There’s No Magic In Making Decisions

There’s No Magic In Making Decisions

Whenever I would make big decisions in my life whether it was about a career transition, buying a new car, or moving from one place to another, I would find myself talking to several of my closest friends or family members to “validate” my thoughts and get buy-in on my big decision. I often felt as if I subconsciously needed permission to do the big hairy audacious things, that in the moment would seem scary or drum up feelings of uncertainty. Of course, fear would creep in, and my ego would insist that I play small, and stay safe.  I would always ask the proverbial question  “What do you think? or “Does that make sense to you?” which now, I realize for me was code for “Would YOU do that?” , or “Do YOU think it’s a good idea?”. You see, my ego would push me to find those voices that would essentially agree that I should just keep the boat steady at all times.

I’ve come to realize that possibility and magic, live outside of the comfort zone. So, I have to expect that making bold decisions is naturally going to cause some discomfort, and that’s okay.   

Here’s what I learned.

·       Trust yourself – if there’s something that you want to do, and you’ve given it thought and it feels good to you, then do it.

·       Don’t be afraid to fail – It’s okay to make a mistake. In fact, making mistakes is one of the ways that we learn.

·       Slow Yourself Down- Sometimes stepping away and finding a quiet space to sit and think can be helpful when you’re making a decision. Allow yourself to get quiet enough to hear your own voice.

·       It doesn’t have to be the greatest idea to move forward – We’re always in learning mode, so give yourself permission to explore an idea and develop it along the way. Sometimes the best idea starts out as a seed and grows with time and effort.

·       In the book, Big Magic, author, Elizabeth Gilbert says about fear “You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you’re not allowed to have a vote”


Now, More Than Ever, Take Time for Self – Love

Now, More Than Ever, Take Time for Self – Love

It goes without saying that this year, the campaign and the election results were troublesome in so many ways. Without getting too deep into the muck, many of us had a visceral response when the election results were announced on November 9th. Emotions ran the gamut from being elated, to completely distressed. As a coach, I get to peak underneath the hood and I have experienced that for many, practicing some good old fashion self-love, can make a huge difference.

There are those days in life, when you give yourself, total permission to lie out on your sofa and watch Netflix, eat Talenti caramel cookie crunch, guilt-free, and give yourself time to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.

When those feelings expire and you’re ready to get back in the game, consider the following ways to pour back into you and nourish yourself:

  • Take a meditation walk, spend time noticing the change in the seasons, check out the colors of the leaves, the flock of birds flying and the brisk air.
  • Visit family or close friends and just be with them. Enjoy the time being together, playing a card game, watching a movie, or sharing a good meal.
  • Notice where the stress may be in your body, and get a massage. What a great feeling it is to work out the tension in your muscles, and release the tightness in your shoulders or neck.
  • Sit back and listen to your favorite music. Play it loud and get up and dance as if no one were watching you, and you knew every step to the nay nay.
  • Find five people and give them all bear hugs. Studies show that human touch and closeness are therapeutic and can go a long way in making us feel better.

Don’t be afraid to love yourself and to practice being kind and gentle with yourself. Life can be tough at times, and the more we purposefully pour back into ourselves, the more ready we will be, to face the new day with open arms.

Surviving the Chrysalis Stage and Finding Your Wings on the Other Side

Surviving the Chrysalis Stage and Finding Your Wings on the Other Side

Change is like letting go of one trapeze in the air to catch another one, but right before you grip the bar, the transition begins.  In the book, Managing Transitions, by William Bridges, he states “Transition starts with an ending and finishes with a beginning”.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about being in my own transition phase. I haven’t quite figured out if I’m completely out of it just yet, but what I know for sure is, I’m beginning to enjoy the process so much more . My story begins with being a very ambitious career oriented young woman, who graduated from college, moved from a suburb in New York to a suburb in Washington DC, got married, started a career, had two sons and basically continued to follow the already pre-determined template of a successful life.

