Tips for new health coaches

I received this contact form submission from my website last week:

Hey Emily! My name is Meaghan and I've been following your blog and instagram for the past few months. I'm very inspired and touched by your genuine, personable nature. I'm a relatively new integrative wellness coach myself, so it's been really nice to follow how you so wonderfully, creatively, and passionately approach the whole thing.

I just moved and am currently trying to establish myself in Brooklyn! Which is where I could use your help...

I'm wondering if you'd be willing to meet up so I could ask you a few questions about how you got your coaching practice up and running. I am happy to meet you wherever you are - your favorite cafe or your work space!

I SO appreciate any amount of time that you have to offer. Let me know :)

XO
Meaghan

Meaghan’s message immediately brought me back to 3.5 years ago when I myself was just starting out as a new health coach.

 

 

I wrote similar emails to a few coaches and bloggers I admired and I was so, so SO grateful for the ones that responded with kind words and an openness to meeting with me.

And so while life is really full right now with travel and work and personal projects, I knew I would make the time to meet with Meaghan.

I responded “Of course, I’m happy to meet up and chat with you.”

I get a lot of emails and messages from new or aspiring health coaches. And while I’d LOVE to meet up or get on the phone with each and every one of them (and you! I love talking to people!) I know that’s not possible or practical.

Today I’m passing along few of the tips I shared with Meaghan when we met up on Monday morning. Yes, these are specific to my experience and geared towards individuals getting started with a career in the health and wellness world, but they definitely can apply to ANYONE starting a new career or passion project.

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Here's my best advice for new coaches:

  • Try out a LOT - When I first left my corporate accounting job to pursue a career in health and wellness, I said YES to almost every opportunity that came my way. I taught at 4 different yoga studios, served sample smoothies at Whole Foods and even rainbow dyed my hair for Refinery29, an online beauty website. I volunteered to teach classes, give talks and participate in health fairs. I tried a lot on and from there was able to better discern what I actually wanted to do within the health and wellness field (and what I definitely DIDN’T want to do). Plus, I made some amazing connections and friends along the way.
  • Don’t be above the bridge job - Straight up it can be tough transitioning from a full time corporate job (with a full time corporate salary) to the freelance or entrepreneur life. Don’t be above getting   a “bridge” job - something that helps pay the bills that may (or may not) be in alignment with your passion or vision. Two months after I left my corporate job my health coaching practice was going well (as in I was getting clients and they were seeing success) BUT it wasn’t growing big or fast enough to pay my NYC rent and health insurance bill. So I decided to pursue a bridge job… which just so happened to turn into one of the BEST jobs ever.. more on that next.
  • Find a mentor or hire a coach - This is probably my biggest tip of all. Find a mentor. Join a mastermind group. Hire a coach. I know it can be scary investing in yourself this way especially if you’re already taking a financial risk starting a new career or project, but I strongly, STRONGLY believe that everyone needs a coach, especially during times of change or transition. ESPECIALLY if you’re looking to be a coach or leader yourself. I speak from my personal experience with myself but also with the experiences of the coaches and entrepreneurs I’ve coached - the expense is worth it. If you have the resources, I recommend working with a coach 1:1 for an extended period of time - not just one meeting or shorter program, but months if you can. Having someone that you know is there to support you, guide you and ultimately remind you of your goals and dreams is priceless.

 

 

Are you an entrepreneur or coach? What was YOUR biggest challenge when starting out? Leave a comment below and let me know!
    Photo by Seana Pasic

Tarot 101: What it is, what it isn't and why I LOVE it

It's been over a year since I started using and reading tarot cards - at first this was just something I did for fun, but pretty quickly tarot has become an integral part of both my self care practice AND my business.

Today's blog post has been brewing for some time. I've wanted to share more about tarot - share my story and why I think these little cards are amazing, but also clarify what these cards are NOT.

