What I learned from leaving my 9-5 job

4 years ago this summer, I officially resigned from teaching.

I will never forget that day, handing my letter of resignation, fear washing over me, hands trembling, as I told my administrator I was going to start my own business.

I felt excited. 

There were SO many emotions flooding through me.

But the absolute greatest feeling I had within was this conviction that everything would somehow work out.

That I'd figure out the parts I was uncertain about.
That I would push past the fear of the unknown.
That I would remain positive about the journey ahead.

And I did. 

4 years later. I am here. I am coaching. I am doing this thing. (Want to hear the rest of the story of how I quit my 9-5? Listen to episode 48 on First + Foremost here!).

I share this with you because maybe you have some unfinished business of your own that your heart is longing for? Maybe there is a conversation that needs to be had? A project that needs your attention? Or an entirely new path you feel called to do?

Whatever is on your mind and heart, if there is one thing I have learned from my journey to leaving my career as a teacher to become a full-time life coach, it is this truth:

You create all the love and stability you need.

If you hold onto this foundational, unshakeable truth, and trust that it is the way to getting where you want to be, the feelings that arise that threaten to hold you back can be gently softened and held tightly as you are reminded of the simple fact that you've got this.

We have got this.

You and me, love. We can get after what we want. We can do the things that we so desire.

Because at our center, we are strong. We are driven beings. We are not stuck. We can get after what we want.

5 Tips To Help You Connect to Yourself Daily

For years, I had a daily routine that completely zapped my energy.

For starters, I was waking up at 5am. With all my great intentions to start the day off on a positive note, I was really just going through the motions.

Roll out of bed.
Put workout clothes on.
Drive to gym.
Eat breakfast on the go.
And more work.
Drive home.
Make dinner.

Nowhere in that routine was real, authentic time for myself.

Even my attempt to start the day off with some exercise did not feel like loving, nourishing time for myself because hello, 5am! I was tired.

Weeknights I had zero energy to talk with my friends or even stay awake long enough to get through a movie with my husband. By Friday, while most of my friends were kicking off the weekend with happy hour, I was grateful for a night in where I could get to bed early and actually sleep in the following day.

Do you have days, too, where you feel utterly and completely wiped?

I remember the feeling of complete energy depletion, but I also know that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are some very helpful things you can do (some right now, and some over time) that will greatly improve your overall quality of life and energy levels.

Here are my top 5 tips to help you connect to yourself daily:

1.  Know your options.

For starters, we have to recognize what we have control over. It can feel like we are stuck in the routine we presently have and that there are no other options. However, if you really take an honest look at your day, you will likely see how you are making choices throughout the day that are ultimately leading to your feelings of energy depletion. Are you saying yes to everything asked of you? Are you choosing to do more work than required? We have to get honest with ourselves and evaluate the options that are presented to us throughout the day and how our choices effect us. Doing so will help you see how you can start saying no and setting some personal boundaries to create more time for you.

2. Radically accept.

It’s a term I learned years ago when I read Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach. The idea behind it is that you choose to radically accept what is outside of your control. When it comes to your current daily routine, there may be circumstances that really are outside of your control right now. It could be caring for others, or possibly the realization that your career may not provide you with the freedom you really crave for your life. Whatever your things are, imagine yourself embracing them just as they are, without trying to change or fix them. And while you are at, give yourself some compassion for doing so.

3. Say your mantras.

I sometimes forget how incredibly helpful mantras are. Mantras help us get in the right headspace. When we are tired and feeling drained, our self-talk becomes more critical than ever in giving us a boost. Some of my favorites are: I create all the love and positivity I need. I take care of my mind, body, and heart. My body deserves rest.

4. Restart how you start.

How are you starting your day? Is it anything like my former daily routine? If so, join me in restarting how you start your day. If we start our day in a rush, that energy is likely going to carry on with us throughout the day. Create a short, simple routine that helps you pause and slow things down a bit so that you can check in with yourself and create some intentions for how you want to be throughout your day. Identify 1-3 things you wish you were doing first thing in the morning and then figure out a way to work them in. It can be as simple as stating a few things you are grateful for, or writing out a few intention words to help ground you for the day. I have written some posts on this topic that you can check out here and here.

5. Infuse love.

This one is my absolute favorite. Many times we are left feeling low about our daily routine because we realize we simply aren’t doing anything for ourselves. This is where I want you to make yourself a priority. What do you love to do? What do you want to do? Spend a few moments after reading this to really give yourself permission to write out the things you wish you could do during the day. Maybe it would just light you up to be able to go home after work and completely unwind. What do you need to say no to in order to make this happen? Or maybe you want to have the energy to read a book at night? Again, what do you have to stop doing to make the space for this? The idea is to give yourself permission to get all your wants down on paper, and then get really honest with yourself about how you can make it happen.

In the words of one of my favorite online mentors Marie Forleo, “everything is figureoutable!”

Trust yourself. You’ve got this.

