We are happy because we laugh ...

Photo by  MI PHAM  on  Unsplash

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

I love this observation from a past study  – “We don’t laugh because we are happy, we’re happy because we laugh.” – W. James (1842-1910)

There has been much research around why we laugh and what the benefits are but what is really interesting is that researchers are having trouble proving it. Laughing is subjective and although areas of our brains light up there are still more questions than answers.

Maybe in this case we just need to trust that there is a deeper reason and enjoy the joy of laughing. The one thing researchers do know for sure is that laughing together helps us to bond and strengthens our relationships. I am sure we can all think of an example where laughter brought us together. I have many examples of work pressures lightening because of laughing with co-workers and even in the throws of grief laughter seemed to bring much needed moments of lightness in a dark time. All that matters to me is that it feels really good so why wouldn’t we focus on creating more moments of laughter in our life.

As I reflect on the importance of laughter it is quite clear that laughter lightens. The weight of stress, fear, doubt and worry seem to melt away in the throws of an uncontrollable, snorting laugh! Here are my 5 tips to creating more laughs in our life:

There is always a lighter side to every situation

Our universe is always in the pursuit of balance – for example light/dark, cold/hot, ying/yang There is always two sides and we can access the lighter side of things by asking ourselves a simple question – What is the lighter side of this? Perspective can snap us back into reality as most situations aren’t as serious as we make them out to be. I realize that some circumstances we are required to sit in the dark and that is ok but I do think the majority of situations can be lighter by giving ourselves permission to not take life so seriously.

Connect to our body, mind and spirit

My experience is that the more aware we are about what is happening in our body, mind and spirit the more we are able to access what really matters in life. Creating more awareness is training yourself to notice in the moment. A simple exercise you can practice is watch a funny video, one you know you will laugh at and then after take a moment to reflect on what you felt in your body, what was happening in your mind and how your spiritual self feels. When we take time to reflect on our experience, we tend to want to repeat it, especially if it feels good.

Laugh at ourselves

There is a running joke in our family that we don’t need an audience because our own jokes make us laugh. What a gift to be able to laugh at ourselves and our experiences. It is such an empowering feeling to know that we can find humor all by ourselves. I have a joke I can say anytime to myself and laugh. Take a moment and reflect on the moments when you laugh at you. What makes you funny?

Who makes you laugh and why?

If you want an easy tool to turn to when you need a boost of joy, then take a moment to get clarity on what makes you laugh and why? Who do you admire that is funny? Why? Understanding your humor blueprint will offer you go to resources when you need. I have no doubt this is why video, GIF’s and images on social media have exploded because we all desire a good laugh. For me, kids and animals always bring a smile to my face. What’s yours?

Tip: What we focus on grows:

Laughter --- Joy --- Presence --- Wholehearted Living

Like a flower in the garden, the more we water it, the more it will grow. Water the laughter.

Here are a couple articles to check out:



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Stop living on autopilot - 5 ways to increase your awareness

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Want to have more JOY in your life? The solution to increasing your joy is to practice being more aware. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we can go through an entire day on autopilot and yes we may get things done but are we joyful? I would argue that when we are not aware we cannot access much joy.

Noticing the subtleties in life and having those ‘light-bulb moments' throughout our day where we expand our thinking is where joy lives. Maya Angelou was and still is a great teacher of awareness. One of my favorite quotes is “Do your best until you know better and then when you know better, do better.” The desire to do better keeps curiosity at the forefront and with curiosity has to come awareness. Being more aware is the key to a fulfilled and joyful life. Each and every time I get to witness the spark of a new thought with my clients, I can see and feel the joy of it. The widening of their eyes, the childlike curiosity, the wonder and excitement of discovering a new way of thinking. I can’t help but smile and either can they.

So the question becomes… HOW? How can we BE more aware in life? Well, it starts with a desire to want to do better and with a little curiosity and some effort awareness can become like riding a bike… automatic.

Here are 5 ways to increase your awareness:

Understand the difference between the unconscious and conscious mind

When we have an understanding about how our mind works it offers us an opportunity to notice what is happening and gives us the ability to make choices in the moment. A little bit of understanding can give us great power over our reality.

Recommendation: Here is a 4 part article series on the conscious and unconscious mind. A great way to increase your awareness of our amazing brains: http://www.mindset-habits.com/conscious-subconscious-unconscious-mind/

Learn something new

A learning brain is an aware brain. With each new thing we learn we create a new neuropathway. Learning keeps our brains awake and with each new discovery or 'light-bulb moment' the amount of time we are aware grows. We see the world differently because our brain is a physically different.

