I’m a believer in Radical Wellbeing for CEOs, Founders and Entrepreneurs who are doing Brave Work.
First, What is Radical Wellbeing?
When I was coaching moms around the world to find more peace and ease in their lives, I often said this — > the harder the day you had with your most challenging kiddo, the more self-care you need.
Radical wellbeing is radical because it’s literally about putting yourself extremely first. Extremely. Because you need it. You’re holding up a lot.
Most of my clients are not just business owners.
They have families and homes and health issues.
They don’t have a ton of support for themselves.
And they have big dreams. Dreams that are often too big for them to take on because of their capacity.
Next, What is Brave work?
Brave Work is what Brave Yes CEOs put into the world.
It goes against the everyday norms of our society, the culture we were born into, the culture that we’re being swallowed up by right now.
It sets out to create a new culture.
A new identity.
A new way of being.
Upleveling or changing how we do our work, how we show up.
And much, much more …
Brave Work is often your soul’s work. It’s what you were meant to do.
And, it can also be doing the work you do — just very differently.
Whatever your Brave Work is— maybe it’s just being more visible and taking up more space — or putting yourself at the center of the work youv’e been hiding behind for so long … you have to have the clarity, the capacity and the courage to do it.
That’s the foundation of brave Yes coaching.
But today I want to focus on the capacity piece of my coaching work because so many of you reached out to say YES, CAPACITY. THAT’S WHERE I NEED TO INVEST RIGHT NOW.
I’ve been enjoying a very slow final two weeks of 2021 and I can’t tell you how needed it is. It’s been a year.
So I thought I’d share my own Year in Review – and a glance at the year ahead. As I write this, it’s a Friday and I’m at my co-working space downtown and I’m looking out the big wide windows at the quiet world. And at the same time, my teenagers went off to school under some mysterious warning of a possible school shooting.
It was courageous to send them to school. But honestly they didn’t even ask to stay home so I didn’t want to project my fears onto them.
Moved boldly into clarity, capacity and courage coaching by launching The Brave Yes. This was my first month not running a membership community in 8 full years so I think I mostly felt lost with not having 24/7 responsibility. I saw my creativity begin to flourish again and it was beautiful. The girls turned 15. And we got a puppy! My girl Jasmine “Jazzy” Jazzercise.
Oofph. This was a hard month. Dark, snowy, cold February in a pandemic and the kids not in school — especially the one who needs people in her life daily. I don’t want another month like this one in the future. But, I launched my Brave Yes Voices series on the podcast and really started to love those courageous, personal stories.
I started to really find my voice in my new body of work here and began planting some seeds. I also enlisted a coach to help me find clarity and find some support to regroup.
The girls were back in school four days a week this month and I was able to start to imagine what my work life and business — and coaching programming — would look like. I spent a lot of time writing and re-writing the copy on my website. I spent so much time on this … and I’m happy I did. I get a lot of comments on how much my words are resonating.
I enjoyed a lot of public speaking this month — including at a trauma conference where I was able to share my Strong Model for building Resilience. I also started leading labyrinth walks at my church as a fun spiritual wellbeing practice. They weren’t well attended so I stopped eventually.
I swam in the sea. Frolicked on the beach. Journaled in a tree house. Did yoga daily on the deck in the woods. And found my waves necklace that I wear a lot. This was a beautiful month where we stopped masking and started living a bit more in the world. This was also the month that I realized that working with corporate America and career women coaching was not my path.
HOT. This was just a hot month. A lot of swimming in the pool and the familiar juggle of motherhood and working motherhood — loaded with guilt of not doing enough to enjoy summer. However at the end of the month, I did take the girls on a 1500 mile road trip to see my family for the first time in two years and we had a beautiful time. It was the first time being with my one and only nephew. He’s 2 now. I broke down sobbing when it was time to leave.
This was a month I’d love to forget. At first, there was a lot of back to school muck. A new school that didn’t work out. The whole masking and not masking thing made things harder than they needed to be. There were floods. In the middle my husband turned 60. And then 2 weeks later he had a heart attack and I saw him go into cardiac arrest for 45 seconds.
More life struggles continued here. I lived in survival mode the entire month just trying to heal the shock and fear and find our new normal. But by the end of the month, things started to even out and started to see a new passion for my work — being a coach for creative entrepreneurs and CEOs who want to uplevel in their life or business.
This was just a recuperation month where we started to see everything calm down. Kids were in school 5 full days a week. The puppy turned ONE and she started to be a little more calm, too. 🙂 I also began hosting masterminds for entrepreneurs for a friend’s business this month which has been such a joy to do each week.
