Want real work flexibility? Here are my 5 tips!

There are perks and downsides to being part of a large company as well as working for yourself. For me, the flexibility and satisfaction that comes with a mission-focused entrepreneurship have vastly outweighed the corporate perks. But it didn't feel that way immediately; sure, I was loving my work and clients, but from a lifestyle perspective, it took time for me to unlearn the habits corporate America taught me and to fully embrace my authentic style.

For me, my style basically boils down to managing my energy (instead of time) so I can be efficient, present and grateful, as much as possible. Wondering what the heck this means? Read on for my top 5 tips to add flexibility to your lifestyle:

  1. Take control of your mornings

    • For so many days, even when I was intentionally "taking time off" in between my finance and coaching careers, I still seemed to jump out of bed, anxiously ready to go. I slowly learned to take control of my mornings, instead of letting them control me.
    • I started to fully enjoy my coffee, presently walk the doggie, drink my smoothie and read a bit before I start getting ready for the day. And as I started adding clients, writing and other tasks to my daily agenda, I still embraced this routine by not scheduling clients before 10:30AM. It makes me better at my job. 
  2. Stop assuming your boss is watching you

    • I always had this feeling in corporate America that someone was watching me. Like someone owned me and my time, no matter how great my work was. Skype and Slack, etc... don't help the whole "are you available" mentality but I remember the day I finally set my Lync status to "away" and said, "F-it." I'm going to the grocery store at 2PM. And it was totally fine (unless I had a control freak boss;)). It was mostly me putting too high of expectations on myself.
    • Today, I set a policy with my clients that I will return emails within 1-2 business days, unless it's a Friday, I will answer by Monday. No one has EVER questioned my policy - people actually tell me how much they respect it. Know your limits, state them, and don't compromise them out of fear of ridicule or rejection.
  3. Quality over quantity, set boundaries and be direct

    • When it comes to working hours, many companies still value long hours over delivered value. I remember the 60 and sometimes even 80 hour work weeks, where it never ended. For my role, it became expected for a 5PM request to be completed by 8AM. Until... I started asking why, and didn't get good answers.
    • I started to state my boundaries - when something takes 5 hours to complete, we would need more time to do it. Some bosses embraced it and understood that I was being completely reasonable, others did not.
    • These days, I set expectations, even if no one asks for them. I communicate if something is going to be delivered later than expected, and people understand and accommodate. Because, after all, it's about quality and delivering value at the end of the day. AND, we're human.
    • Everything does not have to be a damn fire-drill!!! I also have to add, I will never forget the day I read that @susanhyatt doesn't work on Fridays. It gave me permission to really get creative with my schedule, because, why not!? So I said, Monday and Friday is for administrative business tasks, writing, prepping for my week of clients and getting inspired.
  4. Your job/company/title is not your personal identity, your WORK is

    • I used to think that my job, company and title defined me, as a human. Who was I without Accenture on my resume? I know I'm not alone. I associated it with false confidence, ego, and how I related to others. I liked to be able to put people in boxes. It made relating to people easier, and in all honesty, it's human nature.
    • But in reality, people don't belong in boxes. They should be empowered to feel free, creative, and autonomous. . You are not your job or company. You are the work you do. The difference you make. The impact you drive for others. That's how people view you at the end of the day, and at the end of your life. Did you make the world a better place in some way? Even if it feels small, it all counts. Try to focus a lot more on the work you're doing vs. the title you operate under; and if it doesn't feel good. Make a change.
  5. Vacations are no longer about getting away from it all; they're about inspiration

    • Back in my corporate days, I would NEED vacation in order to get away, from EVERYTHING. Because EVERYTHING felt so overwhelming and stressful all the time.
    • Vacations are now about seeing something new, finding inspiration from new sources. As much as I love travel, I haven't traveled nearly as much as I used to. Small things inspire me now, like the changing of seasons, architecture in my neighborhood, etc... I found it really odd at first, because I thought something was wrong with me, I asked where the travel bug went, but it turns out, when you love what you do, and have flexibility to work when and wherever you please, it's easier to stay present and grateful for whatever is around you.

Thinking about making your work and lifestyle more flexible and satisfying? Let's talk. 

Quit the balancing act and try THIS to improve your well-being!

Quit the balancing act and try THIS to improve your well-being!

