Get Unstuck (Video)

Want to see some raw honesty from a rough life coach? Here’s me, first thing in the morning (after coffee but before a shower), answering the following question:

Why do you enjoy helping people get unstuck and get more out of life?

My coach asked me this question, and challenged me to speak directly to you, and explain my motivation to coach. After all, if I’m going to help you do what you want to do, what’s the proof that I’ve done it myself? Here you go. Thanks for watching. I look forward to hearing what you think.

 

A Village of Fathers

I have a life coach. As a career & life coach, it behooves me to be coached, to practice what I preach.

My coach was a set up, and as a result, a coach was chosen for me that is probably unlike a coach I would have chosen for myself. He is a Black Christian man living in North Carolina.

And yet, he is a lot like me, a White Jewish woman in New Jersey.

We both have backgrounds in marketing and public speaking. We are both parents and have experience in step-families. He inspires me and digs deep to help me figure out what I’m good at and what I can contribute to my clients’ lives. He loves coaching.

He continues to focus on my work as a mother (even though I tell him it’s not relevant), and as a working mother, and the value of that work. Because he, as a working father of a young black man, the same age as the white men I’m raising, well…he respects mothering. Of all men. And respects the important role of a good mother in a man’s life.

Today, Tru sent me a video (as he likes to do) after our session. I had shared some frustration with him about something that happened recently, how I felt unsupported as a mother.

He shared this video with me, to demonstrates different ways in which communities support parents and children:

Did you cry as much as I did?

Wow. This Black Christian man and White Jewish mother have a lot in common. We want to increase the opportunities for children of all ages to grow strong through their challenges, feel support around them, and help them use their passion and potential to create a purpose.

And to make his point as to how important mothers are, Tru sent me a video on the power of fathers. And fathering. And family and villages. During every session, he tells me that stories from he heart are the most powerful. After watching this, I can only agree.

People Are Like Goldfish

My family and I went to a festival recently, and they had one of those games where participants can win goldfish. Of course this the prize both of my 3-year-olds wanted.

And, after carrying those fish around for 2 hours, carelessly tossed to the side when a kid was eating pizza, swimming away from the claws of a 3-year-old trying to “squish the fish”, they made it home to a place that had no bowl and no food.

These fish were exhausted, traumatized. And no, the pet store was not open after we finally put our children to sleep.

Our two fish were to live in a pitcher and go hungry. After all that. 🙁

At the pet store the next day I was reassured by the pet store staff that there was no point in giving festival fish a nice habitat, as they were bred to live short lives. They were just meant to be prizes, or feed other fish.

life coach

Fish or food?

Slightly more research yielded a different perspective — these festival fish, also called common goldfish or comets could grow up to 18 inches! Instead of keeping them in a pitcher as I had been, these giants-to-be deserved a filtered tank, and due to the intense amount of excrement they produced, no more than 2 fish to a 10 gallon tank at a minimum.

I splurged and went with a long 20 gallon tank for my fish (which cost less than $100), to see if this fish tale could possibly be true.

The fish remind me of my coaching clients. At some point, my clients were put in a tank that was the wrong size. They heard lots of shoulds and cant’s, and stepped away from something they wanted to do.

They come to me to fix a situation, something that is wrong that is nagging at them, whether it’s career, family life, or most frequently a combination of the two.

I believe in people. I believe that everyone has something that they can do to contribute to the world. Their superpower. Maybe it’s revolutionizing school lunches. Maybe it’s helping AIDS orphans in Africa and Thailand. Maybe it’s creating the most beautiful, high end bridal shop in New York City. Maybe it’s publishing a series of cookbooks, and the words and pictures to go with them.goldfish

People have skills and talents. Unique gifts. Last weekend I was at a wedding and met a woman who makes gorgeous jewelry out of flat polished stones that she finds on the beach. Another who makes large installations of wine cork art (some of her pieces have over 4000 corks!). Both are at the beginning of their artistic/entrepreneurial journeys; I can’t wait to see where these passions take them in 3 to 5 years.

These passionate people deserve big tanks so that they can grow to the full extent of their abilities.

I coach because I believe in people. I also believe people have an easier time stepping into their zone when they have an advocate who shares their vision and believes in their ability to accomplish it. The only thing that stands between a constipated superhero and a contribution to the world is partner that believes in them and holds them accountable to their vision

My work as a coach allows me to be the scaffolding as these superheroes are built.

And those goldfish? Well I’m happier to say that the experts were right. Comets grow fast! In just 3 months, my fish are thriving and have doubled in size, from under 1 inch to big, fat two inch goldfish (with incredible appetites).

Don’t be surprised if you come to visit me in my office and find a 50 gallon tank with just a few big fish in the next few years.

I believe in what happens when fish (and people) are put in the right environment.

life coach

Days Between School and Summer

The days between school ending and summer beginning; what are they called again?

It’s not an official holiday…but parents definitely need to find child care. There are wonky half days, field days, fun days, picnics and ceremonies, ah, those early dismissals and auditorium events usually called for some time between 11AM and 2PM.

It’s not working parent friendly, at all.

And we know the majority of parents are working, right? And yet the school systems (private or public) have not acknowledged that reality. Frankly, closing for 3 months every summer is also ignoring reality, but I’ll save that for an author who has already covered this topic.

So here’s a confession. Although you may know me as happy and go with the flow, this mom of three 3-and-under, well, I LOVE ME some structure. School. Camp. Routine. I’m a stressed out little puppy in the face of Memorial Day, god help me on Christmas break, and this time between school and camp, well it just sorta sucks.

I don’t know what to do with my kids, and how to balance work and their needs. I like my systems, I like routine. Boundaries help our family thrive.

This year, I decided to go with it a bit. Take the days off. Be around. Hang out with the kids and do something different. Author and coach Gretchen Rubin had a whole podcast about marking summer as different by behaving differently. Eating differently. Taking note of doing differently and making that it’s own celebration.

Well, weird week, I got you. I got zoo and I got butterflies and I’ve got fishing rods. I’m ready to do things I haven’t done with my kids before, and enjoy this time. I’ve got weird sandy vegetables from my co-op and I’m ready to cook them. After I teach my sous-chefs, I mean kids, how to wash them properly.

Sure, my husband gets to work while I improvise. But if I can’t fight the reality, better to enjoy it and turn it into something fun. As soon as I give up the fight, and frustration with what this week is not (normal), I can yield to what it is and find what works for me. Being present in the break.

What are you doing with the kids in the nether zone this year? Drop me a line or tell me more in the comments below.

Can’ts and Shoulds

I was taking a fast-paced walk the other day, and came to an intersection manned by a crossing guard. The light was red and the crossing guard was across the street. No cars coming in either direction, and so I began to cross.

A sharp whistle came from you know who followed by, “You can’t cross now!”

I looked again. Still no cars. I could cross, of course, there was no danger here. I looked back up at the crossing guard, who shook his head no, as if reading my mind. I returned to the sidewalk and waited the 30 seconds until the light turned.

My not crossing was more important to him than crossing was to me.

Can do coach!

It’s up to you. Really.

Recently, I had my sons in the car with me on a return trip from the grocery store. It was snack time; one wanted pretzels, the other raspberries. I gave them each their snack.

I then asked pretzel boy for a snack, “Nope. You can’t have one.”

I explained why this was not nice. Raspberry boy offered me a snack, “I will give you two raspberries, but only two.”

Okay. I reached my arm back and he put the raspberries in my hand.

I asked his brother if I could have a pretzel. I was told, “No. You can’t have one now. You already ate two raspberries and that’s all you get.”

So I’m raising two dictators. Or, two three-year-olds, who like to play with boundaries.

Young children kids are always hearing boundaries. Not now. One TV show. That’s enough milk. Put on clothes. Don’t pee on your brother.

Their job is to find the boundary, and push until they hit one. That’s what they do. My job as a parent is to establish that boundary without losing my mind.

Contrastingly, my job as a coach is to help break people out of self imposed boundaries, and get rid of the can’ts and should’s they’ve been hearing all their life.

Like the crossing guard. I mean, I knew that I wasn’t supposed to cross the street at a red light, but let’s be real. I could see 4 blocks in every direction; ain’t nothin’ going on in this cross section besides me and your whistle.

There’s no real reason I couldn’t have crossed. But it was his job to tell me I couldn’t; I shouldn’t. And because I’ve developed a sense of maturity, I didn’t question him on this.

And thank god, my job is to help people realize they can. And will. (And they do.)

can do coach

Now that’s more like it!

Doing the Girl Thing

I have two impressive clients, one a lawyer and one a doctor. They are highly accomplished in their fields.

On the same day, each separately asked me the same question at one point during the session:

“Am I doing the girl thing?”

