Harnessing the Power of Mornings

 female hands with coffee cup and victory sign sticking out from the blanket at home or hotel

Last time, we discussed the power of time chunking in order to reach your goals. Today, we’ll talk about the power of mornings. Let me begin by saying that I am not a natural morning person. Unlike my hubby, who easily arises without an alarm each day to work out before heading off to work, I pretty much always need an alarm (and am not sending it loving thoughts when it goes off each day). For many years, I was a self-professed night owl but now find that after a long day of work, exercise, dog walking, and kid activities, all my brain can handle at the end of the day is a good Netflix show with my hubby. I often hear this same sentiment from my coaching clients so know that I’m not alone. From firsthand experience, I also know that harnessing the power of mornings doesn’t come as naturally to some as for others. This will hopefully give you the motivation you need to try getting up a little earlier so you can use the magic of those early morning hours before the rest of the world awakens.

Ways you can use early morning time:

1) Start your day with a win. Some people like to start their day off with exercise (one of my career coaching clients walks before work at 4a each morning, come rain or shine). Personally, you couldn’t pay me to work out at 4a but I do make my bed first thing upon awakening so as to get that psychological win. The goal is to start off the day having accomplished something. (Note: small wins are still wins so make it easy on yourself and set yourself up to succeed).

2) Self-care. Whether you meditate, journal, go for a walk or sit outside with a hot cup of coffee, if you start out the day doing something for yourself, it makes it easier to stay grounded when the chaos of the day starts, the kids wake up, work notifications start flooding your phone, etc. You feel more centered and ready to handle your day when you put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

3) Set an intention for the day. This is an easy or quick way to set the tone for the day. It takes a minute and you can do it while you’re still sitting in bed if you want or you can wait until you’re sipping your favorite morning beverage. Simple take a few deep, cleansing breaths and think about your day and what you would like to intend before the sun goes down. You could set an intention that a work presentation goes smoothly, or simply that you will stay in the present moment and listen more than you talk that day.

4) Get quality work time in. There is magic in the time before the actual “workday” begins. Some of my career coaching clients tell me they have so many meetings and tasks throughout the day that they just don’t have time for bigger project planning or strategic thinking. Schedule a block of time before the first meeting of the day (give yourself 30-60 minutes of time) and devote it to the bigger picture things you haven’t had time for. (Note:don’t check work email until after you’ve accomplished your task or you will get sucked into the email rabbit hole and will waste that time).

5) Make art. Many of my life-coaching and career-coaching clients have a creative side and often find that they don’t have time to devote to their art. The early mornings are a great time to carve out dedicated time for painting, writing, etc. This is one of the big ways I use my mornings as I’ve written several novels this way and writing is so fun for me that it’s one of my main motivators for getting up early in the morning. And yes, your brain gets in the habit of being creative then—in fact, I’ve found that I’m able to write more freely when I’m a little tired because my internal editor is still napping so I get more done. (Note: if you have small children in the house, it’s probably not the time for practicing your latest tuba composition so musicians may need to take that into account)

Tips to ensure successful mornings:

1) Get adequate sleep. Go to bed at a reasonable time the night before to ensure adequate quality sleep. While some may thrive on 6 hours of sleep, others need between 7-8 hours per night to feel well-rested. Try using a meditation to help you fall asleep faster and go into deeper stages of sleep where the quality magic happens in your body.

2) Program your coffee or tea maker the night before. I don’t know about you but it’s way easier for me to wake up with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee in the air. A perk of my hubby being a morning person is he gets up and brews the coffee so that a hot cup of coffee is waiting next to my bedside when I wake up each morning (yes, I’m spoiled).

3) Have a goal for the morning. If you have a picture in mind beforehand of what you desire your morning to look like, it will be easier to get up with that goal in mind. For some of my clients, it’s exercise. For others, it’s having quiet reflection time to themselves with coffee and journaling before their household wakes up. For others, it’s working on a project or work task, or making art, or meditating. You may have different goals depending on the day. Whatever your thing is, declare it the night before and it makes it easier when that alarm goes off in the morning.

BONUS: Read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I love this book and recommend it to many of my clients. It’s a quick, easy read but also easy to implement. You can pick and choose what works for you and use that to help you design the morning of your dreams.  