Recommendation: Read a book that inspires new ways of thinking.

My top pick – Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

Train yourself

It is wonderful to learn something new but if you don’t use it, you lose it. It takes time and effort to change, so it is up to you to repeat the behaviors you want to grow. Think of growing awareness like growing a muscle in your body. You have to work it out.

Recommendation: Take time each day to consciously stop and notice your surroundings.

My top pick – The 5 senses activity which can help you relieve stress but it can also bring you quickly into the present.

Ask questions 

Each time we ask ourselves a question it sparks curiosity and exploration. This then leads into discussion and hopefully a new perspective, learning or even the joyful ‘light bulb moment.' I don’t believe we can be on autopilot when we are in the wonder of questions. Our brain wakes up…well mine does anyways!

Recommendation – Take time each day to ask yourself open ended questions (what, where, when, why, how).  

My top pick- The 3 Why exercise – notice something and ask yourself why 3 times. For example – I feel good today… WHY? I got up early and took some time to journal…. WHY? It is important to me to take time for myself… WHY? When I take time for myself it builds my resilience for the day.

Discover something new about yourself 

It is important to explore what it means to be you. This is the key to building lasting awareness because when you link it to what matters to you it tends to last. Typically, we invest in the things that matter to us most.

Recommendation – invest in assessments and programs that give you insight into what makes you uniquely you!

My top pick – This is the values assessment I use with my clients (It is called: VIA Survey of Character Strengths and it is under the questionnaires section).

If you are looking for a deeper connection with yourself learn more about my weekend retreat where you immerse yourself in discovering who you are. An entire awareness weekend! www.kimstandeven.com/workshops

If you are someone who loves to learn and grow join me in my new group: Wholehearted Living: Experience, Explore, Expand

If you would like to have a FREE discovery call with me about growing your awareness schedule some time with me.

Have an amazingly aware day!



It’s time you got better acquainted with the most important person in your life…YOU

What will you gain from knowing yourself?

• Clarity about your values and goals so you’ll know when to say yes and when to say no.
• Improved relationships.
• Better leadership and coaching skills.
• Greater overall success in life.
• More peace of mind.
• More self-confidence and a great sense of self-worth.
• A life plan that’s in alignment with your true nature.

This is your invitation to the 20th Anniversary Retreat of Authentic to the Core (ATTC) where you can accomplish all the above in less than 26 hours.

Better relationships… more success…. more happiness…

Three things we all want in life.

But how do we get them?

It all starts with YOU. And having extreme clarity about who you are and what you want out of life.

“All wonders you seek are within yourself.” – Sir Thomas Browne

Getting to know oneself better is why Lori-Anne Demers (the creator and visionary behind this program) started Authentic to the Core twenty years ago.

Since then over 1,000 people have participated in the retreat. And as a result, many, many lives have been forever changed for the better and I am one of those lives. It impacted my life so profoundly I had to become a facilitator and keep sharing its beautiful processes for uncovering who we are at our core.

So, what does “getting to know yourself better” really mean?
It means going a little deeper than “What’s your favorite color?” and “What type of music do you enjoy?”

It means coming face to face with your deepest fears, your self-doubts, and your insecurities. It means living in accordance with your values and embracing your higher purpose in life.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley

Yes, it means stepping out of your comfort zone but don’t worry, you’ll be doing so in a warm, safe environment…
And the rewards will be impactful and life-changing…
You’ll be happier, have more self-control, experience less inner conflict and have a clearer understanding of what motivates you. You’ll be grounded in your values. And the actions you take will be a result of what you truly desire (and not due to social pressure or influence.)
Plus, you’ll have more tolerance and empathy towards others and you’ll lead a much richer and rewarding life.

Are you ready to get to know yourself better?
To be more in tune with your strengths, your weakness, your likes and dislikes, your values and what you’ll no longer tolerate?Not only will you get to know yourself better, you’ll improve how you interact with the people in your life.

“There is no satisfaction that can compare with looking back across the years and finding you’ve grown in self-control, judgment, generosity, and unselfishness.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Here is what some of the Authentic to the Core participants are saying about it:
“There is value in it for anyone, especially in our society today. If anybody wants to really go on the journey of knowing oneself and finding some true self-fulfillment this is one of the most important jumping off points.” -Ryan Mullens, Senior Advisor, Talent and Development and Learning Services at Alberta Health Services

“I now have more clarity around my relationships with people. It’s improved my own coaching with clients. I’m able to be more present, more aware. It’s also helped me return to education which is essential to who I am. I’m starting my Ph.D. this fall. Plus, I’m back at teaching at the university.” -Leah Taylor, Faculty at Vancouver Island University.

