What do you do? {Or Do You Niche?}

My small business

I have a business. It is a small business. So small, that it’s basically me. That doesn’t make it a bad business, or an unsuccessful one. But it does make it personal. Anything I know, have learned, or experienced that can help – that is what I want to share. I want to share it with anyone who needs it or can use it. That is what I do. But that doesn’t tell you too much about what I really do. It certainly isn’t a niche.

For me, creating my business is an unfolding. Because my real “product” is me, naturally what I have to share is unfolding too. I can’t (and will not) tell you that I know the only or best way to do anything. That seems ludicrous to me. You are the only expert on your needs and your life. You are the only one who knows what beauty, joy, success, and happiness are to you. But that in no way precludes me from helping you. There are so many reasons a person hires a life coach, reads a blog post for ideas, needs help with a messy or scary time in their life. (This may be where the concept of niches and I part ways a bit.)

Many people are adamant about niches – and believe me – I get it!! It’s a very practical, sensible business practice, and actually works really well. I honestly wish I could say: “I do X (something amazing), for Y (my ideal clients), so they can Z (desired outcome). But what it really looks more like is: “I do X,Y,Z, for A&B, so they can…create whatever beauty, love, pleasure, healing, good in the world that is their need, or dream, or desire”. Etc.

And because my clients are unfolding, and I am unfolding, what I do doesn’t seem to fit in an easy formula. And I actually LOVE that part!! I love to help others stretch, I love to be stretched myself. I love to show up 100% present, open my heart to being guided, and have faith that whatever a client needs that day, in that situation, and going forward – that will show up in that session. And it works!! It amazes me every day how beautifully it works. But it often means that I never know, beyond coach and listener, what hats I’ll need to wear.

So, how do I distill this thing that feels like magic a client and I create together into: “I do X, for Y, so they can Z”? How do I tell you what I do quickly and meaningfully? Because a niche is really helpful to potential clients and blog readers in determining if what I offer can be of value to them.

In practice what I do is what is needed to help in that moment, with that client. Sometimes that’s honoring a story, a sadness, a success, a joy by really listening. Sometimes it’s about helping to untangle mental and/or physical messes so positive movement and freedom can be found. I may share insights or experiences that shed light on an issue. Sometimes I gently help to open up space in a limiting belief. I might help someone to figure out what the real problem is, or what their true desires are. Sometimes I’m a cheerleader, sometimes a truthsayer. I’m always a loving witness. And, yes, I have tools – awesome tools. I have processes and practices to share. Yes, I have experience and training (amazing training – thank you Martha Beck Life Coach Training). And, yes, I have always been a bit of a life coach for family, friends, and strangers. But a lot of this is “coach speak”. 🙂 So, when people ask “what do you do?” what can I say?

“I help and empower people who are open, willing, and wanting to change their lives in positive ways (profound, even), so they can continue on their divine life journey more effectively, or with greater awareness, pleasure, and freedom, and also lovingly care for the areas of their lives and, selves, that need it most.”

Hmmmm, I like it, but …obviously I’m still working on this niche thing! And sometimes the simple explanation seems too simple.

But it’s really OK, because we’re all unfolding.

Love, Cheryl

One thing I do is use altars to make my dreams real! It’s fun, creative, and meaningful. Here’s a link to learn more & sign up for my free mini-course: Activating Your Dreams: An Altar Practice.

One Way to Create Order

My New Moon Altar for Creating Order

Just the other day I was puttering around my house, making it pretty, finding homes for things, delighting in my home. My new husband and I moved to this house about 5 months ago and I’m still making friends with it, seeing how it feels as our home. As I was clearing surfaces and arranging some favorite items I realized that I was creating sacred space. I have a practice I do a lot to help me clarify, focus on, and activate the dreams and goals I want to make happen. That practice danced right into my interior designing – I made an altar without even thinking about it! That’s it in the picture above.