To Sum Up:

How you start your day impacts how the rest of your day goes. If you hit the snooze button multiple times and then frantically rush around trying to get to work or get the kids off to school on time, you are starting your day in chaos. You get to choose. Choose to take power back over your mornings and start the day feeling great. Once you experience the impact of designing your ideal mornings, you’ll never look back.

Want to work with Dr. Kristi and design your dream life? Dr. Kristi works with clients all over the world thanks to the magic of the internet. Sign up for a free 20-minute consultation to see if coaching is a good fit for you! Contact drkristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com to schedule today.

Part 3: Breaking Monthly Goals Down into Weekly Ones

In this 4-Part series on crushing your Goal-Setting for the year, we are exploring how you can set yourself up for success in 2020! In Part 1: We looked at how to create realistic annual goals. From there, we looked at how to break those huge goals down into monthly goals in Part 2. This week, we will look at how to create weekly goals from the monthly ones.

The weekly calendar picture is posted above for a very specific reason. Research has shown time and time again that people are more likely to stick to something if they actually write it down in their calendar. Whether you use a digital or paper planner (I’m old-school and adore paper), the key is that you block out time for the things you want to have happen. People use things such as Google calendar to enter their work meetings and client appointments all the time, and guess what? You typically show up for those appointments and meetings because it’s part of your job description. Imagine what you could do if you apply that same principle to your own personal and professional goals that you WANT to do!

I’ll give a few examples, but feel free to email if you have any questions about this. For example, if you have a goal of finding a new job this year as your annual goal, and have decided that the first month is to start applying, then your weekly goal may be to revise your resume and write a template cover letter. Rather than wait for inspiration to strike or the right time (aka it won’t happen), write down a block of time in your calendar and call it “Resume Revision” time or “Cover letter” time. Be specific for what the time is going to be used for.

If you want to start exercising twice per week, put a 1-hour block on your calendar for Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm and label it (go for a run, yoga class, Orange Theory, etc.) You are WAY more likely to do something if it’s written in your calendar. You can do the same with any habit you want to form, from meditating to expanding your social connections.

For a longer project-type goal (starting a business, writing a book, etc), think about a specific weekly goal that would be a logical step for you. This could be something like forming an LLC, designing a website, writing a book outline, etc. Then put those things on your calendar in a specific time block.

If you do this week after week, you will be amazed at how all the little steps you take add up into bigger goals! All it takes is small but consistent progress and your calendar is the best way you can hold yourself accountable to doing it. Take a few minutes and decide what your weekly goals will be (I recommend no more than 2 major goals per week), and then … get it on your calendar! Have a great week and in the last post next week (Part 4 of 4), I will go over the best practice for getting your daily to-do list done!

Make sure to like the Prosperity Facebook page if you’re not already following! Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

Case Study of Client Using The Law of Attraction in Career Coaching

Dream Job just ahead

The term “law of attraction” has been widely used since the pop-culture breakout book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne in 2006. Simply put, it means that the universe draws similar energies together and allows you to create the life you want by being on the same vibrational level as whatever it is that you desire. Easier said than done, and I could write a whole series of posts on that topic and what holds people back (which I will do in the future), but for now, here is a real-life example of using this law specifically toward a new job with one of my career coaching clients.

*Jane was working in a job that she had enjoyed when she first started but after several years, she realized there were things about the job she didn’t love. Note: as people evolve and grow, it is normal to outgrow jobs that were a good fit at one time. Jane didn’t like being in the office 40 hours per week, didn’t like being on call on the weekends, and she wanted to do more project management type work which was more satisfying for her. One thing about the law of attraction is clarity: being clear on what exactly you DO want. Too often, people focus on what they dislike and don’t want which confuses the universe. Jane’s first challenge was gaining that clarity.