And yes, there were a few detours and bumpy roads along the way, but for the most part, things went as planned. Fast forward, let’s just say, twenty plus years, and here I am, thinking about my “What’s Next” and not only am I thinking about my “What’s Next”, I’m realizing the corporate machine is no longer working for me. I am not feeling fulfilled, I’m not passionate about what I’m doing, and I have no idea what my purpose is supposed to be. So, “what’s next?”, I ask myself.  I suddenly realize, I am in the chrysalis stage of my life. You know, the chrysalis that forms that protected shell where the ugly caterpillar goes through this metamorphosis and comes out as a beautiful butterfly. It’s the perfect metaphor for what this experience is like.  I find myself wanting my life to be different, but not certain of what that “difference ” looks like, or what will be required of me, while I go out and search.  My thoughts are filled with knowing that there must be more joy, more fulfillment, more passion to my everyday life. This just can’t be the end of the yellow brick road. At first, being in the chrysalis is not fun, after all, it is the zone of the unknowm but it turns out to be the beginning of one of the most accelerated forms of self exploration and personal development. So, letting go of the trapeze for me, began with making some bold choices. And ultimately, it also included the realization that I had to stop asking everyone around me for permission to go live my dreams. I had to understand that if I wanted things to be different in my life, that I had to do things differently. Easier said than done, but armed with a high level of curiosity and the confidence in myself to forge ahead, I made some choices and set out on my journey. This past June, I left my corporate gig behind and I became a full-time entrepreneur. This was definitely and by no means an easy decision to make. However, I realized that my time in the chrysalis helped me to gain the clarity that I needed to take the steps necessary to get me closer to arriving at the next big thing for me and moving happily into my new season. Along the way, I developed new relationships, created new partnerships, and found new resources and tools to educate myself and became a personal development junkie. Oh, and most importantly, I hired and connected with a coach. I realized I needed support along the way, and I needed to tease out what I truly wanted from what I thought I needed. I had to move away from the monologue going on in my head, who’s sole mission was to keep me comfortable and at the same time playing small.  I spent some time really understanding what made me happy, beyond a bowl of ice cream. And at some point, I realized that it was time for me to not only challenge the old stories in my head, but to let many of them go so I could make room for new experiences and new opportunities. I wanted to connect with people who were having or had a similar experience to mine, and wanted to hear their stories too. I wanted to own my time, and make decisions about the direction of my life. I wanted to remove any perceived and real fences that got in my way from exploring my creative side and using my right brain. I wanted more courage in my life to do the things that brought me joy and simply to live without the template that I was so heavily reliant upon but no longer wanted to follow.

Being in the chrysalis is uncomfortable, and it is filled with a tremendous amount of uncertainty and insecurity. It is that point of your life where you arrive at a crossroad, and it’s time to make a decision about which direction you will take. And, it doesn’t help that your inner critic is doing their best to keep you trapped, right where you are. It is that time, where if you choose to summon up all of your patience, courage and fortitude, and you crush any self-doubt that exists, the rewards waiting on the other side can offer up a life that is driven by purpose, reflects all that you want and has you being really clear about what’s next for you. And once you have that clarity about what you want, you will become unstoppable in the pursuit of getting it and making it happen.

Surviving the chrysalis, gets you through that transition time, and helps you catch the other bar of the trapeze, while you’re still in the air, and safely moves you to the other side. While everyone’s time spent in the chrysalis is different, and everyone’s experience is unique, it can be memorable and worth embracing.

I am a transition coach and I help people move through that challenging time in their life where they are looking for their next season and working on finding the answer to the question of what is next for me.

Check out my thoughtful coaching packages and find the one that meets your needs.


What Have You Done For You Lately

What Have You Done For You Lately

How satisfied are you with your life right now? And have you ever given any thought to what you would change, if anything, about your life? Have you ever pondered over what you want more of and what would you want less of in your life?  For me, I wanted more connection. I wanted to move away from feeling isolated in the routine of my life. Not that there weren’t plenty of people around me every day; after all, being the fourteenth person in line at a local Dunkin Donuts every day was a definite reminder that I was not alone. I simply craved more joy, and I wanted to feel like I had a purpose beyond getting up in the morning, sitting in traffic and going to my office for eight to twelve hours a day.

Wanting something to be different, means you have to invite change into your life. That’s where I got stuck. You see, in my heart I wanted things to be different; but in my head,  I liked the idea that I was comfortable.  And I wasn’t quite sure what the outcome would be if I started shaking things up and messed with the status quo. I was running on auto pilot. It was much easier to ignore the whispers in my ear that told me there is so much more out there to life, and so many opportunities to find something that would get me excited and ignite the passion that I felt when I graduated from college years ago, and anticipated that greatness awaited.

It goes right back to knowing what we all know, which is “If you want something to be different in your life, you have to do something differently”. Trust me, creating change is not as scary as it sounds. In fact, discovering new passions or getting reacquainted with old ones can make huge a difference. Let’s just say it’s the difference between a hot chocolate Sunday and a granola bar. Both have their positive attributes, but boy, are they different.