Usually when I do this I start at the “beginning”  with a purpose for the altar – a desire to fulfill, or a life enhancement I want to encourage. I recently wrote a free mini-course on the subject (you can find out more about that here), so of course the process was top of mind. But this was going at it backwards! So, I wanted to figure out what this altar that made itself was actually for. It came to me pretty quickly – I was looking for help in establishing systems and order in my new home, and in my new life here. I love how my subconscious works – if I wasn’t going to make an altar for this, it would!

The usual steps would include selecting items for the altar based on what I wanted to do or learn, and what was meaningful to me in that context. But this reversal required me to look at what I’d chosen and see how these choices could inform me about this new Altar for Creating Order. Here’s what I discovered:

  • Looking intuitively at the altar I first noticed the bird. I almost always have a bird on my altars, they relate to the wind element, mental energy, and I also see them as messengers. This one is sparkly and I feel it’s telling me to lighten up the way I think about systems – to keep it easy and light.
  • The angel reminds me I’m not alone in this – I have helpers of all kinds available, and it reminds me to connect to God also..
  • I love that little picture of the house, it’s very evocative of home for me. I think it’s message is to do what I love and enjoy, and to consider how I really want to live here, and what brings joy to my home.
  • The books are about support – what systems can I use to best support myself and my family? Where can I find support? Who can I support?
  • In a green, clay vase is a white rose – a bit of earth, and water, and beauty all together. All important elements of a healthy home!
  • The flower shaped dish has 3 crystals that stand for love, compassion, dispelling negativity, hope, willpower and integrity – to help me in my quest.
  • I always have candles on my altars! They bring warmth, and especially ignition, to the dreams each altar promotes. It relates to fire which can both enhance and destroy. Destruction of old patterns makes room for new ones. That;s help I can use!
  • The artwork above the altar is one way to see paradise. I think it’s telling me to find paradise where I am right now.

I’m still pretty amazed that this altar just happened. But I’m going to care for it, and listen to what it has to tell me. I want to know how it can help me. The next step will be to journal about these insights and see how I can use that to take steps to make life in my new home easier and more delightful!

Do you make altars? How do you use them? I’d love to hear about your altar practices. Comment, or you can contact me at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com. If you want to learn more about altars and how I use them to activate my dreams check out my free mini course.

Love and Light!

Cheryl

Right or Wrong – Who Decides?

Image by Cheryl Haezebroeck

There’s been a lot of ranting and raving around here lately about right and wrong. There probably always has been, but it seems to have come to a head lately, especially since the US election. I can assure you that I’ve done my share! But the pointlessness of this approach has struck me lately.

There’s so much certainty that some are right and others are wrong (not to mention ignorant, mean, racist, elitist, out of their freaking minds, etc.) and, of course, who is right and who is wrong all depends on which group you identify with. With all of the focus on various issues, I think we’re missing the point.

What is the point? I’ll leave you to decide that for yourself! But since I’m writing this I’ll tell you that my belief is that it’s bigger than immigration law and healthcare policy and the budget. I think it’s about how we see and treat each other. Standing back there seems to be a whole lot of dislike (spilling right over into hatred), contempt, and a sense of not understanding each other at all, and frankly not even wanting to – who wants to understand someone they despise? They are obviously wrong, and we’re right.

It makes me think of Martha Beck’s teaching “you spot it, you got it”, one of her most humbling lessons! It certainly opens your eyes. If you are truly disturbed by the appearance of annoying elitist assholes then you need to take a look at your own life and see where that is your approach. If you are honest you’ll be certain to see it. If you are appalled by the amazing ignorance of the “other side” – where are you ignorant? This is a remarkable (and often upsetting) lesson – that what you see you also contain. Of course it works for the “good” stuff too. Where you see love – yep, you’ve got that!!

My sense is that all of this angst and judgment is about allowing fear to be our choice. It certainly isn’t about love. In A Course in Miracles I learned that I get to choose each time between love and fear, and that ultimately, all other confusing issues aside, this is the only choice.

So, with that (rather long) explanation behind us I’ll be posting quotes this week about being “right”. They’ll be on Instagram and Facebook. Maybe one will resonate with you.