I had her do an exercise where she focused on what she wanted (rather than what she didn’t) and came up with ideal elements for her next job. For her, those things included working from home 2-3 days per week, no on-call hours on the weekend, and a promotion into a more senior role where she could use and better develop her project management skills. Then Jane did a creative visualization exercise I taught her where she imagined being in that ideal job until it felt real. The idea behind this was that once she had that clarity, she could browse job listings and the right thing would pop out at her. It’s like if you ask someone to notice red cars on the highway—you will soon see red cars everywhere! But something amazing happened before Jane even got the chance to look at Indeed…

Her current boss came to her the same week she did those exercises and told Jane that he and his supervisor were creating a new position and thought she would be a perfect fit. It was a project management position and involved no weekends and working from home several days a week. My client was actually a little freaked out. She said the job description was almost exactly what she had written down for our exercise. She accepted the job offer and ended up so much happier in the new role as she felt the job itself was more rewarding and her work/life balance allowed for more time with her family.

That is a perfect example of the law of attraction at work and how you can use it in your career. Once you get clarity, things can happen really quickly. However, when you aren’t clear, you tend to get muddled results. Where do you need clarity right now? What is one thing you know would be different if you were living your ideal life? Email me and let me know!

*Jane’s real name and identifying details have been changed due to client confidentiality

Career Coaching Insights: 5 Reasons People Stay in Jobs They Don’t Love

If you’ve read my prior post on determining whether your job is a good energetic fit for you or not, and you also believe that life is short (because it is), then you may wonder why on Earth someone would choose to stay in a job they don’t love? Everyone knows that one person who complains endlessly about their job yet never does anything about it. Why would they do that? There are actually multiple reasons why people stay too long in unsatisfactory jobs and there are even valid reasons for doing so. If you’re a single parent with six children to feed and put through school, it’s risky to chuck your day job to pursue your dream of becoming a slam poet. Also, in general, people don’t love change—it’s uncomfortable. But as I’ve said before, all true growth happens outside of your comfort zone and you can use mindfulness to help you through the process of change.

Here are the top 5 reasons I’ve heard from my career coaching clients for staying in jobs they don’t love:

  1. Fear of the Unknown. This is commonly known as “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t” excuse. Your job may have exhausting demands that involve over-time and having to skip your child’s ballgame or you may have the boss from hell but at least you know what to expect…and what if the next job/boss/commute is even worse?   
  2. Fear of Starting Over/Change. Even if you know you absolutely do not want to keep doing the job you are doing, you’ve been doing it for enough time that you are making decent money at it; therefore, starting in a new field could involve taking lower pay or having to start at a more entry level job. Also, who wants to hire someone [whatever age you are]? I’ve had clients think they were “too old” for a new job at 35! Though ageism in our society is unfortunately a real thing, I’ve had clients successfully change careers well in their 60’s.
  3. Fear of Stepping Outside the Box. This one has to do with societal norms and I hear this one from people who are thinking of starting their own business rather than finding another traditional job. Things like a steady paycheck, 401K match, and paid vacation days are not generally associated with being an entrepreneur and therefore more risk is involved. Some people are naturally more risk-averse than others, which is totally okay, and you just need to know where you fall on this spectrum. Not everyone wants to own their own business.
  4. Fear of Who You Are If You Aren’t [This] Job. This is usually the ego talking. For instance, if someone has been in corporate finance for decades, you may attach your identity to your career and wonder who you would be if you weren’t “Bob from accounting.” Or maybe you’ve invested a ton of money and time into becoming “Sally the lawyer.” (Side note: it’s interesting to me how many lawyers I’ve had as clients!) Sometimes, pressure comes from society, friends, or family to be in a certain job due to perceived benefits such as pay, status, or credibility. The key is to tap into what you want because it’s you, not them, doing that job every day.
  5. Fear of What You Would Do Instead. Sometimes people come to me for career coaching because they know they don’t want to do their current job but they have no idea what they want to do instead. Sometimes, they aren’t even sure what their true strengths or passions are. There are many exercises you can do to figure this out but it’s still scary when you don’t know exactly what you want to do next.

What do these all have in common?  FEAR. All of these are fear-based responses. Does that mean the fears are unrealistic? No, some of them are very real, hence why many people stay stuck in jobs they don’t like. But overall, people are happiest in life when they make decisions based on what they want rather than what they fear. I’m going to repeat that in a different way because it’s so important. When you live your life as much as possible focused on what you want rather than what you don’t want, you are placing your energy on the good instead of the negative—and wherever you place your energy grows. Some call this the law of attraction but it’s really a law of energy. You can be realistic about mitigating the concerns and fears you have while still taking steps toward your dream career. Too often, people use their fears as a reason to stand still and take no steps at all. It’s easier to by overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear than to break through it and take small action steps.

