Your firstborn is graduating from high school this spring. Up to this point, all you’ve been focused on is getting him into the college of his choice…and maybe steering him clear of all thoughts that lead to senioritis. Pretty soon you’ll be preparing for graduation and the huge party you’re throwing and then it will be about getting all the things he’ll need for college and being away for the first time.
Up to this point, he’s counted on you to do all these things with (or God-forbid, FOR) him because that’s what parents do and who they are.
So what becomes of your relationship when your kid leaves home and starts his adult life? You better start thinking about what you want that to look like. It cannot stay the way it is. It just can’t. And that’s a good thing.
Your child will start looking at you like another human being. The conversation you have will be less about giving advice and more about sharing experiences. They’ll be less about asking permission and more about looking for acceptance.
Think about the conversations you have with your friends (that aren’t about your kids…). Think about the conversations you’ve had with your parents over the past 20 years. Is that what you want your relationship to be like with your kids? If not, it’s time to decide what you DO want it to look like.
Boundaries are more things that need attention. Yours and your child’s. Are you welcome to just stop by his dorm room? Maybe not. And you need to respect that boundary. Is he welcome to just come home and do laundry whenever he wants, or would you prefer he let you know when he’s coming? I know they seem small, but these little things are the exact things that can make or break your relationship with your adult children.
Talk about things with your kid before they leave home. LISTEN to the answers you get. The easiest way to avoid ruining a relationship is by deciding things ahead of time and sticking with those decisions.
Your relationship with your adult children can be one of the very best kinds of relationships. Just go in knowing things are going to change. They aren’t kids anymore. And although you’ll always love and worry about them as if they were still kids, the relationship you build from this point on will be one of the most fulfilling relationships you’ll ever have.
Where did all my friends go?
That's a question so many Empty Nesters ask me. This is a tough one for some. A liberating one for others.
So what happened? One day you were with these friends all the time. You were sitting in the bleachers cheering on the high school football team. Or sitting in the audience of the latest high school musical. You were texting every day about what time practice started or what was going on with that testing schedule.
One day, your kids' high school sports/theatrical/academic career ends.
You are no longer in touch with the people who you called friends (aka, the parents of your kids' friends).
We call these friendships, "friends of convenience." You met them and saw them all the time because of your kids. The things you had in common were your kids and your kids' activities.
So now what do you do?
Making friends at your age is EASY. Really. It's not like when YOU were in high school and there was all that drama! Crap, I would never want to go back there and do that again!
Now you have the chance to get out there and meet friends who share your interests, passions, purposes. So get out there and do the things you want/love to do. It doesn't matter what it is... A book club at the library? A spin class at the gym? Volunteering at your church? Finally starting your own business? What is it for you? A whole new world is about to open up to you. And it's a world that you can design. What's your new purpose now that your kids are on their own and starting their adult lives?
Here's your exercise for the week. Get a piece of paper and write down your response.
Pretend it's one year from today. Whatever that date is, I want you to pretend you and I meet on that day.
I ask you, "How was your year?"
You start by saying, "It was the best year of my life!!
Me: "Tell me about it."
You: (on the piece of paper in front of you, right down everything you DID that made this the perfect year. Make sure you're telling me about it as if it was one year from now and you just had the best year of your life).
When you're finished, you will see in front of you GOALS. Things to make happen this year. It's time to get going and create your best year yet!
For more great things like this, join my next online workshop for Empty Nesters. Get all the details at https://gettingunstuckinastickyworld.com/workshops
Next week: Those adults who are still your children....
I've been coaching empty nesters and I'm discovering some fascinating things.
Emotions of moms and dads whose kids are now off in college or married range from joy to grief, from excitement to complete confusion. Identities are not in crisis so much as they are in a shift. This is a transition every parent knows is coming, but very few prepare for.
I had a potential client who told me that they didn't need my coaching because, "I've got my career. My kids moving out isn't going to be a big deal." Then I asked her, "What do dinners looked like. What would weekends be like? How about vacations? Do you have a lot of friends outside of the friends of convenience and the shared experiences of sporting events or other extra curricular activities? Have you considered what you want your relationship with your ADULT children to be like? Do you and your husband do things without the kids now?"
Needless to say, that person is a client now.
If you're not an empty nester yet, I ask you to think about things like that now. This transition can be an exciting one for your kids AND for you. You've got a whole new chapter ....heck, a whole new BOOK to write. Trust me, the best years of your life are not in your rear view mirror back there in your 20s and 30s. Trust me, They absolutely are not.
