How to Figure Out What You (Really) Want

"Aircraft" by Martin Fisch

Before you make a wish, do you know what you want?

In fact, if I were to ask you what you really want, could you answer me?

Do you know, for instance…
…what you want most out of intimate relationships?
…what you value most through your work?
…what you want most out of your money?

Do you know…
…where you really want to go on vacation?
…what you want to do with your time on the planet?
…what would really, really make you happy?

Most women I know, don’t. Not really.

In fact, it usually startles them for me to even ask.

And yet – if you don’t know what you want, how will you know what to aim for?
Better yet, how will you know when you get it?

See, here’s the deal.

Most people live unconsciously. That’s just the truth.
They get up. Go to work. Go home. Eat supper. Watch TV. Go to bed.

Rinse and repeat.

But you want more than that, don’t you?
Even if you’re not sure what, you just want…

Well – More.

Don’t shrug that off. It matters.

Having a deep desire for more in your life means you are alive, that you live in an abundant Universe, and that you know it.

Having a deep desire for more in your life means you want to embrace all that life has to offer in its fullest capacity.

And isn’t that a wonderful thing?

And when you have more, feel more, contribute more, live more -

- you can give more, too.

So here’s a tool for you.

Here’ s a way to figure out What You Want.

Vision Board by Nanette Saylor

Make yourself a Vision Board.

Images are powerful. Creating and gazing at images of what we love, enjoy, value, treasure, and desire is one of the best things we can do to create that reality in our life.

Because once you get really clear on what your heart desires, the Universe has a way of rearranging itself to help you manifest that desire in your life.

Don’t believe me? That’s okay.

Humor me. Try it anyway.

Because in this strange little experiment that is my life,

I have discovered that magic is more fun than proof.  

- Christine Kane

I recently led a workshop in Knoxville, Tennessee where I taught folks how to do this. It’s easy.

Here’s how.


A Journal, Notebook or Sketchbook: You’ll need a place where you can daydream on paper.

Poster Board: Some people use the full sized poster boards, but I think that’s too much. It can feel like pressure to have to ‘fill up’ all that space. So I like smaller sizes. In fact, 11×17 seems about right to me. White is fine. So is black. Or hot pink. Use the colors that work for you.

Scissors & Glue: A good pair of scissors will cut easily and cleanly. You can buy craft glue that won’t clump up and make your photos soggy, but simple glue sticks work just fine.

Decorations: At a minimum, you’ll want to grab some different colored Sharpies or other good markers. If you’re an especially creative type, you may also enjoy using some fun decorative Items like glitter, sequins, stickers, or other embellishments.

Music: Nice background music, generally instrumental, can help quiet the clutter in your mind, so that deeper desires and images rise to the surface.

Magazines: You need a collection of magazines that you can rip and tear to shreds. :) Ideally you’ll want to gather an assortment of different kinds, everything from Car & Driver to National Geographic to Oprah to Cooking Light. The more variety you have, the better, whether they’re mags you would read, or not.


There are many ways to go about this process. I’ve seen it done in a 2 hour session at the kitchen table with construction paper as a background. And I’ve seen it done over a period of months, a gradual evolution that builds up to a pull-it-all-together moment.

In whatever way works for you, here’s your basic steps.

ONE: Collect images.

Go through the magazines.Tear out pages that have anything that appeals to you. It might be an image (a cute guy, a sweet baby, or that kayak you’ve been dreaming about).

It might be words or phrases.

(My fave? “Miracles don’t happen overnight. Sometimes they take an entire weekend.”)

Don’t stop at this point to think about why a particular item appeals to you. Just grab it, and stash it. You can do this all at one sitting, or over a period of time. I’ve done it both ways.

One note of caution: resist the temptation to lean too heavily on words. Your brain recognizes images at a deep level. Give it plenty to dream about. :)

TWO: Go inside.

Before you put your Board together, take some time to go inside. Inside your head, that is. Put on some of that thoughtful, beautiful background music. Pick up a pen. Think about who you want to be in the world, how you want to show up. Think about what you want to do, what you want to have.

Allow your mind to wander. No judgment! No criticism or self censorship. If you really, really, in your heart of hearts want to be able to buy a villa in Northern Italy, then write that down.

If you dream of being the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, or your state’s first female U.S. Senator, put that down.

If what you long for is peace, calm, or clarity, put that down.

If you want to be crazy, ridiculously over-the-top, wealthy, put that down, too.

THREE: Sort, toss and trim.

Now, go back through your stash. Throw out anything that no longer speaks to you.
Take what’s left, and trim it up with a pair of scissors.

Play with the images you now have. Lay them out on your board. What seems to fit where? What goes together? What tells a story? What lifts your spirits just to look at it?