     

My tarot story

If you had asked me just over a year ago what I thought of tarot cards I probably would've shrugged my shoulders (and maybe even rolled my eyes). I didn't have any experience with tarot outside of how it's portrayed in the media: cards being read by turban wearing psychics who's eyes roll back into their heads when they're getting messages from the world beyond.

While I DO believe in energy and that there is SO much more to the world than what we can see with our eyes and rationalize with our brains, I've never been one to believe in someone who can predict the future. Even through my more recent experiences with oracles and energy healers the past year (I promise I will be sharing more about these soon!!) I still think that the future is up to us here in the present.

All that being said, I was skeptic when my friend Erika pulled out a deck of spirit animal cards during a weekend getaway last summer. Skeptic, but open (basically my motto for life these days ha!). We ended reading cards and talking about life for over 3 hours - sure, she knows me well but the cards allowed our conversation to go places and talk about things we likely wouldn't have on our own.

 

 

THIS is why I fell in love with and continue to use tarot:
the cards are a beautiful and REAL way to reflect.

 

WHY I LOVE TAROT

The tarot cards allow us to ask ourselves questions and open up the conversation around things we are dealing with in our lives, whether that's something we're conscious of (impending job change, a relationship, etc) or something that's more under the surface (belief systems, fears, patterns of behavior).

The cards definitely have a dark side - it's not all rainbows and butterflies, which I appreciate because life isn't all rainbows and butterflies. There's struggle, challenge, pain and discomfort along with joy, magic, peace and happiness. The tarot encourages us to look at it ALL - feel the feelings, learn the lessons and move forward.

I also love tarot because it allows me to connect to my intuition. I must listen to that inner voice when I decide what sort of spread to pull and how to interpret the cards that come up. It's been a really cool process learning to trust my intuition more and more through readings.

And while I do believe there is magic in the cards, I do not believe tarot cards can predict the future. I think the power is in YOUR interpretation  - what YOU hear and feel and see during your reading, and how that facilitates self-reflection, insight and, ultimately, action.

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Where did tarot originate?

The tarot originated sometime in the 15th century in various parts of Europe when a special deck of cards with additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack.

The original purpose of tarot cards was to play games, and while some link tarot readings back to ancient Egypt and the Kabbalah, the first documented use of the cards for divination purposes wasn't until the late 18th century.

From there, the mystical tarot spread in popularity - likely through the upper classes of society - and different decks were created throughout the world.

 

HOW IS A TAROT DECK DIFFERENT FROM A DECK OF PLAYING CARDS?

Like common playing cards, the tarot has four suits (which vary by deck and by region). Each suit has 14 cards: ace through 10 and then four court cards (King, Queen, Knight and Jack, or like in my deck Father, Mother, Son and Daughter). These cards are known as "The Minor Arcana" (Latin for lesser secrets).

In addition, the tarot has 22 more cards known as "The Major Arcana" (Latin for greater secrets). These cards are said to be more powerful or more energetic than the other cards in the deck.

 

What exactly is a tarot reading?

A tarot reading is when you have one or more cards drawn from the deck and interpreted for you. There are an infinite number of tarot "spreads" - different configurations of cards drawn to address questions or areas of your life.

The most popular spreads I use in my readings are:

  • Single Card / 1 card - Great for beginners, and for a simple message. I often draw a Single Card spread in the morning or before beginning a big project for one card of guidance or inspiration.
  • Clarity Spread / 4 cards - To provide clarity on a specific situation. One card in the spread represents the situation itself, the other three cards provide clarity and insight.
  • Relationship Spread / 5 cards - To provide guidance on a specific relationship (can be done with another person, or with respect to your relationship with self/a project/a hypothetical person). In this spread each of the cards represents something: you, your challenge, the other person, their challenge and the uniting factor.

You can also have more involved spreads such as a Year Ahead spread or the fairly well known Celtic Cross spread. The person reading your cards will likely pick the spread (most readers have a few they prefer to work with) or ask you if there's something specific you'd like to address in the reading, and then choose the spread accordingly. Most tarot decks come with guidebooks with recommended spreads for you to experiment with.

