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We are a culture of busy worshipers. It doesn’t really matter what we’re doing, we think that we need to be frantic and rushing around to be productive. This is especially tempting when we are in Square 3 of the Change Cycle; it ain’t called The Hero’s Saga for nothin’, people! If you don’t know about the Change Cycle, go here for an explantion.

After you have dreamed up a course of action in Square 2, Square 3 is where you try it out. I say try, because you will probably try and fail… at least a couple of times. It’s daunting to try something and have it not work out, but it also puts you in touch with the best part of yourself–your Inner Amazon. She is a badass, but she’s also kind and funny. I’ve talked before about listening to your Inner Guide, the still quiet voice inside you that always has your best interest at heart. Your Inner Amazon is your Inner Guide’s big, sassy sister. I picture her as a combination of Beyoncé and Alicia Keys— strong and vibrant, with the battle cry, “You can DO this!”

Your Inner Amazon is a great sidekick in Square 3, because it can be unsettling to keep trying and failing. The movement of Square 3 is circular: you grieve the loss of your old expectations in Square 1, you dream up a new plan in Square 2, you try it out in Square 3, and it bombs. Then it’s back to Square 1.

Here’s how this showed up in my life recently. My middle child, who found the perfect apartment in May, lost the perfect apartment 6 months later. So, she’s been on the hunt for a new place (Square 1). She spent a couple of weeks with me on the phone and the Internet looking at new places that suited her (Square 2). Then she found one that was ideal, after traipsing around Chicago for days, and we both jumped through all the hoops to secure her spot and sign a lease (Square 3). Success!  So everything is peachy, right? Wrong. Yesterday, she found out that the other three roommates dropped out! She was sure that she was now responsible for the lease herself (Square 3 failure, back to Square 1), so she called me for help.

Were we freaked out? Not really. Because we both know this is how the Change Cycle works. Worrying is just wasted effort in Square 3. I told her I could help. I did some research, contacted the landlord, and he let her out of the lease. Now she goes back into Square 2 again to dream up a new place to live. We stayed connected, because we know that change is a part of life and control is an illusion. Old Terri would have thrown up my hands and spent a lot of time worrying about where my baby will sleep! What if I can’t get out of the lease? What will I do? But my Inner Amazon said, “Come on, T, you got this! Contact the landlord, explain yourself, and have faith.”

It’s much easier to have faith when you have your Pride to call. Just like in Square 1, you need a friend (or Pride member) to remind you that, “All is well. All will be well. All manner of things will be well.” This is my mantra in Square 3. I say it to myself. I say it to my kids. And I have my Pride say it back to me. This mantra has worked with my clients, as they negotiated the Square 3 of divorce, cancer, and their last kid leaving for college. If you’re in Square 3 right now, take 3 deep breaths (coincidence? I think not!) No matter how bad things seem, you can call on your own Inner Amazon, and your supportive Pride, to remind you that You Can Do This!

Until next time, be kind to yourselves ☺

XO

Terri

PS If you are in the depths of Square 3, without a Pride, I can help!  Send me an e-mail an terri@girlpowerforgood.com to sign up for a free consultation. Go here for more information about Girl Power for Good coaching.

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A support system is one of the key necessities for thriving in transition. If you don’t have a group (or a few) people who love you no matter what, then it’s time to dream up a new Pride. Your Pride may not be the cool kids. You know, the Moms who always know what to wear or the best organic grocery store/exercise class/new coffee spot, OR the Popular girls who walk down the halls impervious to pain, bad hair days and loneliness. You may be searching for belonging in the wrong places.

Sometimes we have friendships that are convenient, but in our gut we don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable around them. Last week, my friend told me that she was cornered at a party by a neighbor, who proceeded to spill intimate details of a mutual friend’s life under the guise of being concerned. Her gut had always told her not to trust this neighbor, and now she knew why. These kind of friends are the Drama Mama equivalent of the teenaged “Mean Girls”. And we’ve all got a few in our circles.

So, how do we find our Pride? The first step is to always trust your gut. If you don’t have trustworthy friends right now, that’s okay. In Square 2 of the change cycle, it is better to be alone then to rely on friends that aren’t Your People. This goes double for our daughters.