The big thing this month was that my Sister in Law asked us over for Thanksgiving and I didn’t have to cook or do anything. I know you know how delicious this was.
I went on a solo trip to Richmond this month and PEOPLED hard. It was energizing and exhausting. And I’m now ready to enjoy two weeks of laying low and working on a few big projects that I haven’t had time to do until now. I’m also resting a lot. It’s been a strange, beautiful and scary year. I’m ready for it to be over. I’m ready for a fresh start.
A LOOK AHEAD
All year in 2021, I offered my coaching to a wide variety of women with the hopes of helping women make a BRAVE YES career change or uplevel. And while that was some of my clients, what I saw most was that my work resonates more with creatives and creative entrepreneurs and CEOs.
And so … in January 2022, The Brave Yes Show is going to be renamed to Brave Yes CEO. And my new newsletter will be focused on what it means to be a Brave Yes CEO.
This, of course, is a Brave Yes in the making as I write and share this. I know this means a good-bye to so many who have been following me over the years.
But if you are an entrepreneur — or if you know one — please subscribe to my new newsletter and start to be a part of the energy I’m creating around stepping up as leaders of our businesses. Of course if you are a leader, this work will still apply to you and may want to follow along as well.
But my coaching will not change. I’ll still work with my current clients but I’ll be focusing my coaching work on helping highly creative and super scattered CEOs and entrepreneurs find the clarity, capacity and courage to uplevel and put their work into the world.
As for my personal life, well: The girls are turning 16 in January so that means a big celebration that right now — fingers crossed — includes going to NYC for a long weekend and, of course, that rite of passage of getting their driver’s permits. We’ll also celebrate Jazzy’s Gotcha Day on Jan. 9.
→ And my big goal for this year is to write my next book — and invest in the resources I need to make it beautiful and successful.
Now, I’d love to say how thankful I am for YOU for being here this year and being a part of this community. I’d love to hear about YOUR goals.
Take a moment to really think about that question.
If you are an entrepreneur or small biz owner like I am — knowing what you stand for is essential and will impact your business. But you should also know what you don’t stand for so you don’t end up chasing too many shiny objects. I always work with my female founder clients on the art of saying no — so we can make room for the Brave yeses. We have to clear the field — our energy field and life field — to make space for what we do stand for.
If you are a leader or changemaker in your industry and you have had some ideas of what you stand for but don’t know what to do with it because corporate or government culture is getting in your way … know that you have so much more power than you think. Living your purpose and letting what you stand for doesn’t have to be a flaming hot cheeto in the room. You can be quiet and subtle — unless you are ready to uplevel and do something bigger in your life or career. Then that’s where good career coaching or life coaching can help you. Quiet and powerful is possible.
If you are a creative person who wants to put your creative passion on the front burner of your life and you aren’t sure what that looks like yet … then I encourage you to play with your purpose and your passion in creative ways. The best artists and writers and creatives aren’t overthinking and putting too much time into planning. They are just doing the messy work of being imperfect.
What it Means to Lead more Courageously
When I started my first real blog — Awesomely Awake — my mission then — as is my mission now — was to help the world wake up. It has since fallen so asleep I’ve lost hope on what is possible for true mindfulness and presence practices — which I still use very much in my coaching work because I am a forever fan.
My life word is in fact AWAKE. But the purpose behind the blog and the coaching work I did back then was to wake people up. I was so tired of seeing people walking around like zombies on their phones and not engaging in the world around them.
Now it’s just the way it is for so many but I am still very much all about this — even if over the past year and a half has meant a reliance on tech in a bigger way than ever.
We are also seeing a movement for many to use tech less — so maybe there is hope yet. Peloton’s sales are dropping because people are going back to gyms. I stood for waking people up and that’s what I began to write about.
The movement and followers came along with me.
That eventually led to mindfulness and well-being programs for moms and the abundant mama project, which was rooted in mindfulness and spiritual practices to navigate the hardships of motherhood.
I think that by being here, listening to me, you too are awake — and maybe you are also tired.
Tired of hustling.
Tired of the daily grind of keeping up.
Tired of doing the same things over and over that aren’t working.
Tired of not thriving or flourishing but rather feeling like you are drowning in not enoughness and to-do lists that serve others best interest.
Now I stand for something else — well, lots of things — but mainly this — we need a diverse body of women — including you — to be at all the tables where decisions are being made, in the rooms where policy is being shaped, leaning in and not leaning out. We need women to show up, be seen and let their brilliance be known.
The world is very broken and awake women like you need to save us — to lead more courageously.
Once you know, you know. It’s like the gates of heaven opening up.
The sun rising.
The cloudy skies clearing.
It’s magical and energizing.
We don’t always know. We aren’t always able to get to clarity on our own. So find a partner to discuss this with. Share ideas. Be honest with each other. And if you don’t have a trusted partner for this exercise, try it with a mentor, coach or therapist, even.
Because .. doing something with what you stand for is likely the very key to your own well-being and happiness.
Perhaps you’re thinking … well, crap, I stand for a lot and I can’t choose and I get overwhelmed and I don’t even know how to move forward and actually DO something and take action because of that — and if that’s true, you’re not alone.
I’ve been there. Most of my clients have been there. Many times.
I call people like you — and myself — multipossibilitarians.
If only we could do it all! If this is you let’s chat. I am a master at helping you discover your strengths to match your potential.
OR, If the answer lights you up. — what are you going to do about it?
I work with creator, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are ready to uplevel or make a pivot in your life, work or business. Perhaps YOU are looking for a coach to help you design your Brave Yes around this very question is what you need for the new year. Let’s chat. I offer complimentary coaching sessions with women interested in coaching with me so we can see if we’re a good fit. Learn more here.
When life and business are precariously stacked to work against each other, the best thing we can do is restack it all again and again.
On a retreat in October 2019, I began studying resilience and stumbled into a metaphor for a more resilient life.
Rock cairns — a group of stones carefully and often precariously piled on top of each other to create a tower.
I had heard of rock cairns and even stumbled upon a few randomly in my hikes along creeks. But it wasn’t until this several day retreat and sitting in silent meditation that I realized that our lives can be designed as a foundation of resilience just like these beautiful rock towers.
Designing a Foundation of Resilience is essential for living and leading more boldly and bravely. If we want to change systems and disrupt the status quo — as we should all be doing — we need to have the emotional resilience and physical energy to do so.
But designing a foundation of resilience is not something we’re taught. We often figure it out too late — once a storm has hit.
In my work as a coach, I have created a foundation of resilience model that works like a charm. And the model reminds me of the rock cairns — towers that when built right are strong enough to handle anything. But when they are built incorrectly, they don’t stand a chance.
When just one rock is misplaced, it can throw off the balance of everything else and our lives — or our mindset — can fall apart.
When the wrong rock is chosen, we can feel less confident, and less sure of ourselves.
But when the just-right rocks are selected and stacked just right a solid foundation that can endure nearly any storm is created.
When we can build a life with the wrong tools we can feel out of alignment. We feel shaky. Wobbly. Out of sorts.
But when we build our lives — and businesses — based on intentional, purposeful decisions, our foundation is solid. We feel grounded and firm in who we are and what we are about, we feel strong and we can handle any storm that comes our way.
Rather than choose the wrong rocks that won’t create the right foundation, we must be intentional with each and every rock we put into our lives that create the ground we stand on each day.
What are 3 Elements to Consider when Designing a Foundation of Resilience?
Every rock you choose should bring you joy. If it doesn’t, your foundation will be out of alignment and not stable. Rocks of negative energy will disrupt your flow and your creativity. If joy is at the root of every decision you make, you can’t help but create a foundation of resilience.
The rocks of your life should bring more presence than drama, more calm than chaos, more relaxation than stress. Rocks that bring too much friction and choppiness will always cause shaky ground. Operating with mindfulness at the heart and soul of everything you do will create radical presence so you can listen and learn about what is working in your life.
STRENGTHS AND VALUES
The rocks of your foundation should be based thoroughly on your deepest, strongest values and strengths. As long as you always come back to what drives you and reflects your most moral obligations, you will always feel aligned. As long as you operate in flow and in your zone of genius, you will feel aligned and resilient.
Shawn Fink (she/hers) is a coach for creators & changemakers ready quit self-sabotaging & take up more space in your life, creativity and business. Host of The Brave Yes Show podcast. Learn more here.
During this series — which has been presented in both blog post and podcast formats — I have talked about several causes of our languishing as human beings right now and for the past years.
I’ve talked about how we are caught up in powerful systems like patriarchy, racism and capitalism. And I’ve talked about how those systems have so many women feeling trapped and stuck on the hamster wheel of life.
And, as I want to take a much-deserved and needed REST from performance striving such as recording my podcast while my girls are on summer break, I am bringing this series to a close, for now. I will be addressing these topics and MANY more in the coming days, weeks and months. But I’m putting this series to rest for now.
