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.

The ONE question to ask yourself to know if it’s time for change

art-background-brick-272254

Are you ready for the easiest way to know if it’s time to make a change? It’s a single question and will only take you 5 seconds to answer. Here it is…

Take a deep breath and fast forward one year into the future. You’ve continued on the exact path you’re on today.  You’re in the same job, same pace of life, relationships functioning in the same way. How does that make you feel?

Be honest. What was your immediate response?

If your answer was “I’d feel awesome!” or “Great! I’d be happy to keep going down the same road I’m on now!” then you’re probably good. Of course, we always can (and should!) continue to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and develop, but your general trajectory is likely solid. And that’s awesome!

But if your immediate response was feeling sad, stuck, overwhelmed, anxious, or even angry, then it’s a sign you need to make a change.

Tell me, what was most frustrating when you pictured yourself on the same path one year in the future? Was it your job? The crazy hustling you’re doing to get everything done each day yet still feeling behind? A relationship? Continuing to be tired – not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Or was it everything all together?

Take some time to explore what came up for you. Often the first thing that comes to mind is only part of the picture. Dig deeper. Re-evaluate what is really most important to you. Start taking action to change.

If you’d like help figuring out what changes need to happen and taking action to make those changes a reality, I would love to talk to you. You can schedule a free coaching consultation HERE.

You deserve to lead a life you love. You deserve to be fulfilled. You deserve to look a year into the future and be EXCITED. 

 

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to stop the hustle so they can reclaim their life and focus on what’s really important. Click here to learn more about coaching.

Ode To The 2019 Woman

Ode To The 2019 Woman

Last Friday I laced up my hiking shoes, silenced my phone, and headed out for a short walk in the woods. Ten minutes into enjoying the sunshine and movement I was suddenly overcome with words I just HAD to write. I pulled out my phone and stood on the side of the trail writing line after line into my Evernote app. This is what came out. This is everything I want to say to my clients, to myself, and to all women everywhere. This is my message for you.

 

Ode To the 2019 Woman

You are more than your job title and your latest performance review.

You are more than your pants size, dress size, and cup size.

You are more than being a mother – or not being a mother.

You are more than what anyone thinks you “should” be doing.

 

You don’t need permission, but if you want it, here you go.

 

YOU HAVE PERMISSION.

 

You have permission to set boundaries.

You have permission to slow down. To breathe. To rest.

You have permission to wear the red dress and feel like you might be too much.

You have permission to take up space. To share your point of view. Loudly. With no question marks at the end.

 

You are allowed to cry.

You are allowed to be overwhelmed.

You are allowed to be mad, sad, livid, scared, and frustrated.

You are allowed to feel whatever feelings you are feeling.

 

You are also allowed be HAPPY.

You are allowed to experience delight. And pleasure. And ease.

You are allowed to bubble over with joy and laugh until your cheeks hurt.

You are allowed to stop wherever you are, look up at the sky, and overflow with the complete wonder of it all.

 

You don’t need to apologize for saying no to someone else.

You don’t need to feel guilty for saying yes to yourself.

 

You are bold, brave, and beautiful.

You are enough in every second of every day.

You are all you need to be.

 

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to stop the hustle so they can reclaim their life and focus on what’s really important. Click HERE to join Heather’s mailing list and receive a free copy of Five Ways To Quiet The Inner Critic.

Do you feel stuck? Here’s what’s REALLY going on

action-adults-adventure-1201673

Coaching clients often come to me with the same problem – they feel “stuck.” Some are unhappy in their job and want to make a change, but they don’t know what that looks like. Some have a vision, but are overwhelmed and unsure of the next step. Some say they just want to get back to feeling like themselves again. Others feel like they’ve lost their ability to dream and consider new possibilities.

Occasionally these clients really do some practical tools to consider new career paths and possibilities.

But that’s not usually what happens.