If your daughter is depressed because the popular girls don’t want her to sit at their lunch table, ask her why she wants to sit there. Why does she want friends who don’t see her for who she truly is? Then ask her, if those girls WANTED her to be with them, would she pick them as friends? This led to one of the best conversations I ever had with my middle child. She realized that the “popular girls” were not friends she would pick, given a choice. She was just drawn to them, because they didn’t want her…like a moth to a flame. She thought hanging around with them would make her popular.

Having popular friends doesn’t make you popular; being confident makes you popular.

And if those popular friends don’t support who you are, they aren’t Your People. Those are acquaintances, and they have their place. But you will know Your People, because you feel safe when you’re around them. They have earned the right to hear your story by accepting you exactly as you are. They make you feel more confident.

If you or your daughter don’t have a circle of friends that makes you feel confident, and you’re feeling completely alone as we talked about in Square 1,  you can use Square 2 to dream up a new Pride. If you, or your daughter, are feeling hopeless about finding good friends, try creating something with your hands to get the Square 2 dream juices flowing. You can write in a journal, knit, draw, surf for delicious food or travel destinations on the internet, or anything else that makes you feel more hopeful. In this frame of mind, you or your daughter can spend some time describing the qualities of your ideal BFF. Then the beauty of Square 2 can begin.

Once you dream it, the computer that lives between your ears will start noticing people like that dream description.   Your daughter might notice a new face in homeroom and forge a connection. Your brain is a great sorter, once you give it a positive value to compare to.

Still wondering where your ideal friends might be hanging out? Remember the things that you love to do, or loved to do as a kid, and then GO DO THOSE THINGS. Your People, your Pride, will be there waiting for you–because they are like you! Encourage your daughter to try writing poetry (dark poetry appeals to her teen angst) or singing or any other club that appeals to her. I found my Pride when I started life coach training. I built my Pride in yoga classes, because yoga made me feel so darn good. My middle child found her Pride at the Creative Writing department at FSU. My youngest found her Pride when she went out for volleyball. It’s all about following what lights YOU up.

You don’t need many friends to make a Pride, just a few who make your heart sing will suffice. Once you feel supported by friends who share your dreams, then a whole world of possibility opens up for both you and your daughter.

XO

Terri

P.S. If you need a little help dreaming up your perfect pride of friends, I’m an expert. Square 2 Dreaming is my favorite square, and I would live there all the time, if my cray-cray life would allow it. Drop me a line at terri@girlpowerforgood.com, and we can figure it out together!

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You Are Not Alone

Right now, I’m sitting on my back deck, looking at the scene I have enjoyed for 18 years: the stillness of Boggy Bayou, big puffy clouds floating by while I listen to the chirp of the frogs and the barking squirrels. In one month, I won’t have this view anymore, because we are selling our house. This is the only house my baby has ever known, and the house my husband and I built to stay in “until they carry us out feet first”. But things changed.

We are selling our house, so that we can build a Girl Power Wellness/Volleyball Center. The proceeds from the house sale will fund our new foundation and the construction of the center.

This is a 10-year goal for me, and it’s finally coming true.

So, I should feel amazing, right? Wrong! I’m writing this through tears. I’m tired and alone. I’m in Square One of the Change Cycle.

The Change Cycle is just life coach speak for transition management. When we go through a big life change, there’s a pattern to the stages of transition, and we can use that pattern to make the change more manageable. Resistance to change, and the inherent stress it causes, is so universal that I will be spending the next four blog posts on the different stages or squares. Right now, I’m in Square One, which is the Death and Rebirth square. When you have a big change, like your kids going to a new school, moving to a new place or a new job (I’m living two out of three), it is stressful. You want to control the change, but you can’t control change—you can only manage your reaction to it.

When you’re in Square One, it can feel lonely, because most of the transition is happening inside of you. Your outsides look much the same, even as you are swimming in doubt and fear on the inside. You don’t think that anyone else will understand what you’re going through, but this can’t be further from the truth.

It doesn’t matter that the change happening in my life is positive; I still feel alone—and that’s okay. It’s okay to cry at the death of my old story and the rebirth of a new life. But it’s not nearly as helpful to throw a pity party, because I feel alone.

Because I’m not alone.