Here’s to love!

Cheryl

Show Up With Vim!

Each morning (OK, most mornings…) I ask myself this question: “Dear Higher Self, how do you want me to show up today?” Then I get quiet and listen. Spirit never lets me down, and it’s always just what I need to know for a great day. Today I woke up decidedly flat, and slow, and lacking in luster. So when I sat down with my journal and asked my daily (almost!) question I was pretty surprised to hear the word “vim”. My Higher Self would like me to show up with VIM! I had to laugh first, and then I asked Her if She was sure. Yes, indeed, show up with vim.

I’m not sure about you, but this isn’t a word I regularly use. I know it hangs out a lot with the word vigor. I like how short and decisive it is. I had a good sense of what it meant, but of course I needed to look it up. Do you do that, look up words? I love to look them up, read the definition and then look at the synonyms. And just like that, I fell in love with the word “vim”. It means energy and enthusiasm, but what really got me were the delicious synonyms – what amazing words we have made!  Words like zest, brio, punch, moxie, pep, ginger, esprit, juice, gusto, oomph, zing, and verve. Wow!! I find I’m feeling better already! Ironically, the antonyms of vim were exactly how I felt when I woke up: lethargy, listlessness, torpidity.

What a difference a word makes – really!! In A Course in Miracles it says that words are symbols of symbols. So, they’re basically a couple of steps from the truth of something. And yet, they definitely have the energy of the things they represent. They’re guideposts to the realization of some inner truth. At least that’s my take on it. I think we learn the word, or hear it, or think it, and then we can feel it. And after we feel it we can be it. And I believe that all of this is ruled by choice. Our choices. Today I woke up one way (torpidity anyone??). That was a choice even though it didn’t seem like one. And then I heard a new word, I looked it up, I thought about it, I felt it, and I was given another option. A choice.

Well, I choose VIM! I love how these things work – I mean they’re like magic! I went from listlessness to gusto. It’s possible that some days listlessness is, perhaps, the better choice. I may need to rest, to check out, to not make lists! But my Higher Self knew that today I have another energy to experience. I’m really glad I asked, and listened!

Today I show up with Vim! How will you show up today?

With Love,

Cheryl

Your Fear is Talkin’ {How Fear Can Help You}

Image by Cheryl

Last night Fear woke me up – again. Lately I’m pushing up against some old stories and beliefs that tell me what I can and can’t have. These are stories of LACK and LIMITS and UNWORTHINESS…not fun. Really! And yet, they contain gold for me if I’m willing to do some digging. So, there in the middle of the night I had a little talk with Fear. (To me Fear appears as a dark figure in a trench coat and hat, you can’t see his features, but he’s menacing, lurking in the shadows ready to pop out and wreck my day – or night, That is why I call my fear “him”.) “Fear”, I said, “I’ll talk with you in the morning. I know you want to help, but I need my sleep.” Eventually, he left me alone and I slept, but I knew this was an appointment I needed to keep.

After breakfast we sat down with a journal and a pen and began talking. This is a practice I do when I feel tense, scattered, confused, stressed. Or when I keep waking up in the night! It always helps. I start by letting Fear say his part – for as long as that takes – I write down his worries, fears, concerns, character assassinations (my character, of course), etc. At some point he begins to repeat himself and that’s when we stop. As I write I’m not judging, just listing. Sometimes an insight will come up and I note that down to come back to later.

Today Fear told me:

  • I have nothing of value to offer.
  • No-one likes me.
  • I have no skills.
  • I’ll starve and end up in a horrible place at the mercy of horrible people.

All of this (and more) keeps coming up, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. But that’s how Fear works. I actually know he cares about me, he wants to help, but his methodology is really screwed up! He thinks that by scaring me he’ll get me to stop doing new things and stretching myself. He thinks that makes me safe.

Oh, he of little faith.

Ironically, stopping assures that the worst case scenario can happen. Not to mention the hell of living with my fears as my MO in the world. No thanks!

Here are a few tools I employ to deal with the fears that come up, and how I get Fear to help me, for real. These tools will help give you some space away from your fears which allows more clarity, more sanity, more joy! Assuming your fears are here to help you can make them less upsetting and scary too. (Note: There are times just writing out my fears clears the air and I can move on – these ideas are for when that doesn’t work.)

  • First, I look at each fear and see if it has helpful information for me. For example, I might look at “I have no skills” and ask what skills I feel I’m missing that would be honestly useful. It’s true there are some skills I want to take the time to learn – particularly technology skills. So, now I can schedule time to address that. Because I listened to Fear he feels better already!
  • Next I search my fears for “truth”. Using the same fear as above I ask, “Is it true I have no skills, like zero?” And of course that isn’t true at all. It is something I fear though, regardless of how ludicrous it may be.
  • So, next I find evidence. I look for the things I know I can do – this can start really simple (and may need to if the fear is pretty strong) like: “I am skilled at walking. I can drive like a boss. My eating abilities are amazing!” By the way – laughter is a great antidote to fear, so rock that too! Keep going with the evidence. And if you get stuck ask someone who loves you. They know your skills and will share some with you that you didn’t even know about or see.

The most important thing here is to really feel the delight of being skilled. Sense into the opposite of the fear. No one likes you – ha! Everyone you like also likes you. Feel it. You have no value? You are not just valued, you are value, inherently. We’re not dismissing or running from our fears – we’re getting honest about them. These can run in the background and mess with our ability to make good decisions for our lives. We’re acknowledging them and allowing them to be useful. That is a win-win!

  • Finally, for any fears that didn’t work with the previous tools, try this…

Ask Fear, and yourself, what is this really about? Allow yourself to let the answer come up. You can say “If this happens/is true, then _______” to get more information. For example, the last fear I have listed “I’ll starve and end up in a horrible place at the mercy of horrible people” is a future-type fear. It’s practically a national-obsession-type fear. So I ask, what is this really about for me right now?

The real fear here, and in most future-type fears, is loss of something that you have now that you value. Like a safe home, a good income, a lot of amazing people you love, relative freedom, etc. These types of fears are pretty insidious because they require faith to overcome them. We can look for evidence that this has never, ever happened to you before, or that it has and you overcame it. But we also have heard cautionary tales of the horrible things that have happened to others. We might have seen it firsthand. We fear It could happen to us in the future. This can be scary stuff. They’re also the types of fears that tend to show up during times of transition in your life – when things are changing.

 For these my first step is to turn it over to a Higher Power – your Higher Power of choice. I ask for help. I have faith that I am heard, and I am safe. I see and feel how safe and blessed I am right now, and I focus on that delicious feeling. I focus on how grand my life is right now. I live right here. This will (if you’re anything like me…) require repetition, and more repetition. The number of times you have allowed your self to go over and over the bad things that could happen, that is how many times you need to recall that you are safe, life is good, and you have access to just the help you need right now.

And then I have faith in myself. I see how I’ve managed to take care of myself all of my life until now, even when it wasn’t perfect it was OK. I note when I handled things well, when I overcame heartache, tragedy, sadness – knowing I can handle anything at all that I need to. I give myself credit – I know that I am the hero of my life!

Next, I ask Fear to help me by telling me why he fears this outcome. Many times when I have these fears I find there are areas of my life where I’m not giving it my best. I’m not focused, I’m not paying attention. You’ll be amazed what helpful information is running around in the back of your mind waiting for you to just give it some air time! I pay attention and then I take steps to care for myself, for my money, my home, my freedom – whatever addresses my legitimate concerns. Taking inspired action is a great way to dispel fear!

Fears are scary. That’s how they get our attention. But they’re also trying to help us. I believe that. I hope these tools are of use to you in living & creating your amazing life! If you have any questions you can contact me here or schedule a free session here. I’d love to hear from you!

Love, Cheryl

Note: The information above is meant for normal fears and fearfulness. There are times when fears will not give us good information – when they’re overwhelming and too much to tackle alone. If you’re in a situation like this please contact a professional – a psychologist or other therapist can help you.

 

The Hurrier I Go….

Christmas Past: My sweet kitty under the tree.

Christmas Past: My sweet kitty under the tree.

It’s at this time of the year I remember my mother’s wisdom most. Our family was really busy at Christmas time with 2 stores to run and all of the holiday’s excitement as well. And yet Mom always made Christmas special – she loved it and created an amazing experience for us from food, to decorations, to presents, to fun things to do. Until I was a mom I had no idea how hard that was to accomplish. Or what a joy it is to make something so delicious.

I’m having an extra busy Christmas season this year. We’re fixing up the house we’re moving to, keeping the one we’re selling in pristine condition, packing, moving….Whew! And please, let’s not even talk about Christmas preparation! It’s pretty stressful and I tend to start rushing, running, getting breathless, not sleeping, always planning and thinking ahead. I’m certainly not spending time in the moment where I am so I can enjoy my life and this gorgeous season. And that reminds me of a saying of my Mom’s: “The hurrier I go the behinder I get”. It always used to make me laugh, but it’s true! My rushing and stressing isn’t making things go faster or more smoothly at all. In fact it made me sick and farther behind than ever.

And, of course, I know better! I kept telling myself this was no way to do things, but I just didn’t listen to myself. Today as I’m feeling better and starting to rush around again I heard my Mom’s voice “The hurrier I go….” And I laughed and tuned in again to the world as it is right now. If you tend to get wrapped up in all there is to do in a busy season here are few tips I can share that work for me to come down to Earth, slow down, and, you know, get less “behinder” – or at least have more fun (and stay healthy) while I do my work:

  • For goodness sake – Breathe!!! When you’re holding your breath or breathing shallowly you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Or making life easier or more delightful. Pull in a nice deep breath and let it out, be grateful that it’s so easy, and available, and calming to just breathe.
  • While you’re breathing, wiggle your toes. Notice you have a lovely body, toes that move and support you. Lungs to breathe into. Legs to stand on, arms to hug someone with, a head to lay on your pillow when you rest. You can dance, and sing, and make things with such an amazing body.
  • Open your eyes (really open them) and look around. Where are you? What do you see? Do you see beauty, or something comforting? Do you see loved ones, nature, your home or office? Be where you are and look for the most delicious thing in that place. Let the experience of that object, person, situation, or sound fill you with joy! Rest there, in that joy; soak it up.
  • Next, think (calmly…) about what has you rushing about. First, I want you to assume there is an easier and more pleasant way to do whatever it is. Know that you will discover this easy, pleasant way when you allow yourself to let go of your preconceived notions of how things must go and what you need to do to make it happen. Let me say here you can (and will) certainly proceed the way you want to proceed, and if that means you will go on rushing, that’s fine. Hey, I’m with you. There are times that is the only way for me too. But I want you to be honestly aware that there are other choices, for sure. Other ways to make it happen that are different and probably a lot more fun. Ways that allow you to drop perfection, allow you to enjoy the process, allow you to ask for help, ways that honor your needs. These ways will certainly make the process better not just for you, but for everyone around you (just ask my poor sweet husband what a drag I’ve been the last few weeks!).
  • Brainstorm, make a list, allow yourself to dream of the perfect solution, write it down as if it has already occurred. And then step away for a bit. Sleep on it, rest. And come back to your dream process. Do you see new ways to do this? Is there anything that can be dropped, farmed out? Can you at least see how you can do what you want, achieve the outcome you desire, and still have fun, as well as a healthy body and mind? What would be the best outcome and a delightful way to get there? How can you make that happen?

I know I’ll be following this list of steps for the foreseeable future! I have my brainstorming done and now I’m going to take long rest and see how things look in the morning. I already feel more hopeful that I can make everything happen – and in a lovely way. I hope this is of help to you too. And I want to wish you delight-filled holidays and all of the pleasures of the winter season!

Lots of Love, Cheryl