Thursday, July 24

5 Ways to Tame Your Inner Bridezilla

1. Be Patient with Yourself

This is a time in your life you have always dreamed about.  Picking out a dream gown.  Having bridal showers, engagement parties and bachelorette parties thrown for you.  Rallying with your family to celebrate the love of your life.  With so many expected highs and joys, the lows, the frustration and the discouragement might surprise you.  Don’t let these negative emotions overwhelm you.  They are normal with any massive life change.  The sooner you can accept them as normal, the easier it will be to move through them (and on to the next great high).  Allow yourself the room to be imperfect, emotional, frustrated and disappointed.  In acknowledging your feelings you can help prevent nasty bridezilla blame and tantrums.  When you are feeling low, take some time alone or with a close friend to talk out your feelings and to deal with them.  Sometimes a great night’s sleep, a hard workout, or a long cry will be all you need.

2. Think of Others

As a bride, it is easy to focus on yourself but don’t forget that you are surrounded by people that love you, are celebrating with you and who also have their own lives to live.  As natural as it is to become self-involved and wrapped  up in this time, a sure-fire way to stave of the beastly bridezilla is to spend time actively considering your fiance, your family and your close friends cheering you on.  Plan a special date night for your sweetheart.  Take your best friend out for the evening and listen to everything happening in her life.  Do something kind for your mother (or future mother-in-law).  Focusing on others immediately reminds of the special people in your life and helps you appreciate them.

3. Embrace Joy

You can substitute joy with any positive emotion that you’d like (happiness, love, fun, gratitude).  The important thing is that you consciously choose to infuse each wedding task and personal interaction with it.  For example, if you are going wedding dress shopping rather than agonizing whether or not you’ll find your perfect dress, you can decide to make it a joyful experience for you and everyone with you.  When you look for the joy (or fun or love or happy) in any and every situation, you will find it!  Much of the stress bridezillas experience comes because they inadvertently ride the waves of whatever emotion and feeling comes their way.  You can choose the way you feel and approach each situation!

4. Laugh

Laughter is healthy.  It cuts through pain, frustration and even grief.  I makes you look beautiful and feel good.  If you feel your inner-bridezilla coming on, turn on your comedy of choice STAT!  Laugh, laugh, laugh until you feel like yourself again.  Bonus points for getting together with someone else and laughing to your hearts’ content.  There is no downside to laughter.

5. Get Some Perspective

One of my favorite coaching tasks I assign to clients is to find a way to volunteer and serve someone in a different situation.  Feeding the homeless, caring for the sick or even cheering up the elderly can give a much needed reality-check during hectic stressful times.  It might seem like one more item on an ever-growing “to do” list, but stopping to help someone else can clear your mind and force you to see things through a new perspective.  Centerpiece choices seem trivial when feeding a young family who has no where to live and no food to eat.  After caring for a terminal cancer patient, you might find yourself aching to repair your relationship with your mom.  Whatever new perspective you need, service is one of the best ways to find it.  Animal shelters, hospitals, retirement homes, food banks and churches will often have slews of volunteer work available. You can set up a regular time to volunteer or just come in for one shift.  Either way, everyone wins.

Even the sweetest brides will wrestle with demons during their engagement.  You are not alone! Use one (or all) of these tips to keep your sanity and sweetness throughout this momentous time.  Everyone around you will love you for it.

Monday, July 21

Old Friends

image via

Even though I haven't written, I've been thinking about you.  I've written "letters" (blog posts) over and over again in my mind and in my journal for the last 15 months.  

Can we be those old friends that pick up right where we left off as if no time has passed?

So much has changed in the last few years.  I finished my M.B.A (no more brain cramps from financial stats and spreadsheets) and fell in love with the man of my dreams (he's amazing).  We'll call him {M}.  I've moved (same town, new home).  And . . . . I've relaunched my full-time coaching practice!  It took saving, dreaming and work to make it possible, but I am back coaching 100% of the time.  When I coach, I blog and that means I'll be here again.

My coaching practice is:  Luminous Brides and I'm specializing in helping women make the transition from single to married with joy and grace.  There is so much more to a marriage than the wedding and I love supporting brides.  I stumbled on the niche accidentally.  Many of my coaching clients over the five years have gotten engaged and then married.  I found myself loving those coaching moments most and it felt like a natural place to relaunch my practice.  I've never stopped coaching entirely, but it feels good to be back 100% and full-time.