That’s just an old story that I wrote as a fat kid in a new school in second grade, and I added new chapters entering middle school and high school. Every time I go through a big change, the story kicks back up again. But it’s just a story, and I can ask for help from my Pride to write a new one that feels better.

To move through Square One, you need some alone time to grieve, but you also need help from Pride members who are not in Square One, who can give you perspective and tell you “Honey, it’s going to be okay.” When my heart felt like it was breaking, and the tears started flowing, I immediately sent out four texts to my closest Pride members: “I’m in the swamp. I need help. Can you chat?” Just doing that made me feel better. I got one response in five minutes and made a date for a phone chat. And, just like that, Square One felt a little less lonely.

It seems that change brings up all our ‘chit, and all our old stories of loss and lack. I find that my lizard brain (the oldest part of our brain that focuses on lack and attack) plays the same tune when I’m feeling low, specifically, “How will I ever succeed when I’m not…smart enough, thin enough, organized enough?” This thought then leads to a desire to attack anyone that might actually help me: I snap at my husband, I bark at my kids, and I spend way too much energy in idle, mean spirited gossip. This is the recipe for actually being alone, because who would want to hang around this shrew? Instead of alienating our loved ones, we can call on our Pride for help. Square One is scary and dark, but we all have friends who will join us around the campfire and turn the scary shadows into duck shadow puppets—if we just ask.

When our daughters see us ask for help, they will pattern the same actions when they need help, instead of hiding out in their room, staring longingly at someone else’s “perfect life” on Snapchat. When we can be honest with them and share our loneliness and doubt, without making it about them in any way, then we can support each other through the trials of Square One. We can show them how to ask for help from safe friends who won’t judge us in our hour of need.

Defining your true Pride is crucial in Square One. The time you invest in building deep, abiding friendships will come back to you and your teen or pre-teen daughter in the form of support when you’re in the swamp. Together we will build a path through the wilderness. Together we can help each other through transitions and big changes. Together we are more than the sum of our parts. Hear me now. You can do this, and you are not alone!

XO
Terri

P.S. If the Change Cycle is running you down, I’ve got your back! Starting August 12th, I’m leading a 6- week tele-course to help you reclaim your sanity while raising your teen or pre-teen. Weekly calls with e-mail support in between will give you the support you and your daughter need to become Masters of Change–and the Universe, of course! Go here for all the deets…

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When it comes to parenting, I think we are like my fluffy Goldendoodle; we are always on the wrong side of the door. It doesn’t matter if he’s been inside for only 2.5 seconds; he still wants to go outside. Whereas, when he gains his freedom, he’s immediately whining to be let back in the house.

I believe he is the dog version of a parent of teenagers. “There has to be a better way; surely it can’t just be this, day in and day out! And now there’s more of this because my kid is out of school for the summer. I must be doing something wrong, or I wouldn’t feel so frustrated all the time!”

You’re not doing anything wrong and neither is your kid. Whenever we have a change in circumstances, kids out of school, kids back in school, new marriage, divorce, or a new job, we think it should be business as usual; but it isn’t. It’s something new.

Change is difficult for most people, and downright painful if you’re a control freak.

As a reformed control freak, I know what it feels like to want to organize the crap out of your summer, and then being frustrated and disappointed when it doesn’t work out the way you planned. When we are faced with change, we want to hurry it along. We want to schedule things like our lives depend upon it, and it just doesn’t work.

It’s not any better on the other side of the door. We might as well accept where we are and begin to work with it.

Take last night, for instance. My baby (well she’s 5’10” and 15, but she’s still my baby) wanted to veg out in front of the T.V. This sounded grand, right up until my control freak started in on me: “You can’t spend the whole summer watching television! She needs to be productive! She needs to work on college applications, find a job, start packing for the impending move! You’re a horrible mother for letting her lay around! Don’t even think about joining her!” My reply was: “Dude; it’s the first week of summer, and she’s 15. Let’s relax and see where this goes!”

When I think about it, this side of the door is sweet. We are making memories. We are forging bonds that will carry us through the hard times to come, because there will always be hard times. Or, let’s say, painful times, because “hard” is a judgment. If we accept the painful times and look for the lesson in them, then they pass. If we label and judge them as unfair, hard, or exhausting, then we bind ourselves to them.