“If someone is considering Authentic to the Core, I would tell them to gain the maximum value, go in with an openness and leave perceptions of what leadership development looks like. Be open to this because it’s strongly impactful.” -Cindy Trytten, Director, Research, and Capacity Building, Vancouver Island Health Authority

Are you ready to discover your deeper calling and wisdom within you?
If yes, I’d love for you to be a part of the 20th Anniversary Authentic to the Core Retreat.

“The only journey is the journey within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

What to expect at an Authentic to the Core Retreat:

The Authentic to the Core program is divided into three parts. At the retreat, we focus on Part 1 and part 2 onsite and in person. Part 3 takes place later in three 1.5-hour sessions via Video Conferencing.

Onsite – Friday evening to Sunday afternoon:
Part 1: Be True to Yourself (Friday, Saturday)                                                                              Part 2: Discover What You Love (Sunday)

The journey begins in a peaceful setting where together we use a process of ritual and metaphor, innovative ideas, and spirited dialogue. In this atmosphere of trust, love, and humour, we will focus on letting go of your ego, your role and your responsibilities to help you uncover your core essence and purpose in life.

During these days, you will expand your relationship with yourself so that you can step into your own opportunities for greatness – opportunities that are aligned with your true nature. You’ll also discover how to align yourself with others and strengthen your relationship with people in your various communities.

By the end of the three days, you will truly be reacquainted with who you are and what motivates you (and what doesn’t). You’ll also discover your core essence. I’ve witnessed this many times and when it occurs it hits you viscerally and a light of discovery and knowing shows up on your face.

Video Conferencing
Part 3: Be True to Yourself (Three bi-weekly sessions)
Part 3 occurs later as to allow you time to integrate some of the concepts and skills you’ve developed into your life. Engaging through virtual community and using our CORE ALIGNMENT™ Process, you will be building your vision, creating your mission and defining your milestones.

“What we are seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ~ Joseph Conrad

Authentic to the Core will help you discover your path in life. A path that will be broad enough so it can change and have different expressions and at the same time narrow enough that you’ll know where to go (and where not to go.) By the end of Authentic to the Core, you will have a clarity of purpose. You will be renewed, motivated and invigorated to live a life in line with your values, who you really are and what’s important to you in life.

The next Authentic to the Core is November 3-5, 2017 at the Elkhorn Resort and Spa, Manitoba, Canada.

To register click here: www.kimstandeven.com/registration

Guess what there are more retreat dates across Canada:

Click Here for British Columbia dates (Facilitated by Cathryn LeCorre )

Click Here for Alberta dates (Facilitated by Lori Anne Demers )

Twice, this put Ryan Mullens on a better path (and it could do the same for you).

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The year was 1999.
Ryan Mullens, 18 at the time, was trying to figure out who he was and what he wanted out of life.
The decision he made next changed his life.
Looking back, Ryan says…
“It had a very significant impact on me.  I don’t know if I’d be on the right path for myself.  I’m very happy with who I am.”
What did Ryan do that put him on a better path in life?
He attended the Authentic to the Core retreat.
Ryan says…
“There’s a freedom that comes with knowing myself.  It allows you to totally act in line with your values.  For someone to know that… to have that sense was extremely helpful… especially at a young age.”
Ryan went on to get his undergrad in criminology and began working with homeless youth.  He now has a Masters in leadership.  He works for Alberta Health Services as a Senior Advisor and Leadership consultant.
A couple of years ago he decided to, once again, attend the Authentic to the Core retreat.
Ryan says he was a little hesitant because he wasn’t sure what type of value he’d get from it the second time around.
Any concerns he had were quickly alienated.
“I got extreme value from it.  The first time I had a hard time articulating what my core essence really was.  I had a sense of it.  The second time solidified everything for me.  It reinvigorated me.”
He continues…
“It’s like the layers of an onion.  When I was 18 it was just the start.  It was incredibly helpful.  It started me on the path of self-discovery.  Coming back and doing it a few year ago was very helpful because I’m still into personal development and moving forward.”
Are you looking to know yourself better and journey down your own path of self-discovery?

