Category: life advice

3 Things I Tell Almost Every Coaching Client

Looking for advice from a life coach? Or self-development tips? Tap through and read 3 personal development tips that apply to almost everyone. #motivation #productivity #selfhelp #selfdevelopment
I stare at the pink, arrow-shaped post-it note on my laptop that reminds me to look into the camera. Blink, blink.

On the other side of the country, my coaching client is nibbling a piece of whole wheat toast and telling me about her overpacked schedule.

She has two kids, a partner who travels a lot, and a program she’s been trying to create for the last six months.

She’s 10,000 words in but she has no idea what she’s doing. She knows she’s over-complicating things, but her calendar and brain are too full to choose a next step. 

I nod along and then share an insight that’s been super helpful to me and helpful to many of my other clients – regardless of the topic we’re discussing.

She smiles into her own laptop camera in Portland. “Thank you,” she says.  “I really needed to hear that.” 

I’ve been working with 1:1 coaching clients more and more these past few months. We turn on our cameras and drink from our respective coffee cups and chat about all sorts of things: money, online business, goal-setting, self-promotion.

I’ve sent clients links to plugins that will help them stay off and scripts for how to tell family members they’re dropping out of grad school.

We’ve talked about how to leave unhealthy romantic relationships and how to fit workouts into a super busy schedule.

More than once my 18-year-old cat has scrambled onto my lap mid-session and yowled directly into the camera. #superprofesh

And even though I coach my clients around many different topics, I find myself saying a few things over and over.

These things have been helpful to the business owner who is launching her first ecourse, the person who’s sick of arguing about money with their partner, and the woman who’s trying to launch her writing career. 

So I thought they might be helpful to you, too.

3 Things I Tell Almost Every Coaching Client

1. You’re doing great. I bet you’re doing better than you’re giving yourself credit for!

Listen: acknowledging that you want to change some aspect of your life or business is terrifying and vulnerable and, honestly, pretty rare.

By admitting that we wish things were different, we’re also admitting that we’re going to have to, like, try.

And trying creates an opportunity to fail.
If we don’t acknowledge that we want things to change, we won’t have to try. And if we don't try, we can’t fail. How convenient! Click To TweetWhen they hire me, my coaching clients are saying “I acknowledge that I want to change this part of my life. I’m willing to admit that I want to change and I’m willing to commit money and time to making this change.”

Just by a) admitting they want to change b) taking an active step in the direction of change, they’re wildly ahead of the curve!

And this doesn’t just apply to people who hire coaches.

If you’ve done any of the following, imagine me shouting across the internet “You’re doing great! I bet you’re doing better than you’re giving yourself credit for!”

  • Gone to therapy
  • Read a book about an aspect of your life you’d like to change
  • Told a friend that you want ____ to be different
  • Told your pet that you want ____ to be different
  • Taken a tiny step in the direction of what you want
  • Did something scary and uncomfortable you know will get you closer to where you want to go (even if it didn’t bring the results you wanted)

2. Make it easier to be “good” and harder to be “bad”*

I could spend 72 hours straight talking about neural pathways and the power of self-narrative and creating accountability around our goals.

Blah blah what’s the story you’re telling yourself about that blah.

These things are incredibly important and if you learn how to harness them you will be nigh-on unstoppable!

That being said, sometimes you just need to make it easier to be “good” and harder to be “bad.”

To my clients who are struggling to create their first online course?

Make it harder to procrastinate. Book yourself into a hotel, don’t let them give you the wifi password, and go write your course. I wrote the first draft of Habit School in two days on a goat farm in Wisconsin that doesn’t have internet!

To my clients who want to use their phone more mindfully?

Make it harder to get to your dang phone. Get yourself a good ol’ fashioned alarm clock and stop charging your phone next to your bed.

To my clients who are making more regrettable purchases than they’d like?

Make it harder to shop. Delete the Amazon app from your phone and unsubscribe from the Jcrew newsletter, y’all.

P.S. If you really need help with this, might I suggest my March 12th workshop ‘How To Stop Buying Shit You Don’t Need’? It’s both IRL in Minneapolis AND streaming, so you can tune in anywhere in the world! Click here to grab your spot + workbook!

To my clients who want to drink more water?

MAKE IT EASIER TO DRINK MORE WATER. Get a cute water bottle that you like drinking from. Bring it  everywhere.

You’re smart. You get the idea.
Whatever it is that you want to change - you can make it easier to make good choices in the direction of change and harder to make choices that move you further from what you say you want. Click To Tweet

* Obviously, giant air quotes here around “good” and “bad” because your inherent value  as a human is not determined by how much you procrastinate or how many times a week you do yoga.

3. You’re allowed to take imperfect action in the direction of what you want

Whether I’m coaching someone about money, social media, online business, or habits – I want to scream from the rooftops: “You don’t have to do this perfectly to see results! Putting in a B+ effort is better than doing nothing!!!!”