One of the things I always try to remember is that life is so short. We only get one shot at all this, so why go through the motions of life tired, drained, or unhappy? We deserve to live our best days. You deserve to live your best days. If something doesn’t feel right, remember you are a woman who figures things out. You can change it

From foster care to self-care: An inside look at what it is like growing up in the system

As many of you know, I grew up in foster care. (Want to hear my story? Listen here.)

It is National Foster Care Month.

Today, I am reflecting on all the things growing up in the system has taught me when it comes to self-care. At the age of 13, I lived in and out of foster homes until I aged out of the system at 18. It literally transformed my life. Sure there were plenty of highs and lows along the way, but the years that followed once I was taken away from my mom left an imprint on my life like no other.

Something that I have learned from my years growing up in foster care is just how vital it is to take care of ourselves. When we prioritize our self-care, when we believe in our worth, and when we believe we are deserving of the life we want for ourselves, so much is possible. My experience in foster care has shaped the work I do with people now- and if there is any one thing I can help inspire you today my friend, it is that you are so worthy of your own care too.

To celebrate National Foster Care Month, I invited a dear friend of mine named Brandon Johnson to come on First + Foremost to share his story. Brandon talks about his experience growing up in the system and overcoming a childhood filled with drugs, gangs and violence. He is a warrior, my friends! He has seen more than many people will in their entire lifetime and today he shares his journey of thriving and making a beautiful life for himself after all he has been through. Be sure to give episode 42 a listen!

5 Boundaries to Set in Your Business Right now!

Oh, boundaries.

One of my absolute favorite words.

Truly, boundaries are a game changer in life. The purpose of a boundary is always, always, always to create structure around what you are wanting and needing. It is you declaring and making a commitment to yourself about how you will protect your space. We can set boundaries with the people in our lives, with our habits and routines, and with our work.

It’s Time to talk ABOUT why it is essential to have Business Boundaries.

From the outside looking in, many people who do not own their own businesses tend to think business owners can do what they want when they want. And maybe that is true for some business owners, but for me personally, I have had certain boundaries I have tried to stick to so that momentum in my business is never lost. So that I myself have structure and routine. So that my clients know what to expect from me. Boundaries serve a vital role in keeping everything behind the scenes running. So while I would love to go out and meet a friend for coffee every morning of the week, I would not be a very savvy, nor productive, business owner if I did so!

Here are my top 5 business boundaries that I personally have tried to stick to before I made the decision to go on an extended maternity leave. I recommend coming up with your own list to help maintain a rhythm within your business!

Set these 5 boundaries in your business right now:

  1. Set hours

    I typically have worked from 10-3. I try to be clear about the specific days that I work. When you own a business, start here. When do you want to start your day? End your day? What days do you want and need to work? What days will you honor as time off? Honor this schedule and don’t be afraid to come back around to it as life changes. It’s okay (and encouraged!) to switch things up! The idea is to establish the boundary for you. When are you turning work ON/OFF?

  2. Set days to batch work

    A lot of my boss lady clients are usually intrigued and a bit surprised by my process for getting work done (something that I am happy and eager to share exclusively with them!). In a nutshell, we must have a rhythm and flow for how and when we are getting work done. An example might look something like this: Mondays are for programs, Tuesdays and Thursdays are for client calls, Wednesdays are for podcasting, and Fridays are for networking. You designate the type of work you do for various days. This helps your brain create focus when you start your day. You can then easily say NO to miscellaneous work that falls outside this work boundary.

  3. Set aside time to network

    I like to swap the word “connecting” for “networking.” Seriously, thinking about networking as “networking” is just so not my cup of tea. I come from an education background where I was a teacher and networking was not something we emphasized nor did, so you can imagine my initial discomfort here! When I realized that networking is essentially making new friends and connecting with old ones, I changed my perspective. I saw that networking is actually something I can do, and something I can do well. Each week, on Fridays, I give myself permission to connect with my people. Whether it’s a cup of coffee with a friend, a brunch date, or a virtual Skype call, I set aside this chunk of time to connect with my people. I think it’s vital to have boundaries with this. We can sometimes get pulled into the, “when are you free?” question and start giving away our precious time designated for other critical elements within our business. We must set a hard boundary here. Find time in your schedule that you will permit yourself to connect with others, and stick to it.

  4. Decide when you will check email

    I don’t know about you, but checking my email drains me! (Do you know your own energy drainers? If not, and you do not already have my FREE Daily Routine Workbook, I highly, highly recommend downloading this super-charged freebie with all my tips for creating an energizing routine. Get it here!). How does it feel for you when you check your email first thing? Do you have energy in the tank to tend to your other creative work? Maybe so. Maybe not. Either way, this is key information for you about when to check it. Set a boundary and be sure to check it only when you say it’s time to do so.

  5. Stick to a morning routine and daily wind-down routine

    Self-care is absolutely everything within a business. Setting boundaries is part of your self-care within your business. Making sure that you start your day with the mindset, attitude, and rituals to create energy for the day ahead is so very key. DO NOT skimp on this piece. Remember that you started your business for a reason. There’s something in you that feels called to do this work. Show up for your business at your best. How will you ensure that you can do this very thing, daily? And while you’re at it, what habits and rituals will you do at the very end of the day to signal it’s really time to turn it off? Write down your plan of action and make it happen, love. You got this!