Are you ready to discover who you really are?  Click here for details…

“Authentic to the Core has evolved so it was even more impactful.  What Lori-anne has created is a process that takes you through it in a meaningful – and I’m not trying to sell the speed of it—­but it’s fast,” Ryan says. 
Who should take Authentic to the Core?
“There is value in it for anyone, especially in our society today. If anybody wants to really go on the journey of knowing oneself and finding some true self-fulfillment this is one of the most important jumping off points.” Ryan says.
He adds…
“You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.  I always tell people if you can go into any course and take just one thing away that you can do differently or add to your life then that’s a win.  I’d be willing to guarantee you’re going to take at least one thing away from this retreat and that one thing is going to be quite significant… if you’re open to it.”
How will Authentic to the Core benefit you? 

Click here to find out…

Ryan points out that Authentic to the Core does require a level of willingness and self-awareness.
Are you ready and willing to become more self-aware and more in tune with who you are?

Click here for a fun and rewarding way to do just that.

We are very excited to announce Authentic to the Core in Western Canada:

Register for Victoria Here – Authentic to the Core – Victoria (Victoria, BC-1506 Burnside Rd W. – Victoria, British Columbia) Lead Facilitator: Cathryn LeCorre

Register for Alberta Here – Authentic to the Core – Bragg Creek (Bragg Creek, AB-36 White Avenue – Bragg Creek, Alberta) Lead Facilitator: Lori Anne Demers (Founder)

Register for Manitoba Here - Authentic to the Core - Clear Lake (Elkhorn Resort & Spa, Manitoba) Lead Facilitator: Kim Standeven

My meditation ...

Meditation is something I have always struggled with. My mind chatter is very strong and I often feel more frustrated with the act of sitting in a meditation focussed on my breath than refreshed and empowered.

So, I had to ask myself.

What is the purpose of meditation?

What is it that I am trying to achieve?

My answer was simple -  I am trying to achieve a space where my mind chatter is quiet and I can just be completely in the moment. A space where I am completely at peace and content.

I don't sit and mediate any longer because it doesn't work for me. I don't enjoy it. For years, I felt pressure to just keep trying because the chatter all around me and in my head was that it is good for me so I 'should' enjoy it, I 'should' do it. I have learned since being on this journey of self-development that all that really matters is what serves me. All that really matters is whether I am able to achieve my goal of a quiet mind and how I achieve it is irrelevant.

I discovered since moving to the farm that I LOVE cutting the grass. I didn't realize it until recently that when I am riding around our yard I am completely in the moment. I am not thinking or strategizing, my mind chatter is quiet and I am actually really happy. I got a flash of Forrest Gump and giggled a little because I got it! 

One of my meditation practices is cutting the lawn, in the moment and gloriously happy.



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What if we celebrated instead of beating ourselves up?

There are many things I could beat myself up about.

I didn't eat healthy or exercise as much as I could have this week.

I haven't written my blog for a while!!

I didn't play enough with my kids, talk enough with my husband or call my mother. My house is a disaster, my laundry isn't done and, and, and ...

Yet, I am deciding to celebrate because I know my long to do list will always be long but with every moment I am being true to myself and I am happy.

I think that is worth celebrating.



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Pain is real but so is Hope, Faith and Perserverance

I know this post is not like the majority of posts I have shared and that is why it is so important. In order for me to continue in an authentic way I need to not only share the light but also the dark because that is what is real.

This picture of me is very different than my profile picture. I post this because I don't want anyone to ever think that because I work as a coach and post inspirational stuff that I don't struggle.

One of the biggest reasons I am committed to being positive is because it helps me stay aligned and focused especially on my hardest days. What I share reminds me of what matters, keeps me motivated and helps me on the days I want to give up.

I suffer from chronic pain. It is my life. It is real and it is hard. I took this picture because this is what a 12+ hour debilitating migraine is, everything stops. The physical pain is only a small part because I shy away from talking about the depression, anxiety and fatigue that comes with dealing with pain most every day for the last 20+ years. I rarely talk about the daily impact years of pain has had on my body, my mind and my ability to participate fully in life. This part of my life is as real and as important as every other aspect of my life.

In the picture, I am holding my head because it helps me focus. I am telling myself over and over that I will be ok and it will ease up eventually. I am telling myself that I am grateful for being alive and that I am breathing. It isn't easy to be grateful in the woes of pain but I have learned that gratitude keeps me calm and stops me from going to darker places.

"I am still breathing, my heart is beating, take it one breath at a time. You will be ok." I whisper to myself through the agony and tears.

We all have something in this life we struggle with. I wanted to share this with you because I don't want you to think my life is somehow easier because of the work I do. I am committed to my passion of writing, coaching and teaching so that we can move through the highs and lows of life with love, grace, peace and presence, TOGETHER.  I share this because I know life can be tough as much as it is amazing. I share this because struggle with mental illness can be triggered by so many factors and there is no shame in asking for help. I did.

