Self Care During The Holidays

Candles - self care during the holidays

The holidays are supposed to be joyful, right?!? And they can be – or they can be total chaos.

Overachievers and perfectionists (which I KNOW many of you identify with!) have a special challenge during the holidays – taking perfectionism and applying it to holiday cheer.

You have to find the best gift for everyone, get out your glue gun to create the most perfect ugly Christmas sweater, decorate your house and tree and cookies to look like a Pinterest board, and put that stupid Elf On A Shelf in the most creative place each day (I’m not a parent, so maybe I shouldn’t comment on this, but I do not get Elf On A Shelf! It seems like just one more thing on the to-do list during an already busy time.)

It’s time to stop. You are not responsible for creating the perfect holiday.

But even if you know that logically, it can still be hard. And this is a busy time of year for most people even if they aren’t overachieving at holiday making.

Here are my top 3 tips for self-care during the holidays:

  • Say no. I’ve written about saying no many times. It’s because most of us need to do it WAY more. The holidays are no exception. You get to say no to a party invite or a cookie exchange or even a volunteer event. Your no is not a judgment on the person extending the invite or your relationship or the worthiness of the activity – it’s just a no.
  • Take 5 minutes of your day just for yourself (or more if that works for you!): December is actually a slow time of the year for me in my business, which means it’s a good time of year to start new habits. Before diving into work each morning, I’m spending a few minutes journaling. I light a candle and write. It’s the perfect start to the day. You can take a bath, sit quietly with your cup of coffee, or just breathe for a few minutes.
  • Choose present over perfect: I’m stealing this from a book title (one I haven’t actually read but had to buy because of the title and is now sitting on my shelf). You will be more joyful this holiday season if you are present. Throw perfection out the window. Enjoy right now. Love the people you’re with. Doing this will create the moments you wanted in the first place.

What listening to dozens of writers has taught me about life

What listening to authors has taught me about life

I have always LOVED listening to writers. If you ask me to go to an event where an author is speaking, I’ll probably say yes.

I saw Elizabeth Gilbert in the basement of a Barnes & Noble right after Eat, Pray, Love came out – and right before she became uber-famous. Half her family was sitting in the basement of that bookstore AND Richard from Texas was there. They both signed my copy. (Which, sadly, was lost somewhere in all my moves.)

Jacquelyn Mitchard came to my dorm in college and told us that she writes ideas for her books on post-it notes and tosses them into a plastic container in her closet. When the container is full, she knows it’s time to start writing.

Ann Patchett outlines her entire book and then sits down to write it in single draft. Of course it’s edited, but she knows EXACTLY what is going to happen in the whole book when she sits down to write.

Brené Brown got stuck while writing one of her books and invited a bunch of friends to a working weekend on the beach where she told them her stories and they helped her finish the book.

Colson Whitehead, Chris Van Allsburg, Nicole Krauss, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan…they all have a different story.

You know what I learned from listening to all these amazing writers?

THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE A BOOK.

There is only figuring out the way that is going to work for you.

This is true for everything in life. Yes, you can listen to mentors and get advice from people that have gone before you. But then you have to turn inward, listen to yourself, to your true inner voice, and decide what’s going to work FOR YOU.

You get to decide the right way to do your career, to parent, eat, and take care of yourself. You get to decide the right way to do LIFE.

There are many great paths. You get to choose the ones that are right for you.

 

If you know something needs to change in the way you work and live and want guidance figuring out the right way for YOU to do life, schedule a free coaching consultation with me now. We’ll get underneath what’s holding you back and figure out if coaching is the right solution for you.

Brussel sprouts and learning to change your story

Brussel Sprouts and learning to change your story

I was conditioned from day one of my life to hate brussel sprouts. My mom HATED them.  She had an open vendetta against brussel sprouts.

She was unwillingly served them once at a restaurant and not only did she not eat them, she packaged them up and brought them home to prove to my brother and I just how disgusting they were.

I had a story in my head about brussel sprouts and it was in me DEEP.

For years I avoided brussel sprouts like the plague. It wasn’t hard to do – no one was making them in my family and they weren’t exactly on every menu in the 90s and early 2000s.

But then brussel sprouts made a resurgence. They started showing up at dinner parties. I saw people carrying around stalks of them at the farmers market. I noticed, but still didn’t make the move to try them.

