Posted May 9, 2013
I was feeling really low this week and wanting to share a little behind the scenes development here and what it might mean for you.
Ticket sales for The Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop tour have been, to put it bluntly, dismal.
I wallowed for a good while. Telling myself I failed at marketing. Telling myself I wasn’t offering anything people wanted to buy. Telling myself to cancel the tour, put on my pajamas and call it a day…or year.
I sat perplexed. Last year had gone so well. I don’t understand.
Rachel created a bridge for me from a nebulous, semi-conscious hunger that I have to a visceral knowing of it. She gave me wonderful tools for honoring and feeding it, but more importantly, a framework for identifying and honoring my hungers in an ongoing way. Parts of me that have felt ignored or just plan unseen are feeling loved and hopeful and meaningfully connected to me because of Rachel’s work, and for that I’m deeply grateful.
I was awakened by my experience at the Retreatshop. Rachel helped me discover hungers I didn’t know I had and that really was an eye opening experience. She has an amazing way of taking what you thought was your hunger and really boiling it down. With her calm demeanor and truly caring soul, the few hours that I spent at the Retreatshop will be something I’ll never forget. I am excited to take what I learned and feed all of my hungers.
Last year most of the cities were sold out or near capacity. The feedback from participants was great and the one thing they asked I changed was the length. They wanted more. So I made this year’s events full day instead of three over-packed hours.
You might wonder why do I do this? Why do I choose to spend hours traveling the country to teach at these intimate gatherings? Here’s why:
Because I’ve yet to meet more than a handful of women who aren’t, in someway, alienated from their hungers.
Because getting a day away from the hubbub of life is awesome.
Because getting to spend day receiving, instead of taking care of others is medicine we need.
Because living life guided from within brings out peace, clarity, forward motion, confidence, and grounding.
Because when a woman is in deep communion with her hungers she can then be fully available to life and begin to truly feast.
This isn’t just about food. I know the metaphor-rich language I use might suggest this, but the truth is that this is about the hunger, or rather starvation, for touch, for rest, for play, for connection, for being seen, and more.
These are the reasons I know the Retreatshop experience is so vital.
And It’s true that I’ve heard across the board from many in my field that sales have been everything from flat to much slower this year.
But it doesn’t feel helpful to say “It’s the economy.” I don’t believe the price is too high for what I know this experience offers.
Last year, for the three hour experience, tickets cost a simple $100.
This year I’m more seasoned, the teachings have been refined, and attendees get over six hours of very intimate and personal time.
All this said, sales, are perhaps suggesting that the financial threshold is too high for many.
After much reflection, here’s what I’ve decided to do and what feels right in my heart and for my business:
Of course, each pair can split the single-ticket price up however they want.
If you’ve been on the fence and feeling like the ticket price is out of reach, I hope the invitation to find a friend and split it helps.
If you’re already registered, just send me an email with with full name and email address of the friend you’ll be bringing.
The remaining tour cities and dates are:
San Francisco – May 18th
Chicago – June 1st
Toronto – June 8th
Los Angeles – June 22nd
Vancouver – July 14th
Seattle – July 20th
Arlington – October 12th
Alameda – November 2nd
As always, I’d love to meet you there.
Rachel holds the space beautifully for her participants. She brought her wisdom and intuition, and years of actual experience, so we knew we were in safe hands. There’s so much kindness and grace to how she teaches. I feel calmer just being in her presence. She has a real gift.
I left the retreatshop in awe. What an experience to be in a relationship with my hungers. I’ll say it again: my hungers. It feels powerful to say that phrase because I had a chance to really connect with a group of amazing, brave, real women led by the graceful hunger-whisperer Rachel W. Cole herself. Rachel creates an experience that is pure magic and I am still quaking from the after effects.
*If the Retreatshop includes a paid lunch, guests of paid-attendees must pay for the lunch as well.
Posted May 4, 2013
I took April off of work.
I went to meet my nephew in Germany and on April 17th, 36 hours after my pain landed back on U.S. soil, I had my tonsils removed. No surprise, it’s been painful to talk.
During the recovery I learned to communicate with made up hand signs, scribbles on paper, and flash cards I’d prepared that said things like “Pain!” and “Thank you!”
Now May has rolled around, the pain has faded and speaking has becoming more effortless.
Eating with abandon has come back too. Hallelujah!
But my life isn’t just about speaking to my loved ones or being able to talk to the check out clerk at the grocery store.
I teach. I write. I communicate as part of my sacred vocation.