We can allow and appreciate the lows in the same way we welcome the highs.

I will never give up, EVER, and I hope you don't either. This image reminds me of how strong I really am. You are stronger than you think, don't ever forget that.


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Invest in a coach - TOP 10 Benefits

When we hear the word coaching many of us naturally think of a sports coach. There are some similarities with sports in that the coach can motivate players to improve their physical and mental game. I have often heard athletes say that their mental preparation is as important as their physical preparation. The reality is that athletes are not the only ones battling an inner opponent – the majority of us are which is why coaching is crucial for our success in life.

Here are my top 10 reasons to invest in coaching:

10)  Increases your awareness and clarity

This is the key to personal growth. Without this we cannot move forward.    

9)      Removes roadblocks

Coaching is all about breaking down barriers and beliefs that aren't working for us any longer. You can't break them down if you don't know about them.

8)      Develops strategies and goals

 Coaching can help you to create meaningful goals and challenge you to make them a reality.

7)      Increases your confidence and self worth

Giving yourself dedicated time to explore your dreams, goals and thoughts is similar to going for a haircut. It feels so good. We can let go of the split end thoughts!!

6)      Have dedicated time to be heard without judgement or advice

Let's face it, our friends and family have great intentions and they can influence us. A coach gives you space to access what you really think and gives you an opportunity to say whatever is present without the fear it may impact a personal relationship.

5)  Improves your relationships

Coaching gives you an opportunity to be proactive with the type of relationships you want in your life and how to create them.

4) Supports you to take action

A coach serves as a great accountability partner. We are more likely to take action with someone else in our corner than by ourselves. We are personal trainers for your mind!

3) Improves work - life balance

Coaching allows you to access your values and live in alignment with them. When you are aware and connected to what matters your choices are clear.

2) Improves communication

You can explore conversations you want to have with a coach. This allows you to get clear and intentional about what you want to say and how you want to feel afterwards. Imagine the impact of being proactive with those important conversations at work or at home.

1) Leave feeling inspired, empowered and supported.

My clients feel amazing after a coaching conversation. You can let go of damaging thoughts and walk on a new path that YOU created. It is very empowering.

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The happiest time of the year ...

I think we have a love / hate relationship with December. It is a great time of year to take a step back and reconnect with loved ones. It is also the perfect time to reflect upon the year and all that we want to celebrate and let go of.  For some, December can feel like a weight we often carry around all month. We can get weighed down with all of the lists and expectations our holiday season brings. I celebrate Christmas and I have to admit I enjoy it now because we finally got to a place where we created a celebration that worked for our family. There is little pressure, little expectation and the focus is on quality time.

As a coach, I find it interesting to explore this topic with my clients and many questions start to surface. In the spirit of giving, I thought I would offer you 10 questions as a way for you to explore your own relationship with the month of December. It can be the "happiest time of the year" for you and your family.

Get out your journal and answer these questions -

1) What do you value most about the holiday season?

2) What are the holiday rituals you enjoy the most? (The things you invest time in that really fill you up)

3) What are the holiday rituals you enjoy the least? (The things you feel you have to do because it is what 'we do" every year)

4) Of the rituals you enjoy the least which one can you let go of? (or at least start a conversation about letting go of)

5)  Imagine yourself on Jan 1st - How do you want to feel when you look back on the holiday season?

6)  Imagine yourself on Jan 1st - how do you want your family to feel after the holiday season?

 7) What is one way you can create that feeling as you move through December?

 8) What do you want to invest more time in during December?

 9) If you are feeling overwhelmed, what's possible if you asked for help?  What's possible if you said no?

10) What is one thing you can let go of to help you create the holiday you desire?

Answering these questions will guide you in creating a holiday that is full of joy. Hang onto and invest in the rituals that fill you up, let go of the ones that don't and focus on the feeling you want to have. Sounds lovely to me!

Do you need some help sorting out the answers to all these questions? I can help and to celebrate I am offering a big discount.

50% coaching packages - Let's create an amazing December and 2017!


Image by Pixabay - Thank you !


I will never again ...

I feel very blessed that I decided to go on the journey of becoming and working as a coach. This work has opened up a whole new universe of thoughts and perspectives I would otherwise be missing out on .

The most important lesson I have learned thus far is to never apologize for being someone who feels deeply, shows emotion and is 'soft'. Throughout my life, I have heard comments that crying is for the weak or those who show emotion are less than. Well, I am here to tell you that I don't believe that and I will never hold back my authentic self again. 