If you cancel those subscriptions you’re not using, but you still order Doordash more than is strictly necessary? It’s an imperfect step in the right direction.

You want to post four times a week on Instagram and this week you only posted twice. It’s still better than the zero times a week you were posting before!

You’re trying to build a morning yoga habit and today you “only” did 10 minutes instead of 40? You still did yoga this morning. You still get to add a star to that chart.

It’s unlikely that every step we take towards change is going to be perfect. 

There will be typos in Instagram posts. There will be launches that under-perform, side hustles that fizzle, attempts at financial negotiations that go nowhere. You’ll probably fall off your good habit wagon a few times.
When things don’t go perfectly - that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong or that you should give up. It means you’re human. Click To Tweet

2 Perfectionist Tips That Will Free Up Your Time, Brain, and Energy

Looking for perfectionist tips that will help you overcome perfectionism? Just want to write better to-do lists in your bullet journal or be more productive? Click through for 2 great tips!

I’m not a perfectionist in the traditional sense.

I’ve published dozens of blog posts that contain typos. I’ll leave the house knowing there’s a tiny coffee stain on my shirt and pretend it happened in transit. I’ll happily cobble together a meal from a wilting green pepper and some freezer-burned corn and then yell about how I’m pretty much Julia Child.

I mean, I wrote a blog post entitled “It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect, It Just Has To Be Something.”

But I’ll also spend weeks – or months! – polishing and editing and fussing over an ebook that’s already 99% amazing. I’ll wander into the kitchen at 10 pm “just to wipe down the counters” … and then it’s 45 minutes later and I’m defrosting the freezer. I’ll spend so long tweaking a client proposal that I almost miss the deadline.

Of course, truly getting over perfectionism is the work of a lifetime and probably lots of therapy. But while you’re doing that deeper work, here are two surprisingly effective tips that have helped me get out of my own way and get on with my totally-not-perfect-but-still-awesome life!


9 Ways To Stay Smart Even If You Haven’t Taken A Class In Years

Want to stay smart? Of course you do! Staying intellectually curious is one of the keys to a happy, fulfilling life. Click through for 9 ways to stay sharp and train your brain!

Have you ever seen that tv show Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

It is, by and large, an exercise in realizing that you now know nothing about history, science, or math.

How many cups are 28 fluid ounces?
Between 1455 and 1485, the War Of Roses took place in what country?
A common type of radio wave is referred to as VHF. What do those letters stand for?

I DON’T KNOW OKAY. But I can definitely tell you the full name of Instagram sensation Tuna Melts Your Heart!

As kids head back to school, I am more motivated than ever to stretch and build my brain so I’m not stumped when my 12-year-old stepson quizzes me about the difference between genus and species.


A Weird Tip For A More Fulfilling Life: Make A ‘To Do For Fun’ List

Looking for to-do list ideas? Or productivity tips or happiness advice? Click through for a bullet journal idea you've never considered before!

Are you a super laid back human who’s great at relaxing? Are your evenings and weekends filled with picnics and movies and friends and reading in a hammock?

If that’s you, stop reading this blog post. It will do you no good. Instead, read this post about how to travel for a month with only a carry-on

But are you one of those Type A humans who runs themselves ragged? Who struggles to uncouple their productivity from their self-worth? Who fill their days (and evenings and weekends) with one million tiny tasks?

If you are this person, I’d like to introduce you to one solution to your Type A problems: the To Do For Fun list.

Quite simply, a To Do For Fun list is a list of fun things you’d like to do with your evening, your weekend, or any free time that falls into your calendar.

If we make lists of duties and chores so we’ll remember to do them, couldn’t we also make lists of fun, unproductive things so we’ll remember to do them? Click To Tweet

I realize this might sound completely counter-intuitive, but sometimes if I don’t plan to have fun … I don’t. My lazy, unstructured weekend becomes an opportunity to organize paperwork, clean the fridge, and detail the car. And then once I‘ve worn myself down, I’ll fall into a Netflix coma.

Instead, what if I made a To Do For Fun list that looked like this?

Weekend To Do For Fun list

  • Sleep in
  • Go to the beach + get nachos at Sandcastle
  • Give myself a manicure
  • Make sweet corn ice cream

Even if I don’t do any of those things (which is fine, since it’s a To Do For Fun list!), I’ve taken five minutes to remind myself that this time is set aside for fun and relaxation. This time is not for never-ending chores, meeting other people’s deadlines, or putting everyone else’s needs before my own.


7 ideas for random acts of kindness when the world feels like a dumpster fire

Looking for random acts of kindness ideas? Trying to make the world a better place in tiny, doable ways? Click through for 7 ideas that really will make a difference.