Being away last month and getting out of practice ‘speaking’ to you has left me feeling rusty. I could hear that all too common voice that says “What do you have to say that’s original? Look, there are all these other people saying the same thing as you. What makes you think anyone wants to hear your version? No one even noticed you were gone.”
In my experience, most of us know what this is like, even if we don’t have a blog and or teach in a classroom.
It’s simply not always easy to feel into the importance or worthiness of our voice.
Here is the perspective I use respond to these questioning voices:
I’ve read just about every book there is on the topic of eating disorders and making peace with our body and food. Seriously. I have.
Many of them say the same things and yet, for no logical or specific reason, only a few have really spoken to me. It’s not that they were better written, it’s simply that I needed to hear the information from one author and could not from another.
Have you had this experience? Two books that say the same thing and only one speaks to you?
Or a friend raves about a book that changed her life but it falls flat for you.
Perhaps there is a blogger out there that ‘everyone’ raves about but who’s voice does not connect with you.
Maybe you’ve had a group of people in your life each give you the same advice, but it was one single person who was able to get through to you.
It’s not logical and I don’t need to understand why this is the way things are.
I simply know that each voice matters and that my voice is the voice that will connect with someone out there when others do not.
This is true for your voice too. Whether it’s a book you want to write, a speech you want to give, or a truth you want to share with your best friend – it matters that YOU share it.
Your voice is like your thumbprint. It has a uniqueness that no one can match and it has the power to carry healing, change, and beauty into a world that needs these them.
Our voice won’t be heard by all. It won’t even be received positively all the time. It will rarely, if ever, be perfect.
I simply ask myself, what if Geneen Roth had never written Women, Food, & God because she thought that most of the content had already been written about by others? What if Brene Brown didn’t give her initial TedX talk because she thought to herself “Would anyone care if I didn’t show up?”
This perspective is what allows me to, often without finesse, begin to speak, teach, and write again. This is what allows me to hush those fearful voices. I have a deep faith that some people need to hear the wisdom I share from my voice in order for it to have an impact.
I have faith the same is true for you.
Posted December 1, 2012
As you may know, I’m a student of Wayne Muller. His book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives was a total game-changer for me. In fact, I kept my own non-traditional sabbath for several years inspired by Muller’s words. This practice still influences how I live my daily life and my work in the world. You don’t need to be religious to benefit from this profound book–I’m not.
Muller has a fantastic new book out: A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough. Doesn’t the title just make you happy?! I wanted to share this excerpt from the book with you because it so wonderfully sums up why I coach and what I love about coaching.
- Wayne Muller, A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough
This post was originally published in 2011. I republished it because it’s one of my favorites and I wanted new followers of my work to see it. Additionally, I have a few spots opening up for new coaching clients in January. I would love to fill them with women desiring a more well-fed life. If you’re interested in coaching with me in 2013, get in touch soon.
Posted September 25, 2012
I’m sick as a dog today. Wicked sore throat. Fever last night.
But the worst part isn’t how I feel, it’s that I had to reschedule my four clients today because I’m in no shape to coach.
I love coaching. I love my clients. I love my coaching colleagues. Waking up everyday that I get to do this work is the biggest blessing I’ve known.
While the coaching industry goes through a sort of boom, it’s common for people to think that becoming a successful coach is easy. It’s not. There are reasons that those of us who are making a real living and having real impact are doing it.
If you want to be a life coach or you are a life coach but you’re struggling, check out The Coaching Blueprint a wonderful program from my colleague and friend Kate Swoboda. You might know her as Kate Courageous – a moniker she embodies. It’s one of the few programs out there I fully endorse. It really is a product that over-delivers. I wonder where I’d be today if I’d had it when I started out.
Kate is wise, dedicated, and uber-engaged. She’s also one of my favorite well-fed women.
Kate, what are you TRULY hungry for?
Authentic connection. For me, that means the type of connection where people really show who they are, even their rough edges, because that’s the truest gift of connection–being held exactly for who we are, where we are, as we are. I’m hungry for being seen in that space, too–for surrounding myself with the people who wouldn’t let one bad day or experience define me in their minds. I’m hungry for compassion and ferocious love of the highest order.
What’s a craving that you previously denied that you now happily satisfy? How has that impacted you?
I have become a total hugger and a crier. I used to be one of those people who felt awkward around hugging. Now I’m like, “Can I GIVE YOU A HUG?” I also used to be one of those people who was so embarrassed by my crying that I’d get that terrible choked-up sensation in my throat to keep the tears from pouring forth. Now I’m fairly open about letting them flow.