A reading will typically start with the reader asking you to provide a bit more background on the situation, relationship or question that you have. He or she will then draw the cards and provide an interpretation, and there will be time for discussion and reflection.

 

Which deck do i choose?

If you're interested in playing with the cards yourself, you're first step will be to purchase a deck, which should come with a corresponding guide book to help you learn how to read and interpret the cards.

There are many, many tarot decks out there these days. The most important thing when choosing a deck is to pick one that resonates or speaks to you. Go to a mystical bookstore or crystal shop and browse through the decks - look at the art, flip through the guidebook and read some of the card interpretations. Use your intuition here and go with what your gut says YES to.

 

 

This is the deck I use: The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans.

 

Booking a reading

If this post has you curious what it's like to experience a tarot reading - you're in luck! I currently offer 1:1 readings over the internet and am available for small group gatherings and events in NYC!

 

 

1:1 readings - Click here for details + pricing!
Groups and events - Contact me for details!
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As always, I LOVE hearing from you (really, I do!!) and I'd especially love to hear your thoughts about tarot - have you tried it? are you open to trying it? what's your experience (or your resistance) to the cards?
Leave a comment below and let me know!

The best advice I received recently

Recently my gut has not been happy.

By recent I mean things haven't been quite right the past year, but the last few months I've been in a LOT more pain and discomfort. I tried to "fix" things myself - eliminating different foods, taking supplements, trying this and that healing diet, meditating more, doing more yoga - but nothing seemed to help. At all.

Which left me feeling frustrated, annoyed that I couldn't figure this out myself and honestly pretty angry at my body. Here I was eating so much healthier and being so much more careful with what I consumed than so many people, yet I was still in so much pain.

So I finally asked for help.

I went to see a GI and he's been sorta helpful. He ran some tests and suggested I give the low FODMAP diet a serious try, which I've been doing with some success.

But the best (and most surprising) advice I received around my current gut stuff came from Robyn.

We work together closely so she's seen me going through all of this.

 

 

After a particularly bad week I lamented TO HER:
"I'm tired of having to care about every little thing I eat. I'm tired of being more sensitive than everyone else. I just want to be normal."
Robyn's response?

"You ARE normal Emily.

There's just this one piece of you that needs a little extra care and attention right now."

 

She went on to suggest that I think of this piece of me (my gut!) like a baby and that I (the rest of me) needed to care for, protect and love this piece of me like a mother fiercely cares for, protects and loves her child.

This simple advice totally shifted my perspective.

First, I realized I was blowing things out of proportion.

Yes, my gut has been unhappy but my energy, my sleep, my skin, my mood and so much more have been good (for the most part). I'm not totally broken, there's just one piece of me that needs some extra support right now.

Second, it gave me a new way to look at my gut and how I needed to take care of it.

How does a mother treat a crying newborn baby? Well most often she tries to soothe the baby and would do anything in her power to find out what her baby needs to stop crying - out of fierce love, not just to quiet the cries (although I haven't been a parent and can guess that sometimes you do just want to quiet the cries...but that's not the point here).

 

 

Instead of being angry at my digestive system and avoiding certain foods as punishment, I'm looking at my gut like a little baby that I need to care for, love and protect like a mother would CARE FOR A SICK OR HURT child.

 

This shift has been profound for me.

Part of being an adult is learning to "grow up" - most of us are taught that we should get a job, pay our bills and be a law-abiding citizen, but there's more. Emotionally we must learn to take care of ourselves from a deep sense of self love. How (I assume) a mother or father feels for a new born baby. Unwavering, unapologetic, protective.

No matter how many loving parents, grandparents, siblings, partners, friends you have in your life, YOU must be your own best caretaker.

You must learn how to nurture, soothe and protect yourself, both physically and emotionally.

