She governs herself and those around her by her own laws.” Katlyn Charlesworth, The Patriot’s Daughter

According to Ms. Ostman, bringing forth your true nature is a practice of letting go of fear; letting go of limiting beliefs, letting go of those things that were told to you whether to protect you or to scare you to stand still. Ms. Ostman suggests respectfully thanking all the parts of us that tried to protect us from the fears that are holding us back, wishing those parts well and firmly telling those parts that it is now time to take the reins and face the fears and the adventure that awaits.

As If….

A great way to begin your journey of shedding those limiting beliefs, of shedding fear is to take these 4 qualities and start with the end in mind. Let’s play….

Kari always wanted to be an artist. Her talents have been recognized by the obvious people in her life, her art teachers, her friends, her classmates, etc. but for some reason Kari has not taken all of those accolades and turned it into the art studio/gallery that she has always imagined. Kari doesn’t believe within herself that her art work is good enough to sell or that strangers would want to buy what she is creating. She is beginning to feel like doing art of any kind is a waste of time and that she needs to start getting serious about her life and start to make a living. “It feels like there is just too much wasted time in art and I need to pay my bills and just get on with my life at this point.” Who told Kari that art is too much of wasted time? Who told Kari that being an artist isn’t a serious pursuit of making a life? Who told Kari that she isn’t good enough to make art her career? When did those limiting beliefs start to take deep roots in her heart and mind?

There are a few choices Kari can make: She can give up her art completely and get a “real” job, she can only do her artwork for her own pleasure and joy, she can give her artwork away to friends and colleagues as gifts so that at least her art will be “out there” even if it hangs in someone else’s house or office or she can imagine one last time what it would be like to have the art studio/gallery she always dreamed about.

Kari chooses to imagine one last time about her art studio. Kari chose the “as if” option and she lets her imagination run wild with the end in mind, “as if” she made her dream come true and opened her art studio and became the successful artist she always dreamed of becoming. Out loud Kari imagines it is opening night at her art studio and the walls are full of her artwork in every medium. There are lots of people at the opening tonight including people that came as guests of those that received an invitation and the biggest surprise of all is that the media are here tonight to interview Kari and get her story. Kari imagines the gorgeous outfit she is wearing and imagines that her parents are there and feel so proud of her for sticking with her dream and making it come true. Kari imagines the food and drinks being passed around, she imagines the pockets of conversation going on around her studio, she imagines the music playing in the background and how great everyone looks tonight because they came to this special event. At the end of the night Kari imagines her most sacred piece of art being sold to an art collector and Kari being commissioned to do work for businesses in and around her art studio.

The greatest take away for Kari in playing the “as if” game is that she just thought about even more ideas on how to make her studio/gallery a great success. By opening herself up to the possibilities and by letting herself feel the happiness in her core-self, by freeing her mind and heart from limiting beliefs, Kari has experienced more joy in these few minutes than in the past year of struggling to be “practical” about her future.

Call to Action

Find a friend, mentor, coach, or use your own reflection in the mirror and play the “as if” game with your dreams. No limiting beliefs allowed. Dress the part, play the music, set the scene and have at it. Notice everything, the way you look, the way you feel, the way your thoughts expand. Who told you that you can’t make this vision your reality?

One of Ms. Ostman’s most successful practices is to interview fear and listen to what comes up in that discussion. If you are interested in trying this interview with fear, please give me a call. You will be changed from this experience.

On a piece of paper make a list down one side of the paper of all the things that you believe today. On the other side of the paper make a list of how you came to have each belief; in other words, who told you that? On a new piece of paper make a list of all the new things you are now going to believe that will help move you toward the person you want to be. Keep in mind on this new list, that YOU are giving yourself permission to believe these new things, act on these new things, dream these new things and become these new things.

Write a good-bye letter to your old self letting go of the fearful things that you have told to yourself or have been told to you that you are currently believing; letting go of the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from becoming your true self. Before you end the good-bye to old self letter start to write about all the new things your new, free self will be experiencing from now on. What successful, happy, expansive experiences will you be adding to your new life? How much can you honestly feel inside of your core-self that you believe you honestly, courageously, and wholeheartedly will experience in all the amazing life moments that are destined to come to you?

4 Ways to help you gain perspective


4 ways to help you gain perspective….

How a move to new office space created better perspective in everything.

Have you ever been stuck in a particular way of thinking or seeing the world around you? Have you ever wished for clarity or for a way to approach a situation differently?

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.”—Marianne Williamson

This happens to me all the time. I get that heavy feeling inside of my chest when I know I am stuck in my head and in my own perspective. It’s hard sometimes to ask for someone else’s point of view because you know for sure it will be counter to your own. It’s also hard when you know that changing perspective will mean letting go of what is familiar, that right or wrong your way of thinking is the only way you know and are comfortable handling.