And what needs to be right at the center of it all? My friend Deb says you should put your own picture in the middle.

Couldn’t hurt, right?


Once you have everything placed the way that feels right, glue it all down. Then, if you want, use your sharpies or markers to mark things in ways that mean something to you. This is where the creatives among you can add your stars and sequins if you like.


Put it up somewhere that YOU will see it everyday. That could be on your office door, in your closet, on your bathroom wall. Then, take time to engage with it daily. Look at it. Study it. Enjoy it. Allow yourself to feel the good feelings it brings up for you. Imagine each image being a part of your life as if it were already true.

Now – step back and notice what comes. Be willing to follow the threads of new opportunities and ideas even when you can’t always tell where they lead.

Without even knowing it, you’re well on your way to creating what you want.

Now that you know what that is. :))

So what about you? Have you tried this before? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo Credits: Martin Fisch, Nanette Saylor on Flickr

How to Know When You’re Ready to Grow

Drops on Pink, by Ebelien

It may just be a growth spurt, you know.

Or the start of one.

Whatever this is that’s bugging you, this “thing” that just doesn’t feel right; it might just be that things are changing inside for you – in a good way.

It usually starts as an uncomfortable feeling, a sense that something is wrong, out of whack, not what it should be. Sometimes those feelings are a whisper, just below the surface. Sometimes they’re shouting in your face.

Either way, they get harder and harder to ignore when you are being challenged – more and more – to grow.

And heck, personal growth can be exciting work.
It can be powerful. Energizing. Life-changing.

But it usually scares the heck out of you first.

I’ve had great conversations recently with two new clients, both of them amazing, Courageous women, though they would laugh if they heard me say that. I guarantee you they don’t see themselves that way.

Yet. :)

They came to me under completely different circumstances, seeking help in completely different ways. And yes, they were both scared to death.

One made the brave decision to enter deep psychotherapy with an eye towards reconnecting with the wise, loving, and strong Self she’s lost somehow along the way.

The other made an equally brave decision to work with me privately – but as her business coach; someone to help her reconnect with the creative, competent, amazing businesswoman that she barely sees inside, as well.

They both felt a lot better after one nice long talk, and I know that it’s just going to get better and better from here. I can’t tell you how much I love that. :)

I’ve always been passionate about helping women see what they are capable of, own their authority, and step in to their lives with clarity, power, and joy.

Sometimes that happens through counseling and psychotherapy, where we take a deep look at how they found their way to this moment in time. What blocks their joy? And what can we do to to get past – or remove – those blocks?

And it also happens through my work as a small business coach, where we are all about Now, and taking the pro-active steps they need today, to get where they dream of being tomorrow. There, too, we explore what’s getting in the way, then develop a strategy for breaking free.

So it’s all personal growth, powerful growth. It’s all good.

And it all requires great Courage.

So how do you know when you’re ready to grow?

Of course, “ready” may be the wrong word to use here, I know. Sometimes we are called to growth, challenged to evolve into a higher Self – even if we go kicking and screaming.

Nevertheless, if you’re miserable, or scared, or just feeling a little out of whack – that might be because it’s your time to shine.

So here are 5 ways to know that it’s your time to grow.

1. You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, and you’re ready to do whatever it takes to kick the misery to the curb. Enough already. Life is too short. It’s time to get better.

2. You’re restless, and acutely aware that time is passing at a surprising rate. And suddenly, you’re a little tired of putting up with people that you used to tolerate. And they can tell. :)

3. If you’re a business owner, you can’t get enough of Seth Godin, Brian Clark at Copyblogger, or any number of mega business gurus. You know you’ve got things to do, but you can’t stop watching webinars on landing pages and reading blogs about strange things like SEO, whatever THAT is.

4. You’ve actually had some good things happening lately. You’ve ended a bad relationship (finally!) or entered a great one (finally!). Ideal clients are showing up more often, and great opportunities are dropping in your lap. But instead of being happy, you’re scared. And honestly, the whole dang thing is just flat freaking you out a bit.

5. You are meant to show up in the world in a much bigger way, and you know it, though you have NO idea how to do that, or even what that means… But the thought won’t go away. And it is as exciting as it is terrifying.


 “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  
- Anais Nin

Whether it’s counseling, coaching, or deep work with a close group of sister friends – I encourage you, challenge you, to listen to that restless spirit that’s stirring inside. She’s calling to you. What does she have to teach you?

Allow yourself to find out. 

The answer will be worth it.



Head’s Up, Courageous Women!
The First Secret Adventure of the 2014-2015 Season
will be on Sunday, August 24.
It’s going to be fun, fast and pretty physical.