At 30 years old, even after a wonderful childhood and years of personal development, this is something I'm just learning. While there are still days where I feel frustrated with my gut for being bloated after one bite of gluten or having a stomachache so painful all I can do is curl up in a ball on my bed, I'm grateful for the piece of me for ultimately being my biggest teacher.

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Is there an area of your life or health that could use some unconditional love? A piece of you that maybe, like me and my gut, has been a point of prolonged pain, discomfort or chronic illness?

How can show that piece of you more care and love? Instead of judging, shaming and trying to fix yourself, how can you be your own best parent and nurture yourself?

<3 <3 <3

What even is Mercury Retrograde?

A few funny things happened to me recently:

  • Someone who I haven't been in touch with in years randomly popped back into my life (in a this-is-too-weird-to-be-just-coincidence way)
  • My wireless headphones stopped working out of the blue
  • As a sat down to write this blog post, I wasn't able to log on to my website hosting platform, email server or even access the internet (although it was working fine on my phone).

Sure, all of the these are just small deviations from the norm, and when taken apart I could think nothing of them. But together (and with what I know about the planets!) I couldn't help but see the wheels of Mercury Retrograde in motion.

Some of you may have heard of Mercury Retrograde. Others of you may be like "What on Earth is this girl talking about??" Depending on how much you believe in astrology stuff you may be open or skeptical in learning more about this astrological event - which is totally fine.

Today I'm going to be sharing more about WHAT Mercury Retrograde is, why you needn't freak out about it and how you can actually utilize this period to your advantage.

As I've disclaimed before, I am by no means an astrology expert. I'm simply someone who's interested, who's done some research and questioning herself and who wants to share what I've learned in the most digestible and useful way possible.

Let's get started!

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What is mercury Retrograde?

As a refresher, Mercury is the planet closet to the sun - closer to the sun than our planet Earth.

When a planet is in retrograde, it appears to move backwards (east to west rather than west to east) across the sky. The planet really ISN’T moving backward, but much like two trains or cars passing each other at different speeds, this creates the optical illusion that one is going backward.

A year on Mercury is shorter than a year on Earth (88 Earth days compared to 365), which means Mercury circles the sun 4 times in the time it takes us to finish one solar loop. A few times a year, Mercury passes the Earth in its orbit. As it rounds the bend, Mercury slows down and appears to stop (station) and spin backward (retrograde).

Why do people freak out about it?

Mercury is said to rule all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules formal agreements and contracts such as term papers, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, etc.

In our modern day and age, communication is also heavily linked to technology (hence my headphones and internet malfunctions) and travel.

That being said, this can be a time where normal business (both work business and personal business) feels a little haywire. Your significant other may misinterpret your text message. An email may get lost. Phones, computers, and other technology may not function properly. Travel may be delayed or trips even cancelled.

This is why people freak out. Mercury Retrograde can be a tough time to connect with others and communicate, which is why it's not the best time to launch something, make big commitments or enter into new deals. There's usually a disconnect between what you're trying to say or get across, and what the other person or people are hearing.

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How can I use the energy of Mercury retrograde to my advantage?

Retrograde periods offer us a chance to slow down and reflect on certain parts of our life.

Accordingly to Astrostyle.com:

Don’t start anything new. Focus on activities that start with the prefix “re-,” which means to go back. Review all your contracts before you sign. Renew your commitments, rather than making new ones. Prepare to repeat yourself often. Reunite with old friends, redecorate a room, rekindle a romance.

In addition, Mercury Retrograde is a great opportunity to handle unfinished business. Wrap up loose ends and finish projects you've started to clear up energetic space for new, future endeavors.

How long will it last?

The current Mercury Retrograde lasts from July 26th, 2018 until August 19th, 2018.

If you can, schedule some time to reflect and go in during this period so that you can come out the other side with more clarity and energetic space moving into the future.

 

 

Have you experienced Mercury retrograde in any of the ways discussed in this blog post?
Share with us all in the comments below!