But first …
I want to give you some of my own life coaching wisdom — Shawn-isms — to help you get started on working to deconstruct and unlearn some of these oppressive power systems that have you — and most of us — languishing. The journey is long but if you begin today the closer you will be to making it to the other side.
—> You are invited to also receive MORE wisdom right now by signing up for my email list to receive my weekly-ish Brave Yes Newsletter AND as a way to help you get started on your own Brave Yes Journey, you will automatically get my 7 Days of Everyday Brave Yeses email course.
Listen to the more unfiltered, passionate version of this over on the Brave Yes Show podcast now or read below.
5 Life Coaching Pep Talks to Help You Step Out of Languishing Mode and Start Thriving
BREAKING DOWN OVERWORKING AND OVERDOING
The only way to stop overworking and overdoing is to know when you are. And the only way to really know is to check in with yourself. Only you can know what is too much and what isn’t. So start a daily — or multiple times a day — check-in with yourself. Find a way to talk to your body as if it’s your best friend. Your body knows when it’s in stress. Your body knows when it needs to slow down, rest, stop but you have to know what to do and when.
BREAKING DOWN PERFECTIONISM
Notice when you aren’t making progress in the parts of your life where you want to make change or experience momentum and ask yourself what perfectionism has to do with it. Is your binary mindset — all or nothing thinking — creating a situation where you can’t move forward out of fear of getting it wrong? Focus on the practice. The Journey. Not the outcome. And, see how your high expectations and extreme pressure to change people may be hurting other people as well.
Allow yourself to be totally honest about what you are capable of handling and when enough is enough on being strong. It’s OK to purposefully unpack your strongwoman backpack and lay it all down for a bit. This is all about giving yourself permission.
BREAKING DOWN SETTLING FOR LESS OR NOT GOOD ENOUGH
“I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and do the job,” she said on the Zoom session.
These were the exact words from a client I just started working with who wants to find a new career — one that allows her to fully self-express the way she longs to be seen in the world — but who also needs money to get where she wants to be.
She is feeling the pressure to settle or accept a life that isn’t really what she wants …
But, when she’s working in a corporate job, she doesn’t feel alive let alone aligned.
What she feels in those 9-5 work hours — and the toll it pays on her life, time and energy — is called Languishing — a state in mental health that describes a condition where you are not depressed but not thriving either.
Languishing is a no-joy land. It’s a no-pleasure space.
Well, today I am diving into another political system we are trapped under and that is the — or sucking it up — that so many amazing, talented, star-powered women like you get stuck in stagnation and languishing rather than taking the risks — or, what I call Brave Yes Leaps — needed to show up more authentically and aligned in this unique journey of being human.
Listen to this on the Brave Yes Podcast or keep reading below!
What happens when you feel trapped in your life or stuck in a bad job
We have all had to suck it up in our lives. Most of life, in fact, is about sucking it up — for at least the time being.
The question to ask yourself, though, is … “how long should I tolerate it?”
You may not feel like you are languishing because languishing is subtle. It can be evident to those around you or you may be the only one that knows.
There are many signs to be aware of when you are truly languishing in a situation or career where you are not flourishing in mind, body and spirit.
Believe it or not it is your right to thrive on this earth. You are worthy enough to feel good and have a good life. And to think otherwise is a sign that you need to make some changes to your inner belief system.
When you feel trapped or stuck, though, there are signs that can help you snap out of the mundane survival mode you are stuck in.
Those signs include:
Feeling like you are slogging through your days.
Waiting on perfect conditions to do what feels good
Resentment — what I call The Land of Bitter and Sour
Blaming Others or making excuses for your life
You have big dreams, but little follow through
Low energy, low ambition
You’re just dialing it in at work and at home
These signs are little red flags to pay attention to to decide just how long you have to tolerate your circumstances.
Because the pressure to stay comfortable and not do big, bold things is so great that it’s easier to stay in place than to make a change.
The opportunities to advance and grow and move are few and the risk is too great and so we end up doing one of two things.
Settling or accepting.
And then, beyond that, we take it further to the extreme and decide to stick with it or leave it all together.
Thinking there are only two options — Leaning in or opting out — is binary way of thinking and only perpetuates the cycle of languishing.
The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn’t Serving You
“Never settle for less than you desire or deserve because when you accept crumbs people will assume that you are happy with scraps.” ― Stacye Branche
I’m always careful when I work with clients about one of my favorite practices: acceptance. It is what it is was a mantra I used for a long time.