Registration opens on Monday, August 18, at 7 p.m.
and I’ll announce it on Facebook, AND in an email.
Watch for it. :)

Photo Credit: -Ebelien- on Flickr

Sometimes Progress is More Like a Pancake


Maybe I should explain.

You see, growth is a messy business.

And business is a bunch of messy growth. :)

For example, last Tuesday evening I stumbled my way through something I’ve never done before.

I created, marketed, launched and led a 75 minute tele-seminar, a presentation by phone, to a large group of women entrepreneurs all over the country.

We had folks calling in from Baltimore, Chicago, Louisville, Asheville, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and who knows where else. Some of them I knew. Most of them I didn’t.

All in all, It was pretty heady stuff for this small business owner from East Tennessee, though some would say it shouldn’t have been.

After all, calls like that are nothing new in the business world. Tele-seminars, webinars, and similar ventures are pretty commonplace in today’s digital marketplace. In fact, I’ve listened in on calls like that myself dozens, perhaps hundreds, of times over the years.

But this was the first time I’d tried it myself.

So I’m proud to say that I just gave my first national presentation. That sounds great, doesn’t it? And you would never know that I did it, while standing (pacing, actually), alone, in the middle of my office, in my jeans, barefoot.

And if you’d listened in, you might not have known how nervous I was trying not to be.

(Well, actually, I think it was pretty obvious at first…)

But it wasn’t the speaking. I’ve done that for years, and I love connecting with an audience.

And it wasn’t the topic. I’ve been leading group experiences of one kind or another for years, too. I knew what I was talking about – and I was confident about that.

No, I was nervous because I couldn’t see my audience this time. And because I had to get the technology right. And because I was making a pretty big announcement about a new training program I’m going to launch in November. And I had to get the technology behind THAT right too.

I was nervous because this was a step up for me, a new behavior,  

a new skill set, a new way of showing up in my business…

…and in the world.

Can you relate?

Isn’t that how it is anytime you’re ready to take the Next Step?

You make a decision. Set an intention. 
Set a date. Make your plans.

And go.

You get through it. And it generally works.

But sometimes, it’s a little messy.
Sometimes, it’s a little wonky around the edges.

THAT’S how I felt Tuesday night. :)

So later, I had a funny thought.

I realized later that that call was like the first pancake.


I don’t know about you, but when I make pancakes, I always, and I mean always, have to toss the first one to the dog – or tuck it under the rest of the stack.

Because that first one never comes out quite right. It usually tastes great, but somehow looks a little wonky at the edges. I always think of it as the practice pancake. Or the regular donation to the breakfast gods.

But after the first one, the rest are always fine.

Fluffy. Brown. Round. Uniform.


And that’s what Tuesday night was for me.

It was a delicious call, FULL of good stuff, but I was nervous, and I think it was just a bit wonky around the edges.

So, I’ve decided that was just my practice pancake. :)

Now, I’m ready to stir it all up and cook the rest of the batch. And this time, things will be fine. I learned some things the first time around, about what my clients most want to hear, and what they most need to know. I got a feel for what it’s like to talk to dozens of people at one time through a phone.

So this time, I’ll do a little better. And you’ll learn a little more. And we’ll enjoy each other’s company throughout the whole thing a LOT more.

So why am I telling you this?

Because all too often, when we see others who seem to be successful, we easily assume they’ve always been that way. We rarely get to see the messy road they took on their imperfect way to the top, what lessons they learned, mistakes they made, fears they faced.

Yet success is nothing more than an unending series of first pancakes, seems to me. Every time you try something new, it’s going to be a little messy. After that, it gets better.

So I’ve decided to do an Encore. :)

I’ll be doing a live repeat of that presentation next Thursday, 8/14, at 4:00 Eastern / 3:00 Central. I’ll share information about the concept of Everyday Adventures, what they are, how they work, and how they could fit into different kinds of groups or different types of settings. I’ll talk about how to plan Adventures that work, and what you need to know before trying them on your own.

If you’d like to come, just click here to register.

And the next time you try something new, if it’s not exactly right, just give yourself a little smile, and try it again.

After all, that was just your practice pancake. :)

Photo Credit: by Hedvigs on Flickr


A Defeat, A Detour, and A Grand Adventure: The Rest of the Story

Remember: I was defeated, lost, and afraid

(Read last week’s post for the beginning of this story.)

I was 22 years old, on my own, no family within 500 miles, and no prospects for my future. I was trapped in an entry level job making $4.20 an hour. I desperately needed a way to get my confidence back. And I had No Idea What to Do.

So, I’d decided to go to Switzerland.

Heck, what would you have done? :)

I’d wanted to go to Switzerland ever since seeing the TV movie “Heidi” as a girl. It wasn’t the story that got me so much, although that was nice enough.