The power of quiet

This past weekend I had the opportunity to teach yoga at an intimate retreat in upstate New York. I've been craving more time in nature, and more time out of the city, so this coming my way felt perfect and like a gift from the universe.

 Talk about a dreamy yoga setting!

Talk about a dreamy yoga setting!

I didn't really know this going in but the retreat was to be mostly silent. No laptops, no cell phones, no talking and even no communication via body language (no eye contact!).

I don't mind quiet - it's actually something I crave living in the hustle and bustle of NYC - but this level of quiet was a whole new experience for me.

 

 

It's amazing what a little bit of quiet can do.

 

Pretty soon after shutting down my laptop and turning my phone on airplane mode I had some very clear downloads (what I call the messages I get from self or spirit or intuition).

Some were more straightforward (THIS is how much you can charge for that, that food is not serving you right now, ideas for blog posts and videos, etc) and some were more out there (including one 5 page message from a past partner's spirit... believe me I was pretty surprised myself).

 

 

None of these messages would have come through so clearly or so quickly without the quiet.

 

Finding and staying quiet isn't always easy - there were definitely moments during the weekend where I wanted to talk to a friend, check Instagram or work on my laptop. There were moments when nature didn't feel peaceful (buzzing flies and creepy crawly spiders are definitely a test of mindfulness), where my mind felt anything but calm.

But this experience (as with ALL of my social media detoxes) reinforced the power of just being with self. Sitting in the discomfort and the feelings that come with quiet also allows us to open up to endless creativity, connectivity and real peace, as well as space to heal and process.

 Nature is the best

Nature is the best

And while the quiet time to meditate and reflect was powerful, the biggest "aha" moment of the weekend for me was how much effort we all put into what we're saying and how we're presenting ourselves to other people, especially people that we may not feel totally comfortable being ourselves around.

And, if we're being honest, most of us don't feel comfortable being totally ourselves around most everyone, except maybe one close friend or a partner.

We spend so much energy (whether it's conscious or unconscious) trying to act in a certain way. Trying to present a picture to the rest of the world of what we think is acceptable or appropriate or right, instead of just being who we are. Instead of connecting with self and feeling our feelings and asking ourselves the important questions and going with what feels true in the moment, we're worried about how we're seen by others. Or maybe not worried, but we think we have to act a certain way based on who we "are."

I'm about to get real existential up in here but it's a good question, and something I thought about a lot this weekend...

 

 

Who are you?

 

Yes, I'm Emily. I'm a health coach and yoga teacher and entrepreneur. I like the beach and dairy free ice cream and the color blue. I live in Brooklyn and I ride a bike. I'm a little scared of heights, but somehow love roller coasters and my middle name is Margaret.

But is this really who I am?

No, of course not, you know that and I know that. I'm so much more than a job and a city and some dietary preferences.

 

 

But we like labels.  We like to put things in boxes.
And whether we know it or not, we often use these labels as a form of communication.

By me saying I live in Brooklyn and ride a bike I'm presenting an aspect of myself I want you to see, and you're seeing a piece of me colored by your own experiences and belief systems.

Even if we think we know someone, we cannot experience reality through their eyes and filters, and as a result we cannot 100% guarantee what someone else will think of us or how they'll react to something we do. And if we're making decisions based on how we think someone else will perceive us or a situation, there's more often than not going to be a disconnect between how we think we should feel and how we actually feel.

You can however be in your own head (scary place sometimes - I know). You can be in your own body. You can see and experience life from your own individual perspective. Which is why it's so important to be THERE. To be YOU. To honor whatever is going on with your emotions, to listen to your intuition and act from a place of self interest.

 YES to more quiet and time with self and with nature.

YES to more quiet and time with self and with nature.

My takeaway from this weekend is yes to find more quiet and more meditative time in nature.

But more than that I want to live more from that place of ME. Not Emily the health coach, the yoga teacher, the daughter, the sister, the friend... but Emily the human.

No labels, no shoulds, no what what so-and-so do. Just being and making decisions from that deep center of self.