You've heard the term, work/life balance for years, if not decades. Research suggested (and maintains) today that we need balance in order to stay healthy, prevent burnout, increase our sense of belonging in society and improve our overall life satisfaction.

In other words, we're talking about increasing our overall well-being. 

I most definitely agree with this notion of balance and all the other labels like harmony, integration, and flexibility thrown around these days.

But, after reading tons of books, applying recommendations to my own life, and currently helping people struggling to "balance" work and life. as a coach and consultant, frankly, I rarely find myself using the word balance, nor striving for it in my own life.

The Dark Reality of an Identity Crisis (and how to get through it)

Are you having an identity crisis? Or maybe you've had one in the past?

I have. It's awful. Scary. Lonely. Out of control feeling, like a hurricane of uncertainty. And you can't avoid it. Wherever you turn, you feel empty and lost.

I called it career burnout when it happened to me, over and over again, but now, in hindsight, I believe it was an identity crisis. Something inside me was telling me I needed to change; I wasn't living in alignment with my values. 

Tips to Navigate an Identity Crisis

Tips to Navigate an Identity Crisis

You're kicking butt in your current career, moving up the corporate ladder, enjoying the perks that come with it, not to mention, the praise you receive from your friends and family. On one hand, you are damn successful! But one day, you start to feel like something is missing. You can't put your finger on it. And as much as you try to push it aside, the feeling just won't go away!

Do you believe?

You want a change... whether it's about making more money, getting to the next level at work, making a bigger impact on the world, being respected by your coworkers, etc... But do you truly believe, deep in your heart, clear in your mind, you can achieve what you want? Do you have a vision of what that looks and feels like?

If yes, awesome. Otherwise, follow this 3 step process to make sure you're set up for success.

Let's say you want to make more money, because most of us would totally be cool making more money. 

  1. What does this success look and feel like? How much more money do you want to make? How will you use the money/what will the money buy you (physically or emotionally)? 
    • Maybe you will gain peace of mind, because you'll start investing in a 401K? And investing in your 401K will allow you to retire early so you can travel allover the world.
    • Or you will finally get to rent/buy a lake house, where you and your family can relax and unwind in the summertime?
    • Or maybe the money buys you time? So you say bye to the part time work that's been funding your passion project? And now you can use all that time towards that passion project to impact more people's lives!
    • Whatever the amount of money you want, connect with WHY it's important to you, and how AMAZING it will feel to have it! GIVE YOURSELF SPACE TO REALLY FEEL IT!
  2. How can you start to embody that feeling, right now!? Even though you don't yet have the money?
    • Start showing your value - the value that aligns with that next level. "Dress for the part you want," mind, body and soul. You gotta prove yourself, so those around you naturally believe you can do it and think of you when they need what you can deliver!
    • Proving yourself needs to come from a place of confidence, otherwise no one will believe you, and if you're good at faking confidence, you'll feel like a fraud (not fun, I've been there).  
    • If you feel confident, go SHOW 'EM WHAT YOU'VE GOT!!!
    • If you're not feeling 100% confident in your skills, move on to Step 3.
  3. You need to believe you have exactly what it takes to make that extra moolah. This doesn't mean you have a step by step, detail oriented plan, it means you have the confidence to get there, however the universe intends for you to accomplish that goal. But sometimes, we are our own worst critics and we can't see all of our amazingness!!!! Use these prompts to reconnect with your strengths and gifts:
    • Think about 3 career accomplishments you're proud of. What did you do to achieve that accomplishment? Did you question whether you had what it took to get there? Or did you just go for it? What was motivating you to get there? Why was it important? Was the accomplishment a result of taking on something else you truly cared about? 
    • Reflect on 3 difficult challenges in your life or career that you conquered. How did you grow stronger as a result?  What did you learn? Is there any part of the challenge you feel like you didn't solve or wish it was solved in a different way?

These questions are designed to build perspective, awareness, and confidence. Most likely, you didn't even think twice about reaching your goals in the past, but now, later in life, we have accrued so many fear stories that stop us from becoming the best version of ourselves.

Don't let the stories stop you. You can do whatever you put your mind to!

