Advice is not my bag, baby.  What’s my work? – self-love coaching: part three

Advice is not my bag, baby. What’s my work? – self-love coaching: part three

Have you ever had someone give you unsolicited advice?
have you asked for advice but later felt ashamed, or felt worse AFTER you got the advice?

We always think that this is the way to go. For example, let’s say you have a problem that you can’t solve or you feel bad about something and don’t know how to move forward.  What do you do?  You pick up the phone/Skype/Whatsapp and reach out to a loved one: a close friend or family member.  They love you and will handle you with care, right?

Well, not necessarily.  You know the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?  This is where you can see it in action.  Because the advice-giver wants so badly to help you.  That is their good intention. BUT the truth is, they end up failing us miserably and never meant to.

Why doesn’t it work?

The first reason is simple.  No one knows your life BETTER than YOU!  Nor have they journeyed through it the same, no matter “how close” it may appear.  Nor could they ever fully understand things the way you do about your life.  Why do we do it then?

We are brought up in a society that teaches us to always find the answer outside of ourselves. It makes us insecure and in turn, we don’t trust ourselves.  But if we learn to practice stillness or some call it, mindfulness through meditation or other such practices, we can hear our own answers all the time!  The more you practice the stronger it will get.  If you think about it before you called your best girlfriend, you probably already had an answer to the situation.  But you called anyway to either get validation or because you didn’t trust that answer.

The other reason that advice doesn’t usually work is: You are asking a lot from this one person.  When you open up that conversation you both are in vulnerable states.  You feel inadequate and lost.  She feels a huge responsibility to help you and care for your feelings (or not, depending on the situation).  Ultimately, someone is going to fumble.  It could end with words like, “You are not listening to me!” and “I was only trying to help!”  Then a hang-up, or awkward silence.  It will take time for the friendship to cool off before you come back to it.

What happened here?

The advice she gave came from her own life experiences.  When you begin to tell her the situation, she will “listen” to your problem up to the point she finds herself in your story.  Meaning she can “relate” to an aspect of it. This is her way to justify her put-upon advice giver status and feel like she is actually helping you.  AHA! I know what to say now, could be a thought your friend has during your explanation. She is only actively listening for her entry point NOT totally what you are experiencing.  You will hear the advice-giver say things like, “I know what you mean because I’ve been through something similar…and this is what I did.”   Here’s your action plan!! But do you like it?  There will be something that doesn’t fit or make you feel good.  This is called dissonance.  You will feel a twinge in your stomach that is the opposite of an AHA moment feeling.  Your mind will say, I asked for this so I better make it fit.  OR you might fight back because she has misjudged you and your situation.  This can get a little ugly.

This is also how it’s not like Coaching.  Coaches do not counsel or advise clients but guide them back to their own inner guidance.  You know the initial answer you had all along. 😉  Here is how that conversation may go:
The Coach will say, “That doesn’t sound like a good situation.  How does that make you feel?”

The Client, “I’m really sad and hurt.”

The Coach, “I can imagine. What do you want to do about it?”

The Client, “I want them to know how it makes me feel.”

The Coach, “Have you done that?”

The Client, “No.”

We continue the conversation from there.  This type of thing may take some time.  It could be a pattern that needs its own healing before the client can feel like they are ready to do anything with it. Or there could be more to the story that we haven’t heard yet.  But if I jumped in here, and say, “WHY haven’t you told them!?”  I would have inadvertently judged her and suggested that she is weak or worse, her fear already, inadequate in handling her own life!

As a coach, I’m listening to the client and asking questions that maybe she isn’t able to do for herself.  I’m also getting to know how SHE processes her emotions and interactions with others. I’m not pushing my own ideas, my own agenda or life experiences on her.  It almost always makes a person feel worse. Coaching is really about: understanding the whole person by listening to that person and using compassion. Which I hope you can see now is very different from giving someone advice.


Ready to free yourself from advice?

Being “not perfect” allows me to be my True self.

Being “not perfect” allows me to be my True self.

cropped-9f9ea395695993f8ac9dfaf65c8d5ba71a256467-res2048.jpgIn this video, I tell you about what has been going on in the Life Coach for Expats world, or rather, with ME. I am working with a business coach which gave me an excuse, sort of, to stop writing/vlogging.  I also talk about the campaign #notperfect and show how I’m playing into the perfection game once more.   As I say in the video, “having a business is a self-development program.”

