Build what's important to you

Are you at a crossroads, asking what’s next for me?

For many driven people this question is tricky. We are faced with a mountain of “shoulds’. I SHOULD:

  • go for the promotion
  • change jobs
  • date more
  • be a better partner
  • be healthier
  • volunteer for stuff
  • etc.

The problem with “shoulds” is that they are someone else’s idea of what’s right for you. You can follow them but it never feels fulfilling.


Instead, I say: build what’s important to you.

The fact is no one can do it all or be great at everything. Trying is exhausting. When you give up the “shoulds”, you give yourself permission to go for what’s important to you right now. At different points in your life it will change, so focus on the one thing that is most important to you now, this year.

The result: you feel more fulfilled from your efforts, spend more time on this activity and usually be highly successful at it: a virtuous cycle.

How do you know what’s important to you? Try answering these three questions:

  • What do you long for? What would you always regret not doing?
  • What lights you up?
  • What do you spend your free time (and money) on?

If your brain is still getting caught in the “shoulds”, try a collage. Tapping into the creative side of your brain will bypass the “shoulds” and show you want you really want.

For more info on how to do this, click here.


How does coaching work?

Fair question. While coaching has been around for decades, many people are not familiar with how it works. As there is increasing overlap between professions, I have tried to lay out what coaching is according to the governing body, the International Coaching Federation. I have supplemented this by personal experience being coached and as a certified professional coach.

This post addresses: 

  1. What is coaching?
  2. Does it work?
  3. When to hire a coach?
  4. What to look for
  5. How to get the best results.

What is coaching?

Have you ever been asked a powerful question that opened up a new perspective or an easier approach to a situation? Maybe the question allowed you to see an elegant solution that had been hidden from view. If you have experienced this you know that profound shifts can occur in a short period of time with masterful coaching. Coaching is a highly effective short-term service that focuses on a specific goal and mastering personal change. One of the reasons it is so effective it that it guides you to discover and create solutions that work best for you, rather than tell you what should work. Some of the hallmarks of powerful coaching include:

  • Powerful questioning to open up new perspectives and solutions
  • Insight to see and release blocks
  • Accountability to keep you moving
  • Non-judgmental support

Does it work?

Yes. The ROIs are huge. Wellness programs have an ROI of 300% and professional coaching has an ROI of 597% A meta study of coaching clients found the most common benefits are: greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance and an improvement in wellness.  When to Hire a Coach Look for a coach when you are committed to investing in yourself and making profound changes.

  • Ask yourself: what will happen (or not happen) in 3 to 6 months if you keep doing the same things?
  • Don’t worry if you have no idea HOW to do it. Leave that to the coach.
  • If you can’t find the or energy time for it, hold off.

How to Choose a Coach vs. Another Professional

1. Make sure the approach fits your goal.  State your goal and ask how their programs work. Many practitioners use a hybrid approach.

  • If you seek clarity, creating a way that works for you and support mastering changes, coaching is probably a good fit.
  • If you want to get to the bottom of why you do something, try therapy.
  • If you want someone to diagnose your problem and tell you the solution, then let you implement it, look for a consultant.
  • If you want support and advice from someone who has been there, look for a mentor.
  • If you want industry expertise, hire an expert.

If your challenge is something you have not been able to solve analytically or rationally (such as relationships or life changes), you may get better results with mind-body approaches that allow you to hear your heart. Additionally, style can vary widely. Some coaches are ball-busters, whipping clients into shape. Others are more scientific. I know some softies who want a ball buster and vice versa. My style is supportive and straightforward. I listen, focus on what’s important and love you every step of the way.

2. Choose a coach you trust. Being honest is necessary for the process to work.

3. How important is it that the person has been through something similar ? For some, shared understanding is important. However if the coach only draws on their personal experience, this is more mentoring than coaching. A good coach will focus on your experience with open curiosity.

How to Get the Best Results

1. State a clear goal at the outset. Focus on 1 goal. Most coaches will have some type of intake form.

2. Be vocal. If something isn’t clear or a suggestion doesn’t resonate with you, be honest about why. It’s your program.

3. Do the work. Change happens in real life.

4. Be honest instead of perfect. No one expects you to be perfect and pretending will rob you of lasting results. The point of coaching is to get around roadblocks. So be honest about what you are experiencing and curious about what you’re doing. Taking the perspective of a non-judgmental observer will help.

5. Prepare for each session. Reflect on what worked and what challenges you are facing. Choose a topic for the session. If you have any further questions on whether coaching, or coaching with me, is right for your personal situation, please contact me here.

Cutting the cord

This one comes from a reader who asked:

“I fell in love with a man who was so right for me. We became pregnant but lost the child. Soon after our relationship ended and he is now with someone else. I know I need to let go, but I can’t. HELP!”

Ouch. I feel for you. That was a very intense connection.

It has been said, and I believe, that each time you have such a strong connection with someone, they are either your mate or your teacher. Perhaps this experience was given to you to teach you something you would need for in the future.

It’s not always so easy to let go though. I remember after loosing a deep, soul connected love thinking I was done. No one else would ever make me feel that way. Which is true — no one else can ever make you feel exactly the same way.

Your next love will be different because you will be different. You will be stronger and more aware of what you need and desire in a relationship. More aware of the kind of partnership that works for you and what doesn’t work for you. All of this is good.

But first you must clear space in your heart to welcome your new love in.

I find the cutting the cord ritual is a powerful way to cut the emotional ties that keep you focused on a past love. It may seem hokey but taking action to perform this ritual provides the closure many people need.

There are several ways to cut the cord. The one I like best is below, but you can adapt it to your own style.

  1. Draw a warm bath and add 1/4 cup of salt to the water.
  2. Immerse yourself in the water and recall the good things about your relationship. Thank the person for what you learned from them. Then say, “I am ready to let you go now.”
  3. Visualize a cord between you and this person. Imagine holding a machete or huge scissors. Visualize cutting the cord, repeating “I release you, I release you, I release you.”
  4. From then on you will feel less tied to this person. You will think about them less and when you do think about them you will be able to move on quickly by repeating “I release you.” Keep repeating that phrase until they fade into the background.

With this new space in your heart, focus on the love you want to experience. What does it feel like to be with this person? To put it out there, share this with us below!



The art of slowing downThis year I vacationed on the island of Sardinia, Italy, renting a rustic stone home or stazzu with friends. Since I never set up my international cellular plan and there was only a weak satellite connection, I had no internet for a week. It was heaven. All we did was sleep, run, sit on the beach with books, amble the local markets and prepare a local feast each night.

I still felt a twinge of guilt though, as millions of Americans do, and had to remind myself of the benefits of slowing down. My favorites are: it improves your performance, rekindles relationships and helps you see the bigger picture.

The last one has been huge for me. My first step in starting this business and falling in love was to create downtime, the space to be myself, to rest, daydream and connect.

Slowing down didn’t happen over night. I made one change at a time and got comfortable with letting some of the little things wait. But it was a beautiful journey that has added so much richness to my life I would never go back.

Here are a few ideas for practicing the fine art of slowing down:

  1. Set a clear boundary with time and technology. Try these or create your own.
  • Rent a vacation house with no internet or unplug the router.
  • Create work email free day or weekend. If that is not possible, then check and respond only during specific windows, such as 11am and 5pm.
  • Remove time sucking apps from your phone.
  • Carve out technology free times every day, such as meals or commuting.
  • Remove technology from the bedroom.
  • Cancel cable and get Netflix instead.
  1. Commit to sleep. The best hours to sleep are thought to be between 10 and 2 am. What would you need to do to get in bed by 10:30 pm every night.
  2. Make quality time your objective. I used to have several projects, (I’ll just read these 5 books or write this presentation) planned for each vacation, causing my family to get mad for ignoring them and me to be frustrated that I wasn’t getting enough done. Instead, make people and being present your only objective.
  3. Do one thing at a time. Fully engage in whatever you are doing, including a conversation, work, sitting in the sun for 5 minutes a day or going for a walk. When you need to move on, excuse yourself.
  4. Do it the slow way. Slow cook a meal (try my slow cooked marinara), take the country route, amble around an outdoor market or pretend you are an Italian man from an older generation and sit around the table all day long. The pleasure of doing nothing.

What do you do to slow down? I’d love to hear it below.



7 Reasons even you need real downtime

A recent survey revealed what most of us feel: that millions of Americans feel guilty about taking downtime and work on weekends and vacations.

Let me relieve you of this guilt.

Unplugging, napping and daydreaming make you better.

  1. Daydreaming finds solutions to complex problems. According to research by Dr. Letivin, our brain has two dominant functions: task driven and daydreaming. It can only do one at a time. When you are unplugged and daydreaming your brain makes connections from seemingly arbitrary information and thus comes up with creative solutions to a problem. This is why great insights often come when you are folding your laundry.
  1. Sleeping longer improves athletic performance. A recent article by Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project claims sleep, namely 8 to 9 hours per night, as a competitive advantage. He cites research by Dr. Cheri D. Mah of Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic found that athletes performed better and reported better moods and more energy on an excessive sleep (10 hours a night for 6 weeks).
  1. Vacation increases performance evaluations. Tony Schwartz also notes a study of Ernst and Young employees that found that for each additional 10 vacation hours they took, year end performance evaluations improved 8 percent.
  1. Naps improve concentration and performance. Alertness declines throughout the day and can be revived with a 10 to 20 minute nap. A great article by Ferris Jabr summarizes the research and benefits of naps.

 More importantly, downtime is good for your life.

  1. It allows you to see what you really want. When you aren’t following your to do list, you can follow your nose as my grandmother would say and do what you crave. For the first few days, it may be rest. So give yourself permission to sleep. When you awaken, you may crave connection or fulfillment or creativity. This craving can feel uncomfortable if you don’t know how to satisfy it immediately, but resist the urge to make yourself busy just to avoid it. Instead, acknowledge it and ask how could you bring more of that into your life. Listen for what answers appear over the next few days.
  1. It helps you let go of what’s not working. Much of work is done on autopilot, responding as we always have. Taking a real break creates physical and emotional space to see patterns that need to be upgraded.
  1. It creates more satisfying relationships. When we’re stretched, it’s impossible to truly connect. Besides feeling a little empty, studies have shown that lacking strong relationships is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Taking the time to rest so you can be your best and truly present with your loved ones can rekindle and deepen relationships. (For best results, nap together.)

Try a 10 minute nap, technology free meals or 20 minutes puttering time around the house. For more ideas, check out my post on The Art of Slowing Down.

You are more than your number.

Do you track a number? Time, miles, dollars…

Most of us do, it’s useful for seeing progress.

Just be wary of the number becoming the measure of your worth. When your value is outside of you, always are reaching for the next rung. No matter how high you go, you never feel quite fulfilled.

Your value is not in what you deliver or how many 20 out of 20’s you get. It’s in your unique creation, who you are for your family and friends, who you are when no one is watching.

No one can take that from you. You are expansive and whole, like the moon. Breathe deeply and feel your fullness.

Who are you?


Love vs Fear When it comes down to it, we can only be in one of two emotions at any given time: love or fear. Love creates trust, connection, peace, gratitude and faith. This leads to connection collaboration, play and healing. You are your best self.
  Fear creates distrust, sadness, anger. This leads to protection and retaliation, smallness.

It is impossible to be in love and fear at the same time. Try it for yourself.
To reconnect with love, try this simple exercise: list 5 things you are grateful for.
You might say that things suck today, I don’t want to feel grateful. If you are sad or angry, let yourself feel it for a bit. Stuffing it doesn’t help. 

But dwelling doesn’t help either. Feeling love within in you will make YOU feel better. Do it just for you. xo Adelma

Highly Sensitive Person's Guide to Joy

So, you just learned that you are highly sensitive. (If you haven’t taken the quiz and want to, click here.)

For some, this is no surprise.

For me, it was a shock. I am an entrepreneur. I run marathons, have backpacked to 35 countries and grew up in hyper-competitive schools and corporate settings starting at age 4.

I can’t be sensitive.

Yet I am a 22 out of 27. Classic.

According to Dr. Aaron, sensitive people are very conscientious and gifted with great intelligence, intuition and imagination, but they operate differently that the dominant “warrior” personality type. Historically they have been the visionaries, healers and creatives.

When I think about it, begin sensitive has helped me in so many ways. Being too sensitive to settle for “good enough” gave me the courage to become an entrepreneur. Being able to sense where people are allows me to guide them on a much deeper level. A strong spiritual core gives me the gratitude and trust to continually evolve.

Here is my Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Joy:

#1. Give up “Doing it All” and Be What You Are

Trying to do it all is counterproductive. Start from your core – who are you? Are you a Visionary, Creative, Healer, Lover? What do you want to create today?

To protect yourself from getting roped into doing it all, plan each day from a high level every morning. List the 1 or 2 Big Rocks that must be done that day on a Post-it to keep you focused.

#2. Trust Your Intuition

You have much stronger intuition than most. And it is usually right on. Listen to the little voice. Follow you heart, it will never steer you wrong. It will either steer you to the right thing, or to the lesson that helps you evolve.

#3. Ditch “Just Get Over It” and Accept Your Feelings

Ever tried to push away your anger or inner critic? What happens? It gets stronger, or comes back later.

The trick is to accept and acknowledge your feelings. There is a good reason for them. In accepting them, they soften. From this calm wisdom, you can see what caused them and what you need to do to resolve them.

#4. Routine Care & Mediation

Put your oxygen mask on first. Create a routine of regular care and mediation so you function in your optimal state.

#5. Eat Well: Swap Coffee & Sugar for Vegetables and Omega 3s 

Caffeine and sugar can produce anxiety, reactiveness and make you tired. Instead, eat foods that give you balance, like wild caught salmon, walnuts and green leafy vegetables. 

I want to hear from you! What are your top strategies to manage your sensitivity? Please share below 🙂



Sensitivity in Love

Love is beautiful… BUT sometimes getting there is tricky. Believe me, I know. With such deep emotion, it can be easy to get thrown off.

Bringing your relationship closer together is all about nurturing an honest connection. This is especially important for sensitive people, who experience stronger feelings than most (like me).

This Valentine’s Day instead of a Teddy Gram, give the gift of closeness. Here are some ideas that really work:

#1 Be honest with yourself: embrace your feelings

We want to feel good all the time, so the natural inclination is to push away intense feelings. Unfortunately, pushing them away only makes them stronger. To make matters worse, hiding out distances you and often causes a blow up later. It never works.

Embracing your feelings, especially when you are hurt, is key.

Next time, try breathing deeply into your hurt feeling, whether it is fear or anger or longing. It will soften much more quickly. Once you return to a calm perspective, you can approach the situation with new eyes.

Next, determine what triggered your reaction.

#2 Be honest with your partner

If it was the current situation, say someone was late to a movie, ask yourself what you desire in the long term. Is it to appreciate each other and treat each other with respect? Approaching the situation from that perspective will set a connected tone. Be honest but simple with your partner. Use I statements to show how you feel. For example, “I love being with you, but when you are late, I don’t feel cherished. It is hard for me to count on you for big things if I can’t count on you for small things.” It may feel tough to say this but harboring resentment is worse. A who partner cherishes you appreciates your honesty. That is the kind of partner you want.

On the flip side, when your partner has a concern, listen, appreciate where they are coming from and make it right. Then let it go and have fun together.

#3 Do the work

Other times, your reaction is a familiar feeling you have had for years, such as feeling abandoned. Your partner may have triggered it, but he or she did not create it. If it is coming up frequently, it is probably holding you back. Doing the work to release this feeling, likely from childhood, will be highly effective.

As always, if you like this post, please leave a comment below!




How do I find my purpose?

Whether you are seeking a more fulfilling career or greater focus in what you are already doing, the desire for purpose is profound and beautiful.

You may be like me, 15 years into a career you thought you wanted only to discover it is taking too great a toll on your body. Or maybe something is missing. A deep, inner missing.

The good news is your purpose is probably closer than you think.

For tips on how to find your purpose, check out my article on Mind Body Green:

What to find your purpose but have no idea what it is?

How has this process been for you – what are you discovering? Leave a comment below!