To celebrate the most vulnerable act of my life thus far, the release of my book, I share with you what I wrote at the end in "about the author." This is a tribute to all who have had the courage to shed a tear.

About the Author

I used to pray that I wouldn’t cry. I remember the first time vividly a few weeks after hearing the news my parents were getting a divorce. Along with my brother, I was riding my bike to Dad’s house to see him. It was the first time since hearing the news, and I prayed riding down the long hill, the wind in my face to dry my tears. I prayed that I wouldn’t cry. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to cry for myself; it was the fact that I didn’t want my dad to see my pain. I wanted to protect him from additional heartache. I succeeded. My brother and I walked in the door, and the first thing Dad did was cry. This was the first time I had ever seen him upset. He cried and frantically tried to make a cup of coffee to distract himself. I held it back the entire time. Please don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I didn’t.

As I look back on that moment, I wish I had let myself cry. Blocking it created more damage than I ever could have imagined and a hell of a lot more work in learning to feel. At the age of thirty-three, I decided that I would never hold back my tears ever again. I promised my ten-year-old self that I would honour my feelings and cry as little or as much as I needed in the moment. It is funny—at the workshop where I learned to let go, one of the participants shared with the group that the one thing they appreciated about me was that I cried so openly without shame. She said that by doing so I gave her permission to show emotion as well. That meant a lot to me, and I will continue to shed as many tears as it takes to create the space for others to do so as well. I will never pray away my tears again. Never.

I am an open book. If you ask me a question, I will answer you authentically. I have nothing to hide, and my life is about accessing what matters to me, trusting myself, and sharing. This is who I choose to be. I am a teacher, healer, author, coach, mentor, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and spiritual being put here to share and create.




One observation about a tissue box and I stopped doubting my parenting.

There have been many moments in my journey as a parent where I felt I have failed. I have caught myself many times in the cycle of negative self talk for not spending more time or not playing more or not reacting they way I know I could have. There have also been times when I have been told that I am a patient person and mother. I have been told that I am a mother that people look up to and admire. I never really understood who I was as a parent until an unexpected conversation revealed more insight into the mother I actually am.

I noticed she needed a tissue. I had hit a nerve in our coaching session and the tears flowed.

Me:  "Just a second, I will go get my toolbox."

I grab the nearest tissue box which happened to look like a crumpled, torn up mess. (The image above is the actual tissue box)

Me: "Please excuse my tissue box. They aren't used, my daughter asked to play with it and emptied it. I ended up stuffing a full box of tissues back in the box after she was done."

We laugh and the mood lightened.

My Client: "If I was her, I would remember that you let me empty a full tissue box, just because I asked to play with it."

Me: "Yeah, I guess so. I never even gave it a second thought. I just said yes."

I knew in that moment that the observation she offered was profound and special. I felt a flood of tingling pride and affirmation fill my body and soul. After being given this gift of perspective, I looked at this simple tissue box after she left and began to wonder and reflect. This one observation hit a nerve with me just as one of my questions hit a nerve with her.  I realized how the smallest of decisions can have such a big impact in life. The nerve that was sparked was the fact that my decisions and actions are impacting the life of another, my children. Their reality, their view of what is possible in life is in my hands.

To me, I said yes to emptying a tissue box but to my daughter I was saying yes to her creativity. I was saying yes to exploration and play. I was saying yes to disturbing the neat and tidy home of these tissue’s knowing full well they will be torn, crumbled and disorganized. 

With that one word, yes, I was teaching her that it was ok to explore the messiness of life. It was ok to allow for disorder in order to seek out possibility. More importantly, I was giving her an opportunity to explore who she is and what ignites her soul. After taking some time to reflect on this one observation I felt the weight of all the negative self talk about my parenting lift off my shoulders. I was actually being the parent I envisioned before they even existed. I decided to stop beating myself up and declare that I am a good mom.

What I learned when my client offered me that observation was to be the parent I want to be means not blocking who they are. Allowing their creativity even if it means getting messy or disturbing order. I believe it is our job as parents to observe who they are and give them tools to explore all the possibilities this life has to offer. My daughter decided to ask my permission and I wonder what would my reaction have been if she didn’t. What would I have done if I found tissues all over the house? After this one conversation, my future reactions will come from answering these questions – Is this nurturing her creativity? Her passions? Who she is?

It took me a long time to figure out what I am passionate about and live true to who I am. I was lost for many years. This conversation opened up a realization that maybe she won’t need as long if I give her the space now to explore. If I offer her a supportive place to be just who she is with loving boundaries.