Is it such a bad thing to take a different approach, to look with a new point of view?

For a while now I have been contemplating changing where my office is located in my home. I have been sharing office space with my husband for well over 8 years now and for a while we had also set up a small area in this small office so that the kids could have their own “office” space for school work. You can imagine how crowded our space felt on school nights with the gang all working together.

As I have been making my career transition I knew the day would come that I would need to have more office space to allow for me to have my clients meet with me in person, to sit and feel welcome and safe and comfortable.

Recently that day came. I got a call to meet with a client in person and I suddenly really needed to separate our offices and so I finally put my idea of MY office space into reality and made the move. Let me just say right now that I will never share office space again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I love being in their space 24/7 but honestly, I love my new space. I love the entire room I am in. We call it the fireplace room because, yep, you guessed it, the fireplace is the main focal point of the room. It is a bright area due to the room having the most windows, and it is cheerful and roomy and I am slowly creating the space to be cozy for my clients as well as my family. I love the new perspective I have now with the view from my windows of the front of the house and now also the back of the house.

I feel more creative all of a sudden. I find that I want to be in my new office all the time. I get more respect from my family because I have this established space. I decorated the space to accommodate my clients and I feel more professional toward my new career and it just seems like my family treats me with more professionalism.

Today I was working on my latest blog post and heard a noise at the back window. I turned and saw a bird hanging on to the window screen. I would have missed that sight completely if I was still in my old office space and I suddenly felt so grateful for the chance to see something I never would have seen before. My new space not only changed my feelings inside of myself but it changed my physical perspective on the small world around me. The sight of the bird on the window made me take a deep breath and just stop, for one minute and be grateful for the little things.

It may not seem like much to change furniture around in a room or to change the sheets on the bed or to just look out a window you have looked out of a million times before but what is amazing about all those “routine” things is that TODAY your perspective is different. Today you get to smell the freshly washed sheet smell, today you get to sit in a new position in the same old room, today you get to look out of that window and realize that yesterday you didn’t get to see that Cardinal bird sit on the tree branch and how amazing the red Cardinal bird looks against the deep green on the leaves of the tree. In a few short weeks those leaves will start to change and that deep green won’t be back again for another year.

Maybe you can’t change a room around but you can still change your perspective. All it takes is a bit of practice. Ask yourself a few questions:

1)      What do I want to get clear on?

2)      How can I look at this situation from a different angle?

3)      What are the possibilities if I just let go of this way of thinking or seeing?

Here are 4 ways that might help you gain perspective:

1)      Visualize. Take a piece of paper and crayons or markers or a pen and draw what you see in your mind. Taking your thoughts out of your head and making them come to life on paper or through a design program in your computer help to get your juices flowing toward deeper understanding of your need, your excitement, and your objective. Perhaps creating a scrapbook from old magazine cutouts that allow you to actually choose the pieces of the design or idea you are visualizing would help make it more real. Perhaps saying it out loud or writing it in a journal would help you get clear on what exactly you want to accomplish.

2)      Ask for another point of view. Maybe you would benefit from talking to someone about your perspective? Are you really stuck in an old way of seeing or thinking about a situation? Perhaps a partner, friend, coach, or parent might be able to help you get clear on what perspective to take.

3)      Physically walk around the situation. Getting physical is a great way to help your perspective get more laser focused. Go for a walk either through the space or the idea. Lay out your drawing and walk around the drawing. When I was thinking about which room would be best for my own office space I had to establish what my goal was, why I needed the new space and then where and how to make it happen. I walked through the room I was thinking of using many times before I settled on just where to put my desk, my computer printer/copier, my sitting area, etc. Taking my visualization ideas and mapping out my space physically helped not only in creating excitement but also in the eventual move into the new space. It took no time at all to get the room ready because I had done the preliminary work through visualizing and mapping.

4)      Don’t wait too long. The longer you wait to change your perspective the more you risk feeling like the change in perspective is out of reach. I knew eventually I would move my office and I also knew it would happen when the time was right but waiting so long left me feeling a bit hopeless that maybe I was being silly or selfish to want to change. Don’t wait. If your insides are ready for a fresh point of view then make the change. Had I changed my office perspective sooner who knows what would have happened to my creativity? Now that I am in my new space I feel so relaxed and open to possibilities. I am now visualizing new perspectives to give this space and what that will do for my clients. I am looking at how much more this new space can say about me.