What do you want to do now? It's time to rediscover your identity and find a new purpose.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be going over some of the top things for you to think about and giving you some action steps to take.
Here's the first one.
Go through the stages of your life...say your childhood, your early school days, high school, college and early adulthood. For each of those stages, identify and write down one of the things that brought you joy. I don't care what it was, as long as you were joyful when you were doing it or being present with it. (It could be making mud pies when you were three!)
What does your list look like? I'm asking because if things once brought you joy, chances are extremely good that those same kind of things always will. Now, I'm not saying you'll still be joyful making mud pies, but that activity could've turned into baking or doing some sort of crafts or working with your hands. These activities just may be something you should consider picking up again!
Your nest is not empty, my friends, you're still there. Make the most of it.
I'll be back next week, with more things to think about!
Here's something a little different for my blog. Please take some time to listen to the interview I did with Racquel Williams on WMGQ, It will give you a little taste of what coaching is all about, how to really achieve goals you set, and I talk a little about how I got into coaching in the first place. Enjoy! And remember to register for my Open Coaching Call on January 3rd.
With the new year fast approaching, let’s talk about something so many people do: Make a New Year’s Resolution…. and forget about it a few weeks later.
I’m going to lose weight…get out of debt…find a new job…de-clutter my house…fix a relationship….slow down…get motivated… The list goes on and on. Our intentions are good, so why don’t we follow through and instead, forget about our resolutions a few weeks after making them?
Because that’s the way our brains work. Our brains make decisions based on what WAS and what IS….NOT on what’s possible. For example: You say you want to lose weight. Your brain says that every time you’re sad, anxious or angry, you eat. Your brain says you’ve never gone to the gym before, you shouldn’t go now (and it will give you a million reasons to never go). See how easily this happens?
Our thoughts are powerful things. We have to learn how to manage them in order to change our results. One of my teachers says an unsupervised mind is like an unsupervised three-year-old. How’s that for a visual? So, we have to start managing them.
Our brains want to solve problems….but they won’t if we shut them down with thoughts like, “I can’t.” Instead, we need to say, “I’m figuring this out.” That gives our brains permission to do just that: figure it out.
There’s also something to be said for your true motivation for wanting to do something. You say you want to lose weight to be healthier. But if your true motivation is to look and feel better about yourself, your brain is going to get confused.
Let’s look at how different the resolution to lose weight looks from the un-managed mind and the focused Managed Mindset.
First the Unmanaged Mind:
Make a resolution to lose weight this year
Eat less and eat healthier foods for 3 weeks
Sign up for gym membership and go to the orientation and go work out at the gym 3 days the first week, 3 days the second week and then the third week, you “don’t feel like” going and tell yourself you’ll go next week.
Next week comes and you go once. You get on the scale and there’s been no change in weight.
You give up telling yourself you tried.
Now the Managed Mind:
Make a resolution that by the end of February you will lose 10 pounds.
Tell yourself that you are going to figure out how to do this because you want to look and feel better by the time spring rolls around.
You figure out why you want to eat the way you do and realize it’s because when you’re bored or uninspired you eat sweets. So you decided that when you’re bored, instead of scrolling through Instagram and eating cookies, you will go for a 10-minute walk (cold outside? GOOD! It’s invigorating!!) and listen to a new podcast you found on a topic you love and is inspiring).
By week two you already feel better because you're not starving yourself or doing anything other than understanding and giving yourself a new way to do things. You get on the scale and have lost 2 pounds!
Now you actually WANT to keep going. You’re going for walks at lunchtime. You’re learning more about something. You’re sharing your experience with a friend. What other things can you do? Once a week, you decide to eat really healthy foods, all day. Fruits for breakfast, a salad with chicken breast for lunch and salmon for dinner.
Week four you’re feeling really good. You DO join a gym. You go a few times and find it FUN and a little challenging. You meet someone at the gym and decide to be workout buddies. You’ve got accountability to yourself and someone else. You’re motivating yourself and someone else.
This spring I will feel and look GREAT! By summer, who knows!
This is easier than you thought….
See the difference?
Now what resolutions do you want to not only make this year, what goals do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve them? If the goal is important to you, go for it and tell your brain to figure it out.
Does all of that seem either too simplistic or too difficult? Drop me an email at email@example.com or visit robintefftcoaching.com and request a free mini-session with me.
We can figure it all out together.