Now what?

Do any of these fears sound familiar to you? Which one resonated most with you? Are there other reasons you have stayed in a job you didn’t like? Usually, there is a tipping point for my clients—they reach out to me when their desire for change is greater than their fears. Notice that I didn’t say the fears magically disappear—but they have decided to take steps despite those fears, which is always the fastest way to overcome them and create a more fulfilling life. This quote by George Eliot sums it up pretty well:

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.”

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach who helps clients reach their goals all over the world through the magic of Skype. If you’re ready to change careers or would like a free consultation to see if coaching is right for you, please email Dr. Kristi at kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

What’s Mindfulness Got to Do With Life/Career Coaching?

Whether people come to see me for life coaching if they want to change or improve an aspect of themselves, or reach a personal goal such as run a marathon or write a book, or if they see me for career coaching because they want to find a different career path, I do one thing consistently with all my clients: I incorporate mindfulness (awareness of the present moment) into the work we do together. Why? Great question. Here’s why.

  1. It decreases stress. When we are constantly running around from one thing to the next, we tend to get overwhelmed, which causes a rise in the stress hormones in the body. Over time, this can lead to physical problems, such as high blood pressure, decreased immune functioning, and physical illnesses (including cancers), as well as to emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. When people are in a job they don’t love or they are feeling like they haven’t reached a goal they would like to attain, they often experience chronic stress. Teaching some simple mindfulness techniques makes it easier to relax, which causes positive changes in many areas from work to parenting to relationships. It also improves the quality of your sleep at night, which is the foundation of everything else you do. Improving your sleep is the quickest way to cause positive changes in the rest of your life.
  2. It makes your brain work better. Studies have shown that meditation causes improvement in brain cognition, included increased mental focus. Also, when you are in the present moment and clear-headed, you tend to make better decisions. When you are stressed, you tend to breathe more rapidly and shallowly, which means less oxygen is going to your brain because it’s going to your extremities to prepare for the fight-or-flight response. This is great if a bear is chasing you, but otherwise, it’s not helping you decide what’s best for you. A few simple breathing exercises help you to draw in more air, oxygenate more of your brain, and think more clearly.
  3. It can cause physical changes as well. There’s definitely something to the mind over matter idea. One study found that hospital patients who had a view of nature healed faster from surgery and required less pain medication than other patients. Being relaxed allows your body’s natural healing abilities to take over, which is why more and more research is being done on the impact of mindfulness on illnesses. Another mind-blowing study showed how a guided meditation caused measurable physical changes in the body simply by thinking about working out. This type of research is guiding some professional sports teams in their use of virtual reality to improve one’s game without the risk of injuries. This is one of the areas I find most exciting in the power of mindfulness techniques.
  4. It helps you identify “wants” versus “shoulds.” When you are in the present moment, it’s way easier to decide what you actually want, versus what you think others think you should do. It quiets the monkey chatter of self-doubt, fears, and second-guessing yourself. One of my clients was offered a substantial promotion in terms of pay and job title, but did not appear happy or excited about it. Upon exploration, she realized she did not want the promotion as she had no desire to manage other people, but felt she “should” do it, as others would view her as being more successful. Once she identified this, she turned the job down and felt a huge sense of relief. Anytime, the word “should” pops into your head around a decision, it means it’s time to use some mindfulness to dig a little deeper.
  5. It increases your intuition.  The more clear-headed you are, the more you are fully able to access the information around you. When you are trying to think five steps ahead or are worrying, you are not able to allow that information to come to you easily. Instead, your constant thoughts of “what should I do?” are actually blocking the answer from coming to you. If you are quiet, you can tap into your subconscious and find that you had many of the answers all along. One of my clients who owns several multi-million dollar businesses told me that due to our mindfulness work, he can now tell almost instantly which clients he should take on and which he should turn down, based on his intuition. Billion-dollar U.S. hedge fund manager, Ray Dahlio, was asked how he has been so successful over the years, and he said the number one reason for him was daily meditation.