And then I ate Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house and his cousin made roasted brussel sprouts. They were doused in olive oil, lightly sprinkled with salt, and roasted to perfection. They were crisp and tender and absolutely amazing.

The story I’d been telling myself for years was destroyed in a single meal.

That was two years ago. Today I legit CRAVE brussel sprouts. I buy the CostCo sized bag and eat them all myself.

By now you’re probably realizing this story isn’t just about brussel sprouts 🙂

It’s about all the stories you tell yourself. The rules you were taught growing up and are so deeply engrained now that you sometimes don’t even realize you’re following them.

I had a coach several years ago that told me in one of our calls, “The good news is you’re an adult and you get to change your story.”

You also get to change your story. You get to let go of the rules you’ve been following and create your own set of rules for life.

What’s your brussel sprout story? What rule do you need to let go of to have a life you love living?

 

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women to get out of their own way so they can have the life they want while making an impact. Click here to learn more about coaching.

The two keys to working less

The two secrets to working less

 

Who doesn’t want to work less? Even people that love their jobs and have pretty reasonable hours usually want to work less and have more time for family, friends, exercise, fun, creativity, etc.

And, let’s face it, most of you reading this aren’t working reasonable hours. You’re struggling to put boundaries around work. It makes no difference whether you’re an employee in an organization or an entrepreneur. Working too hard is an epidemic.

It’s one of the most common problems that people share when they come to me for coaching. You don’t want to work every night. You don’t want to check email while still laying in bed in the morning. You want to work hard and be successful, but also let go of it and be present in your time NOT working. We all want it.

Here are the two keys to working less:

  1. Work smarter, not harder: You’ve probably heard this one before, but how many of you are actually doing it? Hint: If you have your email open all the time when you’re working, you not doing it. There are so many ways you can get more efficient and cut out work that doesn’t matter so that you can work less – while also having a bigger impact with your time.
  1. Believe you can work less – and still be successful: This is the one you probably haven’t heard, but it’s even more crucial than the first one. Even when you KNOW that you can be more efficient and do the important work, if you have an underlying belief that you have to hustle to be successful, then that belief is going to override everything. If you believe you’re not the smartest one in the room, but you can work the hardest, then you’ll always work too much. If you believe that money only comes through working 60 hours a week, then you’re going to work 60 hours a week. If you feel like an imposter in what you’re doing, you’re going to work like crazy to keep others from finding you out.

You ALWAYS need both the outer practical work and the internal work to really make change. You have to look inside yourself to shift your beliefs and put practices in place to work smarter.

Either one without the other and long-term change is not going to happen.
That’s why you get both sides in my coaching. I don’t want you to make change for a few weeks – I want you to change your life, so that you can change the world.

If you’re ready to work less and love life while having a big impact in your career, schedule a coaching consultation with me today.

The connection between overachievers and imposter syndrome

The connection between overachievers and imposter syndrome

Can successful overachievers experience imposter syndrome?

This one is easy to answer.

YES.

And not only do they experience it, but successful women are actually more likely to experience imposter syndrome.

It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? I mean, if someone is successful on the outside, shouldn’t they feel like a success on the inside?

Rationally yes, but there are a million other things going on. Before I jump into them, let’s get clear on what imposter syndrome is. Part of it is self-explanatory – it’s feeling like a fraud or imposter. But the crux of imposter syndrome is assessing your skills, qualifications, and experiences as worse than they actually are. So even though you are high-achieving and successful, you don’t always see yourself that way.

Also – imposter syndrome is something you experience, not something you have. Some people experience it every day. Others never experience it. Most of us are somewhere in between – you’re feeling fine and then you have to walk into a room with a big-wig client and the imposter syndrome comes flooding in. Suddenly feel like you have no business being there, you’re not really an expert, and why would they hire you anyway?!?

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?!?