Whatever we resist, persists. If we accept the discomfort and just sit with it quietly, saying, ” All is well” or “Dude, relax”, then the discomfort eventually dissipates.

I tell my clients, and myself, “When you’re in pain, don’t try to distract yourself by looking for something better. Just breathe and let it be. Let it pass through you like a strong wind through a wind chime. Sure, it may rattle the chime, but there’s always beautiful music that emerges.

Discomfort and pain make their own music. They serve as a springboard from which to emerge wiser and humbled.

When we are constantly searching for something better, we lose the lesson that’s hidden in the crappy, ordinary things.

So, I let that Puritan guilt pass through me. My baby and I binge-watched Jane the Virgin (so freakin’ funny!), and nobody died in the process.

As I write this, I feel a sense of bliss that my 15-year-old WANTS to be with me. We are creating a united front for the future, when we might not have time to binge-watch TV and/or we aren’t even in the same town. Any time with my kids is not time wasted.

There’s nothing on the other side of the door that’s better than this.

XO

Terri

P.S. If you need a little help with Lovin’ your Summer, or you just want to spend an hour with other moms who “get it”, join my next free call on June 10th at 12:00 p.m. Central Time.  We’ll be chatting about “How to Keep Your Cool this Summer with Your Teen and Pre-Teen”.  For all of the details and information on how to register—>head here.

P.P.S. I’ve had a couple of coaching spots open up, so go here if you want some support in taking your parenting life to the next level of bliss.

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My middle child graduated from college last week, and I’m still processing it. My first instinct was to move forward and think about the next thing on the list. And then my Inner Guide whispered, “This is a milestone; let’s take a breath and celebrate it.” If you’re anything like me, you’re always pushing on to the next thing without celebrating successes; you are living the tug-of-war between head and heart. The heart wants to sit down and color with your nine-year-old, but the head says, “You must teach her good habits, so homework first!” The heart wants to look at baby pictures of your college graduate and remember how it used to be, and how far you’ve both come. But, the head wants to keep her on task and focused for her new job (yes, she got a job in marketing two weeks after graduation. Take THAT to all who said she couldn’t make a living as a creative writing major!).

I am trying a new thing called walking my talk, so I chose to sit and bask in the glory of getting another kid through college (two down, two to go), because I wasn’t sure it would really happen. This is the kid that I have worried about since she was six months old. I thought I needed to protect her from her father, who didn’t value her, then from the rest of the world, because she was so fragile and sensitive. She reminded me of me when I was little. For years, I thought she was my mini-me (Terricita, Version 2.0), but she wasn’t. She is her own iteration of all the creativity, sass, humor, and strength that has been in our maternal line for generations. She also rocks the whole work-ethic thing. She has held two jobs all through her college years. I fussed at her about her jobs compromising her GPA, to which she replied, “Mom, school is not my thing. I’m much better and happier when I’m working. Doesn’t that make me more employable? Won’t that serve me even better in the “real-world?” I had no answer for that beyond, “Honey, you’re your own boss, now. I trust you to do the right thing.” And after a few years of saying this (yes, it took me a couple of years to really let go), I believed it. But the head still says that her GPA wasn’t high enough, and I really need to teach her to be responsible—because her car is a disaster.

The head says how will she ever succeed, if her version of responsible is different from mine? The heart assures the she will succeed, because she embodies our family values. She will be happy, because she values happiness.

She will be a great employee, because she values smart work.

She will stand up for own vision, because she values courage.

This is all I ever hoped for during the worry years. I don’t need to protect her anymore, because she is more than capable of living her own life, on her terms.

So, I tell my head to go take a chill pill, while I let my heart bask in this feeling of utter gratitude. I hope you will join me by celebrating whatever milestones you are experiencing right now. Whether it’s your own college graduate, high school graduate or matriculating grammar school student, take a breath and be grateful. It’s the end of an era, and the beginning of something completely new. Sure, there will be challenges to come, but right now, all is well.

XO

Terri

PS If you need to start your summer with an extra dose of support with your teen or pre-teen or just want to shout out something to celebrate from the end of this school year, join me on my FREE call on June 10, 2015 at noon CST.  Register right away here and get my girl power for GOODIES parenting a teen or pre-teen survival pack or head to this page to find out all of the call details.

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