It was the scenery.

I live in the shadow of Appalachian mountains that are millions of years old, mountains for which I carry a deep love. The Alps are their giant, younger cousins across the ocean, and I felt an instant connection to them from the start.

But I’d never known anyone who’d been to Europe; only “rich people” did things like that. To me, a trip to Europe might as well be a trip to the moon.

Then college opened my eyes to new possibilities. Suddenly, I knew real people, other students, making minimum wage themselves, who went to Europe all the time! They carried backpacks, rode trains, and stayed in something called a ‘hostel’, which sounded mysterious and intriguing.

And they weren’t rich; in fact, they were usually pretty broke. Surely if they could do it, I could too.

THIS was something I could control.

No one had to let me in.

Whether I went, or not, was successful or not, made it or not, was totally up to me.

I didn’t need anyone’s permission to go.

And I had no one but myself to blame if I didn’t.

I liked that. :)

So this is what I did.

1. I bought a map.
First, I bought a map, a real map, that showed Switzerland, Austria and what was then “West” Germany. Then I went to the public library and checked out every book I could find on those three countries, and on European travel.

2. I asked for advice.
Next, I visited a travel agency. I thought you had to PAY to use their services. I didn’t know you could just walk in, ask a few questions, and get a ton of help – for free! Once I learned that, I was there all the time. I started collecting brochures, maps and any literature that had anything to do with Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

3. I studied.
I went to the bookstore and bought a couple of Fodors and Michelin travel guides. I read them voraciously, pen in hand, marking key points, and highlighting places that sounded really interesting. Between the books and the maps, a route began to take shape.

4. I made a plan – and a budget.
Eventually, I developed a rough budget, with a goal for the money I thought I’d need to spend a month overseas.

Yes. A Month.

(If I’m going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I’m gonna make it count.)

I set a target date two years out. I divided the total amount I would need by the months left to that target, and set a monthly savings goal.

In other words, if I saved X dollars a month for 2 years, I would have what I needed to spend a month in Europe: riding trains, staying in hostels,

…and seeing the Swiss Alps, for real.

5. I learned the language.

I know. Sounds crazy.

I signed up for ‘real’ German classes taught at the university; not the quickie, ‘How to Speak German in 5 Weeks or Less” courses you see here or there. These were for-credit courses, tailored to undergraduate students, starting from the ground up.

Vocabulary tests. Conjugating verbs. The whole works.

Mind you, I’d already graduated, but if I was going to travel to a foreign country I wanted to be able to understand the language.

Two years of high school Spanish wouldn’t help in Switzerland. Two years of German, would.

6. I went to Switzerland. And Germany. And Austria. :)

Two years later, I flew to Munich, rented a car, and began a two week drive around the Alps of Central Europe.

I explored the beautiful Bavarian region of southern W. Germany, had a pint at the real Oktoberfest, and cried at Dachau.

I drove to Switzerland, where I stayed in a miniature castle on the shores of Lake Geneva, drove right up to the base of the Matterhorn, and walked on an Alpine glacier.

In Austria, I toured the sprawling Salzburg castle where “The Sound of Music” was filmed, saw the home of Freud, and toured the opulent Vienna State Opera.

Mont Blanc, Switzerland

Mont Blanc, Switzerland

And through it all, the mountains were beyond
anything I could have imagined.

My boss cut my trip to two weeks at the last minute. So five years later I went back, and that time – I did stay for a full month.

On my second trip, I completed what many call the “Grand Tour”, driving to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Lichtenstein, Belgium, Holland, France…. And later, England and Scotland, as well.

As life unfolded, I went on to complete a Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work, and was trained in a way that, for me, is a MUCH better fit than a psychologist ever would have been.

And I’ve created a successful career doing exactly what I love, exactly as I’d hoped.

So yes, I got my confidence back. :)

The story here is about one hard time in my life, and what I did to cope. I was young then.

But as any woman who’s been around for any length of time knows, life throws us curve balls all the time. There have been many, many times since then when I’ve found myself up against a wall: scared, worried, pounded with self doubt, and no idea what to do.

And the skills I gained from that first brush with failure have carried me through all the tough times since.

You see – I didn’t know it then, but the truth is, I was already a Courageous Woman.

I just didn’t know it.

Like so many of you.

I just lost my nerve for a while and didn’t have the confidence to find my way forward.  It was in choosing to tackle something bigger than me that I began to discover, or maybe re-discover, what I could really do.

By doing something that scared me to death, I moved from Courage to Confidence.

And that’s why I do what I do today.

And why when you don’t know what to do, I challenge you, too.

Go. Do something Big.

Photo Credits: Kecko, Peuplier on Flickr