September 13, 2017
3 big lessons from my year of discovery...
My "entrepreneurial awakening" started 12 months ago when I decided that I needed to either "jump in with both feet" or quit pretending like I was going to "do this". Either "sh!t or get off the pot, girlfriend," was what my inner bossy self was telling me. I was tired of pretending that I could create a successful coaching business all on my own, without the support, knowledge or guidance of others who have gone before me. Ironically, I was offering my services to coach others without getting any coaching myself. Hmmm, strange how we're sometimes blinded by our own short-sidedness, isn't it? As a lifelong athlete, who has been coached consistently throughout not only her sports career but also her corporate one, it finally occurred to me that I could go much faster and further together than I ever could alone.
So, last August, I made the decision to invest in myself in two big areas (both financially and time-wise).
So I as I reflect on my most recent trip, which took me back to one of my favorite cities, Paris, I see 3 big "wins" that may look like no big deal to an outsider, but have helped me feel 12 months in, that I'm "onto something." I'm on my path to really breaking open and creating even a fuller life I love. A life I get to share the gifts I believe I've been brought here to share.
I've been literally wracking my brain on this one all year. Who do I serve? How can I help? What's my best angle? Blah, blah, blah.... boring! This is where the meditation can comes into play. When we let go, when we're ready to surrender, we've carried our pain, our worry, our angst long enough and we're ready to set it down, then the gift can appear. Whatever it is that you're telling yourself, "Well, once I figure THIS out, I'll be happy," let it go.
Find one thing you can focus on right now and do that. When that's done, come back to me and let's talk. We put 100 things on our to do list and then get so disappointed in ourselves when we flail after not living up to our imaginary perfect standard.
Which leads me to the second point. We spend our lives being told, "Get out of fear. Fear less. Push through your fear." What if we did the opposite? What if we welcomed fear to the table, made her a nice cup of tea and said, "Listen, wench, I've got this thing I'd like to do and you keep getting in the way. What do you say, instead of me fighting you on this, we partner together? It's okay if you want to come along, I won't let you control me on this any longer, I'm really fine with you here, but just so you know, I'm going to be over here doing this ONE thing. I'd love your support. So what do you say? You in?" Talk to her (Out loud. Go ahead, she won't mind). Let her know you see her. And then take a step forward.
Ever get so stuck in your way of thinking, you can't see "the forest for the trees?" This must get done and it must get done this way. Hate to over stress this point, but it is only when we are able to tap into our unfocused mind (through meditation and other mundane activities- yes, like gardening or doing the dishes or taking out the trash) that we start to see other possibilities. Other solutions to that problem we were so sure there was only one way to solve.
I've had this epiphany in my business lately. I was thinking that there was only one way to "do this." I needed to "follow the formula" that was being presented, because it worked for her. Well, it could work for you as well.... or not. And when I was open to other solutions, ways that feel truly good to ME, I realized I was onto something. If we're creating something but it's not in our true, authentic way, it may work in the short term, but it will NEVER be sustainable in the long run. Even if you're able to fool yourself for a few minutes, months, or years, eventually you'll either get frustrated and angry about your lack of results or even if you are able to get the results you desire on paper, you won't be happy or fulfilled while you're doing it.
Our hearts and souls know when we 're doing something joyfully and whole-heartedly. How is your life running now? Are you moving on your path with joy or is it running you into the ground? There's no time like the present to course-correct.
August 30, 2017
I grew up on a lot of land in rural Montana. Looking back now, as an adult, on my childhood, I can gratefully say, it was an amazing upbringing.
My parents loved to entertain and we happened to have the perfect "slice of heaven" to do it. We lived on 29 acres in the middle of the forest, where bear and deer often meandered through. With fields for horses, a pool, a trout pond and a tennis court, it was the ideal place to have family friends over, where we'd swim until dusk and BBQ like nobody’s business.
Every get-together, after the boys had finished chasing the girls with snakes, some adult had inevitably gotten thrown into the pool fully clothed, kids had swam and/or played basketball (and adults had consumed some “adult beverages”), the sun faded and the stars came out, and that's when it got very memorable.
we always had a big bonfire.
Parents would sit around chatting about “parent things” as we, kids, roasted S’mores. As the evening wore on, we inevitably were instructed by our much older neighbors, who lead us in a Native American “Rain Dance.”