After this amazing new office move I knew I needed to tackle one more room change. My husband and I had wanted to change the furniture around in our bedroom for many years but we had been putting it off because the room design we had in mind would force us to lose the headboard of our bed by moving the bed under the large double window. My old way of thinking was that we paid good money for that headboard it should not be put away in a closet, and besides, which closet had the most room to house the headboard? That one stuck perspective prevented us from doing anything new in that room for a very long time.

I was so changed and charged from creating my office space that I decided one Sunday morning to take my son and my husband upstairs and change the bedroom furniture around. For too long I knew exactly what I wanted to do with a new room design and so we did it. We took off the headboard.

What was I so afraid of?

Our bedroom looks like a hotel room now. We have a lot more walking space, we have a room that is not dominated by the bed and we have been sleeping better. The room makes sense now and I wish we had not waited so long to change our perspective.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anais Nin

If we can change our perspective, even just a little bit, if we can be open to possibilities just a touch, what will our new perspective bring to our lives, ourselves? Journey On…..

Lisa is a career and life coach. She has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book, A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. If you would like to explore how coaching can help you please write to lisa@journeyoncoaching.com to set up a free 30 minute coaching consultation


Chapter 2: The College Decision

Chapter 2: The College Decision 

Congratulations! You made it! You have graduated from high school and made it through 12 to 13 years of mandatory schooling. You’ve studied hard, crammed for tests, joined clubs, performed community service, played a sport and tried to be as well rounded a student, a young adult, as you could be all in the hopes of beefing up your transcripts so that a college will choose you to represent them. Whew! That was exhausting. Can you just rest for a while?  Well, actually, no, no you can’t. If you thought these years of mandatory schooling have been hard wait until you start this next chapter of your life.

Chapter two begins with the question, to be a college student or not to be a college student? The well rounded answer is, be the college student. The realistic answer is not if you are not ready. The very first lesson to learn in the “real” world is whatever you do, be ready for it. If you are deciding to do something, do it with a full heart and full determination to succeed.

“Nothing really worth having is easy to get. The hard fought battle, the goals won with sacrifice are the ones that matter. ” –Aisha Tyler

I know, I hear the questions…..”but my grades were not good enough to get into a good college, who will accept me?”….”but I can’t afford the college I want, where can I go now?”….”but I don’t have a clue as to what I want to study, how will I possibly succeed?”….”but I’m not ready for college and my parents want me to go, what should I do?”

Relax. Take a deep breath. All the rules are different now. There is no script to follow. You are now allowed to decide for yourself what road you would like to take. Sit down, preferably on a very comfy couch and hug a pillow to your chest. These are all very good concerns, questions, doubts. Take a moment and write down your answers to these questions, and no, this is not another test to pass:

1) What is important to you right now?

2) What scares you the most about this new chapter of your life?

3) Where do you want to be, what would you like to have accomplished in 3-5 years from right now?

What I know about you is that you are creative and resourceful. Look at you. You made it through these difficult 12 years, messy as it’s been, and you have a diploma to show for all that hard, messy work. What you need to know is what you can commit to do with your life now? The easy answer is to stay a student because it’s what you know, it’s what is familiar. No matter what you do after high school you will have to learn something whether on the job training, or sitting behind a desk at school or learning hands on through vocational training and education, learning something is in your future forever. Embrace this concept, make friends with it. Once you have a solid handle in your brain that you are always a student whether in school or out of school you will be infinitely more prepared to allow the life lessons in to your soul.

“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”  ~Vernon Howard

If money is the issue as to whether you should even consider a college education or if the school you want to go to is too expensive, start at community college. There are ways to make it work that won’t cost you much money if any money at all.

The one thing to know at this point is that the first two years at any college is made up of required classes. Basically it is  like cramming 4 years of high school into 2 years of college so why pay more if you don’t have to right away? All you need to do is be open to learning but most of all, be open to learning how to navigate your path, your road, your own life. It takes time to learn the ropes. Ask questions of everyone you meet. Their life story will undoubtedly help you with your life story. While you are attending community college you can work part time and start saving money to transfer to the college you want to go to for you bachelor degree. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish school now. There are no schedules to keep anymore. You design your life so be creative, take the scenic route. The path less traveled has way more adventures tied to it than the conventional path.

If the thought of more school right away is weighing you down then don’t go yet. You have the option to wait for a semester or 2 and work for a while until your thoughts become more clear and focused. Standing still with no decision should never be an option. In the words of Henry Ford, “Indecision is often worse than wrong action.” At this point everything is possible.

Where will you place your stepping stones to get to where you want to go? What adventures do you want to experience along your path to your best life? Journey on….

If you are a high school junior or senior and would like to explore how coaching can help your next life chapter be successful or if you are already in college and need more clarity on why you are there at all please contact Lisa at: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com