This messy, crumpled tissue box represents who I am. I am someone who gives people space to be who they are regardless of what is happening in their life.  I am someone who takes time to reflect, observe and wonder. I will never look at a tissue box the same way ever again and I will never forget this one conversation where my client gave me a gift because she was willing to share an observation about a seemingly unimportant tissue.

My hope is that my daughter will remember the tissue box. My hope is that she leaves the safety of this space we have created and remembers that she is ok in the messiness of life. I hope she remembers that her choices mirror back to her what she values most and I hope that if she has children she says yes to emptying a tissue box.

A sneak peak into my book...

Writing this book was just something I had to do. Sentences and images popped into my head and I found myself searching for a piece of paper or time at my computer to let it all out.

Today, I am celebrating a big milestone. I sent my book to the printer. It is officially finished!!

I thought I would share the introduction to celebrate. Here you go....


“I wish I could live a little more. Look up to the sky, not just the floor.” —Adele[i]

The first time I heard Adele soulfully sing these two lines, tears welled in my eyes. I had been searching for the right language to describe the purpose of writing this book, the purpose for sharing my soul with the world. Nothing felt quite right—until I heard these words. Yes, these seventeen words are the anchor for everything I do in my life. That’s because for much of my existence, all I did was look down at the floor. No longer!

This is a book about being aware. To notice how you are presenting yourself and to live life awake rather than on autopilot. I strive to live a life where I spend more time looking up at the sky and feeling free rather than looking at my feet and feeling weighed down. My hope for myself—and for you—is to learn from all of it, whether we are looking down or looking up. To find the gift in all of our experiences and work toward living with our heads up, fully present, standing proud and even.

Simply put, this is a memoir containing some elements of a self-help book.  When I first starting writing, I discovered I was actually helping myself as I wrote. I felt better. I felt free from the accumulated years of experiences that felt like bags of rocks hanging from my shoulders. It dawned on me that perhaps if I shared my story it might actually help others. So here I am, a person who had always identified myself as being deep, proud when people called me an old soul, a typical wife and mother of two. But I had never considered myself as a writer who would publish a book with the intention of inspiring others to see life’s experiences in a new light and to define what mentorship means in their own lives. Yet, the writer in me blossomed.  Yes, I wrote a memoir, but it is also a self-help book. I truly hope it helps.

What will this book help you with? This book is about defining mentorship and discovering how it shows up in our lives. It is about how powerful mentorship is if we are willing to explore ourselves. Our greatest mentors can be found in our experiences and the people with whom we interact every day. My invitation to you as you read my story is to allow for a shift in your own perceptions and beliefs. To be open to the possibility that your experiences are a great gift waiting to be explored and to be open to a definition of mentorship you may have never considered before. My invitation is for you to open the door to your own wisdom through reading about the opening of my door. Will you be moved by my story? I cannot answer that, but I hope it stirs something in you to look a little deeper at the people and experiences that make up your past and present. Just maybe it will influence who you invite into your future and the life you decide to create going forward. Just maybe it will influence who you choose to be—how you choose to behave—at work and at home. Just maybe you will walk away with more questions and some answers about what you stand for.

Each chapter offers a glimpse into what mentorship means for me and how it shows up for me as a working woman, a daughter, a mother, and a person who finally accepted the deepest, most raw feelings of her heart and decided to take a leap of faith to share them openly. I ask questions, share stories, and offer an invitation for you to pick up the tools you may need so you can move forward in your own life. What I am offering is a door. It will be up to you to open it and up to you to decide what to do with what you find on the other side of that door—what to reflect on and how to choose how you want to present yourself in your professional and personal life. The purpose is to enhance the relationships you have with your experiences, your peers, and your loved ones. Will you experience an expanded point of view? I truly hope so.

As I’ve said, this book is part memoir and part self-help book. I had an experience with someone who ended up being a powerful mentor without realizing it at the time. I am peeling back the layers of this experience that first brought me to my knees then pushed me on my journey to stand back up and choose who I wanted to be.

It all started when I was fourteen years old in the kitchen with my dad. That was the moment the door began to open …


[i] Adele, song “Million Years Ago,” from the album 25, XL Recordings (2015).



One simple secret busy working women use to spring clean their soul

We invest much of our time during the spring season keeping our external world clean and organized. 

We dust and scrub, declutter, decide what to toss and what to keep, organize closets and various rooms in our homes. We even get rid of ‘winter kill’ in our back yards and gardens. 