You’ve probably heard it before. How everyone has a purpose. We’re all given our own special talents and gifts that we’re supposed to use to fulfill our purpose here on earth. As a Christian, I’ve heard it for a long time. “You are uniquely and wonderfully made…” “God has a plan for YOU that no one else can execute.
But what if you have no idea what that purpose or plan is? What are you supposed to do?
I was in that spot for most of my life. There were times I thought I knew. I have a career I enjoy, so I figured that was it. Until I started wanting more. Something was missing and I knew it. Ever feel that way? So I was in search of my true Purpose…..with a capital “P.” I tried the entrepreneur route. I started a business, made it successful and still, the “it” was missing.
If you’ve read my blog entitled, “When Coaching Became “IT.” you know what happened. If you haven’t read it, in short, this is what happened:
I was driving to work on an early Wednesday morning. I was about 5 miles away from work, on a two-lane windy, hilly road. Over the hill in front of me were two headlights in the other lane. And all of a sudden, there were four. I remember actually blinking my eyes and shaking my head (like you see in cartoons) to try to get my vision right again. It wasn’t my vision that was the problem. Someone chose to pass a van, on a two-lane road, on a hill and a blind curve. He was coming right at me and was right in front of me. I SAW….I’m not even kidding…. I SAW the headlights go
Right. Thru. Me.
There was no time to react. It happened that fast. That pickup truck didn’t hit me. I’m telling you the ONLY explanation is that God intervened. I got chills as I wrote that. God saved me again that day. As I continued my drive, my heart was not pounding, my hands were not shaking. I simply continued on my way. Like I was watching a freaking movie. When I parked at my office a few minutes later, my legs were barely strong enough to hold me up when I got out of the car. The reality that I should have been killed in a horrific car accident but instead, the oncoming pickup truck passed right through me, was too much.
Then a phrase that had come up so many times between me and my pastor and friend, Richard Gay, exploded in my head: “This is not about YOU!”
So that was the moment that everything was sort of revealed to me. Only it still wasn’t completely clear. A few months later, my friend, the one whose words, “It’s not about you” still, and will always, explode in my head died.
For months I was paralyzed. For those of you who have experienced grief, you know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t DO anything but go through the motions of each day and pray the next one would get easier. And then something clicked and all the dots were connected for me. At the risk of being cocky and having God laugh at me, I realized what my purpose was. So I began training to be a Life Coach. I need to help people who cannot move, who are stuck in whatever situation they’re in, get UNStuck.
Someone told me that means I’m a “transitions coach.” And that’s fine. I absolutely love to help people who find themselves in one of the happy or sad transitions of life figure out what’s next for them. But I also like to help people find the cause of there inability to change things in their life….To become more than they are….to take the leap of faith and become who they are supposed to be…to find their PURPOSE.
Now I’m not saying you need someone to show you your purpose. If you’ve known it all along, that’s awesome. I implore you to not ignore it. Do not waste the opportunity of fulfilling your purpose.
If you don’t know what you’re purpose is, please keep your eyes, your ears, your heart, and your mind open. Don’t be afraid to step out if it’s something you never did, or thought about, doing before. Someone once said you can probably find your purpose by answering the question, “What breaks your heart?” Give it a try.
As for me, I am going to continue to look for the people I can help. I pray that God will put me in front of them and they will know He did that…for them.
I had to be jolted by a horrific car crash that wasn’t and by the death of someone I will miss for the rest of my life. I’m pretty sure God tried to get my attention before all of that, and yet, maybe this is part of His perfect timing.
Have you found your purpose? What is it that breaks your heart? Are you doing something about it? I guarantee you will never feel better than you do when you find the thing that was meant to be your purpose, your calling, your life’s legacy.
One of the questions I'm asked most often is, "how do you get started with..." Sometimes that answer is easier than you think.
When one of my clients is looking to start something new, whether they're looking to start their own business or they want to lose weight, or they want to improve their relationships, I tell them to start with just one thing. Take just one step and don't think about what you need to do after that.
I know sometimes one step is all you can muster. I know that sometimes it takes all your strength and all your determination. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it doesn't seem like much, but it is. It really is. How do I know? Because I was stuck once. Heck, I was paralyzed once. I couldn't breathe, let alone take a step toward or away from anything. But then I pushed myself to take just one step. That one step changed everything for me and led to me being certified as a life coach. First steps matter.