And I knew exactly what they meant. But, being a coach, my job is to ask more than answer and so I asked what they meant. Here’s what they said, more or less:

“You know, that thing where I have an idea, then totally kill it, or think that what I’m offering isn’t good enough, even though it’s more than enough. Or when I have success in something after working hard, then put myself down. You know, the girl thing.”

I do know. The girl thing.

In fact, yesterday I was sharing this very story with a friend. She just received a big promotion at work, and closed a new deal faster than any one ever has in the history of the 30-year company.

Then, she explained away her success as luck, not really a big deal, a long time coming, etc. As soon as she did it she realized, “Oh my god! I just did the girl thing!”

Yup. So I asked her what she could say instead. She came up with:

“Thank you! It’s a great client — I’m excited to start working with them.”

Perfect.

But the unspoken “girl thing” that too many of us understand is no longer working for me. And, as the mother of a daughter, it’s really not working for me. I want the same opportunities and possibilities for all my children, no matter the gender. Not 79 cents on the dollar for my “less valuable” daughter. I don’t want to see the world teach limitations into her core, as it has for me and my clients.

I want my 2-year-old daughter, who is pretty badass already, to not recognize “doing the girl thing” as what my doctor, lawyer, and business friend and I recognize too easily. Putting yourself down. Making excuses for your success. Apologizing for your creative ideas. Hearing yourself “you can’t” before you say “I can”.

Let’s redefine what “doing the girl thing” means. What if doing the girl thing meant that girls:

Celebrate, like Brandi Chastain

Lead, like Golda Meir

Act, like Margaret Thatcher

Help others, like Ina May Gaskin

Are Brave, like Malala

Are Strong, like the Williams Sisters

Create Justice, like Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Do What’s Right, like Eleanor Roosevelt

Blaze A New Path, like Hillary Clinton

Are Entrepreneurial, like Martha Stewart

Guide Others, like Harriet Tubman

Stands up for Your Rights, like Susan B Anthony

Care for Animals, like Jane Goodall

Teach, like Julia Child

Manage Money, like Janet Yellen

Rock, like Joan Jett

While writing this post, I got a call from a client who set a lofty goal for herself 3 months ago. Today, the dream became reality. She called to tell me about the interview that lead to the offer, and started by saying: “I’m not going to lie, and I hope this doesn’t appear arrogant, but I did a GREAT job. I knew I had it and I did. I could tell during our conversation. I just nailed it.”

When I asked her what she did in the interview that was so special, she said, “You know what? I just said what I believed and I acted like myself. I was totally honest. And it worked!”

That’s the 2016 version of doing the girl thing. Just finding that thing you’re great at and doing it. Being honestly and authentically you.

The No-Nonsense Stepmom Speaks Up!

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d be speaking at the Online Stepmom Summit. Today, I’m the featured stepmom. Check out my billing:

Allison Task: The No-Nonsense Stepmom and Positive Role Model: Using Food, Fun, and Other Techniques to Bond a Family

Something tells me that the conference host was thinking “No BS Stepmom”, but went with “No-nonsense” instead. Because for those of you who know me…I’m full of nonsense. I just don’t put up with BS. 🙂

stepmom coach

Laughter is the best medicine.

The Online Stepmom Summit is a special online conference for stepmoms that provides quality tips from leading experts to guide stepmoms through the challenges of a blended family so that they can find find fun and fulfillment at the same time. You know, get through the nonsense.

You can join me and my 1/2 hour interview here, for free for the next 48 hours.

You can also watch interviews with many other experts and people who are passionate about sharing their knowledge with stepmoms. Register for the Online Stepmom Summit here.

Plenty of learning, fun and tribe-finding at the Online Stepmom Summit.

Get on in here — the water’s warm and the women are miracle workers.

Allison

stepmom coach

C’mon Get Happy

The old Partridge Family song takes me back. I’m a kid again, dancing around on a shaggy blue carpet. Nursing a serious crush on David Cassidy. No responsibilities. Little to no power either, but it’s the singing and dancing that I remember. And the feeling of being happy.

Segue to today: I’ve been reading a particularly fabulous book, recommended by one of my clients, called The Sweet Spot, by Christine Carter.

It focuses on that whole overwork / work life balance thing. (You know, what I do for a living :-)). Though it may seem like well trodden terrain, she offers solutions for getting your life back, enjoying it, thriving at work and  having a short fitness routine that will get you in solid shape.

