Find Your Way

When you reach a place in life where the path is unclear, it helps to stop and ask for directions. It helps to gather with other seekers so that you know you are not alone and you can access support and catch your breath. It helps to pause and get oriented before you head out there again. Seek refuge. Its right here.

High Schoolers

Post High School Plans for Lost Souls

I watch my youngest child, now a senior in high school, grimace every time someone asks about her plans for after she graduates. She’s polite but evasive, and privately, she complains about the incessant nature of the question.

The truth is, she doesn’t know what she wants to do after high school. Except maybe exhale. And relax.

She’s applying to colleges, but even when well-meaning people ask her questions like:

  • Do you want to go to a big university with lots of options or a small, intimate school?
  • Where do you want to live – urban, suburban, or rural? What about the weather – do you want to be somewhere warm or cold?
  • Do you think you want to explore Greek life and rush a sorority?
  • Do you want to continue to play the harp?

She says it takes all of her willpower not to put her hands over her ears and scream, “I don’t know!”

And if someone asks her what she wants to study or her favorite classes in school, I can also see the steam pouring out of her ears.

It’s okay for our kids to be lost right now. They haven’t even been alive for two decades yet. Let’s give them some space.

I know, I know – none of us want our kids to be behind, to miss out on opportunities, to make a choice that constricts their future. But let’s give them a little room to breathe and to explore and to ask hard questions without panicking just yet.

First, they have to get their bearings:

  • Who are they internally? What makes them thrive? What lights them up?
  • How do they recover when they make mistakes?
  • What spikes their anxiety? What makes them constrict, like a turtle pulling back into its shell?

Then, it’s important to be thorough in their exploration of the world of work:

  • What are their college options – both in terms of traditional four-year universities and private schools as well as community colleges?
  • What would a gap year or a differently designed break look like? What’s the appeal of that?
  • What does money have to do with their decisions – both from a practical standpoint (what’s their budget) and from an internal standpoint (what does it mean to them to spend this kind of money?)?
  • Where can they go to get data and do some exploring?

Finally, what does a plan that’s specifically designed for them look like?

  • How can they draw a map and also plan for obstacles they might encounter?
  • What’s does it look like and sound like to tell others about their plans?

Does This Group Fit My Child?

This group is designed for your children if all of these descriptions fit them:

  • They’re in high school
  • They would identify as introverts or shy
  • They’re curious enough about the group that they’d like to meet with me via Zoom (the video conference platform that we use for the class) to talk about whether they want to participate and what it will look like
  • They have permission from you and they’re willing to share their email address with other group participants for between class exchanges
Details About the Group

Meeting Frequency and Location

We’ll meet weekly within a group of between 6-8 kids, gathering for 75-90 minutes.

We’ll use a video conferencing platform called Zoom that’s similar to Skype so they can meet from anywhere. All you need is a webcam and a reliable internet connection. It’s particularly comforting for introverts to meet from the familiarity of their own homes. I often hear from my clients that they find the video connection intimate and personal, and prior to our initial meeting, I’ll send out easy instructions about using Zoom so that you’ll be on set on the day of our first session.

Cost and What’s Included:

  • 6 sessions (between 75 and 90 minutes each) of group connection and learning
  • Structured interactions between meetings that are quick and fun
  • Access to me for email questions between meetings
  • Practical tips and tools to address common areas of concern (responding kindly to people who ask about their plans, looking at how to make decisions and avoiding common traps)
  • Option to schedule additional individual sessions for 20% off

Bonus: a session for you, the parent, separate from your child, to discuss your experience of parenting a high schooler (this will be in a group setting with parents of other participants).

Your price for this all-inclusive program: $220

Let’s see if we’re a fit. Schedule a call.

 

Introvert Teenology

I took this photo just a few weeks before my oldest graduated from high school. Something gripped me in the moment that I snapped the photo, a nostalgia about the calendar marching forward. It was the last year my kids would be at the same school, and I rushed to preserve the sweetness of them being together.

Here’s the thing: this photo represents a very rare intersection of my kids’ paths. They tended to operate in parallel. The photo shows what I want for my kids: connection. But the reality has been quite different.

Both of my kids had rocky middle and high school years, on the fringe of the crowd. Like me, they’re strong introverts, and in these formative years, they’ve both struggled to find their tribes.

I worry about them, hoping that they form bonds with people who enrich their lives, who support my kids’ innate personalities, who affirm them at their best, and who share fun and tears – the full emotional spectrum – with my children.

I created this virtual group because it’s what I wanted for my own children, a gathering where:

  • their quiet nature is affirmed
  • they recognize their own strengths and know themselves well
  • they have emotional safety to express what’s going on for them in school, in social situations, and in their own minds and hearts
  • they learn about the different faces of quiet, including introversion, shyness, perfectionism, and social anxiety
  • they acquire practical tools to open up and share with people who matter to them
  • they connect with people who are just like them so that they receive the message that they’re not alone and they’re not broken – rather, they belong to a tribe of extraordinary people

Don’t let anyone tell you that introverts are antisocial – we are just differently social. ~Susan Cain.

Understanding the Chasm Between the Zeitgeist and Quiet Natures

Our schools reward raised hands, vocal contributions, and class participation, yet not all of us fit in that world. We’re typically engaged the classroom, but engagement can look very different from lively classroom discussions where extroverts thrive. When teachers and other students don’t see behavior that aligns with their expectations, they can make erroneous assumptions. Maybe we’re not that interested, maybe we’re not paying attention.

What’s Possible

Imagine what it would be like for your child to gather in a circle (via an online video platform where they don’t need to leave the comfort of home) and connect with others like them. They’ll have their quiet natures affirmed, and time to consider and process their responses (having received an outline in advance of the meeting). They can bypass superficial conversations (although our activities will often be lighthearted, they’ll be intended to add depth to the connection among group members). They’ll be able to bring questions and struggles to the group for input, and each session will include practical tips for areas of their lives that matter most to them, including:

  • friendships
  • classroom interactions
  • assignments required to be completed in groups
  • large group settings, such as the school cafeteria
  • awkward social situations, including riding the school bus and school activities
  • questions about what their futures hold, including possible career paths

Does This Group Fit My Child?

This group is designed for your children if all of these descriptions fit them:

  • They’re in high school
  • They would identify as introverts or shy
  • They’re curious enough about the group that they’d like to meet with me via Zoom (the video conference platform that we use for the class) to talk about whether they want to participate and what it will look like
  • They have permission from you and they’re willing to share their email address with other group participants for between class exchanges
Details About the Group

Meeting Frequency and Location

We’ll meet weekly within a group of between 6-8 kids, gathering for 75-90 minutes.

We’ll use a video conferencing platform called Zoom that’s similar to Skype so they can meet from anywhere. All you need is a webcam and a reliable internet connection. It’s particularly comforting for introverts to meet from the familiarity of their own homes. I often hear from my clients that they find the video connection intimate and personal, and prior to our initial meeting, I’ll send out easy instructions about using Zoom so that you’ll be on set on the day of our first session.

Cost and What’s Included:

  • 6 sessions (between 75 and 90 minutes each) of group connection and learning
  • Structured interactions between meetings that are quick and fun
  • Access to me for email questions between meetings
  • Practical tips and tools to address common areas of concern (communicating with teachers, approaching friends, practicing compassionate self-talk)
  • Option to schedule additional individual sessions for 20% off

Bonus: a session for you, the parent, separate from your child, to discuss your experience of parenting a quiet child (this will be in a group setting with parents of other participants)

Your price for this all-inclusive program: $220

Let’s see if we’re a fit. Schedule a call.

Career Exploration

If you dread going into work, yet you can’t find a viable escape route, you’ve come to the right place.

Taking stock of your current situation and shifting direction involves much more than a few online assessments. And forget passion. I’ve got a dispute with the whole “find your passion” arm of the career world. According to social science research, passion serves as a viable steering mechanism for only 20% of Americans. That means 80% of us are scratching our heads in bewilderment when the topic of passion enters the conversation.

It’s so easy to spin on the hamster wheel in your head and get lost about what’s resonating for you and what’s dragging you down. Introverts are notorious for being great thinkers, but sometimes we get too locked into our own heads and we lose sight of some key parts of ourselves.

I work with clients both individually and in groups to map what’s next for them. We take a deep dive into how they got to this spot, who they are at their core, and what’s the best expression of them in the world. Many of my clients describe the work we do together as holistic and therapeutic – we’re going beyond surface-level, quick-fix approaches into sustainable, deeply nourishing work that aligns with who you are at your core.

I know, gathering introverts is the ultimate irony (I thought about using “The Ultimate Irony” as the title of a group!), but there’s remarkable synergy in gathering with like-minded people, in being with people who understand that small talk makes us grind our teeth, that we often have our best insights ten minutes after a conversation, and that we leap for joy when last-minute cancellations cross our radar.

Here are the mechanisms that I use when I work with people on career exploration:

Individual Sessions

I divide our work into three phases:

  • Phase 1 – Who are you at your best: What makes you come alive and what shuts you down? We use activities such as an ideal day guided visualization, descriptions of your highlights and lowpoints (both personally and professionally), expectations from your parents and other ideas you adopted early in your life, and beliefs around money. This phase tends to take ~6 hourlong sessions.
  • Phase 2: What’s the confluence between you at your best and the market: This phase is built around the Odyssey Plans and prototyping content outlined an extraordinary book called Designing Your Life. It’s very difficult to predict how long this phase will last. I’ve seen things crystalize very quickly in just a handful of sessions, and for others, it can take up to 10 sessions.
  • Phase 3: Commit and create: Three possible routes here: 1) If you decide to go back to graduate school or take a bootcamp or other professional development series, we may work together on your application, but you may just go off and pursue what you’ve decided to commit to. 2) If this phase has you in a job search, I offer support in tactics around resumes, LinkedIn, interviewing, and other dimensions of a job search. I have a YouTube playlist with >25 videos that cover the basic content around a job search, so our sessions will be devoted exclusively to your situation and the areas where you want input. 3) If you decide to start a business, I step out of the picture in this phase since I’m not a business development coach. I know enough to guide you through the beginning parts of the process, but you’ll likely want someone skilled in business development for this phase.

Group Sessions

This affordable route actually may turn out to be just you and me talking at the same time each week – getting a bunch of people’s schedules to mesh can be rough. For group sessions, I use a book called Designing Your Life that includes amazing activities and concepts that allow us to identify blocks and construct pathways to work that’s fulfilling AND sustainable for you.

Set up a free discovery call on my calendar, and we’ll talk about whether one of these options might be suited for you.

Introverts

You know what’s fascinating?

When I was searching for images to use for this page, the results for “introvert” included photos of people cowering, slumping their shoulders, with expressions of trepidation on their faces, and even more often, with their faces covered.

Word art had phrases like “come out of your shell” and showed road signs contrasting the routes to “bold” and “timid.”

Introversion has many more faces than just these shallow interpretations.

Introverts aren’t cowering, slumping people.

You know it, and I know it, but we can easily forget it, particularly amid the noise of our often extrovert-centric world. The world of work recognizes loud voices. It rewards people who produce immediate responses. It frowns and judges when people retreat to recharge. Let’s face it. Despite efforts of revolutionaries like Susan Cain, there’s still a huge information gap about introversion and the quiet strengths we bring to our work.

When clients come to me, their words sound eerily similar:

  • I fell into my job. It doesn’t really fit me, but I’m not sure what does, so I muddle through.
  • It’s driving me crazy – I feel trapped here.
  • I tell myself things like, ‘Don’t screw this up!’ or ‘You give up too easily’ or ‘Why can’t you figure this out?!’

It’s really important for you to know that you’re not alone in your worries and your doubts.

You’re in the right place if:

  • You dread going to work
  • You watch with suppressed envy when people glow as they talk about their work
  • You vacillate wildly between blaming yourself and blaming [fill in the blank: the crappy job market, the toxic tone of your work, the oppressive weight of your responsibilities]

It really is possible for you to love your work. It’s possible for you to thrive at work. It’s even reasonable for you to believe that the hidden parts of you may someday be your pathway to success – success on your terms, that is.

I’ve worked with hundreds of clients – people just like you who have been trying to fit their square pegs into round holes – and I’ve seen outcomes that are astonishing. My clients have uncovered paths they secretly knew they wanted, paths they had no idea were waiting to be recognized, and paths that allowed them to experience emotions they thought were out of reach. Emotions like joy, empowerment, fulfillment, exhilaration, and deep meaning.

We can work together using a very specific three-stage methodology that works supremely well. It’s worked for many others, and it’ll work for you, too.

To sync your quiet strengths and your work, it’ll take some introspection, some exploration, some risks, some conversations, some tenacity, and some willingness to walk through slight discomfort for the sake of landing something that appeals to you professionally.

Let’s talk about what you’re seeking in terms of a change. Schedule a free discovery session with me so that we can bypass the small talk and get straight to the heart of what you’re seeking.