Mindfulness impacts every single area of your life. All of the good things in your life happen in the present moment; not when you are worrying or stressed, so it makes sense to live in the present as much as possible. Need more mindfulness in your life? Try a free app, such as Calm or Insight Timer, and spend more time outside in nature. Want to dive deeper? My favorite meditations (the ones I do every night myself) are the ones through Brainsync where you can choose meditations for topics ranging from confidence to anxiety to prosperity (this is an affiliate link). Brainsync even has binaural meditations which induce deeper brainwaves and are amazing! Whatever you choose, take the first step toward mindfulness and notice the difference in how you feel. Many of my clients have said that mindfulness is hands down the most life-changing of the work they do in coaching.

Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., C.P.C., is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified professional life and career coach who works with clients all over the world via Skype, or locally in her Denver office. Contact Dr. Kristi to set up a free coaching consultation at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com.

5 Ways to Determine If It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Many people daydream about a change in jobs now and again, but here are 5 ways to determine if it might be time to finally take the leap: 

Another day at the office


  1. Make a list of all the things you like about your job. No matter how unhappy my career coaching clients say they are in their current job, one of the first things I have them do is list the things that they enjoy, even if it’s a very short list and they can only honestly say, “the free coffee in the break room.” If their list of things they like is solely related to having a great boss, great benefits, and/or good co-workers rather than the actual work itself, that is very telling. Loving their work but not loving the corporate mission or its leadership is also important to figure out. Make an honest list and then keep that list in mind if you decide to go job-hunting, so you can recognize the things you like.
  2. How do you feel on Sundays? If you find yourself already dreading Monday’s return-to- work on Sundays, it might be time to rethink what you are doing. One of my clients told me he started to feel that dread on Saturdays, because he knew he only had one more day before he had to return to a job he didn’t like. The ultimate goal is to be happy about what you get to do each day, and that your weekends are a time to truly relax and renew yourself. Keep in mind that it’s normal to have some ambivalence about jumping into the work week after an amazing weekend of fun, friends and family, but that’s different than the experience of actual dread.
  3. You frequently browse jobs on places like Indeed and Linked In. I get this one a lot from clients. They aren’t exactly sure what they’re looking for but they just want to “see what else is out there.” The problem is that if you don’t first clarify what you want, you end up with the “different job; same crap” problem and you’re back to job searching soon after. If you take the time to sort out what you really desire in your next job, you will be happy you took that time in the long run.
  4. You keep hoping things will get better. Sometimes, waiting things out is the smart thing to do. For instance, if you love your job overall, aside from one or two things, such as an overwhelming project, bad boss or annoying co-worker, it makes sense to give things a chance. Projects end, co-workers move on, and bad bosses may (hopefully) get fired. The key is to figure out where that tipping point is and your overall satisfaction. Did the project that ended get replaced by something equally undesirable; are you working too many hours per week despite being told things would “slow down;” or does your bad boss seem like they are settling in for the long haul? If the “waiting it out” is to the point that you feel you’re in danger of an ulcer or drinking problem, it might be time to leave.
  5. Your unhappiness is impacting your significant relationships. Many of my clients say they had considered getting a career coach at some point in the past due to work dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, too often people wait until they are really miserable in the jobs, and only look for a coach when either they feel they can’t take it anymore, or their work stress is impacting the quality of their relationships with their spouse, friends, and family. It takes a toll on your relationships with loved ones if you are constantly irritable or complaining about your job. Ideally, you want to have a positive work/life balance, where you have plenty of energy and attention to give to the people you care about outside of work hours.

Make A Positive Change

Think about the number of hours you spend each week at your job (2,080 per year for full-time work!), and how many hours that adds up to over your lifetime. Life is too short to waste on something you aren’t passionate about, so if you are unhappy in your current job, do something about it. Many people don’t need a coach if they already know what they want to do and how to get there, but others need more guidance or desire career assessments to determine their next path. Whatever you do, decide you want to be happy doing it, and get started!

Kristi Helvig, Ph.D., C.P.C., is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified professional coach who works with people all over the world via Skype, or locally in her Denver office. If you would like to have a free consultation to determine if career coaching is right for you, email Kristi at Kristi@prosperitycoachingandconsulting.com.

Is it possible to have more time, more energy, and more business than ever? YES!