Until I realized that sometimes it can work against you and cause women to settle too much into harmful, toxic situations.
For the record, I have NEVER been a settling type woman.
Settling is accepting less than you deserve or being treated in a way that isn’t serving you.
Settling isn’t the same thing as acceptance.
Acceptance is saying yes to an acceptable situation or circumstance with intention and purpose. You can accept a job that doesn’t go against your values while you work toward finding your life’s calling.
You settle when you don’t feel you can do better.
You settle when you don’t think you have anything more to offer.
You settle when your confidence is low or when you’ve lost sight of what’s most important to you and to your future self.
Acceptance, though, is about stepping into your power. It’s about making choices that are fully aligned and within your value system so while it’s not ideal it’s also not harmful or toxic.
You can intentionally accept what isn’t serving you so long as you know that it’s for the short term.
But the goal of any situation where you are settling needs to be to get your to the next situation that is more acceptable.
And the goal for any situation where you are in full acceptance should be to get you to a place of thriving.
All of these require you to move out of your comfort zone, though, or else you may remain in the land of land of bitter and sour and keep languishing for the rest of your life or career.
Knowing when it’s time to leave your comfort zone
When I took the Brave Yes Leap to quit working my 9 to 5 job eight years ago, it would have been easy to stay in my comfort zone of that employer that offered great benefits and a decent salary.
However, like my client I mentioned at the start of this post, I was languishing.
I wanted more time with my twin daughters.
I absolutely wanted more time for my creative work.
And I wanted freedom.
To leave that job meant leaving financial security behind. It meant no more human resources and a steady paycheck.
But to stay in a position that wasn’t helping me feel aligned in my life and creativity or making me feel good would have meant long-term languishing.
At that point, for me, I knew I needed to choose courage over comfort — just like I did last year when I decided to change the direction of my coaching work.
Where you want to learn to get comfortable is in your stretch zone as it’s going to help you get to where you can thrive.
Your stretch zone is where the magic in life resides. It’s where you get to test your courage and your audacity — but not in a way that is too scary or too much.
If you ignore your stretch zone and jump straight into big, scary change you may end up in the danger zone. The danger zone is so overwhelming and so out there that you might quit before you get too far. This is like diving into the deep end when you can’t swim. This could have you sinking in a state of languishing before too long.
Start in the shallow end and move to the middle — that is where the stretch zone is.
But it all begins, first, with the second stage of change — understanding and being AWARE that there is, definitely, a problem and something needs to change.
That’s when you can start to prepare and set intentions to take action to address your challenging situation.
You will no longer be slogging through the mud of life. Your steps will no longer feel heavy.
You will feel lighter.
A smile will pass your lips all day long.
You will be swept up in the current of your own bliss and joy.
You will be braver still because suddenly one scary brave yes makes all the others a little less so.
You will find new friends, new people who will gravitate to this new you. The more boundaried you.
But to do this, you must first choose yourself and invest in your own possibilities.
How many of us are women with little girls inside of us who had dreams that never came to fruition not because we weren’t capable but because we simply didn’t believe in ourselves or we didn’t have the stamina to keep doing the hard, uncomfortable parts of moving the needle in our life?
And, great news … you don’t have to languish — even if you are yet ready to make a change.
That is the beautiful thing about the journey toward wholeness. You can thrive right now AND work toward change that brings you full soul alignment.
Change is hard and takes time. It’s often filled with risk and uncertainty.
It is actually a whole lot easier to begin by creating a beautiful life where you are right now so that you feel fully supported and resilient while you are working toward change.
So back to my client who decided she needs to suck it up and take the 9-5 job — her big worry was about losing herself — not just her time and creative energy –but her whole beautiful, authentic identity.
And that worry is absolutely valid. 100 percent.
She can work on her thriving right now while she’s in the messy middle working toward her audacious, aligned life goals. And I told her I would absolutely help her with her time management and creative energy — that’s what I do — so that she doesn’t feel totally zapped by her day job.
And so I asked her about her frustration at not being able to self-express during her day job — what can she do to spice up her “vanilla work life?”
She had the perfect response …
Rolling in colorful sprinkles is the perfect antidote to coping with a less than ideal — but acceptable — situation.
You can thrive in place — so long as you know that you must keep moving. You must keep growing and changing and not giving up on yourself or your worth.
It’s OK to be in the comfort zone so long as you know it’s just a resting place, not a final destination.
It’s OK to settle for a bit so long as you are working toward the life of your future self where you are the shining star.