Does this sound like you? You've got big goals that you want to accomplish! But you have no idea if you have what it takes (or feel like you don't and it's eating you up). That's why I'm here, to help you see your potentials and provide you the courage to take action. Schedule a free clarity session with me today to see if we're a fit!

Burned... out...

This week, I'm talking about burnout. It's been a few months since we last talked about it, and as we all entered 2018, we had high hopes, renewed energy and goals we wanted to accomplish. Maybe it was weight loss, drinking more water, taking time to reflect and plan our weeks, visit family more often, etc...

Whatever it was, setting and achieving the goals is awesome; feeling like you're missing the mark is not. It doesn't feel good. It gives us a sense of not being good enough. A feeling of hopelessness, failure, maybe laziness, or a lack of willpower.

I'm here to tell you, you've got it all reversed. You most definitely are none of these things! You're indeed the exact opposite.

Let me explain what I mean...

We live in a culture that values being "busy" all the time, we pack too much into our days to begin with. We then compare ourselves to others and assume that because "Sally's" Instagram shows her smiling and laughing through a 60-hour workweek + date night + exercise + tropical vacations + juice bar with friends + cooking + who knows what else, we assume that we should be able to do all that too, and add our New Year's resolutions on top. Right??? And because we're not "Instagram's Sally Sunshine" we feel even worse about ourselves. 

What Instagram doesn't showcase is Sally's nightly meltdown, spiraling thoughts, the insomnia she faces from exhaustion, overwhelm from not doing as much as "Instagram Jessica," and wondering when it will all FINALLLLLLLLLY slow down.

What I'm saying is, Sally's not actually that happy, and more importantly, you're not lazy, hopeless or lacking willpower. You're both fabulously motivated, gifted people, but you're burned the F out and feeling VERY dissatisfied living this rat-race lifestyle! There's no way you can intentionally add more when you're constantly running on empty.

It's time to put an end to it. By taking small steps. Nothing big. At your pace.

Sound like you? Whether you're the "Sally" or the one creeping on her Instagram profile, LOL, it's ok. We've all been on either side at some time in our lives, myself included. Now, we gotta move forward and prevent the burnout and chronic stress from happening. It's no way to live our lives!

Below are 5 steps you can take to zap the burnout and move towards more peace, restful sleep and a more satisfying life!

  1. Take a day off. I know, this is much easier said than done, but look at your calendar, when is the soonest you can take PTO? Put it on your calendar (NON NEGOTIABLE, NOT ALLOWED TO CANCEL) and schedule it with your boss. PRONTO! Make a plan for that day/week you take off, get excited about it, talk about it others, and stick to it. 
  2. Begin to focus your attention on what actually brings you joy. What do you have fun doing? What are you good at? How can you get more of it in your life? Get curious. Take time for this, daily. It's remarkable how much can shift when you really start paying attention.
  3. Can you share your concern/overwhelm with someone you trust, ideally someone who is not burned out? Loneliness and lack of social support is a common cause of burnout. Opening up about what you're facing can be extremely therapeutic and will help reduce the stress, therefore creating room to start making change in your life.
  4. Do you feel stuck? I am here to tell you that you are NEVER stuck (in a role, industry, company, etc…) There are ALWAYS more opportunities. The hard part is that you can't see outside your burnout bubble until you de-stress a bit. (That's why it's so important to take that time off to recalibrate, rest and open yourself up to possibility!)
  5. Shut off the social media/phone/email at least 1 hour before bed. This takes practice, but letting your brain relax for at least an hour before bed, over time, will improve your sleep quality and increase your overall productivity (I know work less, get more done, sounds like a scam, but I promise, it works:)).

Question, comments, need help getting out of burnout and re-energized, please get in touch. I'm here to help. 



Wanting more, But feeling Shame and Guilt?

There can be so much shame, guilt and uncertainty around wanting more in life (and if you know me, you know I'm not talking from a material possession standpoint)... 

But why then, when something deep in your gut/soul/intuition (whatever you want to call that voice) tells you there's something bigger, more impactful, exciting, meaningful, purposeful out there for you, do you experience such discomfort?

I am grateful for you

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Happy almost New Year! I hope you are doing something special tonight, whether it's cuddling on your couch in your coziest PJs with a glass of champagne or dressing up for a wild night out. 

