When trying something new feels scary

Why does trying something new feel scary sometimes? Because your brain can’t distinguish between a real threat to your safety or a perceived one. There’s a part of your brain whose sole job is to keep you safe, to keep you alive. If it believes you are being threatened, it will pull out all the stops to keep you from harm. And what form do those stops take?  scary face of woman Your thoughts.

Here’s my personal example.

I’ve always said I enjoy coaching so much I’d do it for free. I’m not coaching as many clients as I’d like to be coaching right now, so I had this grand idea I’d offer subscribers to my Nurture Your Life Newsletter a free coaching session. What better way to introduce them to the experience, right? I get to do what I love and they get the benefit of life coaching. Total Win-Win!

And then…

That lizardy part of my brain crept in and here’s what she said. ”No one will sign up, even if it’s free…People won’t get the benefit…You’ll be wasting your time and energy…D-U-M-B idea”.

And guess how I felt after that rant?


And guess what I did when I felt deflated?

Nothing. No action towards offering free coaching to anyone.

See how that works?

Thoughts about circumstances in our lives create feelings, which create action (or none), which create my results, which ended up being me not offering those free coaching sessions.

Let’s recap. My brain felt threatened by me offering free coaching and threw up a bunch of blocks in the form of negative thoughts. Our brains are wired to keep us safe. That’s great if you’re about to get in a traffic accident, but the threat of people not understanding coaching is hardly life threatening. Again, our brains don’t know the difference.

So what do you do? Especially when your brain throws stuff like this at you. Which it does all day long.

You first recognize that you aren’t your brain, or your thoughts. You can observe when you have them. You can’t possibly observe them and be them at the same time.

Then you choose what you want to think on purpose.

Back to my example.

I changed my thought to “I’m going to experiment with this just to see what happens”. This thought caused me to feel excited, hopeful, and that it could be fun. With these feelings I picked a time that I could coach for my schedule and started writing up a blurb about it to send to my Nurture Your Life Newsletter followers.

I took action towards my goal rather than doing nothing.

I have no idea how it’s going to turn out and that’s okay. I can’t ever know how anything will turn out. The important piece is that I told my brain what to think, I felt better, and took steps towards what I wanted just by changing that one thought.

Your turn.

What’s something new you’d like to try but are afraid to?

What thought(s) are you thinking?

How do those thoughts make you feel?

What action or non-action are you taking because of those feelings?

What results are you getting?

Don’t like those results?


What thought can you think that would make you feel good enough to take action toward the result you want?

Perfect. Now go think it.

It is that easy. It does take practice. You have to take the time to notice what you’re thinking and feeling, but it’s worth it.

Do you want some free life coaching?

Sign up for the Nurture Your Life Newsletter below my picture near the top of the left sidebar and that option can be yours too.

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to  hear from you.

susan small sig 05:14

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

When obstacles block your path

Walking along a trail by the Deschutes River I watched the water flow swiftly downstream. It was a gorgeous day with sunshine, blue skies, new spring light green growth on the trees, baby ducklings, and a gentle breeze. Magnificent! I noticed a boulder in the middle of the river. An obstacle for sure.

What did the river do?   fast-flowing-river-moves around-rock

Did it make a big hissy fit over this big rock blocking its path? Yell out, “hey, who put this thing here?”

No. It. Didn’t.

It flowed right on around that rock like it wasn’t even there. No muss. No fuss.

What it did do was take the path of least resistance.

Teaching moment right here!

How often in your life are you going along doing your thing, and an obstacle pops up in your work, with a friend, or a significant other?

What’s the first thing you do when you notice this problem?

Do you scream, yell (internally or externally), point fingers, fume, stress, give up?

What do you normally do? Really think about this.

And how is what you normally do working for you?

If it isn’t working, maybe it’s time to do something different.

What if the simplest, the easiest path, really is the one of least resistance?

Like the water.

It didn’t get upset at the rock. It shifted.

Then just flowed around it, easy breezy.


What a perfect question to ask the next time something happens that seems to block your forward movement.

What is the path of least resistance here?

It could be seeing the problem from a new angle, talking to someone for an opinion, or possibly just going in a whole different direction.

Maybe the obstacle isn’t even a problem to be solved, but an invitation to see with new eyes or act in a different way.

Ooooooooooh!- This is such a good question.

What obstacle has shown up in your life? What is your path of least resistance? Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

susan small sig 05:14Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Revamping Your Resolutions

If you'd like to hear the audio version of this blog, click here. It’s time for 2012 to come to a close and 2013 to begin. Many of us make resolutions to, ‘once and for all’, make that one lasting change in our lives. I’m going to spend more time doing this, or spend less money on that, you say. A lot of people have stopped making resolutions because they never stick to them anyway.  MC900444923

A resolution, according to one online source, is defined as finding a solution to, or a firm determination to do something.

Maybe that’s the problem. Determination and willpower alone don’t bring permanent results. It’s like a form of self-bullying. I must fix this problem. Then if we don’t, we make ourselves feel bad when we can’t stick to that resolution for more than a week. Beating ourselves into submission doesn’t work long-term. Never has, never will.

I think maybe we need to look deeper into the reasons we make resolutions in the first place. Then we might find better ways of going about the change process.