We are always working to be better. Check out the video!

Does this ring True for you?  Share in the comments!


Love Story- how I made it over the ocean!

Love Story- how I made it over the ocean!

DSC_6711In 2008, early morning on Thanksgiving day, I arrived in the Netherlands for a two week visit with a friend.  After a visit to town, jet lag set in and I needed to get a little rest.  Ten minutes AFTER I stretched out my legs, the doorbell rang and then he entered the room…  This is how my Love story started.  Go to the video to get all the dirty details!


Owning your $**^

Today’s vlog is about, well… owning your shit.  What I mean by that is how we often don’t tell our truth or when we aren’t honest about how we feel about situations or people.   I think for expats this is an important topic because often our support structures are created by the friendships we make. In this video, I suggest it’s better if you own your $#@! at the start of creating friendships. I would love to hear your experiences on this topic.



Did you struggle to find solid friendships when you moved abroad?  In what ways do you still have to “own your $#@!”?

Time and Energy

Time and Energy

Time and Energy was listed as the sixth item of the Top Ten list of things I learned by giving 100 free sessions.
#6. Time & Energy

Time and Energy #6

When I first announced this promotion, I had no idea how much support I would get in finding 100 people.  It all began when I had seen someone else post exactly what I had been thinking of doing, giving 100 free sessions to kick-start my business.  So when I saw it, I got a little mad at myself and said, “I’m not waiting anymore!”  I jumped right in and posted my intentions in one of my networking Facebook pages.   This very action got me out of my scare-d-y pants thinking and propelled me into a new place of getting it done!  I didn’t think about perfecting my promotional material, who, what or where.  Nope I didn’t wait. I just did it.  I found opportunities to talk about it at events, with strangers and friends.  When I braved those uncomfortable moments, more people offered to help.  I got an article published in The Hague On Line, an online publication for expats living in The Hague.  Also a few people shared my goal around Facebook which generated a lot of leads.  For a new coach this feeling was electric and palpable.  I never wanted this feeling to end! (cue “Time of my Life” song from Dirty Dancing).

I quickly realized I needed to get my administration in order.  That took some time as I had to figure out how to design it via my website.  This is known as “creating your conversion funnel“.  Those first few appointments I fumbled a bit.  Fortunately, no one seemed to notice but me.  I felt great about being busy but I also was starting to feel tired.  I had a lot to learn and I didn’t know how I could do it all.  By creating my funnel, I also had to establish a “firm” appointment schedule. Pffft! But because of lack of planning, I had to be flexible if I wanted to reach this lofty goal of 100 free sessions!  And by that I also had to be prepared to go anywhere.  I traveled everywhere to meet people.  Why, oh, why did I do this to myself?!

I was excited and just did it!  Something that comes natural to me.  But if I could offer any advice, should you go for it and do 100 sessions, start here:

  1. Sit down and look at your calendar
  2. Plot out what amount of time you are able to do every week towards your goal.
  3. Give yourself enough time to reach 100, so you don’t feel desperate and do impossible things with your time and energy. 🙂  For example:  Your goal, 100 sessions = 100 hours.  Each week you can devout, 10 hours for sessions.  That means it will take 10 weeks, or 2 1/2 months.
  4. Set boundaries.  Make sure to say you are only doing face to face sessions at these set times or don’t offer them at all.  You choose.  By the way, over Skype and phone is just as powerful as any face-to-face sessions I have conducted.  Let them know that!  And then bring it to them when you have the session.
  5. REST.  Do what it takes to give yourself a break.   You are helping a lot of people FOR FREE.  It will be exhausting.  I advise meditation.  Not your gig?  Go for a walk or take a nap.  Remember you are changing lives and that is a GREAT thing to be doing.
  6. Lastly,  really think about the reasons why you wish to do a 100 free session promotion.  It’s great feat. I realized later that maybe it was giving too much away and tarnishing the coaching profession.  I talk about here and referenced an article over why you shouldn’t do this.  See that article at the bottom of that post.