“Girl, 2018 is not the year I want ideas for random acts of kindness. This is the year I’m calling my senators every day, yelling my head off at protests, and #resisting.”  <- Is this what you thought when you read the title of this post?

Friend, I get it. I really, really, really do. When it feels like the whole world is on fire, returning your shopping cart or bringing in cupcakes for your coworkers can feel futile and foolish.

The truth is this: random acts of kindness benefit you as much as they benefit everyone around you. Click To Tweet

Random acts of kindness make YOU feel better

Let’s be real: 2018 has been horrible. Most of us could use an injection of Feel Good. Luckily for us (and everyone around us), kindness can do that.

People who volunteer and donate to charities have been shown to have higher levels of self-esteem and happiness. They have a 22% lower mortality rate than non-volunteers!

So let’s add some random acts of kindness to our self-care regime, tucked between ‘re-reading a favorite novel’ and ‘going for a walk next to a body of water.’

Random acts of kindness help you feel empowered – instead of powerless in the face of, say, a crumbling democracy

I don’t know about you, but taking action – almost any action – makes me feel better. If malaise and overwhelm are what ails me, taking one tiny step towards a kinder world is an antidote.

When I see that my neighborhood is free of litter because I picked it all up like a weirdo, I feel slightly less downtrodden.

When I know my favorite NGO has a new copier because of my donations, I’m less likely to scream-cry into a paper bag.

When I find out my favorite barista is a manager now (maybe because I kept praising her to the owner?), I feel slightly less adrift in a world where bad things happen to good people.

Random acts of kindness fill you up so you can keep going + keep fighting

When you feel empowered, happy, and proud of the life you're living, you have the energy to keep fighting. Click To Tweet

You have the wherewithal to attend another protest or call another politician. You’re calm enough to diplomatically discuss immigration reform or reproductive rights. You can sleep at night and wake up well-rested enough to cope when you turn on CNN.

7 ideas for random acts of kindness

1. Praise someone to their supervisor

Public-facing jobs are haaaaaard. Cashiers, baristas, and servers are on their feet all day, dealing with people who are hungry, impatient, or under-caffeinated. Customer service reps get yelled at all day, every blessed day. Nurses are surrounded by sick people who hate the healthcare system.

So when we encounter someone who does their job with patience and grace, let’s make sure they know they’re appreciated. We can tell them directly, “I really appreciate the way you handled this.” Or we can call, email, or tag their employer to let them know how much we enjoyed our experience.

Even if that person doesn’t immediately get a raise or a promotion, they’ll know that their generosity and patience has been noticed. And they’re more likely to pass that patience on to the next customer.

2. Clean up a public space

In a perfect world, everybody would return their grocery cart to the corral. Garbage would never blow out of overstuffed cans and gas station employees would check the bathrooms every hour.

Bad news: we do not live in a perfect world.

Good news: with pretty minimal effort, we can return that errant cart so no one hits it with their car. We can wipe off the sink with the paper towel we just used. We can pick up that plastic bottle that’s rolling down the sidewalk.

A cleaner, nicer world for all of us!

3. Send a care package to a soldier

Regardless of how you feel about our current administration and its military policies, I think we can all acknowledge that being a soldier is incredibly challenging. The people serving our country deserve better than the treatment they often receive once they’ve come home.

Organizations like HeroBox allow you to ‘sponsor’ a service member and send them care packages specific to their needs + wants – like ‘detective novels + Snickers bars.’ Or you can donate funds and items to Operation Courage Is Beautiful, an organization that sends care packages to female service members.

4. Schedule reminders into your Google calendar to reach out to people

This piece of advice comes from a friend who lost her mom at the age of 20.

“Everybody’s really supportive for, like, two weeks,” she said. “But then life moves on, people get busy, and if you’re not crying at work every day, people think you’re okay. What really helped were the friends who continued to check in with me six months or a year after the fact.”

So if your friend is going through something awful, schedule a reminder to check in with them in a month. Reach out to your friends who have less-than-amazing relationships with their parents on Mothers’ and Fathers’ day.

If you know the anniversary of a miscarriage, divorce, or death is coming up, drop them an email. If you’re worried you’ll forget, schedule an email in Boomerang!

Related: It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be something.

5. Give a gift card (or some water or a care package) to a person experiencing homelessness

If you don’t carry cash or you’re not comfortable handing it out on street corners, there are still lots of ways you can help someone experiencing homelessness.*

Give them a gift card to a nearby fast food restaurant or store. There are often people asking for money on the median near our house, kiddy corner from a Walgreens and a Burger King. It’s super easy to buy a few $5 gift cards when I pop into Walgreens for mascara! I can keep the gift cards in my glove compartment and hand them out when the opportunity arises.

You can also put together a care package or buy a bulk package of bottled water and hand it out on hot days.

* Of course, donating and volunteering with homeless shelters is great as well! This is simply a way to meet a need more immediately.