Let’s Revamp!

It’s important to start with your intention for your resolution. I’m going to use a common example that many people resolve to do. They resolve to lose weight. So if this is your issue, great, if not, you can still ask the same questions for an issue you’ve picked. So you want to lose weight. Your intention for losing weight is?

Now really think about this. What do you think losing weight is going to get you? The ability to fit into smaller clothes, appreciation by others, better health? What are you looking to gain by losing that weight? No wrong answers here. No judgment allowed. But be clear on what it is you want to get out of it.

The next question to ask yourself is why? Why do you want to lose that weight? So maybe your intention to lose weight is so that you’ll be appreciated by a significant other. Why do you want to be appreciated by them? Now this may sound like a stupid question, because, who doesn’t want to be appreciated by someone, but stay with me.

Your why will be a feeling, an emotion. Because when that person appreciates me, I feel like a million bucks, or I feel loved, or I feel attractive. See how this works? What you are going after when you want something is the feeling state of what you think having it will give you. And you think you need to have that thing to have that feeling state. Like, if you get A, you will feel B. B could be calm, love, confident, or secure.

But you don’t need A to feel B, You just think you do. You can actually choose to feel B anytime you want. You are in charge of that.

You can feel more calm by taking three deep breathes, feel more love by giving someone a hug, feel more financially secure by paying a bill or moving more money to savings, feel more confident by remembering when you’ve done something well.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t make changes in our lives. I’m a life coach. I help people do exactly that. However, it’s important to really look at what you want and why you want it. Coming from that deeper place when wanting to make changes will allow you have a more personal, compelling reason for wanting the change. Knowing what it is you want to feel will be a much more motivating and driving force to help you stick to a resolution.

When your desire is wrapped up completely in the outcome, you will lose every time. The outcome is a feeling state. If you want others to appreciate you, practice appreciating yourself first. Honestly, we cannot control how and when others will appreciate us but you can appreciate them and you can appreciate you. When you do that, I can tell you, that it is one of the keys to losing weight. When you appreciate your body, you treat it differently, feed it differently, talk to it in a loving way, exercise it in a way that feels good and fun, the weight has no where to go but off.

I invite you to revamp your change process, and let me know how it goes in the new year.

Bring on 2013!

Your Turn: I'd love to hear about any changes you're planning on making in 2013. Leave a comment below, or email me,

I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.

As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.

Bloom On!

Seeds of Kindness Bloom and Bloom and Bloom…

What's Your Intention?

It is officially winter in my neck of the woods. It’s almost down to the single digits at night and a layer of snow has gently blanketed the ground around me while the leafless but breathtaking tree branches are glistening towers of ice protruding into the sky. Intention and Motivation

I’ve set an intention for this winter, kind of like a new year’s resolution, but of the mid-Oct. variety.

The longer I live in Alaska, the more challenging winters have become.

It’s mainly the darkness, the lack of light has taken its toll year after year. Once the leaves have disappeared off the trees and it’s pitch-black dark when I wake up in the morning, a feeling of dread comes over me. Ugh! In my head I think, “it’s only going to get worse and I have a long way to go before it’s going to get better”.

It’s like I have unconsciously intended that winter is going to be hard for me. And as a life coach, I know that what I intend, I create.

But what is intention?

Intention is getting clear on the outcome you want. What do you want to get out of this? What do you think you will learn? What are you really hoping will happen?

It could be for a relationship you have with someone, your work, or how you interact with your kids. Do you want to communicate better with people, be in less of a hurry, or stop yelling so much? When you know what you want, moving towards that becomes easier.

But there’s an even more important question to ask yourself after discovering your intention.

What’s your motivation?

It’s like asking what’s the intention behind your intention? It’s asking why? Why do you want to communicate better? Why do you want to be in less of a hurry? Why do you want to stop yelling so much?

The answer to those questions are along the lines of what you want to feel.

Maybe when you communicate better you feel more connected with someone, maybe when you are less in a hurry, you feel more relaxed about what you’re doing, maybe you want to stop yelling because when you do it you regret it and you don’t want to feel regret.

Often we want things to work out a specific way for our life but never explore why we want those outcomes. What do we get out of something happening a certain way?

Is it possible that what you really want is far deeper and more important than you realized?

When you intend something for your life and know your motivation behind it, you know you aren’t BS’ing yourself. It’s okay to want what you want. There are truly no rules behind that.

But by knowing your motivation behind your intention, you can decide if what you say you want is really what you want, or if you just want to feel a certain way. If that’s the case, can you find a way to feel what you want without having your intention met?

Intention? Motivation? These two questions together could really shine a bright light on your deepest desires.

Oh! And my intention for this winter?

To embrace the darkness with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the earth as she rests after a busy period of growth and harvest. My motivation behind the intention is to feel alert and alive, motivated by whatever I’m doing that day: coaching, writing, enjoying time with my boyfriend, playing in the snow with my dogs, and going out with friends. To feel energetic to create whatever I want in my life.

And man, that feels good.

Your Turn:  Do you have intentions for your life? Do you know what’s motivating you? Leave a comment below, or email me,

I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.

As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.

Bloom On!

Seeds of Kindness Bloom and Bloom and Bloom…