What is this step for you? Let's say you've decided you want to start your own business but you don't know what kind of business. Being in this place can be a little overwhelming...but don't let it be so overwhelming that you never start. A first step can be as simple as writing down ALL of the possibilities - from things you know you're capable of to things you've always wanted to do or have been interested in. That's it. That's your first step. The next day, explore all those options. Learn about them, find people who do those things now. Facebook and Google make it easy. Dive into the things that spark a curiosity. Then on the list you created, circle the top thing or maybe 2 or 3 things that still have your interest and have got you thinking about how you can do this.
You see what's happening here? Momentum is starting to build. The more you learn about the possibilities, the more you'll engage. The more you engage, the more ideas you'll get about aspects to explore. Explore them! Feel the excitement and the energy build. Make decisions. Show up. Make progress one step at a time.
It works for everything you know. One step. It leads to the next step and to things you might never have even thought of. If you've got something you want to do, please try it. You won't regret it. And if you need help to do it, ask for it...because "I don't know how" is no excuse.
To get more information about being coached or about finding your purpose, schedule a free consult with me. I've been where you are and I know I can help you see what your next step should be.
If you were playing 20 Questions and “time” was the answer, what category would you put it in? Person, Place or Thing? Animal, Vegetable or Mineral? Measurement, Emotion or Figment of our Imagination?
It’s actually a hard thing to pin down, isn’t it? It’s a thing…we have it or we don’t. It’s a measurement…it’s too short or too long. What is time to you?
Time is all about perspective. Time is an emotion. Think about it. Let’s say you spend an hour doing something you love with someone you love. It feels like 10 minutes went by, right? “Time flies when you’re having fun.” That’s truth. Now, think about doing something you find tedious or think about being somewhere for an hour that you just don’t want to be. Time goes really slowly. Am I right?
I don’t mean to give you a headache thinking about this. You’ll see where I’m going with this, I promise. Here’s what I know: We all have what we’ve come to know as 24-hours in one day. 525,600 minutes in a year (Thanks to RENT for teaching me that…). So how come some people can do so much and others claim they just “don’t have time” for anything?
If you fall in the “I don’t have time” for anything category, I call BS. Sorry. I do. This is such a pet peeve of mine. You DO have time. The next time you’re about to tell someone you don’t have time for something, stop…. change your answer to, “That’s not a priority for me” and see how it feels. If you can say that and still feel good about your answer, EXCELLENT. If you now feel crappy because you told someone you love that they are not a priority to you, good. Time to wake up and get rid of the things you are making a priority that simply are not priorities, or at least shouldn't be.
I had a client tell me they couldn’t go for a 20-minute walk every day as a way to relax and clear their head. BS I called. I told this person to write down EVERYTHING they did in just one hour of a day. I picked the hour. Things like “looked at Instagram,” “scrolled through my Facebook feed,” “cleaned out my email folder…a little” and “used the restroom” were all on that list!!
Just stop telling yourself you don’t have time for important things (in this case to go for a 20-minute walk to help your health and mental well being). You just spent at least 20 minutes sitting in front of a screen of some sort and kissing 20 minutes of your life goodbye with nothing to show for it.
Do you need more time?
Write down what you do for an entire day and how much time you spend doing it. Now eliminate the garbage (and I’m not saying Instagram or Facebook are garbage. There’s a time and place for those things but not when the really important things in life (family, friends, goals, health) suffer because of them.
Now, back to time being an emotion. Answer two questions:
How do you feel when you’re sitting there scrolling through your social media feeds? And…
How do you feel when you’re doing something that serves your goals or you’re doing something with someone you love that you KNOW you’ll both be talking about for years to come?
I told you time was about perspective and emotion. Do you believe me now?
See how much time you save by eliminating the things that don’t move the needle in your life. I bet things change for you…and I bet you establish a whole new definition of TIME.
I’ve been working in radio my entire adult life. My first internship was at WPST in Trenton, NJ the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college. It was AWESOME. Let me mention that WPST was THE station. A 50,000 watt station in between NY and Philadelphia. I was 19 and that summer set the coarse for my life. The people who worked there are still such special people in my life. I could never say enough about them. They showed me the ropes and more importantly inspired me. They took the time to teach, to include and to encourage. Tom Taylor told me “some 19 year olds are 19 and some are Dwight Gooden.” Jay Sorensen left me in the on air studio by myself and told me it was up to me to make sure there was no dead air when the song that was playing ran out. Tom Cunningham showed me how to go about my business quietly and with confidence. Mark Sheppard and I came from the same high school in stickville, NJ and was proof we could do big things. And then there was Trish Merelo. She’s only a few years older than me and had just landed at WPST. She taught me about having so much fun doing what you’re doing. She made me laugh all the time. ALL THE TIME. She showed me it was possible to be soooo good, so fun and so real. I still think about her when I hear Depeche Mode.