Almost every time, once we get into the coaching, we discover the problem isn’t being stuck. Here’s what really going on:

  1. Doubt and fear are getting in the way. It’s not that they don’t know WHAT they want – it’s that they don’t think they can actually GET it. They don’t go for the job they want because they don’t feel qualified. They don’t launch the business they’ve been thinking about for years because they’re afraid it’s not going to work or or believe it’s all been done before, so why even try. They don’t change career paths because they worry about what other people are going to think or fear they don’t have what it takes to be successful in a new field.
  2. They’ve lost connection to their true inner voice. This is the voice of your inner wisdom. Your authentic voice that is completely aligned to your purpose and values and JUST KNOWS. It’s always there, but we’re not taught to listen to it. It gets lost in the noise of our lives.

These often go together. When you lose connection to your true inner voice, you start to doubt yourself. Fear and imposter syndrome and the inner critic show up and throw a party.

The good news is this is completely fixable! Through coaching and different practices you can manage doubt and reconnect to your true inner voice so you can get unstuck and start following your true path.

Want to start today? Click HERE for a 15-minute journaling exercise to tap into your true inner voice.

What do you hire a coach for?

adult-american-blond-1282268

I often get asked why people hire a coach and when is the right time to invest your energy and money into coaching. There are a MILLION great reasons to hire a coach, but people tend to fall into one of two broad categories:

  1. You’re facing a challenge and you want help sorting through it and making good decisions
  2. You’re looking to take your business, career, or life to the next level and you want accountability, tools, and support to make it happen

Yes, those are huge categories! You can find a coach to help you on parenting, divorce, weight loss, work-life balance, becoming a CEO, team dynamics, leading change, etc, etc, etc. It can be overwhelming! I want you to know exactly who I work with and can best serve.

First, I work with women! I’ve worked with hundreds of women in workshops, leadership development programs, and in one-on-one coaching, so I KNOW what women are facing and have developed tools designed especially for you. Beyond that, my clients tend to fall into one of three categories:

  • You’re considering making a career change, but the thought of actually taking the leap is terrifying!  Maybe you want to leave corporate and start a business. Or change companies. Or entire career tracks. But you think to yourself, “Can I really do this? What if I fail? Can I be successful elsewhere? What will people think?”
  • You experience a lot of self-doubt and imposter syndrome at work and want more confidence. You may feel like a fraud, question your skills, wonder if everyone in the room is smarter than you, or hold yourself back from opportunities because you don’t feel ready.
  • You’re a stressed-out overachiever that wants to take a more balanced approach – while still finding success in your career. You’ve been hustling since high school and you’re ready for the madness to stop! You want to achieve in your career AND enjoy the rest of your life.


Do any of these sound like you? If so, it’s time to schedule a call with me. In this free 30-minute consultation you’ll get clear on what you want and what’s holding you back. We’ll get to know each other, I’ll answer all your questions, and then we’ll decide together if coaching is the right fit for you.

 
In addition to the massive amounts of personal growth that comes with coaching, my clients have asked for (and received!) raises, received multiple job offers, and created new career paths for themselves. They’ve also learned to say NO so they can slow down, enjoy life, and get the important work done. After coaching they trust their true inner voice and have tools to manage doubt so they can get out of their own way. They are living life and pursuing their career ON PURPOSE. Past clients have said:

  • “Heather helped me find the answers and get the strength to seek them out.  Neither one of us knew where they were or what they were, but she guided me in a gentle way AND supported me in the process when it was super scary and I was full of doubt and fear.  And she helped me find the strength to question that fear and replace it with something else that made me feel empowered instead of scared. It was a journey of discovery. Actually life changing in many ways.”
  • “I feel more empowered. Less timid. I needed that little push to know that there’s more of me I can experience. Those fears are just fears. They can’t control my way of thinking or the way I feel about myself.”
  • “I learned how to believe in myself and know my worth.”
  • “Heather is very competent in the HR space and has a strong grasp of organizational dynamics. I never felt judged by her, but she pushed me when I judged myself.”

Click HERE to schedule your free coaching consultation.