I don’t remember how often it actually rained after we danced, but I do remember the words and the hand motions (while dancing, of course), precisely (Spelling the lyrics is another story entirely. They might not be quite as precise.)
Ah-cooney, cooney, checka-ah-ooney.
Ah-cooney, cooney, checka-ah-ooney.
Ooh— w ah-ooh-wah-oonah kitchy.
This memory popped into my head as I heard about a very successful tribe in Africa, who apparently has 100% success rates of getting it to rain whenever they do a rain dance.
Wow! 100%? Really?
How could they be so good?
The answer is very simple.
Whenever they start a rain dance, they never stop… until it rains. Period.
How often do you start something, all excited as you begin. But after you get a quarter or a third of the way through it, you don’t feel like you’re getting the results you think you desire. So what do you do? You throw in the towel, of course!
If you want results, you need to dance until it rains.
If there is no forecast for rain, good news, you have more time to plan WHAT you're going to do. But when you are making it rain... you need commitment, perserverence, and grit.
I'd love to hear your rain dance plans... if you need help figuring them out or encouragement to keep dancing, you know where to find me!
Ooh la la...
This week I am so thrilled to be heading to Paris to continue my growth in how to be a kick-ass entrepreneur! I'm part of a year long program which meets every 90 days in fabulous places around the world. It's women empowering other women and it's magic.
What have you committed to learning this Fall?
PS! I wanted to invite you to Season 2 of the Professional Women’s Weight & Wellness Symposium, a free event that I’m personally excited to speak at and learn from.
Here are the deets…
Over 30+ women’s health, wellness, lifestyle, nutrition, and mindset experts are gathering at this virtual symposium hosted by Meg and Shannon Sullivan. Together, we’ll be sharing our insight into the reasons why you need to start prioritizing your weight, overall wellness, and YOU!
No matter how busy, overwhelmed, burned out, or tired you are, you need to take advantage of this opportunity to learn why prioritizing your body, your health, and ultimately your happiness is the most effective investment you can make – and it was developed just for you – corporate women and female entrepreneurs.
Again, this event is completely FREE and registration is only open for a limited time.
Because I’m speaking at this exclusive event, I’m allowed to use the link above to invite anyone I’d like for free. Because you are part of my tribe, I'm extending the invitation to you.
Please take advantage of this free opportunity to discover why focusing on your weight, wellness, and YOU allows you to be exponentially more successful in your career, but more importantly, your personal life.
I look forward to sharing with you!
August 17, 2017
It's so hard to let go. The process starts the moment they arrive, and doesn't stop until long after we send them off to live independently.
As my two younger children headed back to school this week, it occurred to me that my oldest child will flying out of the nest in just two short years. Now, you may say, "Chill, lady...you've got TWO years! Relax, Rome wasn't built in a day. You've got plenty of time."
This is, of course, true. However, it also occurs to me that we've now been living in Los Angeles exactly two years this week. Two years? What the what?! Are you sure? I just got here. Where did time go?
So, knowing that the next two years will fly by at warp speed as well, and as I'm seeing many friends sending their "babies" off to college in the coming weeks, I thought about the tools I'd love to see my son have as he transitions from being a helpless dependent with no sense of where to get his next meal, ("Uhh, Mom, isn't there an app for that?") to how he will become a completely independent contributing member of society. #parentinggoals
I could write an entire book on this topic (hmmm, there's an idea...) but in a nutshell, the top five gifts (i.e., lessons) that parenting experts, college admission counselors, and your child's future hiring manager would beg you to impart on them as they transition into adulthood include:
When we don't let them experience the highs and the lows of trying something new, we also deprive them of experiencing true joy in life.
As parents, we're so programmed to not want them to be in pain, that we start removing opportunities which we view as potential set-backs before they even try. Possible defeat.
Well, defeat is a good teacher. It teaches us what we want, who we are and what we're made of (if we let it).
So let him take a swing.
When he first tried to walk, he came at you looking like Frankenstein, fell flat on his face and starting wailing, did you throw in the towel and say, "Well, that's it, pin the kid down. This is obviously hopeless!"
Tip: Let him try. (encourage him to try)
Try out for the sports team in the sport he's barely played. SO he gets cut. And that's ok.