If this resonates with you, then I invite you to begin making moves to find whatever it is you would like to have more of in your life. Feel free to embrace possibility or just take a look around the bend and notice the positive things that are waiting for you. Here’s a few tips to get you started:

  • With pen & pad, or your PC in front of you, write down all the things that you love doing. It doesn’t matter if they were things that you did when you were a kid, or when you were single, or when you were ten years younger. Just start making list of all the things that brought you joy. My list included, painting, traveling to new cities, learning a new language, discovering new book shops and finding more jazz festivals.
  • Now that you have your list, give yourself a moment to embrace this new perspective, and to get clear on what you want. Think about what serves you in the best way, and what doesn’t. What’s in it for you?
  • Get some support. Hire a coach. Hiring a coach can help you stay on track and create structures that keep you focused on pouring back into you. Creating positive change in your life can be challenging, whether you are choosing to lose twenty pounds or planning to run your first marathon. Having a good support structure in place will help you develop your plan, track your milestones and ultimately accomplish your goal.
  • Change your behaviors and get started making moves. Take a look at your list and determine what steps you can take to get closer to creating the life you want. Figure out what daily habits you need to develop so that you can get more out of your day. And, even if it’s listening to your favorite music, watching less TV, spending more time outdoors, joining a yoga class , going on a camping trip, or getting together with a group of your favorite people, the idea is to find more joy, any way you can and embrace the changes that lead you there.

My name is Denise Harris, and I’m a life coach, who helps people get out of their heads and into finding more fulfillment and joy in life.

A Look Back and a Step Forward

A Look Back and a Step Forward

Season’s Greetings!

There is just about ten weeks left until the end of the year. Can you believe it?

Whomever coined the saying “Time Flies” was spot on, and of course, my other favorite quote by Gretchen Rubin “The days are long, but the years are short”, are both so appropriate and a silent reminder that, time waits for no one.

What goals did you start the new year off wanting to accomplish?

For me, my new year began with a list that included losing ten pounds(or more), traveling more, being more resilient, eating healthy and exercising more frequently. Oh, and finding love……yes, that was the big one. I can honestly say that I started out strong in January, faithfully going to the gym two to three times a week, and I even started packing my own lunches to take to the office, so I could avoid going out for lunch and eating something that was, let’s say, not so healthy. And of course, armed with the mindset that I was going to be more resilient, which equated to, I was going to have more willpower, I think my routine lasted well into the first quarter of the year. In other words, there was no exponential growth in my “more of” equation.

What happens to us when our goals start to slip away, when suddenly, they become less important and we determine that other things in our lives are more important and thus the cycle of unfinished goals begins. For some of us, we just figure that, the goals were simply unattainable anyway, and for others, we realize that our level of commitment was just not where it needed to be to make it happen. And we rationalize that thought by stroking our ego and telling ourselves “There’s just too much going on in my life right now. I don’t have the time or the energy”

If you really want to know the truth, for me, and I suspect, for many others, not accomplishing my new year goals was simply because of these two reasons. Number one, my level of commitment was not high enough to match my level of resistance and number two, I did not have any support measures in place. I was simply relying on me, myself and I to get through it. I can tell you that the robust monologues that I was having with myself were not inspirational. There’s another saying though, that says, we get wiser with time, and so as this year comes to an end, I am already thinking proactively and doing things differently to set myself up for success. Here’s my list of 5 steps towards creating goals and accomplishing each one:

  • Create 3 to 5 goals that include desires/needs that you are passionate about and establish milestones, complete with mini rewards for when you meet those milestones.
  • Instead of creating annual goals, change the timeline to 6 months. This way you will give yourself a shorter window to accomplish what you want and a shorter span of time to check in on your milestones and make changes or adjustments where needed.
  • Hire a coach. Working with someone who can help you develop a plan to accomplish your goals and hold you accountable on a consistent basis can make a world of difference. A coach can help you develop structure around your goals so you can reach success.
  • Change your morning routine to reflect strong habits that will get each day started on the path to success. You might want to start your morning with meditation or just a few minutes to reflect on how you want your day to go. Whatever you decide, just be consistent in developing a good habit that helps move you forward.
  • Mindset – Having the right mindset can make a world of difference. Having a positive attitude, being open to change and not being afraid to fail, trusting yourself and not letting fear hold you back can put you on the right track to accomplishing all that you want.

I hope you find these tips helpful in achieving your goals, and if you want more, then click on the link below and visit my site at Everything Emile. I have designed four thoughtful coaching packages to meet you, where you are, at this moment and help you jump-start your goals right now, whether you want to get something really important done before the end of the year, or you want to create your plan for 2017. Either way, take a look, and find the right package for you.

The time to get started is now, because as we know, time flies.


10 Things That Will Bring Out the Woo in You!

  1. Take a trip to somewhere you haven’t been before. While there, explore a new culture.
  2. Take dance lessons. Learning to salsa or tango can be lots of fun.
  3. Learn a new language.
  4. Sign up for a Zumba class.
  5. Join a running club and start training for your first marathon.
  6. Join a local recreational team and have some fun playing softball or kickball or any sport you’re interested in.
  7. Try Rock Climbing.
  8. Volunteer with a local community organization.
  9. Get some friends together and go Go-Kart racing.
  10. Try white water rafting