I'm now accepting new clients and am holding initial consultations throughout the day.  Email me if you are interested.  If you aren't a bride this blog will apply to you too.  Can't wait to hear from you and to be here with you again.

Thursday, April 4

I Don't Feel Like It

Somewhere over the course of today my words got lost.  I’m not sure where they are hiding or how I’ll find them.  All I know is that today I plan to stick to my commitment that as a writer I will write 1000 words a day.  And the words are gone.

Naturally, with my words having run away the last thing I want to do is write 1000 of them but this is a good lesson in life.  For the most part we don’t get to do just what we’d like.  Even the noblest dreams involve moments, hours, days, and weeks where we just don’t feel like it.  We don’t want to log another mile when preparing for a marathon.  We don’t want to pack a suitcase before a big trip.  We don’t want to stay up writing the final paper.  But we DO want to cross the finish line.  We DO want to check Australia off our bucket list.  We DO want to finish our degree.

 For every wonderful aspiration, there are hundreds of “I don’t feel like it” moments.  One of the best lessons in life is to learn how to push through the “I don’t feel like it” and to just get going.

Monday, March 18

The Power of One

Happy Monday!  

A few weeks back I finally finished my accounting course and launched into a new course on leadership.
Ahhh . . . it feels so good, like slipping into comfy pajamas.  Every day I study new theories, case studies and examples of leaders who have made a difference.  Every day for the last few weeks I've had the same epiphany:

Leadership happens one person at a time.

Naturally, I have taken that idea and built it into something more coach-y, more individual, more loving.  That is that we love and make a difference one person at a time.
It's compelling to want to run an organization, to want to manage a team, to want to see your family at the dinner table, perfectly dressed, perfectly polite and obedient.

It's exciting to think about leading a movement and making a difference in the world, but the truth is that all these great outcomes start with one person.
It is the single smile that makes someone's day.  
It is the bravery to defend the person being gossiped about when everyone else wants to laugh.
It's taking a split second to think about what the person you are interacting with needs most from you instead of planning out what you are going to say next or what you need from them.

Everyone is someone's baby . . . even the surliest, most unlovable person has a mother.  Everyone deserves to be treated like the extraordinary person that they are (even if everything extraordinary about them is buried underneath a difficult exterior).

I'm probably supposed to be learning how to raise up an army and lead thousands, but more than anything my studies make me want to be present and loving to the individuals I meet. 

That's my leadership goal.

Wednesday, March 6

Bask in the Moment

Years ago I attended a wedding that made me say "I want that for my own wedding."  I wasn't enamored by  the decor or color scheme (or any other styled element to the wedding for that matter).  
Sitting at dinner, I looked up to see the bride enraptured in the moment.  Her eyes twinkled  while laughing with her guests. She wasn't worried about the napkins being the right color.  She wasn't anxious to move onto the honeymoon.  She wasn't lost in her newly wedded-coupledom.  At each table and throughout each moment of the day she appeared to be fully and 100% present.  Until I saw how unique her experience was, it never occurred to me how many other brides I had witnessed who were happy, but distracted.

As I coach my clients, regardless of whether they are getting married or not, I coach to being present in the moment, every moment.  Remaining present is hard work (at least it is for me) but it creates those kinds of days that go down in our mental history.  Great days!  Memorable days!

Practice staying present today by choosing something to be a reminder.  You might choose that every time you stand up you are present.  Every time you see the sky, you are present.  Or, like I do, on the hour, each hour notice where you are, how you feel, what it smells like, breathe deeply and say a quick gratitude prayer.

Remaining present can change your life and of all the days to remember, enjoy, and bask in:  Don't you want that to be your wedding day? Or maybe even just today?