The internal critic I had around those two would tell me that both hugging and crying were “Sappy.” BUT–the simple acts of opening to physical affection with others, and the vulnerability of being transparent when something tugs at my heart strings, has opened me up to so much love that I now trust the impulse. I understand now that being unwilling to hug and cry are walls that we erect between ourselves–we think we have to know someone “really well” to do those things.
Hogwash! Next time you see me at a conference, ask me for a hug (especially if you’re having a bad day, because my hugs are AWESOME). Cry with me and beside me, as needed.
What are you a conduit for?
Courage, especially of the truth-telling variety. I’m a conduit for working with fear differently, for re-defining your relationship with fear rather than trying to bat fear away.
I’m a big proponent of people having the lives they want to have. It’s that simple. If you’re my friend and you’re talking about something you want and how it would never happen, expect the next two words out of my mouth to be, “Why not?” And if you tell me a bunch of reasons why not, I’ll probably then say, “I totally hear you. But still–why not? Surely there’s a way. How can I help?”
Favorite bite in recent memory?
Oh, god–can’t do just a bite–it’s gotta be an experience. The two-taco plate with avocado added and cilantro-jalapeno sauce at Cafe Zazzle in Petaluma, followed by the gluten-free fig cake for dessert at Wild Goat Bistro, followed by a walk and lots of laughter and conversation with my gorgeous man along the Petaluma River. We do this a few times a month. It’s nourishment inside and out.
Posted September 10, 2012
I didn’t read the Twilight trilogy. I’m not on Team Jacob or Team Edward. I did, however, see an interview with Stephanie Meyer, the author, where she said that she was only able to write the books because she wrote them for herself – as if no one would ever read them.
I care deeply about my work in the world. I’m not able to sell snake oil. I’m not able to coach clients I don’t resonate with just for a paycheck. I’m not able to write just for hits or retweets.
I am truly only comfortable doing and sharing what feels good in my bones and deep in my gut. I am only comfortable doing what leaves me feeling joyous. I coach the clients that click. I write the words that are true. And I earn the money that comes from being and acting in integrity.
There are several reasons I’ve wanted to write a guidebook of my teachings on living life as as Well-Fed Woman. Most important of which is that not everyone can coach with me or make it to a retreatshop and I want to share this information with everyone. I want to offer my square for your patchwork quilt. My brick for your road.
But I want to do it right.
Recently, I thought I could set a deadline (the New Year) and push myself to get the guidebook out. I thought I could make a good, but quick buck if I released an excerpt in October. I thought I could bang this out.
And I could.
But I don’t want to.
I value you too much to give you anything less than my absolute best.
So, like Stephanie Meyer, I’m going to keep writing, but to create something awesome I am choosing to stay away from flashy, boldly promoted deadlines for now. I am choosing to write this as if no one is ever going to read it. I am choosing to do this my way so that it can be everything my heart knows the guidebook wants to be for you.
When it’s ready, you’ll be the first to know.
I am going to be releasing products and announcing events over the coming months and year and I want you to know that when I do it’s because my whole body says YES and because I know I’m giving you something worthy of your precious time and resources.
On October 1, 2012, for new clients, my 1:1 coaching rates are going up to $375/month from $300/month for two sessions (and lots o’ support in between).
When I listen inward, I can feel that it’s time. Coaching with me delivers real value. My clients know this and I know this. My clients break through patterns they’ve had for 20 years. They make peace with (and love to) their hungers and they feast. They come to see themselves in a new, more loving, light and begin to live from this place. They discover and root into their unique values and what a well-fed life for them really looks like. They move forward and they find stillness, all at the same time. Coaching with me is tender, but oh-so-powerful!
Unlike a graphic designer or other high-hourly-rate and high-skill service, I can only coach for 4 hours a day. After that, I’m simply not offering my best services. Ideally, I only coach three clients a day for maximum presence, engagement, and deliverance of my heart. Subpar Rachel is not on the menu.
There are only so many days in a week. I only have so many slots. Most of the year, my client load is full to the brim and that tells me that I can afford to charge rates that reflect the demand on my time.
If you get in touch before 10/1/12, you’ll receive my old rate for the duration of 2012.
My event page is live in preparation for a year of wonderful opportunities for you and I to sit face to face – for us to gather and root into living Well-Fed. For now, be sure to let me know if you want me to come to you on the 2013 Retreatshop Tour and there are a few spots left in Hunger Stories my upcoming day-long writing retreat with Laurie Wagner! Be sure you’re on the list to find out first what’s happening!
Posted May 13, 2011
: From Rick Jarrow’s Creating the Work You Love: Courage, Commitment, and Career
Posted May 7, 2011
I love typologies.