One thing I’ve started doing is using this free app called Happier. If you bob and weave through the solicitations (not that hard to do), you’re able to use it to record something every day that makes you happy. It automatically pulls up your pictures and prompts you with your own visual memories — just in case you forgot how fantastic that trip to the garden with your daughter was.

Minimal investment, maximum happy.

Minimal investment, maximal bliss.

I like doing this daily; it’s a quick passage to emotion (like the kind I get when I look at the old David Cassidy pictures), which encourages the building of neural pathways of joy. It reminds me to sit in that moment – an take a deep tub soak of positive emotion. There’s ample research to demonstrate the impact of regular positive thinking, gratitude and connecting with emotions.

Plus, after a few weeks, I have this incredible flip book of happy moments – the moments that seem inconsequential at the time, but are the tapestry of your life. So record your happy once a day, or once in the morning and once at night. However you choose to remember your happy, the benefits are clear.

As a wise man once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” And when you stop to capture those seemingly insignificant, powerful and joyful moments, you’ll be able to marvel at your own incredible life.

Join Me at the Stepmom Summit (I have free tickets)

If you are dating a man with kids, in the process of planning the rest of your life with a man who has kids, or you are already married and have been crowned the title of “stepmom”, I wanted to let you know about an online event coming up.

I’m speaking at it.

There’s over 15+ successful authors, therapists, and coaches who will be sharing proven and strategic ways that any stepmom can use that will encourage her to respect herself, nurture her marriage, and appreciate her role as a stepmom.

The event is called the Online Stepmom Summit. It’s all online and you can watch it from anywhere.

Since I’m presenting at it, I have a free ticket for you.

Register HERE for the Online Stepmom Summit!

Plus, I’m offering 50% my stepmom coaching packages from now through Mother’s Day just to say thank you to all the incredible stepmoms out there.

What I love about this online event, is that it’s for stepmoms at any stage of their journey:

Respecting Yourself:

  • The Down and Dirty of Dealing With His Ex While Maintaining Your Integrity and Sanity (Jenna Korf)
  • Discover the Biology of Our Thoughts, Strategies to Overcome Self-Doubt and Anxiety, and Ways to Visualize a Bright Future in Your Blended Family (Barb Goldberg)
  • Second Shift: How to Grow Your Part-Time Passion to Full-Time Influence While Being a Mom, Stepmom, and Wife (Dr. Harold Arnold)
  • A Roadmap and Guide, from a 35-year survivor, to Being a Stepmom (Sonja Ridden)

Nurturing Your Marriage:

  • Mandatory Date Nights, Required Family Meetings, and Strongly Suggested Planning Will Result in Solid Relationships Over Time (Yaffa Balsam)
  • The 7 Rings of Marriage: What Ring Are You Currently Wearing? (Jackie and Stephana Bledsoe)
  • Get Debt Free and Enjoy Your Money (Dustin Riechmann)
  • Stripped Down: 13 Keys to Unlocking Intimacy in Your Marriage (Alisa DiLorenzo)
  • Depth Psychology, Couples Therapy, and EFT (emotional freedom techniques): What They Are, How They Work, and How They Can Help (Hillary Straus)

Appreciating Your Role as a Stepmom

  • Elbow Room: Approaches to Combining and Organizing a Blended Family While Respecting Personal Space and Needs (Amy Payne)
  • Single Woman Seeking Single Man…With Kids? (Erin Careless)
  • The No-Nonsense Stepmom and Positive Role Model: Using Food, Fun, and Other Techniques to Bond a Family (Allison Task)
  • Legalities of Being a Stepmom: Surprising Facts and Proactive Steps (Stephanie Lefler)
  • Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Help You Communicate With Your Stepchildren (Karen Becker)
  • How God’s Word Reveals to Us the Path to Becoming a Godly Stepmom and Navigating Challenges Along the Journey (Heather Hetchler)

Grab your free ticket now! 

And remember, if you’re interested in seeing how coaching can positively impact your stepmom experience, I’d like to offer 50% off my stepmom coaching packages from now through Mother’s Day just to say thank you to all the incredible stepmoms out there.

 

Why Modern Wives Withhold Sex

Newsflash! Wives are withholding sex.

I know, I know it’s a bit cliche. Before you were married, it was hot sex all over the place, then honeymoon sex, maybe some fun pregnancy sex, and then…SPLAT! kids. “Honey, we’ll wake them up”, “The baby is watching!”, “I don’t feel good about my body!” and everyone’s favorite: “I’m just soooo tired.” Wives aren’t faking headaches anymore, they’re just passing out.