6. Pay off someone’s layaway plan

In the age of credit cards, not as many people use layaway plans but there are still thousands of open accounts at stores like Sears and Kmart.

If you’re not familiar, a layaway plan is a way for people to make periodic payments towards the purchase of an item they can’t afford to purchase outright. People are usually charged fees or a percentage, making the final cost higher than if they bought the item in one fell swoop.

Paying off someone’s layaway plan will take a bit of finagling. I had to find a Kmart, drive there, and explain myself to two employees, BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT.

For $17, I paid off a family’s layaway of a Dora The Explorer bedding set. I spent the rest of the day getting weepy every time I thought of that kiddo snuggling under that comforter.

7. Write Yelp and Google reviews for your favorite small businesses

Anytime anyone compliments my haircut, I fairly scream “Amberlie at Rouge Salon in St. Paul! This is a $36 haircut!!!” That’s great and everything, but I could probably send more business her way by taking 1.5 minutes to leave a glowing online review.

Yelp reviews and Google reviews matter! Especially for service providers like stylists, mechanics, masseuses, and house cleaners. So if you have one you love, tell the internet about them.

If you’re in the Twin Cities, Worku is our extremely beloved mechanic and Kenny does all his bike-related shopping at The Hub.

But I want to hear from you! How are you keeping your batteries charged during this super trying time? Have you been on the giving or receiving end of a random act of kindness? Tell us in the comments so we can try it!

Photos by Lidya Nada and Adam Jang on Unsplash

You probably have to get uncomfortable to get what you want

A bit of real talk about self-development, business, and self-improvement: you're more likely to get what you want if you're willing to get uncomfortable. Click through for a pep talk about getting outside of your comfort zone.

Here’s a short list of times I’ve been so uncomfortable I sweat through my shirt:

Moving to New Zealand, knowing no one
Is it a terrible idea to enroll in a graduate program in another country? I don’t know anyone here – who will I call if something goes wrong? How do I get around the city? How am I going to find an apartment?

Meeting a blog reader for coffee for the first time
What are we going to talk about? What should I wear that’s simultaneously cool and not-trying-too-hard? What if she’s disappointed by who I am IRL?

Sending a fourth follow-up email to that Dream Client
Are they going to block my emails? Will they forward them around the office, mocking me? Will I be blacklisted from their entire industry, known as That Horrible Pushy Woman From Minneapolis?

And the results of those cringe-worthy, sweat-inducing experiences?

Once-in-a-lifetime memories + an education that helps me create better courses
An eight-year friendship that includes yearly vacations to wonderful places
A five-figure contract of I-can’t-believe-you’re-paying-me-to-do-this projects

Of course, there have been puh-lenty of times I’ve screwed up my courage and flung myself out of my comfort zone, for naught. There was culture shock, refund requests, and rejected pitches.

And it’s likely that my future holds more of these awkward, unpleasant realities because that’s the nature of doing things that make you uncomfortable.

There is a direct correlation between how uncomfortable you are willing to be and how likely you are to get what you want. Click To TweetRight now, I’m witnessing this in real time.  I’m currently leading 250 people through Bank Boost, a live program where we alllll put ourselves on Spending Diets + Earning Sprees for six weeks. We cheer each other on, share ideas, and discuss the merits of’s free section.

Here’s what I’ve noticed. A few of the people doing Bank Boost have thrown themselves into their Earning Sprees headlong. Becoming a shopper for Instacart? Sure, they’ll give it a try! Figuring out how to sell things on Poshmark? Okay! Telling people (repeatedly! on different social media platforms!) that they’re available for hire? Yup!

Unsurprisingly, the people who have been willing to try new things and make themselves uncomfortable are the exact same people who have brought in an extra $1,000 in three weeks.

Coincidence? Nope.
The vast majority of people are unwilling to make themselves uncomfortable. When you inhabit a space most people are unwilling to go, you’ve got less competition and you’re more likely to get what you want. Click To TweetI am not, of course, suggesting that you push past your discomfort to follow a dicey-seeming dude down a dark alley to see the puppies in his windowless van. This is not where I convince you that you should remain in your uncomfortable job with your emotionally abusive boss.

But I imagine we all know the difference between good-for-you uncomfortable and bad-for-you uncomfortable.

Good-for-your uncomfortable feels terrifying and brave and exciting. It’s doing the things you know you need to do, even though you might not be doing them perfectly. It’s taking a deep breath and clicking ‘send.’

It’s walking into a room full of strangers with your head held high, your heart beating in your throat, and a desire to try your best – even if you’re sweating through your shirt a little bit.

I want to hear from you! If you’re good at doing things that make you uncomfortable, tell us how you work up the courage in the comments below so we can learn from you!

P.S. If you need 1-on-1 help or accountability to get uncomfortable, I can do that!

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash