Your Kick Ass Life Podcast

Since we bought our house in North Carolina, every winter I have a minor ladybug infestation in my home office. They gather on the inside of my window and crawl around, trying to get out.

Now, I don’t know hardly anything about ladybugs (except they are the only bug I feel comfortable holding, I know, so weird and judgy against other bugs), but I wonder if they instinctively know what to do as they try to get outside and free themselves. And they try and try,  but are trapped.

So, every year around this time I do my best to gather them up. Because if I don’t, they die trying to get outside, and then there are dead ladybug carcasses under my desk and that’s just not good for morale around here. (Even though my only co-worker is my dog).

And mostly, I succeed in this. I get my empty coffee mug, or sometimes just my bare hands and gather up about a half-dozen at a time and take them outside. LADYBUGS, BE FREE! I shout. It’s kind of exciting.

And the weird thing is some of them don’t want to be saved. Or rather, they aren’t convinced my way is the way out. If I don’t cover them up one or two will jump out of the cup and fly back on the window, even though they’ve been crawling around there for hours, sometimes more than a day and it’s NOT WORKING.

So, do you do this?

What is it that YOU instinctively know what to do? Is there something you know you need to do, maybe even someone is trying to help you, but you keep going back to trying the thing that isn’t working?

If so, I invite you to get honest with yourself. Journal about it. Or, even just admit it out loud to yourself or to someone you trust. You, just like the ladybugs, deserve to be free from whatever is trapping you.

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If you’re someone who feels like she keeps crawling around the window and nothing is changing, just like the ladybugs in my office, you may want to check out the private work I do with women. I facilitate The Daring Way™, based on the work and research of Dr. Brené Brown and it is absolutely life changing. Click here to read about it and apply.

http://yourkickasslife.com/217

Direct download: Ep217final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

A couple months ago my daughter walked into my office holding the iPad and crying. My first thought was a bit of panic-- what had she stumbled upon that had so clearly upset her?

I opened my arms and asked her what was wrong. She climbed into my lap and showed me the iPad. On it was a video of a baby bunny. “Oh noooo” I thought. “She watched an animal cruelty video” and I braced myself for it.

But, that wasn't it. As I watched the video with her, it was a person holding a baby bunny in their hand. Then, they pet the tiny bunny. Then, another bunny. Then, a group a little bunnies. And all the while we watched this, my daughter didn’t just cry, she wept.

“Honey, why are you crying?” I asked her.

“They’re just so cute, mama. They’re so cute and I love them so much.” Weeping. Just weeping.

And I let her weep. I held her and we watched more baby bunny videos, then some newborn puppy videos, where she wept some more.

And it got me thinking, how often to we let it all in like that? How often to we let all the feelings in, let all the cute baby bunnies in and just feel it? And if we do, how often to we invite other people in to be with us in that? My hope is that my daughter, only eight years old, will continue to come to me in her joys, her sorrows, and everything in between to not only tell me about it, but to allow me to witness her feelings-- as uncomfortable as it may be for me sometimes. It’s an honor for me and for anyone who let’s me in on their experience.

And my hope is that you do too. That you find the courage within you to let all those cute baby bunny feelings in, feel it, and that you can find the courage to let someone witness it.

http://yourkickasslife.com/216

 

Direct download: Ep216final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In episode 203 I mentioned a friend of mine where she had broken up with me in 2007 when I had all that drama in my life. I’m circling back in this episode to tell you what happened. Here’s a quick timeline:

2007: She told me she needed a break from me, as her mom was ill and I had too much drama. She was right, but it was still devastating.
2008: My life was back on track, her mom was well again, and we were friends again.
2011: We moved and we lost touch somewhat.
2012: I wrote her a three-page letter making amends to her for what I had known and remembered I had done wrong in our friendship. I also told her how much I missed her and that I would love to have her friendship again. She emailed me, acknowledging my letter and accepting my apology. She asked if we could catch up via email first. She told me a bit about what was going on in her life, I replied and did the same. Then, nothing. I followed up with another email, and nothing.

I was devastated. I wrote about this in my book, how I never knew what happened. I agonized over what I said in the email, thinking I had said something wrong. I did a lot of work on letting it all go.

October 2017: I never, ever check my “other” messages on Facebook. It’s usually creepy marriage proposals, but for some reason, I felt compelled to check. Lo and behold, there’s a message from my friend. She said hello, said she’s been thinking of me, asked how I was, and said she hoped me, the kids and Jason are well.

I felt like someone had punched me in the face.

It felt like a long-lost boyfriend whom I was in love with that had dumped me and then was circling back with a casual, hi! How are you? I had done all this work to forgive myself, to forgive her, to let her go and here she was again. Like digging up a dead body.

I replied a couple of days later and told her I would be in San Diego in January and did she want to meet up? I tried my best to not hold onto any outcomes that I wanted, but I knew I couldn't have this casual, blasé relationship. We made plans to have lunch.

I also think part of why her and that friendship held so much weight and emotion was because she was there when the ship went down for me. “I watched you weather so much then, my heart broke for you over and over again.” She said.

I knew I was walking into discomfort and comfort at the same time. Someone who knew me then. Someone who genuinely loved me and had been through her own growth over the last decade too. Someone who was willing to hear everything I had to say and was willing to say all the hard things she felt too.

The three hour lunch was incredibly healing for both of us. She told the story of losing her mom in 2016 and I told her about losing my dad. We talked about motherhood and marriage and laughed about things we hadn’t thought about in ten years. I told her how hard it was for me to get her email last October, that I was still so afraid to let her back in. She apologized, telling me in 2012 when she never replied to my email, she wasn’t sure she was ready to let me back in, but didn’t have the words to talk to me about it. So, she backed away quietly.

Our friendships can hold as much emotion and break our hearts just like our romantic relationships can. It’s imperative that we honor that-- whether the person circles back like my friend did or they don’t.

I never would have thought it would turn out how it did. But, I guess when you surrender the Universe sometimes hands you what you need.

LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR RAISE HELL

At this point, you’ve been hearing me talk about Raise Hell for at least a week now. Today is the drop-dead last day to register. Raise Hell is a 4-month online program that will take you from a place of auto-pilot and not knowing where to start (or go next) to a place of clarity, action steps, and accountability. You’ll walk away with tools and strategies to set boundaries with kindness and courage, figure out and implement what “life balance” looks like for you, and more foundational skills. I’d love to have you join us, and there are many women ready to get started and who are ready to welcome you! Click here to join us.

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/215

 

Direct download: Ep215final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week I talked about some pretty heavy stuff. At least it was heavy for me. Monday I talked about tolerations and shared with you some experiences that a couple of my past clients had had, as well as myself. Tolerating relationships that aren’t working for us and our decisions that followed.

Tuesday was about apologizing. Or, rather what I call “roundabout apologizing”-- prefacing requests or hard conversations with the message of, “please don’t think badly of me for asking you to do this”.

Then on Wednesday was the story about the Over the Line tournament, and me being humiliated by a stranger in front of people. And how that humiliation turned to anger, which turned to rage, what I did with it then and what I do with it now.

Yesterday I read you a poem. True confession, after I read that poem I had planned to do a Facebook live, but I needed a break. My whole body was saying no, and I felt like I just needed to be still, burn some sage, and honor what I needed. That was a doozy for me and like I was talking about in the first week of the daily diaries, upleveling.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve created worksheets for you to be able to do the work in your own life. And this week I’ve decided to do something different. First and foremost, I’m inviting you to join me in Raise Hell. If you’ve been reading these emails (listening to these episodes) and they resonate with you, Raise Hell is probably the perfect next step for you to help you get ot the next level of your growth and your life. Everything I’ve been talking about over the last 3 weeks points to what we’ll be learning, discussing and claiming in Raise Hell.

Second, I invite you to create a personal manifesto. A manifesto is a written statement declaring your intentions, motives, or views. It can be as long or as short as you want it to be. I’ve created some prompts for you below. You don’t have to answer all of them, but use these as a guide.

I believe…
I stand for…
I am most passionate about…
I am on this planet to…
I was born in this time and space so that I can …
I will love myself by…
I have the courage to…
I will take action on…
The status quo I want to disrupt is…
What matters to me right now is…
What I know for sure is…

I’d love for you to tag me on Instagram (@yourkickasslife) and post your manifesto! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

RAISE HELL IS OPEN! This 4-month online program is part course, part support group, part accountability group, and all around adventure that will take you from autopilot in your life, to taking action on the life you want. This is its pilot round, so there is an introductory price and tomorrow is the last day to grab that early-bird offer! Click here to join us. Get the tools you need to claim your life, set boundaries, and let go of things that aren’t serving you anymore.

We start next week!

http://yourkickasslife.com/214

 

Direct download: Ep214final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Dear World,

I’m resigning today.

Resigning from the job I was given to make you happy and comfortable.

I don’t remember even applying for this job, but nonetheless, it was handed to me.

Somehow, somewhere, a story was bestowed on me and my fellow females.

That we have a job that is an ever so important one.

That job has many rules and responsibilities.

A short list of the musts:

We must smile.

We must be pretty.

We must be thin.

We must be compliant.

And the must nots:

We must not get angry.

We must not age disgracefully (whatever that means)

We must not use foul language.

We must not show too much cleavage.

We must not share our opinions too forcefully and if we do dare share them, they should not offend anyone nor be disagreeable.

And if we MUST say no, we must explain ourselves, apologize, and do whatever deems necessary to make the other person feel as comfortable as possible with our no.

As I turn in my resignation, I have three words for your rules.

Fuck. That. Shit.

Because I’m done.

These rules have been for you.

These rules have morphed me into an unrecognizable rag doll that serves no purpose except to make you comfortable.

These are not my rules.

World, do you know what abiding by these rules has done?

Let me paint you a picture.

When I was 16 I was pinned down on a beach, sand in my hair,

While a boy I was on a date with forced open my pants,

Shoving his hand down my underwear.

When I told him no and to get off of me,

He said he thought that’s what I wanted because I had let him kiss me.

I liked him and with his obvious frustration I felt guilty and wrong for my decision to say no.

He took me home and on Monday at school, I heard the boys laughing and “prick tease!”--

Yelled through the hallways at me while people stopped and stared and whispered.

I learned that day if I didn’t follow the rules, if I dared say no, there would be consequences.

When I was 17 my boyfriend shoved my head down to his crotch as I suppose--

An unspoken invitation to give him a blow job.

I wanted to say no.

I didn’t.

I hated him while I did it.

But, I didn’t want him to be mad at me.

I knew how it went if I said no.

When I was 20, I found myself laying under a guy I barely knew,

Saying the word “no” over and over again as he continued to undress me.

I could have pushed him off me,

I could have said no more forcefully,

But having known the rules, I worried he would get angry,

Call me names, or worse, fight back.

So, I relented to his advances and had sex with him even though every being in my body screamed no.

Even though I acted like I enjoyed it, hoping that would help move things along.

Even though I hated myself while it happened.

All in order to make him comfortable and follow the rules.

When it was over I sobbed and ran to a pay phone to call someone to pick me up.

I knew how it went if I said no.

This went on for another decade.

Saying yes to men I didn’t want to,

All in order to please them,

To make them comfortable,

To put their feelings before mine.

To not emasculate them,

To allow them to use my body as they so pleased.

And this isn’t just about sex.

It’s about everything we’re asked to do.

We all fist pump when we hear “No is a complete sentence”,

But how many of us do it.

When we're faced with the choices of saying no with no explanation,

Or saying no while apologizing,

Thinking how we’ll make it up to them,

Over-explaining our reasons,

And praying to god they don’t get mad at us or have their feelings hurt... we chose the latter.

Because according to the rules: Just a no isn’t good enough.

According to the rules, Only bitches say no as a complete sentence.

Well, world.

I’d rather be a bitch than go against who I am as a human being.

I’d rather be a bitch than let someone shove my face into their dick.

I’d rather be a bitch than give in to sex while tears stream down my face and into my ears, Staring at the ceiling, counting to 100 hoping he finishes quickly.

(Long pause)

My daughter is 7 years old.

No one told me when I was growing up that I didn’t have to follow those rules.

No one told me that I could grow up and say no.

Without apologizing.

Without agonizing.

Without explaining.

Without making up for it.

And I’ll be honest, World,

It feels weird walking away from this job.

I’ve had it my whole life and it feels like trying to wipe my skin off.

Something that’s a part of me that I’m terrified to let go of but if I keep this job

I’ll go crazy.

So, with that, I resign.

RAISE HELL IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION!

Raise Hell, the 4-month online program is open for registration. Join me and a group of amazing women as we break down barriers. What that looks like is values-based hell raising-- you getting clear on what’s important about the way you live your life and taking action on it. It’s about you learning how to set boundaries and have hard conversations. It’s about you letting go of the messaging and old patterns of thought about who you think you need to be and making room for who you want to be. Guided by me, we have weekly video calls, and built-in accountability. We start next week. Click here to join us.


http://yourkickasslife.com/213

Direct download: Ep213final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

It was the mid-90’s.

A small group of friends and I went to the annual Over The Line tournament in San Diego, one of the city’s oldest traditions. OTL is known for its drunkenness, topless women, and just all-around debauchery. Some call it “Mardi Gras on the beach”. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people come out for this yearly event every summer and even though it was my first time going, I wasn’t afraid at all of the craziness we were walking into.

My friends and I walked around, watched some of the teams play, and as the games wound down for the day, started to make our way towards the wide road which would take us to the main parking lot. Along that road were peoples’ Van’s and RV’s. Many of the RV’s had people hanging out around them and on top of them.

As we continued to walk, I heard a man shout from about 30 feet away. “Hey you in the white shirt!” I looked up to the top of the RV and a good-looking guy about 25 or 30 was pointing at me. We made eye contact. He said, “You have a nice smile!” I smiled at him. He continued, “I’d like to cum all over it.”

Laughter erupted. Time stood still for me. “What a dick!” one of my friends yelled. We kept walking. No one spoke of it again.

I sometimes wonder what happened to him. The guy at the over the line tournament. The guy that used me to make himself look cool. The guy that I assume never thought twice of what he shouted to me and probably so many other women. I wonder if now, twenty plus years later he is the father of daughters. I wonder if he looks back on his youth and regrets some things he did and said. I wonder if he gives a shit.

Because for me, my humiliation turned into anger and then turned into rage. Rage for my humiliation. Rage for the discomfort it caused all the people that saw and heard it. Rage for all the women who saw it who wanted to say something but couldn’t. Rage for all the women who saw it who didn’t care. Rage for the part of me who stayed silent. Rage for the fact that if I did say anything, it wouldn’t have really mattered. Rage for the fact that I knew this. Rage for all the times I had in fact shouted something back in retaliation only to met with something worse. Rage for the notion that “that’s what you get when you go to the Over The Line tournament”. Rage for living in a world where “that’s just how it is.”

My rage wasn’t expressed that day. I stuffed it away with all the other emotions I didn’t know what to do with. I lashed out at my then-boyfriend. I gave the middle finger to any and all cat-calls I received. I was aggressive and was quick to be mean.

And it wasn’t just him. It was years of sexual harassment, having my ass grabbed uninvited more times than I can possibly count, being cornered at parties and being afraid while I looked for an exit or a friend, being followed to my car, and being met with “that’s just how it is.”

What does one do with that much rage?

I look back on my behaviors that I’m not proud of and I know why. It came from a lifetime of feeling helpless. Of feeling like I don’t matter. Being told that’s just how it is, or worse, feeling like it was my fault.

So, what do you do with that much rage?

You name it. I used to be afraid to tell people I was that angry. So, I’m saying now, I was that angry. Still angry, but I don’t let it drive.

I also tell the story. It helps me process and be heard. And I write about it like I’m doing now.

I’m angry it happened, but I don’t feel rage anymore. I’ve forgiven that guy and all the others. I hope now they know...but that’s not for me to seek out or give too much thought. I can also raise my son to understand that behaviors like that are unacceptable to do to other human beings, and to call it out when he sees it.

So, with that, I ask you: What do you do with your anger? If you have rage, what do you do with that?

RAISE HELL IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION!

Raise Hell, the 4-month online program is open for registration. Join me and a group of amazing women as we break down barriers. What that looks like is values-based hell raising-- you getting clear on what’s important about the way you live your life and taking action on it. It’s about you learning how to set boundaries and have hard conversations. It’s about you letting go of the messaging and old patterns of thought about who you think you need to be and making room for who you want to be. Guided by me, we have weekly video calls, and built-in accountability. We start next week. Click here to join us.

http://www.yourkickasslife.com/212

 

Direct download: Ep212final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week has a bit of a theme, and that’s about Raising Hell. What I mean by that, is that culturally, we, as women, have been taught to act and behave a certain way, a way that is acceptable and a way that will have us be more well-liked. And not necessarily outwardly taught to be a certain way by our parents and mentors, but taught by what we see on a daily basis. This is messaging we’ve received our whole lives. And one of those things is apologizing.

For instance, a few months ago I had to email someone who's not following through on their commitments and making my job harder. This person would fall off in the middle of an email conversation, and not answer questions I had. But, then start a new email telling me something or asking me questions. I even asked this person if there is another way we can do things to make our communication work better. They said no and things continue to fall through the cracks.

I knew this was going to be an uncomfortable conversation, but I called on my courage and started an email where I was going to tell this person how I felt and be clear that I needed a solution. In drafting the email I found myself typing, "I'm not trying to be a diva about this..." and I stopped myself. I’m sure we’ve all either said this or emailed this. It might also look like, "I'm sorry to seem like a pain-in-the-ass..." or "Forgive me if this sounds overbearing..."

This is what I call "roundabout apologizing".

Raise your hand if you have done this? I've less and less said "Sorry", when I don’t need to be, but still the "I'm not trying to be blah blah..." In other words: PLEASE DON'T THINK I'M AGGRESSIVE, A BITCH, HARD TO WORK WITH, DEMANDING, ETC. The risk is more than just someone having this opinion-- the risk is that I could get a reputation for being this way.

I edited my email to be kind, but still clear that I feel this person is not doing their job. Some people might think I'm a diva, or demanding, or whatever. But, I'm at the point where it hurts worse to apologize for something I don't need to apologize for than to risk being seen as whatever they make up I am.

My challenge for you is to think about where you do this too. Just get curious and watch for it. I understand that in some situations, your job depends on you keeping the peace. And, maybe just having what I’ve talked about in this post run through your head will help you think about speaking up more in meetings, in your partnerships, and friendships. Whether you have an idea about something, you need something to change, or anything at all where the words need to move out of your mouth, or even in an email. I hope you consider having a throwdown with the old messaging we’ve come so used to having. Or even if you just get curious about it. Either way, it’s an act of raising hell.

Raise Hell, the 4-month online program is open for registration. Join me and a group of amazing women as we break down barriers. What that looks like is values-based hell raising-- you getting clear on what’s important about the way you live your life and taking action on it. It’s about you learning how to set boundaries and have hard conversations. It’s about you letting go of the messaging and old patterns of thought about who you think you need to be and making room for who you want to be. Guided by me, we have weekly video calls, and built-in accountability. We start next week. Click here to join us.

http://yourkickasslife.com/211

 

Direct download: Ep211final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Last year I had a few clients who were dealing with some “man problems”. In a nutshell, dating men who were unavailable to them. One was having a relationship with a married man, the other was on again-off again dating someone who had made it clear to her he didn’t want to commit.

Both were in a pickle. This is what they were used to, it was their pattern. Whether the men were physically unavailable for the long term (married), or emotionally unavailable, these women just kept picking the wrong partners.

Much science has gone into why we pick certain people. My favorite book on this is “Getting the Love You Want” by Harv Hendrix. Other interesting ones are “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment”   and really there are just too many good books on this topic to mention.

But, what I want to focus on today is not just who they were picking-- which I think for many of us is an unconscious thing that happens-- but more specifically, what they were tolerating when they were already IN the relationship and knew their partner wasn’t good for them.

Because so many of us have been there, right?

Personally, I can vividly remember sitting in my therapist's office with my ex-husband who at that time was still my boyfriend. We were in our mid-twenties and he was not ready to settle down. He would regularly stay out all night, roll home drunk at 6 am when I never knew if he was off screwing someone else or dead in a ditch somewhere (turns out he was screwing someone else throughout the majority of our relationship. Many, many someone else's). After years of this and other disrespectful behavior towards me and many months of therapy, my therapist said to me, “Andrea, I don’t think he’s ready to  change. You can either learn to tolerate it or leave.” He was sitting right there and he didn’t argue with her. We all knew it was the truth.

I knew what I was tolerating. I chose the scraps of the relationship over me. I chose the marriage and the possibility of our future children together over my personal growth. I chose the inkling of potential I saw in him over my own self-respect.

My two clients who were staying in those relationships had different circumstances, but were both tolerating bullshit. They were settling for crumbs. In our work together, we got to the bottom of why they were doing it (helpful, but not always necessary), and why they kept repeating the same pattern. They got clear on what they actually wanted and clear that they weren’t getting it from the men they were dating.

I remember a scene from an episode in Sex In The City when Carrie is asking Mr. Big to “tell her she’s ‘the one’” and he can’t say it to her. If you’ve ever been in a relationship like that you know it was so much more than just him saying it. The agony on her face when he stands there awkwardly and the fact that she can barely look him in the face says so much. It’s so hard for me to watch that scene because Sarah Jessica Parker’s face say so much: I know you can’t commit to me, I know I’ve been tolerating it all, and I know I need to say goodbye to you.

And I remember watching that scene in 1998-- five years into my own relationship where I was tolerating crumbs and wishing I had the courage she did. To follow my gut and say no. To love myself and walk away. I didn’t.

But, my clients did. They both got the courage to say goodbye, and love themselves enough to walk away.

Raise Hell, the 4-month online program is open for registration, my 4-month online program and one of the 4 modules is...TOLERATIONS. It may not be a relationship you’re tolerating that isn’t working. Maybe it’s work demands, or your inner-critic, or your own neglect for exercise. Whatever you’re tolerating, I’ve created curriculum to help you get to the bottom of it, support with action and helping you choose what works for you (no overly-high expectations!), and accountability. Because it’s so much better to do it with loving people who are in your corner cheering for you and being a soft place to land.

I hope you join us. Click here to do so.

http://yourkickasslife.com/210

 

Direct download: Ep210final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

On Monday, episode 205 I talked about making peace with unfinished business. The old parts of ourselves that may still need something like healing, processing, something to help us move on.

On Tuesday, it was about when I went to visit my boyfriend in rehab and his fake cancer, and him cheating on me with Debbie and mostly that episode was about finding your motivation. Your catalyst for change. That post and episode was quite a doozy!

Wednesday was all about the stories we make up about other people that we think “have their shit together”. People we put on a pedestal, people we think are better than we are.

Thursday, episode 208 was about trying to figure out what it meant by “my life had become unmanageable”. (Spoiler alert if you haven’t listened: it’s about boundaries, emotions and communication.)

Just like last week, I have a worksheet for that pertains to all the posts from this week, but first a bonus lesson! And it comes in the form of a story...

Last November I sat on a video conference call with my Mastermind ladies. It’s a peer group of other coaches that support one another. Every month we meet and bring a topic we’d love support on. That cold November day I started with, “Okay, I’m about to introduce a new course to my audience, I really feel like it’s been in the making for ten years and is the baby of Your Kick-Ass Life-- the course that I was meant to teach. And I’m so scared.”

Truth be told: I was afraid of teaching something that veered away from some of the deeper things I’ve been teaching over the last three years. Afraid to go back to basics. I was expressing my fear that my audience wouldn’t care enough about the topics. And when something means a lot to me, the acceptance of it matters.

In other words, I felt like it was a huge risk.

The thing about this program is that I had a download about it. It felt like the idea was dropped in my lap and there have only been a handful of things I’ve been this excited about since the birth of YKAL in 2010.

But, I kept thinking...
What if people read the info page and say…meh.
What if people say no?
What if it tanks?
What if my download was wrong?

Now, I’ve gotten past a lot of fear in my life. I’ve looked at fear, laughed at fear, studied fear...I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what it looks like in my life and can deal with it. But, what I know for sure, is the more passionate we are about things, the more we believe in them, the more we LOVE something, the more vulnerable we feel.

So, as I ranted about this new course to my colleagues, Samantha asked me, “What does your audience love the most about you, Andrea?” And I said without hesitation, “They love that I tell the truth.” To which she replied, “Then stop pussyfooting around and tell them the truth.”

This is why support is so important. In chapter two of How To Stop Feeling LIke Shit, I talk about the importance of your compassionate witnesses, the people who will hear your struggle and respond with compassion. And then there are the friends who see your brilliance and your fear and turn your head towards the brilliance. The friends who will not tolerate you succumbing to your fear. Who are those people to you? Do you have them, but need to tell them how you would love to be supported? Do you not have them and need to take action on nurturing those relationships? Who are the people who know you best and will hold you to your dreams?

As far as the program I mentioned, that program is Raise Hell. A 4-month online program that is part course, part support group, part accountability group, and all around adventure that will take you from autopilot in your life, to taking action on the life you want. This is its pilot round, so there is an introductory price. It opens TODAY, February 16th. Now, if you are in my How To Stop Feeling Like Shit book club, you’ve already heard about this and many of you have already joined. WELCOME!

And if you’re ready to jump into the worksheet, you can do so below...

Click here to download the free worksheet of journaling prompts all about this week’s episodes.

And hey, you don’t have to do all the prompts. Any training or free course or even paid course I offer, for some can feel overwhelming. You have enough to feel overwhelmed about, your personal development doesn’t need to be added to that list. But, I also want you to watch out if that’s your fear talking, or you wanting to stay within your comfort zone. Doing the work will have elements of feeling uncomfortable and overwhelming. It’s not an easy-breezy journey. So, I invite you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and at the same time take care of yourself.

http://yourkickasslife.com/209

 

Direct download: Ep209final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

I know many of you who listen to this podcast are sober in recovery, some of you are thinking about it, and many of you are normal drinkers or even non drinkers who don’t have a problem with alcohol. What I’m about to talk about is based on a saying from the “rooms of recovery”, but does not mean it only applies to us alcoholics. I believe it can apply to everyone.

I want to talk about the term “my life had become unmanageable” and it comes from the first of twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

And to be honest, I always had a problem with the whole “life had become unmanageable” part because mine hadn’t. I had a great job I loved, a good marriage, two great kids, friends, and life was pretty good. Someone explained to me that it was my spirituality that had become unmanageable and that didn’t seem right either. I mean, sure, I had moved away from spirituality when I was drinking, but still. It was also explained to me that it was that my “insides” had become unmanageable, not my “outsides”. And since I had had the emotional shit kicked out of me in 2006, I for sure knew what it felt like to have my “insides” unmanageable. I felt like I had healed a good deal from that time in my life and didn’t feel as “unmanageable” when I got sober five years later as I had back then.

In terms of being in recovery, not being able to “fit”  into that, made me feel like my bottom wasn’t low enough and maybe I DID need to wait until my life was unmanageable to get sober-- my insides AND my outsides. (And that’s not a good place to be in terms of our thinking when we are newly sober!) I continued to ask people about this, people tried to explain it to me in their own way, and it never seemed to feel like it applied to my life. Until…

I had a few years of sobriety and I realized how shit my boundaries were. And in the first couple years I realized how emotionally illiterate I was and that I had a lot to learn in terms of communication.

“Ohhh, so it’s my relationships, emotions and boundaries that had become unmanageable.” I realized. I finally understood what it meant in my life.

And again, you don’t have to be alcoholic, or a love addict, or an anything addict to have all that feel unmanageable. Feelings and emotions are crazy-tough sometimes and numbing out becomes easier. Boundaries seem impossible so people-pleasing and blaming become your go-to. Communication? No one taught us, so we don’t fight fair, we don’t own our stuff, and tend to be passive aggressive.

Honestly, that’s why I wrote my last book. Everything I just mentioned was woven in, but what I want to make clear in this post is that some of the hardest and best work we will do in our lives, yes of course is the work we do on ourselves, but is also the work we’ll do with the people we love the most. The people we’re in relationships with. We have emotional attachments with them and have emotional transactions with them. If we don’t know how to communicate in a way that makes us proud, our lives can feel unmanageable. If we don’t know how to set boundaries and have hard conversations, again, our lives can feel unmanageable.

Tomorrow, all these lessons I’ve been talking about all week come together and I’ve put a worksheet with journaling prompts together for you.

Lastly, tomorrow, registration is open for Raise Hell. A 4-month online program that is part course, part support group, part accountability group, and all around adventure that will take you from autopilot in your life, to taking action on the life you want. This is its pilot round, so there is an introductory price.

I believe when a woman sits down to decide what she wants and what’s she’s willing to do, and then stands up to declare it, commits to it and asks for help, when women come together in solidarity to change their lives for the better and not put up with other people and the world's shit, that is an act of raising hell. Stay tuned for tomorrow!

http://yourkickasslife.com/208

 

Direct download: Ep208final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

If you follow me online (listen to this podcast), you probably also read a good amount of self-help books. Maybe books like:

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle

Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

And I’m assuming over the last couple of years you’ve read and recommended one or more of these books to a friend.

All of these books I have read and recommend wholeheartedly. All these female authors I hold in high regard. And all of these women I know have pain and struggle just like you and me. But, maybe you think they don’t have as much as you. Maybe you hold them in high regard AND make up a story that they have their shit together much more than you do. Hell, maybe you think that most women have their shit together more than you do.

Well, I’m here to tell you:

  1. “Having your shit together” is subjective. No one even knows what that means. Society and you have made up a story about that. So, check your expectations. And more importantly...
  2. Life is a path that we’re all traveling on. It’s long and winding, with ruts and obstacles along the way. As we move along it, we gain more insight and wisdom, and in my humble opinion, the more ruts and obstacles we run into, the more we get the emotional shit kicked out of us, the more insight and wisdom we gather.

We’re all on this same path. The people who don’t give a shit about personal development and think you’re weird for it, typically don’t make it past the first couple of steps. That’s okay, that’s their thing in this lifetime. It’s not your job to force them farther along on the path.

All those authors and personal development leaders are on your same path, they might just be farther along on it than you are. Some people move up quickly like in Monopoly when you get the card that tells you to jump ahead to one of the railroads and collect $200. And sometimes we take a few steps back.

You don’t need to catch up, it’s not a race. You just need to do the work.

On Friday, Feb 15th I invite you to join me for Raise Hell, which is a program that encompasses foundational tools to “get your shit together” (whatever that means), action, and accountability. It’s about declaring the woman you want to be and HOW to get there. It’s not easy to do this all alone. I’ll be there to guide you, plus an extraordinary group of women who are all on the same path rooting for you. We open doors on Friday.  

http://yourkickasslife.com/207

 

Direct download: Ep207final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

If you read my book you know that in the the opening paragraphs I talk about how I had an all-time low in 2007 when I found out I’d been conned by my boyfriend. He had lied about having cancer to cover up his opioid addiction and I was pregnant with his child. This, coming off the heels of my first husband having an affair with our neighbor and getting her pregnant was not great news for me.

But, it got even worse.

December, 2006: I confronted my then-boyfriend about his drug addiction. He admitted it and said he would quit. He did for a few weeks, which coincidentally is when I became pregnant.

January, 2007: He was using again. We had just found out I was pregnant, and in sheer desperation, I called his family and told them everything. They asked me to get him home and they would have an intervention. The intervention took place and he agreed to go. I really hoped he would get clean and sober, then we could have our baby and live happily ever after.

You know where this is going, right?

He went to The Meadows in Arizona-- famous for housing celebrities like Selena Gomez, Whitney Houston, and Kate Moss and more recently, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. After my boyfriend had been there a few weeks, I was invited for family week.

I participated in group therapy with strangers and their families. It was uncomfortable but to be honest, I was finally getting real with myself and looking at my own issues. I shared my shame stories, cried in front of everyone and was generally the most vulnerable I had ever been in front of a group of people. As I left, my boyfriend was acting weird. When I got home, I hacked into his email and found email after email from a woman named Debbie. Apparently, they were in love.

Debbie was another patient at The Meadows. Debbie was in our group while I was there crying my eyes out. Debbie had sent one email to my boyfriend-- she had sent many, but this one was the kicker-- the one that lowered me to a heap on the floor…it said, “Is it bad that I think it’s funny that your girlfriend is in our group? I mean, what were the chances that we would all be grouped together!?”

This woman was essentially laughing about the fact that we were together in a small group while we all talked about our deepest, darkest secrets.

Needless to say the phone calls that followed were not pretty. That was my final straw with him. Not the opioid addiction, not the lying about cancer, not the conning me, but Debbie.

Part of my motivation to change was her. I was was so determined to be better than her, to actually DO the work, knowing she had spent thousands of dollars on a fancy rehab and was not in fact doing the work. That, coupled with the fact that I was pregnant I knew I needed to get better. I needed to change.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION?

Did you or do you have a Debbie in your life? Many people say, “don’t ever do it for anyone else but yourself” and while I agree that’s true, I think there’s something to be said about looking at what motivates you. Do you want to be a better mother for your kids? Do you want to show your mother you will parent better than she did? Do you want to prove to your ex that you’re NOT in fact crazy and that you are the best version of yourself?

Hey, again, it’s not about doing the work for someone else. It’s about grabbing on to whatever motivates you. Maybe you can use that as your catalyst. Eventually, that will fall away, you’ll see the changes you’re making and you’ll keep going.

I honestly could give a shit about Debbie now. My recovery is for me AND my kids. I live my best life and work on myself first and foremost for me now. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t said in the beginning there a small part of me that wanted to prove others wrong.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about “having your shit together” and your purpose as your path. Stay tuned!

http://yourkickasslife.com/206

 

Direct download: EP206final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

I called San Diego home for 36 years. 36 years of memories-- joyful, painful, and everything in between.

And in the six years I’ve been gone, every time I go home, I’m hit with agony. And for a long time I didn’t know why. Nostalgia is a tricky thing. This one was such a mix of feelings and emotions, I didn’t know what they meant, if anything. Did I want to move back home? Was I angry that we left? I couldn’t make heads or tails of it all, but I knew something was happening.

During the summer of 2014, we went home for a vacation and rented a house on the beach. This area, Mission Beach, held many, many memories for me. I went for a run one day and as I turned my head to look down the boardwalk at other runners, skateboarders, and early morning beachgoers, I thought to myself:

Everything has changed, but it’s all the same.

I had changed. I had evolved and grown dramatically. But, it all looks the same. And for some reason, when I step foot into this city, there’s a part of my heart that remembers. Remembers it all. And maybe...maybe that’s what I was trying to get away from when we left.

When we left San Diego I was at the end of my drinking career. I had just admitted to myself, my husband, and a dear, trusted friend that I had a problem. I quit about three weeks after we left. So, when I go back home, I feel like there’s a part of me that still exists. An old ghost of myself that’s still confused, suffering, and lost. Looking for answers. Looking for a solution. Looking for peace.

How do we make peace with our former selves? The parts of us that are still tormented, still brokenhearted?

I think it starts by not running away from the pain, struggle and problems anymore. Looking at it all square in the face. Getting curious about it instead of shoving it down to the sub-basement of our soul. Being okay with the fact that peace might need to be made. Sort of easing into it like settling into your favorite chair. Letting go of thoughts like, “This is stupid, I should be so much better than this by now. It’s been years.”

Because time doesn’t heal all wounds. Moving doesn’t heal them either. And I’m sure as shit that pushing it all away doesn’t heal us, it just puts it away for it to catapult back up when we least expect it.

When we can dance with all of that, then the question becomes: Who do we want to be? What do we want our story to be? When we’re so used to the story of pain and struggle, when we make peace with all of that and sometimes walk away from it, what’s next?

I know for me it’s been simply having more compassion with myself. Accepting that life is my teacher and I’m the forever student. That my path is my purpose. I want to be a woman who tells the truth not only to others but to herself.

Because yes, everything changes and it’s all the same.

http://yourkickasslife.com/205

 

Direct download: Ep205final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In episode 200 I talked about noticing I had an upper limit problem. The following day, episode 201 I talked about even when you have success, there are still pitfalls of feeling not good enough. Episode 202 I talked about facing something big and important that challenged one of my old, negative core beliefs and put that all to the test. The pushed me out of my comfort zone. And then in episode 203 I talked about doing something big that not only pushed me out of my comfort zone, but carried a lot of emotional weight.

So, I’ve created a handy-dandy worksheet for YOU that you can download and do yourself so you can DO THE WORK. I always talk to you about the importance of not just consuming the book, or the podcast, or the article, but to do the actual work. Now is your chance! This is where the real work happens!

Click here to download your worksheet

Direct download: Ep204final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Throughout the entire book launch (which technically is still going on and started back in the middle of last year) I have vacillated between being so overwhelmed with all the things to do, all the feelings of “not good enough”, all the pressure of having this be successful, the pressure of the spotlight, and the massive gratitude of doing this work. Maybe this is what they really mean by “having it all”. ALL the feelings. The fear, the anxiety, doing it anyway and also having love and gratitude and joy.

As many of you know and many of you can relate to, I struggle with black or white thinking. It’s either all or nothing. And that’s how it’s been with feelings too. Given that I am someone who really only started to consider herself “emotionally literate” and then have any “emotional intelligence” in 2011 when I got sober, the last six years have been a learning experience when it comes to feelings. One of those things is being able to hold more than one feeling at a time, sometimes many feelings.

For instance: San Diego. That city has always held a lot of weight for me. It’s where I left my broken heart and more specifically, I knew walking into this book tour it would be hard because my dad wouldn’t be there like he would the last time. A little background, I was born and raised in San Diego, spent the first 36 years of my life there and it’s where my dad died about 16 months ago. I hadn’t been back since his death.

I knew I would need a lot of moral support, so I invited my two sisters and brother who live in the area. I invited all my friends AND THEN, if you’ve read my book, you might remember a story I told about a friend of mine who had broken up with me when I was going through my life-falling-apart year, then we were friends again, then she kind of ghosted me? Well, she randomly messaged me last October and I invited her to meet up with me on that trip. I knew I was walking into a hard conversation with her. More on that story at the end of this month! So, needless to say, this trip was going to be an emotional one.

To be honest, I really wasn’t worried about the book event. When I had it for my first book, a lot of people showed up, and the manager even told me I sold more books than most author events that they do. So, I thought this one was in the bag.

However.

One of my siblings which shall go unnamed, never texted me back when I group texted them about the event. I texted this sibling privately a couple days before, and nothing. I asked one of my other siblings about it, and they said “Oh, that sibling is really busy with their thing, don’t take it personally.” And I’m like, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY? OUR DAD DIED AND I NEED YOU ALL AND I MIGHT DIE IF THIS PERSON DOESN’T SHOW UP.

So, anyway.

As I started my talk, I’m looking around and noticing there were key players there that were missing. Like, the other two siblings that I just had dinner with across the parking lot. They were late. They were missing it.

I also looked around and saw amazing people I used to work with that I hadn’t seen in 15 years. I saw the people who used to babysit me when I was in elementary school. I saw about six girls I went to highschool with. I saw a woman I knew online and hadn’t met in person yet.

It was painful and it was wonderful. What I learned that night is that I can hold all those emotions. I don’t have to say, “Oh, I can’t be disappointed and hurt that so-and-so didn’t show up because look at all I have to be grateful for!” I can’t bypass my feelings.

And neither can you.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together and there’s an assignment for you. Also, if you are in my book club, there is a special, exclusive offer arriving in your inbox TODAY, Feb 8th.

http://yourkickasslife.com/203

 

Direct download: EP203final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In December 2013 my first book, 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life came out. That same month I headed to San Diego, my home town of 36 years (we had moved 2 years prior) to do a book signing. It was the only book event I did (unless you count the coffee shop book event in the city I was living with at the time where I only invited 4 people. No exaggeration, 4 people).

I know a lot of people in San Diego. Most of my family is there. I knew people would show up and also, I knew the people that would show up. It was safe. Certain. No real risk.

Fast forward to 2017 when my second book, How To Stop Feeling Like Shit was about to come out and I was faced with a choice: do I only do a book event in San Diego, or do I push myself with a book tour? Do I risk it? Do I face the uncertainty of this next level?

One of my old core beliefs-- one that was born from men mistreating me-- is that I don’t really matter all that much. I’ve intentionally worked on this over the years and come a long, long way. And what I’ve noticed is that when I’m faced with an opportunity to prove that core belief wrong, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s as if my brain has become more comfortable being in situations where it’s proved that I really don’t matter.

So, if figured, if I go on a book tour and people actually DO show up, it proves that I DO matter. I’d have to face it and believe it. And the reality of it was that some people would show up to these events. No, I don’t sell out packed arenas, but there are some amazing women who I knew would come. So, I accepted the challenge.

Another thing that came up during this upper limit/challenging my old core beliefs extravaganza was the concept of letting people love me. Now, if you know my story you know I got the emotional shit kicked out of me in 2006 and 2007 and I walked away with some major trust issues. I had concluded people were not to be trusted and it was safer to keep them at a very long arms distance.

At the end of 2017 I wondered, What if I let people love me? I have a few people in my life that I’ve let in, a few people I trust with my stories and struggle (it’s a very short list), but what if I stretched beyond that? What if I really opened my arms and my heart and let people love me? What if I accepted all the praise and compliments and love and leaned in...hard? In my history when I’ve done this, it gets snatched away, so my brain says, NO DON’T DO IT! But, here I am, 10 years out of my trauma and what if I let go?