As I head into 2018, I am thinking about how grateful I am for you. For all of your loyalty, support and inspiration over the past 2+ years. I am only doing this work because of you. It's simple. I am here to serve you. Your voice drives my content and my passion for helping you achieve your personal and professional growth dreams. I am grateful you have chosen me to be a part of your journey. 

I have a really good feeling about 2018 - it's going to be your best year yet!

Wishing you lots of love, meaning, and joy,



New Year's ResolutionS? GRR First!

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Liz Traines Coaching turned 2 this month! It's an exciting milestone - my love for learning about your life, career, and identifying your purpose is here to stay!

With anniversaries and the holiday season, many of us think about making resolutions and goal setting. However, before we do that, I want to first encourage something I call the:

Gratitude and Reflection Ritual (aka GRR)

Why? Because the GRR helps us grow in alignment with our deepest desires and purpose. When we connect with 2017's most meaningful moments and ask ourselves "Why?" they were so important, we build energy and momentum to take with us into 2018. Harvard Business Review reported, "Employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect." Similar results were observed with morning reflection and planning too.

Want those results in your work or life, but feeling a little overwhelmed about getting started? I'm sharing my own 5 question GRR process with you, to make this easier. Just copy and paste the questions below into a doc and start typing!

The Gratitude & Reflection Ritual (GRR)

  1. What are your proudest accomplishments of 2017? Why?
  2. How are you feeling about closing out 2017? Why?
  3. What moments were the most fun for you in 2017? What made them special?
  4. What moments were most difficult and how did you overcome them?
  5. What are you most grateful for as you head into 2018?

Don't like the idea of typing these things out, you get to GRR however you like. A conversation with a trusted friend or mentor? A cup of coffee and your favorite pen/journal? Find your style. Taking the time to do this will help you feel much more in control and excited about your life!

Next week, I'll share with you how I'm setting my 2018 personal and business goals/New Year's resolutions. If you want to talk through any of this, please schedule a complimentary clarity session with me. 

Need some inspo? Here is the [consolidated] version of my answers to give you some ideas:

What are your proudest accomplishments of 2017? Why?

  • Officially transitioned to career and lifestyle coaching, my dream niche. I didn't feel I was ready for this straight out of my corporate career; I had to create my own career and lifestyle, the way I wanted it and know that it was here to stay! (Otherwise, I'd feel like a fraud). I know my business will continue to evolve as my life and priorities shift, and I'm excited about that evolution! 
  • Building some really special relationships - ones that feel fully rooted in my truth, and being my most authentic self.

How are you feeling about closing out 2017? Why?

  • I'm feeling accomplished and proud - I've run a business for two years now and I'm growing personally and professionally in the ways that feel most important to me. 
  • Liberated by the freedom to execute my goals and dreams, my way.
  • Confident (but not in an egotistical way) about where I've come from and that I've got the tools I need to get me where I want to go (or that I'll figure it out along the way, if I don't have the answer). 

What moments were the most fun for you in 2017? What made them special?

  • Numerous dinners/lunches/coffees I've had with strong, supportive, entrepreneurial women this year. They light me up. They inspire me to keep going (and growing) and let me know I'm not alone in my challenges and that it's amazing to celebrate accomplishments too!
  • Laughing with my clients. We do our best to give rightful attention to individual challenges and then laugh through the process of overcoming them as much as we can!
  • Trip to Colorado, the company was the most special part, but I felt carefree and independent despite being attached to another human the whole time. Who I'm surrounded by is more important than where I'm going.

What moments were the most difficult and how did you overcome them?

  • Overcoming fear has been the most difficult. Whether the fear has been related to dating, my business, friendships, etc... it still exists, but I'm letting go and not letting it stop me. Now, I do my best to shift my perspective to what IS going well and connect emotionally to the most recent moments that have been filled with love and gratitude. 

What are you most grateful for as you head into 2018? Why?

  • Freedom to do WHATEVER I want in life and in business. Despite tumultuous political times, and (of course) the obstacles of social and economic pressures, I live in a country that allows freedom in more ways that I can imagine. I will not take this for granted.
  • Loving relationships and support. I know I can do a lot on my own, but without love and tribal support, my reach and potential becomes capped. Love and support gives me extra energy, ideas, and resources I can't create by myself. This fuel is a gift I'm VERY grateful for.
  • Stanley (photo to the right explains all)