My friend Tim was working on his business day and night. He was trying so hard to make it work. After not hearing from him for a while I found out why…

He was starting to burn out – and was having thoughts of giving up. He left a good job as a corporate executive to follow his dream of coaching others. He new exactly what he wanted to do to help other people be successful. However, months of unsuccessfully trying to build a client pool left him feeling defeated. It was consuming his time and energy, his wife was worried about their finances, and he had very little to show for it. He was thinking of going back to corporate America! Ugh!

We met for coffee, and we started a conversation about ways he could step up his game. I wanted to see him make this work. We developed a plan based on a new way of thinking about building and maintaining his business. Sure it was unconventional, but it worked! Within three months his client pool quadrupled – and he even had a wait-list. Tim was now considering hiring someone to help him, and his confidence was at an all-time high.

“I’m so thankful for your help,” he said. “Right now I’d be wearing a suit and answering to a boss. Instead, I can do this every day!” Now he has more time, more energy, does what he loves doing, and is on track to have more income than he made in the corporate world. Tim is truly living his dream.

Where might a free consultation lead YOU and your business? Find out how YOU can start working on your dream today!

Leave a comment – or drop me an email at:  drtoddhelvig@gmail.com


Feeling Stuck in Your Job? Get a Career Coaching Consultation

Feeling stuck in your job? Read my client’s story below and see if you can relate, then contact me for your FREE career coaching consultation today!

Abby* is a professional in the corporate world who came to see me because despite the great money and benefits she received from her job, she was not happy. She realized she had been unhappy for years, but had convinced herself that the money and security was worth the trade-off. She had also gone through a divorce, and did not want to have to count on someone else for her livelihood. Like many of my clients, she came to me because she reached “a breaking point.”

For her, that breaking point seemed an unlikely one—she had been given a promotion with more responsibilities, a fancier job title, and more money. One of those responsibilities involved her supervising others, and she quickly discovered it was not a task she enjoyed, stating, “I don’t want to babysit other adults.” She struggled with the fact that she knew others would consider her lucky and envy her “success,” but in truth, she felt miserable and knew in her gut that something needed to change.

Due to the divorce, and wanting to be self-reliant, Abby had been diligent about saving her money and after assessing her financial needs, she concluded she did not need to make the same amount of money she had been making in her corporate job in order to thrive. After completing several assessments and assignments, as well as introducing mindfulness concepts such as meditation, Abby discovered her true career passion where she felt she could really make a difference in an area that reflected her personal values. We laid out a step-by-step plan for Abby to transition to her new desired line of work. Abby expressed regret that she had waited so long before making the change, but I told her that I’ve worked with clients who were in their mid-60’s and that it’s never too late to change your life for the better.

Abby ended up in a meaningful and rewarding job that lined up with her values and brought in a higher salary than she had anticipated. She commented at the end of our work that “everyone should hire a coach,” but in truth, it’s not for everyone. Many people go through their life, living it according to the expectations of others, whether it be parents, spouses, or friends. They go through the motions, achieving the commonly accepted versions of success in our society, even if there is an emptiness inside that they can’t identify. All personal growth happens outside of one’s comfort zone, and it takes a brave person to make themselves uncomfortable on purpose. While some of my clients were made uncomfortable by outside circumstances, such as getting laid off due to down-sizing, most of my clients have decided on their own to make big changes. If you aren’t waking up every day excited for your job, or if you feel you aren’t thriving and that something is missing, then coaching might be for you.

Contact Dr. Kristi today to set up a FREE 30-minute career consultation if you’re ready to change your life: Kristi@ProsperityCoachingandConsulting.com

*Name and identifying information changed to protect confidentiality

Reduce, don’t re-use, and don’t recycle: Stop the anxiety!

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, and some experience it much more often than others. Though we’re often aware what makes us angry, happy, irritable, or excited, it takes more work to look beneath these emotions to discover what creates – and maintains – that feeling. Anxiety is one of the core emotions that is directly related to the days of our evolutionary ancestors when humans survived based on their instinct to fight or flee. A person’s response time combined with their physical and mental abilities often meant the difference between life and death. So it stands to reason that those of our ancestors that survived (and passed on that agile chemistry) were either a) good at anticipating likely threats, b) strong, c) smart, d) really, really fast or, e) some combination of the above. It also meant that they responded immediately to their internal emotional system which prompted the need to react in the first place. Anxiety, then, was key to connecting anticipation with a response. More anxiety meant more awareness, faster thinking and quicker (or smarter) response. Anxiety itself is not a bad thing and has many adaptive components.