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. The book tour-- 6 events in 6 cities. An additional city with a dinner with colleagues. 7 total cities of letting people love me. Leaning into all the comments of people telling me how much they love the book. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be exhausting. And I knew it had to be done. I had no idea how it would turn out. This is upleveling. This is doing the work. This is walking my talk and loving myself and carrying courage and confidence.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together and there’s an assignment for you. Also, if you are in my book club, there is a special, exclusive offer arriving in your inbox on Thursday, Feb 8th.

http://yourkickasslife.com/202

 

Direct download: Ep202final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

In late October I sat on a conference call with the marketing team from my publisher and my literary agent. It was to be a discussion on how we (I) were going to sell the book.

Many things were discussed in that hour + long meeting, but only one thing stood out to me. The person in charge said to me, “Pre-orders not where we would like them to be.” My first thought and what came out of my mouth was, “Well, of course not. I’ve barely mentioned to my community that it’s available because it’s so far out. Our plans for the big push were mid-November through January.”

My next immediate thought was: “They’re disappointed in me. I’m failing at this. I’m not big enough, popular enough, or good enough. They bet on me as an author and I’m losing.”

I felt the wash of shame.

The marketing team was simply doing their job. Selling books matters to them and their bottom line. I want to make it clear that I was the one making up stories about what they thought of me and who I was.

I got off the phone and cried. I called my friends and told them dramatically that my publisher was disappointed in me (keep in mind-- they NEVER used that word, I did) and wondered if it was too late to quit.

Then, I went on my book tour. First stop was New Your City. There was an odd cold snap that came up the entire east coast, and people started cancelling for my book event and a dinner I had put together. I got an email from my publicist that the bookstore in Chicago for the following week was worried about their January events because of the cold. I immediately thought, “I’m not worth the cold”. I was in the Lyft thinking we should just cancel both events in NYC and Chicago. I was actually thinking about cancelling it all. Here’s what was happening: I was looking for any excuse not to show up. Looking for any small inkling of evidence that it was too hard, that people didn’t like me, that I wasn’t good enough, and that I should just quit.

Yesterday I talked about the Upper Limit Problem and this is a classic example. Things were rising for me. The ante had been upped. It was risky and vulnerable and scary and my inner-critic was totally and completely freaking out. I didn’t want to fail, I didn’t want to disappoint people and not measure up. It was all so incredibly uncomfortable.

No matter how successful we get-- whether it’s in our jobs or our relationships, or are even in top physical health, I think we’ll always have moments of feeling not enough. I am no exception.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together, I’ll tell you what ended up happening at those NYC and Chicago events and what to do when you find yourself wanting to just quit aka SABOTAGE your life when you’re upleveling and things get uncomfortable. There’s even an assignment for you!

http://yourkickasslife.com/201

 

Direct download: Ep201final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Today starts a new thing over here-- daily emails and podcast episodes (weekdays only) I’m calling them the DAILY DIARIES!  I’ve kept them short, sweet, to the point, with lots of content to hopefully help you! Enjoy...

It all started with a damn upper limit problem.

Let me backup. If it’s one thing we all want-- it’s to be seen and heard. We want those loving connections with the people who matter to us. To know our struggles, our stories, and our celebrations matter. To know that we matter.

And for some of us, our path includes being seen and heard by lots and lots of people.

In 2013 my first book came out and I was catapulted into the spotlight. I’m not talking Beyoncé type spotlight, but a spotlight nonetheless in my industry. No one can really prepare you for this and it was one of the most exciting and terrifying things that had ever happened to me. More people watching, judging, criticizing and loving me (which can also be scary). Over the last few years I’ve been unpacking this and getting curious about why this scares me, what it stops me from doing, and how to move past it.

Fast forward to 2017. I knew my second book was coming out and I was more prepared for the epic explosion that was about to take place (that’s dramatic, but that’s what it felt like). I also knew I wanted to talk more about this to my YKAL community (you!) because I know most of us deal with this on some level.

The fear of shining too bright.

The fear of shining at all.

The fear of not shining at all.

The fear of getting it wrong.

The fear of what people expect of us.

The fear that we can’t measure up to what we expect of ourselves.

The fear of failure.

The fear of success.

The fear of moving too far forward in our lives and leaving people behind.

The fear of what people will think.

Basically, the fear of raising hell in our lives, causing any attention to ourselves that might cause us to not have it all under control.

So, going back to the “upper limit problem” that I mentioned before. You might be wondering, what is an upper limit problem?

The “ULP” term comes from the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and in a nutshell, the theory is this: We all have a certain set point of success, happiness, health, and love. How much of it we can take. A “comfort zone” of all those things. When we get more, say a promotion, a new amazing relationship, a fantastic opportunity, finally lose that extra 15 pounds we’ve been carrying around, we get extremely uncomfortable for having it and therefore sabotage it. I wrote a whole chapter on self-sabotage in my last book so you probably are familiar with it.

When I write books I can’t control whether people like my writing or not. I can’t control whether they like me or not. I can’t control that I’ll always get it right. I also can’t control if the books will sell or not, which not only affects my emotional state, but my livelihood and my future.

So, it might be easier and safer to stay under the radar, not do too much to cause too much attention. Hide. Be quiet. Do things like not write books.

As 2018 approached and How To Stop Feeling Like Shit was about to be born, I knew this was a topic I couldn’t avoid with all of you. So, I set out to untangle it, rectify it as best I could, and help all of you in the process.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be walking you through that journey, as well as talking about other topics that happened to pop up along the way. Tomorrow’s episode I’ll be telling a story of a meeting I was a part of in October, which made me feel like a failure, not enough, and incompetent. I’ll tell you how I got through it, the tools I used, and what ended up happening.

Stick around for Friday’s episode where this all comes together and there’s an assignment for you.  

http://yourkickasslife.com/200

 

Direct download: Ep200final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

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