P.S.  I'm linking this post up to the lovely blog:  Something Charming and the Wedding Wednesday series.  Check it out for more wedding related posts and lovelies.
Something Charming

Monday, March 4

Overcoming Procrastination: By small and simple things

Years ago I was living in an apartment complex where my mailbox was in an inconvenient place.  As I arranged for more and more bills to come via email, my need for my mailbox shrank and shrank until one day I just stopped going.  Some time later exciting about a letter I was expecting, I journeyed out to my mailbox to find a note from the post office explaining that they had taken my mail hostage (my words not theirs) and I'd have to go and pick it up if I ever wanted to see it again (again my words not theirs).  At family dinner I griped about the wicked postal system.  How could they do that to me?  My brother-in-law said simply "we need to get you a dog."  I had no idea at the time what my dog had to do with my mail, but now it makes perfect sense.

It's easy to procrastinate something we don't want to do.  It is very easy not to want to do something . . . anything really.  It's easy not to want to wash my make up off before going to sleep.  It's easy not to want to complete all my writing projects by my own self-imposed due dates.  It's easy to put off until tomorrow preparing to run a 5k.   Anything both large and small can be procrastinated and much like my mail, something that seems so small, when procrastinated long enough, can result in a bigger headache.

#1  Create Routines

So, what does a dog have to do with it?  Harry forced me to create routines and to keep my routines.  I cannot procrastinate walking Harry with much success.  Either he'll sit on my chest and lick my face until we go (in the morning) or he'll take matters into his own hands and go on my carpet (in the evening).  Come rain or sun or blizzard-like snow, Harry must be walked.  In doing so, he proved to me that I can do something, even when I am not in the mood.  Carving out a set routine is the easiest, simplest way to overcome procrastination.  Stop thinking about it and make it into something that you just do.  This will take some initial inertia, but in time the heinous task will become second nature.

#2 Just for a Bit

Have you ever played that game with yourself where you challenge yourself to go running for just ten minutes and if, after 10 minutes you want to turn around, you can?  If you haven't, you should.  I do this with just about everything in my life that I don't feel like doing from my dishes to my MBA homework.  Most frequently my homework.  Ideally I study every day for two hours.  Most days I don't want to.  But I've started playing a game with myself:  just do 10 minutes and then I can quit.  Typically I will knock out a chunk of my work faster than I would at the last minute.  And, if I do quit after 10 min (and sometimes I do) I find that I still feel a sense of accomplishment.  The little bite I take out of my homework each day, is just that much less I have to do the next.  Doing a little bit is better than doing nothing at all.

#3 Time Block

Another lesson I've learned in school (this time around) is to carve out a set period of time for my work.  Stop waiting for the perfect moment!  Perfect moments rarely ever come.  On Tuesday at 7 pm until 9 pm  I will sit down and do my work.  Whatever isn't finished on Tuesday spills over onto Wednesday and then Thursday.  These set hours allow me to focus on completely on my task and prevent me from both waiting for the moment when I am just ready and excited to do my accounting homework (never gonna happen) and multitasking through my project.  

The truth is that overcoming procrastination is a process of small, seemingly tiny decisions that we make over and over again.  It won't feel like you are tackling anything huge at first, but one day, you'll turn around and realize you've accomplished much, much more and with so much less resistance than you'd previously thought possible. 

What are some ways that you've tackled procrastination?

Wednesday, January 30

Luminous Brides

Over the last six years of coaching many of my clients have been brides.  Some were engaged when we started working together. Some became engaged over the course of our work.  Either way, I discovered an extra thrill with each opportunity to apply coaching techniques, questions and problem-solving to the problems inherent in planning a wedding and joining two lives together.

It isn't that the work is all that different.  There is a heightened intensity to everything when you are engaged. Problems that would normally be insignificant seem to carry the weight of the world.  Many women are planning a first class event, building their careers, preparing a new home and a new life while juggling in-laws to be and the shifting in their own relationships.  It can be terribly overwhelming.

Having a personal coach can help.  Coaching helps put problems in their proper perspective (i.e.- spending time with Mr. Fiance trumps fighting over which cake flavor will be on the top tier).  Coaching gives a bride a truly neutral outlet to vent frustrations and to create action plans. Coaching helps drown out all the competing voices trying to "help" with the planning. Most importantly, coaching helps a bride create and carve out the most significant and meaningful life possible.

I will be dedicating more posts to my lovely brides.  But know that lessons for brides are equally applicable to new or expecting mothers, entrepreneurs, dating ladies and grandmas alike.

Stay tuned!

All images are sourced on my "wedded bliss" pinterest board
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