I love all those people and what they did for me with or without knowing.
And that brings me here, 34 years later.
In January of this year, was a little tough. I was wrestling with what my next “thing” should be. I was caught in the winter blues. I was missing things that maybe never even existed…the big “what ifs.”
Then it happened. I was driving to work on an early Wednesday morning…and by early I mean I’m driving between 5:30am and 6:15am. I was about 5 miles away from the radio station I work at these days (Star 99.1), on a two lane windy, hilly road. Over the hill in front of me were two headlights in the other lane. And all of a sudden, there were four. I remember actually blinking my eyes and shaking my head like you see in cartoons to try to get my vision right again. It wasn’t my vision that was the problem. Someone chose to pass a van, on a two lane road, on a hill and a blind curve. He was coming right at me and was right in front of me. I SAW….I’m not even kidding…. I SAW the headlights go
There was no time to react. It happened that fast. That pickup truck didn’t hit me. I’m telling you the ONLY explanation is that God intervened. I got chills as I wrote that. God saved me again that day. As I continued my drive, my heart was not pounding, my hands were not shaking. I simply continued on my way. Like I was watching a freaking movie. When I parked in the station lot a few minutes later, my legs were barely strong enough to hold me up when I got out of the car. The reality that I should have been killed in a horrific car accident but instead, the oncoming pickup truck passed right through me was too much.
Then a phrase that had come up so many times between me and my pastor and friend, Richard Gay, exploded in my head: “This is not about YOU.”
The “this” in that sentence had meant different things through my life, but now it was clear: “This — LIFE — is not about ME.” I connected millions of dots in that moment. I thought about all the times in my life that someone else had lived by that sentence that had been in my head and chose…CHOSE to teach ME, sacrifice for ME, lead ME. They chose ME. They knew it wasn’t about them. And now I finally know it’s not about me.
My next move was clearer. To be a coach, to be a mentor, to stop being so selfish and share what life has taught me in the conventional and unconventional sense.
What that looks like is still being thought out and planned. But that’s the IT. God told me that day in January that he still had work for me to do and I better start paying attention. I’m sure he tapped me on the shoulder many, many times before that day, but I wasn’t listening. He had to do something to make sure I didn’t miss it this time.
I can still see those headlights going right through me. I won’t ever forget them.
Stick with me on this journey. I’m going to tap on more than a few shoulders to hopefully help, inspire and teach people what they need to learn so that no one has to be woken up by headlights passing right through them.
In March, I was on a roll. I joined a 30-Day Challenge that was going to change my business…and it was. I’ve been a copywriter for over 30 years. The Creative Director and a big radio station for over 12. A year and a half ago, I started my own business. I did over $46,000 of sales in the first year. Good, right? I wanted more. It wasn’t the money. It was the rush of seeing something from a different perspective and marketing in a whole new way. I was steamrolling ahead. I always preached “momentum” and I had it. I couldn’t see how anyone could lose it.
Until I did.
In the late morning of April 26 (my birthday, btw), I got word that a dear friend (and the pastor of my church) had died of sudden heart failure. Everything stopped.
Even my breathing.
For the next two months, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I definitely could cry tho.
Momentum was broken and I didn’t have anything in me that could fix it. There’s something about being paralyzed by grief that is truly scary once you look back. I never felt truly incapable of doing anything before. If you’ve ever been in that space, or are in it now, you know.
Now I’m moving again. I’m almost done with a course with Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi. I’m so glad I took the leap and got into this even tho when I did it, I wasn’t ready or capable of learning much. I realize now that it was my momentum trying to fix itself. Pushing from somewhere deep inside that died right along with my friend.
I’ve always wanted more purpose and more impact and more service to my businesses. Now, somehow, things are clearer, focused and purposeful. I want a legacy. I want to be remembered for serving other people. For helping. For encouraging. For being someone who’d believe in you when no one else would.
Life and momentum can be robust or fleeting. You need to grab ahold of both when you can and ride them as long as you can. Make a difference. Start now. One step is what gives momentum a breath. I’m thankful for that. I challenge you: If your momentum is broken, do one thing today. Take one productive step that will give YOU life again.