There you have it- the top 5 boundaries to set in your business right now! I hope you will take some time for yourself to reflect on these business essentials. They have been a true game-changer in how I run my business and I hope they help you create the drive and clarity needed to get after the peaceful daily rhythms you crave in your very own. had

3 Things You Can Learn from Working with Your NOT-RIGHT People

I remember the earliest days of starting my business, some of the best advice I received was to coach everybody! The same can be said for you wherever you are at in your passion work journey. Take on those clients you are unsure of. Get a feel for who you like working with, and who you do not. This is vital information for you moving forward in your business, so don't be afraid!

It has officially been 4 years into my full-time journey as a coach and today I am looking back on what I have learned since that time. While I know today who I absolutely gravitate towards coaching, I have also learned a lot from working with clients who are not my right-people. (Curious to get the inside scoop? Listen to First + Foremost episode 38 now!).

Today I want to share what YOU can learn from working with your own NOT-RIGHT people and how it can help you grow your business moving forward.

Here ARE 3 things you can learn from working with your NOT-RIGHT people:

1. Who you absolutely LOVE to work with.

A lot of people I work with who are starting out in their businesses will tell me that they have no idea who their ideal client is. Well, my friend, look to who you HAVE worked with for insights here. What about your previous clients/customers did you NOT like or enjoy? What character traits did they possess? What bugged you about the experience? Do not be afraid to dig into your answers to these questions. They have MAJOR information for you in growing your business. If you did not love that your previous clients wanted digital photos, then that is information about what YOU want in your next client: a client who values print photos.

Here’s how to do it: Make a lady date with yourself once per month in your business to reflect on the past month and make a list of what you are loving and not loving about your current clients. Save this information and add to it as you go along your business journey.

2. Who it is time to start saying “no” to.

This is a big one. Starting out in your business, it is hard, hard, hard (I know it!) to say no to a potential client. In fact, as mentioned above, I recommend saying yes to a whole heap of clients that may come your way early on, since afterall, we are trying to collect information about who we want to work with moving forward. However, after you start collecting said "information," it is time to do something about it. The next time a potential client comes your way and you get that feeling that maybe you might not be the very best fit for each other, listen to it!

One of the greatest values I try to align myself within my coaching practice is integrity. If a client comes my way, and I get a feeling that we are not the best fit for each other, it is my utmost priority to be transparent about that, AND match that client to the very best coach for him or her. So, while I absolutely want to feel energized by who I am working with, it is equally important, if not more important to me in my business, to make sure that my potential client feels that very same energy. When we hold this as our truth, saying no to our client becomes easy, because it is no longer about us. It is about them. And it is NOT about losing a potential client, but rather helping a potential client on his/her journey.

Here’s how to do it: Say no when you get that vibe that tells you it is not a right fit and refer your potential client/customer to someone who can be of tremendous service to them. The beauty here in referrals is that others in your industry remember when you do something like this, and I guarantee they will be on the lookout to pay the act forward to you in some way down the road if and when they can.

3. How to start talking to your ideal client.

Quite possibly the best piece of information we can get from working with our NOT-RIGHT people is how to start talking to the people we really and truly DO want to attract.

Here's how to do it: As you are collecting information about what you do not love about working with some of your clients (remember, this is totally okay, and a major component of being a savvy business owner), be sure to start also reflecting on what you are learning about each person. When it comes to your NOT-RIGHT people, what all do you know about him/her that is NOT vibing with you- and really let all the details shine through here! Maybe your client hates dance and you love it! Maybe your client is a bit pessimistic and you would love your clients to be more cheerful and positive. Or maybe your client constantly wants help with writing copy, but you really want to help with creating content.

This is all information, my friend.

You may not be working with your ideal client right now, but the people you are working with in this moment hold extremely valuable feedback for you. Now that you are in reflective mode, you can start making sure you speak more to who you think you'd like to work with (even if you haven't worked with him/her yet.) In your content (ie. blogs, newsletters, social media posts, etc.) you can start really tailoring your message to who you want to attract. Start sharing behind the scenes posts of your dance class if you'd like to attract a client who is into that! Start talking about how you can help people with creating content if that's what you want your jam to be! The idea is to show up for your ideal client and give them a snapshot of how the two of you can align and work together. Give them what they need based on what you know in this moment. And then repeat monthly as you reflect and learn more. This is how your ideal client will start to come.

And before we wrap this chat up, one final thing to really think about:

It takes time to gain your ideal client's trust.

Do not expect overnight growth. Overnight engagement. Overnight followers.

You have to put in the work to build the relationship. The same way you meet an amazing human out in real life, it is unlikely that the two of you will be BFF after that first encounter. It takes time to grow any friendship or relationship.

So, remember to take your time, and trust the process. I promise after a while, your ideal clients will come.