All of which is very valuable to our well-being. 

And I began to wonder what if we spent as much time in our internal world. 

What if we spring cleaned our souls? 

How would one do that? 

I spent a lovely afternoon at a Wellness Show this winter speaking about one simple secret.                Two words -  Letting Go

I wanted to share with you what I shared with them and offer you a spring gift:  3 steps to letting go and living well

I am a dweller! I admit it and am not afraid to declare, my name is Kim and I dwell on most things. I dwell on thoughts I have had, thoughts I should have had, things I said, things I should have said, decisions I have made, should have made or shouldn’t have made. I dwell. 

For those of you that are dwellers I am sure you know what I mean when I describe it as a merry go round of disastrous “what if and should have” thoughts. A tightness in the stomach and frustration of not being in control. 

There is a solution and it is called letting go. We have all heard it. I am sure we have all attempted it and we probably have all said it to someone or to ourselves – “you need to JUST let it go.”

I am here to tell you that it isn’t that easy. Letting go isn’t something you JUST do. It is a process much like moving through a period of grief. It takes intention, effort and time. 

Here are 3 steps to consider on your letting go journey:

1)      Understand the relationship you have with your experience. What are you holding on to and why? 

Before you can let go of something it is important that you understand why you are holding onto it so tightly in the first place. It is important to take the time to explore the experience and the reasons it is taking up space in your reality.

We hold onto so much in our life. People, relationships, memories, material things, beliefs, thoughts and so on.

We cannot let go of any of this if we are not willing to understand our relationship with it and acknowledge that we are holding onto something tightly. Awareness is the key to letting go.

2)      Explore a ritual or practice that means something to you.

In my own experience, in order for me to let go of something I have to perform a physical act to represent my intention. This is a very personal process and one that takes effort to determine the best method that will work for you.

Here is one example:

·         Write down on a piece of paper everything that comes to mind that you would like to let go of. Don’t think just write. Then burn it, bury it or tear it up.

·         Write every time the ‘merry go round’ presents itself. Over time, the spin will get slower and slower. Eventually, it will be a thought that you can easily acknowledge and move on from.

3)      Accept that letting go is a commitment and a life long journey

A letting go practice in your life is forever. Why? Because with each breath you take there will be things to let go of. I invite you to view letting go much like you would a healthy life style choice liking eating well or exercising. Make it part of your routine and you will be happier and less dizzy for investing the time.

As you clean out your closets this spring consider letting go of some of that mind clutter as well. With each item you donate or toss, attach a thought or an experience to go with it.

      And remember to have fun, the boxes may be heavy but you don’t have to be. 
















3 simple secrets coaches use to snap themselves out of grumpiness when coffee just isn't working.


I woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. I was in a total funk, feeling grumpy, negative and sorry for myself.  At first I thought I just needed a cup of coffee to snap myself out of it but sadly it did little.

I knew immediately that this mood was not going to help me create a fulfilling day. It wasn't even 8am and I saw the impact I was having on my family, my moodiness was like a parasite.  I had to do something.

I think we all can relate to these moments. I am not immune to them just because I work as a coach. I feel I have a responsibility to work harder to put my learning into practice though, and so I did. I was able to snap myself out of then negativity pretty quickly. 

Here are the three steps I use to "snap myself out it" and coach myself through it:

#3 - I got honest. 

I took a moment to ask myself what was really going on. What was this grumpiness all about? Turns out, I wasn't irrationally grumpy. I was overtired and sad that morning. Some people can go without sleep, but being tired for me is a trigger. I also noticed I was feeling sad about missing my family back home. I was stuck in the past of my most recent visit.

#2 - I shared it.

Once I figured out that I was sad I shared it with someone I trusted. It felt good to have them listen and more importantly get it out so I could stop the swirl in my mind. I allowed a few tears and acknowledging my sadness felt great. 

#1 - I went outside.

I took a minute to get reconnected to what I love and I listed off all the things I am grateful for while breathing in the cool spring air. This brought me back to why I chose to live where I do despite the distance from family and friends.  And although my sadness and tiredness was still there it didn't control the rest of my day. I had reconnected with the present moment.

I had a fantastic, productive and fulfilling day. I felt good knowing that I had the tools to work through my negative thoughts and feelings and the courage to call it out. 

It is ok to be in the funk. 

The key is to dig a little deeper and acknowledge what is really going on so you can move forward in a positive way and get back into the present moment.

Don't rely on the cup of coffee to snap you out of being a grumpy frog. You can snap out of it with these simple steps.