We spend a huge percentage of our lives working and that time can either leave us feeling full or hungry.
I know both sides of that coin very well.
I have had the brain-numbing, the soul-sucking, and the toxic jobs. Lots of them.
But my work today is not painful or depleting. It’s rewarding and gentle.
This kind of work—the kind that has deep purpose and is sustainable—is what everyone deserves.
As a life coach I work with women on the full range of life hungers: food, intimacy, spirituality, creativity, and yes, meaningful work. The truth is, more often than not though, I send those with career hungers to Laura Simms. She’s my career coach guru. When my students are really ready to be vocationally well-fed it’s Laura I turn them on to.
Laura doesn’t offer one-on-one coaching, but instead, teaches through her gorgeous and impactful masterclass: Your Career Homecoming and her course begins again soon. This is a course I’ve sent countless students to and only heard rave reviews.
As a way to support you in your pursuit of more fulfilling work and to share more about this incredible program Laura and I are hosting a live Career Hungers Conversation and Q&A on Wednesday, April 20th at 7 pm CT/5 pm PT.
If your current career is out of alignment with who you are and who you want to be…
If you feel like your career is the missing piece to having the life you want…
If “What am I going to do?” has become a central obsession in your life…
If you are worn down by your mind-numbing, heart-draining job…
Then join Laura and me on Wednesday.
We’ll be discussing a whole range of topics, including:
- How you can begin to hear your specific career hungers
- What to do with internal voices that tell you “It makes no sense for you to switch careers!” or “It’s too late for you to change career paths!”
- Why it’s important and how to take into account not just the work you want to do, but the kind of life you want to have.
- and lots more, plus we’ll be taking any and all questions you have about your
April 20th at 7 pm CT/5 pm PT (the call will last one hour)
(425) 440-5100, 701832#, or
If you want to be a part of the call but can’t make it or just want to get your questions in the queue, you can submit them in advance and you’ll be emailed a link to listen to the call recording.
I want to share with you some thoughts I’ve been having lately about the waning paradigm of the hungry woman, about the difference between hungry women and Well-fed Woman, and about why I created Feast.
It’s not often I do a video blog, but try as I might to channel these thoughts through my keyboard this week I could not.
Before you watch, there are some unnecessary qualifiers I feel compelled to make:
Like the video might be a bit rambly, I’m not always sure I’m making sense, and I certainly didn’t remember to say everything I wanted to say. Perhaps it’s the vulnerability of it that makes video my rarely used medium. Regardless here’s a good bit of what wanted to be offered to you with a whole lot of heart.
Pleasure is a food group. I’ve been known to say this fairly often.
It’s a way I remind myself and my clients that things other than food go into making us healthy and well-fed.
While the USDA no longer promotes a food pyramid (I think it’s a circle now?), most Americans remember this popular illustration from our childhoods outlining the types of foods and number of daily servings our government claims is optimal.
Inspired by the pyramid’s iconic image, and also as a tongue-in-cheek jab at it, I created The Fulfillment Pyramid.
Instead of me telling you what and how much to ‘eat’, it’s blank.
It’s up to you to fill it out based on what you know about what feeds you.
There is a 2D and 3D version of the pyramid plus suggestions and instructions are provided in the kit, which is free, when you sign up for my newsletter list.
Below are lots of examples readers have sent to me of their Fulfillment Pyramids. I’d love to see yours.
This is a fun right-brained way to approach building your own well-fed life. It’s great to keep on your personal altar or bedside table—reminding to feast in ways that leave you feeling most alive.
If you already are on the list and missed the link to the kit, send me an email and I’ll resend it to you. If you’re not on the list, sign up over there on the side bar or at the bottom of this.
Ask yourself: “How many of my daily servings of pleasure have I gotten today?”
As of this week I will have taught 21 Well-Fed Woman Retreatshops.
I will have traveled, roughly, 38,445 miles over two years.
When I set out to circle with women, sharing what I know, I never ever thought I would travel so far, meet so many amazing people, or learn so much.
At the end of a journey like this I suppose it custom to check in and see what you learned.
Here are 21 lessons, one for each Retreatshop. Some are good to know for everyone, some are good if you want to travel and/or teach for work, and others are just for me to remember if I ever do it again.
1. The first time is never your best.
Poor Austin, Texas. I delivered a good experience. But there was simply no way to know how to do this until I did it. Austin was my very first stop and thanks to those Texas guinea pigs, I learned a lot. Things only got better – a lot better – from there. The lesson? You have to rip the band-aid at some point. All the preparation in the world can’t prepare you for the real thing.
2. Tears are a sign of impact.
I joke that I judge my success of a Retreatshop based on how many people cry. My track record is pretty impressive. Except for New York City. Those women wouldn’t crack even if we watched Beaches together while cutting onions. Nevertheless, have tissues ready. The truth is, you can’t really judge weather someone is having a positive experience of your event, but if they are crying, chances are you’re having an impact and impact is what I go for every time.
3. We need to hear each others stories.
The personal stories I shared, on most days, took the air right out of the room. Each person listening finding their own common thread in the weaving of my life and then invited out to share the things we too often keep in the back of the closet. It’s the kindred hearts, communicated through stories shared, that have stuck with me more than anything.
4. People are kind.
There are countless people who graciously opened their homes to me, fed me, picked me up from airports and dropped me off, and spent their precious hours helping to bring it all together. Most of these people I had never met before the day I descended on their city. I suppose I knew that people were kind before I did this, but the knowledge feels solid today, like a newly laid floor beneath me.
5. We are all the same.
It’s true. You + Me? Same cloth, cut up.
6. Sometimes the magic just isn’t there.
I didn’t hit it out of the park in all 21 cities. Why? Because sometimes the magic isn’t there. I can feel awesome. Be prepared and loose. Have enthusiastic attendees. Great weather and amazing food. And for whatever reason the vibration never elevated to a hum. Thankfully this was the rare exception, but it’s good to remember.
7. If you invite your mother, don’t sit opposite her.
Love my mom. Seriously. She is the very best. BUT…putting her in a chair opposite me doing my big thing. Not a great idea. I found myself analyzing her face the whole time (Was she liking it? Did she agree with my version of events?) and finally interrupting my talk to say “What is that face?!” only to be told “This is my face.” We all had a good laugh, but lesson learned.
8. Conference room lighting is the worst.
Avoid it at all cost.
9. Support independent caterers where possible.
In most of the cities this year I sought out small, independent caterers for our lunch. Every time they were reliable, enthusiastic about accommodating special dietary needs, prompt, affordable, and delicious. Special shout outs to Soulshine Kitchen in Andover, Mass.
10. Have an ice breaker with heart.
It might seem cheesy to start with an ice breaker, but it also works. When women come to gather for the kind of deep work that I facilitate they come with nerves. They fear the unknown of the day and are aware we’re likely going to dig into some pretty sticky topics. So, I start each Retreatshop asking everyone to share their favorite kind of pie. Immediately everyone goes to a happy place and common bonds start to form over shared favorites and sweet memories. For the record, my favorite is raspberry pie, double all-butter crust, with ice cream. Pie is holy.
11. Newsflash: Not everyone likes pie.
Every city had one person who didn’t like pie. I can’t explain this.
12. If you can have a dog in attendance, do.
Nothing makes vulnerability go down easier than a warm, soft pup curled up on your lap.
13. Invest in a suitcase you love.
The best money I spent, hands down. Thank you REI for making the 22″ Tech Beast. As I said, I traveled nearly 40,000 miles. Today, this suitcase looks good as new. I rarely checked it because it fit in the overhead compartment. I could lift it easily thanks to the many handles. It looks professional and fit everything I needed. So grateful.
While I couldn’t prepare for everything that was to cross my path on this journey, I did my best. I invested in the Transformation Speaking Immersion with Gail Larsen in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Cost a lot more than the suitcase. Also worth every penny.
15. Get credit cards that earn you miles.
Fact: most of my airfare was paid for simply because I had the right credit card.
16. Be selfish.
If I wasn’t out on the road teaching for myself, at least a little bit, I would have burnt out fast. If I had traveled that far and worked that hard out of pure altruism I would be a flat pancake right now. But I’m not. I feel pretty great. I did this to feed myself. I did this because I want to live as a Well-Fed Woman and I was hungry to sit with other women. I was hungry, so I set off to feed myself. Because each Retreatshop fed me (not just the attendees) I had fuel to keep going and arrived at the end so very satiated.
17. In person relationships trump internet relationships every time.
18. Don’t lie to the Canadian Border Police.
If you’re there for work, tell them. Trust me.
Canadians are nice people, unless they are border police and you lie to them.
19. Soul work takes time.
The first year I ran Retreatshops they were three hours in length. This is because a) I didn’t know what would work and b) I didn’t want to coordinate lunch.
The second year they were full day experiences. This worked MUCH better. Soul work takes time.
20. Presence. Curiosity. Love.
This is the invocation I did before each gathering. The three things I called into me. The three friends who supported me every time. They made all the difference.
21. The work I do is amazing.
It feels amazing for me and amazing for the women I work with.
It’s impactful. It’s imperfect. It’s authentic. It’s clear. It’s creative. It’s important. It’s totally unique.
I can say all of this wholeheartedly because unlike the day before I taught in Austin, Texas, today…I know. I’ve tested myself. I’ve seen the impact first hand.
I’ve gone into the arena, as Brene would say.
Here’s to the next 40,000 miles wherever they take me, even if it’s just a lot of trips to my kitchen table to sit, in my pajamas with a cup of tea, and write to you.
A change is in the air, can you feel it too?
My summer funk is so a thing of the past and this weekend, co-leading The Wise Body, Wise Hungers retreat with Anna Guest-Jelley was soul-satisfyingly good. I mean goooood. I’m ushering my Ease Huntresses through their summer to autumn transition and getting excited for my nephew to move from Berlin to the States next week. And, I’m writing to you on my long-overdue new computer where I’m in deep creation mode for you and 2014. Oh, and yeah, I’m wearing new, super awesome Warby Parkers…
Lately it’s just felt like it’s time for a new look. Something to punctuate what feels like a great and powerful time of transition…
Who’s ready for desktop wallpaper suited for being (or becoming) a Well-Fed Woman?!
I made you three versions, each in four sizes, because options are everyone’s best friend.
Each version has all four sizes in the zip files. Just click to download and choose the size that’s right for you.
Option 1 – Feast On Your Life
–> Download (zip)
Option 2 – Let Your Hungers Guide You
–> Download (zip)
Option 3 – What Are You Truly Hungry For?