I love how they help us get to know ourselves better and when we know ourselves better (our strengths, weaknesses, tendancies, and orientations) we become better citizens of the world in turn.
While no one typology can tell us all we need to know about ourselves (and some tell us nothing) I think that when you put them together, collectively, they help us begin to map our unique constellation.
I highly recommend finding out your Enneagram type, Myers-Briggs is a must, Numerology is nifty, and yes you should have your full astrological chart read. As of late, I’ve been really fascinated by the Clifton StrengthsFinder.
Named for “the Father of Strengths Psychology” Donold O. Clifton this assessment is based on the premise that we are better off developing and leading with our natural strengths than trying to improve our natural weaknesses.
That’s a conversation I want to be a part of.
Some of the assessments I mentioned above are free to take, Clifton StrengthsFinder is not. While I think it’s money well spent, in order to take StrengthsFinder you’ll need to purchase the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 which includes an online access code. [Note: Don’t buy the book used because the one-time use access code will most certainly have been spent.]
When you take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment you are given your five strongest strengths from the 34 strength themes or common talents. Of course we each have many more than five strengths, but your results will be your strongest strengths and where it is encouraged you focus.
For full descriptions of all 34 strength themes you’ll have to get the book.
To give you a sense of what these mean here are excerpts of Gallup’s descriptions of my strengths [Oh and there's some good stuff below these lengthy excerpts, so if you want to just scroll on down, you've got the green light to do just that]:
Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path — your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.
“When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that “there are still some things we don’t know,” but this doesn’t seem to slow you. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can’t. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre. For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.
“Wouldn’t it be great if . . .” You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests — a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world — it will always be inspirational to you. You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you. They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future. They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring.
After I took the assessment I started to wonder what the strengths were of other people I knew and worked with. I wondered, if two coaches would share many of the same strengths? I wondered if I surrounded myself with people who brought the same strengths to the table or if I had diversified my tribe. I wondered if by looking at the results for someone I knew I’d say “Of course, that makes total sense!” or “Hmmm, that doesn’t seem like them at all.”
The following is a little round-up of some women I admire and in some cases, am lucky enough to get to work with. Perhaps you appreciate their work as well and will enjoy getting to see them from this new perspective.
Danielle Laporte: Achiever, Relator, Intellection, Futuristic, Strategic
Lianne Raymond: Woo, Ideation, Input, Strategic, Learner
Dyana Valentine: Activator, Futuristic, Ideation, Individualization, Relator
Alison Gresik: Empathy, Learner, Intellection, Developer, Connectedness
Molly Mahar: Positivity, Input, Empathy, Activator, Communication
Jennifer Lee: Maximizer, Futuristic, Strategic, Empathy, Developer
Andrea Scher: Empathy, Woo, Developer, Activator, Connectedness
A big thanks to these incredible women for sharing their StrengthsFinder results with us.To learn more about what these strength themes mean and to take your own assessment you can purchase StrengthsFinder 2.0.
Have you taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment? If so, please share your strengths in the comments. Do you think it’s accurate? What other typologies do you use? What typologies do you think are total bunk?
Posted April 17, 2011
It’s true — there is so much I can’t do for my coaching clients.
I can’t give them courage (oh, but I wish I could).
I can’t make them ready to unfold or guarantee that if they take leap they won’t twist an ankle (I trust them to do it all in their own time).
I can’t instill in them a solid knowing that they are lovable, good, or crazy amazing powerhouses (though I try).
And I can’t paint the ground under their feet so it reads:
(though I am seriously considering getting some sidewalk chalk).
But one of the many things I can do is share my story with them, where it’s useful, and I can point them to my guides, who’ve helped to blaze trails for me.
I know from personal experience how catalyzing it can be to know that someone has gone before you and not only survived, but kicked ass. Pathfinders don’t even have to travel the same path (in fact they can’t) to give us a powerful idea of how to go forth. Stories of how others navigated the river rapids of their life is sometimes just enough of a map to get us going in the right direction.
I’m calling on you to help me gather a few such stories to for one of my incredible clients, whom I’ll call Love.
Generally speaking, Love wants desperately to change something in her life, but doing so may rock the boat and bring disagreement/disappointment from her family. She wants to find the courage to take the leap in the face of a paralyzing fear of causing an earthquake in her otherwise peaceful life.
Do you know of a story somewhere that tells of someone who did this? Someone who leaped in the face of fear of making others unhappy so that they themselves could live?
Perhaps it’s your own story, or a favorite book, radio interview, or blog post.
Please share your recommendations for these stories and any names of people who have blazed a trail for you in the comments below.
With gratitude + awe,