It’s complex, but here are some of the top reasons why successful women experience imposter syndrome:

  • Our culture places a high value on achievement. Do more, accomplish more, achieve more! This can quickly translate internally to feeling like you’re never enough. If you’re family reinforced this, it can be even stronger for you.
  • Little girls are praised for being perfect and following the rules from a young age. So when we break out of expectations to share a bold idea or take a different path in our career, it’s common to feel like a fraud. Like it or not, women still aren’t taught to break the rule or take up space. It’s evolving, but definitely there.
  • The culture at your work or school demanded perfection. People were called out publicly when they made a mistake. Eight people have to review and edit your PowerPoint before it’s shown. This kind of culture exacerbates imposter syndrome. Even if you’re in a great work culture now or even own your business, the effects of perfectionism and public shaming can last a lifetime.
  • We see the work behind the outcome – other people only see the great result. We see the holes, the errors, and all the effort and so we think of the end result as worse than it actually is.

There you have it. All the reasons it’s completely normal for you to be experiencing imposter syndrome.

You are not alone.

But don’t let these reasons become an excuse to hold yourself back. You can experience imposter syndrome – and take action anyway. Look for the evidence of your success and brilliance. Start to see in yourself what others see in you. Lean into your strengths and use them to create impact. Know your why and be pulled forward by inspiration and purpose.

You’ve got this.

P.S. Men experience imposter syndrome too. The research differs and it’s a spectrum for everyone, but women tend to experience it twice as strongly as men overall.

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women to get out of their own way so they can have the life they want while making a big impact with their business. Click here to learn more about coaching.

The realization that finally freed me from perfectionism and overachieving

Woman jumping in canyon

There were so many wake-up calls I totally ignored. Sobbing on the floor when I was a junior in high school because I was so completely exhausted. Nearly blacking out during a final in college. Getting shingles when I was 30.

I knew all these things were because of my crazy driving and overachieving, but I didn’t actually know WHY I was putting so much pressure on myself to succeed at EVERYTHING.

Until last winter.

I finally took a step back and asked myself the question.

The answer came to me in an instant.

I was working so hard to prove myself. To compensate for areas in my life that I felt behind or out of the race entirely. It started in high school when I was overweight and boys weren’t interested in me, so I put all my energy into getting good grades and being the captain of two sports and working at my church and volunteering.

And it continued up through last winter when I realized I was putting all the pressure on my business because I wasn’t married and wasn’t a mother. I thought to myself, “Well, I better be successful in my business, because if I fail here and I’m not married and I don’t have any kids, then what do I have to show for my life?”

Part of me knew this wasn’t true. I rationally knew that I was worthy as a human no matter what I achieved. But there was another part of me that didn’t fully believe it.

I didn’t want to keep feeling this way.

So I worked. My new mantra became you are worthy for who you are, not what you do. I let go of the comparison, of feeling like everything had to be successful the first time around, and adopted a mindset of progress over perfection. I practiced quieting the inner critic that was forever telling me I had to be working and proving and I started trusting my true inner voice. I even discovered I had an artistic side and started painting for the first time ever.

The inner critic isn’t completely gone, but it is SO MUCH BETTER. And you guys – life is so much more fun this way! An outsider looking in might not notice many differences, but I feel completely different on the inside. More centered and present and playful and open to the possibilities. I work from joy and inspiration rather than proving and driving.

This alone would be enough, but it isn’t all – my business has also continued to expand as I’ve done this work on myself.

This isn’t just my story – it’s the story of my coaching clients. These women are slowing down and enjoying life. They are growing their business and career because they focus on impact instead of proving. They are saying no and letting go of people pleasing. They are getting out of their own way and standing in their strengths. They are changing the world, one unhurried step at a time.

If you want to stop the madness of hustling for your worth so you can have the life you want while making a big impact, schedule a coaching consultation with me now. It’s a free 30-minute call where we’ll get clear on what’s holding you back and decide together if coaching is the right fit for you.

Don’t wait. Life is so much better on the other side.

 

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women to get out of their own way so they can have the life they want while making a big impact with their business. Click here to learn more about coaching.

How to get out of manic mode

Are you operating in manic mode?

I’m guessing if you clicked on this blog post, you already know what I’m talking about.

Manic mode. It’s feeling like you can’t slow down. Like there will never be enough time to get everything done, so you rush from place to place to check another item off a to-do list that never seems to get shorter. There is an underlying feeling of anxiety and edge through your entire body.

One of my clients calls this panic mode. Not quite an actual panic attack, but snaking in that direction.

It’s not a healthy place.

