Personal Development

How to get a full-body YES when making a big life decision

How to get a full-body YES when making a big life decision

I pulled out a black-and-white marble notebook and drew a big line down the center of a page.  

 

It was Spring of 1992 and I was a Senior in High School. My mom, step-dad and my best friend Helen were with me celebrating at Fiorentino’s, the best Italian restaurant (RIP) in all of Brooklyn.

 

We had just finished off a couple of orders of “spiedini alla romana,” the deep-fried mozzarella with anchovy sauce that the restaurant was famous for and that I still dream about to this day.  

 

And now it was time to get down to some serious business before our main dishes arrived. Deciding which college I would go to the following year. 

 

So we did what most people do when faced with an enormous, once-in-a-lifetime decision: a pros and cons list! 

 

What a concise and curious way of making a huge life decision, don't you think?

  • We challenge ourselves to get really, really cerebral and serious about a decision.

  • We write down a bunch of items in each column in a factual, dissociated way.

  • We diligently count up the number on each side. 

  • We make a decision based on the column that has the highest score.

  • We stick to that decision OR scrap it all and decide what we really want to do. 

  • And we try to complete the task all before the check arrives!

Even though I’m pretty certain I made the right move when it came to college, as a coach I’ve learned that pros and cons lists are terribly flawed because they often neglect the physical and emotional components of decision making.


A better way to “experience” a decision is to travel into the future and try it on for size, looking for clues to what its impact may be from an emotional, physical and intellectual perspective.


When it comes to making full-body decisions I’ve seen my clients have huge revelations with the “sit and scan” technique we do together. 

 

So, what’s the “sit and scan” technique, how does it blow pros and cons lists out of the water, and how can you learn the steps to make full-body YES decisions all on your own?

Read on to find out.

Clarity through charity

Clarity through charity

Charities and not-for-profit associations haven’t really been my thing. 

 

I was reminded of that rude reality two years ago while being interviewed for my naturalization papers in France. 

 

When asked if I volunteered with any associations, I stunned myself with how quickly I blurted out “No!”

 

Back in High School I was a much better person. I took the bus down with friends to Washington D.C to march in defense of animal rights. And spent months going into Manhattan with my BFF Helen to get people to sign up and donate to the AIDS walk we did together. 

 

But as an adult, aside from some sporadic GoFundMe or Doctors Without Borders donations, my charitable acts have been pretty slim. 

 

Lack of time, lack of motivation, call it what you want, but I never really found the energy or mission. 

 

While I was getting my coaching certification, though, I did a lot of thinking about why I chose this path and who I ultimately wanted to serve. I knew I wanted to coach women. Women who were looking to bring more meaning to their work. 

 

But how could I bring more meaning to my work? 

 

I started researching organizations that were doing great stuff for communities I cared about, and then challenged myself to take one concrete step towards contributing to that cause. 

 

That’s what lead me to apply to become a volunteer mentor with Led By Her

Using Your Full Frame

Using Your Full Frame

Adults are amazing at respecting limits that don’t really exist. 

 

And kids are amazing at disrespecting limits that do really exist. 

 

Cries, tantrums, arguments, flattery, debate, negotiation. There’s no shame to their game. 

 

They’ll use whatever they’ve got to see how a limit can be toppled, overturned and redesigned. 

 

As we get older, though, and move along in life we adapt to the limits that the world throws back at us. 

 

Conditioning, rules, beliefs — all of these boundaries become a part of the way we perceive the world and operate within it. 

 

But as our habits and expectations become more and more entrenched, we start seeing limits where they don’t exist, eventually boxing ourselves into tighter and tighter spaces. 

 

The truth, though, is that what’s not explicitly forbidden, is technically allowed. 

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

I had a very intimidating social studies teacher in High School named Mr Savage. 


He would walk into the classroom, silently go up to the blackboard, scribble a provocative open question, like “What is democracy?” in his chicken-scratch handwriting and then stare back at the class with his beady little eyes. (can you tell how much of a fan I was??)


He’d smile slyly with pinched lips revealing a little scar alongside his mouth. Then he’d gesture to the class to let the debate begin. 


I dreaded that moment. I was a shy and insecure adolescent and that kind of intellectual dogfighting made me shrink even further into my shell. 


Mr Savage didn’t give homework, but he did assign two big writing projects per year that were famously tough. For one project we had to propose our ideal presidential candidate and then argue and defend why we thought he or she should win.


Get into your growth groove

Get into your growth groove

It was the official rentrée, the first chaotic day of reality after a long summer break. 


We were walking among perfectly-coiffed kids with their new backpacks and outfits on their way to school when I glanced over and saw my toddler hobbling along with his heels hovering in the air. 

 

“Shit!” I said to my husband. “We forgot to get him new shoes.”

 

My son was so obsessed with his red suede Adidas we conveniently overlooked him busting out of them. 

 

Next day at the shoe store, we embarrassing learned he had grown, not one, but two shoe sizes! Needless to say when he put his new sneakers (Adidas, again!) he was born-again.

 

Ripping his beloved pacifier out of his mouth big-boy style, he started running — down the ailes, down the street, to the park, around the park. Tirelessly, enthusiastically, like he had a new set of Duracell batteries on full blast.  


Like bad ass flowing water

Like bad ass flowing water

I reluctantly turned down a perfect margarita on the rocks at the lively Mexican restaurant we were dining at. I had to drive the whole kit and caboodle back to my mom's house in upstate NY and the roads are tricky there at night. 

It was a good thing I didn't indulge.

Fifteen minutes into our drive we had to shut off the radio, get the kids to stop fighting and seriously focus on the road because we were suddenly caught in a thunderstorm so intense it felt like an end-of-the-world action film.

I’ve never seen that much water fall that hard and that quickly. And for miles and miles and miles. I kept my calm for the kids but I was freaking the hell out. 


It reminded me how bad ass water can be. It’s super discreet until it’s totally not. And it never seems to try that hard. 

What is lâcher prise and how can you find yours in time for summer?

What is lâcher prise and how can you find yours in time for summer?

I’m not someone who gets easily riled up. I have a pretty even temperament.

So when I feel my insides start to boil up and spill all over the stovetop, I try to slide my pot off the heat source, cool down, and get a sense of what’s going on. 

That's often easier said than done. For example, during my coaching certification my emotions were on a steady, rolling, boil. 

I was being pulled so far out of my comfort zone on such a regular basis that my natural defense system was desperate to get some order in the court.