Fast forward to now, and far less of our day-to-day choices directly result in our survival. The decision whether to download that app, make it to the gym, or respond immediately to that email will likely not result in your demise (fingers crossed). And yet we strangely have this inclination to respond to many of our activities as if there is an immediate outcome that we either need to pursue (aka fight) or avoid at all costs (aka flight). And our internal system tells us that anticipating these outcomes will be best for our survival – hence the anxiety.

In fact, many of those secondary emotions we feel (angry, happy, irritable, or excited) depend an awful lot on the underlying level of anxiety we experience beneath that emotion. For example, we might get angry at our young child because we lost sight of them in a store, but beneath that anger is the fear – anxiety – that something could happen to them. We get irritable when we run out of time to get a task done, yet beneath that irritability we hold the anxiety that somehow we either won’t accomplish our task or that we will be perceived by others (or ourselves) as “less than” for being unsuccessful. Think about this with other emotions you feel. When do you feel them? What’s the underlying prompt, and how is that then connected to your emotional reactions? The pattern is there if you can find it.

So where is YOUR anxiety? Not unlike the Princess finding that pea wedged many mattresses below, it is not until we find the underlying issue that we can do something about it. Finding and removing the pea returns our restful night sleep – as does finding and dealing with our underlying anxiety. There are many ways to manage anxiety, enough that it would take another whole blog post. However, a few potential options to consider: self-discovery, mindfulness, & meditation.

Still struggling to uncover or address your anxiety? Let’s find it – and find a way to help you relax again.


Happy 2017: Goal Setting and Career Coaching for the New Year


Happy 2017! This is Dr. Kristi here, and I know you’ve seen Dr. Todd’s post about goal setting earlier this week, so this is my spin on approaching the new year. I will admit that even as a very upbeat person, the end of 2016 was rough for me on several levels. I attended several funerals for people who died well before their time (ages 39 and 18 respectively), as well as saw the deaths of many of my beloved childhood icons from Prince to Princess Leia. This combined with the political ugliness of election season made me really happy to see the end of 2016.

Yet, with every ending comes new beginnings, and I believe that going through emotional pain often causes self-reflection and allows you to view the essence of what is most important to you. For me, that has always been family and career, in that order, and where I will continue to put my energy in the coming year. I’m not a believer in resolutions as they don’t tend to stick for a lot of the same reasons extreme diets don’t work. However, I am a believer in creating goals and then taking small steps each day toward reaching them. At the beginning of each year, I create a goal list and then do some reverse engineering to figure out what steps I need to take, and in what order.

One of the great things about hiring a life or career coach is the accountability factor, as there will be days you don’t feel like taking steps. I have awesome (and very honest) clients who sometimes tell me they only took their next step because they knew they had a Skype session with me that week. That’s great, and I’m a firm believer in the notion that ‘slow and steady’ accomplishes a great deal over time. Ask any financial planner about saving for retirement and they’ll tell you the same thing. If I wasn’t married to another psychologist/coach who holds me accountable (but only when I ask him to or we’d have problems), *grins* you can bet I’d hire one too. In terms of my goals for the year, I have a fiction anthology coming out in the Spring, and another completed novel in production now, also for a Spring 2017 release and need to work on a marketing plan for both books. By the end of 2017, I want to have another novel written and ready for production, as well as complete my non-fiction book on career coaching. This means I have to write about 500 words per day, which is very doable.

In terms of personal goals, I want to continue a consistent yoga routine as well as increase mindfulness through more meditation as I feel healthier when I do it, and have found more creative ideas flow easily as a result. I use a tracking sheet to mark my progress in all areas each week, and am in love with the Conquer Your Year planner, and will give more updates as I use this throughout the year. Note: I am not receiving any compensation to endorse this planner; I just started using it myself and love, love, love it.

I hope that you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017, and that you reach all of your desired goals in life, love, and career. As always, please let me know if you have any questions about coaching, and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Live long and prosper,