I first noticed my own manic mode a few years ago when I was running errands on a weekend day. I felt my whole body rushing with an urgent need to get everything done on my to-do list. It was like there was a hamster wheel in front of my lungs and I could feel it spinning faster and faster, whirring inside my body.

So I stopped.

My rational brain kicked in and I said to myself, “This is ridiculous. Nothing you are doing is an emergency. You don’t need to feel this way.”

I took a breath and let go of manic mode. The whir of the hamster wheel in my chest began to quiet down. My heart rate slowed. The underlying anxiety pulsing through my body started to subside.

I purposefully shifted my body out of manic mode and back into a normal state of being. Still moving forward. Still getting things done. Just without the manic.

I realized I could be productive AND calm at the same time.

Manic mode didn’t help me get through my to-do list any faster. It just made it less enjoyable.

After that day, I started to notice when I was operating in manic mode. The hamster wheel in my chest was the dead giveaway. Over time, I noticed more subtle signals as well. Shallow breathing. My mind ticking faster than normal. I often bumped into things when I was in manic mode – literally. I have manic mode to blame for countless bruises and scrapes!

Manic mode shows up less now than it used to, but it still makes an appearance every once in a while. When I notice it, I take a breath and move my body out of manic mode state. It’s an intentional shift. Sometimes I can do it in an instant and sometimes it requires sitting for a minute and taking deep breaths. But it works every time.

What does your manic mode look like?

Think about how your body tells you that you’re in manic mode. Do you have the wheel spinning in your chest like me? Or is there tightness in your belly? Do you feel like you can’t take a deep breath? The signals are different for everyone – start paying attention to yours.

When you notice it, stop and breathe. Tell yourself that you don’t have to live this way. Purposefully release manic mode. Feel your body and mind slow down. And then keep going on with your day – no manic required.

 

ONE FINAL NOTE: If you can’t slow down and manic mode is more than an underlying feeling – it’s a high level of overarching anxiety, please reach out for help. As I coach, I work with women that experience manic mode, but if you are having panic attacks or all-consuming anxiety, then a therapist or psychologist is a better fit (I have also worked with clients utilizing a therapist and me as a coach at the same time and it’s a great combination!).

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women that want to stop being so hard on themselves and get back their joy while still having a successful career. Click here to learn more about coaching.

 

How to let people help you

How to let people help you

You are a high achieving, smart, successful woman. You’re holding a million pieces of life together, juggling twenty balls and keeping them all airborne. You can spill your coffee down your shirt and walk into a meeting with your CEO 20 minutes later. You can simultaneously make dinner, teach fourth grade math, and listen to the emotional drama of a 13-year-old. You can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Possibly even walk on water.

In other words – You’ve got this.

But you don’t have to.

I can’t tell you the thousands upon thousands of times that someone offered me help and I responded with, “I’m good.”

I remember one trip to Houston, Texas when I first started my career coordinating leadership development programs for senior leaders. Thirty-five of us flew  from Minneapolis to Houston and then got on a bus to our hotel. Everyone had luggage, but I also had all the course materials for the week. More than one person offered me help, but instead of saying, “Thanks, that would be great” and handing them a box, I chose to sling my backpack over my shoulders, balance one box on top of my roller bag and drag it behind me, and situate another box on my hip with my arm slung over the top. My fingers barely reached the bottom.

It would have been so much easier to accept help. I didn’t even have to ask for it! It was offered directly to me. But my lifelong MO has been “I’ve got it” so that was my response. I remember taking a certain amount of pride in walking into that hotel, laden down with all my supplies and making it through the door without dropping anything. It gave me confidence to know that I always had it together.

This is a tiny example, but when a million of these tiny examples add up, they create layers of unnecessary stress and anxiety. It’s not just about accepting help with suitcases and boxes. It’s working late nights to complete a project that was really too much to take on in the first place. It’s bearing the weight of your husband’s illness in silence because you don’t want to be a burden on anyone. It’s crying in your car while sitting in the garage at home and then wiping your tears and smiling as you walk in the door.

I see two major reasons we don’t accept (let alone ask for!) help. First, we don’t want to be a burden. We’re afraid that we’re going to put a major inconvenience on someone. But here’s the thing – people LIKE to help. They ENJOY being needed. So flip your mindset and see that you are giving someone the opportunity to help you.

Second, accepting help is admitting that we can’t do it all. That is confronting. And scary. And vulnerable. This one often takes some deeper work. You need to get behind what’s driving you to feel like you always have to have it all together so that you can create a new story for yourself. A story that makes life easier and more enjoyable. This work is hard, but it’s worth it. This is the work that can really change your life.

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women that want to stop overwhelm and get back their joy while still having a successful career. Click here to learn more about coaching.

How to get back to the woman you really are

Getting Back To The Woman You Really Are

A client recently told me “I just want to get back to feeling like the woman I am.” Can you relate? Like it’s not actually change you need, but rather a returning to who you really are?

I get it. I spent several years actively saying out loud that I had reached the height of my confidence and freedom in sixth grade and now I was just trying to get back there.

So many things get in the way of being the woman you really are! And it’s not like they appear overnight. We have years of layers covering up our true selves. A layer of believing you always have to be successful, no matter what you’re doing. A layer of feeling like you have to lose weight. A layer of your inner critic saying you’re not good enough. A layer of culture telling you to be perfect, but not too perfect, to speak your mind, but not too loudly, and to be strong, but still feminine.

It’s no wonder you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself! I assure you, you’re still in there, but you’ve been buried alive!

What Women Hear

There is a lot of deep work to do in this area and I would love to work with you on it when you’re ready. In the meantime, I offer one simple way to start getting back in touch with your true self.

Ask yourself, several times a day, “What do I want right now?”

So simple, but when was the last time you really asked yourself that question? Most of the time it’s been so long that we’re completely disconnected from our desires.

Start asking yourself the question. Listen to the response. When many people start this practice, the response is nearly always “sleep”. If that’s true for you, allow yourself to fulfill that need to the best of your ability. Over time, other desires will start to appear and you’ll start to tap back into the woman you really are.

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women that want to stop overwhelm and get back their joy while still having a successful career. Click here to learn more about coaching.

What to do when your soul is appalled

What to do when your soul is appalled

I recently listened to Elizabeth Gilbert and Rob Bell interview each other at a live New Year’s event that they posted to Rob Bell’s podcast, The RobCast. In the middle of the interview Liz (I’ve seen her live twice, so clearly we’re on a casual first name basis 🙂) brought up what happens when your soul is appalled. And when you’re in this situation, she said, you don’t have to know exactly the path you’re supposed to be on. You only have to know enough to say, “NOT THIS”.

NOT THIS to the job that is sucking your soul dry.

NOT THIS to the schedule that is leaving you exhausted.

NOT THIS to the “friend” that takes way more than she ever gives.

NOT THIS to holding yourself to such high standards that it’s only a matter of time before you break.

NOT THIS to nodding your head silently and putting on a happy face while you’re screaming on the inside.

Elizabeth Gilbert Quote

Before I started my business I worked for many years in HR and leadership development for large companies. In late 2016 I found out we were going to restructure our team and shuffle around responsibilities. I let my wishes be known that I loved my work in women’s leadership development and was interested in doing more work in talent management.

On the morning of February 10, 2017 – my birthday – I found out that 75% of my job was going to be performance management. Something I never had any interest in. There was an immediate lurch in my stomach. I almost started to cry in my boss’s office, but I held back tears and said it would be fine. But I knew it wasn’t fine. My entire being was screaming NOT THIS.

My soul was appalled. There was nothing “wrong” with the job, but it just wasn’t right for me. I didn’t know the next step in my career but I knew it was NOT THIS. I immediately starting exploring and considering different possibilities. Get a different corporate job? Talk to my boss to let her know I couldn’t stay in this job very long? Or take the big leap and start my own business?

Over the next 5 months of exploring I landed on becoming an entrepreneur. It was exciting and terrifying and completely overwhelming, but my soul knew it was the right decision. Instead of NOT THIS, my soul gently kept saying, THIS, THIS, THIS (click here to get an exercise that can help you get back in touch with what your soul and inner voice are saying to you).

I had no idea where my path would lead that day in my boss’s office when I found out my job was going to change. I only knew that my soul was appalled and screaming NOT THIS.

Is your soul roaring NOT THIS to any part of your life? Comment of send me a message to let me know what’s happening for you.

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women that want to stop overwhelm and get back their joy while still having a successful career. Click here to learn more about coaching.