But how is this different from the classic cliche of Lucy and Desi-style separate beds in the same room?

sex and relationship coaching

Modern Retro Marriage

Well, for one, we’ve undergone a pretty intense sexual revolution since then. Women are allowed to like sex, even supposed to like it. Women and men have friends who are just like Samantha Jones. Miley is twerking and the girls of Girls — every shape size and color, are having sex and lots of it. Taking sex advice from our universal Jewish grandmother, Dr. Ruth, now seems quaint and dare I say prudish? A quick walk down a NYC street in the summer shows as much skin as soft core porn in the 60s, and today’s moms are pissed off when their daughters are thrown out of school for short skirts and belly shirts. No, they’re not mad at their daughters wearing skimpy clothes; they’re mad at the schools are coming down on those girls.

Judith Warner, in Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxietyexplains the situation thusly, quoting one of the many modern married moms she interviewed for her book:

” ‘I can’t say these days our marriage is about love,’ says a working mother of two in New York. ‘It’s definitely not about romance.’ It’s like we run a small business together. We’re business partners.’ ”

Hot, it’s not. Martin continues with the following analysis:

“…then they talk about sex. About how, as more highly evolved females, they don’t need to have sex, don’t want to have sex, while their husbands, being men, well…”

sex and relationship coaching

Frustrated. And in need of an orgasm.

Eek. Sure, sex is fun, physical and gratifying, but what about that whole making love thing? What about the intimacy that comes with sex? Are we beyond that too?

In the celebrated Primates of Park Avenue, Wednesday Martin said almost the same thing, that women were establishing their own single gender tribes, and have moved beyond sex — though they are not without physical gratification: there’s always Pilates and ultra marathons.

Not Having Sex Has Become A National Trend

Martin continues her analysis, “There was something sinister in the fact that the very same women who would tell me how wonderful their husbands were would, in the next breath, let me (and a roomful of avid listeners) in on the most awful humiliations of their mates’ private moments.” Talking about how pathetic their husbands were, masturbating in bed after these wives refused their advances, flowers and all. These wives enjoyed shaming their husbands behind their backs, in public.

Ouch.

But why is this happening? It’s actually pretty straightforward: wives are angry. Women are still doing the housework. Women are still the primary child caretaker. But wait — we started out equals; it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

One of Martin’s interviewees explains, “When my huband and I started dating, I made more money than he did. I had more status than he did. Then all of a sudden — whoosh! I went part time. I don’t think I’m ever getting it back. He now starts conversations with me with the words, ‘Here’s what I’d like you to do.’ I want to say, ‘You can shove it up your ass.’ ”

sex coaching

Doesn’t This Seem Like Fun?

This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. We were peers. We were equals. The wives, have more advanced degrees. We traveled side by side, we had sex on top, underneath, all over the place. We made money, we had plans. We were peers in and out of the home.

And then we had children. And now the Mrs. is working, or not, but either way she’s setting up birthday parties, play dates, interviewing babysitters and au pairs, cleaning out the fridge, making or ordering dinner and organizing doctor appointments and immunizations.

She’s pissed. She may let you know it directly, or she may be passive aggressive about it. But the fact remains: you’re not getting any.

And given this tense situation, in a culture where raising children goes largely unsupported, especially in the first five years, wouldn’t both partners benefit from a couple orgasms, some intimacy and a hug?

You bet they would. Here are two ideas to address this situation that has worked with my clients:

  1. Masturbate. A lot. You know your husband is doing this, but are you? Ok, you might be mad and not want to have sex with him, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the health benefits of an orgasm on a regular basis. You’ve earned this. Head to your favorite sex shop or go online. You can be mad at him, but don’t punish yourself.
  2. Remember Those Cheesy Cosmo Quizzes? Well, the self-help aisle has tons of similar ones for couples. The most popular amongst them is this: The 5 Love Languages. It’s quick, easy, and I promise you’ll learn something about your partner — and yourself — by the end.

In the end, remember: it’s not his fault, and it’s not your fault. American culture has given women opportunity, but not the support to back fill what’s traditionally been considered women’s work: raising children and tending the home. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it’s not his fault. Talk to each other, love on each other (and yourself), and remember to fight the common enemy instead of one another.

And if you still feel stuck, you can always call me; it’s what I do, after all.

relationship coach

Come to Momma!