Did you know that I make a $50 donation to the non-profit of your choice when you refer someone to me that becomes a client? Go ahead and forward the link to this blog post to anyone that might benefit from coaching – it’s a win-win for your friend and your favorite non-profit!

My #1 Tip For Dealing With Imposter Syndrome

boss-brainstorming-business-1093913

IMPOSTER SYNDROME! If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably heard of it. But just in case….here’s a quick definition. 

Imposter syndrome is just that – it’s feeling like an imposter, a fraud, like someone is going to find you out.

It also means that you assess yourself as lower or worse than you actually are. Like when you get an awesome opportunity and you think, Holy crap, I’m not ready for that! I just got lucky. I only got that opportunity because they like me. 

Yep, that’s imposter syndrome.

It manifests in a bunch of different ways, from not going after the promotion or big client because we aren’t sure we can really hack it at that level to keeping ideas to yourself in meetings (especially with leaders!) to staying in a bad job too long because you question if you can be successful at another company.

And it just doesn’t feel good. Wouldn’t you rather feel like your confident, authentic true self rather than a fraud? Yeah, me too.

SO – now that you have your primer on imposter syndrome, what the heck can you do about it?!?

Here’s my #1 tip: NAME IT.

Yep. That’s it. Whenever you hear those imposter thoughts start to circle in your head, stop and NAME IT. Say to yourself “That’s just my inner critic talking. That’s just imposter syndrome. It’s there. That’s cool. I hear you, but you’re not going to make decisions for me.” 

That’s it! Try it the next time you feel like an imposter and your inner critic shows up. Let me know how it goes!

Are you ready for more ways to combat imposter syndrome? Click here for Five Ways To Quiet The Inner Critic that you can use today!

Why Our Brains Are Dumb

archery-art-artistic-416832

We put a lot of stock in our brains. It’s held up as THE mastermind of our entire being. It’s the smart organ, the place where all our facts, learning, and knowledge are stored.

But there are some MAJOR gaps in our brain – particularly related to fear.

Take my experience of becoming an entrepreneur….

There were times when I was thinking about quitting my job to launch a business that I felt like the air was being sucked out of me. Like someone had tied a corset around my lungs and pulled the strings tight. My heart would beat fast, I’d get a pit in my stomach, and sometimes I’d even get nauseous.

My brain screamed, “STOP! I don’t know anything about this entrepreneurship thing. Don’t even think about going there!”

My brain interpreted this new venture as a threat. Like the possibility of running my own business was trying to kill me.

BUT NOTHING WAS ACTUALLY WRONG. I was completely safe.

And this is why our brains are dumb.

Our brains are designed to have a reaction to anything new and different. Because, in our brain wiring, the unknown isn’t safe. It’s uncharted territory that could kill us (literally).

This worked great when we were living outside being chased by animals. And it still works great when our actual, physical safety is at risk.

But most of the time our brain’s reaction to fear only serves to keep us small. To keep us safely planted in the circle of everything that is familiar and comfortable.

The problem is there’s a long list of amazing experiences that only exist outside the circle of familiarity. Starting a business. Going to a different country for the first time. Saying I love you. Sharing your writing. Singing in public. Doing anything on a stage. Getting a new job.

Pretty much anything that involves growing, learning, risk, and following our dreams is outside of the circle that our brains fervently try to keep us locked inside.

The good news is that once we do the scary thing our brains start to realize that we DIDN’T DIE – and maybe it would be okay to do it again. So our fight or flight reaction cools down a bit the next time around. It gets a little easier to take action.

One thing that has helped me overcome my brain is to simply ask myself,”Am I safe right now?”

99% of the time the answer is yes. Sure, I might be afraid of making a mistake or embarrassing myself, but that’s not going to kill me. So my brain can just back off.

Try it the next time your heart beats faster and your palms start to sweat. Stop, take a breath, and ask yourself, “Am I safe right now?” If the answer is yes, choose to override your brain, take another deep breath, and start moving forward.

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with women to stop the hustle and reclaim their joy. Click HERE to join Heather’s mailing list and receive a free copy of Five Ways To Quiet The Inner Critic.