Here comes the juicy learning opportunity for him: How did it feel? Would you like to get better and try again next year? What do you think it will take to get there? What help can I provide you in reaching that goal?
Or, once they get their license, let themdrive to high school (on the 405!) or across town for the Dodgers game. Of course, we're hoping for a safe passage here, which is nerve-wracking, but at some point we need to start inching out the rope. It starts by letting them drive to get gas, then high school and finally the open road.
We've conditioned ourselves think that byholding on tighter, they won't fail.
And you're right, for the moment they won't. But when the time comes for them to attempt something on their own (and you are no where to be found), not only will they not have the tools they need to try, but they won't have the self-talk telling them what's possible. (that's an entirely different blog, more on that later)
Inch out the rope. Let go. He can do it.
Find ways to create opportunities for him to understand what it means to delay gratification.
We are all so driven by that ping of our phones. The blissful sound that triggers the dopamine which floods the brain, oozing in warm, soft messages which whisper to our ego, "You are loved". So when it isn't happening, scarcity mentality kicks in and & panic runs rampant.
Tip: Unplug & turn off the phones by 9pm. (Leave them off, charging in the kitchen over night. Out of sight.) Leave the last 1-2 hours of the evening before bed for interaction... with each other. Gasp.
Tough to do with busy schedules and maybe you only do it a few nights a week. But just imagine the benefits even 30-50% improvement could bring. Would clarity of each others hopes and desires, support, connection and love be worth it?
Teach and model (if/when you can) good practice habits. You can talk about what it takes to succeed, but if you can have them experience it for themselves, they will then (eventually) be able to transfer (with a little coaching) the learning to other parts of their lives.
My oldest son, has to do summer reading. "It's pointless, Mom. I'll just read the Spark notes and 'phone in the answers' to the study guide. It's all good. It's what 'everybody' does."
(Ok, maybe that isn't exactly what he said, but that's what I heard.)
So, as a way to teach him how to "chunk" the goal and not have to eat the entire elephant in one bite, I helped set up a "book club" with several of his classmates. They cut the 2 books into four parts, we used a tutor to help facilitate the learning and the boys met every couple weeks throughout the summer to go through the study guide.
Tip: The (hopeful) outcome is that the wiring is being laid down so that he remembers, " when I plan the work up front, stick to the schedule and follow-up, I am successful." Perhaps I'll need to continue to help him with the scheduling, the follow-up and the reminders to read (for now), but the long-term goal is that in two years, when he's on his own, he can pull this "little tool" out of his "handy dandy toolbox", recall that it actually was beneficial to read The Illiad and Brave New World, and realizes it doesn't have to be painful. Voila!
Teaching them that when they take little calculated risks, they are moving themselves in the direction of their desires. It doesn't have to be a HUGE leap. Little steps will get you there.
My middle child, Parker, doesn't like heights, but he does love a good challenge. A couple of summers ago, he got stuck at the top of the high diving board. With 10 kids behind him waiting to go, crying and fearful, he was too scared to jump, but too frightened to back down the ladder.
Now what? He was at a total impass.
I gave him the out and said, "It's fine, Parker. You don't need to jump." A couple minutes later, feeling completely dejected, he eventually shimmied down the ladder.
Not 20 minutes later, he came over to me, "Mom, I want to face my fears. Will you help me go off the high dive?"
Tip: Find the little opportunities in the every day which are building the scaffolding to help them take risks and have no regerts. I mean regrets.
(Oh, and be prepared, as a side bonus, it usually forces you to face a few of your own as well!)
Just imagine.... you've reached the mountain top. It's the highest point of Machu Picchu. The air is crisp and clear, your lungs are burning, you are completely exhausted and you couldn't be any prouder of yourself.
One of the most powerful acts highly successful people employ, is free.
What if f I told you it was available to you right now. Would you use it?
Here it is....
Tip: Act as if you already have. Whatever the goal or desire or outcome you wish to bring into being, spend 5 minutes a day visualizing it.
You made it to the top of Machu Picchu. Smell the crispness of the air and the freshness of the grass. Feel the burn of your lungs at 8,000ft and the soreness of your thighs which have just gotten you to this moment. This is a perfect moment. And you created it.
What are you creating next?
Find out how you can sleep here...
and drink your morning latte here...
and in the afternoon...hike here!
Just look at that GORGEOUSNESS!
And at the end of day, gather here for an amazing meal, share your learnings (and a little wine, too!) with friends....
August 1, 2017
"Why even bother? You're a joke."
As I leave Vegas after 5 fun-filled days watching my two sons play a sport they love, basketball (ages 16 and 13), it gave me pause this week to think of our youth hoops journey to this point, dating back to this picture from above where my older son, CJ, at age 9, (making a dunk face) just "balled for love of the game".
And it's still stinging a bit thinking of all the pressure they and each athlete faced this week. The grandstanding by the parents and the coaches, the expectations that are put upon these kids to "win at all costs", particularly for those who are now in high school. The bar is very high and the tension in the gym, you can cut with a knife.
The further my older son's team progressed in the tournament this week, the more vile and aggressive the parents got, yelling at the refs and sometimes even swearing at the kids, each and every time up and down the floor. There was one Dad who literally moved to the bottom row of the bleachers to get closer to the floor so that he could heckle the ref each and every time she ran by.
Was the ref'ing perfect? For sure, not. There were many missed calls and bad oversights on the floor. And, I guess, you could rationalize that most of the yelling wasn't targeted "at the kids", so it's not that big of deal, right?
When did it become so accepted that you target the girl or guy, who I'm guessing are making $30-$50/game, who are also doing their best to try and call a "good game?" What are we modeling for our kids about what's acceptable behavior?
I believe this phenomenon has been growing, and it started sometime back when Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi and the Williams sisters game into their prime. It happened when parents started to fantasize that if they are able to sink a lot of money into their kid starting a sport at 3, 4 or 5 years of age, they too can "create a prodigy" (despite, perhaps taking their own lack of athletic background into the picture). It happened somewhere around the time when it changed from "just a game" to a belief for so many parents, that this could be their "golden ticket".
Where we have gone so wrong from one generation to the next is allowing this heckling and pressure on young kids, all for the .001% chance that "my kid is the one" to make it to the next level. When I was a young, we used to play because it was fun, because we needed to be outside until dark, because we LOVED the game. If my parents came to the game, great, but there was ZERO expectation that I would play sports in college.
But it's now evolved so that when 1,600 kids and their hopeful parents show up in Vegas (and many other places around the country for so many different sports including football, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball and lacrosse) with hoop dreams, they believe they are paying for results and, it would seem, are entitled to belittle, scream and demean whomever they want to get results they desire.
This whole phenomenon has made me curious on the math and I wanted to help level set expectations for my son. What are the real, true odds my kid can play at the next level, college, much less the Division I level?
It ain't pretty, people!
It is really not in most people's favor....84:1. Not great Vegas odds.
Maybe they should post these statistics near the front door as you walk in the gym of every tournament and pay your $10. But then again, that really wouldn't do anyone any good, as it's become such a business. Everyone from the club programs to the gyms up to the college programs, need to make money off of this so I guess we're better off letting parents pay the big bucks, give up family vacations and quality time together as a family (what's that?), in hopes of chasing one of these very rare unicorn scholarships.
For male high school basketball players according to scholarshipstats.com:
And if these statistics aren't sobering enough to encourage you to say pass to at least one of these recruiting events this year and spend some family time together, consider this.... the AVERAGE height of those 5,134 Division I players is 6'7". A-v-e-r-a-g-e.
So as our family leaves Vegas and hits the road this week for Jackson Hole, Wyoming (wo-hoo!), I am reminded that as much as my son dreams of playing at the next level, he should be doing his summer reading in the car (to get good grades!) and we should enjoy every minute together as a family, grateful to be making memories that will last long after the last buzzer sounds.
Don't get me wrong, I am not discouraging kids to chase their dreams. I am in full support of my son going after his, but what is it going to take for parents to have some modicum of decency when they go to a high school game? Reality check. It's a game, people. Cheer. Have fun. Support your child, but please stop cheering against the other team and yelling at the ref like they have a vendetta to pay against your kid. They are just doing your job. When's the last time you walked into your office and everyone yelled, "You SUCK!" as you headed to your desk.
June 20, 2017
She is in constant flow.
She is always either creating or destroying.
Nature is never static.
Change is constant.
On a hike last week, I had an interesting epiphany as I walked through the ashes of a 35-acre burn that had happened near my house over the Memorial Day weekend. When I got within 100 yards from where the land had been charred, the smell of smoldering ashes took over and I was immediately propelled emotionally back in time. That wiff of smoke brought a beautiful wave of calm and peacefulness came over me.
And I instantaneously knew why.
As a child growing up in rural Montana, my father used to spend his free time clear-cutting our vast property. We lived in such a remote area, you had better odds of running into a into a bear or a deer, than you did another human being. This is such a stark contrast to the way my children, growing up in LA, are being raised.
I remember joining him, as he burned excess tree foliage, to make room for our horses to graze. I loved watching him work. He was so at peace working the land. For me, this stench of charred wood brings back memories of simple, careless childhood times, of closeness to Mother Nature, and to a time when the only thing I had to consider was how quickly I could get my chores done, so I could go back to building forts with my sisters and friends.
So, as I walked through these blackened grounds and memories flooded in, I realized everything has a time and a place in our lives. Just as "she" took out the grown foliage and it had all gone, Mother Nature has now cleared a path for new foliage to grow, news seeds to be sown, new opportunities to develop. And, she does this in our lives as well.
What mode are you in right now? Are you creating your new life? Or are you in destruction? Are you ready to get out of the ashes and rise again?
Perhaps you are clear-cutting some dead weight so you can make way for something new... a new relationship, a new life opportunity, a new goal.
Not all destruction is bad, in fact, many times there is a beautiful silver lining. Mother Nature is right there supporting you in helping you create who you are truly meant to become and it is through this destruction that she makes way for the new.
I love helping others create their new futures. Jump on my calendar for a complimentary 60-minute session (under Contact on my website KirstenJonesInc.com) and let's talk about what you're getting ready to create. I can't wait to hear all about it...
June 6, 2017
In a recent interview, David Blaine (@DavidBlaine, Magician, Illusionist & Endurance Performer) was asked, "How do you overcome fear?"
This is a guy who does stuff most of us would consider "CRA-ZEE", like sit in a plastic box hoisted high above London for 44 days without food or water. What-eva!
His answer is awesome, though... "I announce whatever scares me to the world, before I've even figured out how I'm going to do it. And then I start working back from there. Knowing that I've commited to delivering X magic trick at Y date, forces me into action."
When I heard this, I realized I had just done the same thing and it worked brilliantly. I had an idea I'd love to try for almost a year now. I wanted to host workshops for mothers and daughters, at the beach, where we build community, connection and collaboration. Last year, I even went so far as to hire someone to help me run this event, but when it came time to execute, those Elphaba voices in my head jumped in, "What if no one shows up? What if too many people show up? What if people don't like it?" What if, what if, what if...
Panic set in, I realized I had never "announced" my date, so whew!, I was free to go on about my life pretending like it was never even a thought in my mind. Feeling a bit like a loser, but at least I hadn't failed, right? Wrong.
Nine months later, the thought came rushing back and I went so far as to mention it to a mentor of mine. She immediately turned to me, looked me in the eyes and said, "Kirsten, you should do this immediately." (Insert hammer hitting head emoji here). I literally ran home, created the flyer, picked the date and announced it. Holy crap, here we go.
YIKES! Scary as all get out but also amazingly exciting. This past weekend, I had my first event. There were 12 of us. It was awesome! (Yes, 6 people who had paid didn't show. Stuff happens, people). It's funny as I rationalize my fears to others, they tend to look at me cross-eyed and ask, "Whats the big deal? You do this kind of stuff all the time." Yes, AND- it's important to keep doing it.
So, what's your BIG announcement today?
"I'm going to make X$ by Y date in my business."
"I'm going to lose lbs by Y date, in time for my summer beach vacation."
"I'm going to speak up for myself in every meeting with my boss and tell him how I really feel."
Sometimes we just need to GET. IT. OUT. Let someone else know your intentions, hold yourself accountable. And go.
So, my next scary announcement is my first YouGO!Girl Coaching Retreat, which is going to be held in Park City, Utah, September 28- October 1, 2017.
Are you looking for community, collaboration and others to support you on your journey? Together, we'll chart new waters on the next chapter in your life, your new business, your body, whatever is top of mind for you right now. It's going to be so much fun, I can't wait! This will be VERY limited in size (max 8 women), I want all of the women to feel very cared for and heard, so if you are an introvert and wondering if this is the right place for you. Yes, everyone will be very much included. Please let me know if you'd like to get on the "interested" list, more details are coming soon! #thisaintyourmamasretreat
If you don't have anyone else to make your announcement to, reply to this email and announce to MOI... I love helping others step outside of their comfort zones. I'm here for ya, baby.
May 23, 2017
Yes, indeed, I believe it was the summer before my senior year of high school, back in 1987. A flyer must have circulated the halls of Sentinel High, up in wonderful Missoula, Montana.
"The Junior Miss Montana Pageant" hosted, in Great Falls
I honestly don't remember that much about the event itself. I just remember driving the four hours with my Mom, who graciously agreed to take me, and staying at some Red Lion Inn (or DoubleTree or whatever chain) where we, contestants, had to learn a couple of musical numbers over the course of several days, meet girls from all over the state and it all culminated with a "pageant" of sorts. The finalists were called and some lucky girl was "crowned". Spoiler alert, no, I didn't win. In fact, I didn't even make the Top 10. It's not an event that I honestly spend much, if any, time, reminiscing about, but it popped into my thoughts the other day as I was discussing with a client,
"What advice would you give to your 18-year old self?"
In 1984, one of my family's closest friends, Kathy, lost her husband, Ric, and 18-year old daughter, Kristi, in a tragic car accident. Ric and Kristi, were driving home from Wyoming, where Kristi had, as the current Miss Montana, for the Miss USA pageant, performed in an event. Unfortunately, Ric was known for going to bed early, and on this night, tragically fell asleep at the whee just 35 miles from home. Neither he, nor Kristi, were wearing seat-belts (not yet a law back then) and both of them perished when car ran off the road and over-turned.
I had always looked up to Kristi who was four years my senior. She was the beautiful, funny, silly girl, who had Catherine Zeta-Jones looks but not a clue that she was truly stunning. She was the girl who all the boys had a crush on and all the girls wanted to be-friend. I remember her summer job of working at McDonald's, where we used to go visit her and get free french fries (which was a big deal)! She was the cool older friend who would rather take the "little" 8th graders to see "Chevy Chase's Vacation", than spend the evening with one of her several suitors who were always lurking around.
So, when the Jr. Miss pageant came to my attention four years later, it wasn't that I thought, "Wow, this has been my life long dream", but I did think it would be a wonderful way to honor Kristi, and I guess, even force me out of my basketball shoes and volleyball kneepads for a few days, learn a few dance steps and try something else on for size.
There's a beautiful podcast I'm in love with right now, hosted by Jonathan Fields, called The GoodLife Project. He was riffing on this subject as well the other day... "Advice to your 18-year old self."
I personally think it's wonderful advice not only for an 18-year old, but really for any age.
He suggests you "run multiple experiments". The goal of any of these experiments isn't to succeed at any ONE thing, the goal is to answer three questions:
1) Who am I?
2) What do I care about?
3) What am I good at or capable of getting good at?
You will find that by "playing" and by running these "so-called" experiments in your life, you will be testing the waters. And it is through these tests, you will find your strengths, you will discover what you TRULY value, (which may be in opposition to things those around you are telling you, btw) and opportunities will come from this, which will align with your true self and will put you at peace and.... drumroll, please... may even have side-effects such as HAPPINESS. Ahh...
So, you then may ask... Kirsten, what does you entering a beauty pageant in your 18th year have anything to do with what you are doing now or happiness for that matter?
The answer is simple. I was experimenting. Without even knowing it (no foresight or intention here) I was just merely naively "trying it on." And even though, nothing technically came of it, really (ok, maybe a little poise and presentation skills?). I was just thankful to be able to honor Kristi's spirit and play.
A lot of clients in their late 30's (and beyond) tell me, "At some point, I stopped listening to myself and asking what it is I want. I stopped probing to find out what I truly care about. I even stopped wondering what I am good at or could be good at three or even five years from now." We get so stuck on our story of who we are right now, that we stop seeing who we could really be... like we used to do when we were 18.
So how would you answer these questions? When is the last time you asked yourself who am I?
If you're looking for help on answering these questions, I've got a free tool which helps bring clarity